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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 2019/20 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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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd by Robert Davies #fiction #memoir #mystery #paranormal

 

Review

Seventh Life Of Aline Lloyd Cover

The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd

Release date: July 11th, 2019

⭐⭐⭐⭐


I received a complimentary copy of The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd
by Robert Davies from NetGalley and BHC Press in order to read and give an honest review.

… In my opinion, it’s a well-written character-driven mystery which slowly unravels…

Publisher’s Description

Although not really what I expected I still enjoyed The Seventh Life of Aline Lloyd. Slow-paced, this is more of a memoir told from Evan’s point of view, as we follow his life after the death of his brother and inheriting his estate in Wales.  In my opinion, it’s a well-written character-driven mystery which slowly unravels, first with Evan trying to get to the bottom of his brother Damon’s unusual and concerning behaviour before his death. Then Evan’s obsession of uncovering the truth of who Aline Lloyd really is and what secrets lie behind her intense personality seems to take centre stage.  Although it has a touch of the paranormal, basically a reincarnation story, to me it reads more like a romantic mystery. It does pick up when an elite agency chases after Aline but sadly the action is short lived.

All in all, not a bad book but I think the cover although well done, is the most misleading thing for readers. It’s dark and lends an impression of a darker more paranormal infused story.  I guess this is a good example of when a cover can be misleading and garner a negative impression on an otherwise decent story.

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#NewRelease Foresight: A New Avalon Book #3 by Andrea Buginsky

 

Andrea Buginsky
Andrea Buginsky 1975-2016

In 2016 we lost a wonderful caring soul and brilliant author…Andrea Buginsky.  Andrea was just putting the finishing touches on the third book of her New Avalon series when she unexpectedly passed away.  In a difficult and extremely emotional act of love, her family have edited and brought her last book to fruition, posthumously.

I was blessed to have Andrea on my blog before, you can find links to her posts here: http://bit.ly/328ySEt 

Foresight Cover

Foresight

(New Avalon, #3)
 Available Now

Here in Andi’s own words is a glimpse of New Avalon: Foresight.

“As Elena Baxter begins her third year at New Avalon, the terror from her demons intensifies. When she attempts her own course of treatment, her life spirals out of control. Much will be learned from Mia about her own tortured past, and an unknown part of Avalon will be revealed. Will Elena’s friends be able to help her, or worsen the situation? What frightening new information about every Lady of the Lake and her reign comes to light? Will the future Lady of the Lake survive these new obstacles, or will she ultimately succumb to more than she can possibly handle? ”

You can find the book on Amazon on both Kindle and Paperback editions.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Andrea+Buginsky&ref=nb_sb_noss

While Foresight can be read as a stand-alone book, readers will want to read the first two books in the New Avalon series as well. Andrea’s final book is now available in eBook and paperback. They are posted separately on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Andrea+Buginsky&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

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Wishing all a Safe & Happy #Summer #amwriting #studying #art #bookreviews #WATWB

“I think people who are creative are the luckiest people on earth. I know that there are no shortcuts, but you must keep your faith in something Greater than You, and keep doing what you love. Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.” ~Judy Collins

July2019

This month I will celebrate a monumental birthday…I will be turning 50 years young and I can’t wait to see what my future holds!   Although over the past few years I  have faced so many challenges, I am blessed to see a positive shift happening in all areas of my life.

With a busy few months on the horizon, I have a funny feeling I’m going to need a lot of #coffee!☕ 😉  This summer will find me juggling a full schedule of creative, academic, business and personal projects and in order to fit it all in I will be cutting back on my online time for a few months. I will still be around with regular blog posts but on social media, however, I will not be on to the same extent. Self-care is so important…often in life, we have to strive to find balance.   

In the fall of 2019, I  will be resuming my coaching programs at IgniteYourCreativity.net  My programs  “Ignite Your Creativity 101” and “Art as Therapy”. Both programs were designed to help you embrace your passion, heal, and ignite your creativity.  I will also be launching a brand new journaling program in January 2020. At ProfessorOwlsBookCorner.com we will be continuing our Literacy tutoring after a brief hiatus, but check our blog weekly for book reviews and community boards (Variety Village & March of Dimes).  I will also be posting regular book reviews at www.BohoandBookish.wordpress.com.

Last Friday was another successful month of our “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB. A huge thank you to everyone who participated.

What is #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 positive stories led by five co-hosts. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details.  Our next post is July 26th, 2019!

“I’m probably wouldn’t do anything differently if I had to do it again. Every little thing that happens to you, good and bad, becomes a little piece of the puzzle of who you become. Every successful person you read about – Warren Buffett, Bill Gates – they all say pretty much the same thing. ‘Do what you love.’ I know I did.”~David Foster
Wishing everyone a wonderful Summer…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re creating a life you love! 

Live, laugh & love! ❤

#amwriting #writingsprints #historicalfiction #urbanfantasy #researching #learning #studying #archaeology #forensicanthropology #manuscriptstudies #history #mythology #illustration #bookreviews #art #palaeography #transcribing #amreading #photography #journaling #WATWB #yoga #meditation

My Spotify Playlist ~ #amwriting WIP Between The Lines

 

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Book Knights, An Arthurian Fantasy by J.G. McKenney (@jgmckenney) #Fantasy #YA

Review

The Book Knights

An Arthurian Fantasy

by J.G. McKenney

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Published: July 5th 2017


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Book Knights by J.G. McKenney from NetGalley and Victory Editing NetGalley Co-Op.

…a wonderfully unique plotline, compelling characters and an interesting and terrifying (reading and books are outlawed *shudders*) world! …

I absolutely loved this book! The author has created a brilliant and unique take on Arthurian legend. Filled with a wonderfully unique plotline, compelling characters and an interesting and terrifying world (where reading & books are outlawed *shudders*😲)!

The story begins with Arti, our protagonist, on the run after her parents are arrested for being readers and having a hidden library brimming with books in their home.   A neighbour has reported them and their home is raided. Hiding behind a shelf Arti barely escapes the destruction of her home and is on the run for her freedom.  Morgan Fay, the head of “The Corporation” is an acting government of sorts and has banned reading and books throughout the land. Arti is being hunted by The Flames (Fay’s enforcement officers) who will stop at nothing until they bring readers to justice. Scared, lost and on the run Arti meets a young street smart girl named Gal who helps her navigate her new life on the run.  Gal unable to read is moved and they bond when Arti introduces her to the beauty of reading.

With her world in danger and at risk of having any readers annihilated, Arti teams up with some interesting characters along the way.  She meets Merl at an abandoned Garage called “Camel-Lot” when they stumble upon his motor home hidden in one of the Bays.  Peeking in the window they notice him reading an ancient looking tome. Arti knowing he is one of “them” decides to talk to him and their lives change forever.  Merl who has been looking for the “chosen one” who can read the hidden text in the tome and is elated when he realizes there is hope for the world. One by one her knights are drawn to her. Along with Merl, Gal and Arti, Lance and Gwen join them on a crusade to restore reading to their world.

A fun fast-paced and interesting take on a classic story that I would highly recommend for young and old alike.

 

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#BookReview of In The Face of Adversity by Peter Martin (@pmartinauthor) #Family #Drama

 

Review

Face Of Adversity Cover

In The Face of Adversity

Release date: August 4th, 2019

⭐⭐⭐⭐


I received a complimentary copy of  In The Face of Adversity by Peter Martin (aka Martin Perks) from the author in order to read and give an honest review.

… a well-written, character-driven book that kept me turning the pages and feeling such a range of emotions…

Young Billy’s family is thrown into peril after his young sister passes away from cancer. Grieving, his family begins to crumble, his mother despondent, his father seeking solace in a bottle, their marriage dissolves. When things hit an impasse his mother walks out to move in with her lover, leaving young Billy and his father.  Devastated and still in love with his wife, Billy and his father wait for her to come to her senses and return. They try to keep living their life as normal as possible, but when the betrayal and loss overwhelm his father things take a turn for the worse and they end up homeless.  Out of the blue, it looks like a reconciliation might happen but with tempers flared things take a tragic turn and Billy’s life is changed forever.

We watch Billy grow up, we follow along on his journey witnessing him struggle as he tries to overcome the aftermath of his childhood. As an adult, we are in awe of what Jimmy’s accomplished but it’s not long before we see that the trauma he endured really never disappeared and that his family tragedies seem to follow him.

Mr Martin masterfully creates a tragic, heartbreaking plot with very real and multifaceted characters that drive the story, taking the reader on an all-encompassing emotional rollercoaster.

All-in-all, a well-written, character-driven book that kept me turning the pages and feeling such a range of emotions. I would definitely recommend!

#WATWB, Personal Development, Quotes, Writing

Never Too Old to Learn: Durge Kami’s Return to School at 69 #WATWB #NeverTooOld #LifeLongLearner

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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 Sylvia McGrathSusan ScottShilpa GargEric Lahti, and myself, Belinda Witzenhausen.

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


Those who know me well can tell you how much I love learning.  Always interested in improving myself, and to satisfy my love of learning, I am what some may call a “perpetual student”. Often, I have scraped and saved, worked multiple jobs and gone to school part-time just to have the opportunity to learn, but to be honest I have never regretted a second of it.  I have graduated from college, finishing multiple programs over the years:  Art, Counselling, Life Coaching, Writing & Art Therapy.  Each time I have loved and used what I have learned in my professional life most recently by trying to help people heal and find solace through the arts. At almost 50, I am still taking courses, this time to follow a lifetime love of Archaeology, History & Palaeography. When I came across this story about Durge Kami, both his enthusiasm and sheer will, inspired me to keep pursuing my love of learning.

Durge Kami, a 69-year-old widowed father of 7 from Nepal, worked hard all his life to look after his large family. Unable to attend school as a child, after his children grew up and moved on, he decided, finally, to pursue his lifelong dream of formal education. Although old enough to be many of his fellow student’s grandfather and mocked regularly for daring to try, Durge’s hunger for knowledge has driven him to walk for an hour and a half each way just for the opportunity to attend school. Below is Durge’s story, proving you’re never too old to pursue your dreams. I hope you find it as inspirational as I do.

 

“With the wisdom of age, I want to show the light of knowledge to everyone.”

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#NetGalley #BookReview Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Romance

Review

Season of Storms Cover

Season of Storms

by Susanna Kearsley

Release date: June 25th, 2019

🌟🌟🌟🌟


I received a complimentary ARC copy of the re-released Season of Storms
by Susanna Kearsley from NetGalley and Simon and Schuster in order to read and give an honest review.

“…gives us such a strong atmosphere, a touch of romance and a mystery that keeps the reader intrigued… “

I have been a fan of Susanna Kearsley’s work and was fortunate enough to review Bellewether last August. I was excited to get the opportunity to read and review the re-release of Season of Storms.   As usual, Ms Kearsley is brilliant at weaving intricate, emotional, character-driven, and very atmospheric plots into her novels.

In Season of Storms, we meet the young actress/waitress, the daughter of a famous (infamous) actress who finally gets her big break and chance at recognition. Celia usually uses a stage name to hide the fact she is named after a 1920s starlet who mysteriously vanished. The 1920’s starlet was about to star in a play, Il Prezzo, written for her by her husband famous playwright, Galeazzo D’Ascanio when she disappeared under mysterious circumstances.  D’Ascanio, so deeply in love with his wife had created a lavish Villa with its own theatre on Lake Garda in Italy just to showcase the play.  After his death, the villa fell into disrepair until his grandson Alex decides to restore it and honour his grandfather by staging Il Prezzo with the modern day Celia Sands.  Although Celia is hesitant, the producer is a life-long friend and father-like mentor who encourages her to join him in Italy for his last play before retirement.

As soon as they arrive at the villa it becomes apparent that something is amiss. Missing people, paranormal occurrences and family secrets drive the story to an albeit rushed yet satisfying ending.

Not the strongest of Kearsley’s work, I found I really missed her usual historical component, although present it wasn’t really as complex as her other works have been. Ms Kearsley still gives us such a strong atmosphere, a touch of romance and a mystery that keeps the reader intrigued. This story is far from fast-paced, it’s more a slow unravelling yet compelling story with unique characters and breathtaking descriptions making this a pleasurable read which I would definitely recommend.

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#NetGalley #Review of The Final Days of Magic (Witches of New Orleans #3) by J.D. Horn #UrbanFantasy #Gothic #Paranormal

 

Review

Final Days of Magic Cover

The Final Days of Magic

(Witches of New Orleans #3)

by 

J.D. Horn

Release date: June 18th, 2019

🌟🌟🌟🌟


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Final Days of Magic (Witches of New Orleans #3) by J.D. Horn from NetGalley and 47North in order to read and give an honest review.

The Final Days of Magic (Witches of New Orleans #3) by J.D. Horn is the third and final book in the series from Author J.D. Horn. I have read and reviewed both the first book, The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans #1) and the second The Book of Unwinding (Witches of New Orleans #2). With The Final Days of Magic, although I didn’t enjoy this entry as much as the first two, I still found it to be a satisfying, albeit heartbreaking finale to the series.

One thing is consistent throughout the Witches of New Orleans series is J.D. Horn’s ability to give us such strong, unique and multifaceted characters which the reader can connect with. I love his ability to depict strong, flawed and resilient characters, especially the way his female characters come across. His plots are imaginative and lean towards the dark end of the spectrum as far as paranormal.  In this book, as with the others, there are quite a few characters and I really appreciated the character list included at the beginning for a handy reference, especially since I read quite a bit and the previous book was about a year ago.  Another thing I have to commend J.D. Horn for is that he brings  New Orleans to life, he delves into the history and mysticism of the city and it becomes a character of its own.

This book felt like it wrapped up most of the loose ends on the most part. We followed Natalie, Alice, Lisette and Angeline all continuing to work through much of what happened in the previous book. This book did do an amazing job tying together magic with mythology and the climax not only unique but very unexpected.  My only issues in this book are that the focus is constantly changing and it feels a bit wild and uncontrolled. There also seemed to be a disconnect with Natalie for me this time around…her storyline was a bit “confusing” for a lack of a better word.

All in all a good series, unique in every sense. I recommend the series as a whole, but I recommend definitely reading the first two books before this one, it wouldn’t make a great standalone.  I recommend this to anyone looking for something that is rife with magic and mayhem!

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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?

Journaling Power Cover

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

🌟🌟🌟🌟


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!