Category Archives: My world

Plant based recipe of the week – week 13 – Chickpea Korma

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I was looking to share a recipe that works every time. This is another ‘Happy Pear’ recipe, and one I seem to be making on a weekly basis, it’s so good. It makes masses, so plenty to freeze too. You can watch Stephen and David make there’s on Youtube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4x4zz15kZE&t=236s

This recipe requires a blender or food processor to make the sauce.

Ingredients

2 bell peppers, eighths

2 large carrots, eighths

2 medium onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

½ thumb size piece of ginger, chopped

1 tin tomatoes

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon coriander

½ teaspoon turmeric (I use 1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tin coconut milk

3 tablespoons dessicated coconut

2 tablespoons ground almonds

2 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on the sharpness of the tomatoes, I used 1 tablespoon)

2 tins drained chick peas

60g washed baby spinach

Method

In a pan, boil peppers and carrots until soft.

While they are cooking, add to frying pan 2 tablespoons of oil, and gently soften onions, garlic and ginger. (I tried this recipe without oil and it’s okay, but onions aren’t as soft and succulent) Put pan to one side.

Into blender/food processor, add peppers and carrots, and ingredients down to maple syrup and blend.

Put pan back on heat and add contents of blender. Heat until bubbling.

Add chickpeas and spinach. (I used ordinary spinach)

Taste and add a little more salt if you wish. I added a little pepper. You can also add fresh coriander if you’re serving immediately.

This recipe is great freshly made, but it freezes well and once defrosted and reheated, the flavours are even more intense. Enjoy x

New beginnings at the Spring Equinox

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It all began at the full moon before the Winter Solstice last year, a few words of a conversation that gave me an idea. At that moment, The Riverbank Witch was born. My gorgeous, talented, magical friend Rhea Ruth Aitken, designed my logo for me from a doodle I showed her.

The Riverbank Witch already existed as the story teller on the riverbank, reading magical short stories and book extracts on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber but at the end of last year, I saw the potential of combining magic and stories in a more practical sense. I created a chakra bracelet of semi-precious stones and lava beads to go with the Lizzie Martin series of books. I loved threading the beads, creating the magic on the thread.

Then the Australian bush fires got out of hand. Called upon to help, I knitted joey pouches and sewed cotton liners, collecting donations from others and taking them to a distribution point in Wales, ready to be shipped to Australia. Out of this random act came a renewed passion for knitting.

I learned to crochet last August, but hadn’t knitted for a while. At the next new moon, I asked the Goddess for advice, and she suggested The Witches Cwtch, a shop where witches could sell their magical crafts. We could knit, sew, crochet, write, sculpt, draw, paint, recycle and upcycle. I was concerned about taking on the project myself, but having spoken to my daughter and sister-in-law, between us we were confident we could make a shop work.

Together, we began working on the premise for the shop …

“The Witches Cwtch is where dreams become reality.

We’re modern witches who care about our world and the creatures that live on it.

At The Witches Cwtch we believe in sharing the love, giving back, passing forward and supporting the local community, as well as our world wide family.”

But there are many things to consider when opening a shop, not least creating the magical products to go in one. We were keen and determined, but the world has changed since we began. Storms here in Wales took down my internet connection for almost three weeks. Last week, all the book and craft fairs I had planned for this Spring and Summer to promote The Riverbank Witch and The Witches Cwtch were cancelled. In this climate of uncertainty, we decided to postpone the shop.

This Spring Exquinox morning, I woke to a bright sunny day. Sheep and lambs baaed in the fields and the birds were singing. On my riverbank it’s difficult to believe there’s a terrible virus raging through the population of this country and the world, taking the lives of the elderly and infirm, and spreading fear and dread in its path.

So I asked the Goddess how I could help, and she told me to share my magic. Today, I’m opening The Riverbank Witch facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/The-Riverbank-Witch-107997124171331

My sister-in-law is The Hilltop Witch https://www.facebook.com/HilltopWitch

Liking the pages would be wonderful, and the first product I will list will be the chakra bracelets. The semi-precious stones are cleansed on my riverbank, beneath the full moon, and will help balance both mind and body, grounding the wearer to the earth. I’m working on listing them right now!

Is it the right time to launch something new? Probably not, but I am The Riverbank Witch and I want to share my healing magic with the world.

Ostara Blessings to you all xx

 

The Wheel Turns – approaching Imbolc

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It was a busy run up to the Winter Solstice. I shared a table with the fabulous Nicola Beechsquirrel at the Lunar Market in Llanfair Clydogau, and at the Carmarthen Book Fair.

If you look closely, I’ve a little extra something on my table that I was testing out with the public…watch this space! Something new is coming!

We had a fabulous Yule with our children, and the work we’d done in the lounge helped to make it look clean and sparkly, welcoming in the light.

But the weather was grey and dank. We managed to get to the beach for a walk though.

And then the children went home. We walked on Borth beach on Christmas Day and were back to work on Boxing Day. It was the time to get ideas and new plans underway….and then the call went out for help for the animals in Australia.

Alongside my new crafting and writing ideas, I’ve been knitting joey pouches, and collected knitted and sewn items from ladies of Tribal Unity Wales, a student at the Uni and a lady from her slimming club, and took them to Llanelli to be taken to the main hub in Swansea for sending.

Wool was given, donated, shared around. Cotton pillow slips, t shirts and sheets were recycled. It’s been a privilege to be part of a group of crafters, coming together to help a common cause. The UK hubs are doing a stock take this week, sending out boxes and liaising with the contacts in Australia to make sure the right help went to the right places, and will let us know if we need to knit on. Many people have contacted local wildlife sanctuaries, to see if they need similar items to help their animals, so the crafting continues to help animals in need.

I’ve enjoyed having a project on the go to help others. Though I welcome the light on 21st December, January is a dark month. It’s been wet and windy on my hillside. We’ve snatched moments at the beach, which has helped.

I’ve an exciting new project which I’m planning to launch on 20th March, and that is keeping me busy, and helping to keep me positively focussed.

Wednesday dawned bright, cold and dry, and out on the grass by the driveway, was a purple flame of hope.

Imbolc is almost here. I take my courage and strength from the natural world around me.

It is time for the maiden goddess to appear, full of sacred understanding from her time within the sleeping earth of winter.

Nature heralds her return – the springs and swelling streams are her attributes – the life giving water of soul and survival.

On the first of February, I will cast my three wishes…Catkins are appearing on the willow – it is time to make the most important wishes of the year – walk out to a willow, tie a bow or a love knot into a willow frond. Celebrate all joys and a rainbow good feeling – tie the 7 coloured ribbons of the spectrum into the pale green branches of the tree. As they flutter in the wind, they bring blessings to all you think about. Only 3 precise wishes during the year so, choose carefully.

Imbolc is the Festival of Lights. Circle of tea lights for higher inspiration from the goddess. Lunar sabbat – mysteries of the unknown. In this circle, meditate, sing, chant, ask questions of your inner soul that are troubling you. Answers will come after a night’s sleep.

Love rituals are prevalent at this time of year, for new love or to meet someone new. Imbolc maiden is innocent, but stirring. Shrine to love: lock of hair, ribbons and ornaments and a single vase holding a crocus or snowdrop – blessings under your roof. Plant one white flower for peace and prosperity from the maiden.

We honour the triple goddess Brigid – teacher, magical instructor. We honour her in her maiden aspect, though she is pregnant with the young seed of the Sun.
Activities include making corn dollies or just use one dried ear of corn and tie with a white ribbon, improvise.

Useful Correspondences

Herbs: heather, dried sage, lemon, honey, garlic, coriander seeds, rose hips, witch hazel, sunflower seeds, dried sunflower petals, vervain, violets, wheat, grains, myrrh, dragon’s blood, benzoin.

Stones: clear quartz, citrine, yellow tourmaline, green tourmaline, rose quartz, iron, hematite, ruby, garnet, red zircon.

 

Welcome Imbolc into your life. Know that all is dormant beneath the soil, ready to burst forth, fresh and new in the Spring.

 

 

IMBOLC SALE

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Let’s start the year by sharing the love!

Purchase ANY pixie coat, short or long length, for just £18! Check the page for availability, and I’ll happily measure any coat for you. https://wendysteele.com/pixie-coats/

Email me via Stay in Touch (Contact Me) and you’ll soon be snuggling up in your very own pixie coat. Or purchase one for a friend, they make lovely gifts.

And there’s more…

You can purchase all three Standing Stone books, Home for Christmas, Silence is Broken and The Gathering, for just £12. These books are about the characters’ relationships with each other and the land they live on. In the second book, there’s a beautiful, timeless Imbolc ritual that I know you’ll enjoy.

And finally….

If you purchase a pixie coat and the Standing Stone books, and you live in the UK, I’ll send them to you for FREE.

Imbolc Blessings to You

Life Lessons

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Whatever plans we make, life has a habit of turning them on their heads. Sometimes we can adapt the original plan, while other times, we have to step back and start again. Personally, that’s why I have a problem with goal setting. Not meeting a goal feels like a failure, even though a change of direction might be the best thing to do.

Last year, on the 12th June, our plans were turned on their heads when our daughter asked if she could come and live in Wales with us. We spent every available moment and every penny we had to turn a barn into a bedroom.

It wasn’t part of our ‘plan’ for a couple of years, but having our girl with us, and giving her the opportunity to take her time deciding which way her future lies, has been a blessing.

My partner and I began to forge a new plan, thinking of building a growing room for our veg as we’re now vegan, and we got a concrete base laid.

But then water started coming up through our lounge floor We were forced to dig channels to persuade the water away from the house, begin a reroofing project, and lime mortar and white wash the whole of the back of the house. We worked on a wall inside too, ready for Yule.

Once Yule was over, my partner and I were back at work on Boxing Day. We had new plans…and then last week, we hit our biggest financial crisis since we arrived in Wales. We’ve had a rethink, spent three incredibly stressful days working out what we’re going to do, and now we’re back working again towards getting ourselves straight by this time next year.

The secret to long life and happiness isn’t about the hand life deals you, but the way you react to it. In the past, my depression and anxiety would have knocked my mind and body for weeks after a major crisis. This time, I listened to my body and was kind, allowing myself a chance to rest before I moved on. It was hard, but I kept up good, nutritional eating as well, knowing the vitamins and nutrients would help me feel better.

Whatever plans you have for 2020, never be afraid to be flexible. If something isn’t working, don’t keep bashing away. Give yourself time, talk to those you trust. Not meeting a goal doesn’t make you a failure, but rather a strong person of courage, who can take on a set back, deal with whatever it brings, and move forward in a positive way.

Follow me for more life blogs, plant based recipes, life begins at fifty posts, and my new, exciting project starting 20th March 2020. Bright blessings xx

 

Everyone loves a pixie coat!

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Everyone loves a pixie coat! Even Rosie rabbit has one, made from the hood of one of mine, when the bottom (literally) fell out.

From Friday 29th November to Friday 6th December, you can purchase a short coat for just £25 or a long coat for £35, and as an extra gift from me, I’ll send your parcel, in the UK, for FREE.

Email me from this blog to buy a coat, or if you have a query, or if you need me to measure for you.

If you’re looking for unusual gifts for your friends and family, why not consider a magical story, written by The Riverbank Witch. You can find of all of my books on their pages. Signed books are available directly from me, and like the pixie coats, as an extra gift, if you request a signed one, I’ll post to the UK for free.

Thanks so much for dropping in and I do hope I shall be hearing from you.

Writing News

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Apologies for being totally useless at getting my newsletter organised this year, where I’d be sharing with you all the news about my writing as it happens, but I seem to have started infinite plate spinning early on in the year, and am only just taking a few down so I can manage the rest.

It’s been brilliant having the first three books in the Lizzie Martin Witch Lit series to share! The Naked Witch has 25 reviews, the others, 9 and 10 respectively, and I’m hoping to double all those totals in 2020.

If you’re new to Witch Lit, I often get asked what it is, and why I decided to write it…

I believe the best description is borrowed from Chick Lit. Stories with a heroine-centred narrative focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists. These women live in a modern world, coping with work and home life. The books are peppered with a smattering of light heartedness and humour. All you have to do is substitute ‘witch’ for ‘chick’.

Witch Lit is contemporary, magical realism, where the magical and the mundane co-exist. The stories are gritty and believable while magic is sprinkled through the stories, offering the reader a new perspective on reality.

In response to why I write it, why wouldn’t I want to write about a woman who can hold down a full time job, single parent a fourteen year old daughter, raise money for the local children’s hospice and knock three coconuts off a shy…on a bad day? Why not write stories about passionate, earthy women, living real lives and embarking on wild, wonderful and outrageous adventures?

Characters with an underlying sense of their own spirituality are fascinating to read about and even more compelling to write about. Stories emerge from a different perspective but are set in the familiar world the reader inhabits.

Unlike Chick Lit, Witch Lit women do away with the sweet, sickly or fluffy. Their passion, determination and creativity shine through the stories, though none are averse to a well-rounded buttock or a chiselled jaw. Witch Lit isn’t anti-men but Witch Lit women’s lives don’t revolve wholly around their presence or absence.

The Witch Lit anthology came out this year too, a cornucopia of delightful stories, poems and essays, including my short story ‘The Butterfly Door’. All profits from this anthology go to Books for Africa.

This year I’ve completed the fourth book in the Lizzie Martin Witch Lit Series, The Eloquent Witch, and am on the verge of completing the fifth aswell, The Able Witch. Once book five is complete, I shall write book six and then publish all three books in close succession.

I’ve had two stories published by Zimbell House Publishing in their anthologies ‘Unleashing the Gods’ and ‘1969’

I wrote ‘The Crocodile Brooch’ for the steampunk story, and ‘Sister Moon’ for the story set in the sixties.

I’ve a short story ‘Charlotte’s Ghost’ in this year’s Ghostly Rites 2019, published by Plaisted Publishing House. These stories are scary!

I’m working on two new short stories at the moment, as well as finishing my novel, and I’ll keep you updated on their progress.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the catch up on my writing and publication progress. Do let me know if you’d like me to update you on other aspects of my writing, inspiration, writing process and characters. You can find all the books listed above on my Amazon Author page here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06

or for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06

Ghostly Rites is not yet linked to my page as it’s a new release, but you can find it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ghostly-Rites-2019-Plaisted-Publishing-ebook/dp/B07ZQV2Y4Q

or here https://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Rites-2019-Plaisted-Publishing-ebook/dp/B07ZQV2Y4Q

Thank you for your patience. Happy reading! Bright blessings xx

 

Plant based recipe of the week – week 12 – Gluten Free Bread

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I know it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve found, tried and tested a whole food, gluten free bread recipe that’s really tasty….and it works!

The original recipe is from Lilykoi Hawaii on YouTube, a vlogger who I follow and have learned an awful lot from, especially about nutrition and the workings of the gut. You can find her and her videos here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7ZkWBYAAMKgcl1eMjCt3jQ

This bread recipe was originally for a bread maker, but this method works, and cooks the loaf right through.

Gluten Free Bread

 1 cup brown rice

1 cup groats

1 cup rolled oats (I used porridge oats)

½ cup millet

½ cup buckwheat (I used gluten free plain flour blend)

Blend all the above and place in a large bowl.

Grind 4 tablespoons whole flax seeds and add to the bowl. (Makes approx. 5 tablespoons of ground seeds)

3 tablespoons of psyllium husk powder

½ tspn salt

2 tablespoons sweetener (I used coconut sugar)

 

Mix all together.

 

Add 1 tablespoon instant yeast

3 cups of water, all in together

1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses (optional)

 

Mix well with a spoon and don’t stop!

 

Into 11/2 pound loaf tin (I used a silicon one)

Place in warm oven in the middle for 30 minutes.

Turn the heat up for a further hour, approx. 350 – 375 degrees.

A few tips….

If you’re using a metal tin, grease it lightly first.

Leave loaf in tin to cool before turning out.

If using the silicon loaf ‘tin’ and you don’t want your loaf to bulge like mine did, you can put a couple of tins in the oven on either side of the loaf, to stop it spreading out so much.

My loaf needed the full half an hour in a warm oven, and a full hour baking. On one trial, I was worried it was burning because I could smell it (I think it’s the molasses making it smell!) and I took it out ten minutes early and it was a bit damp in the middle.

Find someone to share this loaf with, because it doesn’t freeze well, or you can do as I do which is to enjoy the loaf for three or four days, and then use what’s left for breadcrumbs to make five minute mushroom burgers. Here’s the recipe https://wendysteele.com/2017/11/27/plant-based-recipe-of-the-week-week-1/

I love the flavour of this bread! It works well as toast too. I’m going to experiment over the next couple of weeks, using half the mixture to make a loaf and the other half to make a pizza base….I’ll let you know how I get on.

Do pop back for more recipes, healthy eating tips and ideas, updates on our house renovation and all the news about my writing and books. Be sure to share this website to anyone else who might be interested in the world of Wendy Woo. Bright blessings to you all xx

 

Living in the country – Needing to react 2

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We have five stone built buildings on our land, plus a couple of sheds, as well as a range of wood and tin barns. Our original plan when moving to Wales in the summer of 2013, was to focus on the main house first, and once that was done, we’d work on sorting out our field and building a shower and toilet block to offer a camping retreat, and a retirement income for us. But in February 2015, the front of the byre attached to the house came down in a storm and the tin roof blew away, exposing the delicate, fragile roof timbers.

 Our plans had to change, we threw all our time and money into saving the byre. Once the builders had left, it was down to us to lime mortar the walls, inside and out, and then begin applying the layers of lime wash that keep the building watertight.

After last week’s flooding, and water coming up into our lounge, we’ve backed off from our plans to complete our growing room, to grow vegetables throughout the year, and switched our focus to finishing lime washing the byre, and lime mortaring and repairing the kitchen and lean to at the back of the house, ready for the winter. This later extension wasn’t built as well as the main house, so we’re going to need to dismantle the stones above the kitchen window and rebuild it, but this weekend, we made a start.

There was a lot of rain in Wales over the weekend, so I didn’t manage as much as I’d hoped. The front of the byre has another coat of lime wash. Lime mortaring the end kitchen wall is underway. I’ll need a dry day to lime mortar the back wall, as dripping off the tin roof makes it impossible.

While the rain poured down, I weeded and cleared the last remnants from our raised beds and covered with cardboard, weighed down with stones. My partner, Mike, has some of the framework up on the inside of the lean to, ready to take the new roof panels, but we can’t take the old roof of until we can see two dry days in the forecast…we might have to wait a while.

It’s been a busy weekend, but a frustrating one in so many respects, as the rain and the daylight leaving so early have thwarted much of what we hoped to achieve. Join me again for more updates, as we renovate and repurpose our land, here on our little hillside in mid Wales.

Ghostly Rites Anthology 2019 – meet the author Lynn Mullican

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The Ghostly Rites Anthology 2019 (and the name has changed!) is almost here! I’ve invited one of the authors, Lynn Mullican, to share a little of her writing life and inspiration on my blog, and I’m looking forward to finding out how another writer writes! Welcome Lynn…

1 How do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I do not outline my stories. I have a plot and story line but as my story progresses, my characters tell me and show me what they are going to say and do. I do, however, have a set ending for every story, otherwise, my story would just continue to grow.

Other writers often ask, are you a planner or a panster, so it’s great to meet another author who is half and half!

2 Do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I usually start out with a cup of coffee in my skull mug. I keep my office fairly dim when I write, that way I can create a slightly darker atmosphere, since my most of my writing is on the darker side.

3 Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

Hmm, I’m a bit OCD, nothing to the extreme but there are a few things I’m particular about, double checking locks on doors, putting my remote controls together in a particular way, and I’m sure there’s more. 😉 My due date was on October 31st, Halloween but I was born two days later on the Day of the Dead, November 2nd. My day job and my writing are both a bit on the darker side. I have to research and investigate fatalities. I enjoy archery and the outdoors. I studied martial arts with my family. I was studying for my brown belt in Kenpo when I had to step out of it due to a couple of reasons, primarily because of a knee injury I sustained several years prior. I was born with a disability and had to wear braces on my legs because of it.

I wonder how much your birth date has influenced your writing? Fascinating stuff. Gutting you’ve had to give up martial arts but archery, especially outdoors, sounds like fun!

4 If you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

My bow and arrows, pen and paper, and a boat. 😉

5 On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

  1. The Green Mile by Stephen King, as a reminder that even through the difficult times, you can always find a friend, even if it is a mouse.
  2. Boys Life by Robert McCammon because it’s always good to remember where you came from and to persevere.
  3. Edgar Allan Poe’s Complete Collection because I don’t think I read the entire book. Plus, there are some great stories in there.
  4. The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice because I haven’t read the series and I was told they are good books.
  5. Lightning by Dean Koontz. I’ve read this book three times and it will continue to be a favorite of mine.

Interesting choices. Thanks, Lynn.

 6 Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

 Anthony Hopkins

Fabulous actor, and I bet he has great tales to tell about Hollywood and the stars.

 7 Your current writing projects?

I’m currently working on many projects, one of which I feel is way overdue, my novel The Shadow of Evil. I’m also working on the fourth book in the Bad Elements series, Rise of the Underground. I have also started a spinoff of the Bad Elements series, Immortal Blessings.

 I have several short stories in the works, The Awakening III, Raven’s Hill III, and a few others.

Wow! You are a busy lady!

 8 Feel free to share with us your published work and links, so we can find them…

 

My short story, Where the Streets Have No Name, will be coming out in the Ghostly Rites 2019 Anthology. I also have two more short stories, From the Pen to the Grave and From the Dance to the Grave, which will be coming out soon. These two short stories will only be available in E-Book format.

Some of my other books include; the Bad Elements series, Crystal Dragon, Blood for Blood, and The Hybrid Unleashed.

My short stories series include; Raven’s Hill and Raven’s Hill’s: The Ritual, The Awakening, and The Awakening II: Nexus. My Raven’s Hill stories can also be found in The Ghostly Writes Valentine’s Anthology 2017 and the Ghostly Writes 2017 Anthology.

 Other short stories include; Sacrificial Blood and Zero Sixx.

 https://www.facebook.com/Author.LynnMullican/?fref=ts

http://lynnmullican.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/lynnmullican

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4842137.Lynn_Mullican?from_search=true

https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Mullican/e/B0055WRN3U?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1572037482&sr=1-1

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/lynn+mullican?_requestid=2596149

https://books.apple.com/us/author/lynn-mullican/id1302690845?ign-mpt=uo%253D4&mt=11#see-all/books

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=lynn+mullican

https://www.24symbols.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&search=lynn+mullican&commit=

https://www.scribd.com/search?content_type=books&page=1&query=lynn%20mullican&language=1

https://play.playster.com/search?text=lynn%20mullican&filters=books%26audiobooks

https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=lynn+mullican

Thank you so much, Lynn for joining me on the blog. It’s really lovely to meet you.

Don’t forget, the Ghostly Rites Anthology is nearly here! Look out for more blog posts in the next few days!

Here’s the first link to the anthology https://books2read.com/b/mv2Vvz?fbclid=IwAR26KQhAcEmRWTNWSzJ-Bz9dLYGf2KwNxYKj9g2H9fRxIMnbMXrY3NRYRZc