• Issue 186 - January 2016

    01 January 2016



    Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to the January issue of the Shanville Monthly! I hope you all had a good time over the festive period, and are looking forward to the year ahead. I had an enjoyable 2015, though I didn't get as much writing done as normal, because I was busy looking after Dante. Now that he's a bit bigger and more independent, I've returned to first draft duties, and hopefully a productive 2016 beckons! But before I settle down to work, there's the not-so-small matter of the January issue of the Shanville Monthly to get out of the way, so let's crack on with things -- all the latest news, plus a New Year's competition -- are you feeling lucky, punk?!?






    The third Zom-B book went on sale in HUNGARY last month, and if you wish, you can buy it from my publishers, Mora, at a 25% discount -- woo-hoo!!!! http://www.mora.hu/konyv/zom-b-varos





    If you're looking for a new horror series to get into, you can find some great recommendations over on the brilliantly named site, Dread Central, by CLICKING HERE. Of course I particularly like the "cheating" fifth recommendation, but the others are cool too!






    I was well chuffed to see that Zom-B Family has been shortlisted for the Islington Teen Read Vote 2016!! Anyone in the Islington area (in London) between the ages of 11 and 18 can vote for their favourite book to decide the winner. Voting starts on January 15th and ends on February 12th. You can pick up a voting slip from your school library, local public library, Waterstones Islington Green, or from www.islington.gov.uk/libraries And if you know any Shansters in the Islington area, please pass this on!!





    You can never be reading too many horror series, so even though I posted a link to Dread Central's top 5 recommended horror series just above, HERE is another, this time from Monster Librarian, which actually ups the ante and features 6 top recommended horror series! (Do I hear 7?!?) Some great tips in there, and I'd delighted to see Zom-B among the mix. Oh, and for anyone who thinks it's a mistake when the Monster Librarian says that there are 13 books in what we all know is a 12 book series... stick the words "Zom-B Circus" into Amazon and give yourself an additional treat!!







    The pictures above are early sketches by artist Cliff Nielsen for the UK covers of Zom-B Fugitive and Zom-B Goddess respectively, and they were never seen in public before last month. I recently added them to my web site, along with covers of various books of mine from Canada, Finland, France, Portugal, Russia, Turkey and the USA. I've published many of the images on Facebook before, but some will be completely new to most viewers, including an alternate sketch for the UK cover of Zom-B Goddess that shows a different direction we might have gone in with it -- plus, I've even added a couple of advertising posters that my UK publishers produced when Zom-B Baby came out. To view those, and all the covers, click here: http://www.darrenshan.com/covers/





    Don't you wish there was a site called something like Book Series In Order, where you could find the release information for books in a series by your favourite author? Because, hey, it can be hard sometimes, even with everything that's available on the internet, to determine the order of books in a popular series, and when they first came out, especially if it's a LONG series. Well, wish no longer, fellow dreamers, for I recently stumbled across a site called... Book Series In Order!!!! And here's the link to their page about ME. It looks to be pretty accurate from what I can see, though if you spot any mistakes, do please let them know. http://www.bookseriesinorder.com/darren-shan/





    I love it when a musician or band writes a song inspired by my books. It's a sweet, touching accolade. The latest to pen a Shan-generated song is a band from Northern Ireland called Not Today, with a song called A Little Different on their debut EP, Let It Light. One of the members, Ayrton, is a big fan of my books, and he wrote this to reflect Debbie Hemlock's perspective in Tunnels Of Blood. It's a rocky, grungy little number, and you can listen to it for free (as well as the rest of the EP) BY CLICKING HERE





    I was interviewed by HashtagReads last month, for their 12 Authors Of Christmas Q&A. To find out where I spent the big day this year, who I'd like to have invited along if I'd had a choice, and more, CLICK HERE






    My next tour 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 before that -- see below.


    Wednesday 9th March

    I will be doing 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

    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


    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 returning to Dubai in March 2016, for the Lit Fest, where I will be doing some school events and three (yes, THREE!!) public events -- details for those can be found in the post just above this one. I answered a few short questions on the Lit Fest blog in advance of my appearance. It will only take you a minute or less to read, so if you want to find out which word I would like removed from the dictionary (never had that question before!), CLICK HERE.





    If you're one of my older fans, have you ever felt guilty reading one of my YA books? Or, indeed, any other YA or children's books? It's not something I've ever experienced -- I love a good book, no matter what it's target audience might be -- but I know that there are other grown-ups who feel differently, and feel like they have to justify it if they're "caught" with a book intended primarily for younger readers. One of those, a fan called Sarah, wrote a review of Cirque Du Freak recently, and while it's a very nice little review, I did fire off a quick line to her, offering my support, and telling her to hold her head up proudly the next time she's reading a YA book -- in my opinion some of the best books of the last ten or twenty years have been written for teenagers. To see what Sarah had to say about it, CLICK HERE.







    Librarians are cool. And they write cool blogs. CLICK HERE for one of them, about a Skype event that I did in New Jersey in December.


    I also did a Skype event with a school in Missouri last month. The students asked a nice variety of questions, and listened very politely, though I think they only got REALLY excited when someone asked me what the time was in Ireland. I said we were six hours ahead, so while it had just turned 08.00 there, it was 2 in the afternoon here. THAT set them buzzing -- it was as if I'd time-travelled!!!! Which, in a way, I suppose, Skype DOES allow us to do. "Hello there, you in the morning world. I'm talking to you live from the afternoon world. And they're both taking place at the exact same time!" We live in a world of wonders, people, even though we don't realise it most of the time...


    If YOU are a teacher or librarian, and would like to enquire about the possibility of setting up a Skype event with me, see the Contact page on www.darrenshan.com






    I was felighted to see Zom-B Bride appear on THIS LIST of WHSmith's Top Children's Books of 2015 -- proof that they have very good taste in WHSmith, even though it wasn't quite so good sixteen years ago, when they banned Cirque Du Freak when it was first released, fearing a backlash from angry parents and teachers! Ah, how times have changed -- for the better!!!



    95 FM



    I had lots of fun on Limerick's Live 95FM show on Christmas Eve. I was a guest along with fashion guru Celia Holman Lee and stand-up comic Karl Spain. It was only supposed to run for about 20 minutes, but we ended up being live on air for an entire hour. And they fed us some barbequed bread and butter pudding too! (I know -- it doesn't sound feasible, BBQing bread and butter pudding, but the chef somehow made it work!) I listen to 95FM a lot, usually when I'm driving, and I highly recommend it to anyone in the Limerick area -- or you can listen to it online from anywhere else in the world by CLICKING HERE.





    A teacher in California called Kevin reads Cirque Du Freak to his class of 4th graders every year, and sends me a letter from them with their thoughts and questions, as well as some of their fan art which they draw after reading the book. Last year I thought it would be nice to send them a set of the manga editions of the books. Kevin decided to give the first book in the set to the girl who wrote the winning letter, and in this year's letter he told me: "she actually screamed out loud in front of the entire class and started jumping up and down like she had won a million dollars on The Price Is Right!!! Definitely one of the best reactions I've ever seen a student have to a writing assignment in all my years of teaching!!!" All together now -- awwwwwwww!!!!!!






    It can be a bit of a dead time after Christmas, so let's kick off the year with a competition, and try to breathe some excitement into an otherwise cold and sterile January!! 2015 will mark the five year anniversary of the release of my favourite book out of all the novels I've written -- I'm talking, of course, about The Thin Executioner, which first went on sale in 2010. So it seems like a good time to offer up some spare copies that I've had lying around the house, some since before the book's release -- and I'll sign each copy before I send them out to the winners.


    There will be THREE main prizes, of the American advance reading copy for The Thin Executioner, which was printed and sent to reviewers, librarians and a select few others ahead of the novel's release in August 2010.


    There will be THREE runner-up prizes, of the American paperback edition of The Thin Executioner, which was released in August 2011, a year after the hardback.


    1) Answer this question: "What year did The Thin Executioner first go on sale?"


    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, January 11th, 2016.


    (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, January 12th, 2016. 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.





    The winners for the December Shanville Monthly competition were:


    1st prize -- Sarah Morris, UK.

    2nd prize -- Sarah Carre, UK.

    3rd prize -- Cory Hwong, Malyasia.

    4th prize -- Jo Thomas, UK.


    There were 116 entries in total. Thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everyone else! 







    And that's it for January. The Shan Clan put up their Christmas decorations during the middle of last month, and here are some photos of us in action. First, those legs on that ladder belong to ME. I was hanging Christmas lights from the guttering outside our house, and I was feeling a trifle shaky on the ladder, so Dante very helpfully stepped up to steady me and hold me in place. In the second photo, Dante decides his mum and dad are decorating the tree all wrong, and takes matters into his own hands. And in the final one, you can just about make out the top of our finished tree behind us -- and yes, that IS a miniature Angel Of The North on top, which is just about the coolest topping for a Christmas tree that I've ever seen!!! I'll be back here at the start of February with all the latest news and updates. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x



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