Wednesday, October 28, 2015

No TAC this week, sorry

Hello loyal TAC readers, as I had warned already last week I am not able to post the next installment of TAC this week due to my being in Germany on vacation. I tried to work some on the chapter but I couldn't get it ready and edited to be posted on time. I am so sorry but I can tell you even I miss working on my writing and I miss spending time with my characters. Anyhow, I will see what I can do for next week but I am actually flying back to the US on Wednesday next week. Maybe I can post at least a part of the next chapter. Thank you for your understanding and patience. Hugs, Dani

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - ASL Class


Obviously, I've posted more than 75 installments, but if they were posted together, they counted as one, so here we are, 75! Hard to believe, and still going strong!

This week's episode will be far lighter than the last, giving you all an emotional break, and I hope you will feel Kai's momentary joy here along with him. It feels like a fitting way to celebrate this milestone.

Previously on In/Exhale: We see behind the curtain. The pressures of the entire week mount on Kai, and although he survives, he relapses with his self harm, big time, and even considers suicide before he decides to call Dr. Miller, put his mask back on, and move forward. Renee, frustrated by the distance she feels between her and Kai, especially because of the sometimes language barrier, turns to her best friend and roommate, to whom she confesses all of Kai's hard-kept secrets.

This week on In/Exhale: The long-awaited ASL class, and the curtain firmly back in place. Although David in particular is concerned about his friend, Kai rolls in and slips into his teacher's role almost seamlessly. Steve returns, and we finally get to meet her cousin.

Next week on In/Exhale: The long Friday finally comes to an end as we see the physical and mental exhaustion begin to wear away at Kai, and things come to a head between him and Renee as she decides she will not be a doormat. Kai learns some devastating news that could radically alter the future of Jonesville and his connection to his past.

February 2, 2001 - Part III

So I know I took a risk with last week's episode, and I'm glad at least a few of you appreciated it. It was so personal for me in a lot of ways and it was kind of hard to see the intro post get more comments bc of my pictures than the actual post itself, but I suppose that's life. I'm grateful to my loyal readers who give me the impetus to keep posting.

I do think that despite everything I'm going to try for Nano this year. I have a new story idea (ha like I need another one, right?) that came to me very recently and I'm feeling very inspired to work on, partially because it's a disability I've never attempted to write before: blindness. I'm hoping that it will turn into something, and I'll try to post a snippet as soon as I have one to share.

This shouldn't affect the weekly postings of I/E, though, as I have enough pre-written to meet the next month at least. But I'll of course keep you all updated.

Thanks as always for your support, and I hope you enjoy this week's episode!


PS, Oh, and I've updated the Table of Contents, as always.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Chianti Classico Part IV - last one!

Hi everyone! Here comes the last part of the Chianti series. Yes... I know. It makes up for that with being real long and, as I explained in a comment to the third part, content that made it inappropriate for writing in public places.

Have fun!

Chianti Classico - Part IV

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 43

Hello my friends, here is this week's installment of TAC Chapter 43.
I have to tell you guys that I am not sure if I am able to post chapters in the next two weeks as I am flying to Germany today. I haven't been home in five years and even though a little nervous I am also looking forward to see my mother and sister with her family. We are celebrating my mother's 75th birthday and my mom has no idea that I am coming to the party. It is a big surprise. I am bringing all my TAC material along and also started a new project but I am not sure how much time I will really have to write and edit. I know I will work some on it on the plane since it is such a long flight.
Anyways, in this week's chapter, Jesse gets some news and Shawn and Jesse have some words. Shawn finds out something he didn't know from Jesse.
Again, I want to thank all of you for reading and commenting, you are the best. I appreciate you so  much! Hugs, Dani

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - Trigger Warning

This week's episode is difficult. We see behind the curtain for both Kai and Renee, and there are scenes that may make you uncomfortable. But they're necessary.

When I was working on this season, I got to a point where I knew I had to show Kai's cutting routine. I felt like it was important for the reader to be in his head, and I actually found writing (and reading over) the scene very cathartic. Self-harming behavior, especially cutting, is something that I feel is radically misunderstood by most people. Generally, it's not a bid for attention but an attempt to escape deep emotional pain, to reassert control in a life that otherwise feels so chaotic. It's not unlike a drug addiction in that it involves secrecy, denial, and escalation.

The "sex" scenes in this episode are also slightly unconventional--but then I never do things the way other people do, do I?--and again, may make you a little uneasy. But that's the point. Yes, of course we've gotten in Kai's head plenty this season, but again, this episode is like seeing behind that final curtain to the layers that even Kai is often in denial about.

And as for Renee, she makes a decision with potentially major future repercussions, but that scene came about naturally as I began to feel more and more of what she must be going through as she struggles alongside Kai.

And everything that happens in this episode is necessary for what happens next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chianti Classico Part III

Hey, guys! I know this is short. I know it seems like I enjoy torturing you. This is absolutely not true. Or... is it?

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Chianti Classico - Part III

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 42

Hello my readers, here is the next installment of TAC Chapter 42. I can't believe it either how many chapters it has been already. I thank my loyal readers for reading and commenting, you are definitely what keeps me going. I do enjoy writing and I know I am still learning in the process. This week's chapter brings Kristy and Jesse closer but also brings some unexpected news. Hope you enjoy this chapter and again, Thanks as always for your loyalty and commenting, Hugs, Dani

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In/Exhale Continues - Back to School

A head's up about the next couple days: So Friday, February 2 and Saturday, February 3 are both really crucial days in the third season storyline for Kai, Renee, Jon, and Vicky. They're both pretty long days, especially Friday, but I hope you'll enjoy them.

At this point (Friday), all the stress of the past week is beginning to mount on Kai. He's still alienated from Jon because of their fight, and the intensity of his nightmares means he's been sleeping less and less. But at the same time, Kai is struggling to fight against everything and still live his life. So today (and Saturday) are the affects of that.

Also, when I was working on Season Three, one thing I realized was that Renee was almost too perfect. Too accepting. Too forgiving. And while she is very accepting and forgiving and loving of Kai, his illness affects her just as much as it does him, so over the course of Friday's episodes, we'll begin to see more of her side of things and not just Kai's.

Friday is divided into four episodes, with each carrying its own little story arch of sorts. I know that makes it an incredibly long day, but it's insanely long for Kai so that's partially why I wanted the text to reflect that. Some of these episodes will be difficult to read, but they're all crucial to Kai and Renee's story. I hope, that when we reach the end of this portion of the season, you will be incredibly satisfied by how far everyone has come.

Previously on In/Exhale: Kai has had an agonizing week filled with panic attacks, hearing loss, and betrayals by those he feels close to. Horrible nightmares have affected his sleep, and Kai is beginning to feel alienated and frustrated, yet at the same time is determined not to give up.

This Week on In/Exhale: Kai and Jon still haven't reconciled; if anything, they're growing farther apart as Kai can't get over his anger. Lack of sleep and a torrent of emotions, including his persistent anxiety haunt Kai throughout the day and begin to take their toll on those around him. Kai meets with his advisor as he plans the next stage of his school life.

Next Week on In/Exhale: We see behind Kai's curtain as we witness some of his coping strategies and struggles that have otherwise been veiled. Renee feels the distance between her and Kai grow, and upset and with no one to talk to about everything going on with Kai, she confides in someone all of Kai's secrets. But it's possible Kai has already been pushed to his breaking point.

February 2, 2001 - Part I

I've updated the Table of Contents, as always.

I also wanted to say a special thank you for those of you who offered support to me last week, especially Pepper, Lovis, Anne, and Dani. It really meant a lot, especially with how bad my headache has been in the past few days. Thank you. And thank you to all my readers who have stuck by me for two and a half seasons!


Monday, October 12, 2015

New book about cute quad!

I just wanted to let everyone know that the second book in my series, about a woman who has a romance with a cute quadriplegic, is now available to purchase on Amazon:

For those of you who read the original version of this story, I have made massive changes. So it would be an entirely different experience to read. For those of you who have not read the original, here is the back cover:

Millie Glockenfeld's luck has finally turned around.
After years of terrible relationships, Millie has just gotten engaged to the man of her dreams. Sam Webber is adorably geeky, and most importantly, he's crazy about Millie. So what if Sam is disabled and uses a wheelchair full-time? And so what if Millie's mother doesn't approve and has decided to boycott the wedding? Life is all about rolling with the punches.

Enter Jake Winston, Millie's teenage crush.

When Jake suddenly materializes at the company where Millie works, they become fast friends. It's almost too incredible to believe when Jake confesses that he harbored the same feelings for her in high school that she had for him. But as she spends more and more time with him, Millie starts to realize that her feelings for Jake may not be entirely in the past...

In case you haven't read the first book in the series, it is now available for free on the Kindle on Amazon for a short time!

PS Also, a major shout out to Molly Mirren, for her help with the editing process!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Skin and Scars Chapter 9

Today is the day! New update! Thank you all for your patience and I hope you enjoy this new chapter.

And as always, for those of you just joining us...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Three's A Crowd Chapter 41

Hi my loyal readers, before I am heading out to work today, here is this week's installment of TAC Chapter 41. I am a little more focused on Jesse and his recovery right now but I think he deserves attention too and definitely deserves to find some happiness soon. Shawn and Trish are there with him all the way, even though Shawn struggles a little bit with his brother moving on. Trish is by his side and sets him straight. So thank you all for following along the life of my three characters, for reading and commenting. I couldn't do it without you. I appreciate all of you, Yours truly, Hugs, Dani
Here is also an updated Table Of Contents: TOC Three's A Crowd

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

In/Exhale Continues

Previously on In/Exhale: Kai and Martin bonded, Kai relating some stories about his middle- and high school days. David had his important job interview that was partly foiled by an incompetent interpreter, but Megan reassured him not to give up and to look to the Deaf community for help.

This week on In/Exhale: Kai and Martin's afternoon together continues as Martin finally gets Kai to talk about the transplant. Reluctantly, Kai discusses things he had never admitted before. Weary from the long day, Vicky calls her sister Roni for support, then gets a surprise visit from Jon. *sex scene

Next week on In/Exhale: The start of a long, rocky day for Kai and Renee. Kai's mood is sour after nights of low sleep and the lingering fight with Jon. Kai goes to the Disability Services office to meet with his advisor about the prospect of moving into a dorm.

So, when I originally sat down and started working on parts of what became Season 3, I ended up writing a bunch of scenes between Kai and Martin. Originally,  I thought I'd keep them just for me, but the more I wrote the more I realized Martin's story was crucial to that of the two brothers--and he's such a fun character, too--that I decided to include some of them.

So this episode has a lot of info about Kai's life before and after his transplant that I thought about not including but decided they were important to Kai's mindset and also to his relationship with Martin. So I hope you guys won't be bored, lol.

February 1, 2001 - Part III

Thanks as always to those who take the time to comment. I know my story is probably the least popular on the blog but it's nice to know there are those who care about it :). The last few months have been really rough for me. (See my blog for details.) So I/E is one of the last things I have "left" it seems like on most days. :(

Again, I've updated the Table of Contents. See you guys next week.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Chianti Classico Part II

Hello everyone! Second part. I am freaking tired and still have to work, so keep me awake! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Chianti Classico - Part II

Thursday, October 1, 2015

VIGNETTE: Two of a Kind

I remember those days well. The ones just after I was injured, when it was all so new and traumatic. I remember each time a doctor or a nurse or my parents delivered another piece of bad news, which seemed to be the only kind I ever got around that time. That I was going to be paralyzed from my shoulders down for the rest of my life. That I’d never be able to live independently. That I’d be incontinent. That I might never have kids (though, at fourteen, that wasn’t exactly my biggest concern).

And it sucked for about three months. But I can honestly say that, by the time I came home, I’d reached acceptance (which is more than I can say for several of the whiny paras I’d met in rehab). Maybe it was because I had a supportive family and good friends and excellent healthcare. But I think it also had something to do with me. That I decided to be happy. And that’s something I’m proud of. It’s also how I ended up talking to Chelsea.

When I saw her first post on Apparelyzed, I thought, “This girl needs some guidance. And I’m just the one to give it.” It wasn’t the first time I’d appointed myself some kind of SCI ambassador, but it was the first time that what ended up happening happened…

At first it was just advice on catheters. She was newly injured—a college cheerleader who’d landed on her noggin during a particularly dangerous stunt at an NCAA championship game. Naturally, she was having some trouble adjusting. She irrationally wanted to keep her indwelling catheter, and the recurrent UTIs it brought, because she didn’t want a suprapubic. She said she didn’t want to pee out of a tube. Which was just stupid, obviously. She’d be peeing out a tube the rest of her life, just like I’d been doing for the last ten years. Did it really matter if it came out of her abdomen instead of her urethra?

Not that I didn’t have compassion for her; her injury was even higher than mine. At C2, she’d need to be mechanically ventilated full-time. I knew at least part of her hesitation was just not wanting another tube in her body. As high-level quads, so much is out of our control. Almost everything, really. I understood wanting to hold onto something. Even so, I eventually convinced her to get the suprapubic, and she ended up thanking me for it by sending me an iTunes gift card. And that’s when it got weird and maybe a little bit beautiful.

First things first: I know what you’re thinking. “Aw, idn’t that cute? The widdle disabled kids are in wove!” No. That’s offensive and annoying and I’ve been getting it since I got hurt. I’ll be out at a mall with my brother, and some family'll roll in with a girl my age with Down syndrome or something. And suddenly, I’ll feel all the eyes in the vicinity on us. All expectant, like that crab from the mermaid movie's going to start encouraging me to “kiss da girl” or something. I hope it doesn’t sound snobby, but, basically, I wasn’t into disabled girls before I got injured, so why would I be into them after? Besides I didn’t really know any, before. It's not like we have a directory.

The only thing is, dating able-bodied girls was pretty much impossible. I tried, believe me. But it’s hard to take a girl on a date when you’re not able to drive a car. Or feed yourself. Or lean in for a kiss, if that was ever even on the table. So I became the mascot of my small group of friends. Just a funny, firmly friend-zoned dude who was always game to hang out, as long as there was someone around to empty my piss bag.

But it was different with Chels. Maybe because we communicated strictly through text for months before I ever saw a picture of her. I got to know how funny and cool and smart she was before I saw a picture of her. So when I did see a picture, I mostly saw her pretty brown eyes and adorably freckly nose, instead of the vent tube coming out of her neck, or the strap that wrapped around her headrest to hold her head up. Again, I hope that doesn’t sound snobby. It’s not like I think I’m some prize. I haven’t moved my own body for a decade, and it shows. I wear a diaper. My mom bathes me and dresses me every morning and will for the foreseeable future. But I’m still a man. So I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to Chelsea. And when we Skyped for the first time (through the computer I taught her how to set up and use), it was even more obvious that we just clicked.

That was two years ago.

And now, here we are. In a hotel room in Chicago, the rough midpoint between our parents’ homes in Ann Arbor (me) and Cedar Rapids (her). Lying side-by-side in bed together. She laughs self-consciously at the hiss and wheeze of her ventilator, loud in the quiet room, as her attendant (a big, black woman improbably named Olga) busily lubricates her, uh, down there. I can't see what she's doing, but I can see the tube in Olga’s hand, and know it’s the same thing both of us use for our bowel programs: lidocaine. Neither Chelsea nor I have any sensation below our injury levels, and we’re both susceptible to autonomic dysreflexia. So the numbing gel won’t dampen our fun (oh, god, I hope this is fun), and will hopefully prevent either of us from stroking out.

“Ready to turn over?” Sylvie, my caregiver, asks.

Yes, there are four of us in the room. Chelsea and I are both totally dependent, which includes in the bedroom. We’re both used to other people taking care of our bodies for us. “Chels?” I say, turning my head to look at her. Because Chelsea can’t turn her head on her own, or nod, she just whispers in her breathy voice to the ceiling, “Now or never.” With that, Sylvie hefts me onto my left side, and Olga moves Chelsea onto her right, careful to keep her vent tubes unkinked.

And suddenly I’m face to face with my beautiful girl.

And Chelsea really is still beautiful. Way hotter than I’d have ever landed, even if we were both able-bodied. I glance down, now that we’re both naked, and I’m astonished at her body. It’s beautiful, too.

I know, I know. I said I wasn’t into it. But there’s a familiarity to her curled hands, her “quad belly,” her thin arms and legs. They say a majority of people marry someone who looks like them, and I get it now. Not only is there no shame between me and Chelsea, but there’s a feeling of coming home.

And that’s the feeling that’s going to stick with me, I know. Even after Olga holds Chelsea’s head so we can kiss softly, deeply for twenty minutes. Even after Olga and Sylvie position us, and let us know that we’re technically having sex (Chelsea's first time since her accident! My first time since ever!).  Even after I watch Olga dress Chelsea, manipulating Chelsea’s full breasts into her bra. Something I know I’ll never be able to do, but wish to god I could. Even after we share the most romantic meal of either of our lives, over McDonald’s down the street from the hotel, Olga feeding us both while Sylvie packs up our luggage.

Even after I’m home. And still missing the person I now think of as my real Home.

We both know we won’t have a normal relationship. We won’t marry and have babies. Or ever even live closer than a several-hour drive—we both require too much care to ever be away from family. But hey, as I'm teaching Chelsea, that’s life as a high-level quad.

And anyway, we'll always have Chicago.