English teacher by day, writer by night, I grew up in cold and haunted New England and have moved up and down the East Coast before finding the right balance in Northern Virginia. I have two corgis, a rambunctious and curious dog named Leia, and a kind and obedient (yet terrified) dog named Yoda. You can contact me at val[at]valmuller[dot]com.
You can also find some of my works on my Amazon author page.
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FOR KIDS and YOUNG ADULTS
Corgi Capers: Deceit on Dorset Drive, a middle-grade mystery inspired by my Pembroke
Welsh Corgis, Yoda and Leia (Dancing With Bear publishing).
Fifth-grader Adam Hollinger looked forward to an ordinary summer: All-Star baseball practice, reading comic books, begging his parents for a dog, and avoiding his mischievous older sister. But things get crazy when the Hollingers adopt two corgi puppies and the team’s star pitcher breaks his arm. Even worse, a serial burglar has been targeting the neighborhood, and the Hollingers’ house is on the list. When the adults of the town become stumped, it’s up to Adam and the puppies to set things straight.
Find out more at www.corgicapers.com!
Ages: 8 – 12
Corgi Capers: The Sorceress of Stoney Brook embroils Adam and Patrick in the scariest caper yet. The old Frostburg house has new tenants, and to Adam and Patrick, they look like witches. Belle and Cassie dress elaborately, speak strangely, and seem to know way too much about the Hollingers. Adam and Patrick read about how Logan Zephyr, their favorite comic book hero, defeated an evil sorceress and wonder if they, too, are facing real witches. When Belle asks Adam to rake leaves for her close to Halloween, Adam decides it’s a great excuse to investigate the house—or is it the perfect way for the witches to cast a spell on Adam and his best friend? Now available!
- “Night at Camp Sandalwood” in New Moon Girls magazine
- “A Lasting Impression” in New Moon Girls magazine (available here until October 2011).
The Scarred Letter
Heather Primm never anticipated that a single blog post could ruin her life.
Heather’s scoop about steroid use by key players on the school football team sets off an investigation that strips the Orchard Valley Thunderbolts of their state title—and earns Heather a coveted journalism prize. Hated by those involved in the scandal, despised by jealous members of the newspaper staff, ignored by her newly-popular ex-boyfriend, and even berated by her mother, Heather is attacked and a chilling “T” is carved into her face.
Now stigmatized as a traitor, she becomes the object of scorn for nearly all of Orchard Valley High. But when the school offers to send her to a private academy to hush up the matter, Heather is forced to make a decision. Should she refuse to allow fear to control her life by holding to the truth, or accept the chance to escape and build a new life?
Written by a veteran English teacher, The Scarred Letter weaves themes from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter into an accessible, intelligent tale of modern isolation and a young woman’s quest for truth and acceptance.
“Authentic reboot of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter for today’s readers. Heather Primm publishes the truth on her blog and pays an appalling price. It’s up to Heather’s younger sister to remind her what’s true and what’s not—and help her find a way forward. A powerful book.” — Adele Abbot, author, Of Machines & Magics and Postponing Armageddon
Currently Working on:
The Girl Who Flew Away: a young adult novel about a girl who is searching for her friend in an isolated state park in Connecticut–and ends up finding herself. (Shopping publishers)
April the Tenth: a middle-grade novel with a sprinkling of sci-fi. A girl spends Spring Break at her grandmother’s house. As she investigates the basement that contains her father’s childhood things, she gains insight into the strained dynamics of her family–and decides she has the power to change her family.
Faulkner’s Apprentice, a chilling horror novel now available (April 2013, Crowded Quarantine Publications). Lorelei Cecelia Franklin broke a twenty-year streak of bad luck when she won the L. Cameron Faulkner fiction contest. Apprenticed to the reclusive and famous author, Lorei will spend three weeks with the master of horror himself in the secluded mountains of Virginia. On her way to Faulkner’s mansion, Lorei meets a leathery man who snares souls that desire too much, and everything in the mansion screams warnings against him. But with her lust for Faulkner, her appetite for fame, and her wish to protect her ailing mother, Lorei’s chances for escape are slim.
In this time-travel novella incorporating sweet romance and science fiction, Anna, a young graduate student, has found her intellectual soul mate. She and Dr. Thomas Wellesley, forty years her senior, have been working on sensitive research involving time travel. She respects the man: he is married to his work and just as passionate about science as she is. He is her favorite part of the day and she’ll stop at nothing to help their research.
When a rival professor threatens their research and their safety, Dr. Wellesley does everything in his power to protect Anna from harm. But in his effort to protect her, he inadvertently sends her back in time. Forty years back in time, to be exact—to a time when a young student named Tommy Wellesley is just embarking on his first degree in physics. And it’ll be up to young Tommy to see Anna safely back to her own time. If he can bear to lose her.
This edition also includes two short time travel stories. “Suicide Watch” explores the more dangerous ramifications of time travel. After an unfortunate fight with the love of his life, Matthew Mitchell discovers a time machine. Tempted to win back his girlfriend, Matt takes the machine for a spin, only to find out that time travel is much more complicated than he expected, and the results are catastrophic. “Toward Every Future’s Past” is flavored with sci-fi and fantasy and examines the cyclical nature of time and man’s difficulty in comprehending it.
Ages: Young Adult to Adult
- “The Fourth Poet” in Dimensions (forthcoming)
- “Caterpillar Flu” in Forging Freedom II (forthcoming) and Shift, honorable mention in Loudoun County Public Library’s 2013 fiction contest
- “Dorsal Fin” in Scared Spitless
- “An Essay for Ms. Krimson” in The Big Bad anthology
- “The Girl with Sunrise in her Hair” in Timid Pirate’s Finding Home: Community in Apocalyptic Worlds anthology
- “The Fire Beneath the Sea” in Here There Be Dragons anthology
- “Night of the Fish People” in Under the Stairs anthology
- “The Astrozen Composer” in appear in First Contact Imminent anthology
- “Horrible Harry” in Fearology: Terrifying Tales of Phobias.
- “The Prophet on the Sand” in Shroud 10: The Quarterly Journal of Dark Fiction and Art (Volume 3).
- “The Garden Beyond” in Haunted: An Anthology of the Supernatural.
- “Zombies of the Caribbean” in Christmas is Dead: A Zombie Anthology.
- “Bridgeport Occupied,” with Slant of Light Theater, Bridgeport, CT. This play is based on a series of interviews with residents of Bridgeport, CT on issues concerning their daily lives, from their opinion of the local and national economy to the nature of their own American Dreams (November 2011).
- “The Holidays in Verse,” a children’s play originally performed at the Milford Actors’ Studio, Milford, CT (December 1999).
- “A Real Piece of Me” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride (May 2012)
- “A Grand Visitor” and “Until She Was Ready” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages From Heaven (February 2012)
- “A Teacher of Human Beings” in The Ultimate Teacher (March 2009)
- “Fate’s Compass Points South” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting In. . . to College: 101 True Stories from Kids Who Have Lived Through It (November 2008).
- “Film as Film: Using Movies to Help Students Visualize Literary Theory” in English Journal (January 2006)
- From Lancaster, Berks, & Chester County Business2Business magazines: