“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.
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…
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!
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!
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.)
Welcome to our first blog post here at grimlydarkwood.com This is where you will find all the latest news about Grimly’s ‘Vale of Strange’ series. We can start by announcing that the first book in the series, ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’, will be officially released tomorrow, 1st December, though we know that some of you received your print version copies today!
If you haven’t yet ordered a copy, here are the links to the relevant Amazon pages:
UK Link (Kindle and paperback versions)
US Link (Kindle and paper versions)
In case you hadn’t heard, ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’ tells the story of how Peter comes to live with his uncle and aunt at the shop on Peculiar Hill and finds himself in a weird place, whose inhabitants go in fear of attack from the fierce creatures which live in the nearby Vale of Strange. He meets a girl who lives on the hill called Amanda and they go on to have an exciting and extraordinary adventure amongst the bogeys; heeble-greebs; and talkative, amusing but ultimately rather annoying lifkins who dwell in the Vale.
If you would like to ‘try before you buy’, there are two sample chapters from the book right here on this website. You can find them here.
You can also find out a bit about the author, Grimly Darkwood, here. This is the brief biography of Grimly which also appears at the end of ‘The Shop on Peculiar Hill’.
The next instalment of the Vale of Strange will be entitled ‘Stranger Days on Peculiar Hill’ and is currently scheduled to appear early in 2019. To keep up with this and all other Vale of Strange developments, please sign up to be notified by email when a new blog post appears here. You will find the small form on the right hand side of the page. We do not share email addresses with anyone else. If you are on Facebook, the Vale of Strange Facebook page is due to appear very soon. Keep a look out!
We look forward to speaking to you again soon.
Grimly and the Team