• Issue 219 - October 2018

    01 October 2018



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the October issue of the Shanville Monthly. I hope you're all looking forward to Halloween as much as I am -- while I love Christmas, Halloween is definitely my favourite holiday of the year. I'm not planning to do any events to tie in with it this year -- instead I'll hopefully spend it at home, and go trick or treating with Dante and some other neighborhood kids. Before then, I have plenty of items to share with you this month, starting with news of a VERY exciting (well, I think it's exciting!) competition that should prove to be music to your ears...






    To tie in with the coolest-of-cool holidays which is Halloween, I'm running a competition and offering up a complete set of all 12 of the Zom-B audio books on CD. (The short, additional 13th book, Zom-B Circus, was never adapted for audio.) These are the American editions, narrated by Emma Galvin. They're tricky to track down these days, and they'd probably set you back a pretty penny even if you could find them all, so in purely financial terms, this is one of the most high value competitions I've run in a good while! I will sign all 12 of the audio books before sending them to the winner, and let me tell you, there aren't too many signed complete Zom-B audio book sets out there in the world, so again, from a purely financial angle -- ker-ching!!!


    1) Answer this question: "How many books are there in the Zom-B audio book set?"


    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, Wednesday, October 10th, 2018.


    (5) This competition is open to fans 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 Thursday, October 11th, 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.





    I did an interview for Read Write Club recently. It was mainly to promote my latest Darren Dash novel for adults, Midsummer's Bottom, but the questions are pretty generic so it covers a lot of other stuff too, such as my writing process, getting published, and why I chose to do my books for adults under a different name. If you'd like to check it out -- it's pretty short, so it won't take up much of your time -- click here: CLICK HERE






    The Cirque Du Freak movie gets a mention in THIS LIST of 16 YA Franchises That Flopped. I think the compiler went a bit harsh on it, but I agree with their comment that it's a shame we didn't get to see more CDF movies, as the story DID get weird in a big way in the later books! I always thought of the first three books as an introduction to the main storyline of the series, which kicks in in book 4. I would have loved to see Vampire Mountain and its inhabitants recreated on film -- I think it could have been a real visual treat. Ah well, it wasn't to be, but hopefully the series will get rebooted one day and we'll get to see Gavner, Kurda, Arra and the rest of the gang in action...




    I'm continuing to post author notes for all of my novels to my Facebook page, normally one or two books per week. I'm halfway through my Zom-B series now and busy describing how they all came together, who certain characters are named after, why I made specific key decisions, etc. Follow me on Facebook to stay in the loop (along with a whole lot more). I also post them to my web site, and you can find the full collection by CLICKING HERE. (I'll be gently tweaking the notes for the later Zom-B books as I move along on Facebook, and adding the notes for my Darren Dash books when I come to them.)





    There was an interesting debate over on Twitter recently about whether it's best to read The Saga Of Darren Shan (Cirque Du Freak series) first and then The Saga Of Larten Crepsley, or whether a newbie should start with the Larten books and then work through the Darren Shan series. I think it works either way, and there are pros and cons for both. Overall I'd probably recommend starting with Cirque Du Freak, reading all those, then doing the Larten books after. That way, key reveals in the Larten series will carry more weight, e.g. Murlough's appearance, the naming of the baby in book 3, the very end of the series, etc.


    On the other hand, that can work in reverse too -- if you've read the Larten books first, you'll know about a lot of the characters in CDF going into that series, which means they might make even more of an impact on you. e.g. knowing about his relationships with Seba, Gavner and Arra will mean you'll pay even more attention when they pop up in the storyline.


    Of course, a downside of reading the Darren books first is that you'll know in the Larten books that certain characters don't make it to the modern day series, and will be able to guess that they are most likely going to meet with horrible fates before that Saga begins.


    Then again, an upside of starting with the Darren books is that you can mourn for all the characters who die in that series, then celebrate when they are "resurrected" and given new life in the prequels.


    I dunno.. I'd still probably stick with reading CDF first, but... ultimately I think it will work regardless of how you approach the two series, and hey, isn't it a nice quandary for new readers to be facing?!?


    Hmmm.... was about to sign off, when I just thought, what if you mix them?!? e.g. read the first 3 Darren books, then the Lartens, then carry on with Darren's story from Vampire Mountain...  






    A YouTube blogger called HardbackHoarder is nearing the final stretch of a mammoth Cirque Du Freak readalong -- and she wants YOU to join in with her! She aims to read one of my Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak series books per week over the next few months, and 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;s not too late to catch up -- to find out more about it, and to join in the readalong, CLICK HERE. I've been keeping an eye on the readalong and dropping in with a line or two of my own every now and then on Goodreads, so if you've ever had any long-burning questions that you wished you could put to me, this might be the time...





    There was a nice new review on Briar's Reviews recently for one of my oldies -- The Vampire's Assistant.  I was glad to see that it worked its magic for the reviewer even though he hadn't read the first book -- I put a lot of thought and time into making each book in the series as independent as I could. It got trickier and trickier as it went along and the number of books began to mount up, but I like to think that even a newcomer to book 12 would be carefully slipped enough pertinent background info to allow them to follow and enjoy what's going on. NOT that I'd by any means recommend starting with book 12!






    The blogger Bookmarks And Bobbypins has finished her review of all the books in my Cirque Du Freak/Saga of Darren Shan series -- she started with the first a few months back, and posted a separate review for each book as she read it. CLICK HERE for her review of Sons Of Destiny, the final book in the series, and you can work your way backwards from there if interested. Warning -- the reviews contain lots of SPOILERS, so approach with caution if you are not familiar with the books!.





    I like to give a shoutout to Lowplex every so often, because they offer sets of all my YA series at incredible bargain prices, and I only think it's fair that you guys are made aware of their offers, so that you can get my books for the best price possible if you're looking to buy copies in the near future.


    The Saga Of Darren Shan is currently just £19.49 for all 12 books. CLICK HERE


    You can get the entire Zom-B set -- again, 12 books -- for even less, just £17.99. CLICK HERE


    All 10 of The Demonata books will set you back a slight bit more, but they're still just a mere £23.99, CLICK HERE


    Want to find out what Larten Crepsley's life was like before he met Darren? The 4 book Saga about his early centuries will cost you just £10.99. CLICK HERE


    But the best deal of all at the moment is if you want to buy complete sets of both The Saga Of Darren Shan and The Demonata -- you can get both sets, a whopping 22 books, for just £33.99! CLICK HERE


    There's a small charge for shipping in the UK, but if you order over £30 worth of books, it's absolutely free. Lowplex ship worldwide, and while shipping WILL set you back more if you live outside the UK, their rates are pretty reasonable and the overall price will still work out quite attractively. Amazon also sell these sets in other countries, so my advice if you live outside the UK is to price them up on both Lowplex and Amazon, including shipping on both, to see which works out better for you. Happy shopping, bargain hunters!!



    BVF! (Best Vampire Friend)



    I like this Cirque Du Freak meme that a fan called Rindy posted on Twitter recently. Although just imagine how different Darren's story might have turned out if he'd managed to calm Steve down and maintain their friendship. I guess the lesson to be learned there is -- be careful who you alienate in this life, or they might come back looking to throw you down a pit full of stakes!!





    Nice to see a little vampish number in among these Throwback Titles from Your Childhood that are Worth the Re-Read.CLICK HERE When I was writing Cirque Du Freak and the rest of the books in that series, I tried to write it in a way that would hold appeal for both older and younger readers -- primarily I wanted it to appeal to a young audience, of course, but I also wanted there to be enough in there for an adult to sink their teeth into to, as the very best children's books contain something for readers of all ages. So, if you read CDF years ago when you were young and innocent, it might be worth dipping in again -- you might find it a significantly different read this time round...



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for October. It was my son Dante's 4th birthday last month, and there was face painting at his party -- you can imagine how my heart soared when he sat up and asked to be turned into a skeleton! Good practice for his Halloween costume, perhaps, although I don't think Mrs Shan and I will be able to recreate that look quite as well as the face painters did! Anyway, I hope you all have lots of ghoulish fun on October 31st, and I'll see you back here at the start of November for the next monthly 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.





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