Yorkshire Post Article

Hi, it’s Grimly here and I am furious. I’m up to my ears in revising the second book in the Vale of Strange series (due later this year) so I sent my minion Simon Ounsley to see this journalist person who wanted to interview me and the next thing I hear is he’s trying to claim he wrote the book himself! This is not the first time he has displayed such delusions of grandeur. I would dismiss him instantly, mark my words, but he’s the only one who knows how to work the cappuccino machine.

You can read the Yorkshire Post article here.

Review by Lucy West

Hi Everyone – Well, time has been scurrying on without leaving too many posts here on Grimly’s website. so I’m delighted to be able to bounce back with this new audio review of the book plus a quite frankly terrifying picture of a bogey by seven-year-old Lucy West.

Let’s listen to the review first:

Which got us wondering: Lucy says Algernon is her favourite character from the book. What is yours – and why? Would you like to write in and tell us? We’d love to hear from you. It’s probably easiest to use the ‘Contact Grimly’ page, the link to which is (most likely) on the right hand side of the screen. Or you can email us at grimlydarkwood03 (at) gmail (dot) com

Maybe you would also like to send us a drawing inspired by the book, just as Lucy has done, though you may find it hard to draw a bogey as scary as hers:

Lucy Bogey pictureHey, where’s everyone gone? Oh, I see. They haven’t left after all. The whole of Team Grimly is hiding behind the sofa. Can you terrify them too? Please send us your monster picture and we’ll post it here…

See you next time then. And remember: don’t forget your hat!

Please note that by submitting your comments, audios, photographs, pictures etc you are giving us permission to post them online. Many thanks to Lucy and her father Graham for sending us these.

A Glimpse of Bogeys

Greetings from all at Vale of Strange HQ! We thought we’d start the New Year by sharing some impressions of The Shop on Peculiar Hill. One of our readers, Janet, sent some great, very spooky pictures of bogeys. You may have seen them on our Facebook page but here is one of them again.

I don’t know about you at home but everyone here in the office is now hiding behind the sofa. These bogeys look very similar to the bogey pictured in the top right of Pete Lyon’s excellent cover illustration (see below) so maybe they’re genuine bogeys. Perhaps Janet went out for a stroll and just happened to have her phone handy when the bogeys flew by. I hope you had your hat with you too, Janet.

This is actually one of two bogeys on Pete’s cover. Have you noticed the other one? If so, can you write and tell us where it is? And while we’re about it, what do you think is peering out of the cellar of the Shop on Peculiar Hill? Have you noticed those eyes?

We shall be excited to hear your own impressions of Peculiar Hill, the Vale of Strange, and the scary creatures which live there. Please write in with your pictures or descriptions and we’ll post them here. (Please note that by sending these in, you are giving us permission to post them here and/or share them online. We will just identify you by your first name unless you tell us otherwise.)

You can write to us at grimlydarkwood03 (at) gmail (dot) com or use the ‘ContactGrimly’ form.

Don’t forget you can also share your impressions of ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ by leaving a review on the Amazon.com or Amazon UK sites. This is very useful, as it helps to spread the word about the book. You can also leave reviews on other sites such as iTunes and Goodreads.

Grimly says “Hi!” but is too busy to say any more because he is working hard on the next book in the Vale of Strange series, ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill ‘, which is due out later this year and is due to reveal some further secrets about the vale and its inhabitants. Don’t forget to look out for it – and don’t forget your hat!


Happy New Year!

The Shop on Peculiar Hill Cover

Grimly and the team at the Vale of Strange wish you all A Happy (Bogey-free) New Year!

Remember the Fizz Count is high at this time of year! Don’t forget your hat….

… or your copy of ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’. Get it at Amazon UK, Amazon.com and other online bookshops.

“The sheer scope and barminess of the author’s imagination places this story firmly at the pioneering end of children’s fantasy.” – Amazon customer.

Fun for All Ages

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Well, we’re in the pre- Christmas rush period now, so everyone’s rushing round to get everything ready for Christmas. This is very important. If everything wasn’t ready for Christmas then people would have to sit around pretending to open invisible presents and wondering who had run off with the Christmas tree. So, it’s very important that all these things get done, including putting in the bit that goes bang in the Christmas crackers. Otherwise they might go pop instead of bang and you might have to somehow struggle through the next twelve months without a tiny screwdriver set or a joke about a reindeer.

Then there’s remembering to order in enough snow and making sure the chimney’s unlocked so that Santa can get down it with all the presents, none of which leaves very much time left over for writing book reviews on Amazon. So after the first gush of five-star responses to ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’, there’s been a bit of a quiet time. But a new review arrived just the other day, and the person who wrote it has left some very useful thoughts to share with the other Amazon customers. Here’s what she had to say:

“Question: What amuses a seven-year-old and a seventy-year old for hours? Answer: The Shop on Peculiar Hill. My 7 year old granddaughter and her 70 year old grandfather both loved it. It’s a brilliant book, suitable for 7 year olds and upwards.”

We love that review, especially the bit about it being “a brilliant book”, but it’s also really helpful that this reader has explained how the book can be enjoyed by a very wide age range of people. This is what Grimly and the rest of the team have been saying all along. So if you can’t find a copy of ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ around the house to read, it might be because you or your parents have accidentally forgotten to buy one (possibly because you were too busy ordering some other bit of Christmas) or it may be that your seventy year old grandfather or similarly aged relative have come across the book and have now found a spot to hide quietly away in and read it themselves. In which case you may just have to politely suggest that they get their own copy at Amazon UK, Amazon USA, or some other online bookshop of their choice. Or better still, why don’t you suggest that you read it together? That way you can share all the funny and scary bits, chuckling at the antics of Uncle Bob and Aunt Maggie, then hiding under the sofa together when the bogeys come out.

But whether you read it alone or in company, we hope these Christmas holidays provide you with time to read the book if you haven’t already had chance. After Christmas, we’ll be having lots of entertaining chats about the book here on the blog and we think you’ll enjoy those a lot more if you already know the story.

Right then, I hear the jingling of reindeer bells. Grimly says “Ho ho ho!” but he can’t stop and chat right now because we’re doing our test run with the sleigh we’ll be using to distribute the ‘Shop on Peculiar Hill’ flyers planetary wide this evening. Don’t worry – they’re made out of biodegradable Christmas Cake and they burst into flames as soon as you’ve read them anyway. All environmentally sound. “Hey, Mr Darkwoood! Wait for me!”

Merry Christmas, everybody!

(Thanks to Sarah Helen Booth for the photograph.)

Shop on Peculiar Hill – Official Flyer

Hello Everyone – The real Grimly Darkwood here again. I’m pleased to report that the unfortunate commotion of last week has died down nicely. The sprinkler system’s been put back to bed, we’ve had a whip round to pay for the excess on the fire insurance, and if we pass the pot round a few more times, we should just about have enough to settle it. So now we can turn our attention to the official promotional leaflet for The Shop on Peculiar Hill which you can see here on the screen.

As you see, it has impressive quotations from some of our favourite authors and perceptive observations from many of our discerning readers, so all we need now is to get it out there amongst the public and wait for the books to fly off the shelves. Unless they’re the electronic version, in which case they will presumably do whatever electric things do and slide around in their weird sort of way. I’ve never understood electricity but it seems to work all right– remarkable really for something that just sort of sits there and crackles.

Anyway, if you people at home can think of something to do with these flyers – something useful, I mean, those of you sniggering at the back – then you’re more than welcome to download it here as a pdf (whatever that may be): peculiar-flyer-1.pdf

Meanwhile, those of us here in the office will find a home for the rest of them. Now, you might think that time is against us but we’ve made enquiries and there’s a surefire proven way to get all these flyers distributed planet-wide by Christmas.

So the reindeer and the sleigh will be delivered here on Christmas Eve and all leave till after Christmas Day will be cancelled. I shall be Santa Claus of course. Who’s going to volunteer to be gnomes?

The Books Have Arrived!

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Ha, ha! This is actually Grimly Darkwood here. They let me near the typing device at last!

What are they afraid I’ll do? Set fire to it or something?

Probably the most likely pending catastrophe is I’ll shatter the glass, because the picture up there now is of my chief assistant, accountant, typist, and odd job man Simon Ounsley, who is proudly holding up two copies of ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ for all the world as if he’d written them himself. The trumped up hoo-hah!

What I want to know is exactly how he got that paint on the wall of the hovel he lives in  such a similar shade to the backdrop of this glorious blog of ours. I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t taken a can of the paint we used for the blog off home with him when no one was looking.

Eh, what’s that? What do you mean: you don’t use paint on a blog? How’s else do you get it that colour? You must think I was born yesterday. And no, I am not colour blind!

Anyway, forgetting about Ounsley for once, though he does rather spoil things, the books themselves look rather magnificent, don’t they? The glorious Pete Lyon illustration looks splendid even at this distance and the glossy green surround, which I believe was my idea, shows it off to perfection.

Eh? What’s that? The surround was Pete’s idea? Oh well, maybe. It’s very fine at any rate. But how come we haven’t even mentioned Pete Lyon on this blog yet when his painting’s the best thing in the book – well, apart from all that stuff I wrote inside, that is.

What? We have a feature coming up on Pete? About time too! Better stay tuned to this blog then, everyone. You don’t want to miss that.

Now then, are my sausages done yet? They were down there on the camping stove, just by the photocopying machine. Oh dear! Where are all those flames coming from?

Is that the time? I’d better be off then. No, no, I don’t want my sausages. They look a bit on the overdone side. You can have them yourself if you like.

Oh, now there seem to be flames coming out of the typing device as well. Better switch it off and on again. That usually does the trick.

I’ll see you all tomorrow then. Bye for now!

PS If you would like a copy of ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’, complete with almost 300 pages of scary, hilarious story, Pete Lyon’s wonderful cover illustration, and only a few slightly singed pages in the wake of the fire (joking about that bit) go to Amazon UK, Amazon.com, or other appropriate online store to purchase your copy (either paper or electronic).

With very best wishes till the next time,

– Grimly and The surviving members of the Team

PPS We now have two five star reviews on Amazon UK!