Middles

Featured

This isn’t a beginning, for all that it’s my first post on here. I’ve been writing on and off most of my life. Words are an essential part of my being and not just in a ‘required for life’ oxygen sort of way but in a required for truly LIVING sort of way (unless the endorphins get in the way but more on that later…).

This isn’t an ending, though there will be some postings of past musings as I hope to use this space to gather the scattered writings I’ve done publicly and privately and whatnot.

Besides, the best stories start somewhere in the middle. The middle is an especially comfortable place to be for someone who doesn’t identify strongly with binaries. It isn’t the center – this isn’t a linear spectrum – it is an unspecified location within the vast miasma of between. I relish the fuzzy grey areas, the challenging bits that don’t play nicely with pigeon-holes, the venn diagram overlaps –> the utter rejection of mutual exclusivity when it comes to identity, self-expression, and enjoyment.

Stay tuned for glimpses of my middle 😉

Advertisements

OMG Talia Hibbert Writes PNR Y’all

Stay tuned for a review this weekend! ❤
jeni
—-

 

This Halloween, love bites back… hard.

Chastity Adofo knows a monster when she sees one. As soon as Luke Anthony wanders into her family’s coffee shop, she recognises the evil lurking beneath his charming smile and fantastic arse. The handsome werewolf is determined to have her—but she’s determined to cut out his heart.

Little does she know, Luke’s plans for her are far more pleasurable than murder. And when the full moon rises, all bets are off…

Warning: Mating the Huntress is 30,000 words of red-hot, Halloween-themed romance. This book contains one flirtatious, cursed creature of the night, one badass, knife-happy heroine, and forbidden lust at first sight. Please read responsibly!

AVAILABLE NOW ON:

AMAZON | AMAZON UK

ABOUT TALIA HIBBERT

Talia Hibbert lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room—but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.

 

AUTHOR SITE | NEWSLETTER | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE | BOOKBUB

ENTER TO WIN A $50 AMAZON GIFT CARD

All commenters will be entered into a random prize draw! There will be two winners, who’ll each receive a $50 Amazon gift card from Talia Hibbert. Every comment counts as a separate entry; just remember to include a social media handle so we can reach you if you win!


READ AN EXCERPT

“I’ll answer a question,” he said, “for a kiss.”

“How very nefarious,” she muttered dryly.

“I’m a monster, aren’t I?”

“Yep.”

“You should slap me and run off into the light.”

“Oh, piss off. Slap you and break my bloody wrist, more like.”

“I can’t help it if my bones are particularly sturdy.”

“Why are they so sturdy, again?”

He grinned at her innocent tone. “A kiss, love.”

“Fine.” Before he could grasp what was happening, she darted up on her toes and pressed her lips to the corner of his mouth. Every fibre in his body seemed to shatter, to explode on impact, as if the slight, chaste brush of skin against skin were the most erotic thing he’d ever felt.

And then she was gone, pressing herself back against the wall as if she could sink into it, her lashes lowered. “There. Now answer the question.”

It took him a moment to find the wherewithal to speak, but he tried to sound unaffected. Luke had a feeling that with Chastity, the slightest slip of control might be taken as permission to ride roughshod.

Not that he’d mind her taking advantage of him, once in a while.

“That wasn’t a real kiss,” he said. “You missed my mouth.”

“It’s dark,” she scowled. “Except for those bloody eyes of yours.”

“Thanks to these eyes,” he said patiently, “I can see you just fine. So we’ll do it again, and I’ll kiss you.”

“Nope. My kiss counts. You never said it had to be on the mouth.”

He smiled slowly, glad that the shadows hid his satisfaction. Ah, she had no idea what she’d just walked into. “Alright. Fair enough.” He enjoyed the expression on her face for a moment, all adorably pleased, as if she’d just won a prize. “Like all healthy, cursed beasts beholden to the moon, I am physically stronger, faster and sturdier than the average human. Higher bone density, more powerful muscles, magic, blah blah blah. And I believe I have a stronger immune system.”

“Why do you think that?”

“I’ve never gotten sick,” he said. “That was another question, Chasity. You owe me a kiss.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re a pervert.”

“You know,” he said reasonably, “you could always reject my bargain. Or at least, you could if you weren’t determined to prove yourself useful to a family who have, for some reason, denied your skills as a huntress. But since you are determined to do so, and since you also secretly want to kiss me, why don’t you be a good girl and let me take what I’m owed?”

She gaped at him like a particularly pissed-off fish. Then, finally, she spluttered, “Don’t psychoanalyse me, you inhuman prick.”

“How am I supposed to support you in overcoming your insecurities—”

“Call me insecure again and I will scoop out your eyeballs with a silver spoon.”

“—if I don’t put effort into understanding you? And Chas, we both know you’re never going to attack me again. I’d be open to play-fighting, though. You’re very sexy when you’re trying to remove my vital organs.”

“What on earth are you blathering on about?” she demanded. But she didn’t sound as brashly confident as usual, or as disgusted and dismissive. She sounded, beneath that iron voice of hers… unsure.

He didn’t like that, because he knew she must be uncomfortable. Chastity appreciated certainty, which meant that he appreciated certainty for her. That was what drove him to say, his words painfully blunt, “I want to mate you.”

There was a heavy pause. Then, finally, she said, “I wish I didn’t know what you meant by that, but…”

“Context clues?” he guessed helpfully.

“Context clues,” she agreed.

“How do you feel about it?”

“Horrified, obviously. I don’t think I need to tell you that whatever matingme entails, it’s never going to happen. Unless you force me.”

He ground his teeth together and breathed through his nose for a moment, her scent ironically comforting as he fought down nausea and fury in equal measure. Then, his temper and his roiling stomach under control, he gritted out in his best imitation of calm, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.”

“Um… are you okay?”

“Do you care?” he snarled, the moonlight-fine thread of his control finally snapping.

“Yes,” she clipped out, her voice equally harsh. And then they both faltered, blinking at that unexpected response. There was a heavy pause as she swallowed, the sound loud in the silence. Distantly, he recognised the rumble of passing cars on the nearby street, the open-and-shut of a door somewhere close, a faint conversation across the block. But that evidence of a world beyond the secret space between them wasn’t enough to drag Luke out of this moment, this precious breath of time when her eyes met his without aggression, when her pretty lips parted not to attack him, but to drag in air.

When she was just as affected as him, and unable to hide it.

His heart pounding, his beast growling hungrily for more, he leaned closer. “Chastity.”

“Mm?” she hummed, the sound unsteady.

“May I have my kiss, now?”

She took a deep breath, then gave a jerky nod.

“Say it,” he murmured.

Her voice was whisper-fine. “Yes.”

Processing

It’s tricky. It comes and goes. I’m still not sure if those workshops are a good idea cuz even when I’m not thinking about it, it’s lurking there in the back of my mind simply due to the nature of the beast.

(Side note: I can’t believe that fucking jerk tried to talk to me like we’re friends. Maybe she was just being pleasant and, considering she is fucking terrible at boundaries, that’s the only way she knows how. Still though. FUCK HER.)

I was talking to my therapist this week about how wonderful it is to have a physical goal to focus on because the results may be incremental but they’re measurable and consistent and so much more tangible than emotional goals. It was a good talk. This week has been hard though. Hard in ways that I haven’t really had to deal with in awhile.

I’m reading this incredible romance by this new-to-me author that writes really phenomenal contemporary, some of which has a kinky slant, and I came across this quote and it blew my mind.

000A701D-E94B-4FAE-8352-077A0D247A06.jpeg

THIS. So much this. I posted it on fb and I know that everyone who responded to it did so with their own lens, that it doesn’t necessarily mean for them what it means for me and that’s ok. For me though … this so beautifully encapsulates everything I want to say to the people (especially you) that were so insistent that I get to a place where I can forgive. To be honest, they’re probably still so insistent but I don’t associate with them anymore. Fuck them. I am not in that place. I am not ready to forgive and, quite frankly, no one has ever apologised. At least, no one who caused actual harm. It hit me that I need that. I know I won’t get it – it’s purely a pipe dream – but I need it. This isn’t super surprising, considering how powerful it was when she apologised back in January. Even knowing that it was basically meaningless and just to make her feel better about herself, it was powerful. I need you to apologise. You won’t and that sucks. You’d have to acknowledge that you did something wrong. You’d have to acknowledge my personhood. I’m sure you’ve concocted some story about how I need to apologise or whatever – more of that bullshit about how you’re so hurt and angry (and how fucking dare you, btw). Still though. I need you to apologise. You won’t. That sucks.

Later in this amazeballs book, I came across this quote and I cried.

D36436EA-769D-4BF8-8D1D-625BCD4F457E

That’s really the crux of it, isn’t it. You never expected the best from me. You were always waiting for the other shoe to drop, always convinced that my assholery was about to attack, always throwing up walls and guards to make sure that I wouldn’t get away with it unscathed.

It took me MONTHS to understand that I couldn’t pin any hopes on you, or your ability to come through. I believed you and I believed IN you. Sometimes I still do. That sucks too. It really, really does.

 

 

Gutted

In retrospect, of course it was a bad idea. I know better. Hell, ninety percent of the time I wouldn’t even have been tempted! (Or so it feels these days …)

… but they looked so cozy and friendly and I wanted so desperately to belong that the words were out of my mouth before my brain had caught up.

Gods, the looks on their faces. It was obvious that the knowledge I shouldn’t have had came as an unpleasant shock. How dare I, really? What service could I possibly think to provide THEM in their exaltedness? It seemed best at the time to brazen through it, as pausing and retreating might have drawn more attention than pretending it wasn’t a big deal … but it was, of course. It IS.

And that absolute meany. To preach at me about friendship and love – all while damning the rest of them – and then sit there aligned in solidarity against me, the malicious interloper, the antagonistic presence.

Fuck it. Fuck them. Fuck her. Fuck all of it.

I will never fit. I will never be welcome. I’ve lost even the worthiness for the bare minimum effort of pretending I’m marginally tolerated.

How the pain of that burns, deep down inside, right through all of the pride I had at getting to a place where I had let go …

I’m just a huge ball of shame and stupidity.

AD is my muse tonight

“And I think of your letters as love letters …”

If only. How much text constitutes a letter I wonder? How far would I have to stretch to delude myself into believing that you wrote to me at all, much less of love?

 

“I think I’ll even wonder if you meant it at the time”

Constantly. Well, maybe that’s not so true. Only when I give myself room to doubt. Most of the time I’m secure in the knowledge that you didn’t. It’s easier that way. Safer.

 

“As long as she can say, this dance is mine”

The beauty of the solitary existence —> it’s always mine. Even when it’s yours, or theirs, or hers … it’s always mine. It’s tiring though. Dancing this marathon on my own, knowing I can’t take a break or the judges will tap me out, knowing there isn’t anyone to take up the slack if I falter, appreciating that at least there are people to bring me water and a smile.

 

 

Erasure

There are so many ways to erase someone. So many people talk about how wretched minimising someone is, how cruel it can be to blithely tell someone they don’t understand their own experience(s), and it is pretty fucking awful.

Solidarity is worse in some ways though. Maybe not the “real thing” but who can even tell what that is? What makes it so? It’s like the debate about sympathy vs empathy … but it’s not.

My mom is an expert at the one upmanship game. Whatever story you tell her, she’s got an anecdote from her life that can top it. Hers is worse, better, in all ways MORE. It’s like she’s trying to out-you you. Unfortunately she honestly, truly, thinks she’s being good to you and helpful. It isn’t sympathy. She’s not denigrating you, she doesn’t pity you – to show support she has to reframe what happened so that she is in the starring role. Her worldview simply doesn’t allow for anyone else’s reality.

Funny concept, reality. We imbue it with this sense of singularity and finiteness – there can be only one. It’s got to be the most subjective concept out there. What is this ridiculous insistence we have about fact vs fantasy, where we’ve placed fact on this sky-high pedestal. Everything needs to be proven, backed up with solid evidentiary support, or it should be chucked out like so much rubbish. Only certain types of proof are acceptable, of course, as we can’t allow just anything (anyone) to be raised to that hallowed ground. The more tangible the better, though pure logic is also revered.

As such, we throw our baby feelings out right along with that fantasy bathwater. Feelings aren’t a legitimate reason for decision making, unless you’re a fictional mystery solver with a reliable gut. For all that we counsel people to trust themselves and their guts, we belittle anyone that takes us up on it.

It’s all about us, really. Each one of us is the center of our own universe and we each have a separate reality that is true only for us.

In that sense, solidarity and gaslighting can be two sides of the same coin. They both assert someone else’s reality as the one, true version. That’s not what happened, don’t make up stories. I know just what you mean, let me show you how my story trumps yours.

I’m just as guilty as anyone else, for all that I try to be more conscious of it. When I was a little kid, no matter what you told me – how you tried to wow me – my response was “I know!” It was so important to know, to be right. It was critical to my survival, or so it felt. I’ve grown out of that particular habit but am still plagued by that deep-seated need to be right, to prove myself. When we argue, expect me to provide a collated packet of evidence wth all my exhibits neatly labeled and ordered to make my case. I never went to law school because it isn’t a tendency I want to encourage.

I don’t know if my survivial instincts are in line with the norm or odd. I know they feel odd but don’t we all want to be unique? We’re all so desperate for community and sameness and yet we all want to stand out in our own ways, to carve our own paths. Ostracism is terrible, a gut-wrenching invalidation, and yet – solidarity can be just as effective a tool to erase a person.

Disappear