Hi there! Welcome to my little writing corner.
Updated 4 January 2017
Due to finally achieving my life long dream of training as an actor, I have updated my ‘About me’.
Tucked cosily away in my study, and sometimes at the dining room table, I blog about things that interest me in relation to my adventure as an actor, poet/writer and growth as a creative being. Sometimes I might include a poem or two.
Spread your wings
Surrender your fears
(Helen Ross 2009)
But, sometimes I do feel I need a parachute.
A little about me:
Advanced Diploma Stage and Screen Acting, The Performing Arts Conservatory, Brisbane (2014-2016)
Masters of Education (International), Monash Uni
Grad Cert Applied Linguistics, Griffith Uni, Brisbane
Certificate IV in Small Business Management (2013)
Graduate Diploma Secretarial Studies
Diploma Primary Teaching, Victoria
Freelance Journalism (North Point Institute of TAFE, Brisbane) 2011
Diploma In Writing, with ‘The Writing School’ (formerly, NSW Writing School) 2000
How it all began:
I was born in Melbourne, Australia (nee Helen McKenzie) and have always loved drawing, arts and crafts; winning my first drawing competition in grade 6 for designing a sausage sizzle poster.
From an early age I have always enjoyed painting, drawing, most art and crafts, the theatre, music and reading. I used to spend hours in my bedroom drawing, and making crafts, particularly Salvador Dali like surrealistic sculptures out of old clocks, and witches out of corn of the cob skins from Mum’s home produced corn patch (the latter creations were a bit smelly, especially after sitting in my dresser drawers for months).
Graduating as a Primary teacher, I loved encouraging my primary school students to develop their imagination and creativity through story telling, creative writing, art, music and drama.
However, since my teens, I had always felt that there was something else in me trying to get out. A passion. Something that I not only enjoyed but was good at (even if I had to work at it). Consequently, in my search for ‘that niche’ I tried most things – silver jewellry making, tap dancing, drama, African dancing and the list goes on……
Knowing I had discovered ‘my niche’, I then spent three years studying drama part time, but little did I know that a poet was soon to be born. And all because of a gorilla named Lulu. But there is more, so you can find an update on my niche at the end of this page.
Birth of a poet …
As part of a drama assignment I had to write and ‘perform’ a poem, or piece about an animal, as selected by a ‘lucky dip’. My animal was the gorilla and so I penned my first poem, Lulu, the gorgeous gorilla. By this stage I was about 27 years of age. At 29, and being occupied with a new found romance, I found myself neglecting my drama classes and spending time alone writing ‘heart felt’ poetry while waiting for the phone to ring. Yes, pitiful!
I remember one weekend, with some time on my hands, having the urge to write some humorous children’s poems. My cat seemed to be a very attentive audience so I figured they couldn’t have been too bad. Soon after, I sent these poems (in story book format) out to approx. six/seven children’s publishers, and although I received rejection slips, I did receive some very positive feedback and decided to keep on writing.
Undertaking a Writing Course
In 1989/1990, after moving to Brisbane, I began a correspondence Diploma in Writing course with ‘The Writing School’ (formerly NSW Writing School). I began entering competitions and had some of my ‘heart-felt’ poems published in poetry anthologies.
Writing for Children: Poetry Award
On one working day in 1993, I again had the urge to write humorous children’s poetry. Verses literally began tumbling into my head as I was answering the office phone. Three months later I had ended up with approx. 120 poems. In 1993, I won first prize (Children’s poetry category) in the 1993 OZ waves Award and University of Queensland Press Book Prizes for my humorous poem, Magpie Mania (under pen name, Jean Ross). My prize was a book. I was so chuffed AND it still takes pride of place in my library. Also as a former canoeist I had my poem, Come ‘n Try Canoeing published in the Queensland Canoe Federation Inc. Magazine May/June 1993.
I began exploring different story ideas and began illustrating again and joined some Writers’ groups to keep in touch with latest news and competitions. By this time the writing bug was well underway and in 2000 I completed my Diploma in Writing course. (Yes, it took ten years to complete but I was determined to finish it).
In 2004, (wow, where had the time flown!) and having gone through a number of career changes, I felt that this was the time to begin a new chapter and actively pursue my writing.
Birth of ‘Miss Helen Books’ – giggle verses and stories for children….
I didn’t want to spend the possibility of months and years of sending manuscripts to publishers and receiving rejection slips in the mail. Also I didn’t want to be dependent on a publisher deciding whether my book was marketable or not (when I believed there was a market for my style of writing). So in March 2006 I published my first book, Ten Yellow Bananas and followed up with my second book, Santa is in the Chimney in September of that year.
Also, during my years as a primary teacher my primary school students used to refer to me as ‘Miss Helen’, so I developed the ‘Miss Helen Books’ brand name. Both of the above published books bear the original logo ‘Miss Helen Books’.
The following logo is my new look logo (see more info below).
Having self published in 2006 and getting my work and myself out there opened up many doors and opportunities. One opportunity was teaming up with Little Steps Publishing, Division of New Frontier, a reputable award winning children’s book publishing company.
The following books have been published by Little Steps Publishing. Ron Proft (former graphic designer at New Frontier/ Little Steps Publishing) designed the lovely ‘NEW’ logo which appears on my books published with Little Steps Publishing, along with their Little Steps logo and imprint.
Little Steps Published books:
10 Yellow Bananas Published December 2009 (officially released March 2010). lllustrations by Dee Texidor. This is a NEW VERSION of the children’s book, Ten Yellow Bananas that I published in 2006. Please note slight name change.
Bubble Gum Trouble and Other Giggle Poems Released 2009. Bright bubbly illustrations by Dee Texidor.
My Published works:
- A Christmas Tail co-authored by Donna Smith and Helen Ross. Children’s Picture Book Illustrated by Aaron Pocock. Published by Spider Ink Press 2013. Available in Hardback and ebook on Amazon, and at Apple iTunes stores.
- Two of my poems published by Jelli-Beanz Publishing in their Packed Lunch Series. Volume 1: Hopscotch. Released November 2011.
- 10 Yellow Bananas (2010) New Version. Little Steps Publishing, New Frontier. Illus by Dee Texidor
- Bubble Gum Trouble and other Giggle Poems (2009) Little Steps Publishing. Illus by Dee Texidor
- Ten Yellow Bananas (original version) pub by Miss Helen Books, March 2006
- Santa is in Our Chimney pub by Miss Helen Books, September 2006
- Book for Fiji: Early 2009, five of my giggle rhyming poems for children (Miss Murtle the Turtle, Hugs, Freckles, Tiddles, and Ten Little Men) selected for a book, Books For Fiji, published for the kids at the Namara District School in Fiji. This was a wonderful project put together by Morgan Hayton and Sally Odgers.
- Articles in Australia Bookseller and Publisher magazine
- Written a number of articles on self-publishing (click on ‘Articles tab above, for more information).
- July 2010- end December 2011 Resident Writer for South City Bulletin (Logan (Brisbane) community Magazine).
- My poetry published at http://ozpoemaday.wordpress.comIn 2012 this website published a poem a day, inspired by 2012, the National Year of Reading.
- Haiku poetry published 2012 at: Delightfully Haiku http://haikupoetry.wordpress.com/green-tea-haiku/ Published byJelli-Beanz Publishing. Helen’s Haiku poetry featured: Clouds and Schools In.
- Two poems published by Jelli-Beanz Publishing in their Packed Lunch Series. Volume 1: Hopscotch. Released November 2011 – A collection of humorous stories and poetry for children by Australian children’s authors.Poems: Bedlam in the Schoolyard and Sorry, I Don’t Have My Homework.
- Book for Fiji: Early 2009, Three giggle rhyming poems for children (Miss Murtle the Turtle, Hugs and Tiddles) selected for a book, Books For Fiji, published for the kids at the Namara District School in Fiji – a wonderful project put together by Morgan Hayton and Sally Odgers.Come ‘n Try Canoeing published in the Queensland Canoe Federation Inc. Magazine May/June 1993.Poems published in New Visions Writers World Poetry Anthology 1993 published by Peter Hall (Tobago Pty Ltd) Writers World 1992
Poems published in New Horizons Writers World Poetry Anthology 1992 published by Peter Hall (Tobago Pty Ltd) Writers World 1991
Bubble Gum Trouble and Other Giggle Poems – in Australian Poetry collection, Melbourne
First prize (Children’s poetry category) in the 1993 OZ waves Award and University of Queensland Press Book Prizes for humorous poem, Magpie Mania (under pen name, Jean Ross).
Writers World 1991- Pot of Gold contest: Merit Award: Commended, March 1992 for ‘Shadow Friends’
Writers World Merit Award: Special Mention, October 1991 for ‘Setting Off’
Writers World Merit Award: Commended, June 1990 for ‘Tears’
Coolum & Interstate Writers Association: Certificate of Merit Commended 1991 – ‘The Duck who lost his quack’
In 2007 awarded a RADF grant (Regional Arts Development Fund) through the Queensland Govt/Arts Qld and Logan Council, to undertake professional development in the area of illustrating a picture book (mentored by Jacqui Young) and writing children’s picture books (mentored by Dr Virginia Lowe) through Dr Virginia Lowe’s Create a Kids’ book e-course: http://www.createakidsbook.com.au An invaluable course.
In July/Aug 2009, I had a couple of sessions with Arts Queensland Poet-in-residence, Hinemoana Baker. In September 2009 I was appointed on the RADF committee for Logan representing the portfolio of writing (4 year appointment).
In June 2010 was awarded a second RADF grant to attend SCBWI (Soc. Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) Sydney Conference.
In 2012 I left teaching at TAFE to care for my mum and conduct writing workshops in schools. This gave me the flexibility to be with mum, especially after the loss of my dad in 2010 and my sister in 2011.
In June 2013 I completed my four year term as RADF committee member at Logan City Council. This has been a great experience and I have met so many wonderful talented artists of many mediums.
I am still writing but I have also returned to my first love – acting. The pull and passion was too strong to resist any longer, despite my ‘maturing’ age. So, at the end of September 2016, I completed a two year Advanced Diploma in Stage and Screen Acting at The Performing Arts Conservatory, formerly Actor’s Conservatory, in Brisbane CBD. And loved every minute! And I am learning tap dancing (something I began years ago).
My lovable husband (who is adamant that I mention that he is Brisbane born) and I have been living in sunny Brisbane since 1989 and live with our beloved pets.
And my other passions?
Anything arty/crafty; movies (love French films, or English speaking films set in Paris, black and white movies, old Australian movies, the classics, etc.); going out for coffee with friends, listening or dancing to music (especially French music or salsa); reading; playing with my beloved animals.
or visit my website: http://www.helenross.com.au (showcases my children’s books).
Blog: https://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com You are already here of course!
Web: http://www.helenross.com.au – showcases my children’s books.
Also find me on FaceBook
I am also on LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/helenrossauthor
Remember, it is not the attainment of your final goal that is important but the adventure of pursuing something you love.
I hope you are enjoying yours.
* (I’d like to acknowledge the financial assistance provided by the Queensland Government and the Logan City Council through the RADF grant.