• Issue 229 - August 2019

    01 August 2019




    Hi everyone, and welcome to the August issue of the Shanville Monthly. Thanks to all of you who took the time to drop me a little birthday Thank You last month -- you're a very sweet bunch! But no worries if you didn't -- I love my fans equally, whether they suck up to me or not!!! :-) That said, a special mention must go to a fan with the user name MikeYoshi, who drew the incredible picture above featuring "The Three Darren Shans" -- from left to right, that's Darren as described in the book/movie, the "real" Darren (i.e. me) who writes the books, and Darren as drawn in the manga adaptation of Cirque Du Freak. Truly stunning stuff, I'm sure you'll all agree. How to follow up that strong an opening? Well, how about with news of a rare upcoming public event...






    "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 (I'm a tad early, as that isn't actually until January, but 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 stirring up a freak-storm! 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!!!)






    Nails. To most of us men, they're just bits of hard keratin at the ends of our finger and toes, useful for picking, a nuisance when they get too long and have to be cut. But to most women they're precious jewels to be painted and decorated and beautified.


    I don't normally notice nails, except when Mrs Shan says, "I got my nails done. Are they nice?" To which the answer is always a resounding (albeit slightly befuddled, since they usually don't look that different to me), "Yes!" To be honest, they've always been a bit of a mystery to me, and I've struggled to understand why people spend so much time glamming them up.


    But, reader, I am confused no longer! A fan called Adele has opened my eyes to the wonders of nails. Taking inspiration from my Cirque Du Freak series, she has finally shown me the magic that can be achieved on the nailicular front (I very much doubt that "nailicular" was a proper word before, but it is now!). The way has been shown -- let the rest of humankind follow suit!!






    This is a quirky one! A fan of my books decided to dub the music from the Cirque Du Freak audio books over the opening credits from the Vampire's Assistant movie. I know many of my fans don't like the film (and before anyone asks, I'll state once again for the record that yes, of course I would have preferred it if it had been more faithful, but I enjoyed it on its own terms) but I'd be surprised if there are too many haters of the credits -- I think they did a wonderful job with them, and here's your chance to experience them in a whole new and unexpected way. CLICK HERE to start the credits rolling.







    As part of a school assignment, a fan called Spencer had to illustrate a three page comic strip based on a scene from one of his favourite books. He decided to take on Cirque Du Freak, when Darren confronts Mr Crepsley for the first time, and I think he did a freakily fabulous job of it! Spencer only sent me the first two pages -- he's still working on the third -- but, hey, if you don't know how this scene ends, and you want to find out, you can always go read the book...






    There was a lovely new French review for Cirque Du Freak last month on the Babelio site. My books never really took off in France -- the first editions were horribly translated, and they never really recovered from the mauling, even though they were more faithfully translated further down the line. In an alternate universe, where the timeline got shaken up, maybe a few reviews like this made all the difference and they're having a vampish parade down the Champs Elysees even as I type...  The review, mais oui, is in French, but if you're not au fait with our Gallic friends, you can copy the text and stick it into Google Translate or a similar engine for a fairly clear and comprehensive translation. CLICK HERE


    Actually, I'm not sure if this IS a new review. It might instead stem from when the new editions were first released several years ago. Oh well -- a good review is always welcome, whether it's fresh or second-hand!



    LINE 'EM UP!


    The line I'm best known for from any of my books is undoubtedly "Even in death may you be triumphant!" from my vampire series. But a fan with the user name KehXKeova over on Deviant Art recently came across a few lines in Slawter (book 3 of my Demonata series), which made a big impression and inspired the budding artist to pen a quick sketch. You can find both the quote and drawing by CLICKING HERE.




    This photo by a German fan with the user handle of Weeping Angel made me smile. S/he was answering the question of whether or not people have more than one edition of specific books, and the photo posted answered that in no uncertain terms! I must admit that while I read a lot of books on Kindle these days, I'm an old collector at heart, and I too have more than one copy of key favourites -- Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book is one that springs immediately to mind -- though I'm pretty sure I never bought as many editions of any book as Weeping Angel has of mine. Maybe that's because I've never read any book quite as good as Cirque Du Freak...    And, yes, that comment WAS tongue in cheek!!!


    If you're ever interested in checking out the many hardback, paperback, audio, ebook or manga editions of my work, from the various countries in the world where they have been published over the years, you'll find almost all of them on my web site, over here: https://www.darrenshan.com/covers/ I say "almost" because occasionally a publisher will forget to send on copies of a certain book or edition, or they'll get lost in the post, or devoured by demons. There aren't many holes in my collection, but the odd one or two do pop up -- for instance, recently a French fan posted a picture of all 12 volumes of the French versions of the Cirque Du Freak manga, which came as a surprise to me, as I'd only been sent the first 6, and I thought the publishers had stopped there!





    I always appreciate it when someone takes the time to review a book of mine, and I always admire those who choose to do it via a YouTube video -- I need to write in order to focus -- if I tried to do a review off the cuff, I'd probably end up rambling on in circles for ages! So big kudos to Atheistic-Socialistic (wild stab in the dark, but I'm guessing that's not his actual name!) for taking on Zom-B and reviewing it OVER HERE It's only 3 minutes long, and well worth a look, so please do drop by and pay A.S. a quick visit.


    A.S. has also read book 2, Zom-B underground, and posted a review for that as well, which you can find by CLICKING HERE


    As I often do when posting about my books, I'm going to highlight a site called Lowplex, which offers the entire Zom-B UK paperback collection (all 12 books) for just £17.95. CLICK HERE They offer my other sets at crazy low prices as well, and they ship worldwide. You can also find the UK sets at low prices on Amazon stores around the globe, so it's always worth checking to find out which site offers the best overall price when you include shipping.






    I happened to spot the eBook of KOYASAN riding high in one of the Amazon UK charts recently. Granted, it's a fairly niche chart -- Children's Multicultural Folk Tales And Myths -- but still, it's nice to see that there's still a lot of interest in a short, neglected book that I released more than thirteen years ago.


    For those unfamiliar with it, Koyasan was a novelette that I wrote for World Book Day back in 2006 -- it was one of the £1 books that year. It was very warmly received, but to my surprise my publishers never reprinted it, so it's officially out of print. A few years ago, my agent and I decided to make it available as a perma-cheap eBook through global online stores like Amazon, and it's found a new home there. If you're interested in checking it out, look for it on your favourite local web seller of books -- or if you'd prefer a paperback copy, you can probably find one easily and cheaply enough through an Amazon reseller, or on eBay, or a site like Abebooks or Alibris. (I see with raised eyebrows that one enterprising seller on Amazon UK is asking £495 for a copy -- you can stump that up if you wish, but a used copy for £1.41 makes much more sense to me...)


    To buy on Amazon UK, CLICK HERETo buy on Amazon USA, CLICK HERE.







    A couple of Cirque Du Freak memes from Vampire Council, one of my most active followers on Twitter. The first, riffing on Family Guy, made me smile -- but the second, using the words of a short song that Darren Shan sings in the books after unwisely downing a few too many mugs of the amber brown stuff, made me laugh out loud. I hadn't thought about that song in a long time. It was only ever a throwaway few lines, but it tickled me back in the day, and it still makes me chuckle now. I'm so immature, amn't I?!? 






    The winners of the July Shanville Monthly competition, who each wio a signed Demonata poster just like the one in the photo above, were, in the order drawn...


    Allison Wong, USA.
    Lexine Higgins, UK.
    Igor Mihajlovic, Canada.
    Thomas Sturtridge, UK.
    Tereza Holm, Sweden.
    Austin Sane, USA.
    Mayra Yanoth Bazan Alvarez, Mexico.
    Sophie Phillips, UK.
    Isabel Lerbs, Germany.
    Teagen Hill, UK.
    Adam Dempsey, UK.
    Karina Howlett, UK.
    Luke DeProst, USA.
    Louise Dudek, UK.
    Diego LunaVictoria, USA.


    Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everyone else who entered. I hope to run another competition within the next few month -- October is looking like a likely month right now...



    IT'S A WRAP!


    And that's it for August. As I noted in last month's issue, I've been editing my next Darren Dash book for adult readers. I normally leave several months between each edit of a book, but I'm conscious that it's been a while since my last release, so I've been fast-tracking things and am working on another edit, which will involve writing some new material too -- not a lot, but enough to require a bit more time than I would usually be taking with an edit. I think I'm going to need one more self-edit after that, before taking it to my regular editor, who will hopefully be able to fit it into her schedule in the not-too-distant future. A 2019 release is looking increasingly unlikely, but hey, never say never! Anyway, I hope to see some of you at my event in Edinburgh later in the month -- maybe I'll have more updates for you in the flesh then. Either way, I'll be back here at the start of September 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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