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#FromDaughtertoWoman by Kim McCabe – Blog Tour Guest Post

Goodreads link

Guest Post – Social Media Safety

by Kim McCabe, author of From Daughter to Woman, parenting girls safely through their teens

My daughter’s phone died.  I braced myself for her panic at being disconnected.  It didn’t come, she quite liked having a social media ‘holiday’… for a few weeks.  Then she needed to get back in the loop, she was missing conversations, photos, gatherings.  But after not having a phone for a while, she was a bit more aware of how easy it was to lose time on it and how it didn’t always make her feel too brilliant.

Teen depression.  We all like to blame social media.  We’re a bit afraid of it when we see the hold it has over our kids.  We’re right to be cautious, it’s definitely having an impact on teen mental health. We don’t want our girls to be basing their opinion of themselves on how many ‘likes’ they can earn.  Or ending up exhausted before the day has begun because they were messaging until 2am.  Or doing things for the boys because that’s what they’ve all seen online.

Our children are growing up in a world that’s populated by digital delights that we never knew.  We’re going to have to learn about how they work before we can teach our kids how to stay healthy in this new culture.  This is nothing new, parents have always struggled with whatever’s the latest craze.  Kids love it and we tend to see the downsides of it.

If you want to be able to influence your child’s social media habits you can’t be completely down on it.  Think about it from your child’s point of view: if you don’t have control over your home, own a car, or have much money and here is a device which puts you in touch with your friends and a world that you don’t have easy access to any other way. What’s not to like?

Here’s the way forward:

• Ask her to teach you about the platforms that she likes.

• Sign up to some yourself so that you can see what’s going on.

• Find out what you need to teach her to stay safe (like turning off location functions, not giving personal details and not meeting people you’ve encountered online; there’s more, find out).

• Ask her what she sees online that bothers her and discuss it without being judgmental or she’ll clam up.

• Find out what happens to everything digital, so you can explain it to her.

• Give her the 1-second-check idea, suggesting she pause before pushing send to ask herself what would my granny or boss think of this?

• Show her videos of how photoshop changes what we’re shown.

• Reassure her that it’s normal to be curious but if ever she sees or hears anything she wishes she hadn’t, she can come to you, no blame.

• Have a night-time parking place downstairs for phones.  No phones at bedtime; buy an alarm clock.

• Suggest a ‘mood check’ after time spent with social media so she’s aware of when it’s doing her good and when it’s not.  Encourage her to notice what feels positive (the connection, the fun) and what doesn’t (comparing, mean comments).

• Set a good example yourself.

Our duty as parents is to take care of our children and gradually to hand that job over to them.  So, when she’s little you install software safeguards and set rules.  As she gets older, the safety filters are going to have to come from inside her, so your job turns into how to help her do that.  First. She’s going to need to understand why she’d want to.  Then, you’ll need to guide her how to use social media safely.

If you think she’s running into difficulties, you need to show that you’re on her side.  If she’s not having a nice time online, chances are she’ll feel like it’s her fault and shame will make it harder for her to tell you.  If she seems to be relying on ‘likes’ to feel good, and then feels low after the high, help her to notice that.  If you think she’s got a bit hooked and you judge her, she’ll just get defensive.  Telling anyone of any age that they’re addicted to something is the last way to get them to stop.  Never make her wrong.  If you want to get through to her, the two of you have to be able to talk to each other without accusing or criticizing.  If you want an easy way to get these conversations going, go on a Mother-Daughter Date once a month.

It’s the way to get real-life ‘likes’ from her!

Wow. What a great post. Thanks Kim. Some useful pointers for social media using adults here too!

Summary:

This book aims to make the adolescent’s journey just that bit safer, kinder, and better supported – so parents and teens can enjoy the teenage years more.

The teen years are tough – for teens and for parents. Many parents dread the moodiness, dishonesty, preference of friends over family, exam stress, and the push for greater independence. Mothers have a pivotal role to play; this is a guidebook for parents and mothers of girls in particular as they navigate the rocky teenage landscape with their daughters aged 8 to 18. It aims to help them embrace the potential of their child’s teenage years by marking this time of growing maturity for girls and celebrating it with them. We celebrate birth, marriage and death, but this important life-transition from child to young adult is nowadays rarely acknowledged within an appropriate community.

Author

Kim McCabe is the founder of Rites for Girls. As the originator and facilitator of Girls Journeying Together groups, she offers guidance to preteen and teen girls and simultaneous support for their mothers. In training other women to facilitate these groups, her dream is that every girl grows up expecting to be supported and celebrated in adolescence. Kim was commissioned to write a section in Steve Biddulph’s latest best-selling book, 10 Things Girls Need Most: To Grow Up Strong and Free.

Kim is a home-educating mother of two boys, one girl, two cats and a colony of aloe vera plants; she is wife to a Kiwi, daughter to itinerant parents, friend to a cherished few, and lover of time alone, too. She lives in the Ashdown Forest in Sussex. She sometimes shouts at her children, accidentally steps on the cat’s tail and forgets to water the plants, but she loves her work, her family and her life. She has always had deep affinity with teenage girls, and by sharing her wisdom and compassion she infects the reader with her enthusiasm for this life stage.

From Daughter to Women is out July 18th published by Little Brown and is sure to be invaluable for those raising teenagers. It includes topics such as puberty, periods, relationships and wellbeing and I love the concept of Mother-Daughter dates.

Do check out the rest of the blog tour.

Thanks to Faye Rogers for also proving a PDF which I’m looking forward to reading.

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…Preceded by Chaos Vol -1 by M. Wheeler (Writer) and B. Bicknell (Illustrator) – Blog Tour Book Review

Goodreads Link

Summary:

…Preceded by Chaos is a graphic illustrated series, charting the dramatic past, present and future of a young emergency room doctor, as the stress of saving lives threatens to overwhelm him. Mitchell Weaver is a troubled young Emergency Medicine doctor, orbiting a world of high-stress, intense pressure. It’s a distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. The third instalment of the series, Volume -1, takes place before the first book in the series, Volume 0, before Mitchell’s attempt at sobriety and self-awareness. During this chapter Mitchell travels to Spain in an attempt to find a part of himself that his been lost. But ultimately, Mitchell’s trip to Barcelona may be an escape more than journey.

Author:

M. Wheeler has held an eclectic array of jobs – including working as a studio engineer and a teacher — before he entered medical school in his thirties. During his residency in New York City, he wrote the first three books which would eventually become the …Preceded by Chaos series. Wheeler travels extensively for his job but currently calls Miami, Florida, home.

Website: http://precededbychaos.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/precededbychaos

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PrecededByChaos/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/precededbychaos/

What I Thought:

I started this book thinking it was going to be a graphic novel. But as it says above it’s a graphic illustrated series so there are some illustrations but also lots of pages of text only. This is actually the third book in the series but is a prequel (I haven’t read the others).

I was drawn to the story of an emergency medicine doctor battling his demons and the cover illustration really demonstrates that concept. The sections that take place within the hospital were the ones I most enjoyed and it was during those that you felt the pressure on Mitchell. There are some quite verbally (and illustratingly) graphic depictions of drug use. The scene with the case of a young boy is realistic and upsetting and the language used definitely reflects the author’s experience as a medic.

I am assuming that the series title is based on the following quote: “All great changes are preceded by chaos” by Deepak Chopra,

and the summary for the next books describes how Mitchell aims to change and battle the addiction and demons that are affecting his life. He is left with a summons that means change is inevitable and this seems to link to an enigmatic case that is alluded to but not discussed in this volume.

The preceding chaos is definitely evident here and I have to admit to being a little confused about what was happening. The majority of the story takes place in Barcelona where he goes on holiday with a mate from work and lots of alcohol is consumed. The foreword is by a fictionalised character from the story who I’m not entirely sure actually exists or if we have a Jekyll and Hyde situation going on. The red eyed bull demon again could be a metaphorical representation of turmoil or a real inner demon.

Unfortunately I wasn’t drawn to Mitchell as a character and I didn’t feel women in the story were treated all that well. There was was a scene that featured a prostitute and a very unusual shopping list that I think I’d prefer to forget – so I’m not convinced I would read on to find out what happens but hopefully the character manages to turn his life around. Despite his irresponsible actions there is clear evidence that he cares for the patients and has become burdened by past events. I think the concept of mental health could be considered more explicitly. I think in this case it was more that my expectations of the story didn’t match what I got.

I believe the print copy I received was the final version and there were a few errors still present, and some of the text on the illustrations was blurred and difficult to read. I wonder if the kindle option makes this easier with the ability to zoom in.

The illustrations were all grayscale except for a couple that included a dash of red. Oddly one chapter was entirely presented in captioned illustration and I do think that the material would lend itself to being presented in this way as a graphic novel.

Do check out the other stops on the tour to see what everyone else thought.

I received my copy from Faye Rogers and the publishers for the purposes of honest review.

#TheAwakened by Julian Cheek – Blog Tour Book Extract

Synopsis

My name is Sam. I am nothing special but apparently if I don’t wake up, both this world and that other one will be destroyed. Nice One! All I wanted was to disappear into my own world and be left alone. But, No! Even THAT was taken away from me.

Well just wait. You want me to fight? I’ll show you “fight.”

You took the most important thing in my life away from me, and now I am coming for you.

Hidden away in your mountain stronghold, even the rocks around you will not stop me getting to you.

You started this war.

I am going to finish it!

Seventeen year old Sam just wants to be left alone!

He has enough to cope with in his invisible, suburban, existence without having some fantastic and, frankly, unasked-for, alternate reality drop into his life asserting that he has powers beyond his wildest dreams. And that unless he does something, both his world, and that of Muanga-Atua, will come to a horrible end.

A terrifying episode one blustery night may be enough to start to erode the impregnable shell he thought he had built up around himself. A shell, not to keep others out, but to keep the rage in. Could he afford, as was the norm now, just to do nothing?

About the Author

Living  in  Petersfield,  Hampshire,  Julian  Cheek  has  worked  for  over  thirty  years  as  an  architect          working  on  several  major  projects  including  Mercedes  World,  a  competition  for  Battersea  Power  Station,  NikeTown  and  most  recently  a  high  rise,  Versace  branded  residential  building  in  London.  When  not  designing  he  is  embracing  his  other  creative  interests,  writing.  His  first  book,  You  should  not  wake  a  hibernating  Puff-Adder  (2011)  was  a  series  of  short  stories  inspired  by  his  childhood  growing  up  in  South  Africa.

Website: http://puffadder.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/juliancheek

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Julian-Cheek

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/julian_cheek/?hl=en

Extract

After a short while, he pushed past the last of the branches and came across the source of the noise. A pond lay in front of him, surrounded by moss-covered, shiny stones and pebbles, haphazardly strewn around and disappearing into the water. A small waterfall bounced over the rocks above him, landing into the pond in front, casting ripples into the mirror of the water, reflecting its surroundings. He felt the soft spray on his face and hands as it glistened in the air around him, slowly painting him in a sheen to match the surrounding area. He knelt down, reaching his hands out into the water, sensing its coldness as his fingers dipped into the liquid. And cupping his hands, he drew a few eager mouthfuls into his mouth. The silence of the surroundings now eased by the subtle sounds of the falling water and droplets from the surrounding fronds falling into the water’s edge.

As he was drinking, he sensed, rather than heard, a subtle disturbance in his immediate environment. For some reason he felt the hairs on the back of his neck start to lift and a feeling of danger began to weave itself into his mind. There were no apparent changes to the noises around him, no shadows casting strange shapes into his field of view, but something was not right. Something was here, he was sure of it. And that “something” was not wanting to announce itself! He slowly lifted his gaze up from the water’s edge, scanning the surroundings, searching for a clue to his sense of danger, but nothing was there. The branches of the trees still bent down to touch the water’s edge, the moss and ferns lay quiet opposite him, the water still bubbled down the rock face above him, landing into the water. There was nothing obvious about his surroundings that advertised danger. I must be imagining things, Sam thought. The quietness is starting to get to me. His gaze fell back to the reflections on the water, seeing the tree line, the pebbles just below the surface. But something didn’t gel, and his brain made his eyes focus on the surface. Focus on the surface of the water just in front of him. Focus on the reflections on the water just in front of him. And looking back, coming into view, now that his brain, like a radar, had picked up its target, was the shape of an animal. Small, furry, sleek bodied, a long sweeping tail brushing the grasses, talons gripping the rock face. Large eyes, looking straight down at him.

Straight down at me!… With a shock, Sam sprang back defensively as he realised that this creature had crept up behind him and was even now above him on the rock face of the mini waterfall, intent on getting closer without him knowing.

“Aaaaarrggghhhh!!!”

His world exploded as a scream powered out of his mouth, and instinctively he jumped up, grasping a rock in his hands, and throwing it in the direction of where he thought the animal was, all the while screaming out in shock, hoping to scare this “thing” as far away as possible. Arms flailing and legs kicking out instinctively, Sam shouted and cursed in pure, adrenaline-induced terror.

Nothing!

No noise, no scrabbling, no whimpering. Nothing. Whatever it was, Sam thought, had been scared away by his antics and probably long since disappeared down the hole it had scraped itself out of in the first place. His breathing calmed down a notch and he allowed himself a brief grin, thinking he had scared off whatever terror that “thing” was. He cracked out the tension from his shoulders, which had been building up whilst at the pool, and again turned towards the water, as if to seek some release there.

On the opposite side of the pond, sitting calmly and serenely on its haunches, and not more than two metres from him, the “creature from hell” gazed across as if, for all the world, this screaming banshee, that had been Sam, was a common occurrence here. Its eyes were intelligently gauging Sam’s next movements. A thin tongue snaked out, licking its ears, and those big eyes fixed Sam with steely gaze… and then it smiled!

By smiling, its mouth opened, and the most lethal looking row of sharpened, death-dealing fangs shone out from the dark pit of its mouth………

If that’s what your appetite do pick up a copy and check out the other stops on the blog tour

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