The Vale of Strange – Free Access for Five Days only!

If you haven’t yet read The Shop on Peculiar Hill, the first book in the Vale of Strange series, this is the ideal time to give it a try. The eBook version is available FREE for five days only, starting today! The final day of this special offer will be Saturday 30 November. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Please pass this news on to any friends, relatives etc. who you think might enjoy the book. It is aimed at middle grade children (aged 8 to 12 or thereabouts) but feedback suggests that it can be enjoyed by people of just about any age from 7 upwards, adults included. As Grimly said in his recent interview with Ian Eagleton, designer of the Reading Realm app, ‘In writing The Shop on Peculiar Hill, I wanted to produce a book that was funny as well as scary, mysterious as well as exciting, and fun for adults to read as well as for children. I hope readers will think I’ve succeeded.’

This is your ideal chance to see if you think he’s right – and without paying a penny! Download your free E-book now at Amazon UK, Amazon.com, and – as far as I know – other Amazon sites worldwide! And if you enjoy it, don’t forget that the sequel, ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’ can be pre-ordered in E-book format now and purchased as a paperback on Amazon from Sunday 1st December (i.e. this coming Sunday).

Happy reading! – and please let us know what you think…

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.)

The Reading Realm – New Version this Month

It’s great to see The Shop on Peculiar Hill listed among some of this year’s favourite books of Ian Eagleton, whose educational app The Reading Realm is to be substantially upgraded this month. The Reading Realm presents children with a wide range of extracts from prose and poetry, both classic and contemporary, with lots of games to entice them into reading. The new version also includes creative writing from children themselves. In addition, I’m proud to report, it will include an extract from The Shop on Peculiar Hill! Needless to say, I’m delighted to be involved with this wonderful project. The updated app is scheduled to be released sometime this month. I’ll let you know here when it becomes available.

Cover Wars – 2

OK, forget falling asleep! With 50 votes in on the first day, The Shop on Peculiar Hill was joint overnight leader in this week’s Author Shout ‘Cover Wars’ contest, so there’s everything to play for and it’s getting really exciting! So do get along there and vote before you forget, and then do the same thing the next day, and the same the day after that, etc. It’ll be just like cleaning your teeth but much more interesting – and without leaving strange blue stains all over the towel.

Here’s the website for voting! Remember to leave at least 24 hours since the last time you voted. See you there… http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/

Cover Wars

Hello – It’s Grimly here again, just to let you know that Pete Lyon’s splendid cover for ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ is entered in this week’s ‘Author Shout’ Cover Wars competition. All you have to do is go along and vote for it and you might help us on the way to becoming incredibly famous. This is the website where you go: http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/

That really is all you have to do. You don’t have to sing a song or bake a cake or think of a country beginning with ‘A’ or anything like that. You don’t even have to send in a photograph of your cat engaged in amusing antics. All you need to do is go to the website and vote for The Shop on Peculiar Hill. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

And what’s even better, as long as you leave at least 24 hours in between, you can vote all over again tomorrow. And all over again every day for a week…

Oh dear. That was going really well for a while but now you’ve fallen asleep.

Look, it’s a really good illustration. Try to forget about voting every day for a week. Just vote once for now. We’ll take it a day at a time…..

http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/

The Shop on Peculiar Hill – three free copies to be won!

Well, with the extra publicity we’ve been getting through lovereading4 kids (as we mentioned last time) we’re getting more people reading The Shop on Peculiar Hill and so, we hope, more people are finding this website for the first time. If one of them is you, then welcome to Planet Grimly, your one stop shop for all things Vale of Strange (though we’re a bit short of unge and glop, to be honest – we suggest you try eBay for them). You are very welcome to ask any questions you may have about The Vale of Strange (just occasionally we may even know the answers) or send us a review of the book or some artwork it has inspired you to create. You will see some of the remarkable artwork and responses we’ve already received if you take a look back through the previous posts. Our contact address is grimlydarkwood03 (at) gmail (dot) com

We’re also delighted to announce that those nice people at lovereading4kids have three signed copies of The Shop on Peculiar Hill to give away free! That’s signed by Grimly himself, I hasten to add. It was quite an effort and he had to lie down afterwards. If he ever becomes a truly best selling author (and he’s not quite there yet) he’s going to have to go on one of those army fitness programmes to tone up his hand muscles first. Otherwise he will never cope with the signing sessions. Anyway, just for now his work is done and he’s getting back his strength by munching on a chocolate biscuit and a stick of celery, so the chances are he’ll pull through this time. If you would like a chance to partake of the fruits of his labour then full details of how you can win one of the valuable signed copies he has produced can be found on the lovereading4kids site here.  The competition closes on 30th June, so don’t delay – get entering right away!

It occurs to me, though, that most of you reading this will probably already have read The Shop on Peculiar Hill so you may not be mega excited by the competition. Bear in mind, however, that these are potentially valuable signed copies, so they could be worth a fortune one day – or at least the price of a packet of chocolate biscuits and a stick of celery, in case you too need to recover from an arduous workout. And it also seems likely that you may know some of those unfortunate people who haven’t yet read the book. So here is your chance to bring a little sunshine into their lives by sending them a link to the competition and strongly suggesting they enter. After all, someone – or, more accurately – three people – have to get lucky and one of them could be them!

All right, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading this (assuming you did, and haven’t just cheated by skipping to the end). Don’t forget to spread the news about the competition – and, most importantly – as always! – don’t forget your hat!