Farting My ABCs: Chapter 1

April 9, 2020 at 2:41 am (Cat pics, Free story, Fully Sick, Well written)

A long, long time ago (before I had kids!) I wrote a 7000-word story called Farting My ABCs. It is fifteen chapters long, and I’ll release one chapter a day to help carry bored kids all the way through the school holidays.

Warning: This may cause your five year-old to make more fart jokes than ever. Also most kids older than five will find it terribly immature (Louisette certainly did).

A lot of authors (and readers) have been reading books aloud lately, and I decided to do one better. Instead of merely reading this book, I read it to my kids. Instead of filming me, I filmed them. I also selected a variety of real backgrounds (mostly outside) to help all of us remember what trees look like. Zipper showed up some of the time too.

But you’re here for the first Farting My ABCs video, right?


For those who want text, here’s Chapter 1 (or email fellissimo@hotmail.com to get all of it at once):








Spoiler space…











CHAPTER ONE: The Boy Who Talks With His Bum

Oh no. Please, no.

Please tell me the teacher’s not going to make me stand up and introduce myself to everyone. I’ve already done it in maths, history, and science.

So here I am in English, and I can feel my gut bubbling. It’s been bubbling all day. Today is my first day at this school – of course I’m nervous. But right now I think my bum is going to explode. Pow! Just like that.

I wish I could open the lid of my desk and crawl inside.

My feet drag me to the whiteboard (my belly gurgles).

The school year started only two weeks ago, and I can still see the teacher’s name – Mrs White – half rubbed out underneath today’s work. I bet no-one else had to stand up in front of everyone like I’m doing. They all know each other, and I don’t.

“Tell us a bit about yourself,” says Mrs White.

I face the class (my belly groans). A girl is giggling from the back row. I still can’t think of anything to say.
One boy is rolling spitballs. I heard someone call him Jack, so I guess that means I’ve learnt something today: the name of the most annoying kid in school. No matter how many times Dad makes me change schools, there’s always one person who hates me right away. I don’t know why. Maybe my big nose just makes people angry. Or my red hair. Or my freckles. Maybe my freckles spell out a rude word. I don’t know.

By now I should be used to this talking thing (my belly grunts and grumbles). But I’m not. In fact, every class is worse than the one before.

“My name is Fred,” I say.

Jack says, “Drop dead, Fred.”

I wish I could (my belly howls and growls).

“Tell us something you’re good at,” says Mrs White.

There’s really only one thing – one amazing thing – that I can do. Whether I want to or not.

After this whole long day, I can’t hold it in any longer. So I stare right at Jack’s cold green eyes – and fart.
I fart the alphabet. I fart my last three addresses. I fart my name and the fact that I have a dog the size of a horse. (Probably should have said that in one of the classes today. Everyone likes dogs.) I fart like a brass band.

The girls laugh. The boys clap. Jack swallows his spitball. Mrs White opens and closes her mouth. She turns purple.

My gut is more amazing than it’s ever been before. (It’s actually very difficult to fart the alphabet – even if it really sounds a bit like, “Arg! Blurk! Sss!” instead of, “A, B, C.”)

Finally Mrs White gets a breath. A big one. She screams: “Principal’s office! Now!”

I run out the door and down the hall with my red hair falling into my eyes and blinding me. With every step, I fart.

Pfft, pfft, pfft.

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Death at the Rectory

October 1, 2019 at 8:01 pm (I get paid for this, Interactive Fiction, My Novels, Well written)

It’s been a long, long time but I finally have another ChoiceScript interactive story.

DEATH AT THE RECTORY (iOS, Google Play, Amazon, etc) is a cozy crime mystery (with magic) which was very much inspired by the real-life rectory of St John’s Anglican in Gundagai. Here are some pics from the actual rectory:


And here’s a bit of the church, made of the same beautiful local slate:


I’m no professional photographer, though, so here’s the real cover (and an unrelated church):


Want those shiny links again? Here they are!

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Antipodean Queen 1: HEART OF BRASS

October 3, 2017 at 8:20 pm (I get paid for this, My Novels, Steampunk, Steampunk Australia Stories, Steampunk Series, Well written)

HEART OF BRASS is my first published novel; the beginning of all my (mostly Australian) steampunk fantasy stories.

You can buy it here, and in all the usual book places (online and offline).

You can also buy the full Steam & Sorcery pack here (all three novels plus Magic in the Mail: Emmeline’s Empire).


Book 3 is IRON LIGHTS.

The book trailer is here.



Like to read the back cover? Here it is:

Emmeline Muchamore is a well-bred young lady hiding explosive family secrets. She needs to marry well, and quickly, in order to keep her family respectable. But when her brass heart malfunctions, she makes a desperate choice to steal the parts she needs to repair it and survive.

She is unable to explain her actions without revealing she has a steam-powered heart, so she is arrested for theft and transported to Victoria, Australia – right in the midst of the Gold Rush.

Now that she’s escaped the bounds of high society, iron manacles cannot hold her for long.

The only metal that really matters is gold.


The ISBN is 978-1-922200-58-7 (pbk) | 978-1-922200-59-4 (ebook)

You can use that number to quickly and easily order it into any bookshop you like. Most Australian bookshops and libraries should stock it already. If you’re in Canberra, Harry Hartog’s in Woden does a good job of keeping it in stock.

HEART OF BRASS can be bought in physical form directly through the publisher (who will post it to you—Odyssey is linked to printers in Australia, the US, and the UK, so if you’re in one of those nations the postage cost will be domestic).

You can also buy either print or digital copies from Amazon US, Amazon Australia (kindle only at the time of writing), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Abe Books, The Book Depository, etc.

It is extremely helpful to me for readers to leave reviews at Amazon and/or Goodreads. The more you say why you like/dislike it, the more other readers will know if it suits them or not. I do read reviews but I’m not bothered by negative ones (sometimes I even learn something), so go ahead and be honest!

Like a sample?

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 8.15.35 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 8.15.55 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-03 at 8.16.07 PM


Full disclosure: I screenshotted the beginning of my book from Amazon (where there’s a longer sample) because I don’t know how to take the final editing marks out of the copy I have. Sad but true.

Antipodean Queen 2: SILVER AND STONE will be released on October 10 2017 (you can pre-order through OdysseyBooks.com.au) and the third book in the trilogy will be released in 2018 (probably August).

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HEART OF BRASS cover reveal

July 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm (Advanced/Publication, All Steampunk Fiction, Daily Awesomeness, I get paid for this, My Novels, Steampunk, Steampunk Australia Stories, Steampunk Series, Well written)

Here it is…


On the publisher’s website it has an official release date less than a week away!

If you’re in Canberra and you want your copy signed, email me at fellissimo@hotmail.com and I’ll see what I can do.

I’ll also be at certain conferences this year, including:

Brimbank Writers and Readers Festival

1-11 September (I’ll be there on Saturday 10th only), Melbourne

Including a 2-hour panel on Interactive Fiction, and a get-together for IF lovers at the cafe around the corner (at 11am). Plus a possible spontaneous game.


Conflux 12

September 30-October 3, Canberra

Including a workshop on how to write profitable IF, plus a panel or two.

Conflux always includes one-on-one pitching opportunities, which happens to be how “Heart of Brass” found its home at Odyssey Books Australia.


Book Expo

8-9 October, Sydney

Including a panel or two, probably (to be advised).


Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk and Victoriana Fair

Saturday 15 October, Goulburn

Including hanging out with several other authors (including Tara Moss), free horse and carriage rides, dancing, makers, and other marvels of the steampunk world!


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March 12, 2016 at 9:23 am (Advanced/Publication, I get paid for this, Interactive Fiction, My Novels, Pirates, Rahana Stories, Well written)

The long weeks at sea have dragged by as the scuttlebutt is whispered from captain to cabin boy… there’s going to be a post-comp release of SCARLET SAILS… it’s twice as long… there are new chapters… there are even more chances to stab, shoot, or magically murder people that annoy you…

It turns out that (just this once) the rumours are true.

The beginning is free, and the rest is $2-$4.

You can buy it as an app through iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, or Google Chrome…. or on your computer.


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“Worst one I’ve played”: Reviewing the Reviewers

November 8, 2015 at 12:16 am (Advanced/Publication, Daily Awesomeness, funny, I get paid for this, Interactive Fiction, My Novels, Reviews, Steampunk, Steampunk Australia Stories, Well written, Writing Advice)

It’s finally happened: my first interactive (that is, Choose Your Own Adventure-ish) Australian steampunk novel is wandering unsupervised in the great big world, gathering reviews near and far (and scaring its mother half to death).
My very first review was the hilarious comment “Worst one I’ve played”, accompanied by one star. I’m genuinely delighted by such a start to proceedings, and could only be happier if a major lobby called for it to be banned.
Moments ago, the very clever and well-respected Emily Short published her review, and said, “All in all, then, this is both the biggest and the best of the Felicity Banks games I’ve tried so far; the worldbuilding is more extensive and the plot better structured.”
She also said the beginning was nicely paced while the end was rushed… which is funny since another reviewer said the beginning was boring but don’t worry because it gets better once you get into it.
People say, “Don’t read your reviews” but with material like this, how could I resist?
It’s on Amazon (after 20 reviews – positive or negative – Amazon will start promoting the book for me for free!!), Apple itunesGoogle, and Google Chrome.
Or you can play directly through the publisher’s web site, here. That’s the simplest if you’re not tech savvy (although you’ll need a credit/debit card there).

On most sites, it LOOKS like the game is free, and has in-app purchases. This is just a backwards way of saying, “You can read the first bit before you pay for the rest.” It’s a one-off $5 payment.

I’ve started up a facebook page just for this specific gamebook (discussion, reviews and steampunk/Victorian-era fun), at https://www.facebook.com/attackoftheclockworkarmy/

And of course the Sydney Launch is at the Freecon at 11am today/Sunday (Garry’s even promised me wine, and I know there are lollies because I brought a huge pile). If you’re in Sydney, you can just show up:
O.E.S. Amenities centre, 190 William Street EARLWOOD, Clemton Park shops, next to the ‘Thai-in-a-box’ shop, about half way between the Bexley Rd. / William St. intersection and Main St., Clemton Park.
Bus routes M41, 400, 412, 423, and 473 all pass near the Freecon venue, Campsie (Bankstown Line) and Bexley North (East Hills line) stations are nearby.
I’ve been working non-stop to get the rumbling engine of promotion moving, and I now have a weird feeling that I’ve managed to start something I can’t stop. That’s the entire point of the whole thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not scary to see the train suddenly belch fire and clatter off beyond my control.
Good luck, little e-baby. I know your friends are out there.

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Interactive Fiction: My Shiny New Obsession

June 26, 2015 at 2:16 pm (Advanced/Publication, Interactive Fiction, My Novels, Rahana Stories, Slow Writing, Well written)

If you’ve set eyes on me for more than thirty seconds at any point this year, you know all about my shiny new obsession: interactive fiction. It’s the digital form of “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels.

As of seven minutes ago, my first publicly-available interactive fiction story is live (and also free… for now) right here – scroll down to the bottom of the linked page and click on this:



You don’t need anything more specialised than a computer, and you’ll read the book within a Firefox browser.

This particular story (which takes about twenty minutes to read) is about what happens when a two perpetual students fall through a portal into the magical, tropical world of Rahana. It’s a place where a pregnant queen’s island is under siege, and where a handshake can kill.

You, dear reader, are one of those perpetual students. You choose whether you’re male or female, happily single or crushing on your best friend (who just happens to fall through the portal with you – you also choose their gender). You decide whether you’re a natural fighter or a master manipulator; a doctor or a jack of all trades. When the battle begins, you can choose to kill or heal, to strategise or inspire. Even if you’re completely useless as a character, you get a good story out of it – and you can be someone completely different the next time you read it, too.

How does it work?

Funny you should ask.

As a player, it’s a simple matter of clicking your mouse (or in some cases your finger, since most interactive fiction can be read on smart phones) on the choice that looks best to you, then on the “Next” button to go to the next page. Your choices make a difference in various ways. Usually, choices change your statistics (for better or worse) – recording your personal traits, your relationships with others, and the skill/s you practise along the way. Later on in the game, those choices change your ability to succeed or fail in certain endeavours. You can check up on your stats along the way (there’s a button at the top of the screen), or ignore them and choose with your heart every time (that’s what I do, especially on the first read-through). I also like having “Achievements” listed as a tantalising hint of some of the story’s possibilities. There’s a button for achievements, too, but it’s not possible to gain all of them in a single play-through.

I really like the American company Choice of Games (yes, that’s why my spelling is suddenly non-patriotic) because they’re fun, non-graphic, and determined not to discriminate. In their games, it’s always possible (when relevant) to pick both your gender and orientation.

The lack of strong female characters in fiction magically disappears when a player chooses his/her own gender – and I love that!

So, that’s a lightning-fast preview of the big news I’ve been hinting at all year. “Down the Wombat Hole” isn’t even my first interactive novel…. but the details of the others will have to wait for another post! Let’s just say my days of steampunk and piracy are just beginning.

Oh, and by the way? It just so happens that “Down the Wombat Hole” is set in the same world as my print novel (coming out in 2016) “Stormhunter”. So if you’ve ever read a fantasy book and wished with all your heart you could visit it yourself, now is your chance.

Edited to add: “Down the Wombat Hole” is now part of a full-length collaborative game called LOST IN THE PAGES (with the new chapter title THE QUEEN’S CHILD, and no wombat).

And the small press Satalyte that was going to publish STORMHUNTER has stopped running, but Odyssey Books has just (as of October 2017) taken on the middle-grade pirate trilogy set in the same world, which suggests STORMHUNTER will sail again (it’s young adult, and set hundreds of years after the middle-grade trilogy, so it makes sense to publish the middle-grade trilogy first).

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Do Pirates Squee?

May 28, 2015 at 10:03 am (Advanced/Publication, Daily Awesomeness, I get paid for this, My Novels, STORMHUNTER novel, Well written)

This one does.

Fifteen – yes, fifteen – years ago I invented a fantasy world called Rahana based on Indonesia (I was sitting on a folding chair in a concreted Indonesian room attempting to listen to a sermon at the time). My idea was that if I had a rich and complicated world I could base a whole lot of books inside that world.

I was sick of white men dominating. . . everything. . . so I wanted a fantasy world that, to me, felt female. And non-white (much as my own heritage is Omo-white for generations). So I created a tropical world where there was enough magic that physical strength wasn’t necessarily important to gain power, and where art and storytelling was considered to be the most valuable (and best-paid) type of skill. People looked Indonesian, and people and place names were based on Indonesian words.

Soon after that, I began writing a young adult trilogy set in that world. Then I wrote a middle-grade trilogy set in the same world. Altogether so far I’ve written around half a million words and received seventy rejections just for this series.

Every time a book was rejected I asked myself, “Why was it rejected? How can it be better?”

The first book of the young adult trilogy has been edited so dramatically and so often it barely resembles the original draft (which I wrote in three weeks). Eventually, gradually, it became a good book. The simplest way to describe it is in three words:

Narnia with pirates.

A few days ago I received an offer of publication for that book – my paper baby – STORMHUNTER.

It’s really happening. My first book is going to be published. I can’t believe it. . . this is so great. . . I’m going to tell EVERYONE EVERYWHERE. . . pirates are so cool. . . this book helped me meet my husband. . . I’m going to sign books, and do conferences, and schmooze reviewers!. . . What the. . . has it really taken FIFTEEN YEARS!?!?!?!?

I won’t actually publish this blog entry until I have the green light to do so, but I thought I’d better write it now (Easter Sunday 2015). At the very beginning. [Observant readers will notice that I accidentally posted it at the time, then deleted the content. . . but left the tags, which are pretty awesome clues.]

Anything could happen from here. Ninety percent of published books flop. . . but I’ve come this far, and I intend to keep going. Ninety-nine percent of books don’t get published at all, so I’m doing pretty well 🙂

This is a picture of some of my pirate research – aboard the Young Endeavour sail training vessel at the tender age of twenty-three. That was ten years ago, and I was doing research specifically for STORMHUNTER. I guess it paid off, huh?

Some of my main audience wasn’t born when I came up with the idea for the world of Rahana. In fact, the middle grade readers weren’t born when this picture was taken five years later. What were YOU doing in the year 2000?


STORMHUNTER will be released in both print and digital formats in 2016, by Satalyte.

If you’re interested in writerly stuff, stick around and/or like my facebook page. TJ turns one in less than ten days, and after that this blog will be much more about writing (and piracy, and reading) than it has been for a long time.

If you want to know major announcements only (but reliably – unlike facebook), send me an email at fellissimo[at]Hotmail.com and I’ll add you to the official mailing list, which will average less than an email a month (including info on conferences I’m attending and book signings etc).


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Do pirates squee?

April 4, 2015 at 3:44 pm (Advanced/Publication, Daily Awesomeness, My Novels, Well written)

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Best Playgrounds in Canberra

February 11, 2015 at 6:59 pm (Daily Awesomeness, I get paid for this, MegaList of Awesomeness, Top Ten, Well written)

Earlier this year (and adding to previous experience) I set out to become the world expert on Canberra playgrounds. I think I succeeded, and I have the travel articles to prove it. First, a not-very-plausible Tour of Canberra (seriously, all of it) through playgrounds. It really does work for seeing all Canberra’s best bits in a single day, and it involves art, science, culture, history, and music! pic12   Secondly, the best ten playgrounds rated – by imaginative fun, parental seating, safety, toilet facilities, fatal flaws, likelihood of crowding, and more! I write a LOT of travel articles. These two are the best by far, hence being put on the blog. Louisette’s godmother saw the Epic Tour and said she’d like to attempt it! I’ll let you know how far we get before Louisette begs to go home 🙂   pic8

NB These picture are the property of WeekendNotes.

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