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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, 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, inspiring 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 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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Juggling in June! #amwriting #studying #coaching

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” ~Helen Keller

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Busy month ahead, I have a funny feeling I’m going to need a lot of #coffee!☕ 😉  

June 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 social media for a few months. I will still be around but not to the same extent I have been, often in life we have to strive to find balance. 🙂  

In May I launched a new program,  “Ignite Your Core Creativity”  at IgniteYourCreativity.net  and stay tuned in July for the launch of  “Art as Therapy”. Both programs are designed to help you embrace your passion, heal, and ignite your creativity.  We are continuing our Literacy tutoring and book reviews at ProfessorOwlsBookCorner.com

Last Friday was also our third 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. Next post is June 30th, 2017!

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” ~Andrew Carnegie

Wishing everyone a wonderful June…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re creating a life you love! 

Live, laugh & love! ❤

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

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

Chronic Illness, Information

A Reason To Never Give Up #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 six co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Peter Nena, Eric LahtiInderpreet Kaur Uppal Roshan Radhakrishnan , Emerald Barnes and Lynn Hallbrooks

Many people who face physical challenges often lose hope and accept that where they are at in their life is where they will always stay.

Arthur Boorman, a disabled veteran of the Gulf War was told by his doctors for 15 years that he would never be able to walk on his own again. Arthur had all but given up hope when one day while surfing the internet he came across a yoga site and decided to contact them. Although I have watched this many times, it never fails to amaze me. To me, this is a perfect example of the amazing resilience of the human spirit. Through perseverance and believing in himself, Arthur changed his life.

Check out Arthur’s inspirational transformation.

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

Books

Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Storm Warning & U.S. Armed Forces Week 2017 ( @CSWCLynn )

CSWCSW via Amazon

Synopsis: A team of CIA Special Operators, known by their call sign: Wrecking Crew, were assigned a special overseas mission that did not go as planned. Before they even arrived back to the Forward Operating Base, they had become disavowed. The active duty military assigned to that region were wary of this group. However, once they saw them in action, things began to change.

Dedication and appreciation: David McKoy and Lynn Hallbrooks are military veterans. They appreciate not only fellow veterans but those who are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Because of that and the interaction of team Wrecking Crew with active duty forces in Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Storm Warning, they have put the book on sale for only 99 cents USD throughout U.S. Armed Forces week. It is available to all Amazon marketplaces and can be accessed via this link: myBook.to/CSWCSW

CSWCLLC logo by Grindhouse Media

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Review of The Thirst (Harry Hole #11) by Jo Nesbo via @RandomHouseCA

I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Thirst (Harry Hole #11) by Jo Nesbo from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

Jo Nesbo returns with The Thirst, the eleventh instalment of the legendary Harry Hole series.

Three years after retiring from the police force Harry is leading a seemingly “normal life”.  He is now happily married with a family and is a professor at the local police academy. For once Harry is content with his life and finally feels a sense of belonging.  When a horrendous murder draws Harry back to his former profession it ends up putting his new life is at risk.  A female user of the popular dating app Tinder is found dead in her apartment, her body drained of blood.  When more bodies appear, the police fear the worse. When Harry realises that the perpetrator is “the one that got away” he is determined to put an end to the murderer’s reign of terror and pursues his white whale.

I loved The Thirst, although somewhat gruesome, there is an intensity to the plot that leaves you on the edge of your seat and guessing to the very end.  Well written it draws the reader in, taking them on one roller coaster of a read. Nesbo has created characters that are complex yet relatable on some levels, and you instantly root for them to pull through.  Considering this is the eleventh book in the series, I liked the fact that the backstory is given without it overwhelming the reader.

In my opinion, The Thirst is a book you want to read with the lights on and I’m sure it will be enjoyed by both new readers and long-time fans of Nesbo.

 

 

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More in May! #amwriting #studying

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.” ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
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Looking forward to what May brings! The busier I am the better I like it and in May it looks like I will be busy.  In May I will be continuing my studies, working on a few ongoing projects and as usual, I will be busy with copywriting, book reviews, writing my novel and volunteering.   On May 15th I will be launching a new program at  IgniteYourCreativity.net This month I am offering “Ignite Your Core Creativity” and stay tuned in July for the launch of  “Art as Therapy”. Both programs are designed to help you embrace your passion, heal, and ignite your creativity. 


We also had a second successful month for our  “We Are The World Blogfest” #WATWB on April 28th and our numbers are growing. A huge thank you to all who have participated. 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. If you are interested in learning more about this or to join us please click here for details. Next post is May 26th, 2017!

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.”~Andrew Carnegie

Wishing everyone a wonderful May…wherever you may be in your day or evening, I hope you’re working hard to make your fondest dreams your reality! 

Live, laugh & love! ❤

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

My Spotify Playlist ~WIP Catacombs #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

Art, Creativity, Information, Writing

#Music and Memories~Helping #Dementia patients find #Joy #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 Simon Falk, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Mary J. Giese, Peter Nena and myself.

I am a firm believer in the healing power of creativity whether it’s in the form of art, writing or music.  Music has always been a part of my life, although I am totally tone deaf and can’t play or sing a note, I grew up with music in my home and it’s still a big part of my life. Growing up I had musicians in my family and our weekends were often filled with friends, family and music. My Grandmother lived with us and although deceased, stories of my Grandad’s musical endeavours were a told with gusto. Now I’m married to a musician and true to tradition most of our get-togethers revolve around music. Although listening to music is very different from playing music, I think music triggers something in us, it has power, it brings alive memories and transforms us.


I came across this video a while back and it resonated with me.  My Grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s twenty years ago.  She lived through WWII in London, married my Grandad, the love of her life and had two beautiful daughters.  Although I never met Grandad, through her stories I felt like I knew and loved him. Some of my earliest memories of my Grandmother revolved around music, she would dig out her old vinyl records to play the songs my Grandad performed and she would always end up singing and dancing.  By 2003 the Alzheimer’s had progressed and our family had no choice but to place her in a nursing home. Most days my grandmother would be non-responsive and no longer recognised us.  We would visit regularly and often the home would host a music night for patients where an oldies band would come to entertain. We would often visit on these nights. As soon as the first note was played my grandmother sat straighter, took notice and for the first time in a long time…smiled. Then when the singer would start, my grandmother would jump right in and sing along. She was happy, she still wouldn’t remember us or even my grandad’s passing, but remembered the lyrics to almost every song. It brought her back to those days listening to the love of her life on stage. As family members, we mourn the loss of our loved one’s memories; they forget almost everything and everyone, both the good and the bad. Throughout life she had endured more than her fair share of tragedies but what rang true to me that day was perhaps this disease was a blessing in disguise. Gone were the losses and hardships and her good memories were accessed by something as simple as a song.  Although she passed nine months ago, seeing her smile those nights was perhaps the best gift I could have ever received, it reaffirms that sometimes during difficult times there are always hidden blessings if you look for them.

 For more on how Music and Memory helps elderly residents and facility patients, to volunteer or to donate iPods, please visit www.MusicandMemory.org Get FREE resources on the project! Volunteer an iPod drive! Find a local facility you can help!

For more information or to join our #WATWB please click here! 

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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).