• Issue 204 - July 2017

    01 July 2017



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the July issue of the Shanville Monthly. Shansters of long-standing will know that around these parts July is BIRTHDAY time!!! And not just a single birthday -- it's DOUBLE BIRTHDAY time!!!! Because this month sees the celebration of the Shanville Monthly's 17th birthday, and the celebration (if you can call it that!) of MY 45th birthday! Yep 17 years ago on this very month, I launched the first issue of the Shanville Monthly onto an unsuspecting world. And 45 years ago, on July 2nd 1972, Momma Shan launched ME onto an unsuspecting world!!!! To be honest, it's hard to believe I'm 45 -- the years have flown by since I was a teenager, and I feel like I'm in my late 20s. Well, until I try to run or move fast -- then it becomes very clear that, nope, I'm hitting middle age bang on!!!! While it would be nice to celebrate the birthday with a new book, I'm afraid I don't have anything new lined up just yet -- but July DOES see the launch of a new paperback edition of Zom-B Fugitive in the UK, so I can't be accused of not making ANY sort of an effort!! :-) I'm also running a competition to tie in with both my birthday and the launch of the new paperback, and it features a truly unique prize that you ain't gonna find anywhere else on this planet, no matter how hard you search. Intrigued? Want to know more? Then read on and scroll down and prepare to squeal with excitement when you find out what it is!!!!!!






    My Zom-B books are being issued in cool paperback editions in the UK. The first ten books have already been released, and book 11, Zom-B Fugitive, is due to hit bookshops on Thursday July 13th. (The 12th and final book goes on sale in October.) If you haven't yet given the series a go, this would be a good time to get onboard, as you'll probably be able to catch up on all the action ahead of the release of the last book in October, meaning you won't have too long to wait to find out how it all finishes.You should be able to buy or order Zom-B Fugitive from your local bookseller -- if you don't see it on the shelves, please ask a member of staff for assistance -- but if you prefer to buy it online, you can find the best price by CLICKING HERE to use the 123pricecheck site.


    I recently added the covers for all 12 Zom-B paperback books to my website, along with the cover for the short, additional 13th book, Zom-B Circus, which is only available as an ebook. You can check them all out by CLICKING HERE





    I haven't been doing very many events or signings this year, but I couldn't miss the Edinburgh International Book Festival! The lineup has now been announced, and tickets are on sale. I'm doing a public event on the last Sunday in the month, and an event for schools on the last Monday. I'll be talking about my books at both events, reading some extracts, answering questions, and signing afterwards -- there are no limits on how many of my books each fan can get signed. There's a chance I might do a few signings in October when the last Zom-B paperback comes out, but eqaully, there's a chance I might not -- so it's possible this could be your last chance to catch me in action in 2017. If you can make it up to Edinburgh, my advice is do make it!!! :-)


    Sunday 27th August -- 2.30pm -- PUBLIC event, Edinburgh International Book Festival. For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.


    Monday 28th August -- 11.45am -- SCHOOL event, Edinburgh International Book Festival. For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.








    A VERY talented fan called Lucy set about designing sets based on a few of the places described in my book, Lord Loss, for her Final project for a degree in TV/film set design at the University of South Wales. She created a 1:50 model set complex, supported by detailed technical drawings, visual sketches, etc. You can see a few photos of her amazing work above. The first is an overview, the second a closeup of Dervish's study and the bell tower, while the third shows where the chess match in the book's finale is played. You can't see all of the details -- for instance, the row of windows in the study are “stained glass,” hand painted by Lucy, then photogrpahed and printed onto acetate, and they depict a boy turning into a werewolf -- but they'll give you an idea of just how much thought and hard work she put into it. And were her efforts appreciated by her tutors and peers?!? Well, I think the fact that Lucy got a FIRST suggest that yes, indeed, they were!!!!  Well done, Lucy, and all the best with everything in the future.







    On June 7th, my name was one of the possible answers to a question on ITV show The Chase. I was chuffed to see it used, because I'm a big fan of the show. I included a lnk to a short video of it a couple of days afterwards on my Facebook page (thanks, Arra!), but here are some photos for those who prefer still images (or whose devices are unable to play videos). I was especially pleased that the Chaser who was on duty that day was The Beast, as he's my favourite of them all, and not just because of his Shantastically apt nickname!!  The photos come courtesy of two different Shansters. The one of The Beast was provided by Mark, while the one of the contestant and Bradley (the host) was shared with me by Rebecca.








    Hands up if you know what the term "Character Aesthetics" refers to??? I didn't until I Googled it as I was writing this post, but I was aware of the phenomenon before I knew what it was called. Basically, character aesthetics refers to a group of photos which captures the aesthetics, or general attributes, of a certain character. For instance, if you wanted to do a character aesthetic for Mr Tiny from my Cirque Du Freak books, you might include photos of a watch, a heart, a pair of yellow boots, etc. For Evanna you might include photos of ropes, a witch, toads, and so on. Get the picture? Good!


    The three character aesthetics above were shared with me by a fan called Max over on twitter recently. (Well, he didn't actually share them with me -- I went and hunted them down! You'd be surprised by the amount of Darren Shan-related tweets that I track down over on Twitter, so be careful what you post there!!) Let's see if you can work out which characters they represent. No prizes for guessing right -- just the satisfaction of knowing you're in the freaky know!





    It's hard for a reviewer of the final book of a long series not to give the game away with too many spoilers. But the reviewer for The Fireside Table managed to recently write a glowing and interesting review of Zom-B Goddess, without revealing too much. Good job!! CLICK HERE to read it.


    I often tell fans who haven't started Zom-B yet that it's a series that gets better and better as it goes along. More than any of my other series, it's a grower. Where the early books of The Saga and The Demonata featured stand-alone story arcs, Zom-B is all about the big build, and the first few books could be considered frustrating in their lack of answers and self-sufficiency. I took the risky strategy with this series of making it all about the big picture, basically saying to readers, "Look, I know I'm not giving you all that you want with the early books, but trust me, the story will come good if you keep going." I lost quite a few readers because of my approach -- they didn't like the politics and limited zombie action of the first book, or the way the tone and pace shifted wildly with books 2 and 3 -- but those who stuck with it ended up loving the ride. Most of the best reviews I've ever received have been of the last few Zom-B books -- and this new review is testament to that.


    Hey, I'm not saying the first few Zom-B books were bad -- they did exactly what I wanted them to, and set up the framework for everything to follow, and they feature some really cool and creepy scenes -- but if you keep reading beyond them, it's a story that will genuinely thrill you and blow your mind. But if you don't believe me -- and, yes, obviously I can't express an unbiased opinion -- maybe you'll believe this review in The Fireside Table...






    A Shanster with the Twitter handle of Vampire Council shared this photo with me, which she found on some other site. The T-shirts represent "Vampire Royalty" -- i.e. characters from my Cirque Du Freak books. Can YOU work out who would be wearing them?!?






    Some students at St Gabriel's School in Canada wrote to me recently to say how much they liked my books. I replied with handwritten letters, as I always do to physical fan mail (i.e. letters as opposed to digital correspondence), and they posted some lovely photos in response, one of which I've copied in above. If YOU would like to write to me, you can find my address over on the Contact page of www.darrenshan.com -- just don't forget to include a return address!!!





    There was a cool new review for Blood Beast by a fan over on Goodreads recently. For those who haven't read it, it marks the halfway point for The Demonata and, as the reviewer notes, it finishes on one hell of a cliffhanger! In fact, now that I mull it over, I think this might be my best ever cliffhanger ending. I've certainly featured a lot of them over the years, but do any of the others quite match up to this one? I think not. But hey, if you disagree with me, do please let me know by replying with your own fave.  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show?id=1118782596






    To tie in with my birthday and the release of the Zom-B Fugitive paperback in the UK, I'm running another exclusive Shanville Monthly competition -- with some VERY special prizes up for grabs!


    First prize will be a signed and dated copy of the UK paperback edition of Zom-B Fugitive -- I plan to sign it on the date of its publication. But as rare and valuable as that is, it's not the main part of the prize! Because I'm also offering a signed set of 12 Zom-B postcards, each one of which features a cover from the paperback series. But as cool as that is, it's still not the main prize!! Because in addition to the above, the winner will also get a signed Zom-B mouse mat. And this is no ordinary mouse mat -- it's one that I had created for my own personal use when the first Zom-B book was released back in 2013, and I used it every day when I was on my computer in Ireland up until the start of this year, when I switched to a new mouse mat. (Which features the cover of An Other Place if you're curious.) This is a piece of Darren Shan working history -- I've used this mat extensively (as the winner will see by the build-up of sweat and dirt on it!) as I've written new books, edited the whole Zom-B series, replied to emails, composed Facebook and Twitter posts, surfed the web, etc. etc. Short of me chopping off my right hand and sending it to you, this is almost certainly the closest you're ever going to get to owning an actual part of my writing process!


    Second prize will be a signed and dated copy of the UK paperback edition of Zom-B Fugitive -- again, I plan to sign it on the date of its publication -- plus a signed set of 12 Zom-B postcards, each one of which features a cover from the paperback series.


    Third prize will also be a signed and dated copy of the UK paperback edition of Zom-B Fugitive, plus a signed set of 12 Zom-B postcards, each one of which features a cover from the paperback series.


    1) Answer this question: "What birthday am I celebrating this month? i.e. what age will I turn on July 2nd?"


    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.


    (4) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Tuesday, July 11th, 2017.


    (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 Wednesday, July 12th, 2017. 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.



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for July. I'll be having a quiet birthday -- Bas will be away in the morning of that day, so I'll be "celebrating" it by taking my son Dante to soft play. Having enjoyed my holiday last month, I hope to be busy at my PC in July, editing the first couple of books of my new series,which I'm still hard at work on, re-writing and tweaking and trying to get it into the best shape possible before taking it to the publishers to see what they make of it. "When will that be?" you ask. Honestly, I've no idea right now, but unless things go VERY wrong with the edits, it should definitely be before my next birthday!!!! :-) I'll be back at the start of August with all the latest news and updates. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x



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