• Issue 239 - June 2020

    01 June 2020



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the June issue of the Shanville Monthly. Because of a technical difficulty (purely of my making) last month's email notification about the May issue of the Shanville Monthly went out before the end of April, before I'd put the new issue of the newsletter together. So, since quite a few of you probably missed out on the May edition, I'm going to include a few of the items from last month in this June issue -- so, if you did read the May issue, and start to think you're experiencing severe deja vu this time round, don't worry, you're not cracking up!! :-) The BIG news last month was that I released three new books, the start of a new series, at the beginning of April, so let's kick off (again!) with...






    After four years without any new Darren Shan books, I sneak-released the first three eBooks of my new ARCHIBALD LOX SERIES at the end of March, without anyone noticing, which was a lot of fun! The three books make up VOLUME ONE of the Archibald Lox series and are meant to be read one after another if possible. That's why I released them at the same time. I'll release a bind-up edition at some point down the road, which is probably also when I'll release a physical edition of Volume One, collecting all three books in one place.


    There was a nice article in The Bookseller in the UK when I announced the news, which you can check out by CLICKING HERE The article was picked up by other news agencies around the world, and I even got a mention in The Times Of India, which was unexpected but extremely welcome! CLICK HERE


    The eBooks are available through pretty much all the major online sellers -- Amazon stores worldwide, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google Play, etc. I've also made them available to libraries.


    Book One is FREE to download. Book Two is $1.99 or an equivalent price in other countries. Book Three is $2.99 or the equivalent price.


    Here are direct links -- I've provided specific links for Amazon and Google Play, then a general link for all the other places where they are available.



    Amazon: CLICK HERE   Google Play: CLICK HERE   Other stores: CLICK HERE



    Amazon: CLICK HERE   Google Play: CLICK HERE   Other stores: CLICK HERE



    Amazon: CLICK HERE   Google Play: CLICK HERE   Other stores: CLICK HERE





    Heads up! I'm going to be doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session over on Reddit on Wednesday, June 3rd, starting at 3pm Eastern Time USA (8pm UK time) and running for 2 hours. If you have a burning question that you're dying to ask me -- this is your chance!! CLICK HERE for the full Reddit book AMA schedule, and you should be able to access my AMA from this link on the day.






    If your children (or you) are stuck indoors because of the Coronavirus, and you're struggling to find things for them (or you) to do to pass the time, and you don't want to shell out loads of money (especially since there's no telling how long this is going to last), audio books supremo Audible have some good news for you -- they're offering a selection of children's audio books that you can listen to for FREE. And if it's that not good enough news -- one of those books is Cirque Du Freak, read by Ralph Lister. You can access the Audible FREE AUDIO BOOKS page by CLICKING HERECirque Du Freak is in the TWEENS section.





    I went on a blog tour with British bloggers last month (see below), and in June I'm due to do a similar tour with various American bloggers. I don't have any details to share just yet, except that it's due to start on Monday June 22nd. For more info, see my blogFacebook and Twitter pages closer to that date.





    I went on a lovely little blog tour with British bloggers last month, in which I talked about all sorts of different aspects of my Archibald Lox books, as well as a whole lot else. The pieces are all still available to check out. In the order of the tour, they were...


    DAY ONE -- Story Time Teen. I kicked things off with a completely left-of-field post, in which I wrote a letter to my teenage self. CLICK HERE


    DAY TWO -- The Pewter Wolf. I talkED about the difficulties of worldbuilding, how my Archibald Lox books are different to my other work, and why I had to dump a huge amount of what I'd written for the first three books of the series. CLICK HERE


    DAY THREE -- Fantastic Book Dragon. I focused on the inspiration for my Archibald Lox books, and spoke in depth about how they came into being -- this is the most I've revealed about their genesis to date. I also chatted about what they have in common with another book of mine from many years ago, called Cirque Du Freak... CLICK HERE


    DAY FOUR -- SFF World. I described my love for other worlds, some of the books that influenced me to write my Archibald Lox series, and how even if you've yet to read my new books, you're probably familiar with certain elements of them already... CLICK HERE


    DAY FIVE -- Reading Zone. I riffed about where my ideas come from, sometimes having to write a lot more than you need, and why it took me so long to take Archibald Lox from conception through to publication... CLICK HERE


    DAY SIX -- The School Reading List. To wrap up the tour, I talked about putting horror behind me for a while, slowing things down a bit, and the REAL boss behind my books... CLICK HERE


    As a bonus, although it wasn't part of the British blog tour, or the upcoming American blog tour, in between the two I also did a brand new interview with Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb. In it, I chat about my Archibald Lox books, what inspired them, how the characters developed, and why I released them earlier than planned. I also talk about how I go about ending a long series, plus I list some of my favourite YA books that I've read over the years. If you'd like to check it out, CLICK HERE.


    And as a BONUS bonus... there was another interview with me published between the blog tours, in Splendid Fred Magazine. This one was really wide-ranging. I started with my Archibald Lox books, then went back through my previous work, and answered a few fun questions too. CLICK HERE.







    As many of you probably already know, I write my books for adults under the name of Darren Dash. I've released five so far -- you can find out the titles and more about them by CLICKING HERE. I've covered all different sorts of genres with the Dash books -- I like to experiment and try new fields and I'm going to be running a sale of the eBooks of two very different novels in June.


    Firrst up is Midsummer's Bottom, a fantastical, Shakespearean farce about fairies -- yes, you read that right! From June 1st to 6th, the ebook will cost just $0.99 on Amazon.com and £0.99 on Amazon.co.uk (I can't run sales for the other Amazon stores -- sorry -- but it is available at its regular low price, the equivalent of $2.99, through Amazon stores worldwide). You can buy the American edition by CLICKING HERE. And the British edition by CLICKING HERE.


    Then, late in the month, I'm putting The Evil and the Pure on sale. It was the first book that I published under the Darren Dash banner, and it's a very dark crime thriller set in London at the turn of the millennium. From June 29th to July 4th, the ebook will cost just $0.99 on Amazon.com and £0.99 on Amazon.co.uk You can buy the American edition by CLICKING HERE. And the British edition by CLICKING HERE.





    There have been several new reviews for various books of mine over the last few months which, for one reason or another, I haven't yet gotten around to sharing. Normally I'd do these one at a time, to highlight each individual review, but I felt that if I keep putting these on the long finger, it will be next year before I get around to posting them! So, in nor particular order, here we go...


    Lauren, on the Angelic Impression blog, had never read any of my books to the finish until she sat down with Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds. To find out what she thought of it, CLICK HERE


    Lauren over on Angelic Impression must have enjoyed book 1 of my new series, because she was soon back with a review of book 2, Archibald Lox and the Empress of Suanpan, and you can read her thoughts on that one by CLICKING HERE


    They've been busy with the Shan reviews over on Angelic Impression, and here's another, this time for Lord Loss. It's credited to Lauren, but I assume that's an error, as she wrote this review before her Archie reviews. Unless, y'know, there's some time travel thing goging on with her that I'm unaware of... :-) You can check out the review by CLICKING HERE


    Next up, there's a very fun video review for Cirque Du Freak on the Reading Rocks YouTube page, by lots of children from Danegrove School. It starts with a short introduction by Michael Rosen, who was in hospital for a long time recently with Coronavirus. I didn't want to post this until I'd seen how he fared -- now that's he's thankfully pulled through and is back on his feet, I'm delighted to be able to share it as a celebration of his triumph rather than a memorial to his passing -- hurrah!!! CLICK HERE


    Over in ItalyBook Lover posted their review of Palace of the Damned, the third book in my Saga of Larten Crepsley series. Even though the reviewer is Italian, the review is in English. CLICK HERE


    Finally, over in France, there was a review for the Cirque Du Freak manga on L'antre des Livres. It's in French, bu if you copy and paste the text into a site like Google Translate, you'll get a fairly accurate translation. CLICK HERE





    It's always nice to be flavour of the month! Recently I've enjoyed that pleasure in two very different places... First up, I've been advertising my Archibald Lox books through a variety of book promotion sites since they went on sale at the start of April. One of those, Many Books, ended up choosing it as their Fantasy Book of the Month for April, which was a lovely surprise, as they promote a LOT of books over the space of any given month. You can see the full list by CLICKING HERE



    Then, I was chosen as Author of the Month for May by the students and staff at Chalk Hills Academy, in Luton in the UK. They put together this nice little promotional banner for the first books from my four major series. I've got to say, even though my designer put the Archibald Lox cover together at extremely short notice, in order for me to be able to rush-release the book, I think it compares VERY favourably to all the others... :-)






    A fan called Danny wrote to me recently with a theory that my Demonata and vampire books are linked, and also perhaps my Zom-B series. WARNING: the photo of Danny's theory, the following paragraph, contain SPOILERS for all three series!!! Don't read on, or look at the photo, unless you're up to speed with all things Shan!!!



    Right, assuming you're still with me... A lot of fans have wondered this over the years -- well, at least if The Demonata and Cirque Du Freak are connected. (The possible Zom-B link doesn't get mentioned too often.) The answer is... NO. I did briefly consider, early on, linking my demon and vampire books, and having Desmond Tiny play a role in the developing tales about Lord Loss that I was stringing together. I felt he'd get on well with the eight-armed sentinal of sorrow! But the two stories are very different in tone and style, and I just felt it would be gimmicky. The monsters mentioned in Sons of Destiny are NOT the demons from The Demonata. So... sorry, Danny, it's a very good theory, and in an alternate universe, maybe another Darren Shan DID link the variouys universes together, Marvel and DC style, to create a.... shall we say... Shaniverse. But in our dimension I preferred to let the stories play out independently of one another -- except, of course, in the Christmas short story that I post on my site every year for about a week, when they DO all merge and collide -- but that's very much tongue in cheek, and never meant to be regarded as gosple. :-)






    A lovely little short film called The Magic Word was uploaded to YouTube last month after years of hard work by its creator, Sarah Grant. It's a 5 minute love story to the wonders and powers of books, mixing live action with hand-drawn animation. Most of the backgrounds -- shops, libraries, bed, furniture, etc -- are made out of models which were covered with pages from some of Sarah's favourite books, and I don't think anyone will expect to be awarded a prize to learn that one of those authors was... Darren Shan. The pages from my books hit the scene just after the 3 minutes 10 seconds mark -- they were used for the library backing and shelves. You can't really make out the words -- that was deliberate -- but rest assured, they ARE Shan words! :-) Anyway, it's a charming piece, the perfect way to pass 5 minutes of the lockdown, so please give it a look, leave some nice feedback for Sarah if you enjoy it, and share the link with everyone you know who has ever read and loved a book. CLICK HERE TO WATCH





    If you're looking for good children's books to read during lockdown, and don't want to break the bank when buying, there's a list of FREE and Great Value (i.e. cheap!) eBooks for children over on the School Reading List site. It's an intriguing mix of new and old books, and there are nonfiction titles mixed in with the fiction, so there really is something for just about everyone. Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds (book 1 of my latest series) got a mention, which was lovely, but there are lots of other great read too. Check it out -- then get reading!!! CLICK HERE





    I posted loads of photos of various fans' bookshelves to my blog last month, and it was only fitting that I wrapped things up on that front with some photos of my own collection. I had lots of built-in shelves installed when I was building my house about a decade ago, and there are three different zones where the majority of my books reside. You'll have to scroll back through my posts if you want to see all three zones, but above is a snap of Zone 2, which houses my general book collection, hardbacks and paperbacks of different sizes. I've read a lot of them, though others are still on the TBR pile -- I suspect quite a few of them will remain on that pile to my dying days, as I bought some of these when I was a teenager at school, and in university. Indeed, there are a few dating back to my pre-teen years. I doubt if any of these books are of any monetary value, but to me they're priceless.





    A fan of my Cirque Du Freak books called Asteria Gaia (my daughter would no doubt approve of the name if she was old enough to understand!) drew some designs for some of the characters recently. They'll all be familiar to you, I'm sure -- Mr TallTruska, and Willi Wunderwanst.


    What's that, you cry? Who on Earth is Willi Wunderwanst?!?


    Heh heh. Some of the characters were given very different names when the books were translated into other languages -- in this case, German. You can probably work out Willi's original name from the drawing, but in case you can't, you can find out by CLICKING HERE to a page on my web site, which will also reveal the identities of DEN SCHLANGENJUNGEN, JOANA SHAN and (ol' orange-head still hasn't forgiven the French for this one!) LARTEN KRAPULA!!!!








    I really don't have any favourites when it comes to my fans -- you're all equally precious to me, even the one a couple of years ago who wrote to tell me he preferred the Cirque Du Freak movie to the books! :-) But there's no denying that some of you go that little bit further than others, whether that's travelling an incredibly long way to see me, or buying multiple copies of my books, or writing reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or other sites. I never expect any of my fans to go above and beyond the call of duty -- really, if you've read some of my work and enjoyed it, that's all you have to do to be a full-on Shanster in my eyes -- but I feel it's only fair to acknowledge the fact when one does. In recent months, a couple of fans sent very special presents to me, which genuinely astonished and thrilled me.


    First up, a fan called Faith made a brilliant Lord Loss doll and sent it to me, which was incredibly generous of her. I know it looks like he's wearing glasses, but that's just the way the photo came out! I've added this to the shelves in my office (close to the doll of Artery that another fan made for me a long time back -- you can see it at the edge of the photo), so I see it every day, reminding me of what wonderful fans I have, and how lucky a demonic little monster I am!



    Next up, a pack of playing cards arrived in the post for me several weeks ago, sent by a fan of my books called Amity Lee. I thought it was an odd thing to send to me, until I opened up the pack and realised she'd made a design for every card based on characters from my Cirque Du Freak books, and had then got a couple of sets (one for her, one for me) manufactured by a company that specialises in making packs of cards. this really left me speechless. The idea by itself would have been wonderful, but the drawings are incredible too -- this pack of cards captures so much of the books, it's just... just... Wow! So -- who's up for a game of Ship Poker?!? That's a popular card game among the vampaneze -- it's poker, but you play it on a ship in shark-infested waters, and the losers get thrown overboard!!! :-)




    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for June. It was my daughter Gaia's first birthday back in March. It was the day before the full lockdown started in Ireland but we were already socially distancing, so it was a subdued affair. Granny and Grandad were able to come, but they kept well back from the birthday girl and the rest of us. We had fun regardless, and decided to mark the occasion with a Covid-19 themed cake, and wrapped it up with a Covid-19 themed pinata -- it was good to whack the virus into touch, even if only symbolically! Hopefully we'll have returned to a more normal way of living this time next year, and can have family and friends round to help us celebrate -- but, hey, if not, as long as we're all safe and well, we'll settle for that too. Before then, I'll be back here at the start of July with all the latest news and updates, plus a very special COMPETITION to celebrate the Shanville Monthly's 20th birthday -- don't miss this one!! 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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