About Ana Linden

"Parallel Lives" by Ana Linden Enjoy the sample fragments from the book and all the other miscellaneous thoughts and opinions!

My Own, Personal Grinch

Come December, I see her photo pop up on my phone and I know we’re going to have the same conversation over and over again. Sometimes I don’t even answer, because I’m already too irritable to put up with the depressing rant. I’d rather be the one calling her, when I know I can take it and perhaps even help.

The hypocrisy! Those two hate and trash each-other all the time, and today they were hugging in the middle of the town! They were talking about the holidays and inquiring about each other’s families. As though anybody believes that act!

They only give presents to receive more expensive ones. They’re not fooling anyone.

Please… they only decorate their homes to show off and make everybody else feel miserable. Like we don’t know… Continue reading

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Cheeky Gift-Giving

I remember I wanted to crumple the piece of paper and throw it back into the hat. Instead I shoved it into my pocket and whispered something to the girl next to me. Her displeased face matched mine.

Anyone who’s done Secret Santa as a child knows how it can go from great to depressing in a second. Besides, we were too old for that, many of us protested. That might have been acceptable in middle school, but certainly not in high school…But there was no getting out of it, our form master decided it was a great activity that would bring us closer.

For me, all it represented was more salt on the wound, another reminder that my closest friends weren’t going to the same high school, another reminder that my current classmates were boring cowards, whereas my middle school ones were still mentioned in a whispered reverent tone. Thick as thieves we were, clever, with much above average results, and also unstoppable when it came to naughty, crazy pranks. The greatness we could have achieved, had we managed to stay together in high school… Continue reading

December Again…

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I happen to like December and all its seasonal frenzy – well, most of it, anyway… December is also the month I started this blog. Pure coincidence 🙂 . Four years ago, I was trying to self-publish Parallel Lives around Christmas time and in my mind, getting the blog set up for it was a must.

You know how it goes, the best-laid plans… Truth be told, Parallel Lives wasn’t exactly one of my better laid plans, it was something that took shape along the way, and I simply needed to go through with it. The book ended up being published a few weeks later, and my blog quickly veered off its promotional path, becoming a hodgepodge of moments, photos, thoughts and fiction. That’s just life, we write our story as we go, from one second to the next.

Meanwhile, my blog has developed a few traditions of its own. One of them is my December token of appreciation, and this year I’m starting earlier than usual. You can download Parallel Lives and Glass Slippers and Stilettos for free until December 25th. Feel free to share the links below with anybody you think might enjoy the books or offer them a copy as a gift. Enjoy!

Last but not least, thank you for bearing with me for yet another year and for sharing your stories and thoughts on your own blogs, allowing the reader to glance into your souls. Have a nice December, everyone!

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/analinden

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/ana+linden?_requestid=538455

https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/search?query=Ana%20Linden&fcsearchfield=Author

and on iBooks, of course.

Young, beautiful and independent Amalia refuses to apply traditional concepts to any of her relationships with men; therefore commitment, marriage and couple routine are not part of her vision on life. Cynical and highly aware of the realities of an unromanticized modern world devoid of long lasting feelings, Amalia appears to only seek the promise of a few moments of fleeting happiness next to the men in her life. The opposite sex is often no more than a refuge from all mundane problems and deceptions, so the young woman stubbornly refuses to settle down with any of the men who try to win her affection – that would only mean the death of her soul, independence and character

Regina is the woman everybody loves to hate and hates to love. Behind the gorgeous, demurred façade lurk selfish ambition, ignorance and a desperate need to find her happily ever after. The search for a man to rescue her and make her dreams come true follows a sinuous, often obscure, but entertaining path. Regina may try to deny it, but she is no innocent princess, Prince Charming can be a beast in disguise and modern-day happy endings are nothing like their fairy tale version.

Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 3

The final day of the challenge is here and the quote I selected is from Neihtn’s Village Teacher. Neihtn is the pen name of a Vietnamese-American writer, Nguyễn Trọng Hiền.

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“The footprints never overlapped or touched one another, but there was no doubt that they were walking close together and going forward in the same general direction. They turned around once more and resumed their walk.”

Neihtn, Village Teacher

Today’s special nominee is Sue from WordsVisual – if and whenever you feel like sharing a few quotes with us, Sue. Anyone else who wants to participate is also welcome.

In the end, I would like to share a bonus quote – a well-known one, this time.

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 2

Don’t blush, Yvette. Today is your day!

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“There’s a different kind of beauty that can be extracted from brokenness. It’s a delicate, vulnerable life phase, but moving through brokenness can wake us up and clear away the dross. Often, it allows us to later appreciate and soak up beauty in a way we might otherwise miss.”

Yvette Prior, Lady by the River

Today’s special nominee is India Blue from A Place for Creative Expression – if and whenever you feel like sharing a few quotes with us, I know you’re going through a difficult time. Anyone else who wants to participate is also welcome.

Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 1

A while back, Yvette from priorhouse blog invited me to take part in the three day quote challenge. The time has come for me to honour her generous invitation. As it turns out, the rules are simple and not at all restrictive. There is no time limit, all one needs to do is post three quotes on three (preferably) consecutive days and nominate other fellow bloggers who might enjoy this challenge.

I would like to invite all of you to take part in this challenge, if you feel so inclined. I will also nominate somebody every day, but please don’t feel pressured to participate – I am aware these things can be time consuming.

My mind instantly went to some of my favourite quotes, from authors and books that have influenced me over the years. As I pondered which three should make the cut, I realized I actually wanted to go another way. Since I started blogging, I had the chance to come across so many interesting, inspiring, talented, yet relatively unknown authors, so I would like to share some fragments from their work.

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“I watched the sun sink between two bamboo poles and knew that I didn’t want to die before writing what I needed to write . Suddenly I felt that through my writing, I would fulfil my life’s purpose. Whatever it was, I would discover it in the creation of my books , and it is this delight at wanting to discover my purpose that keeps me writing. A perfect catch – 22.”

Today’s quote is from Carol Balawyder’s Mourning Has Broken. I have enjoyed all of her books, yet so far this is my favourite. But I still have her most recent book on my “to read” list, so who knows…

Today’s special nominee is Theresa Baker from Lab Notes – if and whenever you feel like sharing a few quotes with us, Theresa. Anyone else who wants to participate is also welcome.

Moving On…

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“Oh… sweetie… I’m so sorry! Are you all right?”

She’s sorry?!

We skipped straight to a dish session – our patented way of diffusing dark, heavy conversations about to explode into a fight. The usual, who’s married, who’s dating, who’s getting divorced…. who’s married, and dating, and about to get divorced… But I didn’t really have any juicy gossip, and apparently neither did she, so our conversation was risking to dangerously slip back to the previous pattern.

Then I remembered – guess who got married? Continue reading

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 94

“Sad? How is it sad when that’s the only promise of improvement? It’s not sad to stand as proud and unflinching when you’re raw and exposed as you do when you’re on the peak of glamour, gathering shallow praises from those around, from all of those who can only perceive obvious or staged beauty. There, look at that tree, the little one between the two dark ones, it’s already on the right track, with its daring pink flower buds starting to bloom before the leaves have any chance to show up.” Continue reading

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 93

The cold wind freezing her face and messing up her hair kept her alert, it was a different sort of awakening. She could see and find joy in all the little things around her for a moment, without any sadness or regrets from her real life and her real self creeping into this still world of simplicity and happiness. The early spring day was sunny and calm, their boat, together with a few others scattered on the surface of the river were the only one disrupting the quiet afternoon, scaring away a few of the birds that remained there over the winter or had already managed to find their way back as soon as the snow disappeared.

“Look at it, it’s all so real, no need to cover up the branches in all sorts of bright shades and colourful noises, it’s all naked and true, not ashamed, not needing to hide its bareness.” Continue reading

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 92

Half an hour later, approaching their final destination, Amalia started to feel excited about the day’s outing. The early spring and the cold sun were irresistible, that time of year and that kind of weather always had a cheerful impact on her. That was when all the bad things seemed less threatening, all issues seemed to have a solution, and a positive outcome for all endeavours became a sure thing for a few moments. Like a pretty, irresistible, spoiled child, Amalia put down the car window, wiggling her manicured fingers in the cool breeze as the car sped down the road. Adam started laughing at her childish reaction; it was a warm, sincere and caring laughter, nothing like his usual attitude.

“Behave yourself, woman! You’ll soon feel the breeze in your hair, you’ll feel nothing but that,” but she was still fooling around, giggling as the wind touched her face.

If you want to read Parallel Lives, click on any of the following links: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/396169

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/parallel-lives-ana-linden/1118140770?ean=2940045563567

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/parallel-lives-7

…. and iBooks, of course. 🙂

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 91

They were both laughing, enjoying each other’s banter and the closeness into which they sank deeper and deeper, while Amalia was amusing herself, composing a sensual message for a woman with whom the man next to her occasionally had sex. Such behaviour was what described the two of them together. Having met while he was on a date, he had first asked her out while she was on a date. They had first flirted openly while they both had the people they were dating at the time next to them, such a context heightening the thrill of the forbidden; and she had first accepted their attraction as an undeniable fact while he was again on a date, but trying to seduce Amalia and she had her own suitor trying to make himself noticed. The presence of others and their desire, frustration and occasional suffering were the catalyst for their own special breed of connection.

“There! All done, see how you like it.”

“Perfection! All it needs is for me to click ‘send’. You are a bit too good at this,” Adam sneered, putting his phone aside and pulling her close, so he could kiss her and feel her warmth.

If you want to read Parallel Lives, click on any of the following links: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/396169

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/parallel-lives-ana-linden/1118140770?ean=2940045563567

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/parallel-lives-7

…. and iBooks, of course. 🙂

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 90

It was the beginning of a pattern, dance steps the two of them would keep executing gracefully and carefully from then on, for as long as they would have any sort of connection. Their minds and souls, but most importantly, their personalities were similar in so many ways, that they instantly went from no connection whatsoever to a deep, cleansing type of confidence, endless nights spent together in her kitchen, sipping brandy or wine, him smoking relentlessly, her not minding the habit that she found so disgusting when embraced by other people. But the two of them had been above all others from the very beginning, entitled, arrogant and selfish, yet so deeply connected, appreciating each other not in spite of, but exactly for such features displayed honestly, a cold, brutal and egotistic sincerity having been integrant part of what brought them together.

If you want to read Parallel Lives, click on any of the following links: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/396169

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/parallel-lives-ana-linden/1118140770?ean=2940045563567

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/parallel-lives-7

…. and iBooks, of course. 🙂

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 89

“See… I told you this would be worth it… My sweet…”

Amalia covered his mouth with her lips again, smothering words she refused to hear, feelings that she had deemed as fake even before they had a chance to be uttered or perceived, an aberration of nature and logic in her mind. We’re all about sex, why do you need this make-believe? Why act as though you need to trick me into something I obviously want to do willingly?

The rest of the night would become one of her fondest memories, one of the deepest expressions of forgetfulness and ecstasy, self-discovery and renewal. The moment Adam gently sat her down on the bed, endeavouring in taking off each piece of her clothing with sensual touches and kisses was the instant Amalia transcended to a different dimension, one where she could share both happiness and control with the man touching her. Nothing mattered. Not his past, not her present, not their future. Their bodies knew just one moment in time, when nothing else existed, and that moment was theirs alone.

If you want to read Parallel Lives, click on any of the following links: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/396169

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/parallel-lives-ana-linden/1118140770?ean=2940045563567

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/parallel-lives-7

…. and iBooks, of course. 🙂

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 88

One dull November evening, Amalia kissed him. Without any warning, without having planned it, without even knowing for sure what she wanted, one evening she stopped thinking, she just reacted. He was bringing her home after a night out with friends, he had stopped in front of her building, but she didn’t get out of the car, waiting for him to finish his sentence. The moment his voice died out, Amalia turned her head towards him, she was thinking of telling him goodnight, but then she saw him, the way he was looking her right in the eyes, half smiling, polite, but clearly ardent, uninhibited, unafraid. That’s when she realised the only thing she could do was place her right hand on the back of his neck and just kiss him, while his arm was already pulling her close to him. She had no idea about it, but she was half smiling too; as she was getting out of the car, a glimpse of her face in the side mirror reflected an expression very similar to his.

The sensation of that dreary November night would follow her like a sweet ghost for a long time afterwards – a dear friend she thought so fondly about, wondering at times whether she would ever forget it or manage to overcome it. That kiss had changed something, an undeniable fact that couldn’t be overlooked and Amalia was aware of it, but also somewhat indifferent to it. I can find a parking space… You could invite me upstairs… The woman shifted on the comfortable sofa, still looking at the flowers and smiling at the not so distant memory of little things.

If you want to read Parallel Lives, click on any of the following links: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/396169

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/parallel-lives-ana-linden/1118140770?ean=2940045563567

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/parallel-lives-7

…. and iBooks, of course. 🙂

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 87

November was different. November was difficult. November was lonely. And November was Adam. From the very beginning, the twice divorced, arrogant, intriguing and highly annoying man triggered a very instinctive defence mechanism, possibly without either one of them being aware of it. He was wrong for her, that was her initial instinct, one she didn’t doubt. Then, as she got to know him better, she realised they were actually wrong for each other; and then, in November, he told her that exactly because they were so wrong for each other, exactly because it seemed such a bad idea, the two of them together would probably be such a great fit, such an opportunity for happiness. Yes, we would most likely destroy each other, but think about how great we’d be together, how happy we would be until then. And maybe we can be clever enough to get out of it just in time. If anybody could, that would certainly be us.

If you want to read Parallel Lives, click on any of the following links: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/396169

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/parallel-lives-ana-linden/1118140770?ean=2940045563567

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/parallel-lives-7

…. and iBooks, of course. 🙂

Layered Emotions

“I don’t want any apartment plants, they’re just not my thing.”

That was my usual go-to reply whenever somebody wondered why there were no plants in my home. “I’m not good at taking care of them, I have neither the time nor the patience to keep them alive,” I would continue, if they insisted.

That was the easiest way of avoiding a conversation on a topic that was somewhat unclear to me too. I liked decorative plants. Yet I knew I didn’t want them in my home.

Frustrated and tired, I was walking fast towards the exit of the large store – one of my last hopes of finding the perfect curtain rail. Continue reading

Structure, Restructure

I leant over the small fence, resting and taking in the view. My feet and I were no longer on speaking terms, but it wasn’t really as bad as I had feared.

Once I no longer had to focus on breathing and on stepping the right way, memories and thoughts started bubbling in my mind, all at once.

I looked at the tents spread a few metres below me, trying to remember when I last slept in something like that. I was still in my teens. Look at them, they seem such feeble structures… yet they were the epitome of shelter and safety during those trips of ours. In many ways, I was a creature of comfort, even as a child; and nights spent in a tent didn’t quite go with that part of me.

Looking at them now, I experience a different kind of gratitude and satisfaction, this time deriving from knowing I don’t have to make that compromise anymore. Sure, we used to have fun back then – we were together and we were escaping… That was it, the escape… That’s why climbing the mountain, the hike itself, were less satisfying now than I remembered them being back then.

It wasn’t an age thing. Anything that wasn’t home, anything that allowed us to detach ourselves from our families and everyday lives was bliss. For a while, we were in a different universe. We could pretend we wouldn’t go back. We could attempt to believe in freedom and convince ourselves and each other that everything was possible. After all, why shouldn’t it be? If we could push our boundaries like that, if we could conquer and survive nature, then nothing could stand in our way.

My mind went blank this time too, the same way it did back then, allowing all my resources to focus on the physical effort. Not thinking of anything was comforting, but not in the same way. Now I was calm; back then, I felt such a rush simply by not thinking of anything anymore… But now I don’t need to forget about going back home, there’s nothing scary waiting for me behind the locked door. Now it truly is a trip, not an escape. This time I feel like I’m travelling, not running away without looking back.

Those feeble tents made for good shelter, in spite of all their uncomfortable features. We were resilient too, and if we had to, we could look after ourselves – occasionally, even after each other. Our dysfunctional families were what we had in common. Only now do I realize how dangerous some of our escapades had been. Our parents rarely knew what we were up to, and most of the time we were sure we preferred it that way. But did we, really? You can do whatever you want, as long as you don’t ask for money. You can have all the money you want and do as you please, as long as you aren’t in the way. You can do whatever you want, as long as you get good grades. You can do whatever you want, as long as you keep up appearances and don’t embarrass the family with scandalous behaviour. Each one of us received their freedom at certain costs, and we chose to enjoy it together, because we understood and supported one another.

Then we started choosing our own paths, building on those shaky foundations, structuring our beliefs and characters. So we grew apart, because dysfunction was no longer enough. When constructive, destructive and self-destructive tendencies manifest themselves within each and every one of us, often all at once, while we struggle to find our way, it takes more than dysfunction, we need to have more than that in common. Or at least that was the case for us.

You get much clearer a perspective from that place, thinking back and appreciating the present. I take the Sprite bottle my friend got me. I don’t normally have fizzy drinks, but I wanted something sweet, something I would have liked back then. The two of us remained close and in our own personal, very different ways, we found some sort of balance. The kids we were would be pleased with the adults we are, I realize while staring at the forest, the mountains and the tents of past, present and future. We may not have kept in touch with the others, but these days one finds out things even without trying. So we know that some of them followed in their parents’ footsteps, no matter how much they hated the perspective back then. They now have dysfunctional families and children of their own, who try to escape. Dysfunctionality breeds dysfunctionality. Some are somehow frozen, unable to be self-sufficient, constantly relying on their families or partners for support. Some lead normal, average lives, somewhere in the middle, completely ignored by certain people, utterly envied by others, depending on perspective.

We all failed, we all succeeded, it just depends on the moment and the point of view. But what I think we could all agree upon, if we were to meet around another camp fire, sharing stories and dreams, is that the stability we silently craved is one shaky, complex and tricky structure, that constantly needs to be propped up.