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!

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

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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Call of the Sea

At The Edge anthologyCall of the Sea – Living Through Loss

Thirteen years ago today, my son died. He was half of fraternal twins – the healthy half. His twin sister had been chronically ill for two years, and I had been housebound caring for her. Tough times for an extrovert.

After her recovery, we had a normal life for three months, out & about with the twins and their older brother. Having fun.

Then Tommy died, overnight of strep A.

Plunged into an abyss, I had to keep mothering, keep going for my kids. I’m so thankful I had them to wake up to. My husband and I clung to each other in an ocean of grief. Our family was our life raft. The community rallied around us, keeping us afloat. It was fourteen months before I laughed again. Two years before I felt anywhere near normal. Our family would never be the same again.

We now have four healthy kids and one somewhere ‘on the other side.’

My story, Call of the Sea, in the At the Edge anthology, explores how easily people lose their sense of identity when they lose a child. In order to survive, we need to be nurtured. Kendra, estranged from her cheating ex-husband, doesn’t get this support. As her life disintegrates, she journeys to the edge of insanity. Or is she sane? Maybe the rest of the world just can’t see what she does.

Tiny excerpts from Call of the Sea:

From the first scene…At the Edge_front cover

“Wind moans through the tunnel on the deserted playground. The ropes on the massive climbing frame jerk. Grey waves thrash the shore, flinging spray over the naked sand. The Pōhutukawa dance, the silver underskirts of their dark green leaves flashing, like shy debutantes ‒ as if to tempt an unsuspecting fool into loving them.
My hands itch for a brush and canvas.
Breathing deeply, I shove the swing harder than I need to.
“Higher, Mum,” Aihe calls, swinging her legs for momentum. But she doesn’t get far. The gale is against us.”

… and from the second scene…

“Is that Mr Lenton?” a woman’s gravelly voice asks. “Mr Terry Lenton?”
Mr? Definitely not work. “Speaking.”
“This is Inspector Turner of Wellington Central Police.”
Terry clears his throat. “Yes?”
“Sir, we have your children in custody.”
“What? My kids!” Terry’s pulse bounds, fork clanking onto his plate.
“Could you come down to the station right away, please?”
“What’s happened? Where’s Kendra?”
“We were hoping you could tell us.”


At the Edge
available from 1 June 2016 on Amazon

Step up, as close as you dare…

…to a place at the edge of sanity, where cicadas scritch across balmy summer nights,
at the edge of town, where the cell phone coverage is decidedly dodgy,
at the edge of space, where a Mimbinus argut bounds among snowy rocks,
at the edge of the page, where demon princes prance in the shadows,
at the edge of despair, where 10 darushas will get you a vodka lime and a ring-side seat,
at the edge of the universe, where time stops but space goes on…

From the brink of civilisation, the fringe of reason, and the border of reality, come 22 stories infused with the bloody-minded spirit of the Antipodes, tales told by the children of warriors and whalers, convicts and miners: people unafraid to strike out for new territories and find meaning in the expanses at the edge of the world.

Compiled by award-winning editing team Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray, and including a story by Arthur C. Clarke finalist Phillip Mann and introduction by World Fantasy Award winner Angela Slatter, At the Edge is a dark and dystopic collection from some of Australia and New Zealand’s best speculative writers.

At the Edge will be launched next weekend at Au Contraire 2106, the National New Zealand Convention of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Attack on Dragons Realm 99c now!

Attack on Dragons Realm on 99c pre-order

Phantom Feather Press have put my latest e-book on 99 cent pre-order – so family and friends can grab a copAttack on Dragons Realmy before the real price kicks in. But be quick, the offer ends soon.

Attack on Dragons Realm – Blurb

Drums pound the danger signal. Tharuks, monsters from another world, are attacking Dragons’ Realm. Three friends must separate – Jerrick must train as a dragon rider, Benno as a warrior and Reina as a wizard. War grows closer every day. To save their families, they must endure tough training and overcome their darkest fears. Only the upcoming battle will prove their worth.

An interactive book, where you choose how you read the story. One beginning, one end and three middles – you choose which order you read them in.

Other Dragons Realm novels

Attack on Dragons Realm is the prequel to Dragons Realm – A You Say Which Way Adventure. In Dragons Realm, you are running from the school bullies when you stumble through a world gate, into a world of dragons. monsters and magic. You make decisions as you read, changing the shape of your reading experience. With 22 possible endings, you can read and re-read,  experiencing a different stories.

Attack on Dragons Realm is also the prequel to Riders of Fire, my young adult series to be released late 2016.

I originally wrote Ezaara, the first book in Riders of Fire, seven years ago. Despite fifteen revisions, winning an award for the first three chapters, and an offer of publication in 2013, I wasn’t happy with version fifteen! Over the years, my beta readers for Ezaara have begged me to publish the book, wanting to know what happens in books 2 & 3!! (And yes, book two is already written, but no one has seen it! I wasn’t sure how to fix these books.)

After more years writing and honing my craft, I’m now in a position to revise these books. I’m excited. Dragons Realm is a fun, intriguing world I love to explore. It’s exhilarating – riding dragons, mind-melding and falling in love on dragon-back. I can’t wait to work on these books.

In the meantime, Attack on Dragons Realm, suitable for 10-13 year-olds, or Dragons Realm (8-12 yrs olds) are available on Amazon.

Attack on Dragons Realm is a fun adventure with exciting action and twists. Attack on Dragons Realm is available in paperback and e-book. Get your copy here now! 99c kindle offer ends soon.

Attack on Dragons Realm paperback cover. By Eileen Mueller
Attack on Dragons Realm paperback cover.

 

Sneaky Tip – Four More YSWW

I had a real surprise today! I got a text from my publisher, saying Four More You Say Which Way Adventures is live as a box set on Amazon today!

4 More YSWW cover V7 slim
Four More YSWW Adventures!

Four More YSWW Adventures contains the four newest You Say Which Way books:

  • Dragon’s Realm
  • Dinosaur Canyon
  • Deadline Delivery
  • & Creepy House

This box set contains four interactive e-books by New Zealand authors:

  • Creepy House by D M Potter
  • Dinosaur Canyon by Blair Polly
  • Deadline Delivery by Peter Friend

Dinosaurs, dragons, pirates, wild dogs, monsters, weird divers and a spooky house – all in one boxed set. Kids will have hours of fun exploring Four More YSWW Adventures and finding lots of cool endings. Be the hero in your own story with You Say Which Way.

Dragon Tales is live!

Dragon Tales is live on Amazon!

Dragon Tales by Eileen Mueller
Dragon Tales – short stories for kids

Happy New Year! Well, we finally got here. 2015 is fading and 2016 beckons on the horizon. This has been a hectic year, and the holiday season has been no exception!

My latest book, Dragon Tales, has just been released by Phantom Feather Press. Dragon Tales, a collection of dragon-themed stories for kids, will be at a special introductory price of $0.99 for the next few days, so family and friends can grab a bargain before the price goes up. Available on Amazon.

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

Dragon, dragons and more dragons… modern dragons, medieval dragons and dragons in unexpected places! The full Dragon Tales blurb is here.

I wish you a happy start to the New Year and a great 2016. May many great books come your way! If you’d like to know when my new books are out, sign up for reader updates!

Dragons Realm Number 3 on Amazon

Thank you!

Dragons Realm is Number 3 on Amazon

WOW! I am thrilled.

Thank you to all my loyal readers for your support!

Wow! Wow! Wow!

Dragons Realm is available here if you’d like a copy. Its a You Say Which Way adventure, so have fun saying which way the story goes. Watch out for strange creatures lurking in Spanglewood Forest. And don’t let go of your picnic lunch! It may come in handy!

Dragons Realm No 3 Amazon

Dragons Realm (You Say Which Way) by Eileen Mueller
A You Say Which Way adventure

Plain text link:  http://bit.ly/1Mjcad1

 

 

Dragons Realm launch

Dragons Realm

My first novel

A ‘You Say Which Way’ e-book – now available on Amazon!

Escape the school bullies and stumble into Dragons Realm – a world of dragons, magic  and adventure. Can you trust the strange people you meet? And will the bullies follow you? Luckily, you’re prepared with a  great picnic lunch.

Dragons Realm. Next generation storytelling, where YOU say which way the story goes.

Dragons Realm (You Say Which Way) by Eileen Mueller
A You Say Which Way adventure from the Fairy Tale Factory

Dragons Realm is suitable for kids over 10, or younger kids who read well – although children up to 110 will enjoy it too! You choose the outcome of your story! Have fun and beware of tharuks lurking in the forest.

fairytalefactory logo Great price! 99c but not for long!

I’d like to thank my publisher, The Fairy Tale Factory, who are offering Dragons Realm for 99c as an introductory offer on Amazon. The e-book is available for pre-order now, and will be sent to your device in time for the weekend. If you’d like to order the book, I’d love it if you order before Friday, as this will help boost Dragons Realm’s rankings on Amazon.

If you don’t have a kindle, you can download this book to your tablet, i-pad, phone or computer. Just open your browser in the device you want to install Kindle reader on, and click the appropriate link, below.

Kindle for PC [Download]

Kindle for Android

Enjoy riding dragons miles above Spanglewood Forest, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for those bullies!