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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.

Sometime during the week we were away on holiday, when I wasn’t looking at the sales figures on Amazon, Daisychains of Silence exceeded 1,000 sales. It’s now near 1,500.

I have no idea whether this is a good number or not compared to what other books achieve. What I do know is I think it’s phenomenal. When I first published on Kindle just over four months ago I had a target of 200 books in the first year. That is the number of sales of a single title you need to sell in one year to be eligible to join the Society of Authors. I made that my goal.

That I exceeded it in such a short time, and spectacularly, I find astonishing.

I’ve noticed some writers are open about their sales figures and some are more circumspect. But I can’t see the point in being secretive about it. It’s not a competition. I love books, and other writers write the books I love to read, so I see us almost as a huge family, in this together. I love hearing about indie-published successes – I feel it gives hope to the rest of us in the family of writers worldwide.

The thing is, I have an income! I never expected an income. I thought there would be a few pence here and there, and although it’s not a lot, it’s turned out to be enough to change my life.

We’ve lived in the same house (and garden – that’s the important bit, really) for over 25 years. It’s an old house, and it requires ongoing and often expensive maintenance. We need a new boiler. The wooden windows need replacing. The ancient bathroom suite is green:

Some things, like the kitchen newly installed 25 years ago, would be staying even if I won the lottery (that won’t happen, I don’t do the lottery) because I love it, however old-fashioned it might be with our pine kitchen table and chairs – our first purchase on HP over thirty years ago, now dented and scratched with the memories of a lifetime’s use.

Now, covered with a flower-print cloth it gives the room a homely feel hard to achieve in today’s gleaming kitchens full of stainless steel (I always think that’s a daft name when I see the smudge marks on those appliances).

But the last few years have been hard financially, and two years running we’ve put it on the market with the intention of finding something cheaper and easier to maintain. We convinced ourselves we had to move in order to have a good quality of life, where we could have holidays and not worry about money all the time. It would be a wrench, selling the family home (and the garden, oh, how I’d miss the garden) but we felt we had no choice.

Buyers were scarce, though, and we planned to put it on the market again this March at a lower price, in the process adjusting our expectations to what our future home might be: a tiny place with a tiny back yard along a busy road somewhere we wouldn’t enjoy being. We live in an expensive area; you don’t get much house for your money round our way and my husband, who works in London, is not about to retire for a few years yet so my dream of maybe moving to Devon or Cornwall is likely to remain just that, a dream.

And what about a cat?

My Pickle only lasted nine months here in the countryside. What chance would a new cat have in a built-up area? And how would I be without the peace of my garden? We were moving with a heavy heart, through necessity, not choice. Now, though, with an income from my writing, things are looking a little different.

The money from my book is enough to make that difference. It’s not a lot, but it’s enough, we feel, to stay exactly where we are, where we love spending our time. Where our pets are buried and where roses and honeysuckle now flourish. Where our children can visit where they grew up; where a cat at least has a fighting chance of a good life; where I’m happy in my tatty clothes, looking through our rickety windows at the birds who return year after year to trees planted by us when we were young and which they now view as their home. Or digging the flowerbeds or hacking down the brambles knowing the aches and scratches of a day’s hard graft will be soothed by a long soak in our ancient cast-iron bathtub. Our home.

We’re going to firm down our roots and stay put.

Add to your goodreads shelf

Daisychains of Silence

On Amazon Kindle

The Ripening Time

On Amazon Kindle

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