Pushing the RESET button

resetbuttonI actually like who I am though it has taken some time to get there.  However, with the onset of a new year I have decided it is time to embrace the REAL me. And not ‘hide’ anymore behind self-doubt and other negative beliefs.

So, I have sent the following packing:

  • Procrastination
  • Frustration
  • Believing I am not good enough
  • Worrying about what others think of me
  • Hiding my creativity
  • Self-doubt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Underestimating myself
  • And similar beliefs

Now, if I don’t believe in the above it will be a little like sweeping the dirt under the carpet. I know it is there and I’ll keep thinking about it, hoping no-one will see it. But I know, from past experience, that anytime I or anyone else steps on it a little starts to creep its way from under the security of the rug. Then all is revealed. Yes, I was just fooling myself – it was just a temporary mask. The self-doubt was still there.

Over the last two or so years I have been working on getting rid of many past beliefs that are detrimental to me.  Many started with ‘I am not worthy of ….’ Or ‘Why is everything so hard?’

Well, no more!  I have cleaned my slate and starting afresh.  Today, I pushed the ‘RESET’ button.

No, it is not a mask. I finally feel free and excited to embrace what life has to offer, and what I have to offer. To fully embrace who I am.  And know that I am worthy of wonderful opportunities.

From today,

I am making my happiness a priority.

  • I am taking a lot more time out for me – stopping to smell the roses and enjoy things I love. And connecting more with my friends and family is a huge part of that.
  • Prioritising what is important to me.
  • Focussing on my acting and writing passions and dreams.
  • Focussing on the positive outcomes and expecting the best of myself.
  • Not to compromise what is important to me.
  • Having the courage to pursue my dreams. Feel the fear but do it anyway.
  • Letting go of impatience and frustration. Instead taking the time to work through my creative ideas and see them come into fruition.
  • Doing things that make me happy and keep me uplifted.
  • Sewing only the seeds that I want to see grow and flourish.
  • Adding more travel and adventure in my life (part of the Happiness plan).
  • Regularly connecting with my family and friends (part of the Happiness plan).
  • Every day, being grateful for who and what is in my life.
  • Being proud of all my achievements no matter how small.
  • Expecting my life to work out.
  • Trusting the way my life is unfolding.

Actually, I could go on but will stop here.  You get my drift.

Making my happiness a priority isn’t being selfish.  Au contraire.  A happy Helen is quite a lovely person to be around – fun, quirky, uplifting, creative, adventurous, optimistic, chilled.  I should know – I have met her. So has my husband. She is quite nice. My husband likes her too. But I don’t like the negative, frustrated, grumpy, Other Helen.  Neither does my husband.

This morning I gently kissed the Other Helen and said ‘Farewell.’  ‘No hard feelings, but you are no longer welcome here.’  She packed up quietly. I think she knew she had outstayed her welcome. She took measured steps as she made her final way down the front steps. She was carrying a lot of baggage. She looked back for a second. Nodded. A glimmer of a smile.  Then  disappeared.  Feeling a burden suddenly lifted from my being, I checked the rooms. She had taken all her stuff. Phew!

Anyway, I must go now.  I have an idea for a 10 minute play that has been hopping around in my brain over the last week. It needs some steady focus.

Love and hugs

X Helen

NB: This post has received a minor edit (on 7/1/17) since its original publication. 


Posted in 2017 intentions, About Helen, All my posts, Dreams, happiness, Helen McKenzie, Helen McKenzie Ross, Helen Ross, Helen Ross nee McKenzie, passions | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

2017 wishes for you


Wishing you all a wonderful 2017.  A lot of people on social media sites have expressed how happy they are to see the back of 2016. It seems it has been quite challenging for many  – unfortunately, I’m not talking about the exciting challenges that ignite our passions or that give meaning to our lives. But the other challenges that come due to loss, heartache, ‘forced’ change, and so forth.

For me, 2016 saw me achieve my lifelong dream of training as an actor.  This has been the main reason why I took a  break from blogging. As nervous as I was on embarking on a dream I have had since 16 years of age, I am very proud of myself to have continued this path of learning new skills whilst putting myself ‘out there’.  So at the end of September I completed my two year Advanced Diploma in Stage and Screen Acting at The Performing Arts Conservatory in Brisbane (Australia) – formerly The Actors Conservatory.

I not only learnt new skills but discovered a lot about myself. And met some very lovely students and teachers.

But the flip side was the financial hardship and the juggling of casual work with study whilst trying to keep the ‘wolves’ at bay. This has been the hardest and most challenging part of the last two years, especially in 2016. At times, the ‘wolves’ got their paws through the windows and across the thresholds. They gnashed their teeth and scratched my arms. And left their drool and stench on my door. But somehow they have now retreated with their tails drooping and snarling because I wouldn’t let them defeat me.  A little stench still remains but a continued scrubbing should see that disappear overtime in 2017.

Though I knew there would be the financial issues due to returning to study (with VET fees) it also felt right. And I am so glad to have followed my instinct and have trust that things would (and will) work out.

Birth and death are part of life so I know there will always be losses of loved ones. And there will always be challenges and change. But these give us strength and teach us what is important to us.

With a view of leaving 2016 and the past behind, may 2017 be full of love, peace, joy, friendship, passion and the things that make you happy and fulfilled.

x Helen





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Soar Among the Stars

As I contemplate my return to blogging after a long break (more about that in an upcoming post), I thought I’d share this lovely post from ‘On the Homefront’ about The World of Words. Feel free to add your favourite words in the ‘Comments’ section or on the author’s blog.

On the Homefront

“Good words are worth much, and cost little.” -George Herbert

I love words. I love the spoken word, although I am not adept at speaking the spoken word. I love the written word—of which you can be the judge at how adept I am. I am more comfortable with expressing myself through the written word, though I long ago gave up handwriting (except when I have to take notes).  I tend to create my masterpieces (?) on my laptop. I think better when I am tap,tap, tapping. My fingers can keep up with my thoughts. When I try to physically write something with a pen, I quickly lose my train of thought—I cannot write fast enough for my short memory.

All this being said, I read something that I found inspirationally true recently, and I will share it with you in the hope that you too will enjoy it. It…

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Merry Christmas


Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas.


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A Christmas Tail story reading at Gold Coast Christmas Markets

This gallery contains 13 photos.

Originally posted on spiderinkpress:
This year A Christmas Tail co-authored by Donna Smith and Helen Ross, featured upon invitation, at the Gold Coast Christmas Markets, Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast. As Helen lives in Brisbane, she was able to attend featured…

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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

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‘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.


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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).


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