Stranger Days – Free Sample Chapters Available Now!

As promised, here is a link to the free sample chapters of ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’, the second book in the Vale of Strange series. This is your chance to try before you buy.  If you decide you want to read more – and I really hope you do! – the Kindle version of the book can be pre-ordered now from your local Amazon store.

UK link

US link

It will then be auto-downloaded to your device or app on 1st December, the publication date. The paperback version can’t be pre-ordered but it can be purchased from 1st December.

If these two chapters aren’t enough for you and you would like a sneak preview of the whole book, then that might be possible too if you are happy to give us some feedback when you have read it. If you would like to see the whole book in advance, please get in touch with us through the Contact Grimly page.

Happy reading!

Revealed At Last!

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Well it’s been tense and time got a little bit tight for a while, but I’m pleased to announce that we now have a definite publication date for ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’, the eagerly awaited second book in the ‘Vale of Strange’ series and sequel to ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’. It’s going to be released in good time for Christmas: on 1st December. Not only that, but copies of the eBook can be ordered right now. They will then be auto-downloaded to your Kindle device or app on 1st December.

You can order here if you are in the UK and here for the US. The paperback version can’t be pre-ordered but it can be purchased at Amazon from 1st December. The book will also be available in both formats from Amazon sites worldwide.

To add to the excitement, we can now announce that the book’s splendid cover by Pete Lyon, which we enthused about in a previous post, is being revealed right now at Mani’s Book Corner. You may remember that Mani was the first blogger to review The Shop on Peculiar Hill and she has always been very enthusiastic and supportive so we decided that she was the ideal person to do the Cover Reveal, especially as her blog has a lot more regular readers than ours does! So I strongly suggest you get over there right now and take a look at the cover. Prepare to have your breath taken away by this remarkably detailed imagining of a scene from ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’.

One more thing before you go: if you don’t already follow this blog, we suggest you sign up now. You’ll then be assured of getting all the latest news on the new book and all other Vale of Strange-related matters. Just pop your email in the box you will find in the sidebar. Or if you have a WordPress account, you can sign up to follow through WP. You will also find us on Facebook and Twitter of course.

A very important reason for signing up is that you’ll be informed as soon as the free sample chapters become available online. That will be very shortly, well before publication date. So don’t miss out on your chance to take an advance peek into this latest mind-boggling adventure…

Oh yes, in all the excitement. I almost forgot to remind you of the most important thing: One! – Two! – Three! – Don’t forget your hat!

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.)

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!

Five Stars

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Hi Everyone – If you have read ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ and would like to let other people know what you think about it, you can leave a review on Amazon. Here are the Amazon listings for the book. Scroll down and you will see a button on the left inviting you to leave a review.

Amazon UK site

Amazon US site

Speaking of which, we just got our first review on the Amazon UK site and it’s a good one, giving us a maximum five stars!

This is what the customer who left the review said:

“This is a thoroughly delightful tale about Peter who goes to live with his Uncle and Aunt on the edge of the Vale of Strange – a valley where strangeness oozes through cracks in the earth, engendering all sorts of weird creatures to terrify and, on occasion, consume tourists. The writer, Grimly Darkwood, skilfully treads the fine line between laugh out loud funny and disturbingly creepy to great effect. Despite reassuringly daft names like Bogeys and Heeble-greebs, the bizarre monsters that Peter and his friend Amanda encounter while trying to rescue a missing child, are often genuinely frightening. Darkwood builds up the suspense in the first half of the book very effectively, so that when the two adventurers are finally plunged into the depths of the Vale of Strange there’s a real sense of desperate peril. The sheer scope and barminess of the author’s imagination places this story firmly at the pioneering end of children’s fantasy, and I can heartily recommend it to both younger and older readers alike.”

Pretty good, eh? The review has the title ‘utterly charming and completely bonkers in equal measure’ though we’re not sure if that refers to the book or to the author Grimly Darkwood himself. (Note to Mr Darkwood: “I was only joking. Please don’t sack me, sir!”)

We look forward to speaking with you again soon.

Grimly and the Team