• Issue 262 - May 2022

    04 May 2022



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the May issue of the Shanville Monthly! The BIG news items this month concern the release of two new Darren Shan books -- the sixth volume of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus, and the seventh book of my Archibald Lox series. You can read all about them, and check out the fabulous covers, in the first two entries of this newsletter -- but don't stop there, because I have plenty more to report about too, including my appearance at the Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival last month... the return of Hagurosan to my website... and how I pulled off maybe my craziest April Fools Day prank ever!!! Oh, and there's a brand new COMPETITION too!!!






    I'm delighted to reveal that the title for the 7th Archibald Lox book is... ARCHIBALD LOX AND THE SINKHOLE TO HELL


    That's the cover above, and it will be going on sale on Tuesday, May 31st. For those who might be wondering -- that's Winston on the cover... the ornate gates are the entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, which features in the story... and the greenery is a cenote (or sinkhole) which, as the title suggests, plays a MAJOR part in the Volume 3 storyline. I must be honest -- despite the sensationalistic title, this is actually probably the most sedate book in the series. But don't worry -- books 8 and 9 (coming VERY soon!!!) are jam-packed with action, treachery, fighting, and maybe even the odd grisly death or two..Book 7 is the calm before the storm, and trust me, things are about to get VERY stormy indeed for Archie and his friends!!


    As with all the other Archibald Lox books, the eBook will on sale through a variety of stores -- there are direct buying links below. There will also be a paperback edition, exclusive to Amazon stores worldwide -- please note, if you plan to buy a physical edition, I suggest waiting until November, when the omnibus edition, collcting books 7, 8 and 9 goes on sale, as this will provide much better value for money.



    Apple, B&N, Kobo, etchttps://books2read.com/u/bWEPv1

    Google Playhttps://play.google.com/store/books/details/Darren_Shan_Archibald_Lox_and_the_Sinkhole_to_Hell?id=lrltEAAAQBAJ






    Volume 6 of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus, which contains books 11 and 12, will be released on the 24th of May. This is the final Volume in the series, collecting the last two books in the storyline, and I'm absolutely delighted that we've made it safely to the end -- I was very concerned, when Yen Press started to release the omnibus editions in the middle of the various global lockdowns, that it might get cancelled before we made it to the final volume! But sales have been strong and here we are, with the finishing line firmly in our sights -- wahoo!!! To find out where you can buy a copy, read on...


    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 6 on AMAZON UKCLICK HERE




    and on PAGE 45CLICK HERE

    (If you prefer to buy from a local independent store, they should be able to pre-order a copy for you too.)


    BOOK DEPOSITORY also stock it, and shIp worldwide for free: CLICK HERE


    If you prefer to buy the manga as eBooks, they ARE being republished digitally, but NOT as omnibus editions. You can buy them through YEN PRESS in the USA -- here's the link for Book 11CLICK HERE









    I had an absolute BLAST in Tunbridge Wells on teh last Saturdya of April!! It was my first in-the-flesh event in almost three years, and I hadn't realised how much I missed that interaction with a live audience. I drew a really good-sized crowd (phew!), many of whom were followers of my blog and Facebook and Twitter posts -- it was lovely to be able to put faces to some very familiar names! The readings all went smoothly (though I suspect I was a bit rusty at the start) and the audience came up with loads of interesting questions. Then I signed solidly for two hours afterwards.


    The festival organisers had worked very closely with me to make 25 copies of Archibald Lox Volume One available for sale. We weren't sure how many would sell, and they'd agreed to donate any leftover copies to local libraries, but in the end they sold out quite quickly, and a few fans had to go away disappointed on that front -- though I suppose it will ultimately be good news for Amazon or Book Depository, as I suspect they'll buy it there!


    I also wasn't sure if people would want to pose with me for photos, as they used to do in pre-COVID times, but pretty much everyone did, and I was busy strangling left, right and centre!! Although, as the two attached photos with Arra and Tabby prove, I don't ALWAYS strangle my fans -- I dole out the occasional HUG too! :-)


    Huge thanks to the staff of the festival, and to everyone who came along. I really did float away from this on a high, and hopefully it won't be anywhere near as long a wait until my next public outing...






    I wrote a short story for the War Child anthology, "Kids' Night In," many years ago. There was a digital version on my website for several years, until the publishers Barrington Stoke, who produce books for children with dyslexia and other reading problems, asked me if I would help them turn it into a short book with pictures. When that was released, I removed the story from my site, not wanting to take away from sales of the physical book.


    Last year, when checking on the Barrington Stoke web site, I saw that the book was out of print, so I restored the short story to my site, along with the Barrington Stoke version. The staff at Barrington Stoke spotted this and got in touch to politely ask if I would take it down again, as they were working on plans to reissue the book. Once I heard that, I was more than happy to comply, and removed it from my site immediately. But then, some months later, the staff informed me that they wouldn't be moving ahead with their plans to reprint the book, so... in short...


    It's BACK!!!!


    As before, I've included both versions of the story of my site -- the original version which appeard in Kid's Night In, and the reworked Barrington Stoke version. I think the Barrington Stoke version is the stronger of the two, so if you're only going to read one of them, I'd recommend that one -- but hey, if you want to read both, maybe you'll disagree with my prognosis!!


    For the Barrington Stoke version, CLICK HERE


    For the original version, CLICK HERE


    The paperback edition released by Barrington Stoke is a truly beautiful little book, with a wonderful cover and fabulous drawings by Zack McLaughlin. Although it's out of print, you should be able to find cheap second hand copies through a site like Abebooks: https://www.abebooks.com/ or Alibris: https://www.alibris.com/








    A fan called Kayla contacted me recently, to say she felt very excited when I popped up as a question when she was playing the Facebook Trivia game! She sent me a screenshot of the question and possible answers -- I was impressed that they'd spelled my real name correctly!!! :-)


    This reminded me of when my name popped up in a couple of British TV quiz shows some years back -- The Chase and Eggheads. I did a quick online search and found shots of them (though it took a while with the Eggheads one, because initially I thought the question had appeared on the show Pointless, and was searching for that instead!). The Eggheads question, by the way, was name the main vampire in the Twilight series.


    If anyone else ever spots my name popping up in a quiz game or TV show, do please let me know -- it's nice, if always rather surreal, to see myself featured in such places.






    Ginger Nuts of Horror is a fabulous website for those whose tastes in fiction run a little bit... bloody!! Last Halloween they published an article about the lack of male lead characters in YA horror books, and to balance the books, they listed lots of horror books for older kids and teens which feature a boy in the leading role. Two of my lead characters, from two different series, got a shout out -- to find out which, CLICK HERE


    While I wasn't aware specifically of the disappearing male lead character in YA horror books, I've long been aware that many publishers shortchange teenage boys, on the absurd basis that "teenage boys don't read books." This was a problem I faced back in 1997, which I was trying to find a publisher for Cirque Du Freak. One editor even told me, "We don't publish books for teenage boys, because teenage boys don't read." That attitude astonished and saddened me back then, and it's such a shame that this still seems to be the case more than two decades later. Sure, we all know that teenage boys are going through a time of great change in their lives, and books do have a lot to compete with if they're going to capture their attention -- but GOOD books, written with teenage boys in mind, CAN and DO succeed, IF publishers give them a chance, and actively and imaginatively promote them.






    More than twenty years ago, when I started making money from book sales, I was faced with a nice but rather puzzling problem -- what to do with it?!? I could have gone the safe, sensible route and invested in property or shares, but I felt that would be a bit boring. So instead I ploughed quite a lot of my earnings into... ART!!!


    I've been quite a serious art collector for more than two decades now. I began by collecting comic art, from comics and graphic novels that I loved, but then branched out and began buying pieces by all different types of artists. Although I have a big house, my collection eventually outgrew my wall space, and last year I realised I really did have to trim things down.


    I'm selling works through a variety of auction houses, but a lot of them are coming up for sale on May 10th, through a British auction site called Bellmans. There are major bargains to be found here (some from as little as £100!!!), as it includes pieces that I bought from the USA, from artists who are well known there, but who aren't well known in the UK. There are also plenty of pieces by modern British or European artists, again mostly going for far less than I paid for them.


    If you're an art collector looking to snap up a Philippe Bertho, Dale Mathis, Dave Kinsey, or Marla Olmstead at a steal... or nab a lovely Alicia Dubnyckyj, Alexandre Nicolas or Jenny Pockley for far less than you'd normally pay... or if you just want to buy something that once belonged to Darren Shan...then this is the auction for you!! Even if you're not interested in bidding, but are curious to cast an eye over the kind of works that appealed to a budding "Master of YA Horror," you can browse the sale online and gain an insight into my mind and world which nobody except my family and friends has ever before been privy to!


    My works are those listed as lot numbers 305 to 363 in the sale, and the link for the auction is here: https://mailchi.mp/bellmans.co.uk/selling-at-auction-4848729


    You can also read a bit more from me on the Bellmans site, here: https://www.bellmans.co.uk/property-from-the-darren-shan-collection-10-may-2022






    The website Novel Suspects featured a post a while back entitled Seven Horror Books For Young Readers. The title pretty much tells the whole story, although I would note that these all seem to be more aimed at teenagers rather than pre-teens. Still, plenty of good recommendations here, leading off with probably the finest YA Horror novel ever written... Cirque Du Freak!!!!


    Heh heh!! That blatant bit of shameless self-promotion WAS delivered with tongue firmly in cheek! While I always love praise of any kind when it's lavished on a book of mine, I'd never seriously dare suggest myself that one of my books was The Best of any sort. I'm a modest kind of guy, as any vampire of good standing should be.


    And since I'm so modest, I also feel that it behooves me to point out that Novel Suspects is actually a site run by my American publishers, LittleBrown (part of the Hachette group), so, y'know, this isn't the most IMPARTIAL of lists... :-) :-) :-)


    You can check out the full list by CLICKING HERE






    A blogger called T.S. Hathaway recently reviewed all 12 books in my Saga Of Darren Shan / Cirque Du Freak series. I provided links for the first three in the April issue of my monthly online newsletter, and here are the reviews for books 4 to 9.


    Book 4 review    Book 5 review    Book 6 review


    Book 7 review    Book 8 review    Book 9 review









    The students of Saint Benedict CVA in Derby (in the UK) have been studying Cirque Du Freak, and using it as a launch pad for some fun homework assignments.


    The first, third and fourth photos, by Grace, Lara and Mazal respectively, show examples of the letter that Darren wrote to Mr Crepsley when stealing Madam Octa. (Some astute fans have asked me, from time to time, how Mr Crepsley knew what was in the letter, since it was revealed later in the series that he can't read. The answer, of course, is that he took it to Mr Tall, who read it out to him.)


    The second photo, by Leen, is a cool recreation of the cemetery that features at the end of the book.


    Excellent work, everyone -- A stars all round as far as I'm concerned!!!!






    I've written a LOT of articles over the years which have seen print in various places -- newspapers, magazine, web sites, etc. Every so often a link to one of them will pop up on one of my timelines for whatever reason, and it's always nice to cast an eye over words that I'd set down years (even decades!) ago, as I normally have no recollection whatsoever of writing them!


    One such link popped up for me recently, and I've decided to share it here, as it's quite a nice piece (even if I do say so myself!) about my love for cliffhangers, and how I was planning to make my Zom-B series my most cliffhanger-packed series yet. It appeared in The Guardian, and you can check it out (or check it out AGAIN, if you caught it first time round!) by clicking here: CLICKING HERE






    I've often caught people out with elaborate jokes on my blog on April 1st (April Fools Day), and this year I came up with an absolutely outrageous one!! I posted the above meme of The Count from TV kids' show Sesame Street, and noted that it had been shared with me by a fan of my books called Sharon, who thought it would tickle my funny bone. I said it certainly did, but it also had a big impact on me for a very different reason, because...


    "HBO (its makers) had started to wonder if maybe it was time to take the show in a different direction on the big screen, by adapting an existing book and casting its characters in the main roles -- much like the Muppets have done over the years, with the likes of A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island. Only... they didn't want to go down the "adapt an old classic" route, since that's already been done by Kermit and co. So, instead, they looked for a more modern novel that might work for them... and... well... they found... Cirque Du Freak!!!"


    I went on to say: "The Sesame Street team are still working on the script, but some key decisions have already been made. The Count is going to play the part of Mr Crepsley. Oscar the Grouch is going to play Mr Tiny. Cookie Monster is going to play Steve Leopard. Bert and Ernie are going to play Alan Morris and Tommy Jones. And the central role... Darren Shan... is going to be played by Big Bird!!!!"


    I didn't expect many people to fall for it, but to my delight, loads of people did, and only realised at the very end, when I came clean, that it was an April Fools prank!!!







    To celebrate the release of Volume 6 (the FINAL volume!!) of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus, I'm running a competition with SIX signed, dated copies of VOLUME 4 of the manga up for grabs -- this collects books 7 and 8 of the series. I signed and dated these on the 9th of November, 2021 -- which is the day the Volume 4 omnibus was released. I only signed TEN of these in total on that date. I'm keeping two for myself. I'll give another two away at some point in the future (probably as part of a complete set). And the other six are the prizes in this competition. If you want a chance to be one of the lucky six winners, read on...


    1) Answer this question: "On what date was the Volume 4 omnibus released?"


    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, Tuesday, May 17th, 2022.


    (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 Wednesday, May 18th, 2022. 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 May. I'm VERY excited about the upcoming releases, especially the Archibald Lox book, as it's the start of the series' final story arc, and it's always a special moment when I bring a multi-book series to an end. While I'm still deciding on the release dates for book 8 and 9, you won't have long to wait for them, and we should be bidding farewell to Archie and co around the same time that we'll be bidding farewell to summer in the Western hemisphere... I'll see you all back here at the start of June, with 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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