Dragons & Fun with Kids at Midwinter Festival

Today I had fun at the Writers Plot & Readers Read Midwinter Book Festival. Writers Plot is a cool bookstore in Upper Hutt that only stocks books by kiwi authors They invited me to read some of my dragon books and bring along my dragon costume.

Fun with dragon costumes
Hannah and I had fun after the festival! Her twin sister Isobel was fun too, but those photos didn’t end up on my camera.

Well, if I’m going to bring  a dragon costume, why not wear it?

And if I’m going to wear a costume, why not do my hair too?! (Luckily, one of my best buddies is into creating wacky multi-colored dragon hair, so we gave it a whirl! Yes, I flinched whenever I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror for the first day!)

AND, if you’re going to wear one costume, why not stay up late the night before, making an extra costume for the kids, too? (I swear there was no cursing at the sewing machine, at all, when the foot dropped off and the fabric bunched because I’d forgotten that I needed a special microtex needle! And no mutterings of, “giving up in ten stupid minutes, if I can’t get this silly machine working!” But I did sigh in relief when after an hour’s struggle, the machine suddenly hummed. An hour or two later, the kid’s costume was born!)

Dragon costumes by Eileen Mueller, author of middle grade and YA dragon books
More fun for Mia and Renae, a.k.a. fighting dragons.

At the festival, we dived into the word of Dragons’ Realm —A You Say Which Way Adventure, where a dragonet sings off-tune, farts chocolate wrappers and pines for its mother! Of course that’s not the only story in Dragon’s Realm. In this book, You Say Which Way the story goes, so you can discover all sorts of adventures in one book —22 to be exact.

Of course, the kids got to choose at every decision point and my lovely assistant (dressed in the kid’s dragon costume) awarded them with blood stains or medals for their efforts. It was loads of fun, with kids joining in and even teenagers eye-rolling at all the manure jokes!  These kids chose a long and involved story with lots of action, adventure and opportunities to ride (you guessed it) dragons!

After the festival was over, we had the chance to snap a few photos and enjoy cos-playing dragon attacks! My books flew off the sales table! Everyone loves dragons — and adventure. With four dragon books to choose from, there was something to suit all types of reader — pulse-pounding adventure and plenty of laughs with Attack on Dragons’ Realm and Dragons’ Realm; fun and frolics with Dragon Tales; laughs with Fangtastic Dragon Jokes & Clawsome Limericks; and interactive fiction with Mystic Portal and Dragons’ Realm.

Ben Spies child author has a dragon fight with his brother
Ben Spies, a young author, has a dragon fight with his brother Daniel.

I was thrilled to meet Ben Spies, who wrote his first novel, Weirdo, at nine years old, and his next The Magic Pencil  at ten! Ben is now twelve and still writing up a storm. The kids in his workshop loved his book and enjoyed his insights. It’s inspiring for them to see someone so young and already published!

Ben spies, child author, with Eileen Mueller who writes for kids and YA

A big shout out to Writers Plot owners, Cat and Caro, for doing such a great job. It’s well worth a trip to Upper Hutt to see their great selection of kiwi books for kids, teens and adults. They also have an online store, so if you’d like one of my paperbacks, you can shop here, or contact me here.

Ben Spies, Eileen Mueller and a junior dragon.
Ben Spies, a young author, and his brother enjoyed being dragons for a change.

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 

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

Kids love Dragon Books!

I’m taking my Pet Dragons to Au Contraire!

Yes, my babies have flown home to roost, but not for long. I’m taking my wee fosterlings to Au Contraire to find them new homes. If you fancy a wee dragon for your little one, or a majestic beast for your growing kids, I have just the pets for you! They’d love new owners! I’ll be at the New Zealand National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention (Au Contraire 2016) in Wellington this weekend. Hopefully my wee babies won’t follow me home…

… after all I’d love to have more dragonets come to visit soon and there won’t be space if this lot don’t find happy readers to love them.

Dragon Books by Eileen ueller
Putting the dragons among the dragonflies!

It’s going to be a busy weekend. I’m in a team, teaching a young writers all day on Friday, then we’ll be at the floating market fostering my babies (sniff sniff), workshop-ing with Anna MacKenzie on Saturday, listening to Juliet Marillier on Saturday, discussing forensics with police, community with fans and writers, and interviewing panelists about independent publishing until 10pm at night.

It’s going to be fun. Come along if you’re keen and you just may get to take a dragon home! If you can’t get there, but would love a dragon anyway, contact me and I can send you one. (I’ll answer when I get back!)

Au Contraire is a not-for-profit event which supports New Zealand Sci-fi and Fantasy. All proceeds go to charity. The timetable is here.

At The Edge

Story accepted for At the Edge

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I’ve had a story accepted for At The Edge, a dark speculative fiction anthology being released in the middle of 2016.

At The Edge anthologyMy story Call of the Sea explores some dark themes, indeed – abandonment, rejection, grief and insanity, but  be warned, I like happy endings.

There were a truckload of submissions. The award-winning editors, Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts, said they had enough quality stories to make two great collections, but are only making one at this stage. The anthology will be published by Paper Road Press and launched at Au Contraire, the NZ science fiction fantasy convention, in Wellington this June.

Here is the table of contents for At the Edge, alphabetically by author surname:

Joanne Anderton, “Street Furniture”At the Edge_front cover
Richard Barnes, “The Great and True Journey”
Carlington Black, “The Urge”
A.C. Buchanan, “And Still the Forests Grow though We are Gone”
Octavia Cade, “Responsibility”
Shell Child, “Narco”
Jodi Cleghorn , “The Leaves No Longer Fall”
Debbie Cowens, “Hood of Bone”
Tom Dullemond, “One Life, No Respawns”
A.J. Fitzwater, “Splintr”
Jan Goldie, “Little Thunder”
J.C. Hart, “Hope Lies North”
Martin Livings, “Boxing Day”
Phillip Mann, “The Architect”
Paul Mannering, “The Island at the End of the World”
Keira McKenzie, “In Sacrifice We Hope”
Eileen Mueller, “Call of the Sea”
Anthony Panegyres, “Crossing”
A.J. Ponder, “BlindSight”
David Stevens, “Crop Rotation”
David Versace, “Seven Excerpts from Season One”
Summer Wigmore, “Back when the River had No Name”
E.G. Wilson, “12-36”

The cover artist for At the Edge is Kapiti-based Emma Weakley. It should be a great volume. I’ll keep you posted.

Storylines Free Family Day 2015

StorylinesWellington Storylines Free Family Day

Sunday 23 August 2015, Shed 6 on Wgtn Waterfront

 Are you passionate about helping kids read? Would you like to make a difference to children’s  literacy? Do you enjoy having fun? We have 6 weeks until Family Day and need your help!

Storylines Free Family Days help kids meet New Zealand authors and illustrators and have fun with books. Crafts, live performances, face-painting, competitions, and activities help kiwi books come  to life for kiwi kids. Join us as a volunteer – we need you.

Encounter weird and wild creatures!

Run amok with aliens and astronauts!

Fling medieval insults & create medieval stories!

Meet ‘Monkey Boy’ and help kids cook creatively!

Fish up something from beneath the surface in the underwater corner.

Design dragons, pigs, sea creatures and aliens!

Dare to dress up! Shape-shifters welcome! Cool costumes rewarded!

Get fishy with marine biologists from NIWA and Te Papa!

Go out of this world with Space Place from Carter Observatory!

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2014: Findlay reads Best Mates by Philippa Werry. In the War Zone, Kids tried on NZ Defence Force gear, got camouflage paint, met soldiers, ate Anzac biscuits, made poppies and medals, viewed the war gallery photos, met author Philippa, and saw Bob Kerr in action, illustrating.

Over 4,000 Wellingtonians attended Family Day in 2014! This year we are at Shed 6, on Wellington waterfront, next to the TSB Arena on Sunday 23 August 2015 from 10am – 3pm. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this special rewarding day.

For more information, or to join our volunteer team, contact me now!

Storylines Wellington Free Family Day needs You!

 

Storylines Festival of NZ Children’s Writers and Illustrators

Wellington Free Family Day – Sunday 23 August 2015

Storylines Are you passionate about helping kids read? Would you like to make a difference to children’s literacy? Do you enjoy having fun? Help kids unlock the meaning in books and bring their reading experiences to life — join our committee to plan Wellington’s Storylines Free Family Day.

We’re seeking one more committee member and many volunteers to help on the day.

Crafts, live performances, storytelling, face-painting, competitions and other fun activities are an essential part of our festival, highlighting New Zealand authors, illustrators and books. If you’d like to help, please contact me. In 2015 4,000 Wellingtonians attended Family Day in Wellington. Let’s make it a great experience for them again this year!

Please share this with your networks via email and social media. I look forward to hearing from you and having fun at Storylines Family Day together!

Storylines: Joy Cowley, Celia Wade-Brown, & Scholastic Books Out Aloud

The Mayor and Joy

4,000 visitors flooded to Storylines Free Family Day in Wellington last month. The family-friendly event focusing on NZ kids’ literature was opened by Her Worship Mayor Wade-Brown and Dame Joy Cowley – both known lovingly by Wellingtonians as Celia and Joy.

While preparing to cut the ceremonial ribbons, Joy heard one child asking whether Celia was the Queen. It was certainly a moment of pomp and ceremony!

Mayor Celia wade-Browna nd author Joy Cowley open Storylines Family Day
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and author Joy Cowley open Storylines Family Day (Photo: Luise Charlton.)

Scholastic Books Out Aloud

Once the ribbons were cut, Joy and Celia headed up to the Scholastic Books Out Aloud area to enjoy Celia’s rendition of Joy’s book, The Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown reads with Joy Cowley
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown reads with Joy Cowley (Photo: Luise Charlton)

After reading, Joy signed books for hundreds of her fans, young and old – who queued at The Children’s Bookshop stand to have a chat with her about her work.  If you’re a fan of Joy Cowley’s work, you may want to check out this link to an exciting new anthology including one of her stories.

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The Wright family enjoy Scholastic NZ’s Clifford. (photo Luise Charlton)

Scholastic NZ Ltd made the day with Clifford the Big Red Dog, who, although not a kiwi icon, was loved by children of all ages. The teenagers who volunteered to bring Clifford to life said they had the best job of the day. There’s already a queue to audition for the role of Clifford next year!

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Clifford supports volunteers
Clifford2
Kids love hugging Clifford.

 

 

 

 

 

Storylines Free Family Day in Wellington included many exciting events in the Monster Fun Zone, Antarctica Zone, Bugs ‘N Bees Zone, and War Zone, as well as interactive activities with authors, illustrators and storytellers. We’ll feature more posts about Storylines Family Day soon, so stay tuned.

That link for the anthology featuring Joy Cowley is here.

For now, goodbye from me, and from Clifford!

Storylines Family Day – Joy Cowley

Storylines Family Day makes the Dominion Post!

The Dominion Post ran a fantastic article about Storylines Family Day in their Capital Day page this morning. Joy Cowley mentions how Storylines Family Days “give children a love of reading.” At Free Family Days we open the world of stories and knowledge to them through providing stimulating activities based on books.

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WIN  A COPY OF JOY’S NOVELS SPEED OF LIGHT & DUNGER.

Gheko Press are giving away copies of Joy’s two novels Dunger and Speed of Light, via the Dominion Post Capital Day Page. Just email capdaycomp@dompost.co.nz with “Joy Cowley” in the subject line by 5pm Saturday 23 August. Good Luck.

I’ve read Speed of Light and it’s a fantastic journey! Just when I was sure everything was going to fall apart in Jeff’s life with no hope of recovery… well, I don’t want to spoil the book, but the ending left me with a pleasant glow. If you don’t win a copy, you can always pick one up at Storylines Family Day tomorrow. If you get there before noon, Joy may have time to sign it for you.

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Julia Marshall, Director Gheko Press, with Joy Cowley and Paul Beavis.

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Storylines Family Day – Antarctica Zone

    Storylines Family Day Michael Fowler Centre Wellington

Sunday 24 August 10am-3pm

Shackleton Bear Goes SouthShackleton Bear.

Well, he’s actually come north, all the way from Christchurch to be with us for Storylines Family Day in Wellington! Author John McCrystal has gone all out to bring you a wonderful Antarctica Zone for Storylines Family Day.

We’ve collected samples of marine life from 1NIWA, real stuffed penguins from Te Papa, oodles of slides, photos and pictures, a real snow tent from Antarctica NZ, and a replica of the old stove from Shackleton’s hut in South pole.  Of course, Shackleton bear will be very happy to meet you! Visit him in our version of Shackleton’s hut!

ShackletonsHut
The real Shackleton’s Hut in Antarctica

Come along and make snowflakes, snow globes, and bear masks! Meet Shackleton, see John’s presentation about going to the Antarctic with Shackleton Bear and try on a real Antarctic snow suit!

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We also have a Monster Fun zone, a Bugs ‘N Bees Zone, a War Zone, and more fun.