A Christmas Tail – eBook

BEWARE!!!! Yes, this post is a plug.

I cannot believe how fast this year has rolled by. I say this every year, but this year seems to have gone by in a blink.

For me, this year has been rather hectic (and somewhat emotionally draining) on a number of levels and I am only now thinking of what needs to be done for Christmas. YIKES!

So I am afraid that my annual book promotion of  A Christmas Tail, co-authored with the talented Donna Smith, has had a very late start this year. Oh no, it’s only three more sleeps till Christmas – Helen what are you thinking?! Obviously not much.  But then again, I am only talking the eBook version. And that is the beauty of eBooks – they are instantly downloadable and very affordable. So maybe I’m not too late after all.

With that said, if you are looking for a delightful children’s Christmas book with exquisite pictures, by Aaron Pocock, to surprise and delight the children in your life, it isn’t toooooooo late to purchase the eBook version of A Christmas Tail. Available on Kindle and Apple iTunes.

A Christmas Tail no white space

Donna and I enjoyed writing this tale of a very mousey Christmas:  Melanie, Monty and baby Peter Mouse live in a doll’s house called Cherrywood Cottage. The Mouse family are full of excitement as they await the arrival of Santa Paws. However, an unlikely turn of events sets about a hilarious twist to their Christmas festivities. Find out how Santa Paws loses his trousers.

To purchase, ready in time for Christmas:

Amazon logo for A Christmas Tail



Direct link:


The hardback and Paperback  versions are also available on Amazon and other online bookstores.

More information at the publisher’s website: http://www.spiderinkpress.com

I also have a few in stock so if you are looking for a quick delivery in Australia ONLY, please click here.


Feel free to pass on to family and friends. And if you are happy to promote via social media, please Twitter away. And if you have a Christmas themed book (any genre) you’d like me to promote on Twitter please email me today at helen@helenross.com.au so we can network together.


Posted in A Christmas Tail, All my posts, Australian writers, Christmas picture books, Digital publishing, Donna M Smith, Helen Ross children's author, Helen Ross writes, kit lit, Miss Helen Writes, Spider Ink Press | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet John McFarland, author of Annette: A Big Hairy Mom

As I am slowly starting to unwind after a rather hectic year, I have the pleasure of interviewing author John McFarland – my last interview for 2014 (and for a while).

John McFarland is the author of a new Young Reader novel about Bigfoot, called Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom.  Illustrated by Brenna Vaughan, it’s the story of a spoiled second grader who gets lost in the woods and is rescued by a middle-aged Bigfoot mom suffering from empty-nest syndrome. The two have many adventures, avoiding a hungry mountain lion, a sweets-loving crypto-zoologist, hunters and other sasquatches as Annette devises a plan to get the boy safely back to his family. New Babel Books has recently published the novel and will produce two sequels over the next couple of years.

Without further ado, let’s meet the talented John McFarland.

John McFarland author photo (4)


Welcome John to my blogging corner.

Thanks Helen.

John, could you tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey? Did you always want to be a writer?

I have wanted to write since I was at least 9 when I tried to write a novel about Hercules. I wrote poetry and short stories and plays through my teens and early twenties. I had early success by publishing in National Lampoon and The Twilight Zone Magazine. I have been anthologized with Mark Twain, Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft.

You have recently released, Annette: A Big Hairy Mom published by New Babel Books. Could you tell us the inspiration behind this book?

John McFarland Book Cover Bk1

Another childhood interest of mine was Bigfoot. I ran hot and cold on the subject over the years, but after my first novel, The Black Garden was published, I met my illustrator, Brenna Vaughan, and wanted to think of something I could write that she could illustrate. Bigfoot seemed perfect.

Is there a message that you especially wanted to impart to your target readers?

Yes, I want young readers to understand their connection to other living things and feel compassion and empathy for them. That’s the most basic take-away.

Do you have a favourite character in this story? If so, why?

I like Wesley because he is so obnoxious, clueless and completely lacking in self-awareness.

Did you suffer from writer’s block or encounter any other obstacles during the writing process of your book?

Not with this book. I have never had so much fun writing anything. I couldn’t wait to work on it each day!

I believe two sequels are planned for the next couple of years. Are you able to give us any hints about the story lines or any ‘inside’ information?

Here’s a hint: The next book is called Annette: A Big, Hairy Grandma! Annette discovers she is a grandma, but on her way to see the new baby, she is captured by Wesley and his hypochondriac partner. A rival crew of evil crypto-zoologists (all former modern dancers) plot to take Annette from Wesley. Evan Nestor and his dad have to figure a way to rescue their sasquatch friend. And in the third book, Annette and Evan Nestor meet Ogopogo, the Lake Ogenagen Monster. This all depends on sales of this first book. Sales have to warrant the sequels!

Have you written in any other genre?

Yes, in mainstream fiction and horror. The Black Garden is an historical horror story and I have a horror short story and a mainstream one appearing in anthologies next year.

Some writers have a preferred writing schedule. Do you?

I write in the early mornings and weekends, usually.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

Yes, I have a old desk in my study overlooking the street. I love to sit there and write.

What is your greatest joy in writing?

When people love the story. Nothing has been more rewarding than visits I have made to schools to talk about Annette with first through to third graders. Their excitement and love of the story is incredibly gratifying. One class drew me 30 pictures of Annette. Other young writers told me I had inspired them. It’s wonderful.

Is there one person you can think of who has played a significant part in your writing career? If so, can you elaborate?

I would say a high school and a college English teacher, the work of Poe, Mary Shelley, H. G. Wells, Shakespeare, Keats, James Joyce, Flannery O’Connor and many more.

Aside from the sequels, are you working on any other projects?

Several short stories and a ghost story. I really want to write a good ghost story.

What words best describe you?

Funny, curious, hopeful.

Do you have any tips for writers about the writing process or the path to publishing?

Surround yourself with other writers, you need objective opinions. Write regularly, and READ.

Where can we buy your books? Amazon.com.

And John, just to finish up, could you please complete the following:

At school I was … Class clown but sort of anonymous.

When I was a child I wanted to be …A millionaire playboy writer/artist.

I relax by …Movies, dinner with friends.

Where can we find more information?

John S. McFarland Goodreads Author Page

Annette the Mom Website

 Annette’s Facebook Page

Email:  John S. McFarland

Thanks John for your inspiring story. We wish you every success with Annette: A Big, Hairy Mom and the sequels.


Please note: This is my last interview for 2014.  Unfortunately, due to personal commitments I won’t be interviewing regularly. Any interviews in 2015 will be by invitation only.  Thanks for your understanding.

Helen Ross interviews John McFarland 18 December 2014 Copyright 2014

Posted in All my posts, author promotion, authors, book promotion, Helen Ross writes, Parent category, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The inspiration behind A Cup of Christmas – launched this week

Barbara Barth picMeet Barbara Barth, the writer who, only a few weeks ago, got a wild idea to publish a holiday e-book to share with friends. In Barbara’s words, ‘Sort of like a big fuzzy Christmas card to send to friends.’

The result of this wild idea -

A Cup of Christmas

I first ‘met’ Barbara  in 2010 when she contacted me to review her first book The Unfaithful Widow . I subsequently interviewed her on my blog. We just ‘clicked’ and have remained firm friends since then, though we have yet to meet in person.

So how did this e-book, launched this week, come about?

With the idea spinning around, taking shape, Barbara contacted authors she knew on FaceBook, writer friends, and total strangers with the catchy phrase – Why send a card when you can send an e-book.

The only guideline Barbara gave us was that the book is to be for adults; other than that it can be whatever we’d like to contribute. ‘I want it to be fun,’ she added.

Barbara states that the response was awesome – ‘In the midst of the upcoming season looming close, these folks took the time to stop everything and send in their contribution. And I don’t use the word contribution lightly. No-one was paid for their work and all proceeds go to charity.’

And within a matter of weeks –

Voila!  – a lovely collection of short stories, memoirs, poems, and a few tasty holiday recipes, representing an eclectic group of 31 writers.

In Barbara’s words, A Cup of Christmas, ‘is a celebration of all that is good in people and a reminder of true Christmas spirit.’

I downloaded my copy on Tuesday and Barbara’s lovely story, A Cup of Christmas is a great opening for a delightful collection of stories, poems, memoirs, etc. My story is What A Morning! (Christmas version) – a light romance/comedy story.

To see the list of contributing writers click here (my Tuesday’s post).

This week A Cup of Christmas was launched. And to celebrate the ebook is available FREE on Kindle until midnight Thursday 4 December 2014.

So please go to Amazon and download the ebook.  Tell your family, friends and colleagues. You can also send  copies as gifts – what a lovely way to celebrate the festive season.

From 5 December,  the price will be $1.99.  However, all proceeds from the sale of A Cup of Christmas will be donated to the children’s literacy charity, First Book.

First Book addresses one of the fundamentals affecting literacy with children – access to books. To date, they have distributed over 120 million new books to children in both the United States and Canada.   http://www.firstbook.org/

Further book  credits:

Interior design – Pam King: pdking design


Publisher: Gilbert Street Press


Cover Design: Carey Abbott

Editor: Barbara Barth




A Cup of Christmas

Link to Amazon http://amzn.com/B00QB6F35E

Posted in All my posts | 2 Comments

‘A Cup of Christmas’ eBook launch – my story is in it

Today is the official launch of A Cup of Christmas, a lovely Christmas eBook anthology – Available Amazon Kindle Only

And my story, ‘What A Morning!’   (Christmas version) is in it.

To celebrate the launch, readers can download a  FREE copy. BUT this promotion is  available from Tuesday 2 Dec 2014 to Thursday 4 December ONLY.


To download your copy now, click here:

A Cup of Christmas

A Cup of Christmas is a lovely mixture of award winning authors, traditionally published, self-published, and never before published writers. Each piece offers an insight to why the written word is so powerful. Christmases remembered through the years, family traditions, heart-warming stories, and funny stories. Just how did Daddy shoot the Christmas tree? Romance, an urban fantasy, a mysterious ethereal boy, an elderly man with a new lease on life, a dog wedding, Santa in love, a Texas beauty pageant, Rich’s Department Store remembered, a Vietnam Christmas, and a fairy tale about wanting your heart’s desire. The list goes on . . .

Contributing authors to A Cup of Christmas include:

Morgen Bailey Rosemary Dixon Beth Crews Rommel
Tori Bailey Bonnie Dodge Jackie Rod
Barbara Barth Audrey Frank Helen Ross
Rena Blain Cynthia Graubart Jamie Salisbury
Jackie Bouchard Tara Joyner Haussler Lane Sebesta
Kimberly Brock Jane-Ann Heitmueller R. Leonia Shea
Karen N. Brown Howard Johnson DJ Thomason
Ramsay Brown Georgia Lee Penny (PEN) White
Doug Dahlgren Deborah Myers Lewis Renea Winchester
Annie Ray Davis Karen E. Martin
Kerry Alan Denney Michael W. Paul

Promotional Pricing: FREE Tuesday 2 Dec 2014 to Thursday 4 December

Pricing: $1.99 from 5 December 2014 *

Please go to Amazon and download the book.  Tell your family, friends and colleagues. You can also send  copies as gifts – what a lovely surprise for your friends.

From 5 December,  the price will be $1.99.  However, all proceeds from the book will go to a great cause.

All proceeds from the sale of A Cup of Christmas will be donated to the children’s literacy charity, First Book.

First Book addresses one of the fundamentals affecting literacy with children – access to books. To date, they have distributed over 120 million new books to children in both the United States and Canada.   http://www.firstbook.org/

Before you go …

PLEASE LIKE  A Cup of Christmas FaceBook page:  https://www.facebook.com/acupofchristmas

To download – click here:


My next post will reveal the person who inspired A Cup of Christmas, an eclectic mix of Christmas and holiday stories and poems, as well as some yummy recipes.


Posted in All my posts | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Kids Conference – highlights

During late October last year, I participated (upon an invite) in a wonderful conference for kids held in Victoria.

It was a fantastic day. The children could choose from a number of different activities, including:

Hip Hop



Writing (fun storytelling and poetry)



Aboriginal Art

Weird Science


Wild Animals

Yes, you can easily guess which was the activity I was involved in.

Anyway, I recently stumbled upon the highlights on YouTube, which I thought I’d share with you.

And if you can’t pick me, I am the one with the purple wig and spider on my head.

Oh, and happy Halloween (if you celebrate it).


Posted in All my posts | Tagged , | 1 Comment

If you are a poet and an Australian …

Helen Ross:

For Aussie Poets …

Originally posted on Gabrielle Bryden's Blog:

if would be a terrific idea for you to become a member of Australian Poetry :D

poetscornerHear Ye Poets!

Here is a message from AP


‘As you know, Australian Poetry is a non-profit charity organisation established to promote and support Australian poets and poetry.

We receive funding from the Australia Council and Arts Victoria to support our operations. Critically, however, that funding only goes part way to covering the costs of our ongoing programs. We are dependent upon the support of our members to keep operating.

Australian Poetry wishes to thank all of those who have sponsored, made a donation or contribution to the organisation. Without your generous financial contribution, Australian Poetry could not exist.

Unfortunately, the number of Australian Poetry financial members has recently dropped. As a national organisation, we are disappointed but not discouraged. We believe that there are many more Australians who care about poetry in…

View original 133 more words

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The Summoning of The One virtual blog tour

This week it is my pleasure to host author, Royce Bond during his virtual blog tour for his new book, The Summoning of The One (Book 2 in The Knights of Katesch), published by Morris Publishing.

Rockhampton resident, Royce Bond, published his first book, Kitchen Science, with Ashton Scholastic after he won the prestigious National B.H.P. /C.S.I.R.O. Science Teacher’s Award. This book was used in schools throughout Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, and in some schools in South America. Many books in the science field followed.

Since his retirement, he has changed his writing to young adult fantasy novels. The Princess and The Pirate, the first in the series The Knights of Katesch was published by Morris Publishing Australia in 2013.

Before we meet Royce, here’s a little about The Summoning of The One -

Andrew Weatherby, a bullied computer nerd from Central Queensland is ripped from his world to lead The Knights of Katesch in their direct attack on Maligor the Destroyer. In the midst of the battle in Mountain City, he rescues princess Katarin to find he has been betrothed to her since birth.

This feisty young lady risks her life to save Andrew. The Knights believe that have finally defeated Maligor after ten thousand years of conflict. In an attempt to escape the fanatic red guards seeking revenge for the death of their god, Agmar accidentally releases a monster army: the Kazdoom. (Fantasy/Adventure 12 years +)

Cover front The Summoning of One by Royce Bond

Without further ado, let’s find out where Royce gets his ideas for his books.

Welcome Royce.

royce bond 2 Morris Publishing Book Tour 14 Sept 2014

My pleasure, Helen

Could you please describe your book in five words or less.



Action packed


How did the ideas for your book come to you?

As a child, I worked on market gardens with my family. Picking beans doesn’t use much of the brain, so I found myself daydreaming while I was working. I dreamt that I had all of these exciting adventures in different worlds and with fantasmagorical creatures.

I used to play act at home that I was an archer, saving people from dragons and tyrants. My father would make swords out of pieces of tin so I could be a swordsman in the back yard, when we weren’t on the farms.

The ideas for this story had decades to develop in my mind.  In my daydreams on the farms, I have had all of these adventures, with the characters that are in this book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. Life has a way of bringing adventures into our lives at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways. In fact, when we step out of the door each morning we may be taking the first step into an adventure that could whisk us to places we have never been before, to meet people we never thought we’d ever meet and to do things we had never imagined.

Watch out for the adventure. It may be around the next corner.


Sept. 14th http://helenrosswrites.com

Sept. 15th http://clancytucker.blogspot.com.au

Sept. 16th http://writingclassesforkids.com

Sept. 17th http://authorjillsmith.wordpress.com

Sept. 18th http://morrispublishingaustralia.com

Sept. 19th http://www.robynopie.com

Sept. 20th http://diannedibates.blogspot.com.au

Sept. 21st http://www.kids-bookreview.com

Sept. 22nd http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com/school-magazine

Sept. 23rd http://www.alisonreynolds.com.au

Sept. 24th http://elaineoustonauthor.com

Sept. 25th http://roycebondauthor.com

Sept. 26th http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com

For any updates please check the blog tour by selecting the link below.


Stockists: Wholesale and Retail Orders:

Dennis Jones and Associates – http://dennisjones.com.au

James Bennett library suppliers

Peter Pal library suppliers


eBook available on Amazon, Smashwords and many online stores.

To book Royce for School visits:

Royce is available for school visits. Please phone Elaine on 07 54 981 332 or email info@morrispublishingaustralia.com

The Summoning of The One – Book 2 in The Knights of Katesch

Cover front The Summoning of One by Royce Bond

AUTHOR:       Royce Bond

ISBN:               978-0-9925052-0-2

FORMATS:     eBook and  Paperback

PUBLISHER:  Morris Publishing Australia

CATEGORY:   Fantasy/adventure

AUDIENCE:   12 +

Author’s  website: http://roycebondauthor.com

Publisher’s website: http://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com

Posted in Australian writers, author promotion, Blog tours, Helen Ross writes, Interviews-successful Independently published Australian authors, Virtual blog tours | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments