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There’s a ‘virtual’ party going on this evening and I can’t be there so I’m saying hello now so I don’t miss you all. I’ve visited lots of blogs and that took quite a while. I hadn’t planned to stop and read so many of them, but sometimes you just can’t help it and whole hours go by and you look up and find you are still in your dressing gown. Or maybe that’s just me.

I wanted to make this a welcoming post but to do your visit justice I feel I must at least be dressed and have cleaned my teeth. So I’ll be back in a few minutes …

And I wonder what you would like to see here. A nice welcoming front door is always a good start:

Come in. Have a seat, I hope you’ll stay for a little while. No, please don’t look up like that. Those cobwebs are doing a good job up there but I prefer not to be reminded about them. Have a flapjack instead:

You want the recipe? Ok. They’re dead easy and I like to think they’re good for you, with all those oats.

Turn the oven on to around 160 C. My oven’s always too hot so I set mine to 150 C. Mix together in a bowl:

4 oz self raising flour
4 oz rolled oats (porridge oats)
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
chopped pistachio nuts
chopped glace cherries

Put 4oz margerine, 2 oz sugar and a large tablespoon of golden syrup in a pan. Heat gently until the sugar is melted then stir in the oat mix. Spread the mixture into a swiss roll tin and flatten with the back of a spoon or if you want cookie-type biscuits arrange spoonfuls of the mixture  in the tin. Bake for around 15 minutes, until golden.

This is a great recipe that can be used for all sorts of different flavour flapjacks. I often use chopped apricots which are just as tasty. I wish I had a photo to show you but they get eaten as soon as they’re cooked so don’t sit around long enough for me to remember to take a picture.

Having visitors to my blog feels just like having visitors to my home. I did a bit of virtual dusting. There’s a couple of stories that we thought were hilarious but you might not so I hid them. That feels exactly like when the vicar’s coming round and we shove whatever it is I shouldn’t be seen to be reading under a cushion. I’ve put fresh flowers out though – see above. I’m typing this just out of sight of the photo. I would take you for a stroll round the garden but the foxgloves which were towering to the sky are leaning across the path and there are more rose petals on the ground than on the arbour. The cut and come again lettuce which looked so lively a week ago is shorn and limp and not coming again at all. There are photos around here somewhere of the garden last June when it did look beautiful, and if you fancy some Pavlova, there’s the recipe somewhere.

You have to go? Well, thanks for coming, it was lovely of you to stop by. I’ll be popping round to yours very soon …

and if you want to follow me all the buttons are on the left. Look forward to seeing you.

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I’m never, never, never on the stage … yet I’ve gone and written a book. And in doing so have been forced (forced myself really) onto a stage of sorts. Truly, the experience is as terrifying as I imagine it would be in real life if it ever were to happen. Which it won’t, not now.

I was an angel once, when I was five. That was a happy experience because we were all angels, every child in the class, and there was no stage. When I was twelve it was my turn to read a passage from the bible in assembly. The terror of that has stayed with me. The jelly legs, the quivering voice that would not find its way out of the closing throat. Never again.

Yet twice as an adult I have found myself on stage. Once I was a fairy (Fairy Liquid!) in my daughter’s playgroup pantomime. I was at the back, in the chorus of other fairies and still it was terrifying. Another time, to raise funds for the PTA I found myself involved in a musical group called The Reluctant Wilburys. The name says it all – I think it might have been my suggestion. My husband, who’s a musician and often on stage, took part and to our joint relief took over and organised us into something that turned out alright on the night. We sang together and played instruments (I might have had a tambourine) and everybody clapped. Yes, I was terrified but the feeling when it was over was amazing. It makes me think of that book (which I was probably reading at the time) … Feel the Fear and do it anyway, by Susan Jeffers. I did, and I did. But I wasn’t doing it alone, and I was at the back and had only to hum along in the chorus and tap the tambourine against my thigh, both of which I did softly so if I was out of time and out of tune it wouldn’t matter.

It was very like that with my book. The ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ bit. I plunged into a terrifying public world. I went straight to Kindle, so I’m out there, on a stage of sorts, all on my own. It’s scary!

I know as a self-published writer I should be out there trying to get some sort of high profile, or is it called a platform? Stage, platform, it’s the same, and just as scary. Which, if a publisher were ever to read this, would probably make me, as an introvert with an ‘author profile’ that seeks the shadows not the limelight, an unlikely prospect. But would I want a publisher now? Yes, probably. To have someone else promoting your work must be wonderful, and leave the writer free to write. Or perhaps not. From what I’ve read, all writers are meant to actively promote themselves and their work these days. Yet I still think the writing, the books, are products that should in an ideal (probably old-fashioned) world, speak for themselves.

There are things in my home I’ve bought that I love. I chose them without knowledge or care for their inventor. I read books in the same way. In fact, I like an author to be a bit of a mystery. Anne Tyler and Marilynne Robinson are two of my favourite writers and I know very little about them.

Today a new 5 star review was posted to Daisychains of Silence by Catherine MacLeod on Amazon and also to goodreads. It’s by Sam Kirshaw, a writer I admire immensely and the author of The Cushion Effect, a novel of searing emotional intelligence that captivated me with its tenderness and empathy.  It’s an amazing review, yet it leaves me shaking partly because I know I should tell you about it. I am reluctant. I am thrilled. I am terrified.

Sam writes, ‘The book is a triumph of literary crossover fiction inspiring both young women of today and their maturer counterparts.’ You can read the review in its entirety HERE.

I submitted Daisychains of Silence to Legend Press a month ago, and the more I discover about the company’s innovative, accessible approach and the fresh, original books they publish, the more I believe they would be the perfect home for Daisychains.

I’m reminded of one of my first authonomy reviews, when highly respected writer and reviewer, Maria Bustillos, author of Dorkismo, and co-founder of Booksquawk, said of Daisychains:

“WOW I’m in love, I’m in love love love. I have mowed through such a lot of manuscripts here, which can be a little discouraging sometimes, so it’s just such an absolute JOY to find this beautifully written, sensitive, freaky, cool, wonderful book. Ms. Mair. It’s some of the loveliest, most polished and elegant prose I’ve seen on here. I would buy this in a heartbeat. I love Daisy. She breaks your heart from the first moment. How she is with her mom, with Joanna, it’s so believable, so warm despite all the pain and weirdness …

Also the themes of sewing, needles, weaving … women. I grew up with seamstresses and even the way you describe cutting thread and knotting the end is so truthful, and just right somehow. Not a false note anywhere and so perceptive and wonderfully observant.”

Fingers crossed that Legend Press agree!

Add to your goodreads shelf

Daisychains of Silence

On Amazon Kindle

The Ripening Time

On Amazon Kindle

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