Wow, you’ve done it again! 1020 names for our dragon shifters!
I love my readers. You’re such an awesome community and I’m so glad to have your creativity on board when I create new stories! But, 1020 names for dragon shifters and friends? How in the name of the First Egg did we do that?
A few weeks ago A.J. Ponder and I asked you to name some characters and magical artifacts in Snow and Red, our Dragon Shifters’ Hoard novel. Snow and Red releases in February next year in the Enchanted Kingdoms box set, a collection of 22 novels raising funds for Puzzle Peace, a charity that supports kids with autism! We also intend to continue the Dragons Shifters’ Hoard and add more books later!
When we asked you to name our characters, we knew you’d jump on board… but that many?
There were so many cool suggestions, it was hard to choose.
Snow and Red have their names from the traditional fairy tale of Snow White and Rose Red, who are sisters who provide a home for a bear in winter, only to discover that an evil dwarf cast a spell upon him, and he was actually a prince all along. They rescue the dwarf several times in the course of the story, and finally end up marrying the prince and his brother when they break the curse.
That’s how our main characters got their names!Of course, our story has a lot of twists not in the original…
Let’s hear who came up with the names that our characters are now wearing! Or will be, in future Dragon Shifters’ Hoard books. Now, for your names: *drumroll*
Hazel is Snow and Red’s mother — named by Coty.
Endora is Dante and Zeph’s mother — named by Kitty Kelleher.
Valnor is Dante and Zeph’s father — named by Christopher P Barrett.
Jena is Snow’s friend from school — named by Alicia Love.
Brock is Snow’s friend from school — named by Guy F Worley.
Riz Baker is an aggressive policewoman with a buzz cut— named by Carol Sue Breckenridge.
Black Oak is the name of a suburb in Pinevale where shifters live — named by Sandré Moore.
Starglow Sapphire, a precious artifact from the dragon shifters treasure hoard — named by Jasmine Breeden.
Thank you for all of your brilliant suggestions. It’s always fun to see the names readers come up with and to integrate your creativity into our writing process. We’ll acknowledge your contributions when we publish Snow and Red in the Dragon Shifters’ Hoard series. (It won’t be possible to include your names in the acknowledgements for Enchanted Kingdoms because we don’t have control of that publishing process).
To support kids with autism, please pre-order your 99c copy of Enchanted Kingdoms: 22 fairy tale retellings — that’s 22 novels in a variety of young adult fantasy genres by best-selling authors!
Sea Dragon Riders of Fire book 6 is live, completing the Riders of Fire series! I absolutely love this cover from Christian Bentulan. He’s done a beautiful job. I’m so excited to let this story swim out into the wide world. So far, feedback from my readers has been great, and I hope you enjoy Sea Dragon too!
Many readers asked what happened to Ithsar, the assassin whose fingers Ezaara had healed when she was being held captive by Ashewar, the chief prophetess—Ithsar’s mother in the Robandi Desert.
Due to their questions, Sea Dragon was born. The story has grown, also encompassing another young girl who hadn’t been seen since since she made her debut in Dragon Hero (all those moons ago). The two girls strike up a friendship, with remarkable results, and as those of you who’ve read Dragon War will know, Ithsar is able to help turn the tide of battle. (Sea pun intended).
Sea Dragon fleshes out some details that have been omitted from Ezaara’s adventures as the new Queen’s Rider, and concludes the war against Zens, rounding up some threads that readers may not have realized I’d deliberately left hanging. But wait, Riders of Fire isn’t over yet!
Riders of Fire Dragon Masters is an exciting new series that features the events leading up to Ezaara’s birth. Some of these books were originally planned as books 7-9 of the Riders of Fire series, however, new readers may like to read these adventures in chronological order. Splitting out the prequels into a separate series allows people to do this.
Here are the two series below, so you can see the gorgeous covers. I’m excited about working on the new stores for Riders of Fire Dragon Masters and hope you’re looking forward to reading them.
YA epic fantasy adventure. Series link here.
Book 1: Ezaara
Book 2: Dragon Hero
Book 3: Dragon Rift
Book 4: Dragon Strike
Book 5: Dragon War
Book 6: Sea Dragon
Riders of Fire Dragon Masters
YA epic fantasy adventure:
Book 1: Anakisha’s Dragon
Book 2: Dragon Mage
Book 3: Dragon Spy
Book 4: Dragon Healer
Riders of Fire Dragons
These prequels, can be read in any order:
1. Bronze Dragon (free novelette)
2. Ruby Dragon (short story)
3. Silver Dragon – free novelette only available here.
These are shorter stories about how many of the dragons and riders found each other. I hope to expand on this series as time permits.
A big thank you to my readers. Your energy and enthusiasm for my stories keeps me writing. I love your emails, messages and having fun with you on social media. It’s wonderful knowing you’re waiting for my stories! If you’d like to hang out in my Facebook group and have fun, pop over here.
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.
GeyserCon, NZ’s 40th national SFF convention, came, and it went — in a blur of sci-fi & fantasy discussion, events, education, networking, crafting, hilarity and fun. I had a busy weekend. For me, there were many highlights, best shown in photos! Okay, the photos aren’t brilliant, but they’re all I have!
Kids’ Workshop – Super Heroes & Interactive Fiction
Groan, not that early in the morning! Yes, it was worth it. Yes, we’re all bleary-eyed after little sleep the night before! The redwood forests in Rotorua were beautiful.
GeyserCon: Future of High Fantasy Panel
I had an interesting time moderating a panel discussion on the future of High Fantasy with fellow writers Laura VanArendonk-Baugh (Guest of Honour), David Hair, Mark Johnson and Dan Rabarts. This photo does not do the panel justice. Although the photographer only caught Mark Johnson laughing in this shot, we did have fun, and the audience did too. It was a stimulating discussion, first thing in the morning — a great start to the day.
Laura VanArendonk-Baugh (Guest of Honour), David Hair (thinking hard), Mark Johnson (laughing at David’s witty comment) and Dan Rabarts (listening)
GeyserCon: Marketing for Indie Authors
Yes, I did give a presentation and there is a photo somewhere on the internet on someone’s feed, but I don’t have it! Rumors said it was great though!
GeyserCon: Creating Fantasy Maps
Ava Fairhall teaches at Yoobee design school. I was lucky enough to meet her online in an international writers’ forum and find out she lived near me! Ava gave a fascinating presentation on creating fantasy maps. The huge coloured map on the left is Dragons’ Realm, the world of my Riders of Fire series.
The fun kept going all weekend!
Ready to rock! Watch out for the guy in the back! He’s trouble (Darian Smith is a great writer of epic fantasy).
Cosplay Guests of Honour
Lauara VanArendonk-Baugh & Alena VanArendonk, our international cosplay experts, entice Lee Murray into a costume. Well, a hat anyway.
You’d never believe that in real life Alena (right) has really long hair!
Victoria Dreyer had a fun time with kids (young and old) in the craft corner (writers have multiple talents). No prizes for guessing which piece of dragon-themed jewellery I made!
World Con 2020 – ConZealand
There was lots of cool news about ConZealand, WorldCon 2020! You can get more info here and confirm the rumours that George R R Martin is toastmaster and that great authors like Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon will be here in NZ next year!
I haven’t been active on my blog for a month because I’m writing Dragon Rift (book 3, Riders of Fire). Time and words here on my blog are words that aren’t happening in my new novel!
However, I do have some cool news to share.
Monday Morning Indie
I was recently interviewed on Monday Morning Indie, Connie Huddleston’s blog. Connie also reviewed Ezaara, which was very kind of her.
“Ezaara from Eileen Mueller’s Riders of Fire series is an excellent beginning for a fantasy [series] revolving around dragons. I found the characters to be well developed, diverse, and interesting. “
In this interview, among other things, I reveal one of Kierion’s secrets. Kierion helped Roberto out in Ezaara, but has a much larger role to play in Dragon Rift. Find out a little more about him here.
Stay tuned via my newsletter to find out how Kierion’s story unfolds in Dragon Rift.
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.
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
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
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.
The 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.
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!
The 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
A Door for Every Book!
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!
Radio 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!