Advent Calendar

For a story every day until Christmas, click here!

Advent Christmas stories Advent Calendar Katharina Gerlach

 

If you open door number one, you’ll find a very special Christmas story from me. I’m happy to be part of this Christmas Advent Calendar, created by Katharina Gerlach, a German author who has written over sixty books!

Each year, for the 25 days leading up to Christmas, I get the stories in my inbox from all over the world. These are a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. Feel free to Share this calendar and spread the joy of Christmas across the world.

Pssst: You can subscribe above the calendar on the top right corner.

Have fun reading. I hope you like my story.

Big Book Bash – Carterton

At the Big Book Bash in Carterton, Eileen Mueller is teaching YSWW

The Big Book Bash is coming up!

The Big Book Bash is a book festival for kids and teens , featuring many Wellington and Wairarapa children’s and Young Adult (YA) authors. It’s all happening this weekend on December 2nd in Carterton.

There’s fabulous line-up of well-known NZ authors, music, workshops and a carnival atmosphere. Libraries, schools, newspapers & radio stations are talking about it, the local book community is excited, and it’s going to be fun.

In my workshop, You Say Which Way – Create a Sci-Fi or Fantasy Story, I’ll be taking youth on an adventure in the world of interactive fiction. We’ll journey through exciting worlds, making choices that shape the reader’s experience. They’ll start a science fiction or fantasy adventure of their own.

Come Along!

Register here via Carterton library (in the right side menu bar).

At the Big Book Bash in Carterton, Eileen Mueller is teaching YSWWI’m in good company with many famous NZ children and YA authors. The full programme is here, featuring:

  • Go behind the scenes of Annual 2 and enjoy Melting Moments with Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris
  • Traveling Zine Museum with Murtle Chickpea
  • Paper Bag Dogs with Fifi Colston and Anne Manchester
  • Ngāti Kahungunu stories with Rawiri Smith
  • Events with two young writers, Ben Spies (age 12) and Zed (age 15)
  • Writing workshop for teens & adults with Mandy Hager
  • Poems of Protest and the Environment with Tim Jones and Harvey Molloy
  • You Say Which way Sci-fi & Fantasy workshop with Eileen Mueller
  • Going to Antarctica with Philippa Werry
  • Ginomee hats and stories with Ali Foster
  • Rainbow storytelling with drag queens La Quisha St Redfern and Pamela Hancock
  • Drawing with Rhondda Greig
  • Readings and arts and crafts with Alan Bagnell, Paul Beavis, Gillian Candler, Mary McCallum, Michelle O’Connell and Christine Parker
  • A storytelling finale with Marama Fox.

The big Book bash is also on EventFinda and has it’s own Facebook page 

Hataitai School – NZ Book Week

During New Zealand Book Week, I had a great visit to Hataitai School, (with my rainbow-feathered top hat). 120 kids crammed themselves into a classroom, like teens getting cozy at a rock concert (minus the screaming). They were packed so tight, I urged them a little closer, until they were literally at my feet.

Teachers wanted them to know about life as an author. For 40 minutes they quizzed me about everything from, ‘What’s it like to be famous?’ to ‘Have you ever seen a dragon?’ (of course, I have 4 at home) and ‘Do you find The Hero’s Journey useful for plotting?’. These kids were really switched on about creative writing. Among the fun and laughter, I awarded them many medals and bright red felt bloodstains for creativity in questioning.

Writing is about lots of choices—genre, settings, magic systems, world rules, characters and plots. To give them practise, we decided they could make choices while I read them a You Say Which Way adventure.

Their first choice: Dragons’ Realm or Mystic Portal?

Mystic portal interactive fiction

From the flurry of hands for Mystic Portal, there was great support for a magic mountain bike adventure where every jump takes you to a new exciting world and adventure.

But what is it about dragons that appeals to many readers? Every hand in the room shot up for Dragons’ Realm.

Dragons Realm

Sir Julius Vogel Award Dragons RealmYou are the main character in You Say Which Way adventures. This book opens with bullies chasing you into  Dragon’s Realm—a world of dragons, adventures and magic. At one stage, a bully leaps out from a behind a tree and yells, “Gotcha!”

I’m a trained singer and got a bit enthusiastic so, in the heat of the moment, my “Gotcha!” suddenly came out as “GOTCHA!” The girl sitting at my feet leapt, arms flying. Startled movement rippled right to the back of the room. Talk about ‘jump scare’ city. I think I even frightened myself!

I had to laugh. All the students and teachers did too. We awarded the student who got the biggest fright a bloodstain as compensation. When the laughter died down, we continued reading.

While developing their You Say Which Way brand of interactive fiction, The Fairytale Factory have done a lot of research in classrooms. They found that kids generally like to make ‘the right’ choice. A choice that won’t hurt others or get them into trouble in the real world.

However, these kids at Hataitai were on a mission. Through their choices, they had the opportunity to pay a bully back, big time. And they took it.

The teachers’ eyes flew open as I read on, but then they smiled when  everyone found out that bad choices have consequences.

Of course, we had to play the ‘what would have happened if… ‘ game, so we went back and saw how heroically saving the bully paid off. And yes, in this story, it really pays off!

Doors for NZ Book Week

As part of NZ Book Week, Hataitai School disguised their classroom doors to look like their favourite books, and asked me to judge their fabulous creations.  This blog post shows off their work.

Book Doors for NZ Book Week

While visiting Hataitai School during Book Week recently,  I was asked to judge a competition. The whole school had disguised their classroom doors (for NZ Book Week) to look like their favourite books. What a tough decision. All the doors were fabulous. The students put in fantastic effort.  Here are a few of my favourites.

Doors for NZ Book Week – 1st place

NZ Book Week Hataitai SchoolNZ Book Week Hataitai School The Lorax won first place with it’s bright colourful landscape and three-dimensional fluffy truffula trees, which also grew down the hallway! There are photos of the kids all over the grass, each holding mini truffula trees. To be honest, the photos and giant truffula trees really sealed the deal, because 2nd, 3rd and 4th place-getters were so close! Brilliant job! Over the top!

Doors for NZ Book Week – 2nd place

Fox in Sox, another Dr Seuss book, was also one of my favourites, winning 2nd place. Students had made bright fluffy socks, decorated with wool and pompoms. Their funky socks were pegged on washing lines, with fluffy clouds floating over head, making it look like Fox’s washing day. Well done. I love it!

Doors for NZ Book Week – 3rd place

Third place went to The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, a book that’s special to me because I lived in Switzerland when it was published in 1992. This class went to the extra effort of decorating the windows and door. These photos really don’t do their work justice! They were much more colourful in real life. Great work. (I first heard it read aloud from a special Swiss-German edition, and it has since been published all over the world and made into a TV series).

Doors for NZ Book Week – honourable mention for creativity & attention to detail

Narnia by Cs Lewis, NZ Book Week Hataitai SchoolNZ Book Week Hataitai School

It looks like a normal wardrobe, but when you open it, a world of adventure awaits you and there’s a familiar solitary lamppost shining in the darkness. Yes, it’s Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This door was brilliant, and battled for a placing. Creative, sophisticated art.

NZ Book Week Hataitai SchoolThe Secret Garden is blooming beautifully in this classroom! What a vibrant range of colour and shapes as flowers of all species spout in this window. A lovely job.

NZ Book Week Hataitai School

Poor Winnie the Pooh (A. A. Milne) has got himself into a sticky mess—yet again! I loved the sign, which reads, DO NOT DISTURB — HONEY TIME! Great work team!

NZ Book Week Hataitai SchoolThe Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle was a great team effort by a junior class. The caterpillar’s body segments have each been hand painted, and kids have made all of his favourite foods. He’s a very lucky caterpillar indeed. (The sunny day meant that this little caterpillar had crawled into the shade, so I couldn’t photograph him properly). Good job!

More Doors for NZ Book Week

NZ Book Week Hataitai School
The Philosophers Stone, Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
The Philosophers Stone, Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
Scarface Claw by Lynley Dodd
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
Jack and the Beanstalk
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
Hill and Hole by Kyle Mewburn
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
The Diamond Horse by Stacy Gregg

A Door for Every Book!

NZ Book Week Hataitai School
A library of favourites is on this door.

This last door includes a whole library of art (left to right, top to bottom): The Day the Crayons Quit, The Three Little Pigs, Fantastic Mr Fox, Lord of The Rings & The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Witches Field Day.

Reading Dragons’ Realm Live – Bloodstains and Roaring!

My visit to Hataitai School as part of NZ Book Week also involved quadrillions of questions from keen literary minds, lots of bloodstains (but none on the floor),  and some load roaring!  Along the way, the students had the say! Click here to find out more!

Free EBook! Win a Paperback! Have an Adventure!

Free Ebook!

Dragon Tales is available as a free Ebook on Amazon until the end of 27 August 2017, USA time (time zones permitting!)

Win a Paperback too!

Everyone who posts an honest review on Amazon before 15 September 2017, and emails me a link to their review, goes in the draw to win a paperback copy of Dragon Tales.

Email me via my contact page, and provide a link to your Amazon review. If you win, I’ll contact you for your postal address, and send you the book. The winner will be announced on this website, and notified by email.

So download your book here now, get reading, and email me a link to your review!

Have an Adventure with Dragon Tales!

Whether you’re looking for a nip, a nibble, or a chomp-sized story, wing your way to an adventure with Dragon Tales.

Math Dragon – When Sean discovers a math dragon in his desk, his troubles multiply.

Wingspan – Shorty has failed before, but this time she must graduate or face life in the salt mines. The local bullies don’t want her to succeed.

Fluffy’s Triumph – Whoever heard of a fluffy dragon? It’s an embarrassing secret, having fluffy scales, but when salt pirates attack, Fluffy’s secret weapon saves the day.

Suds and Scales – What happens when a muddy football player finds a playful dragon in the toilet?

Dad’s Wisdom – A ravenous dragon demands to be fed, but Dad’s advice only makes things worse.

Golden Days – A magical book offers two sick friends adventures – with a dragon.

Rumbled – The gift under the Christmas tree is growling. Two brothers want it, but only one will get it.

Download your FREE copy here.

Enjoy reading Dragon Tales, have fun writing your review, and GOOD LUCK for winning the paperback!

Finalists in Romance Writer’s Contest

Eileen Mueller Romance Writers NZ Chapter Short Story Contest

I crawled into my bed, ruing the budget accommodation I’d hastily booked a few days before. Romance was the last thing on my mind. The bed shook, the walls throbbed and the screaming in the room next door would inspire the horror writers at Lexicon, the Science Fiction and Fantasy convention down the road – not to mention the manic laughter that followed every gut-curdling cry. (On second thoughts, maybe the horror writers were next door?)

Was it the rabid dancing downstairs that was making my mattress shake and undulate? Or just the music? Perhaps the band were part banshee…

Walking the dark streets of Taupo, I’d felt safer as I approached the drunks outside the nightclubs and bars under my hotel – better than the vehicle with tinted windows that had crawled past, peering at me.  But with the whole place about to implode, I did what every writer does at 1 a.m. when there’s a party on downstairs.

I joined the melee on the dance floor and gyrated my heart out.

Nah, don’t be silly. Why waste an opportunity to write? I turned on my laptop. Okay, for a moment I did consider dancing, but hey, alone in a strange town with no one to knock on the door and demand dinner, a driving lesson, or a taxi service… why not write?

But sometimes the best intentions get waylaid and emails get in the way. But that day, yay, hooray, for emails!!!!

That very first email told me I was a finalist in the Romance Writers New Zealand Chapter Short Story Contest. Wow! Woot! Yay!!! 🙂

Celebration time! Yep, so I danced, but only in my room!

Bright and early, just a couple of hours later, one of my critique partners texted me to tell me she was a finalist too! Double reason to dance. Charlotte Jardine’s story is a classic contemporary romance that warms my heart each time I read it – nostalgia, summer days and golden sand.

Mine stars young adults with tricky pasts learning to trust again – and leather and fast motorbikes.

Both are set near the sea. So here’s a photo of the Charlotte and I near our local beach! (Actually, it’s been rainy this week, so this is a photo of us indoors!) We’re very lucky. Everywhere in New Zealand has a local beach – or thirty! And the contest? Well, all five finalists are waiting to hear back from the judge, who happens to be the editor for a well-known English Women’s magazine!!

YUSS!!! 

**fist-pumps! Then coughs**   Ahem, excuse the YA-speak!

2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award – Best New Talent

Sir Julius Vogel Best New Talent 2017I was absolutely thrilled – and more than a little speechless – to receive a 2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent at Lexicon, the New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy National convention. The full 2017 SJV awards list is here.

SJV Taupo Lexicon (1)With the deep blue backdrop of Lake Taupo, and snow-tipped ranges across the water, the setting for Lexicon was magical. Ninety teenage writers attended workshops on Friday and boggled us with their talent. A weekend full of interesting panels, discussions, impromptu meetups with writers and fun social activities kept me on my toes. Not to mention the last-minute accommodation booking I made without realizing my bed was situated above a nightclub. It was actually above a nightclub AND three bars, the only nightlife in Taupo!! Yes, I was dancing all night – even in my asleep.Sir Julus Vogel Award Eileen Mueller Grace Bridges

Even though I was on the shortlist, it was still a nerve-wracking process waiting through the ballot and having that envelope opened on stage in front of my eyes. Then there was that long moment: sitting, stunned, while people nudged me to get to my feet!

Sir Julius Vogel Award Lee Murray Eileen MuellerThank you to my wonderful readers for nominating me. And thank you to everyone who has supported my writing – by beta reading, believing in me, critiquing my work and brainstorming plot fixes. Thanks to my publishers, The Fairytale Factory and Phantom Feather Press, they’re great! I’d also like to thank the New Zealand speculative fiction community, Romance Writers New Zealand and Holly Lisle’s online writing community.

My critique groups deserve a proper mention. I’m lucky, I have two. Monkey Lab: Alicia Ponder, Charlotte Kieft, Michelle Child and Peter Friend; & Clarke’s Critters: Lee Murray, Simon Fogarty and Alicia Ponder. Everyone needs a tribe, so thanks for being mine. You’re all more than critique partners, you’re wonderful friends.

Sir Julius Vogel 2017 Winners
2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award Winners

SJV Awards Shortlist

Thank you – SJV shortlist

I am thrilled to be on the 2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award shortlist in two categories.

Sir Julius Vogel Award
Sir Julius Vogel Award

Thank you to all my readers who nominated me for Best New Talent, and also to those who nominated my short story Call of the Sea, which was published last year in the At the Edge anthology, edited by Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts.

The 2017 SJV awards are presented at Lexicon, New Zealand’s National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in Taupo in early June.

The full 2017 Sir Julius Vogel shortlist is here.

It’s an honour to be on the shortlist alongside such great authors. I’m stoked.

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Free Story – Call of the Sea

Call of the Sea – Free Story

Sir julius Vogel AwardsCall of the Sea has been nominated for the 2017 Sir Julius Vogel awards, however, to get on the shortlist, a story must be nominated multiple times. Call of the Sea, published in At the Edge (Paper Road Press 2016), is a dark story exploring grief, loss and hope.

If you have read Call of the Sea and enjoyed it, please feel free to nominate it before 8pm Friday 31 March, on the SJV Awards nomination form. (Nomination info & background to the story are at the bottom of this post).

This is the last year I am eligible for the Sir Julius Vogel New Talent award (for authors in their first 4 years after initial publication.) If you like my work, feel free to nominate me for New Talent too. Just fill out the form and tell them, in a few sentences, what you like about my stories and books.

You can nominate any science fiction, fantasy or horror work published in New Zealand 2016, including films. Anyone can nominate worldwide. Voting for the shortlisted entries takes place at Lexicon, the National Science Fiction and Fantasy convention in Taupo in June, by members of SFFANZ or Lexicon. Guidelines are here.

Thank you for reading Call of the Sea. SJV Awards nomination form

Nomination Information:

  • Title: Call of the Sea,
  • Author: Eileen Mueller.
  • Work: Short Story.
  • Category: Best Short Story.
  • Genre: Fantasy.
  • Publisher: Paper Road Press, 2016. At the Edge anthology.

Just in case you’re wondering where this dark story came from, the background for Call of the Sea is here.

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Amazon Bestseller

Amazon Bestseller Mystic Portal Dragons Realm

Amazon Bestseller #5 & #8

I woke up to a text at 6:25am this morning from my diligent publisher! It was worth hopping out of bed for! Mystic Portal is #5 and Dragons’ Realm is #8 on the Amazon bestseller list in UK kids interactive fiction.

And Mystic Portal is #1 in hot new releases.

Exciting stuff. But then again, so are these You Say Which Way adventures, where you get to choose how the story goes. Kids love saying which way to go. They choose their story. They find out how clever they are when things go their way. Or they test dangerous decisions that lead to tricky outcomes – all from the safety of their own homes.

Fun. Adventure. Great mountain bike rides. Weird creatures. And good laughs.

Mystic Portal and Dragons Realm are on Amazon.

Amazon Bestseller Mystic Portal Dragons Realm
Mystic Portal & Dragons Realm on UK Amazon Bestseller List

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