I have just picked the winners.
Before I announce them, I'd just like to mention that Death Bringer is up for an Irish Book Award. Skulduggery has won for two consecutive years, so I really don't mind if I don't win this year- to be honest, I think I'm running out of people to insult in my speeches...! Death Bringer is in the Senior Children's Section, and you can look at the nominees here http://www.irishbookawards.ie/PublicVote.aspx.
For the first time I'm up against Darren Shan, who could very well topple me, as well as three other books that I've been hearing great things about. As usual, I'm asking you to be fair, and don't vote for me just because you're thinking of Skulduggery right at this moment... Look at the nominees, pick your favourite, and if you like any of them, vote.
(And then scroll down to the Popular Fiction award and vote for Cecelia Ahern- she's lovely!)
Whoever wins, Irish viewers will be able to see them accept their award on RTE in the last week of November, because the whole thing is going to be televised. Whenever I win I always seem to grin and smirk and tell everyone how great I am- and generally mock everyone else- so it might be a good idea if maybe I DIDN'T win this year! I sincerely don't think I could be remotely serious...
Anyway! On to the important announcement! The Friend Gets Friend winners! They are, in the order they came out of the hat:
Miss Arianna Dark
Well done, the lot of you. But I'm not finished yet. I have decided that we're going to have two EXTRA winners, two people who were not picked at random but who still deserve SOMETHING. I know ALL of you deserve something, and I'd love to give ALL of you prizes, but there are only so many I can give out.
So, those two extra winners. The first is Valkyrie V, simply for throwing the best Skulduggery party I've seen...!
The second is Trinity Kal- or Kallista, as she is more commonly known. A lot of you guys put forward her name as someone who thoroughly deserves a prize for a multitude of reasons, and I happen to agree with every single one of them. Kallista has been here since the early days, and she's a wonderful example of a Minion- she's warm, funny, nice to everyone and she makes newcomers feel welcome. People commenting here for the first time look at her comments, look at the comments made by all of you, and they instantly know what kind of place this is. We do not tolerate bullying, we resolve our arguments, and we get back to being friends and having a laugh. Kallista exemplifies this wonderfully, so I'm delighted to extend the number of winners to include her.
Oh, and Thalia? For winning the Halloween competition last week, you get the same prize as these guys. I couldn't NOT include you.
So now, all you winners, all thirteen of you, need to send your home addresses to my publisher's email- firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark it "Skulduggery Competition". Once we have your addresses, we'll figure out the prizes and send them off. I don't know when they'll be sent, but probably sometime over the next week or two. Hopefully.
I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to do something for the Friend Gets Friend thing. Congratulations to those who won, and commiserations to those who didn't. To be honest, seeing the response we've been getting to these competitions has really encouraged me to start thinking of more I could run- so if you didn't win this time, you could always win next time...
I was talking to my agent the other day about all of you, and the fact is that everyone- and this includes my publishers- have been astounded at your attitude. When Thalia won the Halloween competition, the positive reaction was startling. The rest of you were obviously disappointed that your entry didn't win, but there was no sniping or grumbling or sulking from any of you. You all seemed genuinely thrilled that Thalia, your friend, had won.
The internet can be a cruel place. Just look at all the online bullying that goes on. Look at all the internet trolls who just want to upset people. When you sit at a keyboard, interacting with people you've never met, the temptation to be as nasty as you can be is always there. The internet really seems to bring out the worst in people.
But you guys are different. I don't know WHY you're different, you just are. You are good, honourable, decent people. You're warm and witty and friendly, and you're loyal to each other. And that is a wonderful, wonderful thing to see.
I'm proud of every single one of you.