Best Blogger Tips 2013 | Katie Dale

Monday, 25 November 2013

EXCITING NEWS!! Fairy Tale Twists - The BALLET!

THE THREE MAGIC MICE from my Fairy Tale Twists series (published by Orchard Books) is being transformed into a ballet! 
The fabulous Balletomane, a self-funded company of volunteer dancers (many of whom have non-dance related careers, from architects to social workers!) are dedicated to bringing ballet to those with limited access to the theatre, and will perform their new ballet in public libraries free of charge to children aged 5-7 in the new year, even offering post performance workshops during which children will explore story-telling and literacy themes through movement and dance.
I was lucky enough to be invited along to a rehearsal and have to say I was completely blown away! They are just fantastic, I was so impressed by their talent and professionalism, and I am so honoured that they've chosen one of my books. It really was just magical watching the characters come to life in the sneaky peek I saw, and I cannot wait to see the whole performance - do let me know if you'd like them to perform at a library near you!! The ballet is already fully choreographed, however they are in desperate need of funds for costume, sets, props and transport, and this is how you can help! Click here for more details

What They Need & What You Get

They are aiming to raise £2000 through this indiegogo campaign:

28 sets of costumes

Back cloths and sets
Transport -- for the sets and costumes 
to and from performances
They appreciate any help they can get, and as a token of thanks, have some fantastic perks lined up, including signed pointe shoes from company members, and a chance to watch their dress rehearsal and meet and greet dancers.  

About Balletomane
Balletomane was established in 2005, dedicated to bringing free, in-house classical ballet performances to those who are elderly, disabled, with limited access to the theatre, or suffering from illness or financial hardship. We bring performances to many places in Greater London, such as elderly care homes, disabled groups, specialist schools and public libraries.

Since the founding of the company, we have performed The Nutcracker (2006 - 2008) and The Sleeping Beauty (2009 - 2012), to various libraries and schools in the Greater London area. The performances and workshops have always been free for the audience as our aim is to bring ballet to those who would not be able to access it otherwise.

The company is currently self-funded. Our members are volunteers and many have non-dance related careers. We meet every weekend to rehearse, and the company members all contribute to the hiring of weekly rehearsal space. Any surplus goes towards other costs such as costumes and props. Therefore any donations are very gratefully received.

For The Three Magic Mice, we would like to bring the highest level of performance to our audience. We are therefore setting up this campaign to raise funds so we can put on our most spectacular show ever.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Stockport's Mad About Books!

I am incredibly thrilled and honoured to announce that my novel Someone Else's Life was awarded the Stockport Mad About Books Award for Key Stage 4. It's my first award, and my first novel, and the result was strictly embargoed until the night - then announced at the most glitzy Oscar-like ceremony I've ever seen. It was truly incredible, with prizes awarded to pupils whose reading had improved the most, as well as authors and illustrators.
A red carpet led up to the entrance of the gorgeous Plaza Theatre in Stockport, which was soon filled with hundreds of pupils from surrounding schools, their teachers and librarians, members of the council, and even the mayor, all dressed to the nines, so of COURSE I had to buy a new dress too (When else am I going to get to wear a dress like that?), coming together to celebrate the joy of reading.
It was breath-taking, and made all the more special by the fact that the winning books were voted for by the pupils themselves - and the prizes were a works of art created by the pupils, inspired by the winning books.
With Rit McErlean, who announced the award, and Natasha Brierley,
 the artist who created the prize artwork for Someone Else's Life.
It was clear that the real champions of the evening were books and reading - and what a thrill that was, in contrast to the library closures happening in so many towns around the country. I am in awe of Stockport council, schools and librarians, for valuing books so highly, for engaging pupils with them so creatively, and for orchestrating a truly special evening - one I'll remember for the rest of my life.
With other Winners: Thomas Taylor (The Pets You Get), 
Christopher Edge (Twelve Minutes to Midnight), 
the ever-glamorous legend, Jeanne Willis (Hippospotamus,
 with Tony Ross not pictured) & Matt Dickinson (Mortal Chaos)

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Hair Loss, Spinal Taps and Oscars!

Two years ago, when I was researching my first book, Someone Else's Life, which centres on a teenager whose mother dies of Huntington's disease, I was invited to attend the Huntington's Disease Association's Annual General Meeting, where I was overwhelmed by the courage, hope and kindness of everyone I met. I'd been anxious that they'd see me as some kind of imposter - no one in my family has Huntington's - but instead they were incredibly grateful that I was writing about Huntington's, hopeful that my book would help raise awareness of this little-known illness, and generously told me their stories and gave me advice and support. 
So this year I was thrilled to be able to give something back. Someone Else's Life is dedicated to people affected by Huntington's disease and their families, and I felt it only fitting that part of my advance for the novel should go to help those people - in particular the HDA - in gratitude for the help they gave me when I was researching my book, and in recognition of the amazing work they do for families with Huntington's disease. 
One of the questions I most often get asked is why I decided to write about Huntington's disease in the first place, and the truth is it was almost by accident. For the purposes of my plot I began researching various genetic illnesses, and and stumbled upon Huntington’s disease, a hereditary condition with symptoms similar to the physical effects of Parkinson’s plus the mental decline of Alzheimer’s. 
Having never heard of Huntington's before, I was especially surprised to discover that while there are around 6,000 reported cases in the UK there may actually be up to twice as many cases, because people often hide their condition, are mis-diagnosed, or even decide not to be tested.
Why? Because there is no cure.
This got me thinking. What would Rosie do? 
What would I do, if I were at risk?
What would you do? 
Suddenly, Huntington’s disease became the beating heart at the centre of my story, which consequently evolved into a  much deeper, more emotional tale about secrets and lies, devastating ethical decisions, the complexities of family, and the enduring strength of love through any adversity.
Talking to and meeting with people affected by HD really made me realise that while the disease itself is devastating, it doesn’t define you. It’s how you choose to deal with it that counts – they’re some of the most inspiring and courageous people I’ve ever met. And last Saturday was no exception. The mood was overwhelmingly upbeat, there was much excitement and nervousness when one brave lady had all her lovely locks shaved off to raise money, and at the end of the day everyone got together and dressed up for an Oscars-themed dinner party - complete with a mini awards ceremony! The phenomenal Matt Ellison, who himself has Huntington's disease, won an award in recognition for his hard work in setting up the Huntington's Disease Youth Organisation - in between all his many marathons. Matt tirelessly campaigns for awareness and fundraises for the HDA and is a true inspiration.
Another "Oscar"winner was the engaging and charismatic Dr Ed Wild, who's tirelessly searching for a cure for Huntington's disease, whilst taking the time to run the HD Buzz website to explain all the medical-speak in plain language. He even posted live tweets during a lumbar puncture/spinal tap to reassure and encourage others to do the same (spinal fluid is extremely useful for HD research). There have been some extremely exciting developments recently, and hopes are high for a cure within the next few years.
And the HDA even kindly gave me an "Oscar" for writing the best book about HD - beating Ian McEwan's Saturday, which features a villain who has Huntington's disease.
The "Oscar" now sits in pride of place in my living room.  
The HDA do an incredible job supporting families affected by HD - and to those families they're a godsend. Because the disease is thought to be so rare, and little heard of, there is very little government support, and even GPs don't always spot the symptoms or know how to deal with people affected. If understanding and awareness of HD grows, hopefully so too will support and funding for sufferers, their families, and the search for a cure.
I hope to help raise awareness and funds with Someone Else's Life, and in addition to the cheque, I will be donating £1 for every copy of Someone Else's Life sold at my launch events for my new book, Little White Lies, this week:
Thursday 17th October Waterstones Islington 6pm 
Saturday 19th October Heffers, Cambridge 4pm
Do pop by if you're free, it'd be lovely to see you x

About the Huntington’s Disease Association 
The Huntington’s Disease Association is a UK registered charity which exists to support people affected by the disease and to provide information and advice to professionals who support Huntington’s disease families. The HDA is financed through the generosity of trusts, foundations, the statutory and corporate sectors, branches of the HDA, members and friends. Find out more at

Monday, 16 September 2013

BLOGTOUR - Out of Office!

Hello lovelies!

Until October I am away on tour!
(Blogtour, that is!)
Here is a guide to the lovely bloggers who have invited me over for a cuppa and a chat, and it'd be lovely if you'd join us.
Otherwise, feel free to have a nosy around my Children's Books, YA Books, Reviews or Story So Far - or if you'd like to Get In Touch, I'd love to hear from you.
Oh, and if you could feed my blogfish (below, left) before you go, that'd be lovely.

See you soon!

Katie x

Monday, 9 September 2013

BLOGTOUR Stop 2 - Interview with Dark Franny...

Do join me on Stop 2 on the LITTLE WHITE LIES BLOGTOUR over at                       Mind Reader blog, where I'm interviewed by the fabulous Dark Franny...

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Little White Lies BLOGTOUR!

I'm thrilled to announce the LITTLE WHITE LIES Blogtour! Many lovely bloggers have agreed that I can drop in on their fab blogs this month for a cuppa and a chat - and it'd be great if you could join us!
Kicking off the action is Jodie at Books For Company with a first-look sneak peek!

Monday, 2 September 2013

TONIGHT! Someone Else's Life at the Brixton Book Jam!

I'm very excited to have been invited to read an extract from Someone Else's Life, at the Brixton Book Jam at the Hootananny in Brixton at 7.30pm TONIGHT! 
It’s free, and there's a fantastic line-up of authors, so there’s no excuse not to come along!
Each reading is about five minutes long, and I’m going to be on in the first group of readers (so that I’ve time to make the trek back to West Sussex afterwards!). If you do come, please do feel free to say hi!
Other fabulous readers include:
Mary Hamer - Kipling and Trix
Andy Robb -- Geekhood: Mission Improbable, Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind
Sean Cummings - Student Bodies
Amanda Jennings - Sworn Secret
James Scudamore - Wreaking
Laetitia Rutherford - Our hearts hang from the lemon trees
Jennie Rooney - Inside the Whale
Leonore Schick
Lloyd Bradley 
Chris Salewicz
Marco Mancassola
Hope to see you there!
K x

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


It's Official!!

LITTLE WHITE LIES is out there in the world - I've SEEN it (and even held a copy in my own two hands, as you can see!)

And to celebrate, I’m offering FOUR new ways to win a signed first edition...

1)  Follow me on Twitter @katiedaleuk
2) Share the Facebook status
3) Like the LITTLE WHITE LIES Facebook page
4) Tweet/Retweet/Post a photo of LITTLE WHITE LIES with @katiedaleuk

There’s no limit on entries so why not try all 4?!

Good luck!

*Off to eat celebratory choccies!!*

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Competition time!!

Doesn't time fly?

My new YA thriller LITTLE WHITE LIES is due to be published a week tomorrow! 

Now, while I haven't even seen the finished book in the flesh yet, I know some bookshops get it in early, so here's a contest - if you spot it, just take a photo of it on the shop bookshelf and post it on my Facebook page:
or Tweet it to me @katiedaleuk 

PRIZE! Signed first edition copies of both LITTLE WHITE LIES and SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE as well as  a bunch of other goodies :)

HOW TO WIN! There are 2 ways to win:

Method#1 If you're first to post your photo, you'll win, simple as that!

Method #2 If someone's beaten you to #1, don't worry! Still post your pic, as at the end of September I'll put all other names in a hat and give out the same prize again!

Good luck!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Undiscovered Voices 2014 is Open for Submissions!

The wait is over! It’s here! It’s time! Any aspiring children’s authors, grab your feather duster and manuscripts and get polishing because Undiscovered Voices 2014 is open for submissions until August 15th!

A panel of industry experts will choose 12 winning novel extracts (from age 5+ to Young Adult) which will be put into an anthology and sent out to editors and agents across the UK. All the submission guidelines can be found here, and you can even download a free copy of the 2012 anthology here. This is too good an opportunity to miss!
It is no exaggeration to say that Undiscovered Voices launched my writing career, and it has brought success and recognition to many other talented writers. In fact, from the first three anthologies, a mind-blowing
22 of the 36 winners 
now have publishing contracts 
for over 70 books! 
and have won or been nominated for a galaxy of awards, from the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize to the Blue Peter Awards! Read more here.

In fact 5 out of the 8 EDGE members are Undiscovered Voices winners, including

Sara Grant (DARK PARTIES, HALF LIVES, and the MAGIC TRIX series)

So, are you ready? Are you? Before you press “send”, here are my Top 10 Tips, I learned from my own UV journey…

#1 DO ENTER UV – OR ANY WRITING COMPETITIONS. They offer incredible opportunities, force you to work to a deadline, and give you invaluable feedback from publishing experts.

#2 DO GO TRAVELLING – anything which broadens your experience enriches your writing.

I’ve always loved creating characters, whether through writing or acting, so imagine my euphoria when I received an email telling me that I had been chosen as a winner of the SCBWI 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition! How utterly amazing! The only problem? I was in Vietnam, having just started on a belated GAP Year trip. Oh, and I hadn’t finished the book…

There followed a flurry of interest in my book (then entitled Someone Else’s Footprints) – but I’d only written about four chapters of it, as it had been a homework assignment whilst I was at university! Flummoxed, I tried valiantly to complete it whilst on various beaches/boats/elephants but ultimately decided it was best to wait until I got home.

When I finally got home, I got busy writing and eventually finished Someone Else’s Footprints...but no-one wanted it. Even the agents and editors who had contacted me after UV didn't now feel it was quite what they were looking for. It seemed I had missed the boat (figuratively and literally!).

It's funny how life works, isn't it? Never in a straight line! Having finally finished writing my book, I contacted all the judges of UV, hoping they still remembered me, and the lovely Catherine Coe at Orchard Books replied to say how much she enjoyed my entry, but that her imprint didn't really deal with YAge – Drat.
But would I like to come in and meet the Orchard team and discuss other ideas? Would I?! I jumped at the chance, and immediately brainstormed a bunch of new ideas for younger readers…

I felt very nervous and excited arriving at the impressive Hachette headquarters, with all their famous books and authors on display, but Catherine was completely lovely and put me at ease. We discussed ideas for younger teen readers - but it was an idea for a rhyming fairytale series for their Crunchies imprint which really caught her interest (a story idea about Prince Charming that had actually been my homework in Year 6!) and she made me an offer for an eight book series! Hurray! My mum was thrilled and my Dad practically fainted (and finally put away the Tesco job application forms!)

At moreorless the same time, having got my name from Working Partners, the amazing Tony Bradman (wow!) contacted me about an anthology Walker were putting together entitled 'How To Be A Boy'. My initial reaction was "Help! How do I write boy fiction?!" I've always written girl narrators, and was extremely nervous and apprehensive, but it was just too good an opportunity to pass up, so I gave it a go - and it was great fun! I discovered a writing style I'd never attempted before and really enjoyed it and - even better - Walker chose my story DEAR TADPOLE for inclusion in their anthology! - my first professional publication! Writing as a fifteen-year-old boy! Wonders never cease.

On the back of these successes, I decided now was the time to approach agents again. It certainly was! After previously being unable to attract/beg/bribe a single offer of representation, I ended up in the incredible position of being able to CHOOSE from FOUR wonderful agents! I was totally overwhelmed - it was a position I had never imagined in my wildest dreams! After meeting with them all, and after many hours of deliberation, I ultimately decided to go with the very lovely Jenny Savill, who came with rave references from Sara Grant, who had just sold her wonderful novel Dark Parties.

There followed a blur of editing and cutting as Jenny tirelessly helped me edit, improve, and CUT (40,000 words!) the manuscript, until finally it was down to 100,000 words! Then we held our breaths as it went out to publishers...another rollercoaster-ride...!! After a lot of hard work, wishing, hoping, deformed fingers from keeping them crossed, and a slow succession of 'lovely' rejections (as lovely as rejections can be!) and near-misses, we ended up with THREE UK offers for Someone Else's Life - and a two-book deal! Hurray! I cannot describe the feeling - after standing on a knife-edge between success and failure - between wannabe and author - the sense of fulfilment and relief is the most amazing feeling in the world.

So, what are you waiting for?


Monday, 8 July 2013

What a Weekend!

Well, there have been lots of reasons to celebrate this weekend!
a) ANDY MURRAY WON WIMBLEDON! The first British male in 77 years! Woo-hoo! Having watched him struggle and moan and vastly improve over last 9 years or so, it's so wonderful to see him finally win - and in straight sets too - Go Andy!
b) The incredibly GORGEOUS weather! It actually finally feels like summer! And despite growing up by the sea near Worthing, this weekend was the first time EVER my sisters and I actually ventured into the waves for a paddle - and we weren't the only ones! The beach - usually a deserted stretch of pebbles and smelly seaweed - was rammed with people sunbathing, paddling, and even SWIMMING. It was like we'd entered a parallel universe. 
Ah, the power of the sunshine...
c) PUBLICATION DAY for AND THEN HE KISSED ME! As if it brought the wonderful weather with it, look what dropped through my letterbox this weekend! Perfect sunbathing reading, this is a chocolate box created by a host of wonderful authors, who each give their take on first love, heartbreak, and that all-important first kiss. Life is like a box of chocolates, right? Many thanks to Annalie and all the team at Walker Books for all their hard work, a GORGEOUS cover, and a very special card :)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Someone Else's Life Shortlisted for Stockport Schools Book Award!

I am so incredibly thrilled to hear that my debut YA novel Someone Else's Life
has been shortlisted for the Stockport Schools Book Award!

Forget BGT, forget The Voice, for me as an author this is where it's at. There are lots of highly prestigious book awards, judged by literary "experts" - famous authors, librarians, booksellers and publishers - but for me, being judged by teen readers is especially important. The books were, after all, written for teens, and consequently, to me at least, your opinion is the most valuable.

I am therefore especially honoured to be chosen as one of the three finalists for Key Stage 4 - though of course it's very little about me, and all to do with the book itself as, much like "The Voice" this is, in a sense, a "blind" competition. Author school visits are discouraged so that the books are judged on their own merits - the plot, the characters, and indeed the "voice" - by the teens they were written for. (And yes, I am imagining you all sitting in big red chairs, with my fingers crossed that you spin round!)

But what's especially special about this book award is that it's not just about reading the books and casting your vote - there's a whole array of exciting, innovative, and interesting activities that readers get involved in before making their decision.

Activity days bring students from different schools to meet, discuss and debate the shortlisted titles, then the favourite activity of the day is when they split into groups to create a group drama about one of the titles. This can be a film trailer, a play, a news report, or even a performance poem or a rap! How I wish I could be a fly on the wall that day! I'd love to see what they come up with!

There is also an art competition for pupils to create an original piece of artwork inspired by one of the short-listed books!

Additionally, each year five schools are invited to a professional recording studio! There they read extracts from the shortlisted titles to give the listener a flavour of all the books in each category, then explain why they personally loved the books and why we should read them.

The final recording and winning artwork are then presented at...

Previous winners - with the Mayor!
The Oscars-style award ceremony! This glitzy evening at the Plaza Theatre is attended by pupils, teachers, parents, publishers, authors and illustrators - and even the Mayor of Stockport!

It's a wonderful, innovative and and exciting competition, and I feel really thrilled and honoured that Someone Else's Life has been chosen to be a part of it this year.  Good luck everyone!!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Cover Reveal - LITTLE WHITE LIES!!

I cannot tell you how utterly thrilled and excited I am to finally reveal the cover of my second YA novel, romantic thriller Little White Lies - I hope you like it too! 

The first time Lou meets tall, dark, and handsome Christian, she knows he's hiding something. Why does he clam up every time she asks about his past? Why doesn't he have any family photos and why does he dye his blond hair black? 

Then suddenly his terrible secret is unveiled to the world - and it seems everything he's ever told Lou is a lie. Can what the media are saying about him really be true? Should Lou trust him? Or is she in terrible danger? But Christian isn't the only one keeping secrets. For what if their chance meeting was no accident at all ...? 

As lie follows lie, nothing is as it seems, and soon Lou finds herself ensnared in a web of deceit, her loyalties torn, her emotions in tatters as she faces a heart-wrenching dilemma: to shatter the lives of those she holds dearest, or betray the guy who, against all odds, she's fallen in love with...

Little White Lies by Katie Dale, published by Simon & Schuster UK 1st August 2013

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

And Then he Kissed Me...

Believe it or not, in exactly 4 weeks time it'll be mid-summer! Doesn't much feel like it today, snuggled under my snuggie on my sofa in my chilly flat, or last week when I was forced to wear tights - TIGHTS in MAY! Can you believe it?! - but every time I get a glimpse of sunshine, my heart leaps and I break out the sunglasses and shorts and dash outside to soak up the rays in the hope that Summer is here at last.  
Summer. The season of sunshine, shorts, sand...and even a little summer romance? 
When I was a teenager I used to dream of having a summer holiday romance like Sandy and Danny in Grease, but somehow it never happened. 
There were always plenty of cute guys on the beach or around the park or pool, and I spent hours coming up with witty opening lines or scenarios where we might 'accidentally' bump into each other and strike up a conversation, but ultimately I was just too much of a chicken. The idea of approaching guys who were total strangers was really scary - plus I was usually on holiday with my parentals, so I was probably too embarrassed too.  
So when it came to writing a short story for a romance anthology And Then He Kissed Me I decided to write about a character who was just as shy as me - but managed to have a summer holiday romance of a lifetime after all. 
My story, Star-Crossed, is about a brief encounter which is hot, heady, and heartbreaking, and I'm so thrilled and honoured to be featured alongside truly incredible authors - Joanna Nadin, Cathy Kelly, Sarah Webb to name but a few - and look at the gorgeous cover! 
Plus - bonus! - it's released on 4th July, just in time for the summer holidays!
I can't wait to read all the other stories - perfect beach reading, methinks...

My Blog List

Read Chapter 1

Copyright Katie Dale 2009. Powered by Blogger.Designed by Ezwpthemes .
Converted To Blogger Template by Anshul .