Jacinda Adern Answers Dragon Plea & Cameos in Riders of Fire

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes a cameo appearance in Riders of Fire, Eileen Mueller's award-winning series.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes a cameo appearance in Riders of Fire, Eileen Mueller's award-winning series.

Jacinda Ardern

Our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has received a plea from a young New Zealander to research psychics and dragons. She responded, returning the $5  the child had enclosed, and asked whether those fire-breathing mind-reading dragons actually wore suits!

Jacinda’ s cameo in Ezaara

Jacinda Ardern has a cameo in Ezaara, Riders of Fire, book 1. First, I have to explain that New Zealand is a tiny country. We all joke that we know each other, live in each other’s pockets and that there are only 3 degrees of separation here in our country.

When I lived in Switzerland, we played a game whenever I ran into a kiwi over there. We’d ask those around us to set their stopwatches and I’d ask rapid-fire questions about the new person until we found someone that we both knew. We usually managed to do that within a minute. Under 60 seconds most times. The longest it ever took was 90 seconds. The Swiss were astounded. Yeah, I can talk fast — and used to be able to think faster than I spoke! Anyway, the point is that I know Jacinda Ardern and met her and her sister Louise years ago. The last time I saw her was a few years ago for afternoon tea at parliament.

When she was appointed leader of the Labour Party, shortly before she was elected Prime Minister, I was working on Ezaara, so I named a character after her. Jacinda has a small role in Ezaara, but who knows…? Maybe in Dragon Strike it’ll be time for her to become a hero in her corner of the world, the way Jacinda Ardren is for many New Zealanders today… I’ll have to see where the plot takes me.

I’ve been meaning to send Jacinda the books, and Louise has given me a nudge, so it’s probably time to pack them up and ship them across the city to her office. I doubt she’ll have time to read them yet (so many parliamentary reports to get through), but why not?

Articles about Jacinda’s dragon fan are here.

Why Dragons?

The telepathic bond between dragons and humans is a fantasy trope that readers enjoy. Imagine having someone who understands your every thought and dream. Who can feel your emotions and desires instantly. Who can carry through the skies on their back, traversing lake-studded meadows, and soaring over snowy peaks and arid deserts.

Someone powerful enough to destroy enemies with fire. Or to toast your marshmallows on a wintry night, their scales glinting in the firelight. Someone fierce and loyal and brave and true.

Someone who loves you with devotion, but understands your weaknesses and your good intentions, even when you mess up. Someone stronger than monsters, wiser than humans, and older than the hills, yet with a strength and majesty that defies age.

Someone whose wingspan dwarfs houses.  Someone who can shelter and protect you better than any house.

That’s the fascination of dragons. Perhaps, if Victoria finds a benefactor for her dragon research, Jacinda Ardern’s next international trip could be on dragonback.

What do you think? And why do you like dragons?

Sir Julius Vogel Awards – Ezaara on Shortlist – Thank you

Sir Julius Vogel Awards – Finalists

The Sir Julius Vogel awards shortlists came out while I was standing behind a stall at Armageddon flapping my dragon wings and chatting to readers about books. In the flurry of cosplay, book talk and oddly-garbed visitors popping by the stand, I nearly missed the announcement.

Nearly.

My friends were far too onto-it to let that happen.

They tagged me on social media, and after hours on my feet, as I got home, drooping and all talked out (yes, imagine that!), I saw the great news.

Ezaara is on the shortlist for Best Youth Novel.

Thank you to everyone who enjoyed Ezaara and nominated her adventure. Voting takes place at GeyserCon, the 40th national science fiction and fantasy convention in Rotorua over the first weekend in June — New Zealand’s Queen’s Birthday weekend. It should be a fun convention. Come along and say hi!

Here is the full shortlist for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards :

2019 Sir Julius Vogel Awards – Finalists

 

Sir Julius Vogel Award

PROFESSIONAL AWARD NOMINEES

Best Novel

  • The Kingfisher’s Debt by Kura Carpenter (IFWG Publishing)
  • Restoration Day by Deborah Makarios (Oi Makarioi)
  • Into the Sounds by Lee Murray (Severed Press)
  • Teeth of the Wolf by Dan Rabarts & Lee Murray (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • The Voyage of the White Cloud by M. Darusha Wehm (In Portentia Press)

Best Youth Novel

  • When Gina Pressed Enter by Elise De Silva (EDS Publishing)
  • Ezaara, Riders of Fire, Book 1 by Eileen Mueller (Phantom Feather Press)
  • Lutapolii – White Dragon of the South by Deryn Pittar (Junction Publishing)
  • Quest by A.J. Ponder (Phantom Feather Press)
  • The Suburban Book of the Dead by Jamie Sands

Best Novella / Novelette

  • Where the Sun Does Not Shine by Paul Mannering (Adrenaline Press)
  • Skin Deep by Violet Penrose (Griffon Press)
  • The Glassblower’s Peace by James Rowland (Published in Aurealis #114, September 2018)
  • The Martian Job by M. Darusha Wehm (Choice of Games)

Best Short Story

  • “On the Run” by Kevin Berry in Te Korero Ahi K? (SpecFicNZ)
  • “Girls Who do not Drown” by A.C. Buchanan (Apex Magazine, December 2018)
  • “We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice” by Octavia Cade (Strange Horizons)
  • “A Devoted Husband” by Melanie Harding-Shaw (Breach Zine)
  • “Dead End Town” by Lee Murray in Cthulu: Land of the Long White Cloud (IFWG Publishing)

Best Collected Work

  • The Fairies of Down Under and other Pakeha Fairy Tales by Geoff Allen (Makaro Press)
  • Te Korero Ahi Ka Edited by Grace Bridges, Lee Murray and Aaron Compton (SpecFicNZ)
  • 80,000 Totally Secure Passwords that no Hacker Would Ever Guess by Simon Petrie
  • Cthulu: Land of the Long White Cloud Edited by Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequiera and Bryce Stevens. (IFWG Publishing)

Best Professional Artwork

  • Cover for Te Korero Ahi K?, Created by Evelyn Doyle (SpecFicNZ)
  • Cover for Quest, Created by Craig Phillips (Phantom Feather Press)
  • Cover for Capricious 9, Created by Laya Rose (Capricious)
  • Cover for The Baker Thief, Created by Laya Rose (The Kraken Collective)

Best Professional Production/Publication

  • Breach Magazine, volumes 5-9 Edited by Peter Kirk
  • New Orbit Magazine Edited by Naomi Moore (New Orbit Productions)
  • Writing from a Dark Place by Lee Murray (Victoria University Press)
  • Overgrown by Laya Rose
  • Info Text subtitles for Earthshock, on Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 19 Blu-ray Box Set (BBC, 2018) by Paul Scoones (BBC)
  • Black Archive #15 by John Toon (Obverse Books)

Best Dramatic Presentation

  • Wellington Paranormal, Directed by Jermaine Clement and Jackie van Beek (New Zealand Documentary Board)
  • Mortal Engines, Directed by Christian Rivers (Universal Pictures)

FAN AWARD NOMINEES

Best Fan Artwork

  • The Thirteenth Doctor by Laya Rose

Best Fan Production/ Publication

  • The Future According to Mikey (Curdled Milk Productions)
  • Star Trek in the Park – The Trouble with Tribbles (Enterprise Entertainment)
  • Phoenixine Edited by John and Lynelle Howell (Phoenix Science Fiction Society)

Special Award Nominees

Best New Talent

Kura Carpenter

The Kingfisher’s Debt is Kura Carpenter’s debut novel and very cleverly set in an Urban Fantasy world overlaying (or underlying, depending on your perspective) Dunedin, New Zealand. The writing is crisp, the plot excellently designed and executed. The work, I believe, clearly shows a writer who has taken the writing process seriously, from conception to drafting, to re-drafting, and producing a book that fits neatly into the Urban Fantasy genre while also having a strong Kiwi flavour.

Saf Davidson

With her unique and empathetic perspectives on disability, sexuality, and the human condition, Saf Davidson has quickly cemented herself as one of the foremost upcoming New Zealand SFF writers. Her work on serials “Tourist” and “Mountain Sound” has garnered broad praise, and as an award-winning comics writer and editor of games, it’s clear that she refuses to be put in a box—whether creatively or professionally.

M.W. Innes-Jones

As Concealment’s publisher, I nominate and highly recommend this fast paced, action packed and gripping Sci-Fi novel. The below precis speaks for itself.

Our genes: will they be our hope or our undoing?

Three centuries from now humanity has made its last stand – a city high in the Swiss Alps, a place of safety and security from a deadly past. This is the reality of Nathanial Paquette’s life and it has been this way for the whole of his sheltered twenty-three years. But with a knock at the family’s apartment door everything changes. Now he must face an uncertain future and unexpected truth – he is genetically altered, and what really matters is what lies hidden within his blood.

Together with eleven others, Nathanial discovers not only does he have to navigate the competing agendas of the city’s ruling council and a man of science but survive the rigorous training he and his fellow recruits are faced with.

It’s a world where friendships are forged, enemies are made, and death awaits – ever wanting to become everyone’s new best friend.

This is the first book of a six-book saga, I promise you, you will be on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end. The author quickly draws you into the characters’ lives and their world and moves the story along at pace. Using compelling language, this new author reels you into the narrative and leaves you wanting for more.

Deborah Makarios

Deborah Makarios has produced a beautifully presented novel that is warm, laugh-out-loud funny, full of twists, and well-drawn characters. The fantasy has not only believable characters, but the land itself is a key character, possessing a magic of its own. She sticks to her genre, but the surprises are many along the way, and the ending is satisfyingly positive. Effortlessly woven into the fast-moving story, there are many current themes – the environment, justice, corporate greed and racism – even though the setting is old. I can’t wait to see what Makarios produces next.

The back-cover description of the novel is as follows:

“Princess Lily was born to be queen, but she leads a pawn’s existence in the shadow of her guardians’ control. She dreams of the day when she will take her rightful place in the world.

At last her chance arrives, with a quest for the three Requisites of Restoration Day, the royal rite which renews the life of the land. But she’s been hidden away too long, and Arcelia has changed.

Stripped of everything but the identity which has become a life-threatening liability, Lily will need to do more than cross the board if she is to emerge triumphant as the queen she knows she must be. The land she thought was hers becomes the field for a gripping game–and this time she’s playing for her life.”

Fraser Newman

Anna Ryan

Since writing and publishing her first novel (The Lady in the Coat) in 2017, Anna’s confidence of writing horror stories has been continually improving. She is a real enigma in the world of horror writing.

What astounds more than anything, is that Anna understands how the brain works; how we, as human beings cope/deal with fear, terror and paranoia.

After reading Deceptive Cadence, Anna’s collection of short stories, you will question the noises you hear as you drift off to sleep at night. Could there really be someone lurking outside you window, waiting?

And let’s not forget the monsters living in The Room at the End of the Hall. They cannot be real, can they?

You will seriously second guess yourself after you have read Deceptive Cadence. You will jump at every noise you hear.

Anna Ryan is an up and coming writer with imagination and writing skill to be a hugely successful horror writer

News Round Up – Dragon Rift

Monday Morning Indie Ezaara Riders of Fire review

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. “

Monday Morning Indie Ezaara Riders of Fire review

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.

Connie has many good books reviewed on Monday Morning Indie, so pop over and have a look.

Indie Shout Outs

Ezaara was also featured on Indie Shout Outs, a blog run by Alice de Sampaio Kalkuhl, which lists cool indie-published books. So hop over and see if there’s anything on her list that appeals to you.

Indie Shout Outs

My readers are the best.

So many of you have written me encouraging notes, telling me how much you love Riders of Fire, how Ezaara was great, and Dragon Hero is even better, and that you can’t wait to read Dragon Rift.

Some of you have asked whether I can just write faster and be finished with the series already.

I’m going as fast as I can. And it’s an exciting journey!

I’m hesitant to confirm a publication date until the book is with the editor. I was working part-time last year, so it’s hard to estimate how soon this will be ready, now that I’m writing full-time.

Please be patient, and if you sign up for my newsletter and free books, you’ll be the first to hear (after my husband and kids)!

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.

1 More Sleep to Go until Riders of Fire Launch!

1? Only 1 sleep? Wow! I’m so excited! Saturday is the launch of Ezaara & Dragon Hero here in NZ

Both books start in Lush Valley, where it’s a crime to even talk about dragons…

When Ezaara imprints with Zaarusha, Queen of the dragons, she’s whisked off to Dragon’s Hold. Read more about her adventures & Dragons’ Hold here.

About Dragon Hero

Tomaaz doesn’t believe in dragons, until the dragon queen abducts his twin sister, Ezaara. When she goes missing, his parents reveal dangerous family secrets. That night, his father is wrongly imprisoned while his mother heads deep into Death Valley to atone for a dreadful crime.

To make things worse, an army of bestial tharuks attacks his village. No one is prepared. Tomaaz doesn’t know who to save. Should he rescue Pa from prison, help the villagers, or follow Ma into enemy territory? Or should he save Lovina, the abused daughter of a traveling merchant?

Tomaaz has to act fast, because Commander Zens and his clone armies are marching through Dragon’s Realm.

 

And what about Last Stop? Why is it called Last Stop? And who lives there?

Come and find out, at the launch of Riders of Fire tomorrow in Wellington! Archery, sword fighting, cosplay, dragon crafts, the treasure hunt and more!

Riders of Fire Book Launch

Ezaara and Dragon hero are available on Amazon for the next week for 99 cents only!

4 More Sleeps to Go! Riders of Fire Launch!

The books! The books are here! So exciting!

Riders of Fire have landed!

Imagine my surprise when I got home from work and found nine boxes and  a poster roll sitting in my porch among the muddy gardening gumboots!

So I opened a box and Dragon Hero leapt out, roaring! Well, okay Maazini wasn’t roaring, but maybe I was! By the way, this blog post is brought you courtesy of the exclamation mark! Oops, there goes another one!

Not one to let her twin brother have all the fun, Ezaara thought she’d get in the action, too!

Yes! they’re home at last! So, why all the raving and exclamation marks?

It’s been nine and a half years since I started this series. Years of plotting planning and scheming to bring these babies into the world. Don’t panic, you won’t have to wait years for Dragon Rift, book 3 in the Riders of Fire series. It should be out in the first quarter of 2019.

Ezaara and Dragon Hero will be the guests of honour at the Riders of Fire book launch in Wellington, New Zealand (yes, that’s Middle Earth) this Saturday. We’ve hired a bowling green to host you (yes, you’re really the guests of honour, not the books) so everyone can have a turn at archery and sword fighting. Hopefully, no foam swords will be harmed in the launching of these books!

Here’s the bowling green, just waiting for us! Come and brighten up the green with your favourite costumes, archery and sword fighting skills. We will have a few extra costumes for people to try.

With only 4 more sleeps to go, I thought I’d share an article from the Brooklyn Tattler, our local magazine. (It’s actually 3 sleeps here in NZ, but 4 in the USA—I missed posting this yesterday).

For those keen on seeing the map snippets, I’ll be posting one later today in the ‘3 sleeps to go’ post.

Brooklyn Tattler Eileen Mueller

Have fun and see you on Saturday, if not in person, then afterwards, online!

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

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.

Summer Blog Hop July 2018 – Free Story

Suds and Scales

This story is brought to you compliments of the Summer Blog Hop. Feel free to visit the links at the bottom of this page and enjoy stories from many other authors.

If you like Suds and Scales, there are more of my fun dragon stories for kids in Dragon Tales.

Summer Blog Hop

Suds and Scales

“Get in that bath,” Mom insisted. “You’re dirtier than a worm in a mud puddle and smellier than dad’s gym shoes.”

I stomped into the bathroom and slammed the door. What was wrong with a bit of dirt? It was all natural, no additives and definitely no refined sugar – another thing Mom was always going on about. I was only going to get dirty again tomorrow.

Peeling off my sweaty socks, I tucked them in the cabinet behind the shampoo, instead of in the hamper. Hopefully Mom wouldn’t sniff them out – I only had one pair of socks in my team’s color and I needed them for my football game tomorrow.

Mom rapped on the door. “I can’t hear the water running.”

Sighing, I turned on the faucet.

“Use soap,” she called. “No cheating.”

I tipped some liquid soap into the bath. Soap was evil, but if I had to use it, I might as well have bubbles. When the water was deep and sudsy, I dumped my clothes on the floor and got in. Wrinkling my nose at the floral stench, I looked down. There were so many bubbles, I looked like a corpse-less ghost, or an alien with froth for a body.

“It’s not fair,” I moaned. “Why should I have to wash every day?”

The toilet seat clunked.

I turned so fast, a mini tsunami sloshed onto the floor.

Nothing was there – except the clothes I’d dropped and the water I’d spilt. Nothing that could’ve made the toilet clunk. And now my underpants were swimming happily in the aftermath of my tidal wave.

I lifted my right knee above the water and scrubbed it with the washcloth.

Clunk!

I whirled back. Oops, another flood.

Before my eyes, a long claw slid between the toilet seat and lid.

My heart thudded, like I was running for goal.

Two more claws reached over the edge. A scaly limb slithered out and flung the lid open with a crash. Another taloned limb grasped the seat. With a grunt, a dripping head emerged from the toilet!

“Whoa!” I yelled, as a little dragon clambered out and perched on the seat. It was green with baby-blue eyes and had an odd crest sticking up on its head. Luckily I had lots of bubbles or that dragon would have seen too much.

“I heard you yell,” called Mom. “What’s going on in there?”

Mom would really flip out if she saw this little guy. “Ah… I dropped the soap. That’s all.”

The dragon shook itself like a dog, spraying droplets everywhere. Dribbles splattered the mirror, ran down the walls, and landed on the towels. Yuck! Germy toilet water was all over the place. I eyed my towel on the rail. I’d have to remember to get myself a fresh one.

“What are you doing?” the dragon’s voice was tiny.

Had I heard right? Had it really spoken? “W-what did you say?”

“What are you doing? Is it fun?”

“Well, I’m getting clean, and no, it’s not fun. I hate it.”

“What’s that foamy white stuff? Does it taste good?”

“Depends if you like roses.” I picked up a handful of bubbles and blew them over the floor.

“I don’t know if I like roses.” The dragon leapt off the toilet, pouncing on the foam, its talons slithering across the slippery tiles. Its feet got tangled in my clothes, sending it tumbling. My undies flew up in the air and, as the little critter sat up, landed on its head. What a sight: baby-blue eyes peeping through the leg-hole of my dripping undies, its wee dragon body covered in soap suds.

“That was fun,” the dragon said, and leapt into my bath, the undies floating away.

“Aagh!” I jumped out, skidding on the floor, and landed in the mess. “No way, little guy. You’re dirty! You’ve been swimming in the grubby toilet.” I snatched my towel to cover my private parts, then realized, too late, that my towel was damp – with toilet water!

Rummaging in the cupboard, I dropped the filthy towel and tugged a fresh one around me.

The dragon was diving in the bath and thrashing among the soap suds, flinging bubbles around the room with its tail. “Can we play together? Are you coming back in?”

“But you’ve been in the toilet.”

It cocked its head. “Did you want to swim in the toilet too? There’s no foam, you won’t fit very well and the water’s colder. I like this warm water much better.”

“No, that’s not what I meant. The toilet is germy, so you’re dirty. You really need to wash.”

“Dirty? What’s that?”

“It means… never mind. You have fun in there for a few minutes.” I had to get the smelly toilet germs off me. I couldn’t get sick and let my team down tomorrow. Turning on the shower, I got in. Luckily the glass was frosted, so the dragon didn’t have a million-dollar view of me. I grabbed the soap and lathered it all over my body, scrubbing hard with a washcloth to make sure those germs were gone.

A small voice piped up, in the air above me. “Why is it raining inside?” The flying dragon tilted its head to stare at the ceiling. “There are no clouds in here.”

Except the thunder cloud over my head. How dare that pesky dragon peep while I was showering? The lathered soap protected me from view, but I used the washcloth too, just in case.

The dragon spied the shampoo bottle and bit it, squirting shampoo all over the shower walls.

“Hey!” I squealed.

“Sorry,” it yelped, and flew out of the shower, diving into the bath . A huge plume of water shot up, splashing the floor. Not again. There was enough water out there for an Olympic swimming event. Even enough to wash a dirty football team.

I scraped dribbles of pearly shampoo off the glass, collecting them in my palm. What a waste! Might as well use it. Mom would go nuts if all the shampoo was gone and I still had dirty hair.

In the middle of working the shampoo into my hair, those baby-blue eyes peeped over the top of the glass again.

“Would you wash my crest too?”

“Sure, in a minute.” That little dragon needed a thorough scrub all over to get rid of those poo-ey germs.

Mom knocked at the door. “Are you going to be much longer?”

The dragon dive-bombed the bath, splashing the walls and soaking the other towels on the rail.

“Are you using the shower and the bath at the same time?” Mom sounded way too curious.

I had to think fast. “I was so dirty, I need to shower and bath today.”

“At the same time?”

“Um… yeah. I’m scrubbing myself in the bath then rinsing in the shower.”

“Okay.” She sounded doubtful. “Remember to wash your hair.”

“Already done,” I called.

“Fantastic!” She sounded surprised. “But not too much longer, I still need some hot water for my shower.”

I breathed a sigh of relief as Mom’s footsteps went back down the hall. Drying myself, I pulled on clean underwear, shorts and a T-shirt from a hook on the back of the bathroom door. Luckily they were still dry.

But not for long. The dragon’s next splash soaked me from head to foot – with its filthy bathwater.

The dragon sat on the edge of the bath, its tail trailing in the water. “Will you wash my crest now?”

“Only if you stay there and don’t move while I get everything ready.”

The baby dragon bared its fangs and tugged its lips up. It was smiling – the weirdest but cutest smile I’d ever seen.

I pulled the plug out of the bath. The water – now an odd shade of brown – went down the drain with a huge slurp.

The dragon twitched, its eyes round. “Will it swallow me?”

A long exaggerated sigh hissed from my lips as I eyed dripping walls, shampoo smears, soaking towels and the ocean I was standing in. “Stay right where you are and you’ll be fine.”

The dragon froze on the edge of the bath, looking more like an ornate dragon fountain than an animal. I could imagine water spouting from its mouth at any moment.

I ran more warm water into the bath. When I turned around, the dragon was balanced on the toilet seat, drinking water from the bowl.

“No. Don’t! It’s dirty!”

“There’s that word again. What does dirty mean?”

“It means that water may make you sick.”

The dragon’s eyes widened in alarm. “I don’t want to get sick.”

“Here, I’ll help you.” I grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste and cleaned the dragon’s fangs. “You have to take care of your health,” I said. “You can’t just drink any old water.” I rolled my eyes – I sounded just like Mom.

I turned off the bath faucet and, when I looked again, the dragon’s tail was curled around my toothbrush. It stamped on the toothpaste tube to squeeze out some more.

I laughed, until it flew towards me, toothbrush still in its tail.

Clamping my mouth shut, I turned my head away, so the dragon couldn’t brush my teeth with the grubby brush it had just used for its toilet-water-drinking teeth.

“I’m fine, thanks. You can keep that brush. It’s a gift, just for you.” I grabbed a new brush out of the cabinet, hurriedly smeared it with what was left of the toothpaste, and brushed my teeth.

The dragon brushed its fangs. Afterwards, I put my new brush safely in the cabinet, so it wouldn’t end up in the dragon’s clutches.

Then I popped the dragon in the bath and soaped it well. I even shampooed its crest. I scrubbed the creature’s hide with a soft nail brush. It purred happily, turning a lighter shade of green. The water turned dark gray, not clean enough for rinsing.

Pointing to the shower, I said, “Fly around in the rain for a while, while I clean up.”

I used the wet towels to mop up the floor and walls, and rinsed the shampoo off the shower walls. Then I gathered all the sopping gear and dropped it into the bath with a satisfying squelch.

The dragon flew out of the shower, rubbing its body against a freshly-hung towel, then flitted around the room. I tossed its towel into the bath, too. I was still damp, but the bathroom was cleaner than before.

A deep rumble issued from the toilet.

The dragon’s eyes shot wide open. “Ooh! That’s Mom calling me for dinner!” It perched on my shoulder and gave me a minty-toothpaste kiss! “I’ll be back tomorrow, so we can play again.” It grabbed my old toothbrush in its talons and dived into the toilet with a splash.

I dashed over and peered into the bowl. There was nothing there.

Mom knocked on the door. “Did you hear that thunder? I think there’s a storm brewing.”

“I’m done. You can come in.”

She opened the door and her jaw fell open. “Oh! You’re clean! And you’ve cleaned up after yourself. You’ve done such a good job, I’ll make you a hot chocolate.”

“Um, I’ve already brushed my teeth.”

Mom was speechless, except for a quiet, “Wow.” She swept the towels and dirty laundry out of the bathtub.

“Oh, Mom, I think you forgot these.” I reached into the cabinet and took out my smelly socks. “I’ll need them for my game tomorrow.”

“Thanks,” she said, her eyebrows raised, as if she couldn’t believe her luck. “I’ll do the laundry right away.” She marched out, leaving a trail of drips behind her.

Outside, thunder rumbled through the sky. Was that what I’d heard? Or had there really been a dragon growling in the toilet, a moment ago? Maybe I’d imagined it. Mom was always telling me I had an over-active imagination.

As I left the bathroom, I picked up a washcloth Mom must’ve dropped. Something wet glinted against the fabric. I looked closer.

It was a green scale.

***

See Dragon Tales here. 

Dragon Tales by Eileen Mueller
Dragon Tales – short stories for kids

Summer Blog Hop stories:

Team Building Exercise, by Samantha Bryant
Another Time, by J. Q. Rose
Beginning Again, by Karen Lynn
Under The Bridge, by Katharina Gerlach
Black and White, by Bill Bush
Summer Siren, by Elizabeth McCleary
The Birch Tree, by Juneta Key
The Zoning Zone, by Vanessa Wells
Secrets, by Elizabeth Winfield

Dragons & Fun with Kids at Midwinter Festival

Today I had fun at the Writers Plot & Readers Read Midwinter Book Festival. Writers Plot is a cool bookstore in Upper Hutt that only stocks books by kiwi authors They invited me to read some of my dragon books and bring along my dragon costume.

Fun with dragon costumes
Hannah and I had fun after the festival! Her twin sister Isobel was fun too, but those photos didn’t end up on my camera.

Well, if I’m going to bring  a dragon costume, why not wear it?

And if I’m going to wear a costume, why not do my hair too?! (Luckily, one of my best buddies is into creating wacky multi-colored dragon hair, so we gave it a whirl! Yes, I flinched whenever I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror for the first day!)

AND, if you’re going to wear one costume, why not stay up late the night before, making an extra costume for the kids, too? (I swear there was no cursing at the sewing machine, at all, when the foot dropped off and the fabric bunched because I’d forgotten that I needed a special microtex needle! And no mutterings of, “giving up in ten stupid minutes, if I can’t get this silly machine working!” But I did sigh in relief when after an hour’s struggle, the machine suddenly hummed. An hour or two later, the kid’s costume was born!)

Dragon costumes by Eileen Mueller, author of middle grade and YA dragon books
More fun for Mia and Renae, a.k.a. fighting dragons.

At the festival, we dived into the word of Dragons’ Realm —A You Say Which Way Adventure, where a dragonet sings off-tune, farts chocolate wrappers and pines for its mother! Of course that’s not the only story in Dragon’s Realm. In this book, You Say Which Way the story goes, so you can discover all sorts of adventures in one book —22 to be exact.

Of course, the kids got to choose at every decision point and my lovely assistant (dressed in the kid’s dragon costume) awarded them with blood stains or medals for their efforts. It was loads of fun, with kids joining in and even teenagers eye-rolling at all the manure jokes!  These kids chose a long and involved story with lots of action, adventure and opportunities to ride (you guessed it) dragons!

After the festival was over, we had the chance to snap a few photos and enjoy cos-playing dragon attacks! My books flew off the sales table! Everyone loves dragons — and adventure. With four dragon books to choose from, there was something to suit all types of reader — pulse-pounding adventure and plenty of laughs with Attack on Dragons’ Realm and Dragons’ Realm; fun and frolics with Dragon Tales; laughs with Fangtastic Dragon Jokes & Clawsome Limericks; and interactive fiction with Mystic Portal and Dragons’ Realm.

Ben Spies child author has a dragon fight with his brother
Ben Spies, a young author, has a dragon fight with his brother Daniel.

I was thrilled to meet Ben Spies, who wrote his first novel, Weirdo, at nine years old, and his next The Magic Pencil  at ten! Ben is now twelve and still writing up a storm. The kids in his workshop loved his book and enjoyed his insights. It’s inspiring for them to see someone so young and already published!

Ben spies, child author, with Eileen Mueller who writes for kids and YA

A big shout out to Writers Plot owners, Cat and Caro, for doing such a great job. It’s well worth a trip to Upper Hutt to see their great selection of kiwi books for kids, teens and adults. They also have an online store, so if you’d like one of my paperbacks, you can shop here, or contact me here.

Ben Spies, Eileen Mueller and a junior dragon.
Ben Spies, a young author, and his brother enjoyed being dragons for a change.