Lee Murray Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse

Today I’m interviewing Lee Murray about her latest children’s book, Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse, a clever book that breaks with tradition and presents a classic theme in a new light. These zombies are not like anything you’ve seen before. I loved this book and thought you may too, especially with Christmas coming up. Kids love video games – or reading about them!

Everyone loves a new computer game, especially Seb, who accidentally downloads a game that turns all the adults in Bridgetown into zombies. He and his friends must figure out how to save the world – after he deals with his screaming little sister!

Let’s see what Lee has to say about her book…

Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse.

Congratulations on the release of Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse! What’s the story about?

Twelve-year-old Seb downloads the latest Chaos game, along with its new subliminal feature. It’s awesome: hero Bastion Axestone storms though town, slaying the zombies. But after Seb downloads the game, all the adults in Bridgetown, maybe in the entire world, turn into zombies. Talk about a disaster! Now Seb and his best friends, Darren and Talia, have to work out how to reverse the effects of the game. Only, it’s not so easy to save the world, when you need to walk the dog and look after your baby sister Ava…

What Hogwarts house would your Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse characters Seb, Darren and Talia be in?  

Sebastion and he tells me he’s a Gryffindor, like his zombie-slaying hero Bastion Axestone. It’s true they’re both inclined to be courageous—or maybe reckless is a better word. Seb’s mate Darren likes to think he’s a Gryffindor too, but, in reality, Darren’s a tried and true Hufflepuff. He’s a good friend, though. Loyal. Patient. Darren’s always there to help Seb out of a pickle, including letting Seb copy his maths answers before Mrs Pike turns up to class. Talia is Seb’s secret crush. The prettiest girl in school, she’s a Ravenclaw: a stickler for rules and ultra-smart. 

Is Bridgetown a real place?

Bridgetown is definitely a real place, only I’m not sure where. It could be in the US, or maybe in Australia or New Zealand. I should google it sometime. I’ll know it when I see it. It has a Founder’s Park in the middle of town, a school, sport fields, and streets named Mannering and Hulme. The thing is, Bridgetown could be anywhere that people spend too much time on their devices and ignoring the things going on around them.

 At the end of Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse, readers are equipped with a REAL solution to the zombie problem. That concept could be worth millions of dollars, and yet you wrote it in a book. Why?

That’s the fantastic thing about speculative fiction; it allows us to test possible futures from a safe distance (where no one is actually being chased by teeth-gnashing ravenous zombies) and, sometimes, when we’re writing these stories we stumble across practical solutions to real problems. Of course, readers looking for clues to surviving the apocalypse, will have to pick up a copy of the book and find out for themselves.

Are any more books planned in this series?

Yes! I’m currently writing two more adventures involving Seb, Darren, and Talia called Dawn of the Mutant Invasion and Dawn of the AI Revolution. A Spanish language version of Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse is also in progress and will be available from IFWG Publishing, Australia.

Lee Murray, author of Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse.

Lee Murray is a multi-award-winning author and editor. Her books for children include Battle of the Birds, Misplaced, and Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse, among others. She lives in New Zealand’s sunny Bay of Plenty, where she conjures up stories for readers of all ages from her office overlooking a cow paddock. https://www.leemurray.info/dawn-of-the-zombie-apocalypse

@leemurraywriter  https://www.leemurray.info/contact

Riders of Fire Audio Books on Audible

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that Audible Studios  have produced Riders of Fire audio books for Ezaara, Dragon Hero and Dragon Rift, the first three books in the series. They’re up on pre-order now and will available to listen to on November 5th (subject to time zones) on Audible .com – USA, Audible .au – Australia, Audible.can – Canada and Audible.uk – United Kingdom.

We’re lucky to have the fabulous Caitlin Davies onboard as narrator.  Caitlin, an award-wining narrator and actress, has narrated many books in various genres.  I discovered her when listening to Lindsay Buroker’s Dragon Blood series and Alisha Klapheke’s Fate of Dragons. She has a great voice and excellent narration. I hope you enjoy her rendition of the first three Riders of Fire books.

As you can imagine, Caitlin and I have had fun with my pronunciation guide. I created MP3 files, using my fantastic New Zealand accent to pronounce all the fantasy names in the series. It’s been great emailing each other and gaining insight into the narration process. Seeing Caitlin discover Dragons’ Realm and our courageous dragon riders and dragons was fun. It was quite an adventure, especially my rendition of growly, snarly tharuks, some of whom only speak broken English. Despite my weird kiwi accent, I know she’s done justice to the characters. I hope you enjoy listening to Riders of Fire. Now you can enjoy your favorite series out walking, doing housework or working, anywhere at any time.

Get Riders of Fire on Audible here.

Storylines Notable Book Awards – Fun in Auckland

Storylines Notable Book Awards

It’s been a while since I received my Storylines Notable Book Awards for Ezaara and Dragon Hero — for excellence in young adult fiction. I was absolutely thrilled to be among such distinguished company with my roaring dragons! Although I posted on Facebook and told my readers about it in my Riders of Fire newsletter, I haven’t had the opportunity to update my blog for ages.

The awards ceremony took place in Auckland. As well as awarding Notable Book Awards to young adult authors, there were awards for picture books, junior fiction (middle-grade novels or chapter books), books in Te Reo Maori, and non-fiction.

On the way to the Notable Book Awards

I manged to snap a selfie while waiting for my minibus to the awards. In case you’re wondering, I don’t constantly change the colour of my hair. I do it twice a year (it takes hours) and it just fades to all sorts of shades in between.

 

 

 

 

I’m no good at selfies, but hey, everyone’s nose needs to look a little bigger, right? I heard that photo recognition software has been updated to take into account that selfies produce enormous noses!!

Young Adult Fiction

One of the highlights of being at the Storylines Margaret Mahy and National Awards Day  was seeing many NZ authors I hadn’t caught up with for ages. Here’s a shot from the Storylines NZ website of the authors whose books won awards in the young adult category.

Mandy Hager

Mandy Hager (far right) won the Margaret Mahy Medal, and gave the keynote talk, which I loved. Mandy has so many New Zealand books awards that her pile must be  taller than me. It was great to catch up with her and hear her views about writing for teens.

“This, to me, is the definition of a great book, words that implant themselves in the heart of the recipient and become a part of them. Stories with power — be that the power to move, to challenge, to console, to excite, to anger, to motivate, to laugh, to cry, or to really truly think.”

— Mandy Hager

Life-giving Fingers

Another highlight of the day was seeing the heart surgeon who operated on one of my tiny premature twins, saving my baby’s life back in 2001. Alan Kerr was there for the launch of his son-in-law’s book. We just happened to sit next to each other. I tell you, New Zealand is such a small place. Wherever you go, you end up knowing people.

2019 Alan Kerr at the Storylines Notable Book Awards with Eileen Mueller

Alan saved my child’s life, years ago, then when he retired, he went on to save the lives of many in Palestine. Here’s a great article detailing the work he’s done in his life, saving thousands of kids like my one.

To top off the evening, I went out to dinner with an old friend from my university days. It had been 20 years since I’d caught up with Grant Hand and we had fabulous time, laughing way too loud and sharing our sad and good memories with each other. It’s amazing how you can pick up with an old friend right where you left off, even after years.

The Wellingtonian

My awards also featured in the last ever edition of The Wellingtonian. Thanks to journalist Jamie Adams for all his tireless work, covering community news for years, and for this final shout out, in his article Dragon Books Prove a Flaming Success.

My Readers are Orsum — Kiwi for Awesome!

Many of the authors on the Storylines Notable Books List have been published by large publishing houses — Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Walker Books, Allen & Unwin or Harper Collins — or by NZ medium-sized publishing houses such as Gecko Press, Upstart Press, Huia, Duck Creek Press or Potton & Burton, so I was thrilled that my books received awards and this level of national recognition.

Having said that, above any awards, I prize the emails I receive from my readers across the world who are touched by Riders of Fire and Ezaara’s adventures. Thank you for sharing your reading journey with me. Thanks for committing the time to enjoy my work. And thanks for letting me get to know you. It’s a privilege. You rock!

Midnight Echo – Issue 13 – One for the Money

Midnight Echo – issue 13

My short story, One for the Money, has been published in Midnight Echo, issue 13, The Australian Horror Writers Magazine.

Be warned!

Although not pure horror, One for the Money is a lot darker than my usual fiction. Midnight Echo also contains horror content, so if you like your fiction dark, you may enjoy this, otherwise, run screaming!

One for the Money

Although the charismatic Simon Jones makes macabre dares, he pays big money, so, desperate, Tessa agrees to stay overnight in The Grotesquerie, his collection of creepy animal statues.

Simon suspects he’s found another hapless victim for The Grotesquerie, but unbeknown to him, Tessa has hidden talents…

Midnight Echo

Featuring fiction, non-fiction and poetry by:

  • David Schembri
  • Marty Young
  • Natalie J Potts
  • Rue Karney
  • DC Davidson
  • Claire Fitzpatrick
  • Eileen Mueller

Issue 13 is guest edited by Paul Mannering, with co-editors Helen Stubbs and Isobel Blackthorn, through the AHWA Mentorship Program.

The issue also includes the winning stories from the AHWA Short and Flash Fiction competition 2017 by Chrisi Reardon and Xanthe Knox.

Available on Amazon :

Warning: Although my story is a dark fantasy piece (quite dark – much darker than my usual fiction) Midnight Echo also contains horror content.

Be assured, I always write an upbeat ending, even if my story is dark.

Free Books – Load up your E-Reader for Christmas

Free books for Christmas

Do you love exploring?

Imagine all the worlds out there waiting for you…

Actually, you don’t have to do the hard work of imagining them yourself. Authors that have done that for you — by creating amazing worlds that you can explore. Imagine that!

WIN!

With 49 free books on offer and a chance to win a $25 gift card, you’re bound to find something you love to read over Christmas — military thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, dragon riders, paranormal, sword, sorcery & archery. There’s even a unicorn lurking on one of the covers in the background, and a zombie staring out of another.

Three New Zealand authors feature in this promotion, too.

So, if you like your kiwi military thrillers gritty and dark, check out Into The Darkness by Lee Murray. For humorous sword and sorcery, try The Secret Child by A.J. Ponder. Also check out Teyla Branton’s The Change, a paranormal urban fantasy with an intriguing cover. And plenty more!

You might even find one of my dragons lurking there! It could even be a bronze one who’s lost his rider…

Click here or click the image below to try your free books and WIN, because if you receive a gift card or not, it’s still a WIN with your e-reader full of books for the holiday break.

 

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.

5 More Sleeps Until Riders of Fire Launch

Dragons Realm - Dragons' Hold from Ezaara, Riders of Fire

Yes, there are only 5 more sleeps to go!

Riders of Fire Launch: Saturday, November 17, 1:30pm-3pm

Join the Facebook event here

The Wellington launch for Riders of Fire, is this Saturday 17 November. The New Zealand paperback editions of Ezaara and Dragon Hero will be winging their way home with happy readers!

But that’s not all. The Riders of Fire launch is going to be great fun.

Kicking off with archery with John Turner, the afternoon includes prizes for best archer and swordsperson, sword fighting demonstrations from Company of the Dragons, a costume parade, and readings from Ezaara and Dragon Hero, the first two books in the Riders of Fire series.

It’s cosplay time! So, come as a dragon, a fighter, or anything you like! You’ll also get a chance to duel with the pros! (Foam swords provided). There might even be real swords (blunted) on display.

There will also be crafts for those who’d like to create their own dragon. A variety of costumes will be available for use on the day, as well books for children and young adults. You can even take selfies in front of a castle with a dragon!

Riders of Fire Book LaunchIn the lead up to the launch over the next 5 days, I’ll be showcasing Dragons’ Realm, the world of the Riders of Fire Series. So, I’m sharing snippets of the map created by talented Ava Fairhall, who will also be there on the day, should you have any questions about creating your own fantasy world.

Here are some of the snippets I’ve posted on Facebook already.  Dragons Realm - Dragons' Hold from Ezaara, Riders of Fire When Ezaara imprints with Zaarusha, the Dragon Queen of Dragon’s Realm, she’s swept up in a blaze of emotion, and must  abandon her home, family and everything she knows.

Zaarusha sweeps her off to Dragons’ Hold, the home of tough dragon masters and riders, where she’s tested as the new Queens’ Rider. Luckily, she’s assigned a  dragon master to help her. Although rumors say she’d be better off with the enemy than Master Roberto.

Roberto grew up in the deep South in Naobia, where his father, Amato was captain of the green guards, the dragons who protect the southern borders of Dragons’ Realm. But Amato hid the darkest of secrets.

Broken by his father, Roberto flees to Dragons’ Hold with his sister Adelina. He works hard and becomes a dragon master, using the strange talents gained through his father’s treachery, but his legacy haunts him every day.

One night, Ezaara, an untried, untrained and ignorant girl from Lush Valley, of all places, turns up, claiming to be the new Queen’s Rider. Not if Roberto can help it. He’s determined to find her weaknesses and cast her out to die in The Wastelands. But to do so, he has to use the very talents he hates.

See you on Saturday!  If you’d like an ebook as well, both ebooks, Ezaara and Dragon Hero,  are still 99 cents until after the launch.

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

99c Adventures for a few days only – Dragon Hero & Ezaara

Riders of Fire, Young Adult dragon adventures, a wild ride of thrills and danger, Ezaara Book 1, Dragon Hero book 2 by Eileen Mueller

 

99c – only for  a couple more days

Get in quick! Not 99c for long!

No 1 & 2 on an Amazon Hot New Release list

Riders of Fire - cool dragon series Amazon hot new release

Dragon Hero is here! Book 2 in the Riders of Fire series is on pre-sales, going live on Nov 8. For the next few days, copies are only 99 cents.

Ezaara is also on sale at 99c, but not for long.

If you love dragon adventures…

If you’ve always wanted to read one of my books…

If you need a good read…

In Lush Valley it’s crime to even talk about dragons… read more about Ezaara

Tomaaz never wanted to be a hero, but when his sister disappears with a dragon, dark family secrets thrust him and his entire village into danger…  read more about Dragon Hero here.

Have fun in Dragons’ Realm!

Ezaara – Riders of Fire, Book 1 is here

Ezaara, Riders of Fire, book 1 - YA dragon rider adventure

Ezaara

In Lush Valley, it’s a crime to even talk about dragons…

When Ezaara meets Zaarusha the Dragon Queen, she’s swept up in a blaze of emotion and they imprint, forming a deep bond. But she must give up her home, her family and everything she knows to become the new Queen’s Rider. Ignorant and unprepared, how can she possibly succeed?

Luckily, she has a dragon master — although rumors say that with help like his, maybe she’d be better off with the enemy.

Plunged into a world of cutthroat politics and traitors in every shadow, who can Ezaara trust as Commander Zens and his army of bestial tharuks march closer, destroying villages and enslaving the people of Dragons’ Realm?

What personal price must Ezaara and her Dragon Master pay to save their people?

Do you love  heart-pounding adventure, true love and dragons? Start your adventure today! Pre-order on Amazon, now, at a special price!

The special price of 99 cents is only valid until 18 October 2018. Afterwards, Ezaara will be listed at $US 3.99. Click this link to start your dragon riding adventure!

Then scroll down to get my free short story, Silver Dragon.

Ezaara - Riders of Fire

Ezaara has been a long time coming.

Nine years ago, I decided to write a book. When I began, the only thing I could see was the edge of a dragon’s multicolored wingtip. So I had to start asking questions.

Who does the wingtip belong to?

A dragon, Zaarusha, the Queen of Dragons’ Realm.

Who is seeing the wingtip?

A teenage girl, Ezaara, who isn’t even sure if dragons exist.

Where is she?

In a clearing in a forest.

What happens next?

She imprints with the dragon, forming a deep and everlasting bond. Ezaara is ripped out of her life in the sleepy backwater of Lush Valley, where it’s a crime to even talk about dragons, and plunged into a world of danger, deception and adventure.

Why does the dragon choose her?

Her mother has a dark and terrible secret that she’s hidden from Ezaara and her twin brother, Tomaaz. A secret that defines who they are. A secret that rips their family apart, throwing them into the jaws of malevolent enemies.

A secret that spawns the series, Riders of Fire.

  • Book 1: Ezaara
  • Book 2: Dragon Hero — 8 November 2018
  • Book 3: Dragon Rift — early 2019
  • Book 4: Dragon Strike — mid 2019

Riders of Fire Novellas, coming in 2019:

  • Book 5: Dragon Healer
  • Book 6: Dragon Mage
  • Book 7: Dragon Calls

Stay tuned, because I’ll be giving away a free short story, Silver Dragon. You can sign up to receive your copy here.

Fans of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern and Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle will love Riders of Fire.