Still time for a Bargain!

I’ve just notified the three lucky winners of the recent competition (run by LoveReading4Kids) to win a signed copy of Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill. I’m pleased to announce that there were no fewer than 1585 entries for the competition, so confirming the enduring popularity of my books – at least on occasions where no exchange of funds is required.

If you happen to be one of the 1582 people who just missed out on winning a book, I’m happy to report that you still have a chance to pick up a bargain. The first book in the Vale of Strange series, The Shop on Peculiar Hill, which is the prequel to Stranger Days, is still available as an e-book from Amazon, priced at just 99p UK or 99c US (and for similarly paltry amounts in other parts of the globe). The paperback version is also competitively priced at just £6-99 UK or $9-99 US.

The Shop on Peculiar Hill has become unexpectedly topical since the onset of COVID-19. The young hero Peter finds that his move to stay with his uncle and aunt on Peculiar Hill puts him in an unfamilar situation. He is told that he is not allowed to go out of the house without taking special precautions like wearing a hat and sturdy boots. His aunt and uncle use weird protective concoctions called unge and glop which they put on the dining table and spread in a ring round the house, while Aunt Maggie will never even leave the house without a long pole to defend herself against monsters. Indeed, she never goes out at all except on a Thursday.

How is Peter supposed to adapt to this strange, unfamilar predicament?

Anne-Marie Reynolds at Readers’ Favorite wrote: “The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ by Grimly Darkwood is a fascinating story, much like a dark version of a fairy tale… This book has it all – death, darkness, fearsome creatures, strange vegetables – everything needed to brew up a fantastical tale. This story is well written in very straightforward language… There is always something going on to keep your interest. The author has written the characters very well, so clearly that you can picture them in your mind – kind of like watching a Harry Potter movie.”

Joanne Owen at LoveReading4Kids said “A riotously imaginative feast of fantastical adventure with lashings of larger-than-life characters and curious goings-on… This book’s whimsical, jaunty language and characterisation make it marvellous for reading aloud. In fact, as you read the dialogue, it’s easy to hear and see the characters in action, replete with tone of voice and physical quirks.”

Ian Eagleton, Creator of the Reading Realm app, wrote: “Thrilling, dark, utterly barmy, funny and surprisingly moving… if you haven’t read it already, please do. What a hidden gem!”

You can find out more about The Shop on Peculiar Hill here on my website. You can also try before you buy! Read the first two chapters here for free…

Competition Extended to 12 August!

Just when you you thought you had missed your chance, I am pleased to inform you that you haven’t! That’s good news, isn’t it? What could be better than that?

Now don’t get overexcited. I’m afraid that some opportunities have indeed disappeared into the mists of time. You’re still too late to attend the 1966 World Cup football final for instance, which may be for the best, because I have a sneaking feeling that the more times we watch it, the more likely it is that Germany is going to win after all. We’re also too late to be the first person to land on the moon. I can vouch for that because they brought me back an authentic stick of moon rock which had little green men on it and a label which said ‘made in Blackpool’ with the ‘Blackpool’ bit crossed out and ‘the moon’ written in.

So that possibility’s gone as well, I’m afraid, But don’t worry because believe it it not, you are still in time to win the most important prize of all: one of three signed copies of that fantastic work of fiction, ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’ because the deadline for entries to the LoveReading4Kids competition has now been extended (by popular demand) to 12 August. So get in now while you’re still in time! Hurry across to LoveReading4Kids to find out all the instructions for how to enter. Those books won’t be there for ever, you know, so don’t miss out!

I understand that if you don’t win a book, you can still pick up a piece of moon rock, though the rumour is that the latest ones don’t come from the moon at all but from a popular range of insolvent garden centres. So that’s hardly the same sort of quality prize as Peter’s mysterious adventures in the Vale of Strange, now is it?

So make sure you win one of those books, personally signed my me, Grimly Darkwood.

And if you win,

a) Don’t forget to read it, and

b) please post an honest review of the book on Amazon, Goodreads, your own blog, or in some other reputable publication, whether in print or online. Most people who read the Vale of Strange books seem to really enjoy them, with lots of five star reviews, but we need more people, kids and adults alike, to spread the word!

More Reviews of Stranger Days

As I mentioned in the last post (which was, ahem, a few weeks ago now but then we’ve all been busy not meeting people and not going anywhere, haven’t we?) Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill has been chosen as one of the lovereading4kids Indie Books We Love. This means it features on the front page of their website, and to add to the excitement, it is also one of their featured books for 9+ and 11+ readers this month, listed together with other titles such as Liz Flanagan’s exciting Rise of the Shadow Dragons and the new illustrated edition of Ted Hughes’ classic story The Iron Man.

To celebrate, we’ve updated the Stranger Days page here on grimlydarkwood.com with all the latest reviews, many of them five star including this one that’s just come in from an Amazon UK customer called JG, who says: “Weird and wonderful escape from reality. Genuinely new and surprising in its inventiveness. I should have been warned about the big spider.

I’m glad you enjoyed it, JG. I’m sorry if you were startled by the spider (and actually there were three of them but maybe you looked away at that point) but we did say that the Vale of Strange books contain monsters, I seem to remember, so I would have thought that was warning enough. Ok, they were actually giant spiders with really strange webs and the kids almost ran out of unctuous splodger so Amanda almost got eaten but it seems to me that ‘warning – contains monsters!’ just about covers all that, doesn’t it?

What do you think? Should we put more warnings on Vale of Strange books? In which case, what should we warn about? “Caution – contains Uncle Bob!” maybe? Or: “This book mentions chocolate cake rather a lot” Or even: “This book may disturb the balance of the weirdosphere!” What do you think is scary in the books? Write and tell me….

You can contact me, Grimly, via the ‘contact Grimly‘ page (see link in sidebar) or just email me directly at grimlydarkwood03 (at) gmail.com It will be great to hear from you. While I’m waiting, though, there’s something else I need to work out: if something scares you, should I put more of it or less of it in the next book?

(Don’t forget that as well as reading the reviews on the Stranger Days page, you can ‘try before you buy’. Read two free sample chapters here.)

Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill – ‘a LoveReading4Kids Indie Book We Love’

We’re very happy to announce that, like The Shop on Peculiar Hill before it, Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, the second book in the Vale of Strange series, has been chosen by Lovereading4kids as one of their ‘Indie Books We Love’.

Reviewer Charlotte Walker writes “Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill is a new adventure that develops the brilliant ideas firmly established in Grimly Darkwood’s first Vale of Strange book… It follows on from the end of The Shop on Peculiar Hill but recaps the previous events and there’s enough detail for it to be read as a standalone story… After reading, I’m sure children will be racing to enjoy the adventure in The Shop on Peculiar Hill if they haven’t read it already.”

And if you prefer to start reading with the first book, don’t forget that the eBook version of The Shop on Peculiar Hill is still available for only 99p from Amazon UK or 99 cents from Amazon.Com

You can read the whole of Charlotte’s review here.

We’ve also updated our Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill page here on grimlydarkwood.com with all the latest reviews of the book, including this one from an Amazon UK reader: “Absolutely loved this book. Very funny, exciting, and a real page turner. Can’t wait for the next.”

The Shop on Peculiar Hill – Live Reading!

That nice Ian Eagleton, developer of the ReadingRealm app, is running a series of live readings and other activities to entertain the kids during these challenging times. Here’s his schedule for the week ahead and I’m delighted to report that Tuesday’s session will include a read along extract from none other than that exciting and mysterious fantasy adventure, The Shop on Peculiar Hill by Grimly Darkwood. Do tune in or synchronise your algorithms or whatever it is you do these days and join in the fun. You will find the live readings over at the Reading Realm Facebook page (as opposed to the Reading Realm Group Facebook page where you won’t find them, this being an entirely different kettle of strange creatures). Ian helpfully points out that the Ebook version of The Shop on Peculiar Hill is currently available from Amazon for just 99p, so if the reading whets your appetite for further strangeness, you know where to go…

Escape to a Whole New World!

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Feeling bored? Even in these difficult times, travel is still permitted to the Vale of Strange to enjoy the scary, funny, fantastic adventures of Peter and his friends as they tussle with all manner of monsters. Recommended ages: 8 to 80+  The Shop on Peculiar Hill, the first book in the series, can be bought on Kindle from Amazon for just 99p (or 99 cents, or a similar bargain basement price in your own currency).

We’ve recently had some very good new reviews of The Shop on Peculiar Hill:

“I really like this book. A great adventure in a very strange place. It has a Dr. Seuss vibe with all the weird creatures and reminded me of some of the OZ adventures. The author is very good at leaving you in the dark while making you die of curiosity to find out what’s really going on right up to the end. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!” Amazon customer, Canada

“A fantastic read: was a little unsure about this book at first but absolutely loved it.” Amazon customer, Australia

“An amazingly well written book. Made me use my imagination again and I haven’t done that in forever! Would highly recommend and cannot wait to read the next one!” Goodreads reader

“I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Read it to your kids, read it for yourself. It’s ace.” Scottish reader on Facebook

We really hope you like it too. Happy reading!

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes to you all for a Strangely Happy New Year in 2020 from us all here at Grimly HQ!

Here’s your checklist of Really Important Things for the New Year:

1) Are you new to The Vale of Strange? Then make sure you get your copy of ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ the first book in this remarkable series, on Kindle for the bargain price of only 99p (UK) or 99c (US) or for a similarly small amount if you live elsewhere in the world. Note: if you’re on Kindle Direct you can read it for free!!

Ian Eagleton, Creator of The Reading Realm app, said: “Thrilling, dark, utterly barmy, funny and surprisingly moving… if you haven’t read it already, please do. What a hidden gem!”

Joanne Owen, Reviewer at lovereading4kids, said: “A riotously imaginative feast of fantastical adventure with lashings of larger-than-life characters and curious goings-on.… Brilliantly bonkers.”

2) If you’ve already read the first book, have you got your copy of the newly published sequel, ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’, available in paperback or Kindle from Amazon UK, Amazon.com and other Amazon sites worldwide.

John Guy Collick, author of the Book of the Colossus series said: “Stranger, more peculiar, and utterly delightful, Grimly Darkwood’s sequel to ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ perfectly combines outlandish scares with adventure and wild imagination”

Radzy Writes and Reviews said: “In honesty, as soon as I’d finished ‘Shop on Peculiar Hill’, I was desperate to get my hands on ‘Stranger Days’ – this is a world with absolutely no finite end point, and I hope this series just keeps going.”

3) Having bought your book, don’t forget to read it!

4) Having read it, please let us (or someone else) know what you think about it! We’ve had almost entirely good feedback on the books so far but it takes a lot of banging and shouting to get the message about them out there. So please do a favour to all those who haven’t yet heard about the Vale of Strange books by helping to spread the word.

5) Most important of all: there are bogeys about – please don’t forget your hat!

Stranger Days – First Review!

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“If you have read ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’…. then this will be a real treat… We meet new friends, see familar faces, and above all, dive further into this world where nothing is entirely as it appears. In all honesty, as soon as I’d finished ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’, I was desperate to get my hands on ‘Stranger Days’ – this is a world with absolutely no finite end point, and I hope this series just keeps going!”

This is a quote from the very first substantial review of ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’ by the blogger Radzy (aka Em) who you may remember also reviewed ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’. You can read the whole of her new review here – and the rest of this blog post of mine may make more sense if you do that now…

As with her previous review, I find this fascinating. Radzy finds things in my writing that I didn’t know were there! It is encouraging to realise that these stories may work in a way of which I wasn’t consciously aware. I simply describe the children interacting in a way that seems natural – often hearing them whisper the dialogue into my ear in the helpful way they sometimes do – trying to amuse or otherwise entertain in the process. But if this can help readers cope with a similar situation in their own lives, then that is quite a bonus.

It makes me wonder what else may be hiding there in the book that I don’t remember putting there. Perhaps there are new kinds of monsters I don’t remember creating… I’d better go and read it again just in case.

Many thanks to Radzy for the review – and for opening my eyes to my own book!

I’m sorry there’s still no paperback edition by the way. It was supposed to be out yesterday. I’m sure they’re staying up late at Amazon HQ to try to get it fiished. I’ll let you know when I hear.

Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill

‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’, the second book in the Vale of Strange’ series is out today! You can download the Kindle version right now from Amazon. if you pre-ordered, it should have been auto-downloaded to your device. The paperback version isn’t online yet but it is due out today.  I will update this post when it arrives. Hooray!

(Brilliant cover artwork by Pete Lyon.)

This is the link for Amazon UK

This is the link for Amazon.com

Also available at the other eleven Amazon sites worldwide.

Happy reading!

Last Chance

The message today is nice and simple: today is your last chance to download a free eBook version of The Shop on Peculiar Hill, a funny, exciting, mysterious fantasy adventure that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity! Visit your local Amazon site before it’s too late….

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

And while you’re there, why not take a look at Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill, the next book in the series, which is published tomorrow (1 December) but can be pre-ordered on Kindle today! AmazonUKAmazon.com