Guest Posts

Book Review Log Book – Jennifer Gilmour

I am delighted to be welcoming the lovely Jennifer Gilmour back to my blog today with something a little different to her previous books. I will be telling you all about her Book Review Log Book in just a moment, but first let me hand you over to Jennifer who has kindly written a guest post on using creativity to raise awareness of domestic abuse.

GUEST POST:

I have always been a creative person but never had the opportunity to use it for something important. It meant that after school and college I didn’t really tap into my creative side that often, it was no longer needed to create art, write stories or even act.

When I was at University I ended up entering an abusive relationship and I was in that relationship for several years. Abuse is progressive but looking back I can see the subtle signs that lead to the control he had over me. He controlled my work life and sadly I gave up my studies at University, there were many factors to this but the fact I worked at the same place didn’t help. Things changed when I had children and we had to work different shifts, I was relieved as it offered space however after every shift I would arrive home to an interrogation. Things got worse when he found out I had given work colleagues a life after their shift as it was on my way home, he would refuse to sit in the car for 24 hours because they had sat in his seat. Eventually I reduced my working hours to just 4 hours a week and had hardly any money.

At the time a friend of mine was expecting and as a gift I decided to make a nappy cake, I was always creative so I thought I would give it a go. It followed with a friend of hers asking if I could make one for her for a fee, that’s when I opened up my first business and this was the key to my freedom. Despite why I set up the business it offered me the opportunity to be creative and I had so much enjoyment from this. At the beginning stages of a business you do everything and I enjoyed putting together graphics of my work.

The business gave me a focus and an excuse to be in the dining room away from him on an evening. I started networking with people online and grew my Facebook page to 4,000 likes in just over a year. I went to craft fairs and didn’t care that he wasn’t going to support me by looking after the children, I took them with me and juggled it all.

When I finally fled the relationship and moved back to my home town I spent time figuring out how I was going to go forward with my life. I was lucky enough to access support and I went onto a recovery programme called The Recovery Toolkit. This was a big turning point for me because I not only had all the tools to live my new life but I also discovered how common domestic abuse is (1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men). That was the moment I knew I needed to help raise awareness of domestic abuse and that was the start of my writing journey.

My first book was all about educating through a form of entertainment, Isolation Junction, because I knew I had to reach into people’s lives without the jargon. My creativity streak came back and I started to build my own website and raise awareness in different ways.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and each year I try to do something different, I’ve done an Instagram challenge, last year I lit Hull City Centre purple and this year I am tweeting each day what I have learnt since leaving. You can find me on Twitter and most social platforms as: @JenLGilmour.

At this point you are probably wondering how my latest publication ‘Book Review Log Book’ fits in with raising awareness. The book itself is a journal style and right at the back there is a nod to my domestic abuse publications and advocacy. It’s small but it’s still there, sometimes we don’t need to be blunt about it but subtle. In terms of awareness, it could reach more readers so you never know how one book can roll onto reading another.

I don’t think I will ever stop being creative in raising awareness of domestic abuse, TikTok has been my latest go to platform to express my lived experiences. I feel that it not only helps others but it helps me personally because even several years later I am still working my way through the triggers, flashbacks and loss. I am building my life up and I share my journey openly online.

BLURB:

Keep a track of your reading progress and your book reviews in one place:

  • Reading Goals
  • To Be Read List
  • Book Release Dates
  • Word Cloud
  • Your Reviews
  • Your Notes

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase Link

REVIEW:

Now, I snapped up a copy of this book the second I heard about it, and I am so glad I did. Of course, like any good notebook and journal hoarder, I am now too scared to write in it in case I spoil it. But, with enough space for a year’s worth of reviews, and a handy release date calendar, I have decided that this is going to be my “go to” book log for 2022. I even have new pens specifically for the purpose. It is a fab book with a wonderfully clear layout, and would make the perfect Christmas present for that special bookworm in your life.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer Gilmour is an author and advocate for women in abusive relationships, using her own experiences of domestic abuse as a catalyst to bring awareness and to help others. Jennifer has published two publications, Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings which have both been Amazon Best Sellers and received awards. Jennifer speaks at events across the UK and continues to raise awareness through her blog posts, public speaking, radio interviews and social media.

Most Informative Blogger Award 2018 (Bloggers Bash Annual Awards)
UK & European Award for using Social Media for Good 2019 (Social Day: Social Media Marketing Awards)

Jennifer says: “Together we are Louder”.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Amazon Profile

Goodreads Profile

Huffington Post Profile

Book Review

The Recovery Toolkit – Sue Penna

It is my honour today to be joining the blog tour for Sue Penna’s The Recovery Toolkit. My thanks to Sue for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Jennifer Gilmour for arranging the tour and inviting me to be a part of it.

BLURB:

Have you left an abusive relationship?

Are you still carrying guilt?

Would you like to understand, challenge and remove the voice of the perpetrator?

Do you still think what happened to you was your fault?

Do you find dealing with new people in your life something to be scared about?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the above questions you are not alone.

Many people who leave an abusive relationship behind are affected by that former relationship in many different ways. Perhaps you feel guilty when making decisions on your own? You may worry about what motivates others to befriend you? Maybe your children are having to re-learn who it is that’s the adult in the room now that your ex-partner has gone from their lives.

If this all sounds familiar then The Recovery Toolkit is the book for you. Written in an easy and accessible style, the book will take you on a journey that is part discovery, part guide.

RTK Book Cover

FURTHER DETAILS:

The book is based on the successful 12-week group programme of the same name created by author Sue Penna. It is also based on Sue’s professional and lived experience, having worked for more than 20 years for the NHS’s Mental Health Services. For the last 15 years, Sue has specialised in working with individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.

The Recovery Toolkit is crammed with superb observations and suggestions that will help you recognise that you weren’t to blame for the abuse you suffered in the first place and that the real you is still there, ready to emerge.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Purchase here

99p_99c Kindle

REVIEW:

I feel I should preface my review of this book by saying that I have never personally been in an abusive relationship, and as such I have not followed the programme. However, I wanted to be involved in the tour to help raise awareness of the programme and maybe help even just one person find the support they need. I also wanted to read this book to educate myself about domestic abuse and maybe find ways to help a friend who had previously found herself in an abusive situation. Of course, this was the 90s/00s and we were barely out of our teens, so although we could see it wasn’t the healthiest of relationships, the phrase coercive control wasn’t even part of our vocabulary. Looking back now I can see that that’s exactly what it was and reading about how my friend must have been feeling just broke my heart. Happily she is in a relationship with a wonderful man now and her abuser is thankfully ancient history.

The Recovery Toolkit explains the psychology behind the weekly exercises in a clear, accessible manner. It is written in a conversational style, giving the feeling that you are chatting with a trusted friend. It is an easy programme, and some of the exercise will be challenging, but reading Jennifer’s anecdotes as a survivor, advocate and someone who has worked through the programme are infinitely reassuring.

Although I am not the target audience for this book, as I was reading it I found there were elements of what was being said and of the exercises that I could pull out to use with my own self-esteem issues and insecurities as a result of being badly bullied at school, and also the guilt and uselessness I feel as someone with a chronic illness. There are chapters that I know I will be revisiting and trying to put into practice.

Reading this book, and knowing how successful the programme can be, makes me want to locate my nearest support service for domestic abuse victims and make sure they are aware of Rockpool and this book/programme.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sue Penna HeadshotSue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.

Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.

She has specialised in writing psycho-educational programmes that promote trauma informed practice and a recovery model. Sue is passionate for the need for multi-agency working and committed to supporting front line workers to have the skills to support families with a trauma informed approach.

Sue has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma informed domestic abuse programmes including the Inspiring Families Programme, Adult and Children and Young People Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit and the Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkit. Sue has also devised the ACE Recovery Toolkit written for parents and the ACE Recovery Toolkit for children and young people.

ABOUT ROCK POOL:

Our vision is a society that is trauma-informed.

We support organisations that want to improve practice, share knowledge and expertise, and enable their workforce to inspire hope, promote resilience and aid recovery for people affected by trauma. Our innovative, practical solutions and training opportunities are informed by lived experience and what is known to work.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Rockpool Website

Rockpool on Facebook

Rockpool on Twitter

Sue Penna on Twitter

GIVEAWAY:

For the chance to win a signed paperback of The Recovery Toolkit, click HERE.

Visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for more information on this book.

Blog Tour Stops

Extracts

Isolation Junction – Jennifer Gilmour

I am sure most of you have realised by now that I am a huge fan of Jennifer Gilmour and all the amazing work she is doing. If you haven’t already realised, where have you been??? (Also, you can find my previous posts regarding Jennifer here, here, and here. I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Isolation Junction today, and thrilled to be able to share an extract of the book with you.

IJ - NEW COVER Isolation Junction

EXTRACT FROM CHAPTER SIX:

Sat back downstairs, Darren was muttering to himself. Rose could hear some of what he was saying but was trying her hardest to ignore him and zone out but when he said his behaviour was Rose’s fault because they hadn’t had sex for ages, she was devastated and disgusted all in one. He just loved sticking the knife in, over and over again. He was relentless.

Darren carried on, ‘I mean … we’re meant to be married, but that doesn’t mean anything these days.’ Rose’s heart was starting to race. ‘All my mates are getting it.’

That was it, Rose couldn’t listen to him anymore, she stormed into the kitchen and started to wash the pots. A distraction was needed and keeping busy was therapeutic to Rose.

Darren gave it just the right amount of time before following her – just long enough for Rose to think that she was going to get away with her defiance.

‘How dare you walk out when I’m talking to you?’

‘Talking at me, more like.’ Not caring about his reaction, Rose bit back at him.

‘Sorry, what did you say?’ he grunted. ‘I didn’t quite hear that; do you want to say it to my face?’

Rose was giggling inside, this was so pitiful and felt like they were in the playground at school bickering over the smallest of things. Rose carried on washing-up and ignored him. Then, as she leant over to grab a tea-towel, he gripped Rose’s wrist and pulled her towards him, something Rose wasn’t expecting.

‘Sorry …’ he said, taking a long pause, ‘…what … did … you … say … to me?’

Her heart was racing, and her breathing became erratic, his eyes filled with something akin to mania and Rose was terrified. Pulling her top in his fist he dragged her towards him and screamed in her ear, ‘Do I need to ask you again?’

Rose closed her eyes as he spat at her. Holding her breath, she didn’t want him to know she had a shake in her breathing and she looked around the kitchen, anywhere other than his eyes. There was a knife block on the sideboard right beside her, it would be over in minutes and it would be so easy if only she could grab the knife and stab him.

She’d thought about this plenty of times before, the opportunities would present themselves, but she’d never take them. However, if she had to do something in self-defence she’d do it, and this situation felt more concerning than others had. Rose knew it was because she’d tried to stand up for herself for once and he was trying to put her back in her place.

Darren was pressing Rose up against the fridge-freezer, holding her wrists tight by her sides. He could do anything he wanted to, and Rose would powerless against his force and he knew it.

As much as he belittled Rose’s body, he still wanted to abuse it – Rose had lost count of the nights she’d wake up to find him having sex with her. There would be a bit of a struggle as she tried to stop him, but he carried on – Rose was his wife and sex was his right, what Rose wanted, or didn’t want, was irrelevant.

The way he was breathing, the way he was holding her, the way his eyes flashed made Rose realise this time, there was something different about him.

ABOUT ISOLATION JUNCTION:

block the road

First published in 2016, Jennifer has republished a second edition with the changes in Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

This is the republication of Isolation Junction and what a difference it is. A make over with a new book cover, new content, with Pict Publishing, third person only (as opposed to third and first in first edition) and the incidents in correlating order.

BLURB:

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.

She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. But through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.

It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t will she be able to do it? Will Tim help her? And will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?

Based on true events.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

IJ - Jennifer Gilmour

Born in the North East, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children.  In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home-base. Her blog posts have a large readership of other young mums in business.

From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years.  A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write this first novel. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.  

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Amazon

Goodreads

Huffington Post

Make sure you stop by the other blogs taking part in this amazing tour.

Isolation Junction Full Tour Banner

Blog

Isolation Junction – Cover Reveal

I am beyond excited to be involved in the cover reveal for the re-release of Isolation Junction by the truly wonderful Jennifer Gilmour. This book was one of the first that I reviewed and you can read my thoughts here. Before I share the brand spanking new cover, here is the blurb.

BLURB:

Rose is the mother of two young children, and finds herself living a robotic life with an abusive and controlling husband. While she struggles to maintain a calm front for the sake of her children, inside Rose is dying and trapped in ‘Isolation Junction’.

She runs an online business from home, because Darren won’t let her work outside the house. Through this, she meets other mums and finds courage to attend networking events, while Darren is at work, to promote her business.

It’s at one of these events that Rose meets Tim, a sympathetic, dark-haired stranger who unwittingly becomes an important part of her survival.

After years of emotional abuse, of doubting her future and losing all self-confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself distraught, alone and helpless, Rose wonders how she’ll ever escape with her sanity and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1,000 reasons she can’t, will she be able to do it?

Will Tim help her? Will Rose find peace and the happiness she deserves? Can Rose break free from this spiralling life she so desperately wants to change?

Pre-order Links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

This new edition of Isolation Junction published on 22nd October, and Jennifer Gilmour would love to invite you to the online launch party on Facebook. Here comes the gorgeous new cover.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in the North East, I am a young, married mum with three children. I assist in running a family business from my home-base and I have a large readership other young mums in business for my blog posts.

From an early age I have had a passion for writing and have been gathering ideas and plot lines from my teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, I have amalgamated and fictionalised other survivors experiences alongside my own to write my first novel detailing the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again. I hope that in reading my debut novel, I will raise awareness of this often hidden and unseen behaviour and empower women in abusive relationships to seek help for themselves and find the confidence to change their lives.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Amazon Author Link

Online store

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

You can find out more about Jennifer and her work here.