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Welcome

Belle Sketch

 

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 young adults with special needs and learning challenges.

Currently, I am working on novels inspired by my love of archaeology and mythology set to be released in 2021. I am also a contributing writer for various mainstream websites, main writer/creator  of  BelindaWitzenhausen.com  and WriterzBlox.net, a partner at Professor Owl’s Book Corner, main reviewer at Boho & Bookish and Urban Word Nerd as well as Creativity Coach at IgniteYourCreativity.net.


*Updates*

Due to courses and writing I will be taking a brief hiatus.  Please be advised I am fully booked (pardon the pun) and unavailable to accept further book review requests until Spring 2021


© Belinda Witzenhausen, 2009-2020. 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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Following Your Dreams at Any Age #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, heart-warming 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 Eric Lahti, Peter Nena, Shilpa Garg, Roshan Radhakrishnan, and Sylvia Stein. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


“There is nothing better in life than being a late bloomer. Success can happen at any time and at any age. You can have a spiritual awakening and discover a new side of yourself. And best of all, love can happen at any age.” ~ Salma Hayek, actress

Where is the unwritten law that says if you’re past “XX” years old it’s too late for you to reach your goals or do what you love? I’ve been blessed to have people in my life who haven’t let anything stop them from following their dreams, especially not their age.  One thing I have learned from them is if you want something badly enough you will find a way to make it happen, you may have to approach it differently, but with age comes wisdom that can help you along your journey!

These seniors are living proof that it’s never too late to learn, to grow and to succeed!

At 80 years young, Ernestine Shepherd defies the stereotype of what it is to be a body builder. Ernestine after making a promise to her sister has dedicated her days to bodybuilding, setting records and empowering other women of all ages to get into the gym. Spending more than 30 hours each week training she has earned the nickname “Granny Six-Pack”.

At 81, Masako Wakamiya from Kanagawa, Japan, was frustrated by the lack of game apps for senior citizens. She decided to take matters into her own hands, taught herself how to code and created her own game app called Hinadan, inspired by a traditional Japanese doll festival. Now at 84, self-described “IT evangelist and digital creator” is empowering other senior citizens to make the most of technology. Goes to show that you’re never too old to learn technology!

From CNN: How an 83-year-old found a new lease on life developing mobile apps

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot, novelist

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke #Fantasy #MagicRealism

 

Piranesi

by Susanna Clarke

Release date: September 15th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Piranesi
by Susanna Clarke from NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

…so exquisitely unique and brilliant that it takes on a life of its own…

Every once in a while, a book comes along that is so exquisitely unique and brilliant that it takes on a life of its own, and for me Piranesi is just such a book. I loved Susanna Clarke’s last book “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” and was thrilled to see Piranesi listed on NetGalley.  I love everything about Piranesi it is so vastly different and beautifully written I could not put it down. From beginning to end the book is so quirky and complex it is almost impossible to summarize in a way that doesn’t ruin the unfolding story for the reader.

Our narrator, Piranesi lives in the halls of a massive labyrinth, he does not remember anything other than living in the Labyrinth and his only human company is “The Other,” whom he meets with regularly but does not know which part of the Labyrinth he comes from only that he is a scientist of sorts and he asks Piranesi collects data about the Labyrinth for him. Other than his research, Piranesi lives a simple life, he roams the statue lined corridors fishing and scavenging from the flooded levels of the labyrinth during high tide. He communes with the sea birds and cares for the skeletons that reside in the alcoves.  He eagerly listens to the messages the labyrinth sends him looking for wisdom of who he is while flashes from a life lost long ago make him question his reality.   Such a complex novel with a brilliant unfolding story filled with intrigue, ancient magic, victories and tragedies. I highly recommend.

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Meet #LateBloomer, Lynn Ruth Miller, the World’s “Oldest Performing #Comedienne”#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, heart-warming 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 Hartz, Peter Nena Shilpa Garg, Roshan Radhakrishnan, and Sylvia Stein. To learn more about #WATWB or to join us click here!


“It’s never too late to give up what you are doing and start doing what you realize you love.”~ Hans Rosling

With the events of this year still playing out, I thought we could all use a good laugh. What better way for us to warm our hearts than to hear about a woman defying the stereotypes of  what it is to be a “little old lady”. Lynn Ruth Miller approaches life with zest and humour sharing her comedic talents on both tv and the stage.  Getting into comedy at the age of 71 she has defied the odds and gained recognition throughout the world. Lynn Ruth Miller dubbed the “new Joan Rivers” has won The Time Out and Soho Theatre (TO&ST) Award in 2014; 2015 Old Comedian finalist; made the top 100 in the UK in Britain’s Got Talent, won People’s Choice in 2009; 2015 Liberty Award Leicester Comedy Festival; semi-finals in the SF International Comedy Competition and Star of the Brighton Fringe Festival in 2009 and the finals in Bill Word’s Funniest Female Contest 2009. At 86 Lynn Ruth Miller does not look like she is slowing down and hopes to inspire and pave the way for the older generation to be able to pursue a new life or a new career and know it’s never too late.  Check out her story Here!

Here are links to Lynn Ruth Miller’s social media and website, check her out!

http://www.lynnruthmiller.net/

Instagram:@lynnruth82

Twitter:@lynnruth

 

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Moggie and Dublin: #Cats looking to find their “Furever” families! #Toronto #Ontario #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief #Adoptdontshop


Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief is looking for two separate loving “furever” families for these two adorable fur-babies.

Meet Moggie

moggie

Moggie is a tiny little girl with a big personality. We’re not exactly sure of her age but guessing around 5. She was found roaming the streets for some time. Moggie was in a cat fight and sustained injuries and developed an abscess but she is fine now. We did test her for FeLV and FIV and tests came back negative. She is declawed, so at one point she did have a family that we were unable to trace. Like many declawed cats, it takes some time to reassure her that she is in no danger and to make her feel comfortable.

Meet Dublin

 

Dublin

Dublin, a big boy looking for a kingdom to rule, with servants. He is about 3 1/2, vet checked, neutered, vaccinated and he’s also had dental work done. He is one of many that an elderly, frail couple had surrendered as they can no longer look after them. Dublin developed an abscess from a cat fight which resulted in a pretty large wound on his head, which is still healing. Very affectionate, he prefers the company of people over cats, so a single home would be ideal. Of course, with a proper, slow introduction he would adjust to a home with another cat, preferably female.

If you’re in the Toronto/GTA area and one of those people who would love to have one of these sweethearts join their family please contact Katherine of Scarborough Bluffs Cat relief at 647-476-4797 or via email at scarboroughbluffscatrelief@gmail.com

***Please note: GTA/Toronto adoptions preferred***

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#Netgalley #BookReview 27 Essential Principles of Story by Daniel Joshua Rubin #Writing #Plot #Characters #Non-Fiction

Review

27 Essential Principles of Story

Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park

by Daniel Joshua Rubin

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of “27 Essential Principles of Story Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park” by Daniel Joshua Rubin from Netgalley and Workman Publishing, in order to read and give an honest review.

… Well-written, informative and down to earth, Mr. Rubin gives us wonderful tools to help writers fully develop and expand their storytelling…

Multi-Media Writer, Playwright and Yale graduate, Daniel Joshua Rubin, gives us a masterclass in his book 27 Essential Principles of Story. Reading this I knew that it would be one of those books I would constantly refer to time and again. Well-written, informative and down to earth, Mr. Rubin gives us wonderful tools to help writers fully develop and expand their storytelling.

The book is divided into three sections Plot, Characterization and Setting, Dialogue, Theme.  The author teaches us 27 valuable tools by dissecting scenes that reference many popular books, comic books, tv series and movies everything from Shakespeare and Finding Nemo, to Breaking Bad and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. Mr. Rubin illustrates each principle and follows up with exercises as well as mini quizzes to help writers master each example and really understand the core of each principle.

As I mentioned previously, this is a book, I will be referring to time and again. Recently challenged with a character in a current work in progress, I particularly loved and needed his principle “Peel the onion” about approaching creating characters in a more holistic manner and it has really helped. I can’t say enough about this book and would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn the nitty gritty of successful storytelling.

 

 

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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Bone Hunger (Benjamin Oris #2) by Carrie Rubin #Thriller #Medical # Psychological

 

Review

The Bone Hunger

(Benjamin Oris #2)

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: August 11th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Bone Hunger (Benjamin Oris, Book 2) by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and Indigo Dot Press in order to read and give an honest review.

…in this brilliantly executed, clever, page turning psychological medical thriller…

Having read and reviewed the Author’s first book Bone Curse I was thrilled to get to read and review her second entry in the Dr. Benjamin Oris series. I am pleased to say Bone Hunger definitely did not disappoint. This is an excellent follow up but is also a perfect stand alone.

The Bone Hunger takes place three years after the horrifying events which occurred in the Bone Curse. Ben Otis has worked hard to get his professional life back on track. Working as a second year orthopedic surgical resident who is brought in to be part of a tightly knit surgical team run by the prestigious Dr. Lock. The team endured a horrific trauma and although the odd man out Ben is earning the respect of Dr. Lock and his colleagues. When a patient dies post op Ben is upset, but events take a gruesome turn. While out jogging with his family they find a severed leg with the implant Ben himself put in which Ben recognizes as his deceased patient’s lying in the morgue. When another patient goes missing and their amputated limb is found this time harvested from a once living patient Ben’s past reputation puts him on the detective’s radar. Without giving away too much this book takes surprising twists and turns when the body count goes up. When an old friend, Laurette, introduces Ben to a well-respected forensic psychologist the race is on to catch the killer, clear Ben’s name and save his loved ones.

Being a physician, author Carrie Rubin gives you the goods in this brilliantly executed, clever, page turning psychological medical thriller. Cannot wait to read the next in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend!

 

 

 

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Two Cuddly Feline Fur-babies Looking for Their “Furever” Home! #Toronto #kitten #cat #AdoptDontShop #ScarboroughBluffsCatRelief

 

Meet Lincoln!

Lincoln

Meet the sweetest kitten EVER!
Lincoln is about 14 weeks old and is one of most affectionate little boys you’ll ever know. Also called Linc for short, this fella is a real stunner with his silky soft marble tabby coat. He has the most expressive face with pretty pale olive eyes, and the most kissable kitten belly.
This little social butterfly almost never stops purring. His purring has been known to penetrate doors! All Lincoln wants to do is to cuddle and play all day long. He loves to be picked up and will curl up into your neck or on your shoulder. When it’s bedtime, he will sit right on your chest or next to your head and nuzzle into your ear, purring you to sleep. He is not picky with toys and will play with anything and anyone. Although, he prefers to chase toys on a string, he will also happily baff balls and toy mice around the room by himself. Whenever you’re having a bad day, Linc is guaranteed to make you laugh and put a smile back on your face.His mother, Porsche, was abandoned outdoors heavily pregnant when her family moved away. Fortunately, some kind neighbours noticed and Porsche was brought into foster care where she gave birth to Lincoln and his siblings at the end of March.Lincoln is dewormed, flea and parasite free, and will be vaccinated prior to adoption. Adopters will be able to have him neutered at a rescue-discount rate through Scarborough Bluffs Cat Relief when he turns 6 months old. Preference will be given to local, experienced pet owners who may already have a social and playful cat for Lincoln to befriend. If you are interested in giving Lincoln his forever home, please contact us at scarboroughbluffscatrelief@gmail.com. Adoption fees apply.
For more on this sweet little guy… click here


Meet Porsche!Porshe
She is as sweet as she is pretty and petite.

This affectionate grey tabby girl with the most stunning bright green eyes is just looking for love. Once Porsche gets to know you and can tell you want to be her friend, she will cuddle up next to you and melt into a puddle. This sweetheart loves face and neck scratchies. She will headbutt your hand asking you to pet and stroke her. She meows and walks up to you as soon as you come through the door.

Porsche had a bit of a rough start. She was abandoned in a garage, heavily pregnant, when her owners moved away. Luckily, some kind neighbours noticed and got in touch with our rescue. Soon after, she gave birth to seven kittens despite practically still being a kitten herself. We estimate she’s only about a year old. She did an excellent job teaching her babies to use the litterbox as she is very tidy herself. Porsche loves her food and treats. She is an insatiable little vacuum — really food-motivated. While she currently still needs to put on a little more weight, she must be fed portioned meals instead of free-feeding to avoid becoming overweight in the future. Fortunately, meal times are done in the blink of an eye. She’s been an incredible doting mom, but her kittens are grown now and it’s time for Porsche to find her new family… and this time, forever.

Porsche is dewormed, flea and parasite free, and will be ready for adoption very soon. She will be vaccinated and spayed before adoption. For more info or if you are interested in giving Porsche a forever home, please contact us at scarboroughbluffscatrelief@gmail.com or call Katherine at 647-476-4797.

For more about this adorable girl click here

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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Insider by Craig Schaefer (@craig_schaefer) #Thriller #Mystery

Review

The Insider Cover

The Insider

by Craig Schaefer

Release Date: July 7th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Insider by Craig Schaefer from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in order to read and give an honest review.

I’m a recent fan of Craig Schaefer having been introduced through his book, Ghosts of Gotham, which I reviewed here. Although I haven’t read The Loot the first book in the series, I found this perfect as a stand-alone.

In book two, Charlie McCabe is working with Dom and Beckett as part of the Boston Asset Protection Agency as a bodyguard hired on two separate cases. The first case revolves around protecting an author and all-around narcissistic jerk, Lincoln Gable, who is on a promotion tour for his controversial book. The second case is a bit more complex involving keeping alive the prime witness, Hayden Cobb, a witness to a murder case involving three dirty cops known as the East Boston Three. While under Boston Asset’s protection in a secret location an attempt is made on his life. To Charlie and crew it appears there is a leak somewhere in the DA’s office and rumours of a fourth dirty cop who could be the one trying to silence Cobb forever. When a member of mob boss’s Jimmy Lassiter’s crew is falsely imprisoned as the hit man, he blackmails Charlie to exonerate him,putting one of her loved ones in danger. Running out of time Charlie is almost pushed too far. Along the way there are so many intriguing and interesting players that show up at the race this book is definitely one wild ride.

I absolutely loved everything about this book, the strong, intelligent, resilient yet flawed female characters, the pacing, his twisty plot turns that draw you in and keep you voraciously reading until the end. Filled with murder, mayhem and amazing plot twists which will throw you for a loop this is a fantastic book which I highly recommend!