• Issue 257 - December 2021

    01 December 2021



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the CHRISTMAS issue of the Shanville Monthly -- yay!!!! The year might be drawing to its close, but as usual I have plenty to report about, including the return of Shanta Claus... a December SALE... a new Cirque Du Freak fanzine... plus my final COMPETITION of the year, to win one of four VERY rare Archibald Lox books! Also, since this is the season for giving, I'm going to list some recent releases which you might want to consider buying for the special Shanster in your life this Christmas -- or, indeed, for yourself!! Those listings can be found after the first few news items, but let's kick things off with the return of that most jolly of freaking elfs...






    It's that time of year again, when SHANTA comes to town!!! I wrote a short, tongue-in-cheek Christmas story many years ago, featuring some of the characters from my first three vampire books, and since then it's expanded massively to include references to pretty much every YA book or series that I've released. It's the only place in the Darren Shan universe where there are crossovers between my various fictional worlds, where Lord Loss can rub shoulders with B Smith, Mr Crepsley and Archibald Lox. It will appear ON THIS PAGE on my web site about a week or so before Christmas Day. I'll also post links to it on my Facebook and Twitter and Blog pages, so keep an eye on those for updates. The best way to ensure you don't miss it is to SUBSCRIBE to my monthly newsletter, as I'll send out an email to everyone on my list once the story is live -- CLICK HERE to subscribe.






    To tie in with a BookBub promotion for the first Archibald Lox eBook (which is always FREE to download) on Tuesday, December 14th, I'm going to run a pre-Christmas SALE on the eBooks of the second, third and fourth books in the series. (Six book have been released to date, with three more to come next year.) The sale will start a day or two before the 14th, and run until a couple of days after that. During the sale, Book 2 will be half price in the USA and will cost $0.99 instead of $1.99, Book 3 will also be half price and will cost $1.49 instead of $2.99, and Book 4 will cost $1.99 instead of $2.99. The books will be reduced to similar prices in all other online stores across the world, e.g. in the UK Book 2 will cost £0.99, Book 3 will also cost £0.99, and Book 4 will cost £1.49. Here are the links for the FREE Book 1 eBook -- you'll be able to order all the others from that page.


    eBook 1 on AmazonCLICK HERE

    eBook 1 on Google PlayCLICK HERE

    eBook 1 on Apple, Kobo, B&N, etcCLICK HERE






    Last year a fan called Kendra put together an absolutely fabulous Cirque Du Freak fanzine, featuring art, cosplay and original stories created by various fans who submitted work in response to her call for contributors.


    This year Kendra has returned with another, equally brilliant offering. It's FREE, and while not as lengthy as last year's fanzine, the standard is incredibly high, as you can see from the attached sample image above.


    For MORE stunning artwork, cosplay photos, and a story, CLICK HERE -- and don't forget -- it's FREE!!!







    You can buy my new Archibald Lox series as a collection of small books (see two posts up!), or if you prefer, you can buy it as omnibus Volumes -- each Volume collects three books and presents them as a single novel, the way I originally wrote the storyline. More info and direct links below.


    1) HARDBACK edition of Volume 1: The Missing Princess.

    Amazon: CLICK HERE.

    Book DepositoryCLICK HERE.


    HARDBACK edition of Volume 2: The Kidnapped Prince.


    Book Depositoryhttps://www.bookdepository.com/Archibald-Lox-2-Darren-Shan/9781910009154


    2) PAPERBACK edition of Volume 1: The Missing Princess.

    Amazon: CLICK HERE

    Book Depository: CLICK HERE.


    PAPERBACK edition of Volume 2: The Kidnapped Prince.






    3) EBOOK edition of Volume 1: The Missing Princess..

    Amazon: CLICK HERE

    Google Play: CLICK HERE

    Apple, Kobo, B&N, etc: CLICK HERE


    EBOOK edition of Volume 2: The Kidnapped Prince.

    AmazonCLICK HERE

    Apple, Nook, KoboCLICK HERE

    Google PlayCLICK HERE






    Four Volumes of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus are now on sale. Each Volume features two books from the series. Volume 5 is scheduled to go on sale on January 18th. You can see all four Volumes in the photo above, which was shared with me by a fan on Twitter called Yeollie Hvirus -- they look pretty freaking cool together, don't they?!? :-) You should be able to find or order any of the manga omnibuses in your local manga stockist, but if you prefer to buy online, here are a few links for Volume 4 -- you'll be able to find the first three Volumes from these sellers as well.


    If you live in the USA, there are direct links to several stores on the Yen Press site: CLICK HERE


    If you live in the UK, this is the link for Volume 4 on AMAZON UK, and on WATERSTONES, and on WHSMITH.


    If you prefer to buy the manga as eBooks, they are also being republished digitally, but NOT as omnibus editions, but as individual books -- the first eight are currently on sale, with Books 9 and 10 going on sale on January 18th. You can buy them through COMIXOLOGY







    On Lowplex in the UK you can buy all 12 books in my Zom-B series for less than £20... all 12 books in my Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak series for less than £18... and the four Saga Of Larten Crepsley books for just under £10!!!! (Sadly, they've sold out of their Demonata collection -- boo!!)


    Lowplex used to ship worldwide, but it now seems like they only ship to the UK and certain European countries (but it doesn't state on their site WHICH European countries). If you live in the UK, you're all good to order. If you live in the EU, my advice is to either email them in advance, or add it to the cart and see how you get on with the shipping options. You might have to pay import taxes (damn you, Brexit!!), but given the low price, you shouldn't get TOO badly stung -- but, again, it's something you might want to check out in advance of ordering.


    You can also find these sets on other sties (e.g. various Amazon stores worldwide) at similarly low prices -- I simply highlighted Lowplex here because I've used them myself and always found them very reliable. But do feel free to shop around.




    Saga of Darren Shan: https://www.lowplexbooks.com/products/cirque-du-freak-the-saga-of-darren-shan-collection-12-books-set


    Saga of Larten Crepsleyhttps://www.lowplexbooks.com/products/darren-shan-series-collection-the-saga-of-larten-crepsley-4-books-set






    I did three highly enjoyable online events last month, with a lot of students in Carleton High School, Birkenhead Park School, and Outwood Shafton Academy. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, students in lots of different classrooms at each school were able to join in, without having to leave their class or gather as a big bunch in a single room (I think COVID has put an end to such large gatherings in many schools). I've attached some photos of the events above.


    If YOU are a teacher or librarian (or if you're a student who wants to show this to your teacher or librarian), and are interested in contacting me to enquire about the possibility of arranging your own online event, please feel free to reach out and drop me a line using this email address: [email protected]


    I don't charge, and I'm happy to talk about any of my series, be it Cirque Du Freak, The Demonata, Zom-B, or Archibald Lox -- or, indeed, any of my stand-alone books, such as Koyasan or The Thin Executioner. I don't say YES to every request, but if you're well organised and can put together a sizeable group of students, like the staff at these three schools did, then you've got a VERY good chance of snagging me!






    Who here saw and loved all three series of the Netflix Demonata TV series that started to stream in 2017?!? You must remember it -- directed by Andy Muschietti? Theme song called "Salt of the Earth" by a band called Lovedrug?


    Come on -- you MUST have watched it!! You've probably just forgotten. Have a look at its listing on a site called FANDOM (but be careful if you haven't read the first four books of the series, because it includes some major plot SPOILERS) and see if that jogs your memory... https://fanon.fandom.com/wiki/The_Demonata_(2017_TV_Series)


    No? Still no recollection? Well, before you go shooting over to Netflix to search for it, I must hold up my hands and admit the reason you probably didn't see it is that... it was never made!!!


    The page was created by a fan as a piece of wish-fulfilment, but it's fooled at least a few people, as I've had to field some enquiries from other fans in recent times, wanting to know how they can watch the show!! Sadly, unless it exists in a parallel universe where the powers that be at Netflix are more demonically enlightened than their counterparts in our universe, we're all going to have to wait for quite a while, as there has been no interest from any movie or TV folk in the Demonata in recent years. Hopefully it will happen one day, though part of me thinks it would be a VERY tricky series to adapt, for all sorts of reasons, so I won't be holding my breath, and nor should YOU, no matter what you might read on Fandom!!!! :-)






    A writer over on a site called Set The Tape recently wrote an article called 5 Books That Need A TV Show, which lists five books that... well, I think you can work out the rest from the title!!! :-)


    When this popped up in my news feed, I was expecting it to reference Cirque Du Freak, but to my pleasant surpise it actually mentioned another of my series among the five books -- the blood-drenched gorefest that is The Demonata!!! The writer, Amy, started by saying, "Officially a ‘children’s’ series, The Demonata by Darren Shan might have one of the most messed up beginnings I’ve ever read," and I'd find it hard to argue with that!!! I wrote chapter two of Lord Loss to be a shocking, jaw-dropping, head-spinning introduction to my first post-vampires work, and all these years later, I still think (humility be damned!!) it stands head and shoulders above the opening of pretty much any other book anyone might care to mention. Well, it WOULD stand head and shoulders above, IF that head hadn't been so shockingly lopped off!!!! :-)


    To check out what else Amy had to say about The Demonata and why it should be adapted for TV, and to see the other four books that made the cut, CLICK HERE






    I donated a signed, dated, dedicated copy of Volume 1 of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus, to the Children In Read online auction last month, and the winning bid was a whopping...




    I was delighted to see it make so much, as all that money will now be donated to Children In Need, a wonderful charity in the UK.






    The Demonata remains my most intricately structured series. Three narrators, who start their journeys in three different time periods, with storylines that overlap at certain key points, it's a dizzying, chaotic ride. I think it all plays out quite smoothly as you're reading it -- it's only when you get to the end, and you're looking back, and trying to put together your thoughts about it, that you start to think, "What the hell have I just read, and how the hell did it all come together so neatly in the end?!?" :-)


    If you've ever tried to summarise the series for a friend, you're probably aware of how tricky a task that can be, but thankfully there's a site called HOW TO READ ME, which has done the job for you, so now you can simply direct would-be Disciples (see what I did there?!?) towards the following link, and leave them to it: CLICK HERE


    As the HTRM page details, there are two ways to read the Demonata books. You can read them in their published order, where the timelines start at different places and overlap, or you can read them chronologically, starting with Book 4. It's certainly your choice, and it might be interesting reading them chronologically if you're ever returning to the series for a re-read, but my advice is to stick with the published order, as I spent a lot of time working on the construction and structure of this series, and I feel that you get the most bang for you buck by going with the temporal shifts and leaps. Then again, the customer is always right, so if you'd rather adopt a less winding approach to the books, the How To Read Me page will show you the path to tread...






    There was a fabulous review by blogger The Word Cubby a while back for Archibald Lox and the Rubicon Dictate, book 6 of the series. In her review, she said it was "Filled with twists and turns that leave the reader on the edge of their seat." As you might imagine, that was music to my ears, as I love packing my books with twists!! You can read the full review by CLICKING HERE






    The Cirque Du Freak movie is doing a real merry-go-round of channels in the USA this year!! First it popped up on IMDB, then Amazon Prime, and since the 15th of November you'be be able to watch it on Tubi, which is Fox's free streaming service. I've got to be honest -- I'd never even heard of Tubi until I got a notification about Cirque Du Freak, so I've no idea how widespread or popular it is in the States, but from what I can gather, it seems to be available across the entire USA, and everything on it can be watched for FREE, so it seems like good news if you're a fan of the movie, or have been itching to give it a try!! :-)


    You can find out more about the film's launch date on Tubi by CLICKING HERE






    A lady called Mel wrote to me recently, asking if I'd send a letter to her boyfriend Brian for his 37th birthday. I was happy to oblige, and as you can see from the photo, Brian was very happy when his letter arrived -- and doubly happy when his copy of Volume 2 of Archibald Lox arrived at around the same time!! I don't think any Shanster could wish for better birthday gifts than that!!!! :-)


    If YOU would like to get in touch with me to request your own handwritten letter, my details are on the Contact Page of my web site: https://darrenshan.com/contact





    A fan called Morgan joined the ranks of the Tattoo Tuesday Shansters earlier this year, with a tattoo adapted from the cover of Lord Loss. Now he's back with his second Demonata-inspired tat, and this time he's moved on to book 2, Demon Thief. The image is taken from the original UK hardcover, and I think it transferred beautifully. Morgan also shot a short video highlighting the tattoo, which can find on Twitter by CLICKING HERE


    The question now, of course, is just how far will Morgan go with his Demonata-themed tattoos?!? Surely he's not going to try and squeeze ALL TEN onto that leg -- is he?!?!?!?!? Would that even be physically possible, without reducing the later images severely?!? I know of at least one eight-armed demon master who's fascinated to find out... :-) :-) :-)





    The winners of my November Shanville Monthly competition, in the order drawn, were:


    Harvey Sengers, the Netherlands.

    Samantha Brown, Australia.

    Fiona McGuire, Scotland.

    Amey Sim, England.


    It was nice to see the winners come from a such a mix of countries. I receive entries from all over the globe whenever I run competitions, and everyone has an equal chance to win, no matter where in the world you live. There were only 140 entrants this time round, so people had a 35-to-1 shot of winning -- pretty attractive odds, and you never know, there might be even fewer entrants next time... :-)


    I'm running my next competition NOW -- see the post below this one!! And if you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter, to ensure you're always informed whenever there's a breaking news story or a new competition, CLICK HERE






    When I released the paperbacks of books 1, 2 and 3 of my Archibald Lox series last year, I produced an ultra-limited collector's edition of just 5 copies of each book, from proof copies (also known as ARCs) that I had ordered ahead of the books' release. I kept the 1/5 copies for myself , and gave the other twelve away as competiton prizes.


    The competition proved so popular that I decided to do the same thing again with the Volume 2 books. I gave away four copies of Book 4 in a competition in October, four copies of Book 5 last month, and this month I'm giving away the four copies of Book 6 -- Archibald Lox and the Rubicon Dictate. Each is signed and numbered, dated 1/9/21 (1st September 2021, the day the book was released) and I also scribbled in "publication day!!" for extra emphasis. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer a simple question and email it to me, along with your name and address. After that, keep your fingers crossed and hope YOUR name pops out of the electronic hat when I make the draw!!


    1) Answer this question: "What is the name of the sixth Archibald Lox book?"


    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, Wednesday, December 8th, 2021.


    (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 Thursday, December 9th, 2021. 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 December. I hope you all have a fabulous time over the festive period -- I'm sure it's going to be a quieter Christmas than normal for most of us, as it was last year, but fingers crossed that we can all enjoy it regardless. I'll see you back here at the start of January, for the first Shanville Monthly of 2022 -- hurrah!! Until then, all my bloody ghoultide best, Darren Shan. x x x



    Follow Darren Shan on Facebook and Twitter. He also has a (very rarely updated!) YouTube page.





    If you received an email with a link to this issue of the Shanville Monthly (or other updates on my site) it's because at some point in the past you subscribed to get updates from me. I don't share your details with any third parties, and do not hold them on any independent device -- everything on the subscription front is done through Google Feedburner, and you can read about their privacy policy by CLICKING HERE. (I might change to a different provider in the future -- if so, you will have the choice to opt in or opt out as you see fit.) If you're happy to continue receiving emails from me, you don't need to do anything, and you will continue to be sent updates whenever a new issue of the Shanville Monthly goes live. If, at any point, you wish to unsubscribe, there will always be an Unsubscribe link in any email notification that you receive from me, and you can simply click on that to have yourself removed from my mailing list.