• Issue 195 - October 2016

    01 October 2016



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the October issue of the Shanville Monthly. I've been busy editing a couple of my Darren Dash books for older readers over the last month, but while work will be continuing on those over the coming months, my mind is now starting to gravitate back towards my next Darren Shan series, and I expect to return to work on that over the next few weeks. I'm even toying with the idea of going back to a one-off book that I wrote a long time ago, to potentially fill in the gap while we're waiting for the start of the new series -- watch this space to see if those thoughts come to anything! Meanwhile, we have the release of the first six of the new-look Zom-B books to celebrate this month -- I'm running a competition where five lucky winners will win signed copies of all six of the books. There's also the re-emergence of an old friend called Koyasan... more Darren Shan tattoos than you could shake a tattooist's needle at... a requiem for everyone's favourite orange-haired vampire... and lots, lots more. But let's start with those covers...






    The first six of the new UK Zom-B paperback covers go on sale this month, on October 6th. They look absolutely amazing in the flesh, so if you haven't yet tried the series, this is the perfect time to start collecting them. They should be on sale in all good book shops from October 6th onwards, so pop along to your nearest bookseller, and if you don't see them on the shelves, ask the staff if they can order them in for you. Alternatively, you can buy them through any online bookseller -- I would recommend looking on 123PriceCheck to find the best price.


    The next six paperbacks will be released over the space of the coming year. However, all twelve of the new covers have already been released as the new eBook covers in the UK online stores, along with the new cover for Zom-B Circus. 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.





    A new requiem has been written in honour of Mr Crepsley: http://www.gretchenratke.com/requiem-for-larten-crepsley


    Those of you still traumatised by the events of Killers Of The Dawn might want to give this one a miss. For the rest of you, as it was for me, I'm sure it will be a bittersweet treat. Here's what the composer, Gretchen Ratke, had to say about it -- but WARNING -- there are SPOILERS ahead if you haven't read the book!!!


    Dear Mr. Shan, I wrote a Requiem for Larten Crepsley as a gift for my 8 year-old son, who has since read the entire 12-book Cirque du Freak series but was utterly heartbroken when Mr. Crepsley died. As a ballet pianist and composer I am a musical storyteller by trade, using fiction as a large basis for my inspiration, and I wanted to write a piece that would dramatize the final scenes of Killers of the Dawn. I've used text from the end of the book (slightly edited for length) as well as writing original music to honor not only Larten Crepsley’s iconic life and death but the celebrating the deep bonds of kinship he felt with his compatriots as they said their the emotional farewells. Finally, I wanted to transition from grief into anger as Darren and Steve confront each other and Darren must now face a new, terrible truth . . .

    As I wrote on your facebook page, my son refused to read for many years. As a huge book nerd myself, this was a soul-crusher to be sure. But a teacher took the time to find a book that would be the right fit for him, and he's read the entire Cirque du Freak series. You have kindled in him a love of books, and I can't tell you how much that means to a mother. Thank you so so much!









    Ten years ago, I published a short book called Koyasan for World Book Day in the UK. Like most WBD books, there was only a single, very large printing, of about 300,000 copies, and the price was just £1. It's a book I'm very fond of, and it introduced a lot of new readers to my work in the UK and Ireland -- lots of fans still bring copies to be signed and personalized when they come to meet. But for the last ten years it has been out of print. While it's been easy enough to get second-hand copies online in the UK, it's been impossible to buy a copy directly through a site like Amazon UK, and it was never published in the USA.


    A few months ago, a fan wrote to ask me if the book would ever be made available to download through Kindle. That set me thinking, and I got chatting with my agent, and the upshot is that we have now put it back on sale through Amazon stores worldwide, as a low-cost Kindle download -- it's £1.99 in the UK, $2.99 in the USA, and a similar price in the other stores worldwide. It's a gentler book than most of my work, more of a fairy tale than a horror story, though it does feature some spooky scenes and some nicely menacing monsters. It's the perfect introduction to my stories, especially for younger readers of 8 or 9 years upwards.


    If you're interested in completing your Darren Shan collection, this is the link for the UK store: CLICK HERE This is the link for the USA, where it's seeing print for the first time ever: CLICK HERE And it is also on sale in all the other Amazon stores worldwide, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, etc.





    I'm not doing many events at the moment, since I'm between projects and don't want to go on the road without a new book to promote. As much as I love meeting my fans, after seventeen years of touring, I must admit I'm enjoying the break, and it's also giving me more time to write. That said, I'll hopefully be doing occasional, one-off events while we're waiting for the next Darren Shan book to come along, and I've just confirmed the first of those, for the start of April next year. It will be in North Wales, at the Sci-Fi Weekender festival, an epic coming-together of fans of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, featuring authors, film and TV stars, and a whole lot more. It's held over the space of a couple of days, and I'll be doing a few different events while there. I'll be arriving on Friday March 31st, so I might be making an appearance or two later that day, though I imagine most of my events will be scheduled for Saturday April 1st. I've only just agreed to take part, so details are sketchy at the moment, but it sold out last year, so if you're thinking of coming along, my advice would be to book up sooner rather than later. For more information about the Sci-Fi Weekender, click here: http://www.scifiweekender.com/






    The new Zom-B covers for my books have been available on Kindle UK for a while now, but we had some problems replacing the cover for the "secret" thirteenth Zom-B book, Zom-B Circus. Those problems have been resolved, and I'm pleased to report that the cool, hypnotic cover for the ebook is now in place, and will download to your device of choice if you buy it via the Kindle UK store. (I'm not sure if the new covers have been added to the ebooks in the USA too -- they're showing on my PC, but that might just be because of the zone I'm in.) If you haven't read it yet, and fancy a trip to a zombie-themed circus, you can find it by  CLICKING HERE And if you want to learn more about the book, and where it fits in with the rest of the series, check out my author notes by CLICKING HERE





    You're never too young to start preparing for your Trials of Death, so I've been helping Dante practise hanging from bars, in case he ever has to endure the Trial of Col Lector. He's coming along nicely, and should be OK wit the first element of the trials by the time he comes to them, though the second element is the really difficult bit or course. Now, I'm sure you're all familiar with Col Lector and trial that was named in his honour, but just in case one or two of you haven't been doing your homework...


    Col was a famed General who was ambushed by a group of vampaneze during a scouting mission to find out if they were planning to attack Vampire Mountain. (This was not long after they broke away.) He managed to evade them for a while, but they caught up with him as he was swinging his way across an old footbridge above a chasm -- it was in very poor repair, so he had to dangle from the remaining boards and pieces of rope and haul himself across, hand by hand. The vampaneze hurled rocks and knives after him, and though they wounded him badly, he made it to the other side and escaped.


    The Trial of Col Lector is held in a high-ceilinged chamber in Vampire Mountain. Bars and ropes have been strung across the top of it, and vampires have to dangle from them for five minutes, moving from one sector to another while attempting to dodge the rocks and knives that a selection of their peers on the floor are throwing at them. It's one of the more perilous trials, which seven out of every ten vampires fail. Mr Crepsley drew that as one of his trials on his way to becoming a General, and fared better than most, skillfully avoiding almost all of the flying rocks and daggers. In fact only one vampire managed to strike him more than once with his missiles, and that was his mentor, Seba Nile, who struck him four times, once with a rock, the other three times with knives, two of which buried deep in the young vampire's flesh and left him with scars for life. The famed quarter master of Vampire Mountain could never be accused of going easy on his students!






    As many of you know, I used to release my adult books under the name of Darren Shan (I've also released them, over the years, as D B Shan and Darren O'Shaughnessy), but changed that a couple of years ago. I now release them under the name of Darren Dash, and for the time being they're exclusively available through Amazon stores worldwide, as expensive paperbacks or cheap ebooks. There are a number of reasons why I opted for the change, but one of them was highlighted in this photo that was sent to me by a fan called Kevin. It was taken in one of his local booksellers, and as you can see, my Zom-B books have been stacked with picture books -- not a marriage made in heaven!! In fact, my Zom-B series was withdrawn from a supermarket chain in the UK a couple of years ago for this very reason -- staff who weren't book specialists stacked Zom-B Baby next to the Peppa Pig books, which led to complaints from angry parents who were (understandably) concerned that their infants would be traumatised by the image of the freaky undead baby!!


    Now, there's not a lot I can do when staff treat all children's books the same and stack YA titles with picture books. But the same thing was happening with my adult books, and I would often spot copies of Procession Of The Dead or Lady Of The Shades mixed in with my vampire and demon novels on the shelves, even in "proper" bookstores. There WAS something I could do about that particular problem, hence the name change. While I'm not entirely ruling out ever again releasing a book for adults under the Shan brand, I think it's unlikely, and my focus at the moment with my adult books is to released them all under the Darren Dash name. If you'd like to find out more about those books (there's another due in the near future) check out www.darrendashbooks.com and follow me under that name on Facebook and Twitter for updates.








    Fans continue to get tattoos inspired by my books, and most are going with my favourite quote from any of my novels -- it's nice to see it grow in popularity over the years! The first photo above is of a tatto adorning the arm of a young lady by the name of Em. While I've seen the quote immortalised in ink many times by now, this is the first time I can recall seeing it with the addition of mountains, which of course pay homage to Vampire Mountain, which is where a young Darren Shan in the books first heard those immortal lines. I love the look of it with the artwork -- simple yet powerful. A fan called Heidi sent me the second photo. Heidi chose to tweak my words, primarily, I assume, because of its length -- if she had longer arms, maybe she'd have stuck with the original!!!! :-) I really like the typeface she chose -- less flowery than the norm. However, the typeface in the third is my favourite in all the world -- well, it should be, since I wrote it!! It was for a fan called Shannon-Emily, who wanted to get the tattoo in my handwriting. That's one way of ensuring the tattooist doesn't make a mistake! And if you think tattooists never make mistakes, check out the fourth photo -- although the mistake in this one can't actually be attributed to the artist. Mads, the Shanster, said that since he'd only read the books in Swedish, he had to rely on what he had seen in forums, and this was what he came upon. He didn't mind -- as he noted, it means pretty much the exact same thing -- but I would urge anyone else thinking of getting a tattoo to always double- and triple-check your reference points, because once you commit, you're stuck with it for life!!! The final photo is of a fan called Denise, who also adapted the logo from the covers of the UK editions of the books.






    A fan called Cory, in Malaysia, decided to create a theoretical book promotion for Sunburn, my most recent Darren Dash book for older readers. She came up with a cover and promotional pitch which I think shows a lot of imagination and insight -- indeed, a lot more than I show on that front! It's one of the main downsides to self-publishing the Dash books -- I'm not really in a position to hire specialists to give the books a proper promotion. That might change going forward, if the books continue to garner a positive reaction from readers, but for the time being I'm winging things by myself, for better or worse. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this glimpse of what might have been if I wasn't a one-man show. CLICK HERE To find out more about my Darren Dash books, click here: www.darrendashbooks.com I'm hoping to released the next one later this year, or early in 2017.






    Do YOU want to be among the first Shansters to own signed and dated copies the first six books of my Zom-B series in their new-look covers?!? To celebrate the release of the stylish new paperbacks in the UK on October 6th, I'm offering five sets of the first half of the series as prizes in this month's competition. I will sign and date each of the six books in every set (I'm aiming to do that on October 6th, the day of their release, if everything goes according to plan), and since I'm not touring at the moment, that means these are going to be the only signed copies of the books to be found for quite a while to come! To find out how you can be in with a chance of winning one of the five sets, read on!


    1) Answer this question: "How many of the Zom-B books are being released in the new paperback format on October 6th?"


    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, October 10th, 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, October 11th, 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, although entrants aged 16 years or over will be added to the Darren Dash mailing list, unless they request not to be added.


    (10) My decision will be final.



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for October. Dante and I went through a poor spell last month, picking up a stomach bug that put the little guy in hospital and me on the toilet for hours on end! Luckily we're both nicely recovered now, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that October will be kind to us. We usually spend Halloween at home, to welcome the hordes of trick or treaters who rock up at our door, but this year we have to visit a very special nun in Norfolk, so we won't be dressing up or celebrating ghoulishly, for fear of being kicked out of the B&B where we'll be staying! I'll be back here at the start of November with all the latest news and updates. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x



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