Holiday Season… Up and Down Memory Lane

Christmas Eve used to be for decorating the Christmas tree. Now my artificial tree sits in its corner, nicely trimmed, for over two weeks. Different place, different times, different traditions. But back then, I couldn’t wait for my mother to arrive, usually on December 23rd; and in my very young mind, the fact that we had to decorate the tree together on the 24th was somehow a promise that she would always be there for Christmas.

Continue reading “Holiday Season… Up and Down Memory Lane”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 51

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Those eyes will wonder from the stiletto heels, upwards on the long, graceful legs, even more enticing in black stockings; they will linger hungrily on the garter belt and on the lace panties and they will take their time, being thankful for the tight corset, sending a distinct message to the tip of the fingers which almost feel it, anticipating the moment when they would struggle to tear it off the woman’s body; they will feel the heat of the body, as they focus on the whole image of the sensual woman standing a few metres away, the white flesh contrasting with the sexy black lingerie, her soft, long hair covering her shoulders and her naked back. The happiness becomes complete when those eyes meet another pair of long lashed, desire filled eyes which mirror the same wishes and carnal promises for the moments to follow. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 51”

Self-Publishing Choices and Giveaways

One thing I appreciate as a self-published author is to have complete control over book pricing. This is why I enjoy the freedom provided by smashwords.com – aside from their yearly promotional sales, authors can create coupons, let the readers choose the book price or even give away their books for free for as long they want, including on the affiliates’ sites (like B&N or Kobo).

December 1st marks my latest book’s publishing date on Smashwords.com (and their affiliates). But I’m running a presale until then, so all you have to do is click on the link, use the coupon code and download Frames for free! In case you found the sample fragments interesting, but you didn’t have a chance to purchase the book on Amazon, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this small gift of mine – you can have as many copies as you want and even offer the book as a gift to those you think might enjoy it! Furthermore, the presale makes it available to you immediately, you don’t have to wait until December 1st! Happy reading!

Coupon code: XF37B

 

 

Smashwords – Frames – a book by Ana Linden

What does one do when life comes to a hopeless standstill and the desired fresh start is not what it seems? Four enthralling, emotional short stories capture diverse characters who are stuck, desperately searching either for a new beginning or for an end to their misery. Opportunity presents itself under the unexpected guise of theft, murder and suicide intertwined with love, friendship and generosity. In need of purpose, as well as affection and passion, they are torn between their conflicting desires and moral values, often finding solace and support in unexpected, shocking situations and people. Can an assassin love? Is one’s death someone else’s fortune? Should outcasts dare to dream of a better future and should the past be put behind? These are merely a few of the questions tormenting them, pushing them to honestly acknowledge and assess their needs and their existence.

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 27

One of the things to value most about the town that Amalia had moved to a few years ago would be its honesty – nothing going on there is different from the normal life of any other big town in the country. Its people aren’t by far any worse than those in other places, although some of them might be richer, but they lead their lives acknowledging who they are and what they do at a far higher level than anywhere else in the country. The men lead double lives, so do most of the women, and although some social appearances are respected, everything else goes on in plain sight, out in the open, with no need for denial or pretence for their own benefit. Robert and his friends were by far an example of it, all of them successful and proud, some of them well-educated, others perhaps lacking in culture, but all of them married, with a nice family at home and a multitude of parallel lives aside from it. The paradox a myriad of existences creates is a simple one Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 27”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 26

“What does your wife have to say about this? Where exactly does she think you are?”

Certain questions make a man feel as though he is interrogated and Robert was amongst those not used to accounting for their actions; vague information about where he would go and with whom usually sufficed when he left home.

“Where does your boyfriend think you are right now?” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 26”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 22

“Honestly, I didn’t really know what to think. But I did hope you would appreciate this place for what it truly is, I was relying mostly on the fact that you grew up in a place that might have made you partial to such experiences.”

“True, I was raised as a city girl, but I also had relatives in the country. So I guess it’s all those weekends of climbing trees and running around in open fields that still help with keeping my balance on paths such as these.”

“I wouldn’t have guessed you are one to enjoy the country side… You hide it well.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 22”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 21

“How about we swap that apple in your hand for a nice cup of coffee, in an air-conditioned restaurant?”

“Do you mind if we wonder about the ruins a little bit longer? I like it here, the world seems so far away. Look at it, aside from those suntanned archaeology students hoping to dig up God knows what hidden treasure, ignoring the obvious fact that they are simply being surrounded by it, what else is there that might drag your thoughts back to the dreary real life?”

Robert gave in immediately, it didn’t matter what time of day it was anymore, how long the drive back to town would be or whether he needed that good cup of coffee or not, because she was right. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 21”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 20

“Careful, there might be snakes in the grass, just by the water.”

“Do you mean other than you? Are they poisonous?”

“None of us are,” he replied laughing, not at all offended by her all too familiar cynicism. “Not that I know of, anyway. But I would think twice before having an apple, Eve…”

“Why? You strike me as the kind of man who has had his fair share of apples…”

“Perhaps too many… that’s how you inevitably come across the occasionally rotten one and then you get to deal with the consequences.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t you that was the rotten one to begin with?”

“Not to begin with. But who knows, later on… Things change and people evolve to what their true nature is.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 20”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 19

The sudden metamorphosis was striking – the cynical smile was gone and she looked real. For the first time she not only was young, but she looked young. He had not foreseen such an effect, all he wanted was to distance himself from the crowd and make Amalia notice he was somewhat different than the rest of the men who probably threw themselves at her feet. But this was something else, this was something he could relate to, she was a person he could relate to and he felt the time winding back, the same way she must have felt. There could have been no other explanation for her transfiguration. He felt an acute need to smile when he saw her gracefully jump over rocks, keeping her balance on the dusty path or on the slippery grass. An indefinite moment from his past wanted to take over him, but he shook it off immediately, finding his way to the stone wall she was leaning on now. She looked alone, having probably forgotten all about him, lost in her thoughts. What does someone like her think about anyway? Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 19”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 16

“The idiot is in love with you.” He didn’t know whether to get angry at her or just laugh at that guy’s stupidity – something from the past was trying to claw its way to the surface, but he instinctively pushed it back deeper, the way he had always done.

“Let’s leave this cliché for another time. He’s just in need of finding himself a new mother figure, someone who would tell him what to do, would control his every action and would relinquish all his responsibility when things go badly; because, after all, it was only her fault, as she was the only one with a say in it, and he can just relax, enjoy the ride and bask in the amount of drama him being the victim of the soulless woman would offer.”

“I almost feel sorry for the poor guy. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 16”

November Gift

I’ll keep this short and sweet.

If you enjoyed the fragments from my latest book, Frames,  if you think it might be an interesting read for  you or someone you know, visit my Amazon page and purchase as many copy copies as you like. The e-book version is FREE today!

Happy reading!

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 14

“You do realise that’s a person you’re talking about, right?”

“Yes, and the person in question is completely aware of my feelings, I don’t pretend he means much to me, just as you don’t pretend not to be married. There’s a difference, however: he knows exactly how things stand between the two of us, he knows exactly who I am and what my conditions are, and he has the choice of accepting them or not. He decided he was desperate enough in order to accept anything, as long as once in a while there’s room for him in my life as well; but he is free to leave whenever he wants. Can you say the same about your wife, though? Does she know exactly who you are? Does she get the choice of accepting you or not, or does she just have to live with a nice, cosy lie about what her marriage is?”

She was right… or maybe she wasn’t… He didn’t know anymore, that kind of questions hadn’t been tormenting him for too long a time. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 14”

Parallel Lives – Sample fragment 13

“He’s a pair of knitted woollen socks.”

“Excuse me? What the hell does that mean?”

“Did you ever have a pair of those woollen socks that grandma knitted for you?”

“Of course, several of them, I might still have one or two in some drawer, somewhere. What does that have to do with anything?”

“They’re the kind of thing that you don’t really need, you don’t really wear, but you can’t get yourself to throw them away, because of what they are. Sure, they’re ugly and the rough wool makes them unpleasant on your skin, but the truth of the matter is that you have worn them a few times, perhaps on a really cold winter night, or when you went to the mountains and the cold was too much to bear… Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample fragment 13”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 12

Amalia turned her head towards him; she couldn’t continue to admire the scenery that was unravelling outside the car window while sinking into her own thoughts on the matter, appearing to listen to him absentmindedly. She had had that conversation with other people before, including a couple of very close friends, and everybody – from the new guys she met who wanted to sleep with her, to her family – seemed intent on figuring out just that particular matter, ending up being more puzzled than they were initially.

“You really like labels: married, single, wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend… It’s really a matter of perception for me, even if some people see me as having what they might call a boyfriend, I happen to believe it takes more than tolerating a person for a few years, allowing him to be part of your life when there’s nothing else better to do and no one else better to be had. It takes more to call it a relationship and no, in my book that doesn’t mean I have a boyfriend.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 12”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 11

Not that again… But some things are unavoidable, she thought, and apparently it was a valid question when people meet other people, especially when a certain type of interest arises between two persons; and she couldn’t really blame her dislike of socially acceptable small talk on him.

“I get the feeling there’s a completely separate conversation going on in your head.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 11”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 10

“I do know some of the out of town… let’s call them attractions… Most of them I can vaguely remember since I was a child and I’d spend my summers here, my mother’s friends helped me get acquainted with such places, since she wasn’t much of a nature person herself.”

“Well, I hope you enjoy our little touristy escapade today.”

He realised it was best not to ask her whether she had inherited her mother’s dislike of the outdoors, no need to spoil the afternoon when there was still some shred of hope that his plans weren’t completely inappropriate for her. It was a shot in the dark anyway, he knew it as soon as he noticed what she was wearing, but he wasn’t ready to accept that a person who had reached maturity in the same old place where he had spent several nice years as a student would be devoid of any sense of history and would shutter at the mere idea of an afternoon away from the noise and oppression of the modern town in which they crossed paths. Her old home town still lived on the shaky mirage of history, nature and culture intertwining in a desperate attempt to take the next step into the reality of the present-day. Robert tried to ignore the obvious detail that he had mistakenly left out – she appeared to be more than pleased to have left that place for good. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 10”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 9

Afterwards? After what? The fear was back, suffocating her a little bit, pointing out to the fact that she was in a car with a virtual stranger, having no idea where they were heading, relying strictly on her instincts telling her nothing bad would happen and that the thrill she was feeling should be that of the new, not of fear. She had the innate ability to avoid men that no woman would be safe with and her instincts were always correct in assessing the men with whom she interacted, so she breathed in and closed her eyes tightly for another moment, taking the leap of the person who knows they are always right, the leap from fear to almost forced excitement.

Let’s just see if he proves to be gas station coffee – a colossal disappointment – or Italian espresso… She was annoyed by the tacky gesture of offering her that lousy cup of coffee, but the fact that he clearly had something in mind, he had already planned the afternoon, intrigued her, and that was much more relevant at the moment. She desperately needed to be intrigued, she desperately needed a man who could amuse her in any other way than by prostrating himself at her feet like a big, sheepish dog. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 9”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 8

“Wear something comfortable,” he told her on the phone.

“I don’t do comfortable.”

Her dry reply played back into his years while he was looking at her approaching his car. Something about this woman made him think that no matter how much comfort he might find in any sort of a relationship with her, he would never be completely comfortable in front of her silent, drilling and draining looks. He smiled to himself, getting out of the car to say hello to her, as she was only a few steps away now. She was wearing a long, flowery dress that clung nicely to her body, making her look tall and accentuating her figure, without being tight or revealing. The heals were lower this time, he thought, so that must be as comfortable as she gets; the sun glasses hid her cold stare, but – oddly enough – they made her look even more distant, in spite of her smiling when seeing him. Clearly he wasn’t right to hope it would be any easier to find a way of approaching her today, but the idea of trying seamed even more tempting under these circumstances. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 8”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 7

“Do you have any plans for this afternoon or could we meet for coffee?”

She liked that he hadn’t even alluded to the summer job as a pretext for him to see her, even if his call came as a bit of a surprise – she was pretty sure he would call her, she was pretty sure he was interested in the same kind of interaction she was thinking of, but he was clearly a lot more determined than her and there was no room for doubts as far as he was concerned. She was quite sure of knowing what she wanted too, but the difference consisted in her lack of actual experience on that territory – there are steps that might be more difficult to take than others and she had been oscillating on a very thin line ever since they had met, trying to decide whether to jump or not. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 7”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 5

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“I apologize, that was rude of me. But I tend to be a curious person by nature and I have the feeling you might know a lot more about me from your friend than I know about you.” Game on. He decided honesty was the best choice for the time being. “Most of the people who work with me – not for me – are friends of mine and we socialize in various contexts that aren’t work-related in any way. Whether we decide to collaborate in the future or not, you strike me as an… intriguing person and I would enjoy getting to know you.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 5”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 3

When Robert noticed Amalia entering the sun-bathed restaurant, he suddenly became aware that he was hoping she would be the woman he was supposed to meet. He was expecting a girl, but something about her made you think “woman”, in spite of the youthful features of her face. And he realised exactly what it was – she looked cold, on the torrid summer day, she looked cold. The clinging noise of her heals on the wooden floor became louder as she was heading towards his table and he felt he had to find a way to keep her close, at least until he could decipher whatever accounted for that cold layer and what was hidden by the elegant, well-organized, attractive look. The long legs, the slim figure, the poised posture and the beautiful face were an additional incitement, if any such thing was still necessary, and as he stood up to offer her a chair when she was only centimetres away from the table, he could sense her perfume and her cold, silky hand shaking his after the quick, polite introduction. “Expensive” was what came to his mind, and before he had any chance to decipher the implications of that thought, she was speaking to him about the reason why she decided to meet him; but the words he was more focused on were her very first ones. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 3”

Summer Gift

In case you’re looking for an unconventional summer read or if you enjoyed the Frames fragments I’ve shared with you so far, then you should take advantage of the Amazon giveaway and download it for free or offer it as a gift to someone who might like it. Happy reading!

Frames – Trespasser (Sample Fragment 3)

“You mean you never loved me?”

He interrupted her again, resorting to his old ways. Or maybe those were still his ways… Whatever the truth was, his old behaviour triggered something in her, the standard response, her own typical old and destructive behaviour in response to his. But she knew better now. She acknowledged the impulse and extinguished it, the way she wished she could have done so many times in what seemed a different lifetime. Closing her eyes, she could envision the children they used to be and wished she could take away their pain. Now, however, they were individually responsible for what they were; and while she felt sorry for the boy he’d been, she lacked any sort of empathy for the man he was.

Continue reading “Frames – Trespasser (Sample Fragment 3)”

Frames – A Fulfilling Review

A glowing review is a delight for any author. But receiving such a review from a writer you admire is a priceless treat. Thank you for your beautiful words, Carol!

I’ve always liked Ana Linden’s books. She’s very good at getting inside her characters’ heads.

Frames consists of four short character driven stories. These are not ordinary characters and through their flaws Ana Linden gives us insight into relationships and human nature.

The subjects of her stories range from the damaged educational system, the cruelty of abuse, loneliness, losers and guilt.

[…]

Linden’s writing is not ordinary. She is unafraid to show the rawness of human nature in a unique literary voice. She is an artist using words as her medium. It is reflective writing.  The stories in Frames are the kind that you want to savor and allow the beauty of the writing sink in. There is no sermonizing in these stories and we understand what is not being said. This makes for quite satisfying reading.

(Carol Balawyder)

Visit Carol Balawyder’s site for the full review of Frames and if you have a moment to spare, check out her books as well. She is such a gifted writer!

Frames – Drive (Sample Fragment 3)

It’s a matter of attitude, his brother told him. They can sense losers and they’ll eventually dump you, so you might as well treat them like shit from the beginning, he continued his lecture on seduction. As far as treating women like shit, his brother did live by that rule. He usually empathized with the girls his brother dated –even now that he was forty, the girls he dated were rarely over twenty.

He empathized, because he saw those girls being treated the same way he was treated by everyone, less then, somehow handicapped, inferior human beings. Then he got angry with all of them, the ones he met, those he’d never know, but who flocked around his brother and other men who behaved the same way. Most of these girls were beautiful, educated, sophisticated, yet they allowed to be treated like dirt… They allowed to be lied to, ignored, used, and when they were cast away, they kept coming back for more abuse.

 

Continue reading “Frames – Drive (Sample Fragment 3)”

Summer/Winter E-Book Sale

It’s summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in southern hemisphere. That means it’s time for the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale! Whether you’re looking for a great summer beach read or something to warm your heart in front of a crackling fireplace, you’ll find it here!

The sale already features over 55,000 ebooks with deep discounts of 25%, 50%, 75% and FREE. Over 700 series starters are enrolled in the sale and available for free, joining over 6,000 series starters that are free every day.

Browse by featured titles, discount levels, recently added, and recently purchased. Use our multi-dimensional search filters to drill down to your favorite subcategories.

Be sure to visit the sale throughout the month because thousands of new titles will join the promotion each week as the month progresses.

Take advantage of the sale and download Parallel Lives, Albatross and Glass Slippers and Stilettos for free! Continue reading “Summer/Winter E-Book Sale”

Frames – Choices (Sample Fragment 3)

He found her intriguing from the very beginning, but he didn’t expect this, he didn’t expect to find her irresistible… In fact, this is the kind of reaction he doesn’t expect to have in general, guarded and jaded as he is. Not that he’s refusing himself the joys of a profound relationship, he simply isn’t able to experience them… or so he thought. He’s met other interesting, intelligent, beautiful women, and yet… He only felt this sort of connection once before, equally unexpected, undeniable and strong. So why the fuck does it have to be this one? Why her, of all women? There is no logical explanation to be found, that much he knows, and what he does with these feelings is hardly his decision.

 

Continue reading “Frames – Choices (Sample Fragment 3)”

Frames – Trespasser (Sample Fragment 2)

Much as she hated to admit it, there was a certain comfort and complicity in that room… two old friends catching up, picking up where they left off. Fifteen years apart couldn’t erase the familiarity of growing up together, of knowing what had shaped them and the marks they’d left on each other’s soul. Certain people can become a part of you, when they’re your support system and you’re theirs, when you’ve shared the best and the worst of moments. That was why severing all ties with him wouldn’t have been her first choice… That was also why she had to do it, when she understood it was the only way he could have a future with somebody else. But she never explained her decision, nor did she even announce it. Instead, she disappeared. Ghosting wasn’t a coined term back then, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t happening.

Continue reading “Frames – Trespasser (Sample Fragment 2)”

Frames – Drive (Sample Fragment 2)

Hopes and dreams weren’t for the likes of him; every time he forgot what his mother taught him, he needed to be put in his place… and life never failed to do so. Nevertheless, anger started to bubble inside him. Much as he tried to tell himself otherwise, he still felt he didn’t deserve to be overlooked this time. Moreover, his mother’s words were gaining a grotesquely unfair tone and his brother’s haunting image infuriated him even more. Exhaustion got the best of him, but his sleep was fraught with frustration distorted memories shaped into nightmares. Nothing makes for a scarier nightmare than reality.

Frames by Ana Linden is now available on Amazon.

Frames – Choices (Sample Fragment 2)

She agrees. After all, just because – for some unknown reason – she feels inclined to overshare, it doesn’t mean he should do the same. They only met that morning and even if she has decided he would make for a pleasant fling, she has no long-term intentions. It would be wrong to lead him on… But that doesn’t mean she can’t allow herself to enjoy all sensations a man like him can provide. Intensity of any sort isn’t something she cares to avoid. If anything, she craves it and this is the time to offer herself everything she can. He has become a part of that “everything” as soon as she calmed down during their drive to the hotel. When he suggested drinks in the evening, she felt relieved not to have misread their mutual attraction and also animated by the fact that a man like him still wanted her. Handsome, successful and cultured, surely he can have any young woman he wants… and he chose her. That vain side of her personality was doing a happy dance the entire afternoon.

Continue reading “Frames – Choices (Sample Fragment 2)”

Honey Ko – A Thrilling Romance

After reading Honey Ko, William Pennington’s debut novel and “a labor of love thirty-five years in the making” as the author notes, the first thing that comes to mind is, please don’t make us wait this long for your next book!

“Time passes, and grinds mountains into rubble and erases history into dimly recalled, tentative tales of memory, but it cannot erase the memory of the love a man and a woman feel but once, the love of a lifetime, the love of the ages. The love for which the heart burgeons into a breathless burst of yearning and passion and tenderness and fulfillment. The human love.”

Pennington, William C.. Honey Ko: A Novel

Love is indeed the keyword and main theme in Honey Ko, the complex, skilfully penned characters struggling to understand it, find it, preserve it and survive it. Heart-warming, intertwining love stories surpass the limitations of time, life and death, providing a fascinating, in-depth analysis of the happiness, sorrow and motivation behind the central life force this feeling represents.

It’s not an easy task to describe love, its torments or passion, but Mr. Pennington manages it beautifully and eloquently, in countless creative ways abounding in inspired imagery. Delicate moments and feelings are vastly explored, stereotypes are shattered, painful memories dealt with as the main character discovers himself, tirelessly questioning his feelings and motivation in order to learn what he needs from the woman he loves and how he needs to love her. From an all-consuming, fairy-tale kind of love to a more realistic and mature version, the characters’ journey makes for an enthralling, compelling read.

Artful raconteur, Will Pennington (author of Writers Envy blog) puts his own experience to good use while describing in great detail the exotic setting and the interactions between men and women from different cultures, with varied backgrounds and aspirations, and the way these aspects influence their romantic choices.

The multiple narrators create a well-rounded, dynamic, witty story, which certainly doesn’t lack suspense and twists. Nature itself, together with the exotic beauty of the Philippines and Hawaii, enhance the thrill of this novel, making it a deep, must-read, feel-good book, perfect for the summer ahead.

“When God created love, he created it from a perfect form. The love between Susanna and me was that form. All other love was a copy of the love we shared.”
Pennington, William C.. Honey Ko: A Novel

“Frames” – How It Came to Be

I had been looking forward to that getaway for months – a trip I wasn’t sure would materialize – and as I was driving that early morning, it was finally beginning to feel real. It was real. That patch of beautiful wild flowers featured in my title story, Frames… well, it was also real. Everything else is fiction, but the flowers were real, an out of place wonder covering a mound of dirt in an otherwise prosaic field by the freeway.

Some images stay with you… their impact makes you want to find out the story behind them or at least create one such story. By the time I reached my destination, a rough outline of a nameless story had already taken shape in my mind. But I had recently finished Albatross and needed a bit of a writing break, so I knew it was a story for another time.

A shot would easily take that patch of flowers out of its natural context and create an entirely different reality for the unknowing observer in another context. It could suddenly be a dreamy field of wild flowers instead of some wild flowers on top of dirt by the freeway. Reality reframed or just one frame of a bigger, more complex reality? The answer is a personal subjective choice.

Coincidentally, I took some poppy shots the other day. What an unexpected find, I thought to myself, blooming poppies in the wind, with the beach, a calm sea and a blue sky on the background. Some of you also liked the one I already posted. All sorts of positive words come to mind when thinking of those shots, especially considering the recent lockdown months. But… but what you don’t see in any of those photos, what I carefully avoided to include in any of those frames is the large pile of rubbish only a few steps away from those beautiful flowers. Thinking back, perhaps I should have included it, but I was too taken by the angle excluding it.

My point is, we go about doing this in many, if not all, aspects of our lives. We like to think we see the full picture, we have the full truth, when in fact we only have instances, a few frames on which we choose or are forced to build our judgement, conclusions and decisions. Sometimes we get it right, even by mistake… other times we ignore the background, we find a way to exclude the ugliness from the picture in order not to have to deal with it.

The same happens to my characters. They’re neither picture-perfect, nor horrid, but they might appear to be either one or the other, depending on the moment one interacts with them. But once the angle becomes wider and the background less blurry, does their behaviour become understandable and acceptable? That, too, is a personal, subjective choice…

Frames – Trespasser (Sample Fragment 1)

“Help yourself. You still smoke?”

Pointless question, stating the obvious, so it would fill the air between them… He tilted his head apologetically and smiled back, that embarrassed half a smile of his, when she’d catch him doing something she didn’t approve of and she’d point it out. He lit up and inhaled deeply, turning to ashes a good portion of the cigarette. He smoked when he was nervous, she remembered; and when he was upset, and when he was afraid… He smoked all the time, a lot, and the smell of smoke mixed with his aftershave used to cling to her hair. She’d come home from their dates and feel he was still there, in the room with her, when she brushed her hair before going to bed. Who was he now?

Frames by Ana Linden is now available on Amazon.

Frames – Drive (Sample Fragment 1)

Don’t tell anyone about this, his father’s words ring in his ears as though he were sitting next to him. He then got out of the car and asked his youngest son to take his place behind the wheel. You’re the first one I’m teaching how to drive, remember this, but it has to be our secret for now. He was sixteen and his older brother, seventeen at the time, was soon going to be old enough to get his driver’s license… yet he and not his brother was the first one to be taught. His father’s words had a magical effect, suddenly erasing the morning’s tears and humiliation. For once he was ahead of his brother, for once he was the more important one… probably the only time in his life. He spent the rest of the day driving around the deserted industrial yard, improving his skills, absorbing every piece of information his father had to impart. You’ll be a great driver, son.

Frames by Ana Linden is now available on Amazon.

Frames – Choices (Sample Fragment 1)

“Defines you?…” His intonation delivers a question, but the words form a statement inside him, because in the mist of his past he used to know exactly what she means. He used to have exactly that, he lost exactly what she lost.

“Defines you… but not in the sense that you become who that person wants you to be or that you’re devoid of character without them. I mean, they’re that one person to whom you can reveal all your weaknesses, the deepest darkness residing in the most hidden corners of your being, together with all the beauty you’re capable of, and they won’t get scared, they won’t run away. Instead, they will embrace it and love you for all you are, not in spite of it. They define you, because you don’t have to hide anything that defines you. They encourage you to be exactly who you are, they accept it and they don’t step back even when it’s anything but easy for them to be there.” Continue reading “Frames – Choices (Sample Fragment 1)”

Frames

Here I am, once more… I mentioned working on a new book, as some of you might recall, but I didn’t dwell on it. Well, in spite of various changes and challenges, I can now relax and enjoy, because I managed to stick with the schedule and it’s finally ready!

In case you noticed that countdown on my site and wondered about it, that’s what it’s about. Frames, my new book, is already available for pre-orders on Amazon and it will be published on May 15th. That’s also when the printed version will become available (click on the image).

Maudlin as it may sound, before I go on and tell you what the book is all about, I’d like to thank you for your support and encouraging words over the years, ever since I’ve started this blog. As many of you know from your own writing experience, this sort of warm, inspiring and supportive blogging community means a lot to an indie author.

I know it’s customary to do a cover reveal first, to create all sorts of buzz about the book, building suspense before the big publishing day. All’s well and good in theory, but promoting the book – relevant as that may be – is the part of self-publishing I loathe. So there I go again, revealing everything at once.

I’ve put together four stories this time, not exactly short ones, but no novellas either. Hopefully the common denominators will become clear as you read them, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. All I can say is, once they took shape in my mind, I couldn’t separate these stories.

What does one do when life comes to a hopeless standstill and the desired fresh start is not what it seems? Four enthralling, emotional short stories capture diverse characters who are stuck, desperately searching either for a new beginning or for an end to their misery. Opportunity presents itself under the unexpected guise of theft, murder and suicide intertwined with love, friendship and generosity. In need of purpose, as well as affection and passion, they are torn between their conflicting desires and moral values, often finding solace and support in unexpected, shocking situations and people. Can an assassin love? Is one’s death someone else’s fortune? Should outcasts dare to dream of a better future and should the past be put behind? These are merely a few of the questions tormenting them, pushing them to honestly acknowledge and assess their needs and their existence.

I’ll stop here, in an attempt to keep it short and sweet. I’ll explain my choice of title and I’ll share excerpts from each story over the following days. Hopefully, you’ll find them enjoyable.

Smashwords Authors Give Back

Many of the Smashwords authors wanted to reach out and offer their help through their work. They wanted to do their part and use the power of their books to help mitigate the emotional and economic hardship faced by citizens of every country, many of whom are now forced to stay home and self-isolate. As a result, the site is running a sale (March 20 – May 31) so the readers can download as many discounted or free books as they want. Hopefully you, your friends and your family might find strength, comfort and enjoyment in their works. Continue reading “Smashwords Authors Give Back”

Strange Order in Chaos

One of the annoying things my grandmother used to do when I was a child was tidy up my desk. It was a mess, she would say, and few people who know me would now believe that… because I am a bit of a neat freak. In fact, it wasn’t as messy as she made it sound, it simply wasn’t her kind of order. I knew where everything was and I had a system. She had a system too, everything had to be put away. I completely agree with that now… as long as you have a place to store everything. But pilling everything in a heap behind the desk just so it could be out of sight didn’t help me much. Continue reading “Strange Order in Chaos”

That Mandatory Coronavirus Post – My Two Cents and the Ugliness in Us

I would like to preface this by reminding everybody that I am not a doctor or in any way part of the medical system. So this is purely an opinion piece from one EU citizen living in a country starting to be affected by this virus, with close relatives in other countries where the situation is worse.

I wouldn’t write about this, I initially told myself; I would follow my “no politics, no religion etc.” rule, as I always intended my blog to be a feel-good place, an escape. Even when I do broach more controversial topics, I try to do it delicately, which doesn’t come easily, because I am an opinionated person. But since this is an unusual situation, I’m suspending that rule. Continue reading “That Mandatory Coronavirus Post – My Two Cents and the Ugliness in Us”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Robert Burns wrote to a friend:

“I myself can affirm, both from bachelor and wedlock experience, that Love is the Alpha and the Omega of human enjoyment. All the pleasures, all the happiness of my humble Compeers, flow immediately from this delicious source. It is the spark of celestial fire which lights up the wintry hut of Poverty, and makes the chearless mansion, warm, comfortable and gay.”

Continue reading “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina and Separate Beds (Fragment)

cover1

Alone once more, with nobody to share her tragedy, having to face and accept the separate beds situation, Regina also has to accept taunting memories that refuse to stay selectively lost. Inconsiderate has no knowledge of it, but when initially leaving her for not being appealing enough, he became an influential factor in Regina’s evolution. Non-revealing, somewhat blend, often boring outfits used to be her signature style. That’s how you get a husband, she had been taught; she was also quite sure her mere existence would be reason enough for any man to reach ecstasy. On top of everything else, she had the upper hand, she looked the part of the moral compass she believed herself to be, thus feeling entitled to pass judgement on any other woman. Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina and Separate Beds (Fragment)”

December Gifts

A blogging anniversary notification from WP, that’s yet another sign that Christmas and the end of the year are near. It’s been six years, apparently… six years which passed too fast. But thank you for sharing this time with me, for letting me be a part of your lives and for teaching me so much about appreciation and kindness simply by opening up and telling your stories.

My small thank-you gift to you is the same as every year since I started this blogging journey – electronic stocking stuffers, my ebooks. If you enjoyed the Albatross fragments I’ve shared with you, then you should take advantage of the Amazon giveaway and download it / offer it for free starting today, until December 23rd.

If you’d rather have a copy of Parallel Lives or Glass Slippers and Stilettos or perhaps you would like to offer them to someone who might enjoy them, use any of the following links:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/396169

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.

Feel free to download as many copies as you like!

Happy reading and Happy Holidays!

My December Survival Kit – Part 2

Part 1

Good routine

After all those hectic holidays, you have no idea how much I appreciate a fairly predictable December, ruled by my own festive routine. I used to believe that routine would be the death of my spirit. Now I welcome predictability as the unexpected antidote to maddening, unexpected December drama. If routine means boredom, but it also means no hysteria, emotional blackmail, manipulation or drama of any kind, then by all means, I’m good with being blissfully bored. Continue reading “My December Survival Kit – Part 2”

My December Survival Kit

A particular scene from Ally Mcbeal keeps popping into my mind these days – must be the season… For those of you who don’t remember/know, Ally Mcbeal was a somewhat atypical lawyer show in the late ‘90s. I remember liking it back then just about as much as I liked SATC, although they were very different (some magazine articles insisted on the fact that a girl had to choose between the two shows, but I just didn’t see it that way). Continue reading “My December Survival Kit”

No Trendy Christmas Tree For Me, Santa (Part 2)

Part 1

Now I have my own ornaments and stories to go with them. I somehow managed to hold on to a box of four glass baubles I got at some point in middle school, while shopping for Christmas presents with my best friend at the time. I can just see the store and how we went in looking for something entirely different. I spent a hefty part of my savings on these ornaments and a similar set that I offered my grandmother that Christmas (one of the very few presents she actually liked). They’ve miraculously survived the years and journeys and they went on every tree I’ve had ever since, even when they didn’t match the general colour scheme. Continue reading “No Trendy Christmas Tree For Me, Santa (Part 2)”

No Trendy Christmas Tree For Me, Santa

Note – I wrote this piece a year ago, so that is why some of you might get a slight déjà vu feeling. But I want to share it again; I usually get somewhat nostalgic in December, and this is a small part of my personal story and the way I perceive the holiday season and it’s trappings. 

She frowned and immediately dismissed the idea of a Christmas tree.

“I’ll get one when I can afford to decorate it properly,” she concluded, “not with all that cheap tacky stuff.”

Oh… I couldn’t help feeling my friend’s not at all veiled dig at me. So my Christmas tree was cheap… and tacky. Well, I could certainly give her “cheap”. Continue reading “No Trendy Christmas Tree For Me, Santa”