Best Blogger Tips December 2011 | Katie Dale

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Top Ten Christmas Films Ever!

Christmas Eve already!
Once the shopping and wrapping and peeling and preparing's done, there's nothing like settling down with the family to watch a wonderful Christmassy film.
Here's my Top Ten:
Miracle on 34th Street
The wonderful story of a little girl who comes to believe in Santa in the most unusual way - through a court case! Both versions are great, but Mara Wilson and Richard Attenborough swing it for me.

Love Actually
Love at Christmas, this is a chocolate box full of stories, with romance, heartbreak, pathos and happy endings (mostly) all round.

The Snowman
Needs no introduction - a classic.

Father Christmas
Briggs' more humorous take on grumpy old Santa

While You Were Sleeping/Meet Me in St Louis
Bundled together, as neither are specifically Christmas films, but Judy's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas is just divine, while lonely Sandra Bullock's tale of the joy of finding a family at Christmas - in the most unusual way - is full of the Christmas spirit.

Santa Claus the Movie
A favourite from my childhood, Dudley Moore's elf tries to beat Santa at his own game - with disastrous consequences.

The Santa Clause
One little accident means that Tim Allen's Christmases will never be he same again!

Arthur Christmas
A new favourite from the Aardman team - The Claus family have handed down the title of Santa throughout their generations - but who will be next? Super-organised Steve, or hapless Arthur, who takes it upon himself to deliver the one gift that got left behind...?

Home Alone
When little Macaulay Culkin is left alone at Christmas in a massive house it's easy pickings for a couple of crooks, right? Think again. Let the games begin!

And I'll leave you with my all-time favourite Christmas film - The Muppets Christmas Carol. After all, there's only one more sleep till Christmas!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

12 Days of Christmas-Jigsaw!!

On the 12th Day of Christmas, 
My True Love gave to me...
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords A-Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids A-Milking
7 Swans A-Swimming
6 Geese A-laying
5 Gold Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle-Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree! 
But can you complete the jigsaw below and find them all?!!
Enjoy! k xx

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas
My true Love gave to me
Eleven Pipers Piping...
So what were they piping? Christmas tunes of course!
Here are my top eleven all-time favourite Christmas songs - have I missed any?
It Feels Like Christmas - my all-time favourite from the incredible Muppet Christmas Carol - a Christmas Eve tradition!
Walking in The Air - Another classic. You know it's Christmas when you hear this song. 
White Christmas - It just wouldn't be Christmas without Bing!
All I Want For Christmas is You - Modern Classic Mariah
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! - Especially Bambi-style!
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - has to be sung by Judy, from the wonderful Meet Me In St Louis
One More Sleep Till Christmas - Another Muppet Favourite!
Silver Bells - Beautiful
The Christmas Song - A definite Christmas Classic
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - To get you in the mood!
It Was On A Starry Night - Nativity-style. Perfect.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

On the Tenth Day of Christmas 
My True Love gave to me
Ten Lords A-Leaping!

Can you help turn these "leaping lords" (or frog princes!) back into princes by clicking on them with your mouse? Watch out for those nasty piranhas though!

Monday, 19 December 2011

On the Ninth day of Christmas 
my True Love sent to me
Nine Ladies Dancing...
Congratulations to Harry Judd - winner of this year's Strictly Come Dancing!
But which Christmassy tracks do you love dancing to most?
Here are my top 9 faves - enjoy!:

All I want for Christmas - nothing beats Mariah!
Rockin' around the Christmas Tree - perfect when decorating the tree!
Run Run Rudolph - from the FABULOUS Very Ally Christmas album

Step into Christmas - a bit of classic Elton :)
Fairytale of New York - great to practise your Irish jigging to!
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
Jingle Bell Rock - Mean Girls style!
Santa Claus is Coming to Town - There's nothing like the Jackson 5!
Frosty the Snowman - except maybe the Beach Boys!
Keep dancing!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

White Christmas?

Advent Calendar Day 18
Well, after our flurry of snow I'm getting all excited with hopes for a White Christmas, so here's two versions of that Christmas classic - Bing's traditional version still the best-selling single of all time! And one that's a little bit different!
Which do you prefer?!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Christmas Tree Game!

Friday, 16 December 2011


Oh the weather outside is delightful...!
It's here! The first snowfall this winter! I woke to the delighted cry of a child "It's snowing!", leapt out of bed, and sure enough - big white flakes were floating from the sky. Hurray!
So, on a theme, I decided to explore Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method for writing a novel...(like the link? ;))
Here's the simplest explanation I found online, courtesy of Bubble Cow. 
Or if you prefer, watch Dan's video!
1. Write a one-sentence summary of your novel (Fifteen words max).
2. Expand the sentence to a (4-sentence) paragraph describing the story narrative, any major events and the ending.

3. Now consider the main character and write a one page summary for each, considering the following points:
  • A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline.
  • The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?).
  • The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?).
  • The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?).
  • The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?.
  • A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline.
4. Go back to the summary you wrote in 2 and expand each sentence into a paragraph. Randy’s advice here is:
Take several hours and expand each sentence of your summary paragraph into a full paragraph. All but the last paragraph should end in a disaster. The final paragraph should tell how the book ends. Source
5. Write a one page description for each major character, which tells the story from their point of view.
6. Expand your one page plot synopsis into a four page plot synopsis.
7. Expand your character descriptions from 3 into full ‘character charts’.
8. Using the expanded synopsis, make a list of every scene you will need to write to complete the novel.
9. Using the scene list, write a multi-paragraph narrative description of each scene.
10. Write your first draft!
To read the full article by Randy Ingermanson click here!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Eight Maids...

On the Eighth Day of Christmas 
My True Love gave to me
Eight Maids A-Milking...
Can you name these 8 famous maids?
Would you want them at your wedding?
If only she had a Fairy Godmother...

Who'd work at Fawlty Towers?
New York's finest

Downton's finest
The world's most famous bridesmaid...
Robin's Sweetheart
Camelot's Sweetheart
Every correct answer emailed here wins a prize!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Seven Swans a-swimming!

On the Seventh Day of Christmas
My True Love gave to me
Seven Swans A-Swimming...
Can you find all 7 Swans a-swimming AND 
6 Geese a-laying
Five Gold Rings, 
Four Calling Birds, 
Three French Hens, 
Two Turtle Doves 
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree hidden in this picture? 
Like Where's Wally-at Christmas!
(Click the picture to enlarge it)

Good luck - and Enjoy!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Top Ten Christmasses!

Top Ten Choose-Day!
Top Ten Christmasses in Literature!
Christmas is such a magical, emotional, special time of year - especially in books. Here's my top ten fictional Christmasses - in no particular order! 
Which is your favourite Christmas? 

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe 
C.S. Lewis
In the land where it's always winter but never Christmas, Peter, Lucy and Susan meet Father Christmas - a sure sign that the White Witch's power is on the wane. Cause for celebration and Christmas presents! Of, er, weaponry. To children...

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone 
J.K. Rowling
It's Harry's first Christmas at Hogwarts, and his best one ever. There's magic in the air, with real-live fairies, carolling ghosts, and magical snow! Plus he's surprised to get a very unexpected Christmas present - an Invisibility Cloak!

A Christmas Carol 
Charles Dickens
For Ebenezer Scrooge, it's certainly a Christmas he won't forget! During a very disturbed night's sleep he encounters the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and ultimately makes a life-changing decision to alter his ways.

The Snowman 
Raymond Briggs
Though not strictly occurring at Christmas, James's magical adventure with his beloved Snowman has become a Christmas tradition. Beautifully and wordlessly told,  the story of the snowman James built coming to life and taking him flying off to the North Pole to dance with other snowmen and meet Father Christmas is a bitter-sweet classic.

Father Christmas 
Raymond Briggs
Another Raymond Briggs classic, his portrayal of Father Christmas as a grumpy, over-worked old man is original, funny, and affectionate. This poor old Father Christmas has no elves to help him, just his endlessly patient dog and cat and two reindeer, but as Christmas Eve approaches it's clear he loves what he does - even delivering presents to the Queen!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas 
Dr Seuss
The Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, has had his fill of Who-ville's holiday celebrations, so plans to steal all their presents to prevent Christmas from coming. To his surprise, Christmas comes anyway and he learns the true meaning of the holiday.

The Night Before Christmas Clement Moore
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
Perhaps the most famous Christmas poem of all time.

The Polar Express 
Chris Van Allsburg
On Christmas Eve, a young boy is surprised to see a train outside his house - a train that takes him to the North Pole! There he meets elves and Santa himself, who offers him the very first gift of Christmas. He chooses a silver bell from Santa's sleigh, and though he loses it, it is there under his tree on Christmas morning. But it can only be heard by those who truly believe.

The Nutcracker 
E.T.A. Hoffman
Perhaps now more famous as a ballet, The Nutcracker started life as a story, telling the tale of a nutcracker that comes to life, battles with the evil mouse king, then takes Marie (the girl who tended to his wounds) on a tour of Christmas Wood and Candytown. Her love breaks the spell over him, and they both live happily ever after.

War Game 
Michael Foreman
After a game of football on the village green, four teenage boys decide to enlist in the armed forces to fight in World War 1 in search of short adventure and lots of fun. Unfortunately, they get more than they bargained for, as the war lasts several years, and the highlight for the four friends is a very memorable game of football played one Christmas Day on no-man's land - against the Germans...

So which is your favourite Christmas? 
Don't forget to leave your comment for a chance to win!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Geese A-Laying!

On the Sixth Day of Christmas 
My True Love gave to me
Six Geese A-Laying...

Can you catch the eggs as they're being laid? Watch out because eggs aren't all that these geese lay!!
Chicken Egg

Play free Games - a game from Adventure | Action Games

Sunday, 11 December 2011

On The Fifth Day of Christmas
My True Love gave to me
Five Gold Rings!

Can you fill in the missing words in this Christmas story?

One magical Christmas Eve, Mary Christmas and Noel, were walking home through the snow when suddenly –
‘Help!’ Mary Christmas cried. I’ve lost one of my diamond _ _ _ RINGs! It must have fallen off when I took my hat off at the circus!
Noel, RING the _ _ _ _ _ _ , it might have been stolen!'
‘Don’t worry!’ Noel said, pulling out his _ _ _ RING. 'I’ll drive you back there in no time.'
Sure enough, there it was in the Big Top, in the middle of the _ _ _ _ _ _ RING.
Suddenly the spotlight fell on Mary and she gasped as Noel dropped to his knees. 
‘Will you marry me?’ he asked, pulling out an 
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ RING.
‘Of course!’ Mary cried. 'This is the best Christmas ever!’

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Top Four Calling Birds!

On the Fourth Day of Christmas 
my true love gave to me
Four Calling Birds...
Which, to me this Christmas has to mean Twitter!
So here are my top four 'calling birds' well worth following for their fun, interesting and entertaining tweets...
@Tamsyn Tweetie Author of the fabulous 'Afterlife' series, Tamsyn's sparky tweets always brighten up my day.
@Keris Author of Della Says OMG and Jessie ♥ NYC Keris always has something interesting & funny to say.
@MaureenJohnson Author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes, MJ is sometimes controversial, often funny, and always worth a read.
@Bubblecow Packed full of wonderful advice for writers, Bubblecow is a must-follow for anyone with writerly aspirations.

And if you'd like to follow me, I'm @katiedaleuk!
Merry Tweetmas! 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Festive Friday DOs & DON'Ts at Publishers (or any!) Parties...

This one counts!
- Just find 2 more!
On the Third Day of Christmas 
my true love gave to me
Three French Hens...
Find 3 French hens scattered round my website then email me here to say where you found them - and win!
The French certainly know how to party, but here are my 
Five Festive Friday DOs and DON'Ts 
for publishers parties this Christmas:
Teri Terry - author of the
upcoming SLATED
DO meet up with some fellow-attendees before the party - I recommend Helen Dennis, Kate O'Hearn, Teri Terry, Kathryn James, Fiona Robertson, and Chris Hill for a delightful mix of giggles and invaluable writerly wisdom and advice. 

DO line your stomach first (preferably at an unexpectedly extravagantly expensive restaurant where they move already-dining people to accomodate a table for 8...)

DO then order only side orders and/or dessert (Recommended: Cauliflower Cheese, Chips, Crumble) and watch the look on the waitress's face...

Lucy Jones - author of the upcoming
DO catch up with everyone you met at last year's party - it's so much more fun if you already know people, particularly the lovely Holly Webb, Lucy Jones, Karen Ball and Catherine Coe.

DO be brave - talk to those actually-not-so-scary editors and famous authors/illustrators wandering past (Kes Gray) - they're really friendly and approachable once you're brave enough (or tipsy enough) to say Hi!

DON'T accidentally spend your entire cab fare on raffle tickets - even though you might win an Ipod dock (though you don't actually have an Ipod) and then leave said Ipod dock at the bar!

DON'T choose canapes with a risk factor (Chicken satay with drippy sauce in particular, followed closely by brownies with melting ice-cream on top, and (surprisingly) spring rolls with flaky pastry and chilli dip! Disastrous!)

SO pretty - but great for
running for the Tube!
DON'T forget a spare pair of flat shoes should your gorgeous party heels begin to rub/blister/bruise your feet after five minutes/hours!

DON'T drive to the station - get a taxi or a lift so you can let your hair down properly!

DON'T drink so much bubbly you can't find your way back to the Tube or fall asleep and miss your stop! (There are taxis waiting at the end of each tube line ready to charge sleepy passengers extortionate fees to get back to the city!)

Most of all - Enjoy yourself!!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas Contest - Day 2

A Turtle-Dove...?
On the Second Day of Christmas 
my true love gave to me
Two Turtle Doves 
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Prize! Limited-Edition
Someone Else's Life
fridge magnet!
Whoever thought of the name turtle dove? A dove looks nothing like a turtle, right? 
But can you name the other animals whose names are derived from two other animals from the clues below? 
Answer for fun in the comment box below - or if you've got all twelve click here to email them to me to win a prize!

1) Eight-legged creepy crawly + long-tailed primate!
2) Fire-breathing buzzing insect
3) Sea mammal - with a trunk!
4) Purring sea creature
5) Male cow - dwelling on lily-pads!
6) King of the jungle - under the sea!
7) Equine - with wings!
8) Woolly farm animal - that barks!
9) Large stripy cat - with a dorsal fin!
10) Small garden bird - also bird of prey
11) Cunning bushy-tailed forest canine
12) Barking sea-creature!

This video may help a little :) 
Good luck - and have fun!

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