News and Updates

The Priceless Princess is here.

The Priceless Princess has been many years in the making.  Go to the Page called “The Writing of the Priceless Princess” to find out more about the story, and to learn about the author and her grandchildren, who inspired it.

Purchase a signed copy with a message from this website posted anywhere in Australia – go the the PURCHASE IN AUSTRALIA tab and click.

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At last: purchase through Paypal (including using your credit card)

Thanks to the Happiness Engineers at WordPress, it is now possible for customers to purchase a print (paperback) copy of The Priceless Princess using Paypal. However, due to postage costs, AUSTRALIAN CUSTOMERS ONLY can order The Priceless Princess through this Website. Customers in the US can order copies through the US Amazon site. Elsewhere, orders through local bookshops will be serviced via Ingram Spark.

You can order more than one copy at a time, but if you want more than three in the same order please contact Blackwing Press at blackwingpress@gmail.com for a special price.

Some great reviews: a Harry Potter genre for young girls?

So many wonderful positive reviews I have been receiving for the Priceless Princess. I gave out a number of paperbacks as presents, or just for fun to people I valued, for their children. I didn’t ask anyone to send a review, so receiving them has been such a pleasure.  I’ve been putting copies of the reviews on this website (See Reviews ). I was thrilled by Kristen’s suggestion. She said:

“I do hope you will write more for this age group. Quite frankly there is such rubbish around. This seems like a sort of Harry Potter genre for young girls. Please let me know if you write more soon!”

PRINT BOOK ONLY: THE SPECIAL OFFER FOR AUSTRALIAN CUSTOMERS ONLY is still available, but not for long.
PURCHASE FROM THE WEBSITE: Special Offer: Personally signed copy from the author using Paypal Express Checkout. Price:  A$14.99 including postage.
MULTIPLE COPIES OR BULK ORDERS: A special multiple copy price is available from the publishers, contact Blackwing Press directly by mail or email: Blackwingpress@gmail.com.

Generous support from some great photographers

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In putting together the section on Animals and Birds in the Priceless Princess I have had to request permission to use a number of images because they are not in the public domain. Reproducing a photograph or drawing after a Google search is very easy but it is illegal to use any images other than those already located in the public domain, as in Wiki Commons and some other sources. So, I want to thank the great photographers who have agreed already (I will give them full attribution in the section where their photographs appear on the site).  But I would also like to say how disappointing it is that Sydney’s premier zoo, Taronga Park Zoo in Mosman, Sydney, has refused permission to reproduce any of the photographs and images attributed to them and state that this is their  policy.

This seems very unhelpful for projects which are designed to help children understand more about Australia’s native animals and birds which support a commitment to environmental protection of often rare and endangered species (such as the bilby, which is so important in this story). So no thanks or acknowledgments to Taronga Park Zoo are due.

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Entrance to Taronga Park Zoo – wikimedia commons

Working with the Illustrator

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Keith Draws

Click on the tab with this name on the banner above to read more about how the process of illustration worked for this book.

I needed a visual concept for the central character, Princess Sophie. My granddaughter Lulu is very blonde with blue eyes and pink skin. Pretty much what you would expect for a Princess. But I have another grand-daughter, Lulu’s cousin Lily, who has bright red hair and eyes that are brown but sometimes almost green.  What an enterprising brave person she is. I thought she would be a great role model for the Priceless Princess.

I found Keith Draws online. It was a great experience, working with an artist of such responsiveness and intelligence. It gave me a whole new perspective on the capacities of digital art.

I can’t thank Keith enough for his patience and assistance, including with internal design and layout. Creating books for the new world of digital publishing is so engrossing and challenging, not for the faint-hearted, although it is getting easier all the time. And I especially want to thank Keith’s two daughters to whom he read the story and who especially loved the flying pony.

Visit Keith’s WordPress site here

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Keith’s cover design for Argel – Planet of Refuge.

Thinking about “wildlife”

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Eastern Grey Wallaby with joey in pouch

“Wildlife” is a word used to describe creatures – animals, birds, fish – who exist in their own right, in their own world, with their own rhythms and behaviours which have not been decided upon by human desires. Until around 8-10,000 years ago, all animal life was “wild” and maybe we could say a lot of human life was “wild” as well. The process of domestication took existing creatures and, in various ways, changed them to suit the needs of humans. Some species seem to have changed themselves – cats, for instance, seem to have chosen to live alongside and to exploit humans rather than they other way around. Although humans have bred all kinds of cats – cats with abundant long hair, cats with no hair at all, cats without tails, cats with certain markings (like Siamese), it is well known that any cat able to live and reproduce in the wild will over a few generations revert to something very close to its original form.

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Domestic cats readily become “wild”
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The Asian Golden Cat – a wild species
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The Asian Fishing Cat – Thai people call in the “Cat-Tiger That Likes Fish”
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North American Bobcat

The wildlife of Australia is especially important and valuable, because Australia was isolated for so long from the rest of the world. Only in Australia was the world of marsupials preserved. They had been long ago wiped out by human settlement and other non-marsupial predators on other  continents. Creatures found in Australia by the first non-indigenous settlers seemed unbelievable: animals who carried their young around in pouches, fluffy bears who carried their babies on their backs and lived in the tree-tops, animals with bills like a duck which swam underwater.

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Koala and baby
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Playpus

Not one of the indigenous Australian animals has been successfully domesticated. They still live in the wild, following their own ancient patterns of feeding, communicating and breeding.

Quite apart from their intrinsic beauty they serve to remind us that planet Earth was not just designed for humans. Humanity is just one of the species once joined in a single natural world alongside other creatures with whom they co-existed. Australia is the last continent on earth where that relationship can still be glimpsed and understood. People in Australia who are committed to nature conservation struggle against rampant population growth, destruction of bushland and animal habitat, and the depredations of introduced species such as foxes, dogs and yes, cats.

There are many ways you can join in the fight to protect Australia’s natural world. More information will soon be coming to this site along with contact details and some ideas about how you can be part of the effort to keep Australia wild.

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Red kangaroo joey in the pouch

NOTE:  Except where specifically noted and credited,  images reproduced on this site are from Wikimedia Commons.

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