• Issue 220 - November 2018

    01 November 2018




    Hi everyone, and welcome to the November issue of the Shanville Monthly. I hope you all enjoyed a fabulous Halloween, and that maybe a few of you even dressed up as characters from my novels when you went out trick-or-treating, like a fan called Evan (in the photo above) who dressed up as Mr Dowling from my Zom-B books a few years ago. My books picked up a nice bit of extra attention in the run-up to Halloween (October tends to be a good month for those of us who work in the darkness!) and I've included links to several articles below, with a few more to come next month. Enjoy!






    I have donated a signed and inscribed copy of Zom-B Mission to Children In Read 2018. It's basically a book auction, with all funds raised going to Children In Need. So, it's a great cause, and there are lots of great signed books to bid for.
    This is the link for the Zom-B Mission auction -- if you scroll through the images, you'll be able to see what I wrote in the inscription. (Although the photo is a bit blurry.) I think the auction is due to finish on November 17th. https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/childreninread2018#buzz_expend_51710
    And here's the link for the auction home page, so you can see what else is up for grabs -- with Christmas coming up, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to score some unique signed books for the special someone (or someones) in your life! https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/childreninread2018#none






    I was delighted to see Sunburn, my Darren Dash horror novel for adult readers, feature in The Corpse Bride's list of recommended books for Halloween 2018. To find out what the Bride had to say about it, and for plenty of other ideas for cool Halloween reading material, click here. And if you'd like to find out more about my Darren Dash books, click here.






    I love it when schools and libraries get in on the Halloween action. I know some teachers and librarians take a dim view of the grisly season and try to pretend it's not happening, but I really think they're denying their students a fun and positive treat. I always think education works better when it affords its teachers and students some fun in among all the learning, and Halloween is a great time for everyone to let their hair down. The photos above are from a couple of Middle School libraries -- the first one is Woodstown, the second one is Longfellow. They decorated the shelves with some cool and creepy Halloween books, and I was delighted to see a few of mine included among them. Long life to the demonic, undead librarians!!!!





    I almost never read fan fiction, but this short piece by Griswold Lee caught my eye because the writer talked about having a dream of sitting beside me at a performance of the Cirque Du Freak, and I was curious to find out what I had to say about the show in the dream... 





    In the run-up to Halloween, and a writer on The Nerd Daily helpfully put together a short list of some must-have dark sci-fi and horror books. I was chuffed to see one of my series feature on the very exclusive list. You'll have to click here to find out which one they plumped for, but I'll give you a rather sizeable hint -- the title of the first book rhymes with Bored Boss... 






    We're past Halloween for another year, but as far as I'm concerned, any time is a good time to catch a decent vampire movie! If you're looking for some cool vampire movies or TV shows to watch, the creatures of the night at Netflix have put together a handy guide to everything that they're currently streaming on the blood-sucking undead front -- one of them is an old little film about two boys who get tickets to go to a freak show when it comes to their home town... CLICK HERE. The list was produced for Netflix USA -- I'm not sure if all of these are streaming in other countries.





    A teacher has been putting together a series of teaching resources for my novel Cirque Du Freak, focusing on different chapters in the book, and ways to incorporate them into a classroom structure. There's a charge to download the entire set (to date) but you can check out this one for free. I don't entirely approve of using novels in this way -- I'd prefer that my books were read purely for enjoyment rather than as educational material -- but I know that teachers come under fire from all sides if they don't tick the ever increasing series of curricular boxes that are being put before them these days. Many fine teachers have been broken by the demands that are being put on them, and have moved on to other jobs. I've huge admiration for those who remain and still look for ways to foster creativity, who try to do things slightly differently and engage their children with books that they can really respond to and interact with. If the price of doing that involves incorporating an educational umbrella such as this one, well, I think that's better than just going through the motions and teaching dry old books that are going to turn more and more children away from the pleasures of reading. So, yeah, while I'd love it if we lived in a world where every class was given a period of time each day where the children were simply encouraged to read books that they enjoy, I know we don't live in a such a world, so I heartily applaud teachers such as this one, who look to make the best of a bad situation, and who even go so far as to offer a helping hand to other teachers too. (Albeit for a price -- but hey, a teacher's salary is in most instances a thin thing indeed, so I'd never begrudge them the right to make a few extra pounds on the side!)





    Fellow horror author Michaelbrent Collings put together an intriguing Halloween list of recommended books and movies by a long list of horror luminaries. There's bound to be quite a few things here that you've never read or seen, so check it out for some great tips for perfect spooky reading and viewing material. Oh, and I'm one of the old horror pros on the list, talking about the one horror movie that I would most recommend -- if you want to find out what it is (and it isn't one that a lot of people would probably first think of) click here: http://writteninsomnia.com/the-ultimate-horror-rec-list/





    Everyone knows that revenge is a dish best served cold, but sometimes it's also good to have a nice fiery quote to hand. Over on Naij.com someone has put together a collection of vengeful quotes from a variety of novels, including one from an angry young Darren Shan on the cusp of being converted into a vampire's assistant. Click here for full revengeful enlightenment.





    There was a nice Q&A article in the Irish Independent last month, with Connacht rugby player James Connolly. The answer to Q7 was the reason it came to my attention -- CLICK HERE to find out why. I have to admit, it's strange when I hear from adults who used to be fans of my books when they were children. In my head it's only been a few years since Cirque Du Freak came out, but of course in reality it's closer to 20. I guess it won't be too long now before I start to hear from new fans saying "My granny or grandad was a big fan of yours..." 






    "Whilst I enjoy Shakespeare's work, A Midsummer's Night Dream is not a play I am familiar with. The author assured me on Twitter that this would not be a problem but I began to worry when the book began and I found myself reading a conversation between a group of fairies in iambic pentameter. Fortunately the next chapter changes style completely and we get an excellent set-up."


    That's the start of a review for my latest Darren Dash novel for adults, Midsummer's Bottom, which appeared on Zotwot's Book Blog a while back. As the reviewer notes, the book begins with a chapter in iambic pentameter, and I'm sure more than a few readers braced themselves for what promised to be a VERY challenging read -- but I reverted to normal prose very swiftly, and although the iambic pentameter resurfaced over the course of the novel, it was always in short bursts and usually for purely comedic effect. It was fairly tricky writing that way, but I was pleased with the end results -- perhaps my hand was guided in those sections by the fey folk???  You can read the full review by CLICKING HERE


    Midsummer's Bottom is on sale through Amazon stores across the world, as a cheap-as-chips eBooks (which is absolutely free to members of Kindle Unlimited), or a more expensive but still reasonably priced paperback. For more info and buying links, check out my Darren Dash web site: http://www.darrendashbooks.com/





    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 -- 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!!






    One hundred and thirty-eight  of you entered last month's competition, but there could be only one winner, and that turned out to be... Laura-Elizabeth Howes, of the good old United Kingdom. She won a signed set of Zom-B audio books, and you can see me holding up the first in the photo above, mere moments after I inscribed it -- the ink was still drying when I took the snapshot! I hope to run another competition next month, in the run-up to Christmas, so make sure you tune back in at the start of December...



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for November. I'll see you back here at the start of December for the next monthly roundup of all the Shan-related news and updates, and to start the countdown to Christmas -- which, as I'm sure most of you know, is the signal for the re-emergence of Shanta Claus!!! I'll be talking about that in a bit more detail next month. 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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