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Welcome

 

Hello, I’m Belinda (McGrath) Witzenhausen and in a nutshell; I am a Writer, Creativity Coach, Artist, Student, Bookworm, History Geek, Armchair Archaeologist, Amateur Photographer, Coffee Connoisseur & Hubby’s Grossly Under-Paid Bass Roadie. 😉

I have always enjoyed helping others, as well as being creative. Both my education and work history have revolved around social services, counselling, art therapy, coaching and expressing my creativity be it through writing, art or photography.

Over the years I have been blessed to cross paths with many interesting and creative people who have been a source of inspiration. I love life and try to make sure that each of my days is touched by the creative process. I make it my mission to help others heal by igniting their creativity, as well as acting as an advocate for children and young adults with special needs and learning challenges.

Currently, I am working on an Urban Fantasy novel to be released 2019 and am a contributing writer for various mainstream websites, main writer/creator/coach at www.IgniteYourCreativity.netwww.WriterzBlox.net, a partner at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, main reviewer at www.bohoandbookish.wordpress.com and www.UrbanWordNerd.wordpress.com.


© Belinda Witzenhausen, 2009-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Belinda Witzenhausen with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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New #Book Release & Interview with Author Mari L. McCarthy of @CreateWriteNow #Journaling #HealYourSelfWithJournaling

I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview Mari L. McCarthy, Founder of CreateWriteNow.com and discuss her new book Heal Your Self With Journaling Power!

Welcome, Mari! 

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Please tell us a bit about yourself and your new book, Heal Your Self With Journaling Power.

I started Journaling for physical therapy reasons over 20 years ago, when I lost most feeling and function on the right side of my body and I needed a “procedure” to teach myself how to write with my left hand immediately, if not sooner. I met a hypnotherapist at a party who recommended I do Morning Pages, Julia Cameron’s brainchild from her bestseller, The Artist’s Way. And I was off. I became a legible left-handed writer very quickly because I remembered I was a left-hand dominant child but the nuns at St. Bernard’s Grade School made me switch. And the memories kept coming up. I couldn’t wait to get to the page even after discovering MIC (My Inner Critic) because I was uncovering who I really was: Talented, creative, and…. I knew I had to share this free, fantastic drug with the world, so I set up CreateWriteNow.com. Today I show health conscious people how to use Journaling for the Health of it to heal the issues in their tissues and to grow and transform their lives.

My new book, Heal Your Self With Journaling Power presents the Journaling Journeys of 10 talented men and women and how they use Journaling to master life’s challenges.

What was the inspiration behind your new book?

Several years back, I created an eBook, Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul which was a compilation of 17 Journalers and their Journaling Journeys. On my blog, Mari’s Journaling Power Blog, I was posting more and more awesome Journaling Journeys guest blog posts and my Journal (I trust her for everything) told me it was time to share their stories about the ultimate self-healing tool, Journaling.

Is this an extension of your award-winning book Journaling Power?

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Yes. It is the 2nd book in the Journaling Power trilogy. Journaling Power was my self-help memoir with unique and soul-searching prompts and Heal Your Self With Journaling Power is the self-help memoir of just some of the many people who use Journaling as their #1 self-care tool. And again, lots of unique and soul-searching prompts and exercises.

You’re a very busy person, what does your average work/writing day look like, how do you fit it all in?

I have a daily routine (Monday – Friday; weekends are for me, me, me) that builds in plenty of Me time. I have found that my muses need structure. No technological device gets turned on until I’ve journaled and meditated and eaten if I’m hungry. I keep daily goals and continually check back and reorganize my goals list so that I stay on top of things rather than letting people, places and things overwhelm me.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a writer and how do you overcome them?

Managing me. I have a preexisting condition called self-sabotage and I know that I must stay connected to my core at all times so I don’t allow myself to get sucked into fear, overwhelm, inner critics, an overly analytical head etc.

What message do you hope your readers walk away with after reading your book?

That we are universes of infinite possibilities and by using our Journal, we discover, uncover and recover our true self and power and can create the life WE want. As one of the journalers in Heal Your Self With Journaling Power says “we are in the driver’s seat.”

Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?

Online, I’m home at CreateWriteNow.com and would love to hear from anyone who wants to learn how to use Journaling For The Health Of It to heal the issues in their tissues and create the happy, healthy life they want to live. I’m starting to envision and strategize the 3rd book in the Journaling Power trilogy, Create Self-Love Write Now-A Journaling Power Book. I have a front cover designed, next up is to create the back cover then the outline.

About Mari

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Mari L. McCarthy is the Founder and Chief Empowerment officer of CreateWriteNow.com. She provides books, workbooks, and personal power sessions to help writers discover the mental, physical, and spiritual health benefits of journaling. She has authored 22 “Journaling Power” eWorkbooks and created numerous “Journaling Power Challenges” that have helped thousands of writers heal, grow, and transform their lives.

 

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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth A Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Leonard Goldberg #Historical #Mystery

Review

The Disappearance Of Alistair Ainsworth Cover

The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth

A Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mystery

by Leonard Goldberg

Release date: June11th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Disappearance of Alistair Ainsworth
A Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Leonard Goldberg from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/MacMillan in order to read and give an honest review.

” A face-paced, intelligent and brilliant read that will keep you turning pages…”

In this instalment of the Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series, the daughter of the now deceased Sherlock Holmes is yet pulled into another investigation. A visit from an old colleague of Watson’s and his subsequent murder put the ball in motion.  Joanna Blalock along with Sherlock’s old partner Watson and Watson’s son, set on a mission to save a WWI a kidnapped British cryptographer, Alistair Ainsworth, from the Germans before he is forced to reveal secrets that could put the country in peril.   Working closely with a diverse and interesting crew of cohorts, they run up against interesting puzzles, unique, almost unbreakable codes, mysterious affairs and are faced with plenty of challenges along the way.

Having read the previous books in the Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series I have to say I really enjoyed this instalment. My one comment, not a complaint necessarily, is the addition of Joanna’s son Johnny, from her first marriage which left her widowed. Although it often offered levity to the story, in my opinion, I found their interactions a bit stiff even for the child/parent dynamic of the time.

I have always been a fan of authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Cristie, in my opinion, Mr Goldberg has found his way into that circle thus making it a fantastic series for fans of Sherlock Holmes.  This book would be great as a stand-alone, but I do recommend reading the first two as they are both fantastic reads and help the reader get inside the brilliant mind that is Joanna Blalock. Although the books have some violence I feel they are suitable for most ages.  A face-paced, intelligent and brilliant read that will keep you turning pages!

#WATWB, Art, Creativity, Personal Development, Quotes, Writing

Bringing the #Healing Power of #Art to Sick #Children #WATWB

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Damyanti BiswasSimon FalkShilpa GargMary J. Giese , and Dan Antion.

To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


I am a huge believer in the healing power of art and when watching the video from the CHILDREN’S HEALING ART PROJECT (CHAP) I am convinced. An art program in Portland Oregan designed to help children impacted by a diagnosis, disease, or special needs lose themselves in creating.

 The Children’s Healing Art Project was founded by artist Frank Etxaniz in 2006. Frank was in a serious bus accident in 1989 left his consulting firm, and returned to school to for art, healing himself by doing what he loved. In the 90s  he was involved with AIDS organizations in LA, New York and Berlin and was co-publisher of “100 Legends,” an art portfolio containing the work of AIDS patients. Initially Frank began visiting the hospital’s cancer wing for a few hours a month with a case of art supplies. As of 2017 CHAP provides 40 hours a week at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Oregon Health & Science University’s Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center, Knight Cancer Institute and Pediatric Neurosurgery Clinic. CHAP also hosts art clubs for children with chronic illnesses or medical challenges.

To learn more about CHAP please check out their website: https://chappdx.org

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Romanov by Nadine Brandes #YA #Historical #Fantasy #Teens

Review

Romanov

by Nadine Brandes

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Release date: May 7th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Romanov
by Nadine Brandes from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson–FICTION in order to read and give an honest review.

“…Well crafted, emotional, heartbreaking and at times comical, Brandes shapes a touching story with magical fantasy and young romance…”

New to author Nadine Brandes’s work, I have to say I really enjoyed it. Taking the historical story of the Romanovs, the tale about their demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks and the rumours that initially the bodies of the youngest two were never found. Brandes tells an alternate history of their lives and pulls an author’s favourite trick…asking “what if” Brandes posits that the two managed to survive and tells the story of the events that followed.

The story follows the exile of Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei. In this story, they are not painted as the family of tyrants but as a loving, patriotic family who believes in the power of forgiveness and showing kindness to all, even your enemies. Romanticized the story is told from the POV of the spirited and mischievous daughter, Anastasia Romanov who struggles to be brave and find forgiveness.

Well crafted, emotional, heartbreaking and at times comical, Brandes shapes a touching story with magical fantasy and young romance weaved in. Although not as accurate as some may like, to me this was definitely fiction, a story inspired by the facts. I think it takes talent and creativity to take a story down a different path away from what is and into what may have been.  I loved it and would definitely recommend it to anyone who craves something a bit different.

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Middlegame by Seanan McGuire #SciFi #UrbanFantasy #Alchemy

Review

Middlegame

by Seanan McGuire

Release date: May 7th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Middlegame by Seanan McGuire from NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge in order to read and give an honest review.

Being an avid fan of Seanan McGuire already, I have to say she has definitely outdone herself. McGuire’s books have it all, perfect prose, brilliant plots, engaging worlds and multi-faceted characters and the same is true for her new book, Middlegame.

As always this dark and whimsical story like most of her work is so well written and incredibly intelligent that it fully engages you with topics that challenge you on all levels.

James Reed an alchemist and apprentice to the once great Asphodel Baker who created him. Reed becomes convinced that he can create and control a diety that would give him control and power.  He decides to create twins, each an important half of a whole, but to keep them together in the past has not produced the results he’s desired.  Enter his middle set of twins, Roger Middleton and Dodger Cheswich. Each perfect prodigies in their own areas. Roger, awkward and shy excels in languages, reading and making sense and meaning from words but struggles with mathematics.  Dodger is his opposite a passionate math genius who is isolated yet bold but struggles with English and reading. Even though placed on opposite sides of the country Roger in Massachusetts and Dodger in California one day she finds a way to open her mind and step inside of Rogers mind seeing the world through his eyes. Their quantum entanglement begins with them helping each other with homework but leads them to a friendship like no other.  Both become incredibly reliant on each other’s friendship but they are separated when the powers that be feel they are getting too close. The story unfolds complete with near-death experiences, chance encounters, murder, mayhem and time resets creating a brilliantly compelling and twisted plot that will keep you turning pages.

So unique this is a story unlike anything I have read and it definitely challenges the reader to step outside their comfort zone. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for something clever, exciting and brilliantly crafted.

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#NetGalley # BookReview Healing Body Meditations by Mike Annesley with Steve Nobel #Health #Mandalas #Meditation

Review

Healing Body Meditations

30 Mandalas to Enhance Your Health and Well-being

by Mike Annesley with Steve Nobel

 

Release date: May 7th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Healing Body Meditations 30 Mandalas to Enhance Your Health and Well-being by Mike Annesley with Steve Nobel from NetGalley and Inner Traditions/Findhorn Press in order to read and give an honest review.

“Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a must-have for all those who would like to have more balance in their lives and enhance their well-being.”

Whether you’re familiar with of meditation or new to the practice, Healing Body Meditations by Mike Annesley is a great book for all levels.

Although familiar with the chakra system, I really learned a lot of useful information here. The author gives detailed explanations of the symbolism behind each chakra, the body parts it corresponds to and how to determine if they are out of balance. Each section uses clever and well-designed mandalas, thirty in total, each with their own meditation designed to make the most of your practice.

Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a must-have for all those who would like to have more balance in their lives and enhance their well-being.

 

#WATWB, Art

Overcoming Adversity to Pursue Her Passion ~ Meet #Artist Mariam Pare #WATWB #Mouthpainter

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Welcome to the “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ). The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference we decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. We hope to share the stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming challenges and in general, the impressive resilience of the human spirit. For every dark, negative story out there, there is a positive, heartwarming story that will add some light and lift the human spirit. The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Lizbeth HartzPeter NenaShilpa GargEric Lahti, and  Inderpreet Kaur Uppal. 

To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!

From when Mariam was young her passions always revolved around art and it was her dream to be an artist when she grew up.  This passion for creating art continued throughout her teenage years, and she began attending college for art.  She was focused on pursuing her dream when in a split second her life changed for good. In 1996, at the age of 20 years old, she became the innocent victim of gang gun violence. While stopped at a stop sign in the driver’s seat of a friend’s car, gunfire erupted on the adjacent sidewalk and a stray bullet went through the door and struck Mariam in her neck paralyzing her instantly and changing her life forever.

So began a new life for Mariam, she was now a quadriplegic and would be spending months, if not years, in rehabilitation, painfully having to relearn how to do everyday activities that like most people, she had previously taken for granted.  Now in a  wheelchair, she had to learn to manoeuvre throughout her day, fighting to do simple things. One of the more difficult things for Mariam was to learn new ways of holding things with fingers that did not grip. She learned to use her mouth for daily tasks that required precision. Greatly missing her art, when a therapist taught Mariam to hold a pencil in her mouth she began by learning to write her name, sparking a revelation that perhaps this would be a way for her to paint as well. This revelation exposed Mariam to a way to pursue her passion, determined to paint, she worked hard, became an artist and is enjoying a successful career.

Watch this to get a glimpse of Mariam’s incredible talent…

Watch to see her meeting with her favourite actor and fellow artist Pierce Brosnan:

Check out her website here: http://www.mariampare.com/

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”

~Henry Ford

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Myths and Mortals (Numina#2) by Charlie N. Holmberg(@CNHolmberg )#UrbanFantasy #YA

Review

Myths and Mortals

Numina, Book 2

by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release date: April 16th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Myths and Mortals Numina, Book 2 by Charlie N. Holmberg from NetGalley and 47th North 

…created another brilliant series, one filled with brilliantly crafted plotlines, compelling and unique characters and her world building…

True to form Charlie Holmberg has created another brilliant series, one filled with brilliantly crafted plotlines, compelling and unique characters and her world building skills are well…out of this world! 

Myths and Mortals picks up right where Smoke and Summons left off.  Sandis is no longer a vessel for Ireth and living with the only family she has, her Uncle. Although grateful for having somewhere to go now that she is no longer a numina, she is still grieving, terrified and feels alone in the world.  Still destroyed by Rone’s betrayal and plagued by bad dreams of the vessels left behind and of Kolossus, a numen, who can destroy humanity. Although she lives her life doing unusual jobs for her corrupt Uncle. When she refuses a particularly unsavoury one, he kicks her out without anywhere to go, there is only one person she can think of…Rone.  Rone managed to get his mother across the border to safety and even though he had papers to join her, he has stayed behind.  Rone won’t rest until he knows Sandis is alright and he hopes to have her understand why he betrayed her. 

Although Sandis doesn’t completely trust Rone when they are hunted by an assassin and learn that  Kazen might still be alive and looking for a new vessel for Kolossus they team up.  The two start out trying to find the other vessels to save them from a fate worse than death. On their journey, they pick up allies and make enemies as they find clues to Kazan’s whereabouts all leading to one terrifying cliffhanger.
 

All in all, a fantastic, fun series that I would highly recommend for young and old alike.

Books

#NetGalley #Review of Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett #Teens #YA #Romance #Mystery

 

Review

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Serious Moonlight

by Jenn Bennett

Release date: April 16th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

“…filled with unique, quirky characters, incredible wit and it didn’t hurt she mentioned David Bowie a number of times…frankly, I was sold after that.”

I’ve been a fan of Jenn Bennett’s urban fantasy series and when this popped up on Net Galley even though it was YA, I thought I would give it a try.

I have to admit I really did enjoy this book. Like her other books, this was filled with unique, quirky characters, incredible wit and it didn’t hurt she mentioned David Bowie a number of times…frankly, I was sold after that.

Our main protagonist eighteen-year-old Birdie after the death of her mother is raised by her grandparents along with the assistance of her Mom’s eccentric best friend “Aunt Mona”.

After living with her grandparents, and under the watchful eye of her strict and very religious grandmother, Birdie becomes a very shy and introverted young woman. Being homeschooled, having strict rules, and not really knowing what true friendship is, Birdie’s view of the world and her experiences are very limited. After her grandmother passes, her grandfather who thankfully had bonded with Birdie over their love of mysteries, was a bit more laid-back allowing Birdie some freedom. At first, Birdie goes a bit wild having a one-night stand with a stranger which doesn’t turn out as expected. She struggles with her poor reaction to the situation, more so when she turns up at her first job, the graveyard shift at a famous hotel and said one-night stand, Daniel, is a co-worker. As Birdie tries to navigate “adulthood” her and nineteen-year-old Daniel strike up a friendship working on uncovering the truth behind a mysterious hotel guest that leads to a shocking and unexpected discovery.

All-in-all a fun, well written, character driven book, I would highly recommend it. Just a note to parent’s this book does contain sexual content as well as suicide but it is handled in a very responsible and tasteful manner.

 

Books

#Witchcraft and #SecretSocieties of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen by Nigel Pennick via #NetGalley #Review #NonFiction #Historical

 

Review

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Witchcraft and Secret Societies of Rural England

The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen

by

Nigel Pennick

Release date: April 9th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Witchcraft and Secret Societies of Rural England: The Magic of Toadmen, Plough Witches, Mummers, and Bonesmen
by Nigel Pennick from NetGalley and Inner Traditions/Destiny Books in order to read and give an honest review.

As a fantasy fiction writer, I have read some of Mr Pennick’s previous works as research material in the past, so this was right up my alley.

This author is prolific and knowledgeable when it comes to the folklore that surrounds paganism and it definitely shows in “Witchcraft and Secret Societies of Rural England”.  As always, the author’s work is interesting, very meticulously researched and it is evident beyond doubt that he is passionate about the subject matter.

Witchcraft and Secret Societies of Rural England” covers everything from the secret guilds that arose around trades to magic and folklore that surrounded witches. Sharing with the reader and giving us insight into their traditions and how they came to be.

Considering much of the history of these subjects was spread through oral tradition, being passed down through the generations, the author has discovered some very unique and interesting tales that are the origins of sayings or traditions still present today.  What really intrigued me was the folklore behind some of the artefacts that have survived, in particular, the “witch bottles” and “sprite traps”. Another impressive touch, which was particularly helpful, was the fact that the author included photographs and illustrations.

I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning about folklore and traditions that surround Anglo-Saxon paganism.