• Issue 194 - September 2016

    01 September 2016



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the September issue of the Shanville Monthly. This is the month when a lot of you will head back to school after the summer holidays -- I hope the return to the educational system doesn't prove TOO strong a shock to the system! I've been busy editing over the last month, and will continue to do so throughout September -- you can find out what I'm working on in one of the entries below. There's also another new Zom-B cover to enjoy... reports of recent events that I did in the UK... links to piano pieces written for a couple of my characters, an essay I wrote for a museum, and someone who can make you a Madam Octa plushie... and lots, lots more!






    We shared the new UK paperback Zom-B covers with you all last month (if you missed them, you can see them all a bit further down this issue of the Monthly), but we held one joker back from the pack. I'm talking, of course, about the "secret" 13th Zom-B book -- ZOM-B CIRCUS. Well, it's not really a secret, but it's only available as an eBook, so not everyone knows about it. It's on sale in the UK, USA and Canada, so if you want to download it, visit your local Amazon online shop (or similar) and stick the name in the search box. Best read around the time of book 7 or 8 of the series, it's not part of the main storyline, so it's not essential reading, but it does link in with it, and features Mr Dowling, for fans of the psychotic, silent clown.






    The new UK Zom-B paperback covers don't start going on sale until October, but what I forgot to mention when they were revealed for the first time last month is that they have also become the new eBook covers in the UK online stores -- and all twelve have already been rolled out (with the new cover for Zom-B Circus to follow soon, hopefully). So, if you buy any of the Zom-B books through a site like Amazon UK, you'll be treated to the brand new, stunning covers. CLICK HERE for a link to the first book in the series, from where you can easily access all the others.


    If you prefer a physical book to an ebook, the precise release dates for the new Zom-B paperbacks in the UK have been confirmed, and I've added them to my web site. The first six books go on sale together in October this year. The next three then come out as a group in January 2017, then book 10 in April, book 11 in July and book 12 in October 2017. For the exact dates, CLICK HERE.





    As regular readers will know, I've been working on my next Darren Shan series for the last few years. I'm hopefully edging closer to when I can say a bit more about that, but for the time being I have to maintain the secrecy. At the same time I'm working on not one, but two new Darren Dash books -- I started releasing my books for older readers under the Darren Dash name a couple of years ago. The first one up will be a seriously weird little number, the strangest thing I'll have ever published -- I really have no idea what sort of a reaction readers are going to have to it! A Kafkaesque, nightmarish offering that's as much about the 25 year old me (the age I was when I wrote the first draft) trying to make sense of his life, his brain and the world around him as it is about direct narrative. I'm hoping to release it before the end of the year, but it might well by 2017 before it sees print, depending on how swiftly the subsequent edits go. Stay tuned for updates.


    I've also started an edit of the book that I plan to release after the Kafkaesque one, hopefully at some point in 2017, ideally midsummer, as that links in with the plot. This one is, again, hugely different to anything else I've ever published -- a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek look at romance and the complicated relationship webs we sometimes weave for ourselves, which riffs off of one of William Shakespeare's most famous comedic plays. Yep, folks, it's a Shakespearean-influenced Comedy/Romance, Darren Dash-style -- what the world's been waiting for!! It was odd coming back to this one, as I wrote the first draft many, many years ago. I thought I'd gone back and worked on it quite recently, no more than five or six years ago, but when I checked, I discovered it had actually been more than fifteen years since my previous edit!!! The world has changed a lot since then, so I've been busy removing references to video tapes and the like, while including new references to emails and mobile phones!





    This lengthy article offers a very detailed synopsis of what went down at the panel events at the recent(ish) YALC gathering in London, by a VERY dedicated blogger who went to six events on one day! You'll have to scroll down a long way to find out what I had to say, as I was on the last panel the blogger visited, but there are plenty of other interesting reports to sustain your interest along the way... CLICK HERE.






    The Hunt Museum in Limerick is a cool little place, perfect if you have a spare hour or two in the city and are in the mood for a spot of eclectic exploration. They have a lot of historical artefacts from Ireland's past, along with some artwork and global pieces too. The staff recently asked me if I'd write a short essay about an object in their collection, for their Object Of The Month feature. I was free to choose any object I wanted, so I headed in one day and roamed around. If you want to read about the piece I chose, and what moved and inspired me so much about it, CLICK HERE.





    The Kindle edition of Cirque Du Freak is currently on sale through Amazon UK for just £0.99. For less than a quid, you really can't go wrong!! So if you haven't yet paid a visit to the Cirque, or know someone you think might appreciate the performances at Mr Tall's travelling show, this is the perfect way to kick off your adventures in the night without breaking the bank... CLICK HERE.





    This is a nice, recent review for Lord Loss, which also touches briefly on the rest of the books in the Demonata series: CLICK HERE. The only bone I'd pick with the reviewer is their comment that Lord Loss "isn't going to win any awards for its services to literature." I understand and appreciate her point -- gory novels like mine tend not to win very many awards -- but Lord Loss did actually win one of my very few awards, and it and other books in the series were shortlisted for quite a lot of other awards (more than any of my other series, in fact), proof that a good, grisly horror book can also be a good, multi-layered literary book, although I accept that there are plenty of critics who don't share that view! To see the list of awards I've won or been nominated for over the years, CLICK HERE






    I've always liked librarians, and I've always liked Australians, so I was tickled pink to spot a post by the staff from La Valla Library (Down Under) about their recent Book Week celebrations. They were trying to encourage students to dress up as their favourite book characters, and to lead by example, the librarians decided to dress up as some zombies from my Zom-B books!!!! LIbrarians of La Valla -- I salute you!!!!!!





    This is a nicely detailed report of my recent event at the Edinburgh Book Festival. I always appreciate when bloggers write about my events, as it gives everyone a chance to experience a little about them. This will probably be my last event for a while, so if you want to find out what I chose to focus on at the end of the Zom-B touring, CLICK HERE and dig in!





    Two beautiful, haunting piano pieces, one composed to reflect the love shared by Arra Sails and Larten Crepsley, the other to commemorate the fall of Seba Nile's much-missed assistant. These were originally posted three years ago, but I only stumbled upon them recently when they were brought to my attention over on my Twitter page. For the Arra and Larten piece, CLICK HERE And for the Larten tune, CLICK HERE






    A mystery has been solved! A fan called Laura-Elizabeth wrote to me last month saying she had been watching an episode of The Great Antiques Map of Britain when she heard the presenter, Tim Wonnacott, say something about people browsing through books and mingling with authors and celebrities, and then a video of me signing a book popped up while he was talking! She wasn't sure where it had been filmed, so I put the call out to her fellow Shansters, and a few days later a lady called Toni swiftly found the episode using Catch Up and took a photo of the clip, which you can see below. Toni also reliably informed me that the footage was filmed at the Hay Festival a few years ago. This is why I love living in the 21st Century -- it would have taken Sherlock Holmes a whole book to get to the root of a mystery like that one a hundred years ago! Mind you, there is something troubling about popping up in footage on an ANTIQUES show -- I'm not THAT old!!!!





    Snap quiz!! Maximum Pop are giving you the chance to find out which creepy creature from my books you most resemble, based on the evidence of your favourite horror film. It's certainly not hard science, but it's sure as hell a lot of fun!!! CLICK HERE.





    A blogger called Xina conducted swift, short, video interviews with a staggering 65 authors at the recent YALC gathering in London. She asked each author for their best writing tip, recorded their answer, then edited them all together into a single, monumental video. While doing that, she also very helpfully catalogued each author and provided a link to their part of the video, so if you don't want to plough through them all, you can quickly jump to the authors you're most interested in. I was one of the 65 who was interviewed, and you can find my response, along with all the others, by CLICKING HERE






    I loved meeting this fan, Kate, at YALC last month for three reasons. 1 - I just always love meeting my fans. 2 - she dressed up (raher fabulously, I must add) as Mr Crepsley. 3 - she brought me a gift of a Madam Octa plushie!! The plushie, which you can see me proudly displaying in the photo, was made by a talented lady called Imogen, who makes and sells plushies to demand over on her Facebook page. If you're interested in checking out her wares and maybe picking up a Madam Octa of your own (or, indeed, any other kind of plushie that you might be in the market for) you can find her here: www.facebook.com/imogensminijems/





    There was a lengthy interview with me in The Limerick Magazine last month, which you can find by CLICKING HERE. The article starts on page 13. It's actually mostly an old interview from another Limerick publication called Fusion, with a small new bit at the end, where I talk about Limerick's bid to become the European City Of Culture in 2020. (We ultimately lost out to Galway.) But, even if most of the interview is recycled, it's still a cool, long, in-depth piece, so it's definitely worth checking out, especially if you haven't read the original version!






    I've seen many different versions of Mr Crepsley in fan art over the years, but this one probably takes the proverbial (underwater) biscuit! Created by a fan called @wedontgrowfangs over on Twitter, it was brought to my attention by another fan called Vampire Council, and it merges my world of vampires with the world of... Spongebob Squarepants!!! It should be so, so wrong, but y'know what? I think it works beautifully!!!! "Even in death may you be... able to buy Krabby Patty burgers!!!!!!!" 






    I think the emotional post above, by a fan who goes by the name of Cate over on Twitter best sums up the importance of events like YALC, where readers get to meet the authors who thrilled, inspired and helped them in their lives. Because I work in the world of words, I sometimes forget how powerful they can be. Posts like this one remind me of the vital role books played in helping me steer through my own difficult times, and make me very proud that my stories have helped others get over bumps in their roads through life.



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for September. I had an enjoyable few days sampling some of the many delights of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival when I was there last month for my event at the Book Festival. One of my favourite shows was Puddles Pity Party. A sad clown, singing a strange mix of songs, it doesn't sound like the formula for a good time, but he got the crowd going in all sorts of ways. That's Mrs Shan and me in the photo above, with Puddles after the show. I'm on holiday at the start of this month (hello, Lanzarote!), but I'll be busy editing the next two Darren Dash books when I get back, before returning my attention to the next big Darren Shan project. I'll be back here at the start of October with all the latest news and updates, in the countdown to Halloween, my favourite time of the year! Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x



    Follow Darren Shan on Facebook and Twitter. He also has a (very rarely updated!) YouTube page.