• Issue 216 - July 2018

    01 July 2018



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the July issue of the Shanville Monthly. As is always the way this time of year, I'm celebrating dual birthdays. I turn 46 on July 2nd (I know, I know -- you look at a photo of me and think how can he possibly be that old?!?), while the Shanville Monthly is all grown up and is throwing a wild party for its 18th birthday -- yes, it was 18 years ago this month that the very first issue of the Shanville Monthly went live to an unsuspecting (and, in all honesty, ony mildly interested) world -- if you'd like to see what news items it contained, CLICK HERE. Even though August 2000 was very early in my career, I'd already released 4 books -- Ayuamarca (later re-titled Procession of the Dead), Cirque Du Freak, Hell's Horizon and The Vampire's Assistant. At that stage, my works for adults and YA were equal in number -- two each. I had hoped to keep them more or less on an equal pegging going forward, but the YA novels ended up taking over and far out-numbering my books for grown-ups. But I've recovered some ground in recent years, and Midsummer's Bottom, my latest novel (as Darren Dash) brings the tally up to 8 books for adults versus 42 for children and teenagers. Still a long way behind, I know, but they're starting to slowly catch up... well, at least until my next YA series comes along!!!






    Midsummer's Bottom is one of my Darren Dash books for adults, but it's much lighter than any other adult novel that I've published -- a risque, fantastical, Shakespearean-inspired comedy! It went on sale last month on June 21st. This is the 50th book that I have published. I wasn't sure what readers would make of it, given how different it is to the rest of my body of work, but the reviews have been incredibly positive. I posted snippets from a few different reviewers last month, and here are a few more:


    "Shakespeare fans in particular will find the atmosphere and humor exquisite. While they stay true to some of the Bard's ironic contentions and satirical approaches, they also add embellishments unique to Darren Dash's style and contemporary approach to Midsummer's spectacles." Midwest Book Review.


    "Midsummer's Bottom is funny, fantastical, and tremendously thoughtful... thrilling, suspenseful, and surprisingly risque." Book Blog Bonanza.


    "Whimsical, touching, witty... Midsummer's Bottom warmed my heart and confirmed one thought in my mind, that was a distant whisper until now -- Darren Dash can do anything." The Literary Connoisseur.


    "Midsummer’s Bottom is a swiftly paced tongue-in-cheek romp packed with bawdy humour and fantastical charm that manages to simultaneously embrace and send-up Shakespearian tropes. Dash has filled this tale with all the belly laughs and bust-ups you would expect from a comical summer read whilst still pulling off the kind of big reveals and surprising plot twists that have made him famous." Books, Films & Random Lunacy.


    Midsummer's Bottom is on sale as a paperback or eBook across all Amazon stores worldwide.


    If you would like to buy a copy of Midsummer's Bottom, click on the following link to be directed to the eBook in YOUR local Amazon store: http://getbook.at/midsummersebook


    Or click on this link if you would prefer to buy it in paperbackhttp://getbook.at/MidsummersBottom


    Alternatively, you can read it for absolutely FREE if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited.





    Midsummer’s Bottom is continuing to pick up amazing reviews over on Goodreads. Obviously I think it’s a cool and quirky book. And pretty much every critic who’s reviewed it to date has said they think it’s a cool and quirky book. But if you don’t believe me, and you don’t believe the critics... believe the people!!!  CLICK HERE to check out what the public are saying about it.






    August is coming, and that means... the Edinburgh International Book Festival. I've done events there for the last 18 years in a row, and I'm thrilled to be making it 19 in a row this year, with two appearances -- and they'll very likely be my only two public events of 2018. Tickets are now on sale, and they're just a fiver each.


    My first event is on Sunday August 12th at 3.30pm. I'll be doing readings from a few of my books (I'm going to try to cover vampires, demons AND zombies!), and answering whatever questions the audience members care to throw at me. CLICK HERE TO BOOK


    Then I'm doing a panel event on Monday August 13th at 11.45am with Charlie Higson and Sally Gardner, talking about how to write horror books. CLICK HERE TO BOOK


    I'll be signing after both events, and there are no limits on how many of my books you can bring to get signed.


    Here's a nice article about the upcoming festival, with not one, but two mentions of yours truly. Sweet!! CLICK HERE






    We live in a world where prices almost always go up and never down -- but I'm here to reverse the trend! Midsummer's Bottom is a moderately big book -- just over 450 pages in paperback -- which means it's quite expensive to produce a physical copy. I don't like setting my prices too high, so I fiddled with my numbers as much as I could until I came up with a price that wouldn't fleece readers, but which would also return me just enough profit to (hopfully!) cover most of the costs involved in publishing and promoting a novel. At the same time, I had a look at the prices of my other Darren Dash novels, and decided to shave some money off of those as well, to bring them in line with the price of the new book. That means that the prices of all three of my Darren Dash paperbacks have come down across all territories, by $2 in the USA, £2 in the UK, and €2 in Europe. (In fact, The Evil And The Pure has come down by £3 in the UK and €3 in Europe!) So, if you're interested in buying one of my Darren Dash books in paperback, there's never been a better time to pick them up. (The eBooks are permanently priced low, currently at just $2.99, £1.99 or €2.99.) You can find direct buying links on the Darren Dash website: www.darrendashbooks.com





    I gave a new interview to the Kelly Smith Reviews site to tie in with the launch of Midsummer's Bottom. The interviewer had read the book, so was in a position to ask specific questions about it, so I'd highly recommend this for people who want to know a bit more about how the book came to be. There's also a really cool review of the book. To access both the interview and review, CLICK HERE.






    The FIFA World Cup kicked off last month, and with the first match being a rout (Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0) all the talk on Day One was of singer Robbie Williams shooting the finger to a camera at one point while performing, which offended far more people than one might imagine.


    That reminded me of a similar gaffe I made on tour in the USA some years ago. I'd been reading out a scene from one of my Demonata books which included a bit where the character slipped Lord Loss the finger. I'd never acted out that bit -- while I'm a lively performer, I seldom stretch to actually animating what I'm describing -- but one day I was giving the talk to a large school group, and I got slightly carried away (it was going really well), and when I got to the finger-flipping section, I just naturally found myself raising my own middle finger as I was talking.


    A huge gasp rang around the room, which caused me to pause for a second and blink, as I hadn't anticipated such a reaction -- I think the finger is taken as more of an insult in the USA than Ireland or the UK, where it's usually seen as a childish, humorous gesture. Then I carried on while making a mental note, "We won't be doing THAT again!"


    Master Robbie -- welcome to the club!!





    Londoners -- Vampire Mountain is closer than you think!! At least, the BOOK of it is closer -- and free -- along with the other two books in the Vampire Rites Trilogy -- if you're lucky enough to stumble across it on the streets. Confused? Click on this link for clarification: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/15006458






    A teacher called Mr Love recently posted the following tweet over on Twitter:


    Reading Cirque Du Freak to a new class. They were enthralled. Mouths literally hanging open... "Mr Love, it's just like the Greatest Showman...but without the songs. Or happiness."


    That's one of my favourite descriptions of CDF that I've ever come across!!!





    Are you ready for a monster of a reading challenge?!? A YouTuber called HardbackHoarder is soon going to be starting a Cirque Du Freak readalong. Beginning near the end of July, she aims to read one of my Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak series books per week. She is inviting other people to join her in the challenge, and to discuss the books with her and other fans on her discussion boards over the course of the readalong. It sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun -- three months of immersion in the world of Darren and Steve, Mr Crepsley and Mr Tiny, Vampire Mountain and the Lake of Souls, with the opportunity to rave (or rant!) about them with a load of new Shan-informed friends. To find out more about it, and to join in the readalong, CLICK HERE. I'll be keeping an eye on it and maybe dropping in with a line or two of my own every now and then, so if you've ever had any long-burning questions that you wished you could put to me, this might be the time...






    Check out this cool new review by Madelon de Vreugd (that sounds like a great vampire general's name to me!!) for Ocean of Blood, the second book of my Saga Of Larten Crepsley quartet. This was the book that saw poor Larten hit his lowest and darkest point -- the ending is probably the bleakest finale to a book that I've ever written, and given the nature of my work overall, that's saying a lot!!!!

    But there's always light at the end of the tunnel, and book 3 saw him bouncing back and entering a far happier and brighter period of his life.

    Until, y'know, his NEXT low, dark point...





    The winners of my June Shanville Monthly competition were, in the order drawn:


    Amanda Norden, USA.

    Alex Williams, Canada.

    Saloni More, Thailand.


    Each of the winners received a signed copy on An Other Place. Thanks to the 186 of you who entered, congrats to the winners, and better luck next time to the rest of you. 






    To celebrate my brace of birthdays this month, I'm offering up five sets of extremely rare goodies. Five lucky winners will each walk away with both of the Darren Shan rarities that you can see in the photos above -- a folder for A4 papers that my American publishers, LittleBrown, made for a giveaway many years ago when my Demonata books were being released, and a packet of Demonata trading cards that my UK publishers HarperCollins made for a giveaway in the UK around the same time. (The idea was to collect all 24 cards and then play a Top Trumps-style game with your friends.) You'd probably have a very hard time tracking these down today -- they were never intended for sale, so the vast majority of them ended up in the hands of true fans, rather than collectors or traders. I've also signed all the folders, and I've signed the backs of the trading card packets too. Nice!!


    1) Answer this question: "What landmark birthday did the Shanville Monthly celebrate this month?"


    2 Send your entry to: [email protected]


    3) Put your NAME in the SUBJECT BOX when you send your e-mail. 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, Monday, July 9th, 2018.


    (5) This competition is open to everybodyeverywhere 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, July 10th, 2018. 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 won't be doing anything exciting for my birthday -- I'm saving it all up for a big splurge when I hit the big 5-0 in a few years time. (Help!!! How the hell am I staring down the barrel of turning into a fifty year old?!? In my head I'm still in my early twenties!) If any of you wish that you could get me a present for my birthday... well, you can, kind of. If you're old enough to be reading my books for adults, it would be absolutely lovely if you gave Midsummer's Bottom a try -- and it would be a truly spectacular present if (assuming you enjoy it) you left a nice review for it on a site like Amazon or Goodreads... :-) I'll be back at the start of August with another roundup of all the latest 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.





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