• Issue 43 - February 2004

    01 February 2004
    GREETINGS!

    Welcome to the February issue of the Shanville Monthly! Quite a lot of items to report on this month -- some major -- some minor -- and some not even related to the books!!!! It's a real mixed bag!! Anyway, rather than tell you in advance what's coming up, I think it's easier for me to cut this intro short and leave you to browse at your leisure. I hate opening paragraphs which ramble on and on, discussing this, that and the other, never seeming to come to an end. Some writers just love the look of their own words, don't they? They take ten sentences to say what could be said in one. They start talking about the weather (and it's not too bad while I write this -- a bit wet and windy, but generally OK), their home life (settling in nicely at my new house, thanks for asking! It's lovely and warm. Very quiet. A great place to write.), football (Spurs lost yesterday, after an otherwise great start to the year -- back to normal, it seems) and anything else that ...
    Oh. Sorry.
    Ahem.
    Right, without any further ado, I'll make like the Invisible Man and ...

    A CHANGE OF PLAN!

    Prepare to go wild with glee, my impatient little British and Irish Shansters!!! Knowing how much you all hate waiting for my newest book, and feeling 8 months was a bit too long to wait between books 11 and 12 (especially since book 11 ends on a HUGE cliffhanger!), I decided to ask my UK publishers, HarperCollins, to reconsider their release date. They did, and in the end they agreed with me, which means ...
    big drum roll ...
    Book 12 ...
    Sons of Destiny ...
    now comes out in ...
    OCTOBER 2004!!!!!!!!!
    As Kojak used to say -- "Who loves ya, babies?!?"
    Of course, now that the release date for book 12 has changed, the release dates for the third and fourth trilogy collections have changed too. So, to put everything nice and cleanly, here's what readers in the UK and Ireland can expect over the next year and a half or so (and I'm pretty sure this will be the final re-shuffle -- fingers crossed!!!).
    February 2004 -- Vampire Rites (collects books 4-6)
    June 2004 -- Book 11: Lord of the Shadows
    October 2004 -- Book 12: Sons of Destiny
    February 2005 -- Vampire War (collects books 7-9)
    June 2005 -- 13th Darren Shan book (title to be revealed later)
    October 2005 -- Vampire Destiny (collects books 10-12)

    RITES OF PASSAGE

    The U.K. and Ireland collection of books 4, 5 and 6 - Vampire Rites - is on sale NOW!!! If you can't find it in your local store, or prefer to order it over the net, you can buy it from Amazon by clicking on this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007143753/shanville You can also buy the first collection (books 1, 2 and 3), Vampire Blood, by clicking here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007143745/shanville The collections are an ideal way for readers new to the Saga -- or those who don't own all the books already -- to collect the series at a more reasonable price than buying them individually. Each collection brings together 3 books, but costs only the price of 2 -- so instead of paying nearly £15 for a trilogy, you pay just under £10. A bargain!!!!

    FOR MY FANS IN JAPAN

    This month, an official Darren Shan FAN BOOK goes on sale in Japan!! It collects together most of my short stories from the Shanville Extras pages (except for those which don't actually tie in with the storyline, such as "Life's a Beach"), all of which have been translated into Japanese by my regular translator, the fabulous Megumi Hashimoto. The book also features brand new introductions to each story, written by me, explaining a bit about the stories, why I wrote them, how they fit in with the books, etc. There are also LOADS of photos of me, some in Japan, but most of me in London and Ireland. There's even Where's Darren? games, where you have to try and find me in certain photographs!!!! I'm fairly easy to spot in most of them, but you might have trouble finding me in the last one!! Plus (and this is a BIG bonus!!), there are new illustrations, drawn specifically for the fan book, by the wonderfully talented Tomoko Taguchi. You can see the cover of the book, and find out a bit more about it (if you can read Japanese!) by clicking here: http://www.shogakukan.co.jp/darren/news/news27.html As far as I can tell, the book goes on sale on February 20th.
    It was always my hope, when I was writing the Shanville Extra stories, that they would be released in a book collection one day, so I'm truly delighted with this fan book! What makes it even more special is that my Japanese publishers have made such a beautiful book. This isn't some cheap, throwaway, cash-in book -- it looks lovely, it's been carefully put together, the photos are first-rate, the drawings are amazing ... It has my full approval and highest possible praise!!!
    Oh, and before anyone asks -- no, unfortunately there are no current plans to release a similar fan book in any other countries yet -- but maybe one day!!! As always, if any such books do ever get the go-ahead, you can find out the news here first, in the Shanville Monthly.

    COMPETITION WINNERS

    The winners of the January Shanville Monthly competition have been chosen (using an internet random number generator) and, in the order their names came out, are:
    HELEN HER -- BRAZIL.
    TAM HOI LAM -- HONG KONG.
    JACQUELINE McKENNA -- SCOTLAND.
    NAM TIK KI -- HONG KONG.
    LEAH KURZEPA -- SCOTLAND.
    I've informed the winners by e-mail, and the signed Mouse Pads will be sent out shortly. The answer, of course, was that Cirque Du Freak has not been published in Italy. Most entrants got it correct, although quite a lot said Israel or Serbia!! Congratulations to the winners -- commiserations to those who didn't win -- and thanks to everyone who entered!! There'll be another competition soon, so keep reading the Shanville Monthly, and maybe the luck of the vampires will be with YOU next time!!!!!!!!

    HIT THE ROAD, JACK!!!

    Although plans have yet to be completely finalised, it's looking VERY likely now that I'm going on a global tour again in the spring, to the Far East and the United States! At the moment, I'm pencilled in to go to Thailand for the Bangkok literary festival in the last week of March. I'm also in the process of firming up a visit to Taiwan, although I don't have dates for this yet. It's also POSSIBLE that I might be coming to China and Japan (again) -- but these haven't been confirmed, so it might be that I visit those two countries at a later time. There'll be further updates in the next couple of issues of the Shanville Monthly, as and when I find out the details.
    Once I've completed my tour of the Far East, I'll be heading for America, where I'll be touring for the last week of April and first week of May. I've had lots of requests from readers in the States, asking me to come to their school or library, so I thought I'd give you all a few words of advice here. While my American publishers have already made some bookings for me, quite a lot of my days are still currently free, so it IS still possible to arrange for a visit -- but you'll need to do a bit of hard work, and pray for some of the luck of the vampires!!!
    First of all, America, as you know, is a BIG place! I'm only going to be there for two weeks, so I'll only be able to cover a very small amount of it. What this means is, my publishers will try to send me to places where there's a lot of demand for me. I don't charge to visit schools and libraries, since I look upon my visits as a chance to publicize my work (and, believe me, I do!!!). But this makes any visit quite expensive, especially when you take flights and hotels into consideration. So, for reasons of time and money, it makes sense for me to do several events in one area before moving on to another.
    What that means for YOU, the would-be visit arranger, is that if you write to my publishers asking me to visit your school, and it's the only school in the area interested in having me visit, you'll probably be told No Dice! It just doesn't make sense for me to fly into a state, do one event, and then fly out again -- too costly, and too time-consuming.
    So, you need to unionise!!! The first step is to ask your teacher if they want me to visit. If they say yes, the second step should be for you or your teacher to contact a local bookshop or library. (It always helps if a bookshop or library is involved.) Ask them if they know of any other schools in the area which might be interested in having me visit, or if they can get other schools or libraries interested. When/if you have a list of several schools or libraries, write to my publishers (or get your teacher or bookseller -- or, better still, all three of you -- to write!!) at the following address:
    ATTN – DARREN SHAN TOUR
    JENNIFER ABBOTS
    LITTLE,BROWN & COMPANY BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
    1271 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS
    11th FLOOR
    NEW YORK, NY 10020
    e-mail: jennifer.abbots@twbg.com
    You'll need to be very clear about where you are located, how I'd get to your location, how many schools/libraries are involved, how many students, etc. Also, if you can offer a really big event, you'll increase your chances of snagging me! For instance, rather than suggest I go to several schools individually, one after the other, your bookseller or librarian might get students from a few schools to come to their store or library at the same time (though it would need to be fairly big, able to hold at least 100 students). Or they might hire a venue, like a local community hall. Or, if one of the schools has a very big room, students from a few different schools could maybe come there.
    Basically, anything you can do to make life easier for my publishers and me will increase your chances of being able to arrange a visit. Remember, I'm only going to be in your country for a very short time and will only be able to go to a very few places, so you need to give my publishers a very good reason to send me to YOUR neck of the woods, and not some other spot!!! The more work YOU put in, the greater the chances that I'LL come visit!!
    And you'll need to act fast! Ideally you should be writing to my publishers by the end of February or middle of March (although if you can do it sooner, all the better!). It's a hard job, arranging and coordinating a visit like this, and they'll need lots of time to get everything in place and sort out all the details involved. As I said above, I already have some dates booked in, and more will be added over the next month or two -- so if you wait too long, there might be no dates left!!!
    Best of luck with your efforts!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    A very happy New Year to all my Chinese fans, whose year of the monkey started on January 22nd!!! I hope you all have a fabulous 4701!!!! (p.s. For those of you unfamiliar with the Chinese calendar, you can find out more here: http://www.chinapage.com/newyear.html)

    BACK TO THE BARS!!!

    David Gray. Ash. The Cure. The Darkness. Sugababes. Atomic Kitten. Travis. Pet Shop Boys. Super Furry Animals. Badly Drawn Boy. What do all these bands/singers have in common? Well, in the first week of March, they -- and several others of an equally high stature -- will all be performing live sets in small pubs in the U.K. which hold only a few hundred people. This will probably be the only chance you'll ever get to see these performers in such small, intimate quarters. It's in aid of the charity organization, WarChild (for whom I donated a short story last year, for their Kids' Night In anthology), and you can't buy tickets for any of the gigs -- you can only win them!!! Entry is by mobile phone. For the full list of bands, and all the details, click here: http://www.musicpassport.org/whatis.html I'd normally wish you the best of luck in a competition like this, but since I'm going to be entering for at least a handful of the bands myself, I can only wish you luke-warm luck this time!!!!!!!!!!

    STORY NOTES

    As some of you might remember, I wrote a short story for a book about the great comic writer, Alan Moore, last year. The story was called "Young Alan Moore" and the book was "Alan Moore: Portrait Of An Extraordinary Gentleman". The story was full of references to Mr Moore's life and stories, and as I pointed out at the time, if you didn't know his work, a lot of the story probably wouldn't make much sense to you. But now a REALLY dedicated fan (of Alan Moore, not me!) has "decoded" the story, explaining what most of the references refer to (he missed a couple!). If you're interesed, you can check it out by clicking on this link: http://www.enjolrasworld.com/Annotations/Alan%20Moore/
    And if you want to buy a copy of the book, you should be able to find one in your local comic store, or you can still order copies (I think!) from the following site: http://www.page45.couk.com/P45main.html

    A SUITABLY VAMPISH CALENDAR!

    This one's a bit naughty, but it made me howl with laughter, so I had to pass it on!!! An Italian firm of coffin-makers has released a calendar for 2004, with lots of beautiful, scantily-clad ladies draping themselves seductively over .... coffins!!! If vampires were to collect calendars (and I suppose a few of them do!), this would certainly be high on their list of must-haves!!! I think a certain Vancha March would be especially interested ... To check out the calendar, click on the following link: http://www.cofanifunebri.com/2004-calendar.htm

    REGISTER FREELY -- AT LAST!!

    The Shanville Register Form has finally been fixed, after months of problems, so you can register your details nice and smoothly now, if you want to be informed when the new Shanville Monthly goes online every month. The link is: http://www.darrenshan.com/contact/register.html

    DEJÁ VU

    Loads of brilliant wallpaper images are now on offer from my Japanese and Taiwanese publishers. To make it easier for Shansters to find and download them, I've added links to both sites from my Gallery on Shanville. To acces it, click here: http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/gallery1.html I've been using their wallpaper for the last year or more -- now you too can have a truly shantastic PC screen!!!!!!

    IT'S A WRAP

    And that's it for the shortest month of the year! I'll be back at or around the start of March, hopefully with more news of my forthcoming tour. (I'm also planning a tour of the UK and Ireland in late May/early June, to promote the release of book 11 -- but more of that later!!!) Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x