Here's a video of the cover being designed by the great Leo de Wijs. Incredible amount of work and he came up with something special. Thanks Leo!
Here's an interview with me on a blog talking about writing Daisy Cooper.
CLICK HERE TO READ
So, a VERY SUCCESSFUL weekend. Over five and a half thousand downloads of Sisters of the Black Night. I couldn't be happier. Hopefully it will generate more sales and I will continue to grow the number of Cooperites ;-)
To give a little back, I thought I'd post a short section that didn't make it into the final book. It should be self explanatory for those who've read the book but for those less familiar it's Daisy and her dormmates (the 88ers) first chemistry lesson. Or is it?...
On the morning of their first chemistry lesson the 88ers received a note under their dorm door telling them that chemistry had been cancelled and all the girls had to meet in the games room for alternative study.
“Cool. We get to play pool,” said Brodie.
“I doubt it,” said Layla, “It says ‘alternative study’ which means we’ll probably be CLEANING the games room.”
When they got to the games room they immediately sensed that something wasn’t right. The lock on the door had been broken and the doorframe was split with large splinters hanging off. Daisy gave the door a cautious push. Inside, the few striplights in the ceiling that were working flickered and buzzed like trapped flies. One of them had been shattered and bits of glass littered the floor.
“Hello?” Daisy called into the room.
There was no answer. She took a few steps inside, glass crackling beneath her feet and stopped suddenly. On the other side of the pool table lying face down in the middle of the floor was the body of a girl. Next to the body was a bloody hammer. Millie took her first aid kit out of her satchel and went to walk over when Marsha stopped her.
“Don’t touch a thing,” whispered Marsha.
“She might be hurt,” said Millie.
“She might be, but this happened quite a while ago. A couple of plasters aren’t going to help.”
“You don’t know how long ago it was!” said Millie.
“Yes I do,” said Marsha, “Look at the hammer. The blood is dry. Not only that but the lights are on and the curtains are still drawn which means this must have happened last night. Nobody touch a thing. You’ll get fingerprints on everything and mess it up for…”
“…Any professional crime investigators who might need to see what has happened. Congratulations!” said a croaky voice.
The girls turned to see a pale, red spiky haired lady with chiselled cheek bones and bright red lipstick stepping out of the shadows. The girls huddled together and stepped back towards the door. The stranger laughed.
“ I’m Miss Cobalt, your chemistry teacher. Don’t worry, the girl is fine, aren’t you, Vicky?”
“Yes miss,” the body on the floor mumbled.
“Of course, she’s still in trouble for not finishing her homework on time which is why she’s helping us out today in her not so glamorous role as Victim Number One,” said Miss Cobalt.
“Can I get up now miss? This fake blood is all sticky.”
“I don’t think so, Vicky,” said Miss Cobalt.
She turned to Marsha.
“What’s your name, girl?”
“And how do you know so much about crime scenes, Marsha?”
“My aunt is a police detective,” Said Marsha.
“Do you want to be a police detective?” asked Miss Cobalt.
Marsha shook her head.
“I want to be a forensics scientist. I want to be the one who investigates the crime scene and works out what happened,” she said.
“If you don’t mind me asking,” said Daisy, “This is a bit weird for a chemistry class, isn’t it? I mean, even for Darlington?”
“Daisy, isn’t it?” said Miss Cobalt.
Daisy nodded, wondering why how Miss Cobalt knew her name already.
“Well, Daisy. Modern forensic science is chemistry. With a little biology thrown in. We use chemistry to detect traces of DNA which are like little fingerprints - flakes of skin, hair samples and other things - or powder from weapons being fired. We even break down the blood of victims to work out stress levels and their time of death.”
Miss Cobalt smiled at them. Daisy decided that Miss Cobalt was a bit creepy to say the least. Marsha seemed to be loving it, however.
“Now, girls, if you’ll put on the paper suit's and masks that are in the corner, we’ll scour the room for EVIDENCE.”
The paper suit's were like giant itchy babygrows. They also had to wear paper shoes, mittens and caps. Daisy and Brodie dusted all the object in the room looking for fingerprints while Tina and Tracy took photographs of the crime scene. Layla and Penny took notes and Marsha and Millie took samples from the now very bored body on the floor.
“Ow!” said Vicky as Marsha plucked a hair from her head.
“Dead bodies don’t talk!” said Miss Cobalt, “Not unless they want another detention.”
“Sorry!” whispered Marsha in Vicky’s ear.
She placed the hair in one of the small plastic pots they had been given. Then she took samples from Margaret’s skin by wiping small cloth balls on her wrists and face and under her fingernails (which were a little dirty). Finally they took some of the fake blood (which Miss Cobalt told them was actually raspberry syrup) and placed it all in pots.
When they had finished their examination Miss Cobalt took the girls to the chemistry lab which was a bright room filled with shiny, expensive looking equipment a couple of corridors down. In the lab they studied the samples under microscopes and used chemicals in small dishes to break down the evidence for clues. It was all quite fascinating but pretty gruesome.
Daisy Cooper and the Sisters of the Black Night NUMBER ONE in the Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon.com's Children's Adventure books in it's freebie weekend. Very pleased.
It's still FREE for TODAY ONLY HERE
So, I'm writing Book 2 at the moment and I'm reaching the end of Act One or the first third of the story. As mentioned at the end of book one (SPOILER!) Daisy's first assignment is to cover the opening of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. By happy coincidence or synchronicity the Rijksmuseum IS ACTUALLY REOPENING this year after ten years of refurbishments. I lived in Amsterdam for two years so I'm pretty familiar with the building but it was always mostly closed off. This makes it a little tricky to write but I'm planning on writing the first draft and then visiting the museum again to sure it's accurate. I'm also hoping for a few "ah-ha!" moments that will help the story. The video above is for the grand re-opening but if you adjust your mind ever so slightly you can also see it as a trailer for Daisy Cooper and the Devil's Masquerade ;-)
Without giving the game away, Amsterdam is just the start of Daisy Cooper's next story. It's when she meets up with an old friend that her adventure really begins.
In other DC news, I've created a reviews page where I'm posting reviews. It's lovely to have written reviews by young readers such as Abi who's father sent me the scan of her note. It makes everything worth while. If you want to post a review, I'd love one on amazon but you can also contact me on the contacts page as well.
New year, new book...
So, this is my first blog entry. Hopefully there will be more. I thought I'd start by talking about where I'm at right now with writing. I am somewhat reluctant to do this as it feels narcissistic and I spent too many years talking to people ABOUT writing and stories without actually putting pen to paper. It is, however, recommended to keep a blog as it keeps your site fresh and encourages people to read the book (which is what it's all about). I've just finished an interview for a YA blog which will hopefully go live soon so I'm kind of talked out at the moment. Will post a link when it's up.