• Issue 228 - July 2019

    01 July 2019



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the July issue of the Shanville Monthly -- and it's a special DOUBLE BIRTHDAY edition! I've been celebrating my own birthday every July since 1972, and since July 2000 I've also celebrated the birthday of the Shanville Monthly, as that's when the first issue of my monthly newsletter went live. The internet was a very different place back then -- no Facebook or Twitter or any of their kin -- message boards were the main way that people communicated with one another online -- and it took a long time to make a lot of people aware that a Darren Shan newsletter actually existed. But I stuck with it, and have kept putting it out as technology grows and evolves, and while it might not be quite as relevant in 2019 as it was in 2000 or 2009, I like it, and enough fans like it for it to still be a regular fixture in the Darren Shan online universe. This month's edition features the usual smorgasbord of items, starting with news of a rare upcoming public event in August, and finishing with an invitation to enter a very exciting competition. In between I chat about chart success, upcoming sales, and a whole lot more. So let's cut the calebrations short for a while, shall we, and instead plough straight on with...






    "Roll up! Roll up! Enter the Cirque Du Freak, home of the world’s most remarkable performers. You have your ticket, now take your seat, the show is about to begin… Darren Shan celebrates the 20th anniversary of his worldwide bestselling vampire series by taking you beyond the covers of the first three books. Ask your questions, learn about some scary circus acts and maybe even join in the show."


    That's the blurb for my event at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year, which takes place on Thursday 22nd August at 5.30pm. As it says, I'm celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of Cirque Du Freak (OK, I'm a tad early, as that isn't actually until January, but in a world of Des Tiny, what's a few months here or there?), so I'm going to be dusting off some old readings and giving them an air, focusing primarily on my vampire books, especially the early ones. If you never caught me in action back when I was touring with the Saga, then this is your chance to step back in time and party like it's the year 2000 and a young Darren Shan is at large for the first time! Tickets for my event (along with all the other events at the Book Festival) are now on sale -- you can buy them by CLICKING HERE.


    I'm also doing an event for school students on Thursday, August 22nd, at 11.45am. If you're a Scottish teacher or librarian who would like to bring students to see me give my talk (or any of the other amazing authors who are taking part over the two weeks of the Schools Programme) then CLICK HERE for more information and details of how you can apply. (If you're a student who would love to come along, get some friends interested and try pitching a proposal to your school teacher or librarian, and maybe you can convince them to apply on your behalf. Hey, you never know until you try!!!)






    The ebook of my Darren Dash horror novel for adults Sunburn was advertised on BookBub one day late in June, which has the widest reach of any book publicity site that I'm aware of. It was a resounding success, putting the book in front of a huge number of people who'd never heard of it before, resulting in hundreds of sales and a surge up the Amazon bestseller charts. The highlight was hitting the #1 spot on the Dark Humor chart on the main Amazon site -- I can now honestly lay claim to being a #1 bestselling Amazon author on the Darren Dash front, which will hopefully help with attracting more attention to the books going forwards. It also got to #3 on the UK Horror Parodies & Satires chart, #6 on the UK overall Horror chart, and #9 on the USA overall Horror chart. (At least, those were the highest slots I spotted -- it could have climbed even higher during the night while I was busy snoring!) Happy days in horror town!!!! The ebooks of my other Darren Dash novels are all going on sale at different time this month -- more information about those sales can be found just below.





    July is SALE MONTH on the Darren Dash ebook front! I put the ebook of my latest novel for adult readers, Midsummer's Bottom, on sale in June, and the other three will all go on sale at different time in July -- you'll be able to pick them up for just $0.99 each in the USA or £0.99 each in the UK if you buy them during the sale periods. Here are the dates to look out for...



    My very weird sci-fi novel An Other Place is first up. It will be on sale on Monday 1st July, Tuesday 2nd July, and Wednesday 3rd July. To buy in the USA -- CLICK HERE. To buy in the UK -- CLICK HERE.



    My dark London-based thriller The Evil And The Pure will be the next to go on sale, on Tuesday 9th July, Wednesday 10th July, and Thursday 11th July. To buy in the USA -- CLICK HERE. To buy in the UK -- CLICK HERE.



    Finally it's the turn for my horror novel Sunburn, which will be on sale on Monday 15th July, Tuesday 16th July, and Wednesday 17th July. To buy in the USA -- CLICK HERE. To buy in the UK -- CLICK HERE.


    I will be highlighting the sales on my Facebook, Twitter and blog posts when they go live, so if you follow me on any of those feeds, you should get a reminder -- but it might be worth making a note of the dates now, just to be safe.





    A fan called Malachi (aka Hazy ML) read my Zom-B book and got such a kick out of it that he wrote a song in its honour. It's a really catchy little number, and has the good sense to know when to quit (not like some songs, that go on and on and ON...). Have a listen, and if you enjoy it, please leave some positive feedback for Malachi/Hazy ML on his Soundcloud page -- zombies love those who rock on righteously!!! CLICK HERE.






    Lee Hays once said about his band The Weavers taking a long hiatus, "We went on a Sabbatical that turned into a Mondical and a Tuesdical." It's one of my favourite quotes, and the reason I'm bringing it up is that I've have my own Mondical and Tuesdical on the writing front over the last year or so, but I got back in the saddle last month and did a complete edit of what will be my next Darren Dash release for adult readers. We're realistically looking at a first half of 2020 on-sale date (I'll have to edit it a few more times myself, then send it to my copywriter who will have to make room in her own schedule to work on it... sort out the cover and typesetting and listing it... send it out to reviewers ahead of its release in the hope of getting some good word of mouth on the go... and so on), but who knows, maybe I'll manage to squeeze it out into the world before the end of this year. I'll keep y'all updated as things progress. For the moment, know only this -- it's a darkly tongue-in-cheek London-set noir thriller, whose title heavily (and theme a bit more cheekily) references one of my favourite Billy Wilder films, Some like it hot... That's all for now -- keep watching for more info -- and in the meantime, if anyone wants to have a stab at guessing the title, go ahead and I'll let you know if you're hot or cold!





    A vlogger called Randomfish recently recorded himself pitching ideas for a Demonata TV show. If you'd like to see what he had to say about it, and whether or not you agree with his thoughts, CLICK HERE


    I'm always open to my work being adapted for TV, film, the stage or any other medium, and my agent has been pegging away at this for years, trying to get deals off the ground. At the moment we're in talks with different parties on three different projects, each of which is at a different stage of pre-development, though nothing has yet been greenlit or is even especially close to that stage. (So I won't be saying much more about them for the time being, unless and until they move further forward.) But The Demonata isn't one of those projects -- I hope it will get adapted one day, but it seems that the gore and tricky structure are big obstacles for the TV and film folk. If any of you have a spare few million sitting in the bank, and you feel the world needs to be shown Lord Loss and co in action on the big or small screen, this could be the time to drop me a line...   






    Italian fan Frankie has been reading all the books in my Saga Of Darren Shan / Cirque Du Freak series, and writing a good-sized review for each. Frankie's latest was for book 9, Killers Of The Dawn, which I think is a wrench for just about every fan of the Saga. Were there tears? Of course there were! And Frankie's account acts as a subtle little warning to those of you who have yet to brave book 9 -- it might be best read at home in the safe confines of your own living room or bedroom, rather than on a train carriage...


    CLICK HERE for the review -- as usual, it is in Italian, Frankie's first language, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can copy the text, paste it into a service like Google Translate, and come away with a fairly accurate translation into your own language.





    Here's a little riddle for you, which isn't that hard to work out, especially for anyone in the publishing game -- when is a "new" review NOT a new review?!? Answer -- when it's an old review that's been copied across to another site!


    I don't, as a general rule, go in for cross-pollinating reviews. Usually, when I submit one of my books for review, it's to a specific site, and the review only appears on that site, which is how I think things should be. I'm sure there are "review sites" that offer to paste the same review across a variety of sub-sites, allowing authors who avail of their services to use several quotes and attribute them to different sites, making people think the book has been favourably reviewed by a number of different reviewers. (Yes, things DO get that sneaky in the publicity hot house!) But I prefer to keep things nice and simple -- and honest.


    That being said, an old review for my latest Darren Dash novel for adults, Midsummer's Bottom, was shared to another site recently. It originally appeared on the Self-Publishing Review site, on which it is still archived, but has now also appeared on the Independent Review Of Books site. I haven't added any quotes from the "new" review to my site or Amazon pages, and won't be doing so, but thought I'd flag up the review here for anyone who missed it first time round, as it's a very nice review indeed and one that I hope will tempt a few more of you to give the book a try if you haven't already done so. If interested, CLICK HERE




    Pupils at Deanes School in the UK recently undertook a task to create their own covers for some of their favourite books. Cirque Du Freak was one of the books they tackled, and I was VERY impressed by the two designs they came up with. (So impressed that I even forgave them for spelling "du" wrong in the second instance!) I've never been any good at design (as evidenced when I put together the first cover for my Darren Dash novel, Sunburn) so I always admire that skill in others, especially when they're just students like these guys. Good work, team -- maybe one or more of you will get to design a real-life Shan cover one day...





    This was shared with me by a fan called Anne last month. It touched me deeply, so I'm sharing it with you guys too/


    "I wanted to share a little story with you all about the ways these books impact youth who read them. I am a big fan of The Demonata series. I started reading Lord Loss when I was 16 as a school reading project and had way too much fun explaining to my teacher about what I was reading about (This was right after Grubbs first meets Lord Loss). And since then I was sold on the reality that you could find under all the horror and grusomeness in the books. I recently started working at a Juvenile Residential program in Florida for Delinquent youth. And I brought both the Demonata series and CDF with me for one of the youth to read. I am now immensely fascinated with how fast these book are catching on at my facility. Almost my whole case load of 16 youth have read both series and they love the books. The reason I wanted to share this is that I think for a lot of youth in today's society read and see on social media about the perfect lives they should have. But the fact of the matter is most of them don't. They have endless struggles and make bad decisions and have to learn way too early that life is not a fairy tale. At least not the perfect one with unicorns and rainbows. For my youth at this facility these books represents that honest situation of always getting stuck in another terrible situation and having to make those hard choices even when they may not be the right thing to do. I just wanted to say Thank You Darren Shan for writing such real stories about how life is not always easy and filling it with just enough demons and vampires and very little rainbows."






    There was a nice new review for Koyasan over on Goodreads recently, by a reader called Teresa. I don't normally highlight such reviews here (there wouldn't be much space for other entries if I did!) but this was a nice, concise review, and also I figured there are probably lots of my fans who aren't aware of Koyasan's existence, so this was a timely opportunity to flag it up for them.


    Koyasan is a short book that I released for World Book Day in the UK many years ago. (2006, if memory serves me right.) World Book Day books were printed in huge numbers back then (that might still be the case -- I'm not sure) but sold out almost instantly, as school children who were given £1 vouchers tended to swoop on them like vultures. So over 300,000 copies of Koyasan were sold in a matter of weeks -- but it has never been reprinted in the UK. It was released in several other countries, but never in the USA -- although it is now on sale as a low-cost eBook in both the UK and USA, and elsewhere in the world through Amazon stores (and other seller of ebooks, I think). It's a sweet little book, a bit different to anything else that I've published, so if you haven't yet checked it out, this might be as good time to add it to your online basket...


    To read Teresa's review, CLICK HERETo buy on Amazon UK, CLICK HERETo buy on Amazon USA, CLICK HERE.






    A fan called Ianto created this stylish Cirque Du Freak wallpaper last month and said everyone is free to use it, so if you want to freakify your computer or phone or tablet screen, knock yourself out -- just don't forget to say a virtual Thank You to Ianto as you do!! I have added it to my own iPhone and I'm enjoying it very much, though my 4 year old son did frown and complain about the darkness -- heh heh -- with me for his father, he's going to have to get used to the dark pretty damn quickly!!! :-)






    Mrs Shan and I had to take our son Dante to hospital last month to have some of his teeth crowned and one extracted. We noticed quite a while back that he was having problems with his teeth, despite the fact that we got him into brushing regularly from a very early age. We took him to our dentist, who informed us that the enamel on some of his teeth hadn't formed correctly (a common condition among young uns, apparently). We maintained them without any surgery for as long as we could, but eventually we were recommended to take action, as a few of the teeth were close to full deterioration. Dante was a brave little soul and went along with it all as manfully as any 4 year old can. He was feeling a bit sorry for himself in the hour or so immediately after the operation, until we mentioned that he now had a couple of silver teeth -- at which he grew VERY excited, and was back in top form in no time!


    Following Dante's operation, we stayed in Cork (where the hospital was) overnight, then headed back home around lunchtime the next day. We stopped in a town called Mallow to get something to eat. We pulled into the car park, and were in the middle of getting the kids out, when the driver in the car next to us also got out and said something along the lines of, "Fancy bumping into you freaks here!" It was Liam, an old childhood friend of mine, who is also the designer for my web site. Yep, by chance (or Des Tiny?) we'd parked next to him, even though we hadn't been in touch in ages, and went and had a very nice lunch with him and his family.


    I sometimes worry about including too many strange coincidences in my books. It's something you have to do as an author, arrange things so that the paths of various characters collide, and on occasion it can feel forced and unbelievable. Charles Dickens included some real whoppers in his work, and yes, I suppose I've included some whale-size whoppers in my stories too. But then something like this happens and I'm reminded that we live in a world where eyebrow-raising coincidences DO really happen, and things that you wouldn't believe in a book are accepted at face value every day in the real world because... well, because they're real. Or to put it another way... Fiction ain't got nothing on fact, Jack, and Des Tiny fills in all the cracks!



    10 YEARS LATER...


    An eagle-eyed Shanster re-read my Demonata series recently, and noticed the dates in the back of the final book, Hell's Heroes: February 6th 2001 -- June 5th 2009. That's the time that I spent writing and editing the ten books in the series -- I started work on Lord Loss in February 2001, and finished my final edit of Hell's Heroes in June 2009 -- which was ten years ago last month. I actually missed the anniversary -- I'll celebrate the decade-long release of Hell's Heroes in October -- but I was planning to run a competition this month, and it started me thinking if there was a nice little Demonata-related prize that I could offer, and what do you know...






    To celebrate my birthday and the Shanville Monthly's birthday and the ten year anniversary of finishing work on The Demonata, I'm running a competition and offering up fifteen signed, dated and inscribed Demonata posters as prizes. My American publishers produced these as giveaways while they were making and releasing the paperback editions of the books, and sent some to me for my files. They've been sitting on ice ever since, until I rooted them out and decided to send them back out into the world this month. They're not all in mint condition -- some are slightly torn, and most have little marks on them -- but overall they're in pretty good shape. Regardless of the nicks and tears, I have signed each poster and dated it (28/6/19) and also added a little message, 10 YEARS LATER... I doubt if you'd be able to easily find one of these if you were to set out to track one down -- and you certainly couldn't get one of the fifteen 10 year anniversary samples, unless you're one of the fifteen winners of this month's competition. So, if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning, read on...


    1) Answer this question: "How many years has it been since I finished work on The Demonata?"


    2 Send your entry to: [email protected]


    3) Put your NAME in the SUBJECT BOX when you send your e-mail. Make sure you INCLUDE YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS in the body of the e-mail, as well as the answer, so that I can easily send your prize to you if you win


    (4) Closing date is 11.59pm UK time, Sunday, July 14th, 2019.


    (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 Monday, July 15th, 2019. 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 and my blog 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. The traveling funfair Funderland came to Limerick recently and Mrs Shan and I took our son Dante, not expecting him to go on many of the rides, as like most 4 year olds, he's a tad wary of noisy, fast, apparently life-threatening "attractions!" But after a wary start, he threw himself into the spirit of things and went on pretty much every ride that was height-appropriate. HIs favourite ride was the log flume, which he went on several times (that's me and him on it in the photo) -- in fact, we had to return again another day so that he could hit the flume and the rides again, he loved them so much!! I can't wait until he's tall enough to start going on roller coasters with me... But that's a long way off yet, and while we're waiting, I'll be back here at the start of August with a 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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