• Issue 115 - February 2010

    01 February 2010


    Hi everyone, and welcome to the February issue of the Shanville Monthly!! I had a busy start to the year, lots of editing, though I capped off January with a nice relaxing week in London -- lots of hard work always needs to be followed by a bit of a break!! February is going to be another busy month for me -- in fact, it's going to be so busy, I've had to cancel some tour dates (see below for more details), something which thankfully is a real rarity in my world, as I take my touring VERY seriously and almost never cancel an event once I've commited to it!! But writing is my main priority, and when I realised that I was in a situation where it was meet my touring commitments OR meet my writing commitments... well, there was only ever going to be one winner there. But not to worry -- I'm touring in the UK as usual in May and October, and will make sure I visit the places that I missed this time round in the not too distant future (assuming they want me back, that is!!!). Anyway, in other news, this is an exciting month on the Shan front -- I'm revealing the titles of the four Mr Crepsley books! Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK and USA!! I'm able to confirm details of my events in Dubai and Hong Kong!!! The countdown to City of the Snakes (my third book for adults) begins in earnest!!!! You can read the poem which I wrote for the winner of last month's competition!!!!! And after five years of constancy, the Darren Shan web site is about to undergo a major overhaul -- things are never going to be the same around here again!!!!!!


    As most of you already know, I am releasing a four-book series about Mr Crepsley's past (i.e. the years before he met Darren), starting in October 2010. I hadn't anticipated revealing the titles of the books for a while yet, but my publishers were keen to get the information out there, so here we go!! In order, they are as follows (with the UK and USA release dates in brackets after the titles -- they release at the same time in both regions).

    Book 1 -- Birth of a Killer (October 2010).
    Book 2 -- Ocean of Blood (May 2011).
    Book 3 -- Palace of the Damned (October 2011).
    Book 4 -- Brothers to the Death (May 2012).

    As you can tell from the titles, they're lovely, cheery, life-affirming books -- NOT!!!!! As readers of my blog will know, the titles are quite new -- in fact, I only came up with them on December 8th, 2009!!! Sometimes the title of a book will come to me very early on, maybe even before I start writing -- other times it will only come very close to the last draft. When I wrote the first drafts of these books three years ago, I had very simple titles in place. The four books cover Larten Crepsley's life from when he was a child up until when he met Darren at the Cirque Du Freak, and each focuses on a very different part of his life -- the first looks at him when he was a child and (relative) teenager; the second sees him search for purpose in his life as the vampire equivalent of a man in his 20s who isn't sure what he wants to do with his life; the third sees him try to establish a new, adult life for himself, trying to put his turbulent past and uncertainties behind him; while the fourth sees him finally come of age, accept himself and become the character we know and love from the Darren Shan Saga. In the early days -- indeed, up to just a month or so ago -- the books were named after the names he went by during those different stages of his life, and they were this:

    Book 1 -- Larten.
    Book 2 -- Quicksilver.
    Book 3 -- Vur Horston.
    Book 4 -- Mr Crepsley.

    I liked the simplicity of the titles, but I knew that my publishers probably wouldn't be overly keen on them, since they weren't the most exciting or explanatory of titles -- new readers would have no idea what the books were about based solely on the titles. For a long time I stuck with the originals, because I could think of nothing better, and nobody else could either. But finally I came up with the four new titles which perfectly suited the books, and also fit in neatly with the types of titles I used for the Saga books. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!!! (Oh, and before anyone asks, you'll have to read them to find out why Mr C was once known as Quicksilver, and also why he pretended to be Vur Horston!!)


    Good news, people -- if you live in Ireland, the UK or the USA, this is the month when the Cirque Du Freak movie comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray!!!! The release date has actually been pushed back slightly in the UK and Ireland from the date listed last month -- but don't worry, it's not by any major amount!! The release date is now February 26th in Ireland, and March 1st in the UK. In the USA it remains the same as before, February 23rd, meaning my American fans will get to enjoy it before anyone else in the world, which I know is quite important to a lot of you guys Stateside!!!!

    The DVD and Blu-Ray will include deleted scenes, a "guide to becoming a vampire" and "Tour Du Freak". Apparently there are extra deleted scenes available on the Blu-Ray edition, but this has not been confirmed to me yet by Universal. The DVD and Blu-Ray will be available in stores all over the land upon release, but if you prefer to buy through Amazon UK, you can pre-order the DVD by CLICKING HERE FOR DVD or the Blu-Ray by CLICKING HERE FOR BLU RAY.

    In the USA, if you would rather buy it online through Amazon, you can pre-order by CLICKING HERE FOR THE DVD or by CLICKING HERE FOR BLU RAY.

    NEW FAN ART!!!

    After the barrage of new fan art last month, I was delighted to be able to add some more new fan art to the site, this time to the Demons and Humans sections on the Demons sub-site. You can check them out by CLICKING HERE. I have one more stack of fan art scanned in and ready to be uploaded, so hopefully I'll be able to add the last of it later this month, and then the waiting will begin for new art to come trickling in...


    Quite a lot of Cirque Du Freak movie merchandise has been turning up on eBay recently, from props from the film, to lobby cards, posters, T-shirts and more. If you're interested in bidding for any of the items, just visit http://www.ebay.com and enter the words Cirque Du Freak OR Vampire's Assistant in the search box (different merchandise comes up depending on which phrase you enter, so my advice is to search for both). Please note, I am not involved in any of the transactions, so - as always on eBay - be careful before you buy, and only bid on items from trusted sellers.

    2010 TOURS

    First of all -- an apology to fans of my adult books in the UK. I had hoped to go on a short tour at the start of March, to support the release of City of the Snakes, but we have had to cancel it. The tour was intended to be a test, a chance for me to try a new format and see how it would go, to trial material written for older readers, and to see if any of my older fans would turn out for such events. Unfortunately I have a lot of writing to deal with in February, and as I drew closer to the start of the month, it became clear that there just wouldn't be time to try any tests -- especially when the final draft of the first Mr Crepsley book arrived on my desk and had to be added to the rest of the material that I was already committed to!! While I hated cancelling at such a late stage, after my hard-working publicist at HarperCollins had done such a fab job setting it up (sorry, Alice!!!), the writing always has to come first. But worry not, Shansters, I don't plan to make a habit out of cancelling tours -- I'll just make doubly sure in future that I'm going to be able to squeeze them in before agreeing to them!!!!

    Two tours which ARE all set to go are my tours to Dubai and Hong Kong. In March, I will be visiting Dubai for the first time, and I will also be returning to Hong Kong. Here is the info for both festivals -- please note, I am also doing school events in Dubai, but don't yet have those details to hand. I will add them here once I have been informed.


    Wednesday 10 10.00a.m I will be attending the launch programme for the Festival .

    Thursday 11 10.45a.m. School event for 900+ students in the main auditorium in the Scientific & Cultural Association. For more information, or to apply for tickets, CLICK HERE.

    Friday 12 11.00a.m. Public event at Al Baraha 3, Intercontinental Hotel. For more information, and to book tickets, CLICK HERE.

    for more information about any of my events in Hong Kong, or to book tickets, CLICK HERE
    Monday 15 9.30a.m. Schools event, Central Library Lecture Theatre.
    Monday 15 11.00a.m. Schools event, Central Library Lecture Theatre.
    Monday 15 4.30p.m. Public event, Visual Arts Centre Lecture Theatre.

    Tuesday 16 9.30a.m. Schools event, Science Museum Lecture Theatre.
    Tuesday 16 11.00a.m. Schools event, Science Museum Lecture Theatre.


    Below you can find the planned global release dates for the movie of Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. Please note, all dates are subject to change, and all dates are decided by Universal -- I have nothing to do with the release schedule.

    VENEZUELA 05-Feb-10
    COLOMBIA 19-Feb-10
    SPAIN 26-Feb-10
    CZECH REPUBLIC 04-Mar-10
    AUSTRALIA 11-Mar-10
    ARGENTINA 18-Mar-10
    JAPAN (Toho Towa) 19-Mar-10
    ITALY 04-June-10


    My third novel aimed at adults, City of the Snakes, goes on sale on March 4th in the UK and Ireland. This is the third and final book of my The City trilogy, bringing together the storylines of the first two books of the series (Procession of the Dead and Hell's Horizon), and adding loads of new characters, story arcs and plot twists to the mix. I honestly think it's the strongest of the three books, and don't think it will disappoint anyone who has been following the story so far!!! In fact, I'd go so far as to say that out of all the books which I have so far published, City of the Snakes is probably my favourite!! (But it won't be for long -- The Thin Executioner, which comes out in May, is my absolute personal fave out of all of my books to date, either for adults or children!!)

    The first two books were originally released under the name of D B Shan. The third is going to be released under my Darren Shan name, and the first two books are being repackaged and re-released at the same time (in paperback format), so if you missed them first time round, this if the perfect opportunity to catch up!! The books will hopefully be on sale in book stores all across the UK and Ireland (but probably not in the same section as my books for children -- if you can't find them, please do ask a member of staff to help you). But if you prefer to order online, you can get them from Amazon UK. To buy City of the Snakes from Amazon, CLICK HERE.


    There were 405 entries for the January Shanville Monthly competition. I made the draw on January 18th and the winner was...

    Regina Jackson, West Lothian, Scotland.

    Many congratulations to Regina, and my thanks to everyone else who entered -- if you didn't win, better luck next time!!!! As you'll probably recall, the prize was a poem, written especially by me for the winner, including the winner's name in the body of the poem if possible (it was!!), and a reference to the fact that it was ten years since the release of Cirque Du Freak. I have sent Regina the original, handwritten copy, but here is a neatly typed copy for the rest of you to swoon over!!!! I'll be expecting a Nobel Prize for Literature any day now... image

    For Regina - "10 and counting"!!

    Ten years of terror, a decade of blood,

    Ten years of Shan raining hell from above!

    It began in a toilet at young Darren's school,

    He had no idea DesTiny could be so cruel.

    For love of a spider he abandoned the light

    And embarked on a life as a child of the night.

    Over twelve books he grew and became a young man,

    Who fought the good fight for the wild vampire clan.

    At the end of The Saga Shan didnt pause,

    But moved swiftly on and found a new cause,

    A tale most demonic, it featured the boss

    Of all things most monstrous - vicious Lord Loss!!!

    Limbs flew left and right, all over the place,

    Loss wasn't a demon any one wished to face!

    After ten books of bloodshed we said cheerio,

    Will the world ever again see such a vile foe?

    In addition to this, no rest for Shan,

    He knocked out short stories and sweet Koyasan.

    Up next a tale of executioners thin,

    Then let the four books about Crepsley begin!

    After that? Who knows! But one thing's for sure,

    Shan's not giving up - he'll be back for more!!

    And as they come out, no one will be keener

    To read them than Shantastic Shanster REGINA!!!!

    (c) Darren Shan. 20/1/2010. Written between 10.30 and 15.50 on Wednesday, January 1st, 2010.


    As I hinted at above, big changes are about to be made to the Darren Shan web site. The site has undergone some radical changes of direction over the years (to check it out in all its various incarnations, CLICK HERE). The last major upheval was way back in the middle of 2005, just ahead of the release of Lord Loss. That was when I created the Vampires and Demons sub-sites and re-structured the whole site. It was a huge undertaking, but one that has seen us safely through almost five years of action, so I think we can all agree that it was pretty darn successful!!!

    Well, now the time has come to re-structure again. I'm always looking to improve and upgrade the site, and a lot has happened to the internet over the last five years. I've actually wanted to tinker with the site for the last 2 or 3 years, but decided to wait until The Demonata had run its course. Initially I was looking to only fine-tune things, but my web designer has convinced me to go much further than I had planned, and to pretty much tear the whole thing down and rebuild it using new software. When it's complete, it will be easier for you guys to find your way around, and easier for me to maintain and add to it. I'll be doing away with the current subscription method, where you have to register directly with me, and instead you'll be able to use RSS and whatever the hell else is currently out there -- I don't really understand it all, but I'm assured that it means you'll be able to keep more closely in touch with the movements of the site than ever before. Don't worry -- I'll still be doing a Shanville Monthly round-up every month, and if you wish, you can register just to be kept informed when that part of the site is updated. I'm also going to be setting up a new messageboard, run directly through the site -- though I might keep the EZboard Chit Chat board going for a while longer, if the users there ask me to. There will be a calendar, a hugely improved shop, a new section aimed at gathering together all of the writing advice and tips which I have been blogging about for the last few years, and more.

    I'm not sure exactly how long it's going to take to get the new site up and running, but I think we're going to have to spread things out a bit. Ideally I was hoping to get it in place by the end of February, but then my web designer convinced me to go bigger, which will take more time. The plan at the moment is to get the main structure in place by the end of this month, and then to spend the next few weeks (or longer, if necessary) moving all of the material from the old site across. While we're doing that, the old site will remain in place, accessible as always. If things work out, I hope to have the adult part of the site in place by the start of March (I will be combining http://www.darrenshan.com and www.dbshan.co.uk so that fans will be able to access both my children's and adult's books from the one place). If not, no worries, I'll upload my City of the Snakes material to the old D B Shan site for the time being.

    Either way, you guys have nothing to worry about -- there should be no down time, and the new site is going to be bigger, better and more packed with cool features than ever before!! This is the 21st century, and the Darren Shan web site is going to reflect that fact BIG TIME!!!!!! Keep watching, folks -- there are exciting times ahead....


    And that's it for February!! Heh heh -- nothing like ending on a nice, juicy cliffhanger!! I hope you're all eager to see what the new web site has in store. To be honest, so am I!!! I can't really visualise it all at the moment, because it's going to be so different to what has gone before! Hopefully I'll be able to share at least part of it with you when I return at the start of March for the next issue of the Shanville Monthly. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x