Check Out the Photos – NZ Launch – Riders of Fire

Riders of Fire Launch Photos

We had a great Riders of Fire launch today, with archery, sword fighting, dragon crafts, a treasure hunt and medieval costumes. It was wonderful to see everyone having fun and really cool to share Dragons’ Realm with them.

Giant John led us in archery.The target?

Well, here he is. I don’t know what he did to deserve that role…But he performed admirably! Even though archers big…

… and archers small, took shots at him.
Luckily his body armour didn’t get pierced!
And the winner of the archery contest?

Well, here’s why Isaac did so well. Arrow nocked, sighted… and fired…… with great trajectory and even better facial expression!Our local journalist came long to interview the teens who’d read the book!

There were dragonets……and a definite cosplay winner!
Company of the Dragons sent Tara and ‘Fluffy’ to fight the people…
Giant John just couldn’t resist the challenge.
The sword fighting was intense … So was the book signing!
The treasure hunt was made possible courtesy of Ava Fairhall……who created an oversized map of Dragons’ Realm in brilliant colour……which even teens wanted for their bedroom walls! (I’ll post about the map-making journey soon!) Ava hid 5 tiny, -well-disguised treasure chests on the map… which kept everyone busy. The winner had a keen eye and a fast pen, skills needed by every dragon rider!More winners…Kids made their own dragon wings and flappable dragons……even big kids! I mean, who doesn’t want to be a dragon, right?
We had a blast. The whole community pulled together to make this happen—from my fantastic cover artist, Christian, in the Philippines, to my family, the archers and human target, our sword fighters,  map maker, editors, critique partners and caterer! A big THANK YOU to everyone who made this launch possible. A special thank you to my business partner, A.J. Ponder, my teen beta readers Ash, Lisa and Denika, and all of my readers and reviewers! Without you, none of this would be possible.

To all of my readers: enjoy your adventures with Riders of Fire!

Ezaara & Dragon Hero, with Dragon Rift & Dragon Strike in 2019.

Don’t miss out. Join my reader’s group here, for my free Riders of Fire stories, Silver Dragon & Bronze Dragon, coming soon.  Thanks again for being part of this wonderful, supportive community.

Chatting with Sherri – dragons!

Sherri Rabinowitz & Eileen Mueller talk dragonsToday, Sunday, at 3pm New Zealand time, or Saturday 7pm Californian time yesterday, I’ll be on air with Sherri Rabinowitz on her show on Chatting with Sherri, hosted at BlogTalk Radio.

It like being a time-traveller, speaking on radio today and knowing that people in America will be hearing us yesterday! Yeah, we kiwis always laugh at the confusion that our timezone creates in the rest of the world! Luckily, when you visit Sherri’s site, your local time shows so you’ll know when to tune in. Pop over and try it!

Sherri and I haven’t caught up for while, so we’ll be discussing all things dragons, including Ezaara and Dragon Hero, the new books in my young adult Riders of Fire Series, and why people like dragons.

You may even discover the crazy hobby I had that inspired me to write about dragons, a hobby that took me to Switzerland, where I met Kurt.

Enjoy the show and I’ll enjoy chatting with Sherri!

Ezaara and Dragon Hero, books 1 & 2 in Riders of Fire, a young adult dragon rider series by Eileen Mueller

Eileen on Blog Talk Radio

audio-15604_1920Radio host Sherri Rabinowitz interviewed me on Blog Talk Radio  about winning a Sir Julius Vogel Award, my books, dragons, and my real passion in life.

We also had fun discussing interactive fiction, strategies for dealing with bullying, kids’ literacy and literary festivals. It was  blast. Please download the podcast here. I hope you enjoy listening to the show!

Sherri is an actress, radio host for Blog Talk Radio and author. Her Amazon page is here.

Podcast is here.

Download Instructions: Go to the dark bar at the top of the screen and click the download button (a cloud with and arrow in it. Sherri says it resembles a tree! She’s right.)

Dragons with Lee Murray

Interviewed by Lee Murray

 

Lee Murray Writer
Lee Murray

Talking dragons is one of my favourite past-times. Okay, and reading, writing and flying on dragons too… Whatever, dragons are cool. My middle-grade dragon fiction caught the attention of Lee Murray who has won five Sir Julius Vogel Awards and an Australasian Shadows Award for writing and editing.

 

On her blog Lee Murray.info, she interviews me about my dragons – yep, about the one that’s too short to fly, others that hide in the bathroom, your desk, and even in… Oh well, you’ll have to pop over and visit Lee and I to find out the rest!

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.

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!

IMG_8346

bear-mask20140731_112026

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

Storylines Family Day – Monster Fun Zone

Storylines Family Day, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington,

Sunday 24 August, 10am-3pm

At Storylines Family Day there’s a great Monster Fun Zone.Three of this year’s featured authors had books about Monsters so we decided to let everyone enjoy the fun!

Phoebe Night Creatures
By Jenny Hessell
tabiwha
By Moira Wairama.
Mrs-Mos-Monster-cover
By Paul Beavis

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are two Monster Parades with our monster authors judging, and monster books as prizes. We can only guess what their criteria will be — the loudest roar, the funniest costume, the best growl or monster scowl? Come along and find out. Parades at 11:30am & 2pm.

monster parade-grey

Paul Beavis has been at work in his studio creating some monstrous props for kids to have fun with… rumours are that kids can have a turn being one of Mrs Mo’s monsters… come along to Storylines Family Day and find out how!

Mrs Mo's Mosnter

Moira Wairama is bringing her taniwha along to join the monster parade.

Storylines Family Day Taniwha

And although Phoebe is brave when she gets haunted by night creatures, we’re going to have a monster tunnel that kids can leap into to battle their fears. Yes, they can go straight thru the monster’s teeth and wriggle inside it! They’ll never be afraid of monsters in the night again! Here is a top-secret sneak preview of the monsters costume! It will look much better on the tunnel! See you tomorrow, Sunday 24 August, WP_20140823_005Michael Fowler Centre, 10am – 3pm. Go here for a copy of the program. Go here for more info about other Storylines Family Day activities. See you there!

Storylines Family Day – Wellington

Storylines Family Day is coming to town!

What is Storylines Family Day? A fun action-packed day of bringing books to life for kids (old and young.) I’ve been coaxing stuffed penguins out of Te Papa, cajoling entomologists to let their precious bug and spider collections see the light of day, mingling with monsters, sweet-talking soldiers, and skating on thin ice to help create an Antarctica zone.

MrsMoandMonster
Meet Mrs Mo’s Monster in the Monster Fun Zone.

How? With a fantastic committee of dedicated book enthusiasts whose creative ideas have brought our festival to life. Storylines Family Day 2014 will be a day to remember!

Come along and make a monster, be a monster in our monster parades, or climb though our monster tunnel!

Meet Shackleton Bear and visit his Antarctic Hut. See Antarctic marine samples from NIWA. Wriggle into an Antarctic suit, then go into an Antarctic sent to experience Shackleton’s hut.

ShackletonsHut
Shackleton’s hut is still intact in the Antarctica today.

 

WW1trenches
Life was tough in the trenches in WW1.

Get camouflage paint and try on army gear with real NZ Defence Force soldiers. See the World War One gallery and taste hardtack. Make weapons, I mean, poppies and medals. Learn about Gallipoli.

At Storylines Family Day, you can meet beekeepers, try on their gear, and check out lots of creepy crawlies!

Help illustrators make murals, meet your favourite authors, see storytellers and performers in action. Join in with the ukulele orchestra, see string ensembles and hear Virtuoso Violins in action.

And if you just want to curl up in a corner with a  book, you can go to our Scholastic books Out Aloud zone and listen to your favourite kiwi authors read their stories.

Come along and have some fun.

Eileen Receives Special Mention for Homeless Flash Fiction

Just for fun, I recently entered a worldwide flash fiction competition run by Inscribe Media (based in Britain.) The goal was to create emotion using 20 words or less.  I had fun creating a few entries and was surprised when I received a special mention for this little story of 19 words:

Scraps of rotting pumpkin, cast-off shoes….A bitten hotdog! Starving, he shovels it down, stumbling to the next bin.Blanketmanwiki

As a teenager, I bought food for homeless people on the streets of Wellington. When I lived in Switzerland, people were amazed when they saw me buying hot food for those living on their streets — something as simple as a hotdog, a slice of pie, or some fruit to brighten their day. From the reactions of the Swiss, I could tell this was a rare occurrence.

Nowadays, attitudes have changed. The photo above is of Ben Hana, a.k.a ‘blanket man,’ who lived on the Wellington streets. Many showed kindness to Ben, who chose to live on the streets. When he died there was a temporary public memorial set up and a public funeral. He had become a persona and a part of many people’s lives. He was offered accommodation and clothing, but chose to live without both.

Perhaps we can’t make a huge difference in everyone’s lives, but a spot of kindness lets them know that people still care. One small token of love could give them hope to carry on. And if many people could give that token of kindness, then someone could be fed or housed. bin rummaging

I have a close friend who lived on the streets for two years as a part of his young adult life. It started with a choice to see how the other side lived, then he got stuck. He was always grateful for a offers of a night’s accommodation, but often turned them down, going to sleep in a barn or shed, outside, or in the local homeless shelter when the weather was rough. Soup kitchens, kind donations of food and charity organisations helped him get along until he turned his life around. He’s lucky. He’s now has a successful career, a great family and a wife who adores him. Few would ever guess that he has been there.

Another friend of mine said his roughest months were being homeless in winter, in London, living in a cardboard box. Cold and wet, inside a carton? The thought of it always makes me shiver.

We are all community members, and we can make a difference. But what can we do?

Seven years ago, I started an initiative to collect grocery items for battered women. I used an existing group to channel the collection. I was amazed when we were told that, each year, our weekend collection provided enough food for 6 months. Women who had left their homes in desperation when being abused and gone to the Wellington Women’s Refuge, could receive a few of our groceries to help them get on their feet until state assistance came through. We expanded the collection and included furniture and mountain buggies for kids, twin prams etc, kindly donated by a local company that we approached. Now, I am no longer involved, but that legacy lives on and that annual collection still takes place.

A few years ago, I engaged my local church to bake Christmas cookies for the homeless. Each year since then,  this group has donated goods at Christmas time. Initially, we donated hygiene kits (toiletry items etc) and cookies to the ‘Wellington Night Shelter’  – a homeless shelter for men. Soon others in our neighbourhood heard what we were doing and started to donate home baking  as well.

Sometimes we also reached out to include homeless women at the ‘Wellington Women’s Boarding House.’  Their toiletries were packed in gift wrap, to be given to each new resident as a welcoming gift. They received home baking at Christmas. I advertised their plight in a local news article and more donations came flooding in – turkeys for Christmas dinner and gifts for the women and children.

In 2013, that same church group delivered survival kits to the Night Shelter. These were home-sewn bags which contained essential survival items (torches, water, food, survival blankets, first aid items etc) to be used in the event of an emergency (earthquake, flood etc.) I was happy to see that, although I wasn’t involved, this same group had expanded and built upon my initial idea and were continuing to provide for those in need.

Get involved. Start a collection through your school or community group. Help out at a local food bank, make a donation to a local charity, do something kind for the next ten homeless people you see. Then keep on giving. It’s a great feeling, and highly addictive. 🙂

Eileen was awarded a New Zealander of the Year Local Heroes Award for her community service.

What has KurtX been doing since New Zealand’s Got Talent?

Go to KurtX’s website to see his audition and semi-final performances. Or see my earlier blog posts about his audition and semi-final on NZGT!

KurtX, harmonica hero from NZ's Got Talent
KurtX plays the harmonica at Carols by Candlelight – Wellington’s iconic Christmas show

Carols By Candlelight with KurtX!

Kurt blowing the crowd away as he blow his harmonica for all he's worth!
Kurt blowing the crowd away!

You guessed it. KurtX was invited to perform at Carols by Candlelight, an iconic Wellington Christmas celebration for the last 20 years. Kurt did what the organizers termed ‘an ACDC rendition’ of ‘Once in David’s Holy City!’ It was amazing.

And yes, I am still a firm fan of KurtX. He did not disappoint! The crowd loved his performance.

KurtX plays harmonica for Pack the Bus
The bus – Pack the Bus

Pack the Bus!

Straight after his semi-final appearance in New Zealand’s Got Talent, Kurt was approached by The Breeze, a local radio station, to perform for their Christmas ‘Pack the Bus’ tour.

KurtX and I had great fun collecting gifts for needy families for Christmas. KurtX entertained the kids with modern harmonica renditions of a hip hop version of ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ and a more traditional take on of ‘The First Noel.’

We went to four local schools. The children really got into the spirit of Christmas by bringing gifts and foodstuffs to see needy families through the festive season. By the end of the tour, the bus really was packed full to the brim with food and toys of all description, and the storage room at the City Mission was overflowing.

Eileen & KurtX with a mountain of gifts for charity
Eileen & KurtX with a mountain of gifts for charity

Because we participated on the last day of the collection, the bus was so full that we could hardly walk down the aisles! We were grabbing gifts and propping them up as we drove back through town to the radio station! New Zealanders are known for their generosity – we were humbled to see it in practice.

Packed Bus!

To prolong your Christmas, read Twisty Christmas Tales!

Here is KurtX’s website. What will 2014 bring for KurtX? He has plans – we’ll keep you updated!