• Issue 278 - September 2023

    01 September 2023



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the September issue of the Shanville Monthly. As my kids head back to school after the long summer holidays, I thought it would be nice to run a Back To School promo on my Archibald Lox series, so I'm offering all nine books at a crazy low price! We're also edging closer to the release of my next Darren Dash novel, and although I haven't revealed the cover yet, I have released a teaser for it. I've also included an early review for that book, plus some recent reviews for older books of mine... there's an unofficial audio announcement... some other odds and ends... OH!! and I'm running an exciting COMPETITION too!!! For all that and more, read on...






    FATHER OF THE FUTURE, my next Darren Dash book for mature readers, goes on sale on October 18th. It's a satirical, time-travelling tale that looks at the dangers of putting too much power into the hands of an AI, and what happens to humanity if we cede too much control over our lives to the machines that we create.


    I'm not going to reveal the cover just yet, but there's a sneak teaser for it above, revealing a small, central part of the overall work. I think my designer has done a fabulous job, and I'm very excited to share it with you guys in the near future -- I don't have a specific date for the reveal in mind, I'm just going to go with my gut and stick it up when I feel the moment is right. That will probably be at some point in September, so keep checking back on my blog, Facebook or Twitter pages regularly if you want to be among the first to cast your gaze on the face of the Future!!!


    The eBook is already available to PRE-ORDER through Amazon, Apple, B&N, Google Play, Kobo, Smashwords and lots of other online stores -- and the good news is that although I initially listed the price as being $4.99, in the end I've settled on a price tag of $2.99, so it's not going to bust your wallet if you want to buy it!! (If you have already pre-ordered the book, don't worry, you will only be charged the revised rate when it goes on sale.) It will be on sale all around the world, at a similar low price in your local currency, e.g. £1.99 in the UK, €2.75 in Europe. A paperback will also be published, though that will obviously be quite a bit more expensive because of the costs involved. (I always make about the same from a paperback as I do from an eBook, so it makes no difference to me which you choose to buy.) Current pre-ordering links can be found below, with more to follow closer to the book's release.


    Amazon: https://mybook.to/FatherFutureEbook

    Apple, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc: https://books2read.com/u/318gPw







    I'm running a Back To School promo on ALL NINE eBooks in my Archibald Lox series. This only applies to the nine short books which were originally released, not the omnibus collections which came later. During the sale, the first eBook will be FREE to download as it always is, the price for eBook 2 will remain at $0.99, and the price for every other eBook in the series will be REDUCED to $0.99 as well -- that's right, each book will cost JUST 99 CENTS to buy!! That's a 50% discount on eBooks 3 and 4, and a whopping 66% discount on eBooks 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9!!!


    If you buy all 9 books, you'll pay a total of just $7.92 -- that's an incredibly low price, the lowest I've ever charged for the entire series, and I honestly doubt I'll ever sell them at any lower a price than that!!


    The eBooks are on sale through a wide variety of online stores -- Amazon, Apple, B&N, Google, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. In the UK Amazon and Google stores, the price will be based on the American price, so you'll pay about £0.80 per book. It's a similar case in other Amazon and Google stores worldwide. In the other stores (Apple, Kobo, etc), the system forced me to set the price to £0.99 in the UK, and a similar price in other countries -- it's only SLIGHTLY more than on Amazon and Google, but I wanted to flag it here, just to be transparent.


    I'm providing links to the main stores for eBook 1 below -- you'll be able to see links for the other books on the store of your choice, and depending on where you shop, you might even be able to order all 9 with just one click -- coolio!!!! :-)


    Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B086LKBHD6

    Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=oUjbDwAAQBAJ

    Apple, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, etc: https://books2read.com/u/4AzG7q






    As I said a couple of entries above, Father of the Future, my next DARREN DASH book for adults, goes on sale on October 18th. It's a time-travelling, science fiction novel. I've sent it out to lots of reviewers, and the early responses have been very positive. Here's one of the first that came through, from one of the reviewers at READERS' FAVORITE, who awarded it a wonderfully futuristic 5 out of 5 stars!!! If you like the sound of it from the review, you can find pre-order links in the upper entry.


    "It is the twenty-ninth century, and Earth is nothing like we know it. Disease and crime are a thing of the past, and artificial intelligence runs every aspect of the planet for the humans they call Father. There is a special unit of time travelers known as fixers who correct their timeline according to Father’s instructions. At the same time, the rest of the population is preoccupied with Father’s Virtual Reality programs. Cassique is a fixer who has grown disillusioned with his life and begins to question Father’s ideas about the well-being of the human race. The more he fights his feelings, the more he believes something is wrong with the system. Can he right the wrongs of this seemingly perfect Utopia? Or will Father stop him before he can cause damage? Only time will tell in Father Of The Future by Darren Dash.


    "Darren Dash’s depiction of the ultimate Utopia and one citizen’s problem with perfection could not have been better portrayed. The storyline runs along the lines of an ideological discussion where the reader questions the logic behind Father’s supposedly forward-thinking solutions to humanity’s problems. This heightens the suspense in the story, much like the feeling when you are told that if something is too good to be true, it most likely is not. Cassique’s interactions with his fellow dwellers and their responses to his sometimes innocent-sounding questions are crafted to draw one into the story without realizing it. All of these lead to a highly intellectual conclusion, which pushes the reader to think outside the box if they wish to find the crack in the facade. The best part of this novel is how Dash alternates seriousness with sometimes goofy humor throughout the story. Father Of The Future is a novel you will fully appreciate once you have read it." -- Essien Asian.






    The Hungarian edition of Archibald Lox Volume One is continuing to cause a positive stir. One of the latest reviews, which also includes a nice, lengthy summary, appeared in AH MAGAZIN. As well as rightly complimenting the lovely cover, which was designed especially for the market in Hungary, the reviewer summed up their review with:


    "The story of the missing princess shows that Darren Shan can still surprise readers. Archie and Inez are lovable characters who, in addition to the dark forces of Sodrás [that's the Hungarian translation for The Merge, the other world in the books], also struggle with grief-processing and self-acceptance. We also get interesting supporting characters, all of whom have well-developed back stories and personal motivations. The magical world of Sodrás immediately draws the reader in, although sometimes it is a bit difficult to follow the rules of each sphere. If you like fun young adult fantasy stories, I highly recommend the Archibald Lox series!"


    I'm delighted that the book is drawing such high praise in Hungary. I was worried it might not translate so well, and might end up disappointing my fan base in Hungary even though it had won rave reviews in the English language markets. Thankfully, that hasn't been the case, and the strong reviews have helped pave the way for the translation and release of Volume 2 next year -- phew!!! The review is in Hungarian, but Google Translate provides a very good translation for anyone who wants to check it out. You can read the full review by CLICKING HERE






    I've been holding off making an official announcement about this, as a couple of the books have yet to upload, but I do like to share big news like this with you guys first. So... UNOFFICIALLY, you understand!!!


    The Archibald Lox series is coming out as AUDIO BOOKS exclusively on APPLE.


    The reason they're only on APPLE? Well, it's because they haven't been narrated by a human -- they've been narrated by APPLE'S AI narrator!!!


    I've had a listen to a bit of the adaptations online, and they're scarily good (the techonology truly is amazing). Whether the AI voice will hold over the course of an entire book (not to mention an entire series!), and be able to cope with some of the weirder character names, and be able to be clear when multiple characters are speaking in any given section, is another matter entirely, and I'll be waiting for feedback from listeners to find out how successful or unsuccesful these are, and whether or not to persevere with them going forward. This is very much an experiment, and the jury -- you guys -- is currently out!!


    I'll be talking about this in more detail once all 9 books are available and I make the OFFICIAL announcement, but for those of you who love audio books and don't mind buying them through APPLE, I figured you'd appreciate the early heads up!!


    Here's the link for the first book -- even if you don't plan to buy it, it's worth clicking on, as you can listen to a sample of the audio book online, and I'd love to know what you think even from that little taster... https://books.apple.com/us/audiobook/id1697932654






    We're heading back to Hungary again! There was a lovely review recently for Archibald Lox - Volume One, on Könyvszenvedély blog. It was especially interesting to me because the reviewer, INCI, hadn't read read any of my books before. A lot of my reviewers tend to be existing fans of my work, and I do sometimes wonder if they can be as objective as a reviewer should be -- not that I ever complain when they give me a glowing review!! That wasn't the case here, which meant I could expect no favours! I started reading a bit nervously (while I never taken great or terrible reviews to heart, I'd be lying if I said that a positive review doesn't make me smile, and that a negative review doesn't make me grimace), but my nerves vanished quirte early on when Inci wrote the following paragraph:


    "I have to admit that I started this book in a very depressed mood, and I was a little worried about whether I would be able to pay enough attention to the story. But after only a few pages, all my worries became a fog, because this novel really enchanted me in no time. While reading, I forgot everything, the world around me stopped. And when I put the book down, I felt that I was freed from the weights that weighed down my soul."


    Wow. What an absolutely beautiful thing for a reviewer to say!! I wish *I* could write reviews that eloquently!!! The review is in Hungarian, but if you copy and paste the text into Google Translate, you'll be able to read an eminently clear translation. You can find the full review if you CLICK HERE






    As most of you are all too aware, I've done extremely few in-person events since the end of my Zom-B series. I try to squeeze in one or two a year, but that doesn't always happen -- this year is looking like I might not get to do any at all. :-(


    BUT good news is just around the corner for the those in the UK who would like to catch me live!! I've signed up for SFW XV next March, a sci-fi weekender in Great Yarmouth. Details of what I'll be doing there are yet to be confirmed, but I imagine I'll be appearing on a couple of days, doing a few panel events, maybe even a solo event or two, and of course signing lots of books!!


    I did SFW a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so I'm delighted to have been invited back. It's a very relaxed, welcoming festival, with LOTS going on, loads of people from the sci-fi/fantasy/horror worlds of movies, TV, books, comics, etc. Most people (maybe everyone?!?) who attend camp over the weekend, and I chatted with some who went to it every year and treated it as a holiday, the same way that some people do with music festivals.


    If you're interested in coming, you can find all the info you need by CLICKING HERE. I can't guarantee good weather at that time of year, but I can guarantee more access to me than you'd get at a normal event, more time to ask questions and have your books signed. You might even spot me in a restaurant, at the bar or on the dance floor and get a chance to quiz me one-on-one -- but be warned, I take no responsibility for crushed toes if you get too close to me while I'm dancing!!!






    My son Dante is excited by the forthcoming release of the FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S movie in late October (even though he's never played the game!) and is keeping his fingers crossed that its certificate will be low enough to allow me to take him to see it at the cinema. Being rather less excited, I'm kind of hoping it gets a 16 rating, but time will tell, and if the winds blow in the young Shan's favour, I'll grit my teeth and take him along!! :-)


    Josh Hutcherson is one of the stars of the film, and SLASHFILM recently published a piece about him, charting his evolution as a genre superstar -- one step of which, of course, saw him playing a certain Steve Leopard in the Cirque Du Freak movie. That gets a brief, not too sympathetic mention here, along with all the other genre movies that he's featured in -- and there are quite a lot of them, regardless of his young age! You can read the full article by CLICKING HERE


    Even the most vitriolic haters of the Cirque Du Freak movie tend to agree that Josh's casting was spot on, that he was perfect for the young Steve Leonard role, and that the movie's under-performance had little or nothing to do with his part in it. It's a view I wholeheartedly endorse. While I think the casting of a virtual unknown in the main role of Darren was a gamble which didn't really work, Josh was already a movie veteran by that stage, and he aced it as Steve. With a stronger, more focused script, I think it could have been a real calling card of a role for him. But even as it stood, I don't think it did his career any harm, and proved that he could go darker and more interesting than he had in his roles up to that point.






    Shortly after Halloween last year, there was an article in the Park Rapids Enterprise online newspaper, entitled: HOOKED ON BOOKS, with the sub-heading: Let these books give you creepy-crawlies! It focused on a handful of creepy books, and one of the five recommended reads was Cirque Du Freak. It was lovely to see it still getting namechecked after all these years, and to find out what the author of the article, Robin Fish, had to say about it and the other four books, CLICK HERE






    A reader of my Mr Crepsley books, called SHAUN, recently finished Palace of the Damned, which is the third book in the series, and wrote a fabulous review for it over on Facebook. I've posted the link for it below, but just in case that doesn't work, I've also copied in the review here -- I hope you don't mind, Shaun, as I didn't want anyone to miss it, and those Facebook links can be fiddly!!


    "I recently had the pleasure of reading Darren Shan's “Palace of the Damned,” and I must say, it was truly an exceptional experience. From the very first chapter, I was drawn into the story, and it masterfully tugged at my heartstrings.


    "The depth with which Mr. Shan delved into Larten’s feelings was simply captivating. I found myself empathizing with him, feeling his anguish, and sharing his pain. It is rare for a book to evoke such raw emotions, but Darren accomplished it effortlessly.


    "The ending of the book was nothing short of a cliffhanger. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Darren threw a curveball that left me craving for more. I couldn’t help but feel a mix of anticipation and eagerness for the next book in the series.


    "In fact, as I write this review, Book Four is already waiting by my side, ready for me to delve into the FINAL chapter of this enthralling saga. I eagerly await each twist and turn, knowing that Darren will deliver a story that will keep me on the edge of my seat until the very end."





    16 OF THE WORST?!?



    Haters of the Cirque Du Freak movie are going to LOVE this list of The 16 Worst Vampire Films Of All Time!!! It appeared on the AV CLUB website recently. To be honest, I think this is pretty harsh on the film -- especially when the list omits true stinkers like Dracula 1972AD and Zoltan: Hound of Dracula!!! But hey, opinions are like a good vampire hunter's stakes -- sharp and to the point, and they're all we have to defend ourselves with in this dangerous, deadly world, so I'll always respect another critic's view!!!!


    If you'd like to see where Cirque Du Freak ranks among the Dirty 16, and what the other 15 films are, CLICK HERE




    When I released the paperbacks of books 7, 8 and 9 of my Archibald Lox series, 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'm keeping the 1/5 copies for myself, and will be giving the others away as competiton prizes. The Book 7 and 8 copies already went to lucky fans in previous competitions, and now it's the turn of Book 9 -- Archibald Lox and the Legion of the Lost. Each is signed and numbered, and dated 26/7/22 (26th July 2022, the day the book was released). 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 ninth 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, Tuesday, September 12th, 2023.


    (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, September 13th, 2023. 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 my social media channels 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 September. I'll be spending the early part of this month readying Father of the Future for publication. That's easy enough for the eBooks, but the paperback has to be typeset, which is a slow, onerous process, but definitely worth it -- my typesetting skills have improved immensely over the last several years, and the new release will look a lot neater and more professional than the early Darren Dash novels. (I must go back and re-typeset those at some point, if I ever find the time.) After that? Maybe a bit of new writing! I haven't written anything new since my house fire late last year, and I'm starting to get a writerly itch that is demanding to be scratched... I'll hopefully see you all back here at the start of October, for the latest round of 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.





    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.