• Issue 212 - March 2018

    01 March 2018



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the March issue of the Shanville Monthly. I've been hard at work on my next release -- one of my Darren Dash books for adult readers -- and it's almost good to go, so after a barren 2017, I can pretty much confirm that I'll be releasing at least one new book this year! You can read more about that below, along with all the rest of the latest Shan/Dash news and updates.






    I've been hard at work on my next Darren Dash book for adults -- it's currently out with its editor, awaiting her feedback and corrections. I plan to officially release it on June 21st (though there's a good chance it might come out a few days or so before that) for reasons which will become clear when I reveal a bit more about it closer to its release date. In the run-up to that, I've decided to put the eBook of The Evil And The Pure, my first Darren Dash book, on sale for a few days this month. It usually retails for $2.99 in the USA and £1.99 in the UK, but during the sale I'll be reducing the price to $0.99 and £0.99 respectively. Also, for the first time, I'm going to aim to reduce the price in all the other Amazon stores too. Amazon don't have an easy set-up for that (they only do official sales for the American and British markets) but I'm going to do my best to find a way around it, so that fans in every country can get in on the deal. I haven't yet decided on the start date for the sale, or for how many days it will run. You can either keep checking on Amazon, or follow me on my Darren Dash Facebook or Twitter account to be updated when the sale goes live. I also plan to do this for Sunburn in April, and An Other Place in May, so those of you who like to grab a bargain might want to hold off buying either of those for a while...


    The Evil And The Pure : http://mybook.to/evilandpureebook "The book flaunts the grim panache of a London crime saga, and all the characters are engaging, no matter how despicable they are. Not for the faint of heart, but this novel’s character studies and ever shifting plot will excite fans of English noir." Kirkus -- a Recommended Read.


    To find out more about my Darren Dash books for older readers, visit www.darrendashbooks.com





    A few months ago, I was asked over on Goodreads if I could write a very quick, two-sentence horror story. To be honest, brevity isn't my strong point, which is why I don't write many short stories (and why my Facebook posts sometimes read like essays!), but without thinking about it too hard, I dove right in, and this is what I came up with:


    "I leant forward to kiss Grandad's forehead. As my lips touched his flesh, his eyes opened, his arms clutched me tight, and the lid slammed shut on us as he dragged me into the coffin."


    Sweet dreams, everyone!!


    If you'd like to check out my Goodreads page and see what other questions I've answered, CLICK HERE







    A teacher called Mr McCrudden (with the help of co-teacher Mr Pall) in Greenford High School has been using my books in his library. He tries to bring books to life, so refers to this as the Living Library, which I think is a brilliant idea -- I love it when teachers "get" reading and make it fun for children. It seems to be going down a treat with his students, although, if I was them, I'd be worried by how much he looks like Edward Scissorhands in that first photo!!



    SAY WHAT?!?


    A fan called Dan wrote to me a while back, apologising for something he had said when he met me at a signing:


    "I've been a huge fan of your books ever since I was a kid and I just want to thank you for being such a huge part of my life growing up, your books literally took me to a whole new world and I can never thank you enough for the influence you've had over me.


    "However, I've been haunted by the memory of meeting you ever since i had the pleasure of having my books signed shortly after Bec was released. You probably wouldn't remember it at all but when I met you I was so star struck I had no idea what to say. I was stood in front of my absolute hero, the guy who had created this world that took me away from the boring reality of the real world and into a place of demons and vampires and werewolfs and all the amazing wonderful horrifying beasts. Rather than thank you for the amazing books you wrote, instead I decided to criticise you and point out an error in you books. I can't even remember what it was now, something to do with the Vampaneze, but I do remember re-reading the series shortly afterwards and realising that I was wrong and just didn't understand. There I was with my idol in front of me and my first words were 'Darren, you made a mistake in your books'. You know when you're in bed about to fall asleep and remember an embarrassing memory and then just lay in bed for hours thinking about how much of an idiot you are? I don't even wanna tell you how many hours of sleep I've lost!


    "This was obviously years and years ago so you probably don't remember it but I still do all this time later and I've decided the only way I can get closure from it is by emailing you to apologise and thank you once again for being such a huge part of my childhood. I've just started re-reading The Thin Executioner and it really is one of the greatest books I've ever read. I would give anything to see it made into a movie!"


    Heh heh! As I told Dan, he had nothing to apologise about. Lots of my fans get starstruck when they meet me, and I perfectly understand -- I get that way myself sometimes when I meet my own idols. I was in a room with Stephen King once, and he's my biggest idol of all, and I just couldn't bring myself to go up and say hello to him. (Although, in fairness to myself, he was eating at the time, and I try not to interrupt ANYONE when they're eating!) Trust me, if you've taken the time to come along to an event or signing of mine, and travelled to be there, and stood in line to get your books signed, I'm feeling the love big time, and nothing you say or do will make me think any the less of you. Well, y'know, unless you tried to strangle me or something, but hey, as if THAT could ever happen!!! :-)







    I came across this drawing from the Cirque Du Freak manga again recently, and it reminded me just how damn cool the manga was! For those unaware of its existence -- all 12 volumes of The Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak were adapted into a faithful Japanese manga many years ago. They were later translated and released in many other countries, such as the UK, USA, Taiwan, China, etc. I HIGHLY recommend tracking them down if you haven't yet read them. As I said, they were faithful to the books, but the style was all their own, and the artist (Takahiro Arai) found a way to tell his own story, in his own way, without deviating too much from mine. Freakily fantastic!!





    When my fans are happy, I am happy -- and this post, by a fan called Richard, made me very happy indeed!! 


    "I just wanted to tell ya, I loaned out Zom-B 1 & 2 to a friend recently. They finished them and returned them and their opinion? LOVED THEM. So I may have made you another fan (or three, depending on how many he recommends you to) and he is anxiously awaiting borrowing my copies of the rest of the series. And yes, I asked him if he saw the twist coming. He did not. Much like me, he enjoyed it and did NOT see it coming at all. Well played Mr Shan, well played indeed!"


    For those of you not familiar with Zom-B, who might be wondering about the big twist that Richard refers to... I think it's one of my neatest twists. It's certainly not the first time it's been done -- I reveal the book that directly influenced me in my author notes in the Books part of www.darrenshan.com -- but I think it works especially well in this instance. Curious? Want to pit your wits against mine and see if you can guess the twist ahead of the reveal? Then you'll have to go read Zom-B and put yourself to the test!! It's on sale as a hardback or eBook in the USA, and as a hardback, paperback or eBook in the UK -- your local bookseller should be able to order it for you, or you can order it online through any of the usual suspects. OR, for a REAL bargain... if you want to pick up the entire Zom-B series of paperbacks (the covers aren't as grisly as this one!) for an incredibly attractive price (usually less than £20 for all 12 books!!) go to LOWPLEX They ship worldwide, so even with shipping costs if you live far abroad from the UK, the set usually ends up being very good value regardless.






    How cool is THIS?!? It's a gift box made by a fan called Vampaneze Mistress (not her actual name, I'm fairly sure!) who put it together using pages from the Cirque Du Freak manga. You can't buy little treasures like this (well, you probably CAN, given the times in which we live, but given that Universal Studios own the merchandising rights to CDF, I'm going to turn a blind eye to any unofficial Shananigan trades on the web -- if you see no evil, you can report no evil!) but there's nothing to stop you making something like this yourself for the much-loved Shansters in your life, or even if you just want a treat for yourself...  





    I said in a post on Facebook at the start of last month that I sometimes wonder if there's a place for the Shanville Monthly in this world of Facebook and Twitter, where news is instantaneous and fleeting -- with so much fresh material to absorb every day, do fans really want to go back and read through a newsletter that contains articles that are maybe three or four weeks out of date? (The ancient past in social media terms!!) But THIS ARTICLE, about the Monthly and my web site, by a fan called Soph, suggests to me that there might be life in the old dog yet!!






    Curses!! I meant to post this last month, ahead of Valentine's Day, but forgot. Oh well, better late than never!


    While I don't write much out-and-out romantic fiction, I did once write a heart-wrenching love story about Gavner Purl, a character from my vampire books. In one of the books, Darren and Mr Crepsley spot Gavner wearing a pair of yellow boxer shorts with tiny pink elephants stitched into them. My editors wanted me to remove the scene, as they didn't think a vampire general would wear anything like that. So I wrote a story to explain why he wore them, and how any object can be precious to a person, even if it appears ridiculous to others. You can read it for free over on my web site BY CLICKING HERE


    And while ideally I would have liked people to read it last month, I think it's a good little story any day of the year!





    There was a nice new review for Ocean Of Blood by a fan called Chappy over on Goodreads recently. For those who haven't read it, it's the second book of The Saga Of Larten Crepsley, covering his troubled, tearaway years when he was a young vampire and feeling directionless. It's one of my darker, more brooding books, with an ending that still makes me shiver when I think about it -- there's a scene on the boat, when Mr Crepsley lashes out at the world, and I pretty much wrote this entire series just to be able to write that one scene, because it was so powerful in my mind. Anyway, if you want to read what Chappy had to say about the book, CLICK HERE






    I was pleased to see Lady of the Shades being promoted as Book Of The Week in Camberley Library in Surrey back in February. Lady Of The Shades was the last book for adults that I released under the name of Darren Shan, before I switched to using Darren Dash. It's a dark, twist-packed thriller, about a writer who falls in love with a mysterious femme fatale -- but both of them have secrets. The ideal romantic read, if, y'know, your ideal romance involves reading about an assassination in the opening chapter!!!


    If your local library doesn't stock it, Lady Of The Shades is still in print in the UK, as a hardback, paperback or eBook -- you can either order it through your local bookseller, or online through a site like Amazon.co.uk. (If you live in the USA, it was never released there, but you can order the UK edition through Amazon.) It was also released as an audio book for those who prefer to listen rather than read.






    The UK hardback cover for Zom-B Baby was always a disturbing little beast -- it actually got the series kicked off the shelves of a prominent supermarket chain when angry parents complained because it was stacked beside Peppa Pig books!!! -- but the students of George Spencer Academy upped the stakes by sticking googly eyes onto it. As they noted to me, the googly eyes made every other cover that they stuck them to more humorous -- but nobody laughed after they'd stuck them to Zom-B Baby!!!!


    If you want to pick up the entire Zom-B series of paperbacks (the covers aren't as grisly as this one!) for an incredibly attractive price (usually less than £20 for all 12 books!!) go to LOWPLEX They ship worldwide, so even with shipping costs if you live far abroad from the UK, the set usually ends up being very good value regardless.



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for March. Mrs Shan and I celebrated our 16th anniversary last month. (The anniversary of our first date, that is.) We left Dante with his Granny and Grandad and headed up to see Morrissey in the 3 Arena, then headed down to the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, County Waterford. It's a lovely place, with amazing views, and a great restaurant. The perfect spot for sticking out your tongue and chillin'! I'll be back at the start of April with another roundup of all the Shan-related news and updates. 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.