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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 2021/22. 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 Summer 2021


© Belinda Witzenhausen, 2009-2021. 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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Seventy Year Old Man Rows 3000 miles for a good cause! #WATWB #AlzheimersResearch

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, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Shilpa Garg, Susan Scott and Sylvia McGrath.

“Age in just a number. It carries no weight. The real weight is in impacts. The truth is that you can do it at any age. Get up and be willing to leave a mark.”~Israelmore Ayivor

At 70 years old Frank Rothwell took on the challenge of rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic as part of the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge (TWAC), in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Alzheimer’s’ research is an important cause to him after he lost his brother-in-law Roger to Alzheimer’s at 62 years old. Alzheimer’s has touched my family as it has many others around the world and it’s people like Frank who give our family hope. Frank is not a stranger to challenging himself, in 2017 he spent five weeks on a deserted island for “The Island with Bear Gryllis.” Frank took his sense of adventure to new levels and for a fantastic cause ~ three thousand miles in fifty-six days Frank raised £1 MILLION for Alzheimer Research!

Frank whose motto is “…you’re never too old!” has become my new hero! 

Read an interesting article on Frank from People Magazine ~ https://people.com/human-interest/70-year-old-man-raises-more-than-1-million-for-charity-with-solo-row-across-atlantic-ocean/

Frank’s Website ~ https://frankrothwell-atlanticchallenge.com/https://frankrothwell-atlanticchallenge.com/

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A #YoungWriter’s Guide to Covid Fatigue

Check out this article “A Young Writer’s Guide to Covid Fatigue” over at http://www.IgniteYourCreativity.net

IgniteYourCreativity.Net

Writing

As some of us are heading into our second and third lockdowns due to COVID-19 we can feel tired and overwhelmed not knowing when we will see an end in sight. If we don’t have a way to channel our frustrations, they can make us and those around us feel miserable. Writing can often offer a great outlet for these feelings. Here are some ideas for writing projects that might help:

Keep a Journal!
I am a big fan of journaling; it can help to just purge on the page. It can help find solutions to problems, establish ideas or just be a safe place to get your feelings out. Journals can also be a great way to see how far you’ve come down the road helping you find things to be grateful for or even track your progress in a certain endeavor. Gratitude journals are also great ways to…

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Three #Inpirational Stories of #Resilience #WATWB

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 Sylvia McGrath, Simon Falk, Shilpa Garg, Mary Giese , and myself,  Belinda Witzenhausen

To learn more information about us or join #WATWB check here


“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~Maya Angelou 

With many of us facing physical challenges and trying to coming to terms with our “new normal” the past year has made us even more uncertain of what the future holds. Often negative life-changing events can overwhelm us, making us feel hopeless and insecure. These stories help demonstrate that if we dig deep, perhaps, we can find that those challenges uncover something life affirming in us. These 3 stories about the resilience of the human spirit go to show that the only thing holding you back is our attitude.  Living outside our limits is about recognizing our limitless potential no matter what our physical  limitations maybe.  Check out  the stories from  Amy Purdy, Paralympic bronze medalist,  Travis Mills, veteran & quadruple amputee and Janine Shepard, pilot and  flight instructor. They have all faced life-changing tragedies but instead of giving in, they discovered that with a positive attitude, human potential is limitless. 

“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” ~ Elizabeth Edwards 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview of In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #TrueCrime

In the Garden of Spite

A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte

by Camilla Bruce

 

 

Release date: January 19th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of In the Garden of Spite:A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce from NetGalley & Berkley Publishing Group in order to read and give an honest review.

… the author does an excellent job at getting inside the mind of this infamous serial killer…

This will be a challenging book for me to review I’m giving it a 3.5 but rounding it up to 4 stars. Part of me loved this book, but part of me, well…

For the positives, Camilla Bruce does such a fantastic job fictionalizing the story of a real-life serial killer Little Brynhild / Bella Sorenson / Gunnes aka “The Black Widow of La Porte”. Well-written for the most part, the author does an excellent job at getting inside the mind of this infamous serial killer. Bruce’s characters were brilliantly brought to life, perhaps in the case of Bella, a little too well. On the negative side, although I do not shy away from dark books this was even a bit much for me. Warning for those faint of heart, this novel contains graphic violence, murder, dismemberment, sex, arson, child abuse and infanticide. I also found at times it was slow and repetitive which made it a struggle to get into.

The novel follows Little Brynhild/Bella through her young teenage years and into her middle age. We learn about a heartbreaking ordeal she experiences as a young teenager in Norway that leaves wounds that fester driving her to inflict damage onto all those who get close to her. The disconnect she feels towards her family and a rage that she cannot contain, drives Little Brynhild to leave the misery of Norway to join her sister Nellie in America. In America she takes the name Bella Sorenson and is disappointed in her first experience. Bella longs to make a happy and successful life for herself, constantly seeking acceptance from those in her adopted community. Having struggled for respect in Norway she knows what she wants and what she must do to reach the status she desires for her future. Bella is determined to be the perfect self-made, powerful woman and will go to any length, taking matters into her own hands in order to get what she feels she is due.

Being a fairly famous news story, many people who follow true crime are aware of this famous female serial killer, but the author manages to get inside this monster’s head offering the reader a glimpse of what could have driven this woman to such destruction.

It is a well-written engaging fictional interpretation of the workings of this woman’s mind, but it was a little too graphic for my taste, nevertheless an intriguing read.

 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview of Portrait of Peril (#AVictorianMystery No.5) by Laura Joh Rowland #Historical #Mystery

Portrait of Peril

A Victorian Mystery #5

by Laura Joh Rowland

 

Release date: January 12th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Portrait of Peril, A Victorian Mystery Book No. 5 by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…an entertaining fun read I would highly recommend…

I love Rowland’s Victorian Mystery series, each are fast-paced, suspenseful whodunits set in Victorian England, and I have been fortunate enough to read and review all of the books in this series. Although I found this book very entertaining, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the previous books in this series.  

In this story, we join Crime Scene Photographer Sarah Bain and her new husband Detective Sergeant Thomas Barrett getting ready to start their lives together as a married couple. They face some expected challenges, Sarah and her new Mother in-law are at odds, they are trying to traverse living together for the first time but when Sarah’s mentor is found dead at the church on the day it’s hosting their wedding it might just end their marriage before it begins. The victim Charles Firth helped Sarah when she was just starting out. In the years since he’s become a fairly well-known spirit photographer with a healthy book publishing contract but not without his critics. Firth is known for his portraits of ghosts and spirits of the dearly departed, often swindling the deceased’s loved ones. When a second murder occurs and her dear friend and colleague Mick is arrested for the crime, Sarah, Barrett, and her half-sister Sally, are compelled to find how who the real murderer is and clear his name.  

The usual cast of characters are present…. for the most part. Hugh, Sarah and Mick’s friend and colleague is taking his break-up from Tristan very poorly, becoming self-destructive with bouts of disappearing, leaving everyone to worry in an already challenging time. Sarah and Sally are also trying to clear their fugitive father’s name but not without their nemesis Inspector Reid watching their every move and waiting to pounce.  

Although I found this one a bit slow to start and I really didn’t find Hugh’s story line appealing I really enjoyed the twists, turns which this series is well known forThe book is an entertaining fun read I would highly recommend. It would work as a stand-alone however I really recommend reading the books in order. 

 

 

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#NetGalley #Review The City of Tears by Kate Mosse #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Book Review

The City of Tears

 (The Burning Chambers #2)

by Kate Mosse

Release date: January 5th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The City of Tears by Kate Mosse from NetGalley and Publishers Group Canada/Pan Macmillan to read and give an honest review.

… brilliant and intricate tapestry of murder, religion, insanity and greed…

The follow up to the first book in the series The Burning Chambers, The City of Tears continues the dramatic saga surrounding the Joubert family. Ten years after The Burning Chambers, Minou and Piet have settled down with their family on their beautiful estate in the south of France. They are busy making plans to attend the royal wedding of Margot and Henri, the Huguenot king of Navarre hoping to establish a peaceful alliance between the Catholics and the Huguenots. Before their journey begins they are faced with an assassination attempt and the death of a beloved family member, however they venture to Paris to bear witness to such an important event in hopes it will end the persecution of the Huguenots.

The wedding happens as planned, lending hope for a peaceful future. While in Paris a mysterious woman reaches out to Piet, rumours come to light, and a violent nemesis from his past has Piet and his family once again in his crosshairs. Before they leave Paris for their arduous journey home, their daughter Marta goes missing as a violent coup known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre breaks out shattering their family forever and forcing them to flee to Amsterdam abandoning all they knew and loved.

I am a fan of Kate Mosse she has a talent for bringing her historical stories to life through vivid description, interesting characters and her interwoven, dynamic plots, this book is no different. I thoroughly enjoyed this book it is a brilliant and intricate tapestry of murder, religion, insanity, and greed; I highly recommend.

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Turning a Negative Into A Positive…Lessons From A Seven-year Old. #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, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Damyanti Biswas, and Roshan Radhakrishnan please visit them and share the love!

To learn more information about us or join #WATWB check here!


“Every act of kindness is a piece of love we leave behind.” ~ Paul Williams

With many cities and countries going back into lockdown it’s often difficult to see the positivity that is going on out in the world. Sometimes when you least expect it you see that the biggest gifts often come in the smallest packages…meet Cavanaugh Bell.

Bullying has always existed and many of us have had first hand experience that at times has even left physical and emotional scars. When seven-year-old Cavanaugh Bell went through being bullied he reacted differently, he reacted with love and hope….check out his story below.


Read more here: This 7-year-old is making and delivering care packages to the elderly shut in by the coronavirus

Check out Cavanaugh’s foundation ~ Cool & Dope ~ https://coolanddope.com/

“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people.”

~ Karen Salmansohn

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#NetGalley #BookReview of The Organised Writer by Antony Johnston

 

The Organised Writer

How to stay on top of all your projects and never miss a deadline

by Antony Johnston

 

Release date: November 12th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Organised Writer: How to stay on top of all your projects and never miss a deadline by Antony Johnston from NetGalley Bloomsbury Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

well-written and informative this book has something for every writer…

I’ve been working freelance in a few fields for years now on top of taking work-related courses and working towards an archaeology degree. My time is limited, and organization is a must in order to get both work and course assignments done. Having worked in professional offices for many years, I have learned a few organization techniques some of which are in The Organised Writer however, Mr. Johnson offers sound advice that can help those new to freelancing establish an organised work routine while also providing new and unique tips to help those who have been freelancing for a while. This is a no- nonsense all-encompassing approach to getting and keeping the working writer organized.  Well-written and informative this book has something for every writer…I highly recommend it!  

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview ~ After All I’ve Done by Mina Hardy #Mystery

Review

 

After All I’ve Done

by Mina Hardy

Release date: November  10th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of After All I’ve Done by Mina Hardy from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…Mina Hardy has crafted a clever psychological tale that is  intriguing and unexpected…

While driving to the hospital for a severe gallbladder attack, Diana is involved in a major car accident that changes her life.

Although she survives it is not without complications that leave her debilitated. Broken bones, intense pain and absolutely no memory of what has happened in the time leading up to the accident her life has turned upside down. Living with her Husband and a devoted mother-in-law determined to care for her until she gets back on her feet it seems like an uphill battle. Plagued by pain, amnesia, blackouts, and bad recurring dreams Diana attempts to piece together her memories and figure out why her life-long best friend/soul sister Valerie will not talk to her and why she is filled with a sense of dread about what has happened. 

Knowing that she does not love her husband and finding out he is having an affair; she is feeling alone and helpless yet knows something horrible has led them to this point. When in her dreams she is burying something underneath a tree she wonders what she has done and why she cannot remember but knows unlocking the memories will open the door to her healing.  

Mina Hardy has crafted a clever psychological tale that is  intriguing and unexpected. The plot was so intricate and in one word…twisted. I found I just could not put it down and that it kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning. A must read for those who enjoy psychological mysteries. I loved it and would highly recommend it.