Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids, and Swimming

As a kid, I loved going to the pool or the beach. I remember having a blast at water parks. Hearing aids are not water proof, so each time I went the hearing aids stayed at home or locked up some place dry.

My hearing for my childhood was mild/moderate. So I heard less without my hearing aids on, but I was still able to communicate in spoken English.

As an adult, however, things have changed. I feel hesitant going to the pool or the beach with my son and I struggle to communicate in spoken words at these locations more than I remembered. I chalked it up to the loss of innocence and being more aware of things. The addition of wearing glasses and not always wearing my contacts helped.

A few weeks ago a light bulb flashed over my head. I suddenly realized why I no longer enjoyed water like I used to. While my left ear still has a mild hearing loss, my right ear is now moderate to profound. Without my hearing aid on I don’t hear spoken English unless it’s really loud. Even then the sound is off, consonants missing. I listen with my left ear and, in many ways, always have.

So the reason I don’t enjoy the beach and pool like I used to is because my hearing is different. My good ear remains the same, but the change in my bad ear is enough to force me to struggle. My family and friends understand, but a stranger? Forget it. And even though I’m comfortable with my hearing loss, it doesn’t also flow in a conversation.

I know ASL, but at home I speak most of the time. I’ve known my husband since before I knew ASL, so it’s natural for us to communicate in English. He took a few ASL classes for me, and we’ve tried to implement SimCom (simultaneous communication in both languages) at home. But English is the language I use on instinct and since I understand him most of the time, our attempts slid away.

When my son was born I was determined to make him bilingual. First problem: my son is hearing. I have a tendency to sign to those who need it, not just because. But I tried with him. Second problem: he doesn’t hold eye contact well. It’s hard to sign to someone who isn’t paying attention. To be fair, he did pick up some ASL. He counts in ASL, he knows the alphabet, and he signed a few words before his English picked up. He’ll sign “please” to butter me up with an angelic face. So even though I had the best intentions, I stopped signing.

The only person I can blame is myself. A social worker by nature, I put others communication needs before mine. I match my communication style to those I talk with. I don’t put what I need first. And because I don’t put my own needs first, because I fall back on what is easy and simple, I can’t go to the beach and switch to ASL with my family.

My fault.

I’m trying to change my ways, force my hands to move more at home, expose my son to signs again and hope my family will follow suit. I haven’t mentioned this to my husband yet, so I hope he a) will see what I’m doing and b) read this and understand where I’m coming from.

English is my native language. I’m comfortable communicating in spoken language. But it comes with its own trial and tribulations. I’ve spent my life dependent on my left ear. In the back of my mind, I’ve had a little voice whispering, “What happens when it changes?” My hearing loss is stable, everything that has happened to my right ear stems back to surgery and blows to the head (I’ve fainted a few times, I don’t recommend it). Yet older adults can have late onset hearing loss and I suspect I’m not immune, even if I’m already used to it.

Instead of being frustrated and not enjoying the times when my hearing aids are off, I need to make changes. I need to sign more often. I need to push past the ease of English, when I like to talk a mile a minute, and slow down enough so my hands can follow. Above all, I need to put my communication needs first. It won’t be easy, I’m sure there will be ups and downs until new habits are formed. But if I don’t make those changes I’ll continue to find myself in situations where my hearing loss frustrates me. And as an ASL user this shouldn’t happen.

Too Many New Ideas

Since last year I’ve been blessed/cursed with an overactive muse.  A steady stream of new ideas have come to mind, often times threatening to derail me from my current project.

Three times I’ve had “Shower Epiphanies.” These are times when I enter the shower with nothing in mind, just letting the thoughts float, mingling and mixing as they will. By the time I’m out of the shower I’m desperately holding onto first lines, ending up writing them down on a piece of paper while still dripping wet and wearing only a towel. Yes, the glamourous life of a writer!

This happened, occurrence #3, yesterday. I’m in the middle of drafting one project and have promised myself whatever I tackle next will be an edit. So this little idea will be stuck on my notepad for the foreseeable future. I’m a pantster and my ideas usually start like this. I don’t know where this is going, I haven’t fully developed my characters. Depending on how much they speak to me will depend on how quickly this page turns into more.

In the interest of giving my newest idea some attention before I shelve the project, here’s what I wrote yesterday morning. It hasn’t been typed into a document yet. Meaning no editing, no cleaning, just the rough words on the page. And yet, I’m excited by what has come out and can’t wait to see where the story goes.

Nothing said “Just Friends” like being tangled in a sweaty, naked mess with the ex–again. Somehow Tamara couldn’t resist Max. Sure, his drop-dead gorgeous six foot frame helped. More, being together was a comfort, a “been there, done that, scratch my itch” kinda thing.

When lust hit, all the reasons they crashed and burned meant nothing until the heat wore off–which started exactly two point five seconds ago. Now they moved awkwardly into the “oh shit, I just fucked my best friend” portion of the evening.

Tamara slipped out of bed and dressed with her back to Max. “What caused this to happen this time?” One minute they were talking the next minute–holy crap, how did her bra end up on top of the lamp?

“You were ranting and raving about your date with teeth guy and I offered to lick your mouth, plaque and all,” Max’s deep voice answered.

She shuddered and turned as Max zipped the fly of his jeans. Right. Andrew, a dental hygienist working his way through his doctorate. Killed the date when he insisted of brushing after dinner and was disgusted she had no plans to do the same.

Max turned to pick up his shirt. He pulled it on, but not before she caught the raised red skin of another new tattoo. It was still so strange, when he’d been hers he didn’t have a single one. “What’s with the wolf, Max?”

He turned and glared, his yummy washboard abs–also new–now covered by a skull tee-shirt. “It’s Ax.”

Right. Well, he’d just have to deal. “You’ve been Max for most of my life. Ax rhymes with Ass and Ex.”

“Both of which I am.”

Cover Reveal! Sway by Melanie Stanford

So excited to share with you the cover reveal for my friend’s novel! Check it out and add it to your TBR List!



Ava Elliot never thought she’d become a couch surfer. But with a freshly minted—and worthless—degree from Julliard, and her dad squandering the family fortune, what choice does she have?

Living with her old high school friends, though, has its own drawbacks. Especially when her ex-fiancé Eric Wentworth drops back into her life. Eight years ago, she was too young, too scared of being poor, and too scared of her dad’s disapproval. Dumping him was a big mistake.

In the most ironic of role reversals, Eric is rolling in musical success, and Ava’s starting at the bottom to build her career. Worse, every song Eric sings is an arrow aimed straight for her regrets.

One encounter, one song too many, and Ava can’t go on like this. It’s time to tell Eric the truth, and make a choice. Finally let go of the past, or risk her heart for a second chance with her first love. If he can forgive her…and she can forgive herself.

Melanie Stanford

Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.









Written by nine authors, Never Be Younger is a Young Adult collection of Shakespeare retellings. From Othello to Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet to The Winter’s Tale, each story has been crafted with a new spin.

nbyFrom the halls of a high school to hip night clubs to the depths of space, Never Be Younger gives Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets a fresh spin for a new audience. Nine authors pay tribute to the Bard by taking his timeless tales to new heights, entrancing readers all over again. A Shakespeare story by any other name still reads as sweet.

All proceeds from the sales of Never Be Younger go to United Through Reading, a charity dedicated to uniting military families through reading. Check out the bottom of the post for how you can win great prizes to celebrate the release!



Buy now on Amazon and Kobo for only $0.99US


Star Crossed Lovers by S.M. Johnston and E.L. Wicker


The clunk of the airlock bolting into place secures my fate, sending my limbs into an involuntary quiver. There’s no turning back now. If we pull this off, my family will finally be free to earn the honest living they so deserve. Too long, we’ve been forced to trade illegally beneath the shadows in fear of the Capulets wrath.

A hand clamps on my shoulder and I jump. On instinct, I reach for my cutlass and pistol then ball my fingers into fists and force them to stay by my side. Merc’s face greets me with a smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth and a glimmer in his brown eyes.

“Want some courage in a pill?” He holds out a tiny blue hexagon—a Queen Mab booster.

I shake my head, my tongue feeling too thick to form words. The last thing I want is to walk into a ballroom full of people and go berserk.


About the Authors

Rachel Bateman: Editor

rachelRachel Bateman is a writer and editor who spends too much time thinking she can out bake the Cake Boss. (Spoiler: She can’t.) She lives in the middle of Montana, but dreams of the South. Rachel is the owner of Metamorphosis Books, an author services company offering formatting and interior layout for independent authors. When not writing, editing, or reading books, she can be found playing with her husband, young son, and small zoo of pets. You can find Rachel on Twitter, and her website.



S.M. Johnston: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare

sharonS.M. Johnston is a writer of weird fiction and soulful contemporaries from sunny Queensland, Australia. Her family includes a husband, two sons and a number of fur babies of the feline and cavy variety. You can find Sharon on Twitter, and her website.


Jessica L Pierce: A Day of Errors

jessicaJessica is a somewhat crazy – yet loving – blond. She lives in Green Bay, WI, hates the cold, and loves her completely awesome camo coat. She is passionate about football, baseball, photography and writing, and won’t go near cooked peas. (Raw peapods are fine.)

She is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and will graduate in December 2015 with a degree in Communication with emphasis in Journalism. She is a sports photographer and her work can be found at: http://www.studio52photos.com You can also find Jessica on Twitter.



Cortney Pearson: The Undreamed Shores

CORTNEYCortney Pearson is the author of Phobic and Such a Secret Place, a mother, musician, and a lover of pink and sparkles. You can find Cortney on Twitter, and her website.






E.L. Wicker: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare

EmE.L. Wicker lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and two children. Fueled by the bossy voices in her head, she writes New Adult fiction with a side of romance. You can find E.L. on Twitter, and her website.





Nicole Zoltack: Any Way the Wind Blows

NICOLENicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranromal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys, with another little one on the way. She enjoyes horse riding (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. You can find Nicole on Twitter, and her website.



Olivia Hinebaugh: Mark The Music

oliviaOlivia Hinebaugh spends her free time writing. Obviously. The rest of her time is spent playing and reading with her two young children. She also loves: watching Sia’s music videos, quoting Mean Girls, and folding laundry. She actually really does. You can find Olivia on Twitter, and her website.




Adrianne James: A Witch’s Life

adrianneGrowing up Adrianne James couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up the majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.

During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked up in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.

As a New Adult Paranormal (and sometimes contemporary) author, Adrianne James writes strong women, powerful magic, and love that lasts a lifetime. You can find Adrianne on Twitter, and her website.


Christina June: The Scarf

christinaChristina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and the world’s most rambunctious four-year-old. You can find Christina on Twitter, and her website.


To celebrate the release we have a wonderful giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3 ½ Star Curse

I’ve noticed a trend on the books I read and Goodreads: some of the books I love (as in 5 stars) average about 3 ½.

I’ve wondered if it’s just me. Do I have tastes that are slightly skewed from main stream? While in many cases, yes, yes, yes I do, in this case I’m not so sure.

The books I mainly read are adult contemporary romances. I love these stories. I write these stories. At the end of the day, these stories follow a formula. There are bars surrounding what can and cannot be done. Writers can and do stray from the formula in many ways. But in order to fit the genre they can’t stray too far.

This, ultimately, is why I feel the 3 ½ star curse exists. How many marriage of convenience stories can one read before…yawn…3 stars? How many bad boys with a heart of gold (okay, maybe this one can live on)? How many commitment phobic men now willing to lay it on the line for a woman he’s known (at least romantically) two weeks?

Eventually, these stories start to blend together. There are exceptions and authors are always looking for a different twist, a different spin. Something, anything to stick out from the pack and breathe new life into a fun, but overused, concept.

Without insulting anyone in the genre I love to read and write, I’m going to place the blame on the same end at the same time. Going back to my mention above: marriage of convenience. If this is a trope a reader likes, this is a trope the reader is going to reach for. Even if she/he has read one too many, it still sparks the interest. So the book is purchased, the sales hold the marriage of convenience trope is working. Publishers want more, writers write more, and the shelves continue to hold them until the bubble bursts.

In the meantime, more books receive 3 ½ stars. Not because the book is bad. No, because the reader is burnt out. The reader wants something new, something fresh, and the bars of the genre are too rigid.

I’ve done this in reverse. Years ago I needed more than the confines of the genre. I stopped reading. I wrote the story the way I wanted it written. Now I’m backtracking, because what my head thinks works may not be reality. I’m writing my first ever novel intending it to be completely genre. And I’m loving it. I’m putting my own spin on it, but paying attention to the key details: limited sub characters, steam, something pulling the characters apart until the last second (okay, I’m struggling with this part, I’m too much of a HEA girl).

And someone will one day give me 3 stars (and less) for the way my novel matches up to others in the genre. Don’t get me wrong, people should assign whatever stars they see fit. I personally hate seeing books I love not getting the same love from others.

Either I’m right and it’s the tiresome reusing inside the genre. Or my tastes really are off the beaten path. It’s pretty here, the flowers haven’t been trampled yet.

The Story of My Hearing Loss: Part 4—The Accident

A year after my surgery (click here for the story) an event occurred that changed my hearing permanently.

It was the first day of third grade. A nice, warm, sunny day. At recess I ran around with my friends, being a normal, typical, kid. For reasons I don’t remember, I stopped short and turned my head. A friend was right behind me and we collided, her nose pushed my hearing aid into my ear. I don’t remember pain, however the force of the impact caused my ear to bleed.

Needless to say, I ended up at the nurse’s office. She called my mom and sent me back to class. I walked down the squeaky clean and empty corridor to my classroom and drip, drip, drip. Tiny drops of blood landed on the off-white linoleum from my ear. Now, I was a bit of a goody-two-shoes. I tilted my head, to keep the blood inside (remember, I was a third grader) and walked the rest of the way to my classroom, head cocked, to ask if I could go back to the nurse’s office.

Of course, I was given permission. My mom was called and took me home. I don’t know if I went to my primary doctor or my ENT right away. What I do know is the next time my hearing was tested my hearing had gone down.

Way down, but I didn’t know this at the time.

My hearing was tested every six months at that point, as the doctors tried to establish if the change in hearing would continue. It didn’t. That surgery? Null and void. My right ear was now worse than when I was born.

Again, no one talked numbers to me. I only knew my right ear had gotten worse. My hearing aids were adjusted, my tinnitus continued. I can’t stress enough how normal everything was to me. This was me, this was my ear. Maybe more was explained and I just didn’t care. Because this was me, this was my ear. It wasn’t changing and I never for one minute believed it would change to become more hearing. My left ear was the good ear. I listened with my left. End of story.

I was nineteen when I finally began to understand all that had happened to my hearing. This wasn’t a small change. Yet it didn’t matter. Sometimes a number on a chart is just a number.

In retrospect would I opt for the surgery again? I don’t know. The surgery wasn’t necessary. It didn’t help my hearing. And more importantly: I didn’t want my hearing fixed, not at that point in my life. What the surgery has done for me is taught me about hearing loss. The changes in my right ear (yes, there’s more to come) have allowed me to understand loss. Without the surgery, I would have been someone with a mild/moderate hearing loss. It wouldn’t have affected me as much as it does today.

Furthermore I wouldn’t be able to relate to others the same way, as my hearing would have been stable from birth to now. The bumps along the road, in regards to my hearing loss, have been an incredible learning tool for me. While I have, at some points in my life, wished to be hearing, the vast majority I’ve spent enjoying myself. As is.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3