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Welcome

Belle BW

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, 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, inspiring and creative people who are my source of motivation. 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 2017 and am a contributing writer for various mainstream websites, main writer/creator/coach at www.IgniteYourCreativity.net, www.WriterzBlox.net and a partner at Professor Owl’s Book Corner .


© Belinda Witzenhausen, 2009-2017. 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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Springing into April!

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”~ Christopher Reeve

March came in like a lamb and definitely went out like a lion.  Last month saw some huge steps forward in a few projects. We relaunched ProfessorOwlsBookCorner.com  keeping our mission the same but slightly shifting the focus to also promote literacy and creativity. We have a certified literacy tutor sharing tips and exercises to help others with their reading skills and I will be sharing some exercises from my Creativity Coaching Programs which I will specifically design for young adults.

I’m also so proud to announce the launch of the “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB on March 31st 

The #WATWB was inspired by a simple conversation with writer, Damyanti Biswas about how all the negativity on social media was weighing on us. Wanting to make a difference Damyanti, myself, and a group of amazing bloggers decided to try to do our part to infuse social media with all the good stories that are out there. Our mission is to share stories that show kindness, compassion, hope, overcoming 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 #WATWB bloggers will share their stories and we invite all bloggers interested, to join us. To learn more about #WATWB and to sign up click here.

Moving forward at IgniteYourCreativity.net I’m working on two new programs to launch in May & July; “Ignite Your Core Creativity” and “Art as Therapy” both designed to help you embrace your passion, heal, and ignite your creativity. To make sure I stay out of trouble this month, I’ll also be taking archaeology,  forensic anthropology, history and palaeography courses, as well as working on copy-writing, book reviews, my current works in progress and volunteering.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t send a huge THANK YOU to all of my family and friends who’ve been constantly helpful, kind, enthusiastic and supportive especially this past month.  A special THANK YOU to  Mike Witzenhausen, Sylvia McGrath, Lynn Hallbrooks & Damyanti Biswas ~ You are rockstars!!!

“Life’s truest happiness is found in friendships we make along the way.”~Unknown

Time for me to sign off…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re living with passion and purpose!

Live, laugh & love! ❤

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”~Ralph Waldo Emerson

#WATWB #amwriting #researching #mystery #historicalfiction #urbanfantasy #learning #studying #archaeology #forensicanthropology #history #arttherapy #coaching #art #volunteering #palaeography #transcribing #amreading #photography #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

Art, Creativity, Information, Writing

Creating Art Gives Autistic Boy His Voice #WATWB

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Welcome to my first official “We are the World Blogfest” (#WATWB ) post. 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 Lynn Hallbrooks, Simon Falk, Sylvia McGrath, Damyanti Biswas and myself.

My story this month focuses on a young man who despite autism is making a positive name for himself through his art. Those who know me can tell you how passionate I am about the life-changing power of creative expression. Throughout the years, working in various aspects of social services as well as being a writer and artist, I have seen first-hand the healing, empowering and transformative power of expressing oneself in a creative way. Creative arts can give you an outlet, a way to communicate, confidence and the freedom to just “be”. It can help us be the best version of ourselves. There are so many stories of the benefits of creative expression however, this one story, in particular, caught my attention…Meet thirteen-year-old Niam Jain, who is autistic and only able to speak a few words. Watch his story about how his art not only impressed art experts everywhere but also gave him his voice!

Credit: The National ~ CBC News, Toronto, Canada

Check out Niam’s website niamjain.com

If you would like to learn more about art therapy and its benefits please check out: CATA/ACAT Canadian Art Therapy Association or Art Therapy Alliance (Global Resources)

For more information about #WATWB or to join us and help spread positive stories like this click here.

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Review of The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward via @sourcebooks

Review

The Girl from Rawblood

by Catriona Ward

Release date: March 7th, 2017


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Girl from Rawblood by Catriona Ward from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

To start off I must say that this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read and incredibly challenging to review. It is incredibly well written, unique and complex. It seems to pull from Gothic horror but it also is on the fringe of literary fiction in my opinion.  It has moments that can only be described as tragic and heartbreaking.  It does have some disturbing scenes that might make some squeamish but the story is much more than those scenes.

Set in 1910 in an old mansion, Rawblood, in Dartmoor, England, the premise rides on a family curse that is generations old. A bulk of the story is told by a young girl named Iris Villarcas, the “Girl from Rawblood”. Iris and her father are the only two left of their bloodline, most had fallen victim to the curse. They live isolated at Rawblood except for a helper and a young boy named Tom. The curse itself is initiated by falling in love and the feelings that it brings out. Iris’s father goes to all ends to protect her and establishes “the Rules” which she is told she must obey. When she is young and to a point, Iris follows “The Rules” until in her teenage years when she begins to have feelings for her only friend Tom and begins to rebel. Throughout the book, the point of view changes telling the story of those family members who came before. It takes a while to adjust to each narrator but the story does unfold in an interesting way.

I did enjoy this book but it is not something you read if you’re looking for a “quick and easy” read it is something you savour and let unravel in front of you.  I loved the author’s style but did find it a bit difficult to lose myself in at parts. I have to say for a debut novel The Girl from Rawblood is outstanding.

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Review of Alice and the Assassin by R.J. Koreto via @crookedlanebks

 

Review

Alice the Assassin

by R.J. Koreto

Release date: April 11, 2017


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Alice and the Assassin by R.J. Koreto from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

Set New York in 1902, protagonist 17-year-old Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of President Roosevelt is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Alice and Mr St.Clair, a former soldier, rancher and at present Alice’s assigned Secret Service Agent are drawn into solving the conspiracy of former President McKinley’s death. Spunky, strong willed and opinionated, Alice drags Mr St. Clair throughout New York trying to get to the bottom of the crime, facing murder mayhem and a few interesting leads on their way. Infatuated with the much older Mr St. Clair and desperate to be part of an adventure, Alice jumps at any opportunity to impress him.

I really liked this book, from the first page it was a fun, well paced and quirky mystery. The author did a good job of mixing history and fiction and managed to add a little suspense and humour into the mix.  Alice is a great character, a little larger than life but fun, however, I doubt in real life a client would be able to push around a secret service agent to quite that extent (at least I hope not).

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Would you speak for peace? Announcing ‘We Are The World’ Blogfest #WATWB

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If you spend a great deal of time on social media you will no doubt at times be overwhelmed by much of the negativity and hate that comes through our streams.  We might not able to stop the negativity but we can change how we react to it. The “We Are the World Blogfest” is our reaction to negativity. We hope to bombard social media with the positive stories that show us the best of humanity! Please read below to see what we’re about! 🙂

 

Social media and news in recent times has been filled with hate and negativity. Just as you cannot fight darkness, only light lamps, Hate and Negativity cannot be fought. You need to bring Love and Positivity forward instead.
I bring to you the We Are the World Blogfest, along with these fabulous co-hosts:

Belinda Witzenhausen, Carol Walsh,Chrissie Parker, Damyanti Biswas, Emerald Barnes, Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Kaur UppalKate Powell, Lynn Hallbrooks, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Peter Nena, Rich Weatherly, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Simon Falk, Susan Scott, Sylvia Stein, Sylvia McGrath

“We Are the World Blogfest” seeks to promote positive news. There are many cases of love and light out there, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Sharing these stories increases our awareness of hope in our increasingly dark world.
We will link to charities supported by the co-hosts, and you could choose to donate to some of them or add links to local charities you support, so we could all chip in to a good cause if we like.
Let us flood social media with peace and love, and “In Darkness, Be Light.” The first post for We Are The World Blogfest is on the 31st March 2017.

The more, the merrier! 🙂 Hope you will join us!

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news,  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Not a blogger but would like to promote us?…please share our posts using the hashtag~ #WATWB

Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

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A Little Madness in March…

“There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~Nelson Mandela
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Everything is coming along beautifully and projects are progressing as planned.  A little mad but it looks like hard work and passion are paying off! 🙂 My partner and I are re-launching ProfessorOwl’sBookCorner.com our mission is still the same but we will also be focusing on literacy and promoting creativity. We have a certified literacy tutor sharing tips and exercises to help others enjoy reading. This month at IgniteYourCreativity.net I will be announcing two new programs starting in May; “Ignite Your Core Creativity” and “Art as Therapy” designed to help you grow, heal and ignite your creativity.  I will also be involved with a fantastic Blogfest featuring some wonderful bloggers…check back I will be announcing it here shortly.

This month archaeology, history and palaeography courses will be keeping me busy as well as copywriting, book reviews and diving into my current works in progress.

All in all, in looks like I will have a fantastic month ahead. 😊

Time for me to sign off…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re living with passion and purpose!

Live, laugh & love! ❤

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”~Harriet Tubman

#amwriting #researching #mystery #historicalfiction #urbanfantasy #learning #studying #archaeology #forensicanthropology #history #arttherapy #coaching #art #volunteering #palaeography #transcribing #amreading #photography #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”~ Anthony J. D’Angelo

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Meet Myka and Milo! ~ Character Interview and New Release by Emerald Barnes (@emeraldbarnes)

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MARKED (Knight’s Academy #1)

by Emerald Barnes

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Interview with Marked’s Myka & Milo:

Today I’m interviewing two of the main characters from Emerald Barnes ‘s exciting new series, Knights Academy.  Ladies & Gentlemen; Myka Williams & Milo Farrah… Welcome!

 Milo: Thanks for having us, Mrs. Belinda.

Myka: Thank you.

So Myka, you’ve just started at Knights Academy, how are you enjoying your new school? Is it different from your last?

Yes, ma’am. It’s a lot different. I like it okay. I was never much one for school anyway. Myka laughs nervously. But I like being here. I like the art program, and I’m fond of archery. My old school didn’t offer any of this, so yeah. It’s way different. I feel like there are more people here focused on helping me out. I didn’t get that back home.

Milo you’ve been at Knights Academy for a while, how do you feel about it? Any advice for Myka?

I’ve been here my whole life. My mom is a teacher, so I grew up in the teachers’ dorms with her. I like it all right, but sometimes a change would be nice. My advice for Myka would be to just keep doing what she’s doing. She’s smart and talented.

Myka smiles shyly at Milo and tucks a curl behind her ear. Milo grins at her.

Myka, Olivia seems to be a riot, hard to believe you two just met, do you guys fight over clothes…or boys?

Oh I love Liv! She’s so much fun. The only fights about clothes we have are the ones where she’s telling me she hates what I wear. If she tosses something at me to wear, I just wear it. It’s pointless arguing with her. She always wins. Myka laughs. Boys? Myka glances at Milo. No, we don’t fight over boys. She’s protective of me. If anyone hurts me, well, woe be unto them. She has a bit of fiery reaction.

Milo: That’s an understatement. He laughs.

Ok guys…we want the dirt on Preston, what’s his deal? Is he as…uh… “jerky” as he seems?

Myka: Yeah. He’s a jerk, all right. He won’t leave me alone. He’s possessive. I bet if I checked my phone now I would have missed a few texts and calls from him.

Milo: He’s worse than you can imagine.

So inquiring minds wanna know…what’s going on between you two? Did Milo get you a valentine last week? 😉

Myka looks at Milo and smiles.

Milo: There’s nothing going on between us.

Myka: No, I didn’t get anything from him.

Myka absentmindedly touches the crescent moon necklace on her neck, a small smile plays on her lips.

Final question, where do you hope to find yourself in the next book, do you think you have any sway with Emerald? Perhaps if you beg she’ll send you on a nice vacation to some tropical beach? What do ya think? 😉

Myka: laughs I don’t think I have much sway with her because well, I already know my story, and she’s thrown some curveballs at me. I wish I could go on vacation, but it’s not that simple.

Milo: Yeah. Emerald hasn’t been too kind to us, but I tell you, I would love to take Myka on a vacation, just escape with her where no one could find us. I hope that Myka and I can find a way to stay together, but I guess you’ll have to see what happens.


Thanks so much guys!  Check out Emerald’s new book The Marked (Knight’s Academy #1)! Pick it up today….

About The Marked: Knight’s Academy Book 1:

Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she’s offered a full scholarship to Knight’s Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.

Where to Buy The Marked:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2jG7GKB

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jG9rY0

Nook: http://bit.ly/2kADf7G

iTunes: http://apple.co/2ka1EQM

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2l3GxOD

Add The Marked to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33825997-the-marked

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About Emerald:

Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.

Connect with Emerald:

Website: http://www.emeraldbarnes.us

Blog: ebarnes23.wordpress.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/emeraldbarnes

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fanpageforemeraldbarnes

Twitter: www.twitter.com/emeraldbarnes

Street Team: http://www.facebook.com/groups/emeraldbarnesstreetteam

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/emeraldbarnes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/emerald_barnes

 

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It’s Here! New Release from Author Sylvia Stein ( @sylvia_stein07 )

The Diary of a Broken Father

(A Prequel to Closure)

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Sylvia Stein

In The Diary of a Broken Father, Garrison James shares his story from his own perspective of what his life is like now that he decided to go into AA in the hopes of changing his life.   He shares the accounts of his daily struggles since his daughter Sara has left his side and what it meant for him to lose her. He is haunted by her loss and is also haunted by the memories of his beloved wife Lila whom he lost to cancer. Garrison is one broken man who is battling his demons,  himself and God.

In this novella you will hear from Garrison James as he battles through being a better man all in the hopes of reconciling with his only daughter whom he has hurt so much.

Will he be able to do it?   Is it too late for him?  What will happen next?

LISTEN TO SYLVIA’S PODCAST ABOUT THE LAUNCH OF HER NEW BOOK AND HER UPCOMING BOOK EVENT!
Click Here to Listen to Podcast
ENTER NOW TO WIN SYLVIA’S RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!
Click here to enter Rafflecopter giveaway

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About Sylvia

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Sylvia Stein is an Indie published author with several anthologies with her Writer’s group 750 on linked in.  Stein obtained a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University this past July 2015.   She is a mother of three beautiful children Paul 10, Michael 9 and Consuelo 6.   She resides in the city of Fuquay Varina with her amazing husband Jeremy.  Stein has also published two solo books one was her first novella Closure which she worked on while attending SNHU and published in July of 2014 and the other her first YA Chasing Clarity was published October 2015 and it was created during National Novel Month (Nano) in 2013.     When she is not writing she enjoys time with her children and husband.  The Diary of a Broken Father will be out this February 2017.

Where to find Sylvia Online:

Website:

http://sylviawriter07.wix.com/sylvia-author

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/sylvia_stein07

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/SylWriter07/

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Sylvia-Stein/e/B00EJT3FYQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Clarity-Sylvia-Stein/dp/1494964724/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463014469&sr=8-1&keywords=Chasing+Clarity

http://www.amazon.com/Closure-Sylvia-Stein/dp/061590694X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1463014518&sr=8-1&keywords=Closure+Sylvia+Stein

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Moving Forward in February…

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~Maya Angelou

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February is off to a busy start!   Just when I think I can’t get any busier…SURPRISE!!! Feeling so blessed that during the past year so many wonderful people and opportunities have come into my life.  I’m looking forward to working on a new project with an incredible group of bloggers, writers and authors …our mission is to bring a little light into the world. I’m also busy making big changes to my coaching practice, Ignite Your Creativity and my partner and I are making major changes to Professor Owl’s Book Corner.  If you add writing copy, working on my current works-in-progress, doing book reviews, volunteering and studying, I should be staying out of trouble for a while….maybe! 😉

Wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re counting your blessings not your problems!  🙂

Live, laugh & love! ❤

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

#amwriting #researching #mystery #historicalfiction #urbanfantasy #learning #studying #archaeology #forensicanthropology #history #arttherapy #coaching #art #volunteering #palaeography #transcribing #amreading #photography #blogging #authorinterviews #journaling #organizing

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Let nothing dim the light that shines from within.” ~Maya Angelou

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Be the Change..

“We but mirror the world.  All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body.  If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.  As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.  This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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Sad to say that in the past week I have unfollowed/unfriended a few people on social media who I once appreciated and deeply respected. It wasn’t their beliefs/opinions that put me off as much as it was the way they treated those who disagreed with them. These people who are professional, spiritual/religious adults seemed to take every opportunity to bait, bully and degrade other human beings. Often they were people who shared the same opinions as I do, but the way to get your opinions across is not to belittle, argue or name call. If you want to make a difference DO something. I may not post political posts or tout my beliefs on social media but I have been volunteering for a peace initiative for a few years now. I have put my energies where they can make a difference and have chosen to try to keep my feeds as positive as possible. I am not naive, I would just rather spend my time being focused on what I can change. I had been contemplating abandoning social media for a while but for me it is a connection to colleagues, family and friends whom I love and adore. This article  popped up in my feed and it seemed to be perfect timing. Hopefully others can gain something from it too ~

How To Avoid Being Psychologically Destroyed By Your Newsfeed via AnnDouglas.net

Looking for ways to make a difference? Here are links to online worldwide volunteer community resources .

https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en ~ UNV Online Volunteering is a service by United Nations Volunteers that connects volunteers with organizations working for the betterment of human development around the world.

https://www.dosomething.org/ ~ DoSomething.org allows you to volunteer for various causes, from anywhere, at any time.

http://www.idealist.org/~ Idealist.org is a great search tool which allows you to search by location, focus area, schedule etc. for volunteer opportunities with a nonprofit focus.

http://www.volunteermatch.org/ ~ Volunteer Match links volunteers to virtual opportunities both at home and abroad.