• Issue 185 - December 2015

    01 December 2015




    Merry Christmas everyone, and welcome to the December issue of the Shanville Monthly! I hope you're all looking forward to the festivities (if you celebrate them) and the end of the year (if you use the Gregorian calendar). I'm going to hopefully be doing quite a lot of writing this month, before taking the foot off the pedal towards the end and easing into 2016 in a nice relaxed mood. But before I start to close up shop, let's focus on all the latest news and updates, starting with a pair of gorgeous covers for the final Zom-B book...







    The end is nigh -- and this is what it will look like!! I'm delighted to be able to share with you the UK and USA covers for Zom-B Goddess, the 12th and final book of my Zom-B series, which will go on sale in the USA on March 22nd, and in the UK and Ireland on April 7th. (It should also go on sale in Canada, Australia and New Zealand around the same time.) Both publishers have used the same image by series regular Cliff Nielsen, but they've each gone for a VERY different design approach. So -- which one is YOUR favourite?!?





    The UK cover for Zom-B Fugitive has made the GRAND FINAL for Mr Ripley's Book Cover Wars. This is a fun "duel" where the winners of different heats go up against each other, and fans vote on which cover they like best. If you would like to cast your vote for Zom-B Fugitive, you have until midnight December 7th (UK time), and you can do so by CLICKING HERE.





    "He know when you've been good... he knows when you've been bad..." Yes, it's that time of year again, when I dust off my old SHANTA CLAUS story!! For those new to my world, I should explain... I've written several tie-in stories to my books over the years, which can be found in the EXTRAS part of my web site. But one of those stories -- my personal favourite -- only appears online for a week or so every year, around Christmas time. It's a quirky, not-to-be-taken-too-seriously story set around the time of Tunnels Of Blood, but which includes crossover elements to all of my other books -- this will be the only place in the world of Darren Shan where you can find vampires, demons, zombies and more, all appearing in the same story together! I usually tweak and update it slightly, so it changes (to a small extent) every time round. I'll be posting a direct link to the story when it goes online at some point in the week leading up to Christmas, on Twitter and Facebook, or else just keep checking on the EXTRAS page.





    f you want to find out why there won't be any traditional monsters appearing in my books for a number of years to come... why I started writing my adult books under a different name and self-publishing them... or if I'm ever going to write for comics... then check out a brand new interview with me on pages 33-35 of The Indie Project Magazine. It's online now, it includes lots of other cool features too (comics, reviews, interviews and more) and access is FREE. Check it out!! CLICK HERE





    Christmas is coming!! The good people of Foyles bookshop in the UK asked me what books I would be giving for Christmas presents this year, and what I would like to receive in my Christmas stocking. (Some hope of that! With a young baby in the house, I suspect everyone I know will only be buying presents for one Master Shan this year, and it won't be Shan Snr!!!!) Anyway, if you'd like to find out which books I chose, CLICK HERE.






    ...my true love gave to me... SIX ZOMBIES A-BRAINING?!? That's not how the tradtional yuletide song normally goes, but this year we're changing it, because people now have the opportunity to buy the first 6 Zom-B books for just £12.99!! A massive 69% discount! If you don't want to buy them for yourself (because, wise Shanster that you are, you already own them!), they'd make the perfect Christmas present for that extra-special ghoul in your life!!! This crazy offer comes from LOWPLEX. These are the UK editions of the books, but Lowplex ship worldwide, and usually at quite reasonable rates. CLICK HERE -- then share the link and spread the joy!!!!


    And if any of you are thinking of buying some of my older books as Christmas presents for family or friends (or, indeed, if you would like to receive some of my older books yourself!), the bargain-friendly people at Lowplex in the UK are offering three of my series sets at prices that will be very hard to beat. First, they're offering all four books in The Saga Of Larten Crepsley for just £10.99, a whopping 61% discountCLICK HERE


    Lowplex also feature a great deal on my Saga Of Darren Shan (Cirque Du Freak) series, and are offering all 12 books for just £15.99. Yes, you read that right -- £15.99!! A mind-blowing 78% discount!!! CLICK HERE


    And, finally, they offer an equally tempting price on my Demonata series too -- all 10 books for just £18.99, a stunning 76% discount!!!! CLICK HERE





    There was a strong new review for The Evil And The Pure (the first book for adults that I released under the Darren Dash name) last month, from publishing industry standard, Kirkus. While it wasn't the most glowing review the book has received, it did conclude by saying "Not for the faint of heart, but this novel’s character studies and ever shifting plot will excite fans of English noir." A much better review than the roasting they dished out to Sunburn a few months back!! CLICK HERE for the full review. And to find out more about my adult Darren Dash books see www.darrendashbooks.com





    There's a nice, short review for Zom-B Fugitive on a site called Reader, Writer, Fanboy, in which the reviewer notes: "For the penultimate Zom-B book, Darren Shan went and saved what might very well be the most shocking plot twist this series has yet, and probably will ever have." High praise indeed!! It's tricky, working on a long series, to come up with any cool plot twists late in the day -- usually, by that stage, you're too busy wrapping up story threads and resolving character arcs to hit readers with any major reveals. But I designed Zom-B to save some of the best shocks and twists for the latter stages -- and believe it or not, the biggest stunner of them all is still to come in book 12, Zom-B Goddess, next year. Strap yourselves in, folks -- it's gonna be a hellishly bumpy ride!!!!! You can read the full review BY CLICKING HERE






    I must say that the staff in Woking Library in the UK have excellent taste in books!! Just look at their Book Of The Week display from last month for proof. Yes, that's Lady Of The Shades, my most recent adult book released under the Darren Shan banner a few years ago (before I started releasing my adult work under the Darren Dash name). I think that Lady packs more twists and punches than any other single book of mine, so if you happen to be in the Woking area and want to check it out, you know where to turn... Of course, you can also buy Lady Of The Shades (in the UK and some other territories -- but not, alas, in the USA, though you can probably get hold of the UK edition easily enough), as a paperback or eBook, either by ordering it through your local bookshop, or via Amazon UK or any similar online site.





    Josh Hutcherson fans will want to check out this article about his earlier movies, which includes a section about his role as Steve Leonard in the Cirque Du Freak film. I'd clocked him as a strong child actor before CDF was cast, and knew he'd make a great addition to the ranks, so I was delighted when he wound up in it. It's a shame he never got to play Steve in his more mature years, but hey, if the series ever gets rebooted, maybe he can return to do the adult version of the character... In Hollywood, stranger things have happened!!!!! CLICK HERE





    I love this fan-produced video trailer for the first Zom-B book, made by students in a school in Quebec in Canada. It shows just how much you can do these days with a good imagination and very little actual equipment. Check it out by CLICKING HERE


    Speaking of Zom-B, there was a very good review of the first book over on a site called Pearls Cast Before A McPig. It does contain SPOILERS though, so approach with caution if you haven't yet read the book. CLICK HERE


    And Zom-B also goT a very nice mention in the run-up to Halloween, when it was listed as a recommend Spooky Read over on the My Kinda Book site. CLICK HERE






    I had a fun time in Sharjah last month, though I only just made it out with my head intact when a talk at the American University of Sharjah turned nasty -- see the photo above!!! I have no home tours planned for the next few months -- the next big one in the UK and Ireland will be in April, to support the release of the final Zom-B book. But I have a couple of trips lined up to other parts of the world in the spring of 2016 -- see below.


    Thursday 10th March

    6.00pm -- PUBLIC event at the DUBAI Literary Festival. I will be talking primarily about my Saga Of Darren Shan books. CLICK HERE

    Friday 11th March

    6.30pm -- PUBLIC event at the DUBAI Literary Festival. I will be talking primarily about my Zom-B books. CLICK HERE

    Saturday 13th March

    5.00pm -- PUBLIC event at the DUBAI Literary Festival. I will be doing a panel event about horror, with Christopher Edge and Curtis Jobling. CLICK HERE


    I will also be doing some school events at the DUBAI Literary Festival. If you are a teacher or librarian and are interested in trying to get involved in those, please CLICK HERE



    28th April to May 1st 2016

    I'm going to be a guest of honor at the World Horror Convention, PROVO, UTAH, USA. More details TBC closer the time. http://www.whc2016.org/home.html





    I'm only barely back from the United Arab Emirates, yet it's only a matter of months until I'll be visiting there again, this time for the Dubai Festival Of Literature. I'm going to be doing a nice mix of school and (possibly as many as three!) public events. There will be more information about those over the coming months, once everything is confirmed, but for now you can check out a short interview with me on the Festival website, in which I chat about my return and some other bits and pieces. CLICK HERE





    I was on a panel event with Derek Landy and James Dawson at DeptCon1 in Dublin last month, a YA convention that featured a fabulous array of authors over the course of a couple of days. It was a huge hit, and there was an in-depth write-up about it in The Irish Times, which also featured some quotes from writers from their events, including one from me. To find out what I had to say, CLICK HERE





    THIS is a very sweet video by a teacher called Pip, talking about the book that changed her life. She's mistaken in thinking that I'm dyslexic, but my books ARE read by many dyslexic readers, and have been recommend for them by lots of teachers and certain organisations over the years, which is something that pleases me greatly -- there's always something extra sweet when you manage to reach someone who has been judged hard (sometimes even impossible) to reach... 





    Do you ever listen to a certain type of music when you read a certain type of book? Or imagine specific songs when you're reading a favourite scene or thinking about a favourite character? I know I do!! I meant to write a list of an imaginary Zom-B soundtrack a few years ago, naming songs that i felt went well with the books. I never got round to that (too busy writing the books!!) but a fan called Jack has stepped into the breach and listed a few songs that he felt went well with Zom-B Undergound. You can find his introductory post by clicking on the link, then use the links of the right of that page, in the Blog archive, to find out the names of the songs he chose, and why he chose them: CLICK HERE And if any of you have other song recommendations, I'd love to hear them!!






    Look who made the front page of movie site IMDB last month!! I know quite a few of you have mixed opinions about the Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant movie, but there's no denying that Selma Hayek's beard was a show-stealer!! In fact a lot of the publicity ahead of the film's release focused on how hairy Miss Hayek had got for the movie. Maybe they should have just re-titled it Cirque Du BEARD and done a few re-shoots and taken the story in a whole different direction... 





    A few months ago I mentioned that the Zom-B paperbacks were going to be redesigned in the UK with new covers, and that this would affect the release schedule of the paperback editions of books 8 to 12 in the series. My publishers, Simon & Schuster, have been working hard on their plans, and are going to relaunch the entire series in paperback, starting in October 2016. First, the hardback of book 12, Zom-B Goddess, comes out in April 2016 as planned. Then, after a pause for breath, the onslaught commences!!


    In October 2016, books 1 to 6 will be released at the same time in the new-look paperback editions.


    In January 2017, books 7 to 9 will be released together.


    In February 2017, the fourth edition of the Zom-B Chronicles will come out, combining books 7 and 8. This will have the same style as the first three volumes of the Chronicles collections.


    In April 2017, book 10 goes on sale.


    In July 2017, book 11.


    And finally, in October 2017, book 12 will hit the stands.


    Now, I know this means a VERY long wait for those of you who have been collecting the books in paperback. And it also means that if you buy the last five book with the new covers, they'll look different to the first seven books. And as a collector, I know that sucks! BUT... the new look is AMAZING!!! Of course most authors will happily boast about how cool their covers are, but as someone who has published a lot of books in lots of different countries with lots of different covers... please believe me when I say that these covers blew my mind when I first saw them! The artist is still working on them, and the plan is not to reveal them until close to the release date in October 2016, but trust me, they will be worth the wait! Having said all that, in an ideal world, yes, we would have released all 12 in the original format first, before starting the second generation editions, but sadly this isn't an ideal world, and publishers are sometimes forced to jump ship midstream, as has happened on this occasion.






    Of course it was Halloween just over a month ago. You know the most frightening thing that happened to me this year on the special day? I was quoted in an article about horror in the Irish Independent, and they used a very nice photograph of me (above) which I have absolutely no recollection of ever having posed for!!! I obviously DID pose for it, but I genuinely have no memory of it! Maybe that was the day I was abducted by aliens... To read the article, CLICK HERE. I do, however, have a very clear memory of the following video, which I made to celebrate Halloween this year -- it features myself, Mrs Shan and Dante. Enjoy!! CLICK HERE





    Good news for my undead Shansters in the USA. NOOK Book are including the first Zom-B book in their Cyber Week promotion, which is running until December 7th. During that time, the eBook of Zom-B will cost just $1.99 to buy -- and not just from NOOK, but all the other digital online sellers too! Here's the NOOK link: CLICK HERE but if you prefer to buy through Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, etc, feel free.






    Christmas is an unusual time -- it's a nice sort of unusual, where we give presents and gather together with family and friends, but it's not a normal time of the year. So, this month, I thought I'd run an unusual competition. I'm going to offer signed books as prizes, which I often do, but on this occasion they're not books that I've written -- although they all feature contributions or appearances from me.


    First prize will include a bumper collection of seven different books. The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn and Treasure Island both feature introductions written by me. Shrouded By Darkness and Midnight Feast are collections of short stories, and I'm one of the authors whose work appears in them. The PuffinCyclopedia Of Children's Classics includes an interview with me. In Guys Write For Guys Read, I wax lyrical about what it means to be a guy, in probably the most light-hearted piece I've ever written. And finally, while I didn't write anything for More Bloody Horowitz, it opens with a story called The Man Who Killed Darren Shan -- which I think is Anthony Horowitz's finest ever piece of work!!!! :-)


    Second prize will include The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn and Treasure Island and Guys Write For Guys Read.


    Third prize will include The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn and Guys Write For Guys Read.


    Fourth prize is a copy of Guys Write For Guys Read.


    As I said above, I will sign every book (either at the beginning, or on the page where my piece starts). These are REAL rarities -- I doubt if even the keenest Darren Shan collector has all of these on their shelves. Most of them are very hard to track down these days, so the chances of you ever again having the chance to win them are slim to none. In short -- this isn't a competition you want to miss!!!! Read the entry guidelines below, answer the question, send in your entry... and keep your fingers crossed!!


    1) Answer this question: "What major holiday is celebrated worldwide on December 25th?"


    2) Send your entry to: [email protected]


    3) Put your NAME in the SUBJECT BOX when you send your e-mail -- I will not accept your entry if you don't. And make sure you INCLUDE YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS in the body of the e-mail, as well as the answer. This is so that I can easily send your prize to you if you win. Please also include your age, although this is not mandatory.


    (4) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Monday, December 7th, 2015.


    (5) This competition is open to everybody, everywhere in the world, unless you work for one of my publishers or are one of my relations.


    (6) You can only enter the competition ONCE. If you try to enter more than once, ALL of your entries will be disqualified.


    (7) Only one entry per household -- if you send in more than one entry, ALL of your entries will be rejected. If more than one person in a house wants to enter, you'll need to make a joint entry.


    (8) The draw for the winners will be made on or after Tuesday, December 8th, 2015. It will be a completely random draw, made by Darren Shan personally (I use an online number generator to pick the winners). I will try to notify the winners by e-mail, and will post their names in the Shanville Monthly, and on Facebook too.


    (9) Information submitted by entrants WILL NOT be shared by me with any other individual or company.


    (10) My decision will be final.





    One of my favourite parts about Christmas is listening to non-stop Christmas songs on CHRISTMAS FM. This is a volunteer-run radio station in Ireland that operates throughout the month of December, raising money for various charities -- this year it's for Make A Wish Ireland. Although it's an Irish station, you can listen to it online from anywhere in the world by CLICKING HERE. So if you love Christmas songs, bookmark the link and check in as regularly as you can. And if you like what you hear, it would be lovely if you could make a donation. :-)







    And that's it for December. While I'm sure lots of you will be eagerly waiting to see what Santa is going to bring, there's bad news for the good little boys and girls of the world this year -- Dante has hatched a plan to hide in a drawer in our kitchen, so that he can stay awake, then leap out and clobber Mr Claus as he's passing, so that Dante can keep ALL of the presents in his sack for himself!!! This is how evil geniuses get their start!!!!! You can see a couple of photos of him in training, above. Let's hope for all your sakes that his cunning plan falls apart and that he ends up snoozing and using the strainer as a pillow rather than a club... I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing time this Christmas, regardless of whether or not you actually celebrate the holiday. I'll be back here at the start of January for the first 2016 edition of the Shanville Monthly. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x



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