You May Not Have Seen This Interview

If you are one of the many who have only just discovered the Vale of Strange books, you may not have read this interview with their author Grimly Darkwood. Grimly was in conversation with Ian Eagleton who is the developer of the excellent app for iPad ‘The Reading Realm’. This app encourages children to read with games and quizzes. An extract from the first Vale of Strange book, ’The Shop on Peculiar Hill’, is one of the texts which Ian has used in his app.

The conversation took place a few months ago and the interview appeared on The Reading Realm site in November, shortly before the publication of the second Vale of Strange book, ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’. It’s really worth a read if you haven’t seen it. Here’s a brief extract in which Grimly describes what he hoped to achieve when he started out writing the books:

“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.”

You can read the whole of the interview here.

If you read one of the Vale of Strange books over the Christmas holiday, don’t forget to write and tell us what you think of it or send us your impressions of the Vale, either in print or in pictures. You are also welcome to send in any questions you have about the books. We always love to get feedback from you.

And finally, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Grimly HQ!

Oh yes, and don’t forget that hat….

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…

Grimly at The Reading Realm

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Here’s a really great interview with Grimly by Ian Eagleton, designer of the briliant app The Reading Realm, which can be downloaded now for iPad and has all sorts of quizzes and games to encourage children to read. Ian asks some very interesting questions about the influences on Grimly and how it felt to create the Vale of Strange. Enjoy…

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!

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.

A Welcome, an Update on Grimly, and a Great New App called The Reading Realm

Welcome to those of you who have only recently liked our Facebook page. Some of you may have liked us as part of the LoveReading4Kids competition to win a signed copy of ‘The Shop On Peculiar Hill’. Others may have liked us because you actually really like us. But whatever it is that brings you here, I hope you will stay and join in the fun.
The winners of that competition are due to be notified by July 12. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything! In the meantime, you may like to pump up the excitement by reading two free sample chapters of the book – which you can find on Grimly’s website here.
Speaking of Grimly, you may be wondering why there’s not been much sign of him recently here on the blog. That’s because he’s still revising the second book in the Vale of Strange series, which is going to be called ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’. We estimate he is now on draft number 238 and we’ve just had to open our 35th pack of jumbo waste paper baskets to accommodate all the pages he’s thrown away. But he says this latest version is finally totally perfect and… oh no, he’s just scrunched it up and thrown it away and is banging his head against the wall. We’ll be on Version number 239 then next, as soon as the steam has stopped coming out of his ears, and this version is going to be totally, totally perfect and it’ll be out on 1st November. Unless it isn’t of course.
Meanwhile, I wonder if you have heard the exciting news that an excerpt from The Shop on Peculiar Hill is going to be in a brilliant new app called The Reading Realm which incorporates all sorts of games to help children develop their reading. It’s going to be loads of fun and it’s already made the top ten downloads for education apps. We’re going to be in the new version of the app which is out in September.
Mr Ian Eagleton, who developed the app, described ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ as “thrilling, dark, utterly barmy, funny and surprisingly moving”. He said “I love finding gems like this to share on The Reading Realm”. Obviously he is a man of taste as well as talent. (We call him “Mr” because he used to be a teacher.)
Right – that’s it then for now then. Good luck to those of you who entered the competition! We hope you hear soon… And please remember: even in July, it really is best to wear your hat! (Whatever Uncle Bob may tell you.)