The Lifkin Wall

As I promised yesterday, I’m now going to explain what’s really going on in Pete Lyon’s cover illustration for ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill‘ so you can get a taste of what’s going to happen in the new book.

What the cover shows is an enormous wall which the lifkins have built to protect the underground deposits of strangeness. These are under attack from a new character, the villainous Percival Crow, so putting at risk the very balance of the weirdosphere. The lifkins are the industrious, spindly creatures who first appeared in ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’. They make everything out of things they find lying around in the Vale of Strange and this wall is no exception. Pete has used this as the starting point for an extraordinary picture, showing all the things that make up the wall in microscopic detail: bits of cars, an aeroplane, an old fashioned camera, a postbox, an anchor with chain, everything including the kitchen sink… How many different things can you spot?

In the right hand side of the foreground, you can see a lifkin called Suds who has been using a vacuum cleaner to clear up puddles of strangeness following an attack from Percival Crow the previous day. In doing so, he has also accidentally vacuumed up the three children. He has just switched off the vacuum and is reading the instructions in concern, while the children have fallen to the floor where they look rather dazed. In a few moments time, they will need to have all their wits about them, as who should come scrambling down the wall but Thing, the lifkin who caused them so much trouble in the previous book. Thing’s mood has not improved in the meantime….

And as for that creature in the background, that isn’t a bogey, is it? It looks too big….

That’s all I can tell you for now. You’ll have to wait till the book comes out to find out more. But it won’t be long now. The eBook version can be pre-ordered right away and the paperback can be purchased on the publication date, which is 1st Dec, next Sunday! The wait is almost over….

In the meantime, if you haven’t already done so, take a look at the first two chapters of the book, available free on line right now!

Last Chance to Imagine

If you’re on Twitter and are feeling creative, you should just have time to pop over to @reading_realm and have a go at the competition to win a free signed copy of my latest Vale of Strange book, Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill. You just have to RT and follow them and then – this may be the trickier bit – come up with a short story based on this picture which fits into a tweet. Hmm. So far the only entries have come from some very clever teachers but I bet you can do it too if you give it a try. The story can be about anything you like. It doesn’t have to be about Peter and his friends. See what you can come up with. Don’t delay! The last day is tomorrow.

The picture is Pete Lyon’s Cover for ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’ of course and tomorrow I’ll explain what it’s really about, so you’ll get another taste of what to expect in the book….

The Reading Realm Cover Competition

I’m delighted to be sharing the front cover of my new book ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill‘ here on the Grimly blog today. Thanks again to Mani of Mani’s Book Corner for revealing it to the public gaze for the first time a few days ago. I’m going to be telling you a bit more about the picture (created by the brilliant Pete Lyon) and how it fits in with the new book very soon, but for today we’re asking you to let your own imagination run wild and think of your own (very) short story inspired by the picture. So this doesn’t have to be anything to do with Peter and Amanda and the Vale of Strange (unless you want it to be). It can be anything you want to write about that is inspired by the picture. You’ll have to keep it short though, because it has to fit in a tweet!

This competition is being run by The Reading Realm, some very nice people who have created an app for the iPad to encourage children to read. It has excerpts from over 200 pieces of prose and poetry including – would you believe it? – The Shop on Peculiar Hill! There are questions to answer about what you read and all sorts of other games. It’s great fun and it can be downloaded now from the Apple store. An android version is expected later this year.

Anyway, the Reading Realm (who created the app) are running this competition over on their Twitter feed, so if you are on Twitter, get over there and take a look at it now. You can find them here: @reading_realm The prize for the best (very) short story inspired by Pete’s picture and which fits in a tweet will win a valuable signed copy (by me, Grimly) of ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’. So get over there now and get your imagination racing. Good luck with it!

Oh yes, and don’t forget your hat…

(The competition is UK only (Sorry!) and closes 24 November.)

The Excitement is Building!

We still don’t have a definite publication date for ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’, Book Two of the ‘Vale of Strange’ series. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear, but in the meantime the excitement is building. Here’s a great tweet from Ian Eagleton who has developed the wonderful ‘The Reading Realm’ app to encourage children to read using extracts of text with games and quizzes. The updated app, which features an extract from ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’, has just been released today! It’s really great to have Ian’s support for the book, which he describes as ‘one of my fav books this year for children 10+. What a hidden gem!’

As you’ll see from the tweet, Ian is also looking forward to the new book and is going to run a competition to give away a signed copy. Ahead of that, Mani of ‘Mani’s Book Corner’ will be doing a Cover Reveal of Pete Lyon’s wonderful cover for ‘Stranger Days’ on her ‘Mani’s Book Corner’ blog. You may remember she featured a great review of ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ earlier this year. We’ll let you know when Mani’s Cover Reveal will be – along with the publication date – as soon as we know!

Stranger Days Are Nearly Here!

Hello – Grimly here! It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here and I’ve noticed that a few new people have been viewing this site (welcome!) so I decided I should bring my computer out of the cupboard under the stairs, eject the rats that had set up home in the backup drive, de-louse the keyboard, polish the monitor, hunt around for the password cupboard, wrestle the mouse off the mice, and write you an update on what has been going on around here.

Well, nothing much really, but it’s all going to start soon because I’ve just taken delivery of Pete Lyon’s magnificent cover for ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’, the sequel to ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ and part two of the ‘Vale of Strange’ series. Pete’s illustration really is wonderful. If you liked the cover of the first book, you’re going to really love this one! It’s a good thing that the ‘Vale of Strange’ paperbacks are larger format than the tiny books which seem to pass for normal these days because that will give you a chance to study the fine detail of the drawing. Even so, you might want to think about buying the Kindle version as well (so you can take advantage of the magnification capability) and to make sure you really appreciate the fine details I suggest adding an electron microscope to your Christmas list.

You think I’m joking? The illustration would really look at its best on the wall of some great public building. You’ll see what I mean when you see it. Maybe the House of Commons would like to feature ‘Stranger Days’? Some might think it appropriate.

I would have shown you the cover here but we’re going to look into the possibility of organising a ‘Cover Reveal’ event in advance of publication. If we manage to set that up, we will let you know here of course.

At the moment, we’re hoping for a mid November publication date, but once again we will publish the details here. If you’re not already following the blog, you can sign up for email alerts in the right hand sidebar. That way, you’re sure to be fully informed of all developments. You can sign up for our Facebook group there too.

That’s it for now then – but don’t forget your hat! It’s autumn now, so this message is endorsed by not only Aunt Maggie but also Uncle Bob. It’s October – almost Halloween – and the bogeys are flying!

(Photo shows Pete Lyon and Grimly Darkwood, on the lookout for bogeys.)

Cover Wars – 6

It look like we’re winning in Cover Wars but please keep voting for Pete Lyon’s brilliant cover just in case… Thank you so much for your votes so far! Voting ends at 8am EST on Sunday, which I think is 1pm Sunday UK time. We should be able to squeeze in two more votes before then. Your endurance is much appreciated! Thank you…

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Cover Wars 5 – New Lower Price for ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’

Three things to say today:

1) Please remember to vote for Pete Lyon’s magnificent cover for ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ in the Author Shout ‘Cover Wars’ competition. http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/

Many thanks to all who have voted so far. You can vote every 24 hours so don’t stop now! It’s really close: just a few days to go and every vote counts…

2) Also: If you haven’t yet got round to buying a copy of the critically acclaimed ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’, this is a very good time to get one because we’ve just dropped the paperback price! The UK price is now £6-99 (reduced from £10-78 previously) and the US price is $9-99 (down from $13-99). These new prices are a real bargain and we’re not going to be able to hold them at this level for very long, so please don’t miss out! Visit Amazon UK or Amazon.com today…

“I cannot recommend this book enough for yourself, for the wee ones in your world, or just anyone you know who will enjoy a quirky, meaningful novel.” – Radzy Writes and Reviews

You can find out more about what people have been saying about ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ here

3) And what was the third thing I wanted to say? Oh yes, please remember to vote for Pete Lyon’s magnificent cover for ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ in the Author Shout ‘Cover Wars’ competition! http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/

Or did I already say that?