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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Interactive Fiction in the News

Interactive Fiction Wins Award

A Wellington newspaper, Cook Strait News, has done a wonderful article about Dragons Realm‘s new shiny 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Youth Novel.

Dragons Realm is part of the You Say Which Way series of interactive fiction published by The Fairytale Factory. Interactive fiction is  a great way for kids to learn about choices, leadership, relationships and the ripple effect of their decisions – while having adventures. I enjoy writing interactive fiction because there are so many storylines to explore, a range of outcomes and lots of fun plots to choose from.

Plotting 22 different stories  was an interesting challenge which could have become a logistical nightmare. A trusty excel spreadsheet kept me sane. Me and that excel sheet became besties (best friends) as we worked together to keep all the stories in order!

Nikki Papatsoumas was the journalist who took this great picture and did a nice write up. Please pop over and read it. And yes, Wellington’s mid-winter weather is ALWAYS this beautiful – sun shining, gentle breeze creating interesting hairstyles and of course, it never rains here!

Anyone keen on writing interactive fiction or learning about how to write it, contact me. The Fairytale Factory are publishing a “how to” book soon, and I’ll let you know when it’s out.

Dragons Realm Interactive Fiction

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Micromadness Flash Frontier Finalist

I’m thrilled to announce that a week ago I was selected as a finalist in the New Zealand Flash Frontier Micromadness literary contest. All entries had to be under 100 words! My flash fiction wpid-Girl-Reading-Clipart-4story of 76 words was selected by judges and will be featured on their Micromadness blog here at Flash Frontier, one of New Zealand leading venues for literary flash fiction.

From June 1 – June 22 the top 22 selected entries will be published. On 22 June, New Zealand Flash Fiction Day, we will read our flash fiction and Micromadness at venues across the country. I’ll be reading at the Thistle Inn Mulgrave St, near the Wellington Railway Station, on National Flash Fiction day, Wednesday, 22 June, along with other authors from 6pm to 8pm.

Enjoy reading Micromadness in Flash Frontier. I’ll send you a link when my story is up.

Micro Madness

Dragons Realm Sir Julius Vogel Award

Thank you for the Sir Julius Vogel Award

I was gobsmacked. Speechless. And in tears. Quietly (my friends can vouch that’s not usual for me), I thanked the many people who have shaped my writing – a long list – while tears tracked down my cheeks.

But, wait, roll back. What’s this show of emotion about?

On Sunday night, my book, Dragons’ Realm, received the 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Youth Novel.

ileen Mueller 2016 Sir Julius Vogel AwardInternationally acclaimed fantasy author, Juliet Marillier, and New Zealand fantasy author, Anna McKenzie, had both been teaching us over weekend. Juliet was presenting the writers’ awards. I was sitting at the back of the room, tucked out of sight,  when the results were announced.
A tear leaked from my eye. Then another…
Faced with such tough competition, it was such a shock to win.
Kevin Berry nudged me. “You have to walk up the front,” he whispered. “Off you go.”
Usually fast on my feet, I was so stunned that I hadn’t moved! Once I got to the front of the room, you could’ve heard a mouse squeak.

 

SJV-Eileen-Mueller-Juliet-Marillier
Juliet Marillier presented me with my award.

Then my ‘thank yous‘ started. And here they are again.

Dragons Realm Best Youth Novel 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Awards
Dragons Realm Best Youth Novel 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Awards

Thank you to every reader who nominated my book Dragons Realm for Best Youth Novel. Thanks to you, my novel got on the shortlist. And thank you to fans who voted for my shortlisted book in the secret ballot.

My amazing publishers, Deb Potter and Blair Polly of the Fairytale Factory, have been imaginative and worked hard to make Dragons Realm the best book it could be. Thank you to Monkey Lab and Clarke’s critique group – my fantastic peers who review my work: Alicia Ponder, Peter Friend, Lee Murray, Simon Fogarty, Charlotte Kieft and Michelle Child. You guys are my tribe and I love your insight, brainstorming sessions and sense of humor!

Thank you to Grace Bridges of Splashdown Press and Chila of Port Yonder Press for awarding me first place in the SpecFicNZ Going Global Award which opened many doors for me. Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray were my first editors on the Baby Teeth project which saw Marie Hodgkinson of Paper Road Press publish my first short story.

Thanks to Alicia Ponder who found me and introduced me to Phoenix Writers, who got Lost in The Museum with me. Geoff Popham deserves a big thank you for his award-winning art. Then there are all the Phantom Feather Press authors who helped make the Best of Twisty Christmas Tales a success. Paul Mannering’s crazy ideas always spark more of my own. Vicki Cunningham is always positive and cheerful. My family is very cool and support my books – Kurt and the kids love riding dragons and cracking jokes. My friends at home, and loyal readers, friends and writers around the world have been amazingly supportive – especially Holly Lisle’s online forum – all my Write a Book with Me buddies. (I can hear you cheering!)

And thanks to Kyle Mewburn, who mentored me and strengthened my voice!!! (Yes, they can hear me in Switzerland now when I sing!) To the many writers whose workshops I’ve attended (Juliet Marillier, Anna McKenzie, David Hill, Fleur Beale, Ruth Paul to name a few). To Joy Cowley, Dave Freer and David Hill for their contributions to The Best Twisty Christmas Tales.

It’s also great to be part of the SSFANZ, SpeciFicNZ, NZSA, Storylines and the Wellington Children’s Book Association.

Is there anyone I haven’t mentioned? If so, thank you too. We all need a tribe, a village, a city… a circle of supporters, friends and mentors.

The full list of 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Award recipients is here.

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2016 Sir Julius Vogel Awards

Dragons Realm - shortlist 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Award best youth novelThe short list for the 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Awards has been out for  a while. Although I’ve been very busy writing and have neglected to post this earlier, I’m very excited to be a finalist in two categories!

  •  Dragons Realm is shortlisted for Best Youth Novel
  •  I’ve also been shortlisted for Best New Talent.

To be eligible for Best New Talent, writers must have had their first story or book published less than four years ago. MIne was my short story Dad’s Wisdom, in the Baby Teeth anthology in 2013. A writer may only ever be shortlisted twice for this category.

Check out all the finalists here. The winners will be revealed on June 5th at Au Contraire, the New Zealand National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, in Wellington this coming weekend.

Sir Julius Vogel Award hits News

Our recently-awarded Sir Julius Vogel Award has hit the local news. It took a while to appear in this newspaper, and a while longer for me to post this here, but I’ve had a great excuse! I’ve been busy finishing a kids’ manuscript to get it to a publisher. I’m a few weeks off deadline, so hopefully I’ll have more good news soon!

Lost in the Museum won Best Collection in the Sir Julius Vogel Awards this year.

I believe that readers recognized the value in this unique collection because the stories are interwoven with common characters and threads and take place in a unique setting – New Zealand’s national museum – Te Papa.  There is something for everyone in this young adult anthology: short sharp action stories, strange and weird realities, ghosts, lost children, time travel, an earthquake and even a definite touch of romance.

As sub-editor on this project, I was thrilled! Winning the Sir Julius Vogel Award is great recognition for all the authors, artists and the editors, Alicia Ponder and Lorraine Williams.

You can take a peek at Lost in the Museum online and see what you think.

SJV2015

You can view the article here. Thank you to Sam Duff, one of our local reporters, for championing this article.

Winner – Two Sir Julius Vogel Awards

Over Easter weekend I attended the Sir Julius Vogel Awards at Reconnaissance, the New Zealand National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. I was lucky enough to have some work shortlisted in these awards, and was very happy to collect two Sir Julius Vogel awards for a project in which I was a sub-editor.

  • Lost in the Museum by Phoenix Writers was awarded a Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collected Work.
  • Geoff Popham, our cover artist for Lost in the Museum, won a Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Professional Artwork.
A.J. Ponder, Eileen Mueller and Geoff Popham
Lost in the Museum SJV awards: A.J. Ponder (editor), Eileen Mueller (sub-editor) and Geoff Popham (artist) with Sir Julius Vogel looking on.

It was an honour to collect these awards on behalf of Geoff and Phoenix Writers. Many people were behind this fabulous anthology, which is a collection stories based in Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum. I’d like to thank:

  • Geoff, for his fabulous cover art!
  • Alicia Ponder and Lorraine Williams for doing a sterling job of editing the anthology, for accepting two of my short stories, and inviting me to assist them in sub-editing.
  • Phoenix Writers , a special interest group of Phoenix Science Fiction Society.
  • Phillip Mann, Honourary Literary Fellow, New Zealand Society of Authors and patron of the Phoenix Writers. His support has been unflagging.
  • The authors: Phillip Mann, Tim Jones, Lyn McConchie, Glynne MacLean, Tracie MacBride, Rob Campbell, Lillian Hetet, Jenny Hammond, John Holmes, Jeena Murphy, A.J. Ponder, Vic Scott, Jean Stevens, Lorraine Williams (and me.)
  • Wellington City Council for their financial support and enthusiasm.
  • Te Papa Tongarewa for their support.

I am proud of this young adult anthology, and hope you enjoy it. Lost in the Museum is available on Amazon.

A full list of award winners is available here, and includes five awards to Wellingtonians. Here we all are, with Sir Julius Vogel behind us, at Parliament.

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L-R: Paul Mannering (Best Novel – Engines of Empathy), Lee Murray (Best Short Story – Inside Ferndale), Alicia Ponder (editor) & Eileen Mueller (sub-editor) (Best Collection – Lost in the Museum), Geoff Popham (Best Professional Art – Lost in the Museum), and Celine Murray (Best Novella – Peach & Araxi).