• Issue 276 - July 2023

    01 July 2023




    Hi everyone, and welcome to the July issue of the Shanville Monthly. As always, the start of July means BIRTHDAY TIME both in my physical and virtual worlds -- the Shanville Monthly is celebrating its 23rd birthday this month, while I'm celebrating my 51st -- I think it's fair to say we're both growing old quite (dis?!?)gracefully!! The above photo was taken the morning after I went to see the band Kasabian playing at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin -- I can't remember the last time my hair looked so wild! Evidence of a great gig, much of it spent moshing -- which isn't easy when you're a twenty-something trapped in a fifty-something's body! But as long as the will is there (and having a great time at a live gig is one of the key joys of living for me) I'll force my tired body on... and on... and on!!! I'll keep going with the Shanville Monthly too, hopefully until that's well into its fifties as well, pulling together all the latest Darren Shan news and updates, just as I've done this month, when I'm going to kick things off with a trio of international news items...






    There was a lovely review of the Hungarian launch party for Archibald Lox Volume 1, on Yellowback Magazin. It's in Hungarian, but if you cut and copy it into Google Translate, you get an extremely clear translation. CLICK HERE


    As the article explains, the publishing house, Bookaholic, actually came into being primarily to release Archibald Lox. Carmen, its chief, wanted to see Archibald Lox on sale in Hungary, and when none of the traditional publishers came in for it, she decided to tackle the task herself. I remember when I first got an email from her, on Christmas Day(!!!) 2021, through my website's contact form. I often hear from fans with big, crazy ideas, and sadly they never come to anything. I assumed this would be another such instance, but Carmen was determined, and kept working with me to find a way to make this happen, and here we are, 18 months later, with the book beautifully packaged and on sale, and selling very nicely. It just goes to show, if you're truly determined to make something happen, and are prepared to put in the time and hard work, you CAN make it happen. Many congratulations to Carmen and her team, and I hope Bookaholic has a long, successful career ahead of it.






    I'm thrilled to be able to announce that Archibald Lox Volume 2 will be released in Hungary in 2024!!!!


    When I sold the rights to Volume 1 (see the article above), it seemed doubtful that we would get beyond that book, so I was steeling myself for having to tell my Hungarian fans that they wouldn't be able to follow Archie's journey any further unless they could read English and ordered the English language copies. But the publishers did a great job on Volume 1, sales have been great, the reaction has been great, so... yeah, it's all great!!! :-)


    An exact release date hasn't yet been confirmed -- watch this space! In the meantime, if you read Volume 1 and enjoyed it, PLEASE tell your friends and anyone else you think might be interested in checking it out. The more readers we can attract to the series, the better our chances that sales of Volume 2 will also be strong, which will hopefully allow us to translate and release Volume 3 as well, in 2025...


    If you live in Hungary and haven't yet read Volume 1, you can order the book from the publisher, as either a paperback or eBook by CLICKING HERE -- although the paperback is more expensive than the eBook, it currently (if they still have copies in stock) comes with a bonus, SIGNED page, so it might well be worth spending a bit extra on, if you're a collector like me who loves a beautifully made book!!






    I love a story with a happy ending, especially when it's an unexpected happy ending -- and to my surprise, THIS is one of those stories!!


    Last month I was idly checking the comments on Goodreads for Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds (the first book of the series), to see if anyone had commented about it recently. To my shock, I saw a post from translator in IRAN who said they had translated the book and that it had been released there -- which was the first I had heard of it!


    Sadly, Iranian pirate copies of my books are nothing new. Publishers in Iran have been stealing my work since Cirque Du Freak first came out, and paying me nothing for them while they've sold in very high numbers there. It's the way the system works there, and loads of other authors have suffered the same fate as me. I tried over the years to get publishers to come to the negotiation table to agree a deal, partly so that I could get some of the money that they were making, but also so that I could officially acknowledge the publications and lend them my backing. (I have lots of fans in Iran, completely unaware that they've been reading stolen works, and not sure why I never mention the Iranian copies on any of my online channels.) But they refused to have anything to do with a legitimate deal, all the while telling readers in Iran that they DID have the rights to translate and publish.


    My efforts did eventually pay off, when a publisher agreed to buy the first two books in my Zom-B series (although they then proceeded, as far as I'm aware, to publish the rest of the series behind my back, without paying for the other ten!), but it seemed to be an isolated incident, and I breathed a heavy sigh when I saw that the Archie books were now being stolen from me too.


    Since it wasn't the translator's fault, I replied to their Goodreads post, saying I was disappointed, but didn't hold it against them, and I hoped they'd been paid well for the job. (I wasn't being sarcastic.) To my surprise, they responded, told me the publishing industry in Iran is in crisis, and that the book would have a very small print run. They said they were going to report my comment to the publisher and ask them to get in touch with me, to try and agree a deal that would make the work an official publication. I thanked them, but figured that would be the end of the matter.


    But it wasn't! The publisher DID get in touch, and we HAVE managed to agree a retroactive deal, giving them the rights to officially release the first three books in the series. Which means I'm here to tell you that Book 1 is already on sale and it has my full blessing and support!! I've attached a picture of the cover, which I must say looks absolutely splendid!


    I'm not sure how many stores in Iran are physically stocking the book, but if you can't find it on the shelves of your local shop, you can order a copy online from the publisher, at a 20% discount of the cover price. AND the publisher has also set up a special additional 10% discount until the end of July for fans who use the following code when buying the book: darren


    This is the link to where you can order the book on their website: https://vidapub.com/product/archibald-book-1/






    I ran a competition last month, with four VERY rare copies of Archibald Lox and the Pick of Loxes (book 8 in the series) up for grabs. I drew the winners the day after it closed to entry, and there was a nice global spread, from one winner virtually on my doorstep to one all the way at the other end of the world. In the order drawn, the four lucky Shansters were...


    Gina Westendorf, Australia.

    Mary Aherne, Ireland.

    Martina Utasi, Ireland.

    Joanna Wauters, Belgium.


    Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone else who entered -- better luck next time!!!!


    If you weren't one of the winners, you can get a regular paperback copy of Archibald Lox And The Pick Of Loxes through any Amazon store worldwide, or as an eBook through a very wide variety of sellers -- Amazon, Apple, B&N, Google, Kobo, etc. Although my advice, if you're new to the series, is to get the trilogy collections intead -- it will probably be cheaper that way, and they present the storylines the way I originally wrote them, as three large books rather than as nine short books. But hey, it's your money, so your call!!! :-)






    A fan called Chris posted on Facebook recently to say that the Cirque Du Freak film has been removed from Netflix UK. He thought it was because it hadn't been performing well on the site, but it's actually been rotating across different streaming services over the last several years. I'm sure it will return to Netflix UK at some point. In the meantime, keep an eye out for it elsewhere -- there's no telling where it might pop up!!


    It's available in the USA and other countries too -- you can check on Just Watch to find out if it's in your region: https://www.justwatch.com/


    Actually, I just had a quick look on the UK page of Just Watch, and apparently you can currently rent or buy it digitally through Apple, Sky, Google, Rakuten and a number of other different streamers. Whether you choose to pay for it or wait for it to hopefully turn up for free again is entirely your call... :-)






    On the 19th of June, I finished my final solo edit of my next Darren Dash book for adult readers. I've sent it on to my editor, who will come back to me with her thoughts shortly, at which point I'll go through it one final time, then that will be that, and I'll start getting it ready for publication, which will hopefully be some time in October, or maybe slightly later.


    As I've said before, it's a sci-fi, time-travelling tale, and most of the story takes place in the 29th century. It's quite different to most of my other work (An Other Place would be its nearest stable mate), and features virtually no actual action whatsoever -- quite a change for an author widely known for his fast-moving, action-packed plots!! I was aiming for a 1950s type of style, but fed through my own unique filters. I like the final result -- while it's not one of my favourites from my ouevre, the sheer oddity of it makes me smile wryly, and I'm hoping it will find favour among the Shansters -- rather, the Dashsters!!!


    Anyway, let's see what Zoe (my editor) comes back with. But for the time being, it's main job done, and a chance to take a bit of a break -- hurrah!! (Oh, and by the way, the picture above is nothing to do with the book -- there are no aliens in it -- it's just an image of a 1950s sci-fi mag that I found online and which made me smile.)






    I did what will most probably be my final online event of the school year on June 20th, with students in Cliffe Woods Primary School in the UK. It was lots of fun, with the kids throwing loads of good, interesting questions my way -- a nice way to wrap things up on the virtual touring front for the term.


    I always like to start an event by reading from one of my books. Usually I choose a scene from Cirque Du Freak or Lord Loss -- but these pupils had already read Cirque Du Freak, and I felt that most of them were a bit too young for Lord Loss. So at the very last minute I decided to read out an extra from my website -- An Essay On Vampires By Steve Leopard!!!


    This was an amusing little piece that I wrote many, many years ago (probably in mid or late 2000, around the time that I first put my web site together), an imaginary essay that Steve Leopard had written at school, which had been "found" years later. It was actually published in a book in Japan (that's a scan of the cover attached), along with a selection of other extras from my site. While it was never printed in a physical English language edition, it remains on my site, where you can read it for FREE any time you like, by CLICKING HERE






    Late last year, vlogger JAMES TULLOS posted a video on YouTube called: The Demonata is the greatest book series of all time (and here's why). It's a long (1 hour 10 minutes) piece detailing his love for my Demonata series, and has proven very popular with viewers, having been watched more than 19,000 times. You can check it out by CLICKING HERE


    I loved that James took the time to pay homage to a series of mine, and was especially pleased that he focused on The Demonata. As I've often said over the years when asked, I don't have a faourite out of my series -- I spent several years working on each of them, and each is as meaningful and important to me as any of the others. That said, The Demonata is the series that I'm proudest of, as it's the one that stretched me the furthest as a writer.


    The Demonata is crazily ambitious! Three narrators, with a storyline that jumps backwards and forwards in time, that takes place in two different universes, and that even takes us to the far end of our own universe at one point. I look back on it now with a sense of awe -- I have no idea how I managed to pull so many different strings together and make it work as one massive story arc. I remember it being a huge challenge at the time when I working on it, but now it seems like an insurmountable mountain, one that I could never hope to summit if I was to approach such an undertaking these days. To put a spin on an old cliche, "I bit off more than I could chew... then proceeded to chew it!!!" :-) :-) :-)



    OLD OR NEW?!?



    A fan called JOE posted on Facebook recently, saying he'd bought the first six British editions of my Zom-B series in their original covers, as he preferred them to the revised covers, which he thought were "lazier" artistically -- and he felt the same about the Demonata covers. Hmmm... while I certainly respect Joe's opinion to prefer the original British hardback Zom-B and Demonata covers to the revised paperback editions, I definitely don't agree that the paperback covers are "lazier" -- a lot of thought and effort went into the updated covers, and I rate them very highly.


    In fact, overall I probably prefer the Zom-B paperback covers to the hardbacks -- I was blown away when the publisher came to me with them, and loved how they put such a different, imaginative spin on things. The original covers were great, and they're certainly a lot punchier than their paperback counterparts, e.g. but I did feel that using a zombie on almost all of them proved a bit limiting in the long run...


    With The Demonata, I'd agree with Joe that the hardback covers are superior, but it's a close run thing for me, and in a few instances I actually prefer the paperback version, e.g. with book 1, Lord Loss.


    This is the link for all the British Zom-B covers on my site: CLICK HERE


    And this is a link for the British Demonata covers: CLICK HERE


    Have a look and join in the debate to let me know what YOU think!!






    A fan called FILIP posted the above photo on Facebook last month, and wrote the following message:
    I learned English because of these books. I was reading the Demonata series from Darren Shan in Hungarian. I didn't want to wait for several months for the 8th book, Wolf Island to be translated, so I ordered it in English. I did read it with a dictionary in my hand! 2 weeks ago I was looking for The Court books from Sarah J. Maas in Nairobi, Kenya. I didn't find it, but I walked out of the bookstore with this one -- a real Jackpot for me. :-)
    This is probably the greatest compliment an author could be paid — someone from a different country learns your language in order to read your latest book! I feel humbled.






    A fan wrote to me today asking where he could track down a hardback UK copy of City Of The Snakes at a reasonable price -- he'd found it on Amazon UK, but the price is €45!! The reason that price was so high is because the book was never actually published in hardback in the UK -- it must have been an American edition that a reseller was listing. I suggested he might want to consider the paperback, which is only a third that price, but also pointed him in the direction of Abebooks and Alibris.
    These are the sites I always recommend to fans who are having trouble tracking down a book of mine that might be out of print, or an old edition of a book in a particular format or with a no-longer-in-use cover. They're sites through which bookstores and collectors and individual sellers can list copies of books -- there are loads of out of print and early edition rarities on there. Some can cost a small fortune, but others are very reasonably priced -- it all depends on demand.
    There are plenty of other sites of course -- eBay is always worth a look -- but Abebooks and Alibris are the ones I look to when I'm trying to track down a book that I can't find through the normal channels.
    Good luck with the hunt!!!
    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for July. Mrs Shan also celebrated her birthday recently, and that's a photo of the pair of us on a rare night away from the kids, just before we went to see Rebel Rebel, a David Bowie tribute band. I won't be celebrating wildly on the day of my birthday -- we're flying to London early on the next day with the kids, to visit their granny there, and I don't want to be travelling with a hangover!! I'll get stuck into my final edit of the new Darren Dash book upon my return from the hols, and start getting things ready for its release later in the year. I'll hopefully see you all back here at the start of August. 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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