Name a Spider – Winner Sue Minot

Name a Spider

I’d like to announce the  winner of the Name a Spider contest that I ran on Facebook back in March! I had meant to announce the results along time ago, but was neck-deep in edits for Dragon Rift, my latest book. Then I launched Dragon Rift at Armageddon, and life went crazy with Easter and visitors and running my writing business and publishing the NZ Youth Laureate Award winners, and suddenly… its’ May!

I mean, May? How did that happen?

The Challenge was:

I need a cool fantasy name for a venomous spider as big as a dinner plate. Any ideas?

What I’m looking for is a fantasy species name, so a fantasy name that shows it’s a huge, dangerous spider. i.e.: a species name – bitten by a/an xxx spider. This is for Dragon Rift, the 3rd book in Riders of Fire, a dragon rider medieval fantasy series… go for it! I’ll name you and call out your genius in my acknowledgements!!

The Results

You all came up with such fantastic names! Now I’ll have to write another novel full of awesome spider characters. That’s the problem with being a writer: thousands of book ideas and not enough time to write them all!

There were over 80 entries, so I had a lot of clever names to choose from.

The Winner :

Susan Minot: Gargantula 😊

Sue’s name is in the acknowledgements of Dragon Rift. As a bonus, I’ll send her a copy of the paperback. And although gargantulas are only mentioned once in Dragon Rift, I’m sure they’ll skitter across the pages of Dragon Strike, Riders of Fire book 4, due out later this year.

My favourites:

I loved everyone’s ideas. I was torn in a few different directions, but ultimately I wanted the species to sound big and venomous. Here are some of my favourite suggestions. Some made me laugh, some gave me the creeps, some were fascinating. See what you think:

  • Zelda Tufue Dahya & Hail Dahya: Aracknidus Giganticus
  • Simon Voysey: Skitters
  • Kevin Maclean: Tarantula morbidius
  • Adam Roberts: Terran Chulla.
  • JoAnne Carlson: venenum diaboli
  • Mirren Hogan: Spidey McBiteyface
  • John Irvine: Coconut Joe or Freddie Fangster
  • Mary Edwards: Plateous hugemont
  • Linnie Osborne Jones: Fangipotomus
  • Daniel Potter: Bigus leggius
  • Susan Darlene Faw: Frisbee
  • Ryan Mcfadden: a Ceramihumngi (large as a dinner plate:  humungous ceramics)

All the Entries:

Below are your entries, in no particular order. If you make your way to the bottom, you’ll get a fun surprise.

  1. Linda Tepley-Kean: Baba del diablo, which translates as ‘slime of the devil’.
  2. Juanita Dickens May: gargantuanarachnid
  3. Charlie Thorman: Jätte spindeln. Swedish för the giant spider.
  4. Or spindlarna (the spiders)
  5. Stefanie Murray: Magna aranea, Latin for large spider. Or
  6. Arachne (aráchni).Or
  7. Monstrum texente tela; monster web weaver.
  8. Mary Ann: Lilith
  9. Ian Israel: Araneae Leviathan
  10. William Shane Blalock: Bloodmare
  11. JoAnne Carlson: venenum diaboli, Latin for venom devil.
  12. Josh Lanterman Hammer Back
  13. Angelica Honeycutt: How about Mors Aranea? Latin for Death Spider
  14. Eva Seyler: Platus mortis
  15. Gil De Marco: How about “Rancorous-copious” Rancorous means bitter; unforgiving. Copious means vast; taking place on a large scale.
  16. Michael F. Renegar: Gigantula
  17. Elizabeth Townsend: How about Spinne? It’s German for spider.
  18. Julian Adorney: A species, or an individual spider? If it’s the latter, call him Dave
  19. Lisa Mettler: Anansesem. . It has really cool lore behind it.
  20. Justin Murray: Nightmare
  21. Serena Dawson: Horse spider? Lol. Exaggeration is always fun.
  22. Mirren Hogan: I’m guessing Spidey McBiteyface is out?  Although I’m now using that in my WiP.
  23. John Irvine: Coconut Joe, or
  24. Freddie Fangster or do you want a sensible name?!
  25. Shirley Wine: Avondale spiders are as big as bread plates – real domicile Avondale Auckland. NZ. Or
  26. Those wacky big one on Norfolk Island that trap birds.
  27. Mirren Hogan: Arachnia? or
  28. Arachnis? or
  29. Huntsman? or
  30. Funnelweb?
  31. Daniel Potter: Bigus leggius. I’ve got a pet spider who’s as big as a dog. He’s named Blinky. (In my Dragon’s Price series).
  32. John Irvine: Loxosceles reclusa… very deadly but small
  33. Robbie Lane: Cressida or
  34. Spindel ( the later is the Swedish word for spider)
  35. Susan Darlene Faw: Frisbee?
  36. Linnie Osborne Jones: Fangipotomus. or
  37. Fangaraurus
  38. Shane Hayes: Tarantino if it’s a bloke. or
  39. Tarantina for female
  40. Ebony Jean: I beg you to call her Ebony. Please. I love spiders!
  41. Aaron Compton: Nick Cave has you covered The Atra Virago, or
  42. the Vargus Barking Spider
  43. Hayley Smith: Trencherous Arachnis (a trencher is a medieval dinner plate) 😉
  44. Aaron Compton: Araneae Somnumexterreri – nightmare Spider
  45. Alison Stuart: Fluffy
  46. Angela Oliver: One of my characters had a pet spider called Fluffy.
  47. Mary Edwards: Plateous hugemont
  48. Melinda Szymanik: Huntsman is big and scary so some variation on that?
  49. Annemarie Mead: Dobelix from Lachlan
  50. Denika Mead: Sounds like a cool character, I can’t wait to read it! What about ‘mortiferun’?
  51. Wendy Vella: Spidersaurusrex
  52. Renee Jaye Lyons: Ansidium mortius
  53. Alicia Ponder:  Depends on what you want the spider to do – trapdoor – webs – etc I reckon choose one the family names: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_taxonomy then go for a species name like armida or morteus. Or a species name of …ebenum – for Ebony 🙂 Spider taxonomy – Wikipedia (Ebony Jean’s comment: awwww yeah! #TeamSpider)
  54. Susan Minot: Gargantula 😊
  55. Ava Fairhall: Mix and match with these: Shield crawler, or
  56. colossal harvestman, or
  57. disc spinner, or
  58. orb weaver
  59. Virginia Taylor: Michael
  60. Bronwyn Norman: Venomous maxima, but people call it ‘Carol’
  61. Natasha Kenyon: TEmperor
  62. Zelda Tufue Dahya: Aracknidus Giganticus (Hail came up with that! He has been a Spiderman fan since he was 2yrs old)
  63. Eric Corrington: Peteroid Parkernid
  64. Ryan Mcfadden: a Ceramihumngi. I took the word for large and the start of the word Ceramic seen as as large as a dinner plate…
  65. Tania Torea: Ingensaranea Literally two Latin words meaning huge spider Or Ragnoenorme
  66. Peter Friend: Troll Hands – named after their supposed resemblance to those of mythical (or are they?) eight-fingered trolls, or so parents tell their children…
  67. Nicky Curran: Zorboct.
  68. Silvia Brown: Plato, means plate in Spanish and is the first thing that came to mind so I am sticking with it. Plus wasnt that the name of an Ancient Greek philosopher as well? A philosophical ceramic spider!!!
  69. Martin Riesen: What kind of a name are you looking for? A pet? (Fred), More funny? (Spidermax). Medieval? Arachnia Tantus
  70. Simon Voysey: Skitters
  71. Meg Jolly: Empress Widow?
  72. Jean E. Lane: The “Freakindead” spider.
  73. Matt Whitaker Jeff. Or Dave.
  74. Kevin Maclean: Tarantula morbidius…
  75.  Moya Bawden: Tantunab – Sanskrit
  76. Gary Freedman: Puppy
  77.  Adam Roberts: Arachadonis. Spider with a six pack…
  78. Adam Roberts: Arachadonis Rex. Front legs are too small to do anything useful…
  79. Adam Roberts: Terran Chulla.
  80. Eric Corrington: Aralob.
  81. Deryn Pittar: Archnia gigantus

Wow, you made it to the end of that humongous list of scary spiders. Just for being brave, here’s a reward. Enjoy this fascinating video.

If the venomous spiders haven;t put you off Riders of Fire, feel free to pick up  a copy here. Your next wild adventure is waiting.

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!

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.

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.

Big Book Bash – Carterton

At the Big Book Bash in Carterton, Eileen Mueller is teaching YSWW

The Big Book Bash is coming up!

The Big Book Bash is a book festival for kids and teens , featuring many Wellington and Wairarapa children’s and Young Adult (YA) authors. It’s all happening this weekend on December 2nd in Carterton.

There’s fabulous line-up of well-known NZ authors, music, workshops and a carnival atmosphere. Libraries, schools, newspapers & radio stations are talking about it, the local book community is excited, and it’s going to be fun.

In my workshop, You Say Which Way – Create a Sci-Fi or Fantasy Story, I’ll be taking youth on an adventure in the world of interactive fiction. We’ll journey through exciting worlds, making choices that shape the reader’s experience. They’ll start a science fiction or fantasy adventure of their own.

Come Along!

Register here via Carterton library (in the right side menu bar).

At the Big Book Bash in Carterton, Eileen Mueller is teaching YSWWI’m in good company with many famous NZ children and YA authors. The full programme is here, featuring:

  • Go behind the scenes of Annual 2 and enjoy Melting Moments with Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris
  • Traveling Zine Museum with Murtle Chickpea
  • Paper Bag Dogs with Fifi Colston and Anne Manchester
  • Ngāti Kahungunu stories with Rawiri Smith
  • Events with two young writers, Ben Spies (age 12) and Zed (age 15)
  • Writing workshop for teens & adults with Mandy Hager
  • Poems of Protest and the Environment with Tim Jones and Harvey Molloy
  • You Say Which way Sci-fi & Fantasy workshop with Eileen Mueller
  • Going to Antarctica with Philippa Werry
  • Ginomee hats and stories with Ali Foster
  • Rainbow storytelling with drag queens La Quisha St Redfern and Pamela Hancock
  • Drawing with Rhondda Greig
  • Readings and arts and crafts with Alan Bagnell, Paul Beavis, Gillian Candler, Mary McCallum, Michelle O’Connell and Christine Parker
  • A storytelling finale with Marama Fox.

The big Book bash is also on EventFinda and has it’s own Facebook page 

Hataitai School – NZ Book Week

During New Zealand Book Week, I had a great visit to Hataitai School, (with my rainbow-feathered top hat). 120 kids crammed themselves into a classroom, like teens getting cozy at a rock concert (minus the screaming). They were packed so tight, I urged them a little closer, until they were literally at my feet.

Teachers wanted them to know about life as an author. For 40 minutes they quizzed me about everything from, ‘What’s it like to be famous?’ to ‘Have you ever seen a dragon?’ (of course, I have 4 at home) and ‘Do you find The Hero’s Journey useful for plotting?’. These kids were really switched on about creative writing. Among the fun and laughter, I awarded them many medals and bright red felt bloodstains for creativity in questioning.

Writing is about lots of choices—genre, settings, magic systems, world rules, characters and plots. To give them practise, we decided they could make choices while I read them a You Say Which Way adventure.

Their first choice: Dragons’ Realm or Mystic Portal?

Mystic portal interactive fiction

From the flurry of hands for Mystic Portal, there was great support for a magic mountain bike adventure where every jump takes you to a new exciting world and adventure.

But what is it about dragons that appeals to many readers? Every hand in the room shot up for Dragons’ Realm.

Dragons Realm

Sir Julius Vogel Award Dragons RealmYou are the main character in You Say Which Way adventures. This book opens with bullies chasing you into  Dragon’s Realm—a world of dragons, adventures and magic. At one stage, a bully leaps out from a behind a tree and yells, “Gotcha!”

I’m a trained singer and got a bit enthusiastic so, in the heat of the moment, my “Gotcha!” suddenly came out as “GOTCHA!” The girl sitting at my feet leapt, arms flying. Startled movement rippled right to the back of the room. Talk about ‘jump scare’ city. I think I even frightened myself!

I had to laugh. All the students and teachers did too. We awarded the student who got the biggest fright a bloodstain as compensation. When the laughter died down, we continued reading.

While developing their You Say Which Way brand of interactive fiction, The Fairytale Factory have done a lot of research in classrooms. They found that kids generally like to make ‘the right’ choice. A choice that won’t hurt others or get them into trouble in the real world.

However, these kids at Hataitai were on a mission. Through their choices, they had the opportunity to pay a bully back, big time. And they took it.

The teachers’ eyes flew open as I read on, but then they smiled when  everyone found out that bad choices have consequences.

Of course, we had to play the ‘what would have happened if… ‘ game, so we went back and saw how heroically saving the bully paid off. And yes, in this story, it really pays off!

Doors for NZ Book Week

As part of NZ Book Week, Hataitai School disguised their classroom doors to look like their favourite books, and asked me to judge their fabulous creations.  This blog post shows off their work.

Book Doors for NZ Book Week

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

NZ Book Week Hataitai SchoolNZ Book Week Hataitai School 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

Narnia by Cs Lewis, NZ Book Week Hataitai SchoolNZ Book Week Hataitai School

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.

NZ Book Week Hataitai SchoolThe 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.

NZ Book Week Hataitai School

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!

NZ Book Week Hataitai SchoolThe 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

NZ Book Week Hataitai School
The Philosophers Stone, Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
The Philosophers Stone, Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
Scarface Claw by Lynley Dodd
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
Jack and the Beanstalk
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
Hill and Hole by Kyle Mewburn
NZ Book Week Hataitai School
The Diamond Horse by Stacy Gregg

A Door for Every Book!

NZ Book Week Hataitai School
A library of favourites is on this door.

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!

2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award – Best New Talent

Sir Julius Vogel Best New Talent 2017I was absolutely thrilled – and more than a little speechless – to receive a 2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent at Lexicon, the New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy National convention. The full 2017 SJV awards list is here.

SJV Taupo Lexicon (1)With the deep blue backdrop of Lake Taupo, and snow-tipped ranges across the water, the setting for Lexicon was magical. Ninety teenage writers attended workshops on Friday and boggled us with their talent. A weekend full of interesting panels, discussions, impromptu meetups with writers and fun social activities kept me on my toes. Not to mention the last-minute accommodation booking I made without realizing my bed was situated above a nightclub. It was actually above a nightclub AND three bars, the only nightlife in Taupo!! Yes, I was dancing all night – even in my asleep.Sir Julus Vogel Award Eileen Mueller Grace Bridges

Even though I was on the shortlist, it was still a nerve-wracking process waiting through the ballot and having that envelope opened on stage in front of my eyes. Then there was that long moment: sitting, stunned, while people nudged me to get to my feet!

Sir Julius Vogel Award Lee Murray Eileen MuellerThank you to my wonderful readers for nominating me. And thank you to everyone who has supported my writing – by beta reading, believing in me, critiquing my work and brainstorming plot fixes. Thanks to my publishers, The Fairytale Factory and Phantom Feather Press, they’re great! I’d also like to thank the New Zealand speculative fiction community, Romance Writers New Zealand and Holly Lisle’s online writing community.

My critique groups deserve a proper mention. I’m lucky, I have two. Monkey Lab: Alicia Ponder, Charlotte Kieft, Michelle Child and Peter Friend; & Clarke’s Critters: Lee Murray, Simon Fogarty and Alicia Ponder. Everyone needs a tribe, so thanks for being mine. You’re all more than critique partners, you’re wonderful friends.

Sir Julius Vogel 2017 Winners
2017 Sir Julius Vogel Award Winners