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.

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

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.

Before you go …

PLEASE LIKE  A Cup of Christmas FaceBook page:

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 …

For Aussie Poets …

Gabe Feathers McGee

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

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 post 133 more words

Posted in All my posts | 1 Comment

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

Sept. 15th

Sept. 16th

Sept. 17th

Sept. 18th

Sept. 19th

Sept. 20th

Sept. 21st

Sept. 22nd

Sept. 23rd

Sept. 24th

Sept. 25th

Sept. 26th

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

Stockists: Wholesale and Retail Orders:

Dennis Jones and Associates –

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

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:

Publisher’s website:

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

Meet Ashleigh Galvin, author of Birth by Fire’s Embrace

I always find it fascinating discovering when and how writers take their first steps on their writing path. So it is my pleasure to welcome talented Australian author Ashleigh Galvin to my blogging corner, and find out the inspiration behind her writing journey.

Ashleigh is currently promoting her first novel, Birth By Fire’s Embrace (part one of her Amethyst series), published by Spectacle Publishing Media Group, LLC.

Birth By Fire's Embrace Cover

I love the front cover the colours are very vivid.

So without further ado, let’s meet Ashleigh.

Welcome Ashleigh.

Ashleigh Galvin Author

Thanks Helen for inviting me to your blog.

My pleasure.

Ashleigh, could you tell us a little about yourself and your writing journey?

I’m a bookaholic. I’ve written three books at this stage. Birth By Fire’s Embrace is currently released with Standing In The Wind’s Shadow coming out later this year. Book 3 of the Amethyst series is in the editing process. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil and using my imagination for even longer. To me becoming a writer was as natural as breathing. If I don’t get my stories down onto paper and out of my head, they tend to haunt me constantly for weeks, demanding to be realised. As such, I currently have fifteen potential book ideas (not including the Amethyst series) waiting to be written. I’m going to be busy but as they say, no rest for the wicked.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I’ve been creating stories ever since I was young so I think I did always want to be a writer. Having said that, I only considered becoming an author in High School. I had always read books and wrote stories. So one night I sat down with my laptop and I started planning a full novel, longer than anything I had ever written before. It took me over two years to finish. But I had done it. It was a major victory and a great inspiration to continue. I had found that, not only did I enjoy reading books, writing was just as fantastic. If not, more so. Now it takes me a few short months to write a novel.

Did you love reading as a child? If so, what were you favorite books? Who is your favourite author and why?

I was a very active child and sometimes it got me in into trouble with teachers. I had too much energy. I didn’t know what to do with it all. My mother introduced me to reading. All that energy suddenly ended up inside my head and I couldn’t stop devouring book after book. My favorite authors are probably Tamora Pierce, Emily Rodda, Anne McCaffrey and Piers Anthony. Their books take up a very large portion of my bookshelves. The aspect I probably love most about their books are the Fantasy realms they create.

Your first published novel, Birth By Fire’s Embrace, was released in May 2013. Could you tell us the inspiration behind this novel?

The story for the Amethyst series (which Birth By Fire’s Embrace is the first book) came to me as a day dream while I was still in High School. I spent a few years mulling over the idea, changing the storyline and improving until I just knew I had to write it down. The plans for Birth By Fire’s Embrace and indeed the whole Amethyst series has changed immensely since those early days.

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

I don’t get writer’s block very often as I tend to plan my book quite thoroughly even before I start writing them. It helps because when I start every chapter I know exactly where the characters are going. It’s simply the matter of getting them there.

Have you written in any other genre?

While most of my plans and novels are Fantasy, I do have plans for a Thriller and some Sci-Fi novels as well. My primary genre is Fantasy and even if I branch out, I’d like to subtly incorporate Fantasy aspects into other genres.

Some writers have a preferred writing schedule.  Do you?

Not really. I write whenever I get the chance. Sometimes I have a burst of inspiration and I must scribble down what I’m thinking no matter where I am. Mostly I write at home at night.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I write at my desk in my bedroom. It’s slightly cramped but better than nothing. If I get uncomfortable, I write on my laptop in bed instead. Perfect for those chilly winter nights.

What is your greatest joy in writing?

I love being able to create stories and characters. I watch them grow and become real people as my novels progress. Seeing the insane thoughts in my head appear on paper as intricate storylines is very satisfying.

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

I think one of the most influential people would have to be my mother. She read my first stories when I was young and never stopped supporting me. She’s had the patience to read every one of my edits and always has the best suggestions for how to improve.

What projects are you working on now?

My current project is editing Book 3 of the Amethyst series. Once that’s complete, I will either start on Book 4 or try a side project. I haven’t decided yet.

What attributes do you feel are necessary to be a successful author?

Patience and perseverance. The ability to never give up and always try to become a better writer. Creativity helps too.

What words best describe you?

Imaginative, thoughtful, nice, determined and just a touch nutty.

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

Never stop writing. Ever. If you don’t write, you’re not a writer. Every word written will help you grow and learn. Ask questions and seek advice. Writing a good book is like building a house. You have to learn the rules of your trade before you can master it. Also don’t be afraid to fail. Failing isn’t that bad. It means you tried and can try again once you’ve learnt your mistake. The worse thing that can ever happen is not to try at all.

Where can we buy your books?

My novels can be bought at all the usual sites. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IBook etc. Just google the book title, Birth By Fire’s Embrace and all the stores will appear. The ebook can be purchased for as little as $6.

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

At school I was … always really bored. I started daydreaming in class because it was more interesting.

When I was a child I wanted to be … an archeologist. It’s still my ultimate job however it’s very hard to become one in Australia. Becoming an Author was an extremely close second.

I relax by … having a 2L bottle of coke in hand and a game controller in the other.

Where can we find out more about you? 

Website/Blog address:


Book Reviews at: Amazon

Birth By Fire's Embrace Cover(

Thanks so much Ashleigh for sharing your journey and for your inspiring tips.  

We wish you all the best with the promotion of Birth By Fire’s Embrace, and with the forthcoming release of Standing In The Wind’s Shadow.

Thanks Helen.

And if you love Fantasy don’t forget to check out Ashleigh’s books.

Don’t go yet, there’s more!

The following information has been taken from the publisher’s website:

Birth by Fire’s Embrace

A taut fantasy for all ages, Birth by Fire’s Embrace explores how drastically things can change when the world that lies just beyond our senses begins to surface. When all that is familiar vanishes from Shar’s life, she begins to look inside and find the strength and courage to carry on in a harsh world, and look towards another world that lies ahead.

Available in all formats!

Link to the Publisher’s press release for Birth by Fire’s Embrace:

Helen Ross interviews Ashleigh Galvin Copyright 25 August 2014.

Posted in All my posts, Australian writers, Blog tours, Helen Ross writes, Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Review of Suburban Terrors by Pauline Montagna

Do we really know what secrets lurk behind the tall fences and locked doors of our city’s suburbs?


Suburban Terrors by Pauline Montagna is a collection of twelve stories that delve into that mysterious realm, prompting the realisation that not everything is always as normal as it may seem.

The settings are typical suburban settings that readers can relate to but with a twist. I love that Pauline used Australian suburban names and references, and being from Melbourne I could relate to the imaginative The Loop. (FYI – Melbourne’s underground circular train system around the city centre is referred to as the Loop or City Loop). This story is based on an observation of Pauline’s during a tram ride in Hanover, Germany in 1998. Pauline has turned this anecdote into a tale with a great twist. I found it a very compelling read.

Whilst the collection could be described as suburban suspense, it is an eclectic mix of stories incorporating elements of suspense, eeriness, the spine-tingling, and similar; ranging from the imaginative twist in The Loop, the chilling I Know What You Did, the entertaining The Dognappers and the intriguing Into The Darkness. There are a couple of expected endings, however all are entertaining and well-written.

Pauline Montagna is a skilful writer, and each story is well-honed. Though the stories are short this writer knows how to bring a character to life, through relatable descriptions, dialogue and characteristics. I particularly loved the old couple in A Hostage Situation.

I enjoyed this collection of suburban suspense but I think my favourite is Last Fare, an intriguing taxi fare.

The paperback of Suburban Terrors is of a nice size to take along on a train ride, or whilst sitting in a café. But beware, you may start wondering what is really lurking nearby.

Giveaway eBook competition

To be in the running for an eBook of Suburban Terrors, click here:

Where to Buy the Book

As an eBook for $2.99 –

Author’s website at:


As a Paperback for $12.79 –


And if you missed my interview with Pauline this morning, chatting about the inspiration behind Suburban Terrors, please click on the following link: Here you will also find a sample story, The Dognappers.


Please note:


Due to my current time constraints please do not send me requests for reviews of books. Any reviews  I undertake and place on my blog (such as this one) are due to my invitation ie. I have shown interest in reviewing, and subsequently contacted the author or publisher. Thank you for your understanding.

Posted in Australian writers, author promotion, Helen Ross writes, Reviews of independently published books, Virtual blog tours | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment