Sir Julius Vogel Award Nominations

SJV Award
Sir Julius Vogel Award

Nominations for New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards for science-fiction, horror and fantasy close this Saturday 15 February 2014 at 8pm.

I have two works Ahi Kā and Twisty Christmas Tales, which have been nominated for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, however they need to be nominated multiple times to get on the short-list. If you have a few minutes, please send an email or two. 🙂

To see Ahi Kā, go to this link and scroll down past the judges’ comments.   Twisty Christmas Tales is available here   If you’d like me to send you a copy of either of these works, please contact me here.

Rules: You can nominate as many stories as you like, but each nomination must be in a separate email. An individual can only nominate each work once. You must provide your name and email address (see 10 in red below) with each nomination. Please also feel free to nominate other NZ sci-fi or fantasy stories published in 2013.

Email the following to SFFANZ

  1. Title of nominated work: Ahi Kā
  2. Name of Producer / Author / Creator: Eileen Mueller & Alicia Ponder
  3. What the work is: Short story with interwoven sonnet
  4. Year of First Release: 2013
  5. Publisher / Production company name: NorthWrite 2013 website (NZSA Northland Branch)
  6. What category: Professional awards, short story
  7. GENRE:  Fantasy
  8. This work won the NorthWrite 2013 Collaboration contest and appeared on the NorthWrite website in December 2103: http://northwrite.co.nz/northwrite2013-collaborative-competition/
  9. Contact details of the person making the nomination:  Your Name:                   Your email address:
  10. Comments:

In a separate email: send the following to SFFANZ

  1. Title of nominated work: Twisty Christmas Tales
  2. Name of Producer / Author / Creator: Eileen Mueller, Alicia Ponder, Peter Friend
  3. What the work is: Anthology
  4. Year of First Release: 2013
  5. Publisher / Production company name: Phantom Feather Press
  6. What category: Professional: Collected Work
  7. GENRE:  fantasy
  8. E-book available at http://www.amazon.com/Twisty-Christmas-Tales-Festive-Children-ebook/dp/B00HA070BU
  9. Contact details of the person making the nomination:  Your Name:                   Your email address:
  10. Comments:

🙂 THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! 🙂 

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.

I’m on SpecFicNZ’s blog

SpecFicNZ (SpSpecFicNZeculative Fiction New Zealand) featured a post about us winning the NorthWrite 2013 Collaborative contest with our collaborative short literary work, Ahi Kā. Go here to see SpecFicNZ’s post.
Alicia Ponder and I won first equal in this competition.

Two other SpecFicNZ writers are mentioned for receiving an honourable mention in the same contest, for their collaborative short story: Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray.
SpecFicNZ is a great organisation that supports both NZ writers  and readers of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror.) If you write, or love all things fantasy, horror, or sci-fi, I encourage you to join.

 

 

More of My Stories to be Published In Disquiet Anthology

I have great news. 🙂Boy_Scared about Disquiet

Two of my short works – a poem and short story – have been accepted for the Disquiet anthology, a compilation of dark stories that will ‘make your toes curl.’ All of the works in this book are set in New Zealand and Australia and are by Antipodean authors.

The details are still under wraps, but rumour has it that this collection of disquieting stories will be roaming our streets in mid 2014. Keep your windows locked and a torch by your bed!

 

Eileen Mueller featured on Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways Blog

My story Dad’s Wisdom was mentioned in a review on in the Baby Teeth anthology recently on The Horror Fiction Review. About my story, the reviewer said, “Other very good stories include “Dad’s Wisdom” by Eileen Miller about a boy taking advice from his dad on what to feed a dragon under his bed;”  Short and sweet! Yeah, Miller/Mueller, I get all sorts of spellings! (They got Eileen right, which is  a bonus!)

HTTS-Boot-Camp-Header2-940x72I wrote to Holly Lisle recently, who has been an amazing writing mentor for me. She has published my letter on her How To Think Sideways blog, and you can read it here.

Holly Lisle runs a novel writing school called ‘How To Think Sideways’, which includes a number of free writing courses, as well as larger clinics, workshops and career courses. I’ve done many of them. Her courses are great, she’s a straight-shooter, right to the point, who provides great frameworks for writers, and goes into more depth than I ever thought possible. On her free marketing forum board, UGLY BABY (the name is a long story), Holly offered a free bonus clinic to anyone who got paid over $50 USD for their fiction work. I did. So I qualify for her really cool upcoming Create a World Clinic (my choice.) For the next $250 I earn above and beyond that, I qualify for a free workshop too. Holly gets such a kick out of seeing writers flourish. It’s one of her aims in life to leave a legacy of writers she has taught.

Click here to do her free flash fiction course.  Or sign up to Holly Lisle’s UGLY BABY fiction marketing group who brainstorm together about selling their fiction. Click on this link to the post about me and follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.

Eileen Mueller featured on Helen Lowe’s blog

“Here’s SpecFicNZ–Wellington”: Featuring Eileen Mueller – I was recently featured on Helen Lowe’s blog, as a Wellington member of SpecFicNZ (Speculative Fiction of New Zealand.) Hop over to Helen’s blog to find out more about what drives me to write, hour after hour, into the wee hours of the morning almost everyday!Twisty Christmas Tales - Festive Stories for Children of All Ages

Twisty Christmas Tales is still up on Amazon for those of you that would like to prolong your Christmas spirit and enjoy crazy Christmas Capers on your i-pads or kindles. If you don’t have a kindle, you can download Kindle for PC free from Amazon and read it on your computer. Or you can go to Smashwords and order the pdf (word processing version.) You can even print the pdf and read the stories that way.

My work was also posted on New Zealand Society of Authors’ NorthWrite website – Read my winning entry, Ahi Kā written collaboratively with Alicia Ponder. To find our piece, you have to scroll beneath the judges comments to the actual winning entries. Ahi Kā is a complex piece, its background is here. How we wrote the piece is here.

I’m looking forward to a great 2104, and hope you’re all well and happy and that 2013 has been good for you.

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!

Twisty Christmas Tales – News!

Twisty Christmas Tales DomPost CapDay GiveawayFree Giveaway!

Today, Friday December 20, the DomPost are giving away 5 free copies of Twisty Christmas Tales. To enter email capdaycomp@dompost.co.nz by 5pm on 20 December. One entry per person. Give it  a try and see if you can win a copy of our crazy Christmas stories!

Review

Our first review for Twisty Christmas tales is live on Amazon. See what our reviewer thinks by following this link and scrolling down to his review. I’ll give you a hint, Twisty Christmas Tales got five stars! ♥♥♥♥♥

Get your e-book in time for Christmas!

While you’re there, grab ‘Twisty’ as a stocking filler and introduce your kids our crazy Christmas capers. They’ll soon be ho, ho, ho-ing at our stories and laughing at the surprises we leave them at the end of each tale. Twisty Christmas Tales gives insight into Kiwi Christmases in more ways than one, and also takes a quick peek into the lives of two children who are less privileged than we – who end up very happy with their own versions of Christmas. But mostly, Twisty Christmas tales adds a dash of the absurd and a sprinkle of magic to our festive season as Christmas in space, junior mad scientists, funny monsters, bird life, fairies and elves run amok in between the e-pages.

See Amazon, Smashwords or my previous blog post.

Cook Strait Times ran this story about Twisty Christmas Tales. The quality of the image is not great unless you click on it to view it in the gallery. You can also see the story online here (just click on the page to Cook Striat News Twisty Christmas Talesenlarge it.)

 

Ahi Kā – Winning Entry in NorthWrite 2013 Collaboration

gold-3d-number-one-medal-vectorAlicia and I were thrilled to win first equal in the NorthWrite 2013 Collaboration contest with our short work Ahi Kā. (The contest was run by run by the Northland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors.)

It was the first time that I had attempted collaborative writing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This story started as a pair of teenagers running through the bush from something menacing, but grew until  it included Māori mythology, mental illness, some kiwi history, Shakespearean influences, paranormal creatures and a frenzied pace of action. The line between reality and fantasy is thin as Ahi and Manaaki desperately try to outrun demons.

To read our story online go to this ‘NorthWrite 2013 Collaboration – Judges Comments and Winning Entries post.’ You’ll need to scroll down past the judges comments about the entries, then ours is the top story.

To understand our references to New Zealand mythology, see the Māori legend about how Maui bought fire to the world. Political elements are also included via oblique references to Māori land wars (see below). The contest required a 2 short stories or a short story and a poem, so our piece includes a sonnet and some direct quotes from Shakespeare within that sonnet.  This work is completely different to anything I’ve written before and was a very intense collaborative writing process. My earlier post details that process.

Note: These translations may help when reading our work. Manaaki = hospitality, support; Ahi = fire; Ahi Kā = to keep the home fires burning; burning fires of occupation; gain a title to land through long-term occupation; hold influence over land and defend successfully against challenges, thereby keeping their fires burning.  (Source Māori Dictionary online)

Have fun reading. We hope you enjoy the other entries as well.

Twisty Christmas Tales – Festive Short Stories for Children of All Ages

Twisty Christmas Tales is live!!!

Twisty Christmas Tales - Festive Stories for Children of All Ages
Twisty Christmas Tales – Festive Stories for Children of All Ages

Buy this e-book at Amazon or Smashwords for $US 2.99

What will Santa put under your tree this Christmas? A present that growls? A battered old bike? Or wings to fly?

Twisty Christmas Tales —ten crazy Christmas adventures for the whole family! Christmas in outer space or at the beach, carolling gone wrong, a strange elf creating havoc in Santa’s workshop, monsters running amok, and a junior mad scientist who turns Christmas into chaos.

Come along for the sleigh ride of your life, as these Twisty Tales weave their festive magic .

This Christmas anthology contains ten fantasy and science fiction short stories for children of all ages, written by three New Zealand award-winning authors, Eileen Mueller, Alicia Ponder and Peter Friend. Twisty Christmas Tales is available as an e-book at Amazon and Smashwords.

Amazon link for mobi files for kindle e-readers. This link will take you to Kindle for PC.

Smashwords link for all other formats – epub, pdf, rtf, lrf, Palmdoc (pdb), plain text or html files. (pdf, rtf and plain text will run on word processors, html can be viewed on screen) Some of these formats do not include covers.

Peter, Alicia and I hope you enjoy our Twisty Christmas Tales, some with a  New Zealand flavour! Please feel free to post a review on Amazon, Goodreads and Smashwords when you’re done! 🙂

Sign up as a reader in the box to the right, using the dropdown menu, and you’ll receive news about my stories as they go live.