My Very Close Shave tale on Gabrielle Bryden’s blog

Talented writer, poet and blogger, Gabrielle Bryden, recently wrote of her close shave with an aquaplaning bus. OMG!

Subsequently, Gabrielle expressed an interest in receiving any close shave poems or stories from regular readers of her blog and people she knows.

So if you pop over to Gabrielle’s blog, you’ll see my contribution here. Thanks Gabrielle.

It was definitely a very close shave for my husband.

And if you scroll down through Gabrielle’s recent posts, you’ll read other  close shave stories and poems.


Direct links:

Posted in All my posts, Guest posts, Helen McKenzie, Helen Ross, Helen Ross writes, Life, Life's moments | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Watchwords – what is happening in Brisbane

Watchwords is a site is about writers, readers, artists, filmmakers and our beautiful City of Brisbane.

It is a non-profit site that writer Lois May started up to cover the Brisbane Writers Festival initially, back in 2012.  It was intended to be taken down after the event was over, but as people kept turning up Lois decided to keep it going.  Twenty-two months on and the daily hit rate is going strong.

Watchwords is for the benefit of writers, readers, artists, filmmakers et cetera (and anyone who loves the arts) so they can keep abreast of artistic events happening in Brisbane and Queensland.  And the site has no advertising to annoy people.

Lois is a member of a number of organisations so receives lots of information about what’s happening.

The site has many categories of interest, including:

  • EVENTS QUICKLIST! – updated regularly

and much, much more.

So grab a cuppa, and spend time browsing this resourceful site.

Direct link:



Posted in All my posts, Art and writing events, Brisbane cultural events, Brisbane events, Brisbane Literary and art events, Brisbane's artistic community, Helen Ross writes | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Inside

I looooove anything creative and whilst I don’t consider myself a photographer I do love taking photos. A couple of years ago I shouted myself a lovely Canon EOS 600D with the view to improving my photography skills and my eye for composition.

Whilst I have plenty of things to do, I couldn’t resist joining in this week’s A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – InsideI found out about this challenge through following Cee’s Photography blog/web at: – Thanks Cee.

The A Word A Week Photograph Challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe what the ‘word of the week’ means to you.

This is my entry for this week’s – Inside:


This is Gizmo or Gizzie, as we affectionately call him. Sometimes we call him The Ginger Nut when he is chases his tail. I am not sure if he realises it is attached to the rest of him. Gizzie is about five years old. Though he can be very cheeky, he is often prone to contemplative moods. As goes for all cats (and many young children), he loves boxes. I once found him trying to stick his head in an empty tissue box. Hmmm. It is during such times that his nickname, The Ginger Nut, serves him well.

For more information about A Word A Week Photograph Challenge, please visit Sue Llewellyn’s site at: A Word in Your Ear.  You can view Sue’s captivating entry for  Inside here.

If you have any photos, memories or stories  that you would like to share for this week’s challenge (or future challenges), visit here.

And if you would like to improve your photography, Cee has some wonderful tips and tricks, without the mumbo jumbo. Please visit here:

And you can see Cee’s  Inside entries for A Word A Week Photograph Challenge – Inside here. Please have a browse through Cee’s lovely site.

Also if you’d like more tips, I subscribe to a free email newsletter for Photography Tips at:

Don’t go, there’s more.

Whilst on the subject of photography, please visit my blogger friend, Cynthia Baker’s Simple Pleasures (Visual Poetry) site. Cynthia has a wonderful way of marrying her stunning images with beautiful and inspiring quotes. And sometimes she shares her own inspiring quotes and poems.

Also my blogger friend, Gabrielle Bryden marries beautiful images (some taken by herself and some by her son, Michael) with haiku. Just gorgeous. Gabrielle’s blog is a wonderful eclectic mix of posts (which I love).

That’s it for this week.

Wishing you all a safe and inspirational weekend.

x Helen


All images are the property of Helen Ross @copyright Helen Ross.


Posted in All my posts, Helen Ross writes, Inspirational, Photo challenges, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Writing Process Blog Hop Tour

Australian writer and poet, Gabrielle Bryden  has tagged me in a Writing Process Blog Tour. Gabrielle is a very talented writer/poet so please check out her lovely blog.

The Writing Process Blog Tour involves me answering four questions and tagging other writing bloggers to continue the tour.

What am I working on?

I have many project ideas begging for attention. I would get an A+ for procrastination and flitting like a bee from one project to another is not only giving me a headache but I am annoyed that I am finding it hard to focus on one project (nooooo, let me have at least ten).

So after recent deliberation I am concentrating on a collection of humorous (hopefully) children’s poems for primary school age and an irreverent Non-Fiction (NF) idea (for adults, but not adults-only); as well as keeping up with some semblance of regular blogging.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t think my style is really different to other writer/poets with similar creative tastes. I love quirky and there are lots of lovely quirky children’s poetry and stories out there. My aim is to improve my work, strive to do the best I can, and view the world from a humorous point of view (where appropriate).

I think my NF idea is original (according to a publisher that I pitched the idea to), though the fundamental concept is certainly not new. I always try to look at things from a different angle. This project involves a bit of research so will keep me busy for some time.

Why do I write what I do?

I really just go with the flow of ideas in my head and what might be worthy of attention. I no longer wish to confine myself to one style of writing genre. I find my creativity needs to be stretched and challenged.

In regards to my children’s poetry writing, I don’t really have difficulty in conjuring up ideas. Lots of things spark an idea (something I see, hear or read) and I try and see from a kid’s point of view. For me, poetry writing is addictive and I enjoy it. Generally speaking, I can’t venture anywhere these days without seeing a story idea, or a poem, etc. I have pens and notebooks everywhere.

In regards to blogging,  as I have a variety of passions (mainly centred around creativity) my posts tend to be an eclectic mix. I just write what I feel most passionate about.

How does my writing process work?

Once I focus, I can achieve a lot (as a former secretary I am a reasonably fast typist – Look at me, I can type whilst looking at the ceiling.) However, my writing process can change from project to project.

Generally speaking, when I write children’s poetry, I write the idea in my notebook before it decides to flit off and camp elsewhere. If I am not in the middle of a shopping aisle I will then work on creating a verse/story shape.

I enjoy working on children’s poems on paper. When I have the draft verses written down, I get to work and work on each verse till I am happy, culling unnecessary words and working on the rhyme and metre. Then I type it up and do further editing via the computer.

If I am writing haiku, I love embarking on a ginko (haiku-walk) with my camera, pad and pen in hand.  I walk, sit, take pics and notes, and bathe in the wonders of the outdoor world. If I let the words flow without too much mulling over, I can capture the essence of the moment. If the poem needs a little reworking,  generally speaking I do that at home. Reference to the images can help.

As my published stories to date have been short picture book tales I tend to work on a paragraph or verse at a time, once I have got the essence of the story on paper. I don’t give myself deadlines (unless I have a publishing or competition deadline) as sometimes one verse or paragraph can give me trouble for months till I get it right (or years as in the case of my children’s book, 10 Yellow Bananas). I also create a story board (using a sheet of A3 paper) and sometimes do a mock up of a book using folded A4 paper, to place the text into a 32 picture book format. With that, I can see if there are any weaknesses in development of the story/poem and how it could fit into the expected page format. I also like to forget about it for a while (weeks if possible), then look at it again with fresh eyes. When I am happy with it (ie. done the best I can), I will then have it appraised.

If I am trying to create a new story where an idea hasn’t first tumbled into my head, I usually ask myself ‘What if?” and take it from there. I spend time on finding out more about the possible characters, their likes, dislikes, etc.  and toss around potential story themes. I use character cards, story line cards, etc. and I place these on a large storyboard to help me. Sometimes I use the mapping technique on a large whiteboard. I have just discovered Scrivener so am thinking of trialling that, though I am used to writing ideas on paper and filing it in a folder (my college days were pre-computer so am still a dinosaur when it comes to recording information – but I like that).

Next on the Writing Process Blog Tour:

Donna Smith, Pauline Montagna and Barbara Barth. Please do not feel you have to participate – quietly ignore if you wish. And if you are happy to participate, just do when you can do.

Posted in About Helen, All my posts, Blog tours, Creative process, Helen Ross writes, Motivational, writers, Writing, writing tips and resources | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Rainy Days

In Australia (being in the southern hemisphere) it is currently Winter. However, Winter (if you can call it that) in Brisbane is generally very mild (I sigh). However the early morning temperatures can be crisp, which I love. Most of the day time you can still wear a short sleeved shirt or T-shirt, maybe donning a jumper or jacket on the slightly breezy days when temperatures go below 20OC. (Yes, I hear you).

For readers who live in parts of the world where you may experience teeth chattering Winter temperatures (4.4o C or below – Aaaarrrggghhh!!!) Brisbane may experience day time temperatures around 17OC-18 OC but day light temperatures usually don’t get lower than that. Recently Brisbane had a couple of days of rain and a lovely day time thunderstorm which is unusual for this time of the year.

Anyway, I love weather where I can tug on a pair of jeans, wiggle into a jumper and jacket,  jiggle my legs into a pair of boots, swirl a scarf around my neck and squish on a hat or beanie.  I am definitely not saying that I’d like every day to be cold (nooooo), but I relish the change, and the chance to dig into the backstreets of my wardrobe. My boots jump for joy at the chance to be taken out on a day trip.

So, as I dream of the crackle and spit of a burning log in an open fire place and long for the splat of rain drops, I thought I’d share one of my children’s poems that epitomises Wintry weather.



Rainy Days


Today it is raining

The sky is very grey

Nice to be inside

On such a wintry day


I sit by the fire

With my colouring book

The rain is getting louder

I go and have a look


Peering out the window

Looking at the rain

Watching the droplets

Running down the window pane


It begins raining hard

People are hurrying past

Oh, someone has just fallen

She was running a little fast


Someone with an umbrella

Is slowly walking about

But a sudden gust of wind

Blows his umbrella inside out


He struggles to get control

And is getting very wet

The umbrella will not budge

He looks a bit upset


He goes on his way

I see him begin to race

A car hurtles past

And splashes him in the face


The clouds are getting darker

We’ll be in for a storm

I’m glad that I’m inside

Where it is nice and warm.

© Helen Ross

From my poetry collection, Bubble Gum Trouble and Other Giggle Poems (BGT). Published by Little Steps Publishing 2009. Illustrations by the talented Dee Texidor. Above pic (from BGT) is by Dee – it accompanies my poem.




Posted in All my posts, Brisbane children's author, Brisbane children's poet, Bubble Gum Trouble and other Giggle Poems, children's poetry, children's poetry books by Australian authors, Giggle poems, Helen Ross | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

OWOD illustrator event – Brisbane 2014

OWOD (One Word One Day) is a wonderful nationwide illustrator event run by the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) in partnership with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF). The ASA and ILF have a new sponsor this year – Zart Art (supplier of the art supplies).

Artists have approx. four hours to create a picture inspired by a word that the ASA releases prior to each State or Territory’s event.

In previous years the ASA has auctioned the art work and given all funds raised to the ILF. This year, after discussions with the ILF, the ASA will donate all the artwork to them. They are going to use the artwork as an incentive for schools to join the ILF support network with fundraising, book swaps and a general awareness of the work done by the ILF. Schools who participate will go into a draw for a chance to win a work of original art that will be framed and hung in the school library. This new initiative will increase the ILF’s number of long term fundraising partners and an increased community awareness.  (Information provided by the ASA).

This year was my third year ‘facilitating’ Brisbane’s OWOD. The illustrators gathered on Wednesday, 11 June at The Edge, State Library Queensland. The window bays (where the artists worked) overlooked the Brisbane River – not that the artists would have seen much of the river once they became engrossed in their creativity.

When you get a chance, please check out the websites of the nine talented artists who participated in Brisbane’s event:

Stephen Axelsen, Katrin Dreiling, Tracey Lennon, Kathryn Lovejoy, Lucia Masciullo, Katherine May, Tony Single, Angela Sunde and Anil Tortop.

Zart supplied the wonderful array of art products.

Brisbane’s OWOD artists at work/play:








The finished artwork – drum roll please:


Finished artwork

Finished artwork

All artists have given me permission to include these photos.  However, if any artist has changed his/her mind, please let me know.

And before I go, a  big THANK YOU to the guys manning the reception/ cafe at The Edge. They were so helpful, even providing plastic to cover the tables.

Also, please connect/LIKE  on Facebook:




Brisbane’s  ASA rep


Posted in All my posts, ASA events, Brisbane Literary and art events, Brisbane's artistic community, Creative process, Helen Ross writes, Illustrators, One Word One Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

My poem is published

Yesterday, I received an unexpected phone call from a Melbourne based editor/writer/poet confirming my postal address to receive a complimentary copy of the poetry anthology When the Moon is Swimming Naked: Australasian Poetry for the Chinese Youngster. 

What the?

As I was a little surprised, the editor thought he had better fill me in (yes, please). One of my poems, Sock mystery (a short poem) is featured in the newly released bi-lingual poetry anthology for children, edited by Kit Kelen  and Mark Carthew for ASM Poetry/ Association of Stories in Macao.

I didn’t know that – that is what happens when you no longer use an email that has been included in past submissions. Duh! The editor wondered why I hadn’t replied to his email.

Several Australian children’s poets feature in this anthology.

Anyway, it made my day.

Here’s the lovely cover.

When the Moon is Swimming Naked front low res

Posted in All my posts, children's poetry, Helen Ross writes | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments