My readers are amazing. I’ve had so many of you asking after Dragon Strike and sending me wonderful messages about Riders of Fire. It’s been a blast writing my books, knowing you’re waiting out there to gobble them up!
Recently I issued a challenge to my readers via my newsletter, and asked them to suggest names for characters in my short story, Ruby Dragon (to be published in 2020) and in Dragon Strike!
I also had a wonderful response to my request for character names. I was blown away by receiving over two hundred names, most of them well-suited to Dragons’ Realm. Choosing was really tricky!
Here is the roll call of honor for my fabulous readers who named characters in Dragon Strike!
Thank you to:
Amy Condra for naming Willow, a young widow in Lush Valley
Susanne Galley for naming Tylishia, a young mage
Monica Lewallen for naming Arturo, another young mage
Riley Gentsch for naming Warlin, Roberto’s beekeeper friend
John Rambish for naming Warlin’s wife Anastia, the best seamstress in Naobia.
My readers and reviewers deserve 5 gold stars!! Thank you.
I’ve been so lucky to have enthusiastic readers draw wonderful Riders of Fire Fan Art. I’ve been very slow to post these cute dragon pictures, but wanted to take a moment before the year ends to showcase some of the wonderful talent out there.
These lovely creations have been made by readers of all ages and walks of life. I hope you enjoy them.
I’d like to acknowledge the Indie Fantasy Fanatics, who hosted my fun game which encouraged budding artists to show us their work!
Last but not least, not fan art, but a fan of some art…
I’m currently in the USA! Yes, this is a big deal. Although I’ve been around the world many times, and even lived in Switzerland for years, most of my international travel was before I had kids. And man, did I have kids … lots of them.
So coming to the 20books Vegas indie author conference was amazing. I’m still overseas so my internet connection isn’t always brilliant, so I’m posting a few photos here and will put more up when I get home.
Meet me this week – Salt Lake City
By the way, if you’re in Salt Lake City, I’m meeting readers and writers tomorrow night, Tuesday 19 November, at Hatch’s cafe at 7pm, 376 East, 8th Avenue.
If you’re a friend, email me and I’ll let you know where I’m seeing friends tonight, Monday 18 November. That goes for anyone I’ve met in New Zealand or Switzerland over the years.
Okay, onto 20books Vegas!
Mal Cooper who writes as M D Cooper and I had a great time as dragons. Although Mal does look particularly fierce here, she has a great sense of humor and is hilarious fun, as well as being a NY Times best-selling author with her sci-fi world Aeon 14. If you check out this book, you’ll see the ‘cat suit’ Mal is wearing on the front cover. We call them jump suits in NZ or latex paint-ons, but hey, I’m in the States right now, so cat suits they are!
Dragons don’t always have to be fierce…
I met a fellow rainbow-haired dragon too, a Brit living in Aussie! Tony Slater’s partner, Rue – or is it Roo after kangaroos? – and I had lots of fun while Tony captivated us with hilarious tales of his travels. Everything he writes is humorous, even his sci-fi and travel books, so hanging with them was fun.
I was surprised to find out that everything was about authors at 20books Vegas. Even the menu. But Jeff Kohanek and I tucked right in, in true dragon style, and ate Eric T Knight for dinner!
I have squagillions of photos yet to post, but I’m staying in Salt Lake City at a friend’s house, so I can’t work all day (like I have the last 3 days!). I’ll pop the photos up over the next couple pf weeks and keep you up with the antics of a thousands of authors in Vegas. And no, it was not about gambling – and all about books!
They’re reading Riders of Fire here! And here! And there!
I recently ran a contest for my Riders of Fire readers. Here are the results. Meet my readers from around the world.
Our Riders of Fire readers grand prize winners are Zach and Cherish
Cherish is from Madrid, Iowa USA, and loves Ezaara. She says, “The Riders of Fire books are original and they pull you in!” She sent some lovely photos of her having fun with dragons, a trainee dragon rider, swords and magic! Scroll down to see more of Cherish!
Cherish’s A2 poster of Dragons’ Realm is being flown by dragon post to her doorstep!
Zach has many aliases, including Zach the Shark, because he gobbles up so many books and is always prowling the waters of Amazon looking for more! (If you didn’t realize Amazon was a sea, it is now! I claim poetic license). He helps run a Discord Server for readers in his spare time, loves gaming and is a valiant Rider of Fire, leading the troops against Commander Zens!
When asked what he likes about Riders of Fire, Zachary tells us, “I love the dragons, fast paced feel. You do not fear having loss or darkness, and of course your overall creativity.”
Wow, that’s cool and totally unexpected. Thanks, Zach.
I’m hoping the dragons don’t freeze their wings off flying up to Canada to drop Zach’s Dragons’ Realm poster to him. (I’m also hoping the sharks don’t eat them, but don’t tell Zach that!)
The following readers have won lanyards which are in dragons’ saddlebags, winging their way to their doors.
Christine Steffens in Minnesota loves all things dragons and even has some pets that like to steal her e-reader and read about their fellow dragons. Look at this cutie!
Christine’s wee dragonet even matches the color scheme for Bronze Dragon, which is quite a feat! I wonder if the dragon is a chameleon, changing color depending on what book its holding.
When asked what she loves about Riders of Fire, Christine says, “Dragons, of course!”
Yeah, I get that!
Andrew loves dragons too (surprise!) and owns a super-sized copy of Dragon Hero which he’s proudly cradling above. He’s a Dragon Hero himself, out crusading against tharuks and battling evil.
Originally from Australia, he’s now at home in Ohio where it’s rumored that dragons are plentiful and there are many tharuks to fight. He loves audio books and e-books!
Andrew says, “I love the connection between dragons and their riders, and not just in your books, but others as well. Especially when the dragons are good and not evil. Can’t wait for the next in the series.”
The words of a true dragon hero! Go Andrew!
Cherish’s daughter is also a fan of dragons and got into the spirit of things. I don’t usually publish kids’ names on my blog. But here she is, armed with her sword, a trusty dragon at her side, and a great book to read!
Way to go!
Ina was in a playful colorful mood and tried out Zaarusha’s rainbow colors while riding dragons!
I love this attitude of experimentation and the bright upbeat colors that every dragon rider should wear as a warning that we will triumph over evil tharuks and the darkness of Commander Zens’ Death Valley!
Ina says Riders of Fire is “Intense and mystifying.”
Well, in this photo, I think Ina is too!
When asked what he likes about Riders of Fire, Richard Goodrum sent me this photo, with the simple statement, “Dragons!”
I asked him if he had any further comments, and he said, “Dragons!”
I think that says it all! He’s obviously fiercely loyal to a species that has a special place in our hearts!
Deb lives in the USA and loves Riders of Fire. She’s an e-book, print book and Audible fan and has the books in all three mediums! That’s pretty awesome.
Rumor has it that she’s writing books of her own, but not about dragons. Hey, it doesn’t always have to be about dragons! Good luck, Deb.
More Riders of Fire readers
In January this year, I had a surprise when someone called me out of the blue and wanted to visit! Elena and Alisha devour all the books in their local library and often make recommendations to the librarians, who are happy to order titles they like.
It’s cool to know that Riders of Fire even has a home in Crockett!
If you live in Crockett, Texas, feel free to take my books out of the local library. Also feel free to recommend them to your own library!
And yes, we three do actually have eyes. It was just a bright sunny Wellington day!
More Riders of Fire readers’ comments
Some readers didn’t have photos, or experienced technical glitches when uploading, but wanted to let me know what they thought of the series. Here are their comments.
Sherryl Taylor of Eugene, USA, says, “I LOVE LOVE LOVE DRAGONS. Have loved them since I was a kid. Now I’m a 66 year old kid!”
I know young adult fiction appeals to readers of all ages. I’ve had a kid of 9 years old write to me about my books and also pensioners in their late eighties who enjoy a dragonback adventure as much as teens do!
Stuart McClements of Bellshill says, “I like all things fantasy and horror!”
Although I don’t write stirct horror, I do have a couple of dark short stories about dragons that haven’t been widely published (in magazines or out-of-print anthologies). They may hit the light of day as soon as I have a good cover. So hang in there, Stuart, and you may get fantasy dragons with a tinge of horror!
Gene Mallard of Lilburn, Georgia, loves the covers of Riders of Fire.
A special thank you to Christian Bentulan, my amazing cover designer! He really has helped this series come to life.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in sharing their love of Riders of Fire.
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!
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…
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 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
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.
Would you like to be famous? Or win cool Riders of Fire dragon swag?
Yes? Read on…
I’ve finished the draft of Dragon Strike, and guess what? At 180,000 words, it’s big enough to be two books! Yes, Dragon Strike and Dragon War (working title) will be coming out later this year.
To celebrate the release of Dragon Strike, Dragon War and my Riders of Fire audio books later this year (yay!!!!), I’m offering you a chance to star on my blog! Just send me a photo of you with one of my books – paperback, e-book or audio book!
If you don’t like photos, feel free to send your own art of dragons or riders from Riders of Fire! Or a just photo of my book somewhere interesting.
I’ll collect the photos now, and be publishing them in November before the books launch.
Prizes – cool dragon swag
What cool dragon swag am I giving away? You’ll go in the running to win one of:
2 x poster-sized color maps of Dragons’ Realm by Ava Fairhall (unframed – excuse the late night photo!)
5 x e-books
10 x bright Riders of Fire lanyards featuring your favorite dragons.
Note: Due to expensive international postage, I can only send posters and lanyards to Canada, USA and NZ. (I’ll be in USA in November). I can send e-books internationally. I’d love your photos from all around the world.
The final tally of EFFy nominations has been done!
Ezaara and Dragon Hero are now in the judging round.
Thank you so much for your support in nominating my books.
The Epic Fantasy Fanatics Readers’ Choice awards (EFFys) are running for the first time this year. Readers were able to nominate two books for the awards. However, there was a catch. Each book had to be nominated 100 times in order to be judged.
With Riders of Fire being such a new series, and books from many previous years also being eligible, I faced a TSUNAMI of doubt! (Yes, the tsunami is in capitals because it was huge!)
But you came through. We rode that Tsunami and beat it, with our surfboards still intact!
Here are the lovely EFFY nomination badges that you managed to get for my books. Once again, thank you!!! It’s great to have such loyal readers who are enjoying Riders of Fire.
To celebrate, many of the EFFY authors have teamed up to offer Sorcerers of Summer, a fantastic promotion with their nominated books at 99c for this week only. Sorcerers of Summer finishes on 22 July, so get in quick here or click the image below.
Here are the #2019EFFys Round Two Qualified Titles!!!
A Meddle of Wizards, by Alexandra Rushe
A Muddle of Magic, by Alexandra Rushe
Arcane, by Sever Bronny
Awakening, by Ross Kingston
Balam Spring, by Travis M. Riddle
Blade of Memories, by Tina Hunter
Daughter of the Dracken, by Kathrin Hutson
Dragon Hero, by Eileen Mueller
Eve of Snows, by L. James Rice
Ezaara, by Eileen Mueller
First Magyc, by Nicole DragonBeck
GLYNSHADOW, by Steve Hansen
Heart of Shadra, by Susan Faw
Heart of Tyr, by Susan Faw
If a Dragon Cries, by Gary J. Darby
Kingshold, by D.P. Woolliscroft
Mother of Rebellion, by B.K. Boes
Oathbreaker, by Aaron Hodges
Phate, The Cosmic Fairy Tale by Jason Alan
Recreance, by H.G. Chambers
The Sage, the Swordsman, and the Scholars, by Pierre Dimaculangan