Fare La Scarpetta

Being Britalian

While having lunch with friends this week, Steve said, one of the things he likes about Italy is that it’s socially acceptable to dip your bread into your sauce.This reminded me of an article I wrote for Italy Magazine when I wrote for them. So I’ll share it with you all, and some images of bell’abruzzo.

Fare la scarpetta is a phrase in the Italian language that’s close to the heart of everyone who has enjoyed a delicious plate of pasta with sauce. Meaning “make the little shoe,” it refers to the small piece of bread used to mop up the last of the sauce on your plate.


This end to a meal ritual is vastly popular all over Italy; however, where it originates is still open to debate. There’s one theory that the practice began in Venice, though bread wasn’t usually served with pasta in northern Italy, whereas it…

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Karen King :Blog Tour

  • Welcome to Karen King, whose YA novel, “Rise of the Soul Catchers”   is out today.
  • KK Head and Shoulders
  • Tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I write mainly romance and young adult novels now but I’ve written many children’s books too (120) and several short stories for women’s magazines. I’m also a writing tutor.

  • How long have you been writing and when did you get started?

I’ve been writing most of my life! I wrote lots of stories and poems when I was a child and have been writing for a living for over thirty years. I started out by writing photo stories and articles for Jackie magazine, then writing for children’s comics such as Postman Pat, Barbie and Winnie the Pooh. Then I started writing books too.

  • What is at the root of your current book?

That love is eternal and can overcome anything.

  • What was the best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?

When stuck for a story plot, give your character a problem and solve it – I added on ‘in an unexpected way’ and this is my ‘go to advice’ whenever I need a story idea quickly.

  • Where do you work? Chaos or calm?

Wherever I have to. I worked with four children playing around me for years, and then in a house in the middle of a building site. Once my children grew up I was lucky enough to have a room of my own to work in, but I can work in chaos if I have to.

  • Which of your books is your favourite?

Rise of the Soul Catchers because it’s a theme close to my heart. I believe that love can last forever and that we carry on after our death.

  • What is your typical working day like?

I moved to Spain at the end of last year and now have no typical working day! I write when I can and where I can. This morning I was sitting up in bed writing on my laptop at 6.30 am, earlier this week I was writing at the table in the garden all afternoon with a cardboard box shielding my laptop from the glare of the sun.

  • Are you a planner or a panster?

A bit of both. I always work out my main characters and story plot before I start so I have a base to work from then I just write the first draft as it comes. The characters often do things I hadn’t planned, and the plot might go off at an unexpected tangent, but I go with it. Once I’ve finished the first draft I start rereading and revising, deleting anything I don’t think works.

  • Do you enjoy researching your novels?

Yes but I didn’t need to research Rise of the Soul Catchers as it takes place in the afterlife so I could create whatever world I wanted! Most of my romance books are set in places I’ve lived in or been to so know pretty well, but I still do some research though.

  • What book most inspired you?

The books that I loved reading as a child, Just William (Richmal Crompton), The Secret Seven and Famous Five (Enid Blyton) all inspired in me a love of reading and writing.

  • If you could ask six writers living or dead to dinner who would you choose and why?

That’s a tough one, and my answers would probably change at times but let me see. J.R.Tolkien because I would like to know what inspired him to write Lord of the Rings and how he created Middle Earth, Shakespeare to ask him if he really did write all the works  attributed to him, J.K. Rowling because she is an inspiration and has such a vivid imagination, Sharon Shinn because I love her Samaria series and would like to know what inspired her to write them, Jilly Cooper because her romances are fun and I think she’d be a laugh and Catherine Cookson because I think she led a hard but interesting life and would love to hear all about it.

  • Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself and your work?

Well I’m currently working on another YA and am hoping to write a follow up to Rise of the Soul Catchers. I also have another romcom, The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma, coming out on 7 June, and my first book for Bookouture, Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel, comes out in November so I think I’m going to be busy for a while. 😊

Rise of The Soul Catchers – Media Kit

ROTSC cover (1) 


Can love survive anything – even death?

Sapphire and Will vow to love each other forever. But when a car crash ends that dream all too soon, they find themselves separated in an afterlife with zones named after the colours of the rainbow. Determined to find each other, they start an adventurous journey alongside a cast of characters they don’t know whether to trust. They finally meet again in the terror-fuelled Red Zone where the dreaded Soul Catchers are planning on taking over the entire afterworld and are plunged into a dangerous battle. Is their love strong enough to survive against the odds?

 (Previously published as Sapphire Blue)

Buy Links

Rise of the Soul Catchers is available for pre-order from Amazon and will be published on 25th April.

Amazon: http://ow.ly/Fz1L30j0hqh


Author bio

Karen King writes edgy YA with a heart and sassy, heart-warming romance. Her first YA, Perfect Summer, was runner up in the Red Telephone Books 2011 YA Novel Competition and her second YA, Sapphire Blue, now republished as Rise of the Soul Catchers by Littwitz Press, was called ‘the best YA book out there right now’ by a reviewer for Ind’Tale magazine.

Karen has four romcoms published by Accent Press, and a fifth one is due out in June this year, Her latest romcom, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, was #3 in the Amazon bestseller holiday reads.  She has recently signed a two book-contract with Bookouture for more romance novels.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.


Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/

All about this months 6×6 writers and their books

This is always a great evening. I will enjoy reading from “Shadows on the Grass” and hopefully selling a few books too.

6x6 Writers Cafe

We are thrilled to have have no less than three books being promoted in the month’s 6×6! Bring your wallets because there will be books to buy!

In alphabetical order:

Misha Herwin: Shadows on the Grass. Publisher Penkhull Press

“Every family has its secrets. In the nineteen-sixties Bristol, seventeen-year-old Kate is torn between the new sexual freedom and her rigid Catholic upbringing. Mimi, her grandmother, is dying and in her final hours, her cousin, the Princess, keeps watch at her bedside and remembers their past, bound together by a terrible betrayal. And Mimi’s daughter Hannah struggles to keep the peace between her daughter and her husband whilst finding her own way through a post-war world in a foreign land where everything she once knew has been swept away.” (Available in Print and Kindle formats.)

Misha Herwin: is a writer of books and short stories for adults and children. Her latest…

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Ash Wednesday (extract from Sussex Tales (c) )

A perfect Ash Wednesday Piece

Jan Edwards

Ash Wednesday  by Jan Edwards

I slowed by the small shaw that separated our lane from the main farm road,  dropped my bike on the verge and surveyed the woodland’s edge. Fortunately for me this section of frith[1] had yet to be cleared and there were plenty of saplings to be raided. I jumped across the ditch and grabbed onto a young ash standing proud from the mass. It took only a moment or two to select a couple of growing tips; slender and smooth and grey, their foliage still encased in cool black buds that looked for all the world like the hooves of tiny goats.

I tucked both sprigs into my bag and knotted the string carefully. Losing them was not an option. It was Ash Wednesday, when every Sussex school child would arrive at the gates armed with the Ash. These short lengths of twig were…

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Declaring Independence – celebrating independent book shops: Belgravia Books

The more independent bookshops there are , the better.

From First Page to Last

In what I hope will be a new, though granted likely to be rather sporadic, Friday feature, I want to highlight some of the many independent book shops that are out there waiting to be discovered. Whilst there are the usual online book retailers and big name high street shops there are also some wonderful independent bookshops with a treasure trove of literary delights to uncover. There is nothing quite like browsing in a book shop, seeing the books, being able to actually look at them before deciding and of course the booksellers and owners are often a mine of information, a much underused resource.

The sad thing is that unless they are used they will vanish from our towns and villages. The childhood (and to be fair, grown up) delight of visiting a book shop and being able to sit amongst so many books, deciding which new unearthed treasure…

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#Friday Favourites: “Tiny sunbirds far away” by Christie Watson


Set in Lagos, Nigeria, “Tiny Sunbirds Far Away” tells the story of what happens when Blessing’s Mama found Father lying on top of another woman.

In the aftermath, the family lose their apartment and have to move away, swopping their Westernised lifestyle for life in their grandparent’s compound. The cultural shock is huge and at first Blessing feels that she will never be able to cope without running water, indoor sanitation, or proper schooling.

Gradually, however, she begins to see that there are good things about living out in the Delta. The land and air might be being poisoned by the oil companies, but her relationship with her grandmother grows ever stronger and she finds what she wants to do with the rest of her life.

Although the novel deals with serious issues, such as FMG, the desecration of the environment and government corruption, it is also full of humour and joy.

The characters are vividly drawn, the language lyrical, the sense of the countryside so intense that you can almost feel the heat, smell the outhouse, taste the food.

A thoroughly recommended read.