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!

The Nature of Summer

I crave a nice cold Gin&Tonic served to me on a terrace by the sea, one lazy summer evening… I crave it so badly, that I can almost feel the cold sweaty glass in my hands and I can definitely smell the salty breeze. Well, the salty breeze part is easy really, since I do live in a town by the sea. The G&T part could be equally easy, it would take next to nothing to make it come true since terraces are open and swarming with people. Continue reading “The Nature of Summer”

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!

Warning Signs – A Gripping Psychological Thriller by Carol Balawyder

Warning Signs, Carol Balawyder’s first psychological crime novel will pull you in from the first page. Nowhere near the typical whodunit, it provides a compelling, complex image of the emotional process behind becoming a serial killer, the struggles tormenting such an individual, and their social and amorous interactions.

Thorough psychological research and her background as a criminologist provide the author with a strong foundation on which to build realistic characters and trace the effects of their damaging history and dysfunctional relationships. Brilliant in their own ways, the killer, the woman who loves him and the detective trying to stop him are inevitably drawn to each other in a fashion dictated by their obsession, trauma, guilt, loneliness, loss and despair.

“I’ve worked on so many cases where there’s a history of a violent parent. There always seems to be. Mothers abandoning them. That alone can stir a lot of anger in a kid. If he’s not allowed to express his anger, it’s going to get directed at someone else. I have yet to work on a case where there isn’t some kind of abuse in the family,”
Balawyder, Carol. Warning Signs: A Story About Obsession

Continue reading “Warning Signs – A Gripping Psychological Thriller by Carol Balawyder”

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.

All Sorts of Distance and a Different Kind of Bucket List

I know, I’m a couple of weeks late for this party… but there’s a very simple reason for it – I wasn’t going to write this post. Yet here I am, taking it out of that mental bin of posts to never be written. I normally have this funny blog writing process. Something triggers an idea, then at some point of the day I have to drive from one place to another, and during that time my mind runs with that topic. By the time I get to my destination, I also decide whether I’m going to write about that “something” or I discard the idea, rarely going back to it. That’s not an option these days, so that percolating process is no longer in place, leaving me surprisingly uncertain about my writing decisions. Continue reading “All Sorts of Distance and a Different Kind of Bucket List”

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”

Mother (Fragment 2)

It should have been a boy. A boy still had a chance. It only made sense to be that way. Her innocence robbed from her without warning, by a force bigger than her, while her kind, loving fiancé had no idea about what was happening, the shame of carrying a child out of wedlock… it simply had to be a boy.

But a girl… She held her daughter in her arms, overwhelmed by an unknown wonderful warmth, torn apart by feelings she didn’t know anyone could experience. Continue reading “Mother (Fragment 2)”

Mother (Fragment 1)

He puts his hand between her legs… she needs to prove it…. Her tensed muscles try to stop him, but he’s much stronger. He pulls her near, his left hand on the nape of her neck, in her hair, pulling and squeezing. His mouth finds hers and for what feels like an endless moment she lets him do whatever he pleases… because she doesn’t know anything anymore… or maybe it’s because she’s a girl and that’s what girls like her are supposed to do. Continue reading “Mother (Fragment 1)”

Neighbours (Fragment 1)

People come together under most unexpected of circumstances. Sometimes love unites them; but there are also those times when hatred and revenge forge the strongest connections.

***

A moan escaped from the thrashed creature, but no eyes turned into that direction.

“He killed them…” the professor cried. “Do you think I have any moral holdback about hurting a man who can’t defend himself? I don’t give a fuck, not after that night. He killed them… he killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child… that’s all I have left, the hope to get my hands on him…”

The heart-breaking lament died out, the professor’s voice breaking down in tears as the officer’s wife stood in front of him. Her big, kind, motherly eyes were somehow controlling his glance, he realized, bringing it back from the object of his rage, bringing him back from his own blinding pain. Continue reading “Neighbours (Fragment 1)”

Grey (Fragment 1)

Note – Grey is the story closest to my heart from Albatross…. because Grey is a part of me. While all the other short stories are pure fiction, this one is based on some of my childhood memories. It’s a personal touch, a glimpse of nostalgia, a part of me that I wanted to share with my readers. It’s also the story that sparked this book, the one I was referring to when sharing what started this particular writing project.

***

It wasn’t bad. It was happy. It was life. We were children and we were never told grey was supposed to be bad. Grey was childhood. Grey was us in our purest form. We never denied it and we never minded it, because we never knew it.

We became grey those lazy, endless summer afternoons. Continue reading “Grey (Fragment 1)”

Albatross (Fragment 1)

Author’s Note – When a relationship gradually suffocates the partners’ identity, the two can either find individual ways to survive or fight as a couple. Deciding what kind of betrayal is worse or whose fault is greater may not always be an option.

***

“The albatross still haunting her as she was heading home with her newly purchased purple notebook, she could no longer fight the fact that it was still too early. The time for her to forget and to give up on life hadn’t come yet. She was still young. There was still time. All was not lost, she was not lost… Continue reading “Albatross (Fragment 1)”

Angles Of Our Own Selves

Note: Not only did Ann-Christine’s topic for this week (Lens Artists Weekly Challenge – Angles) push me to write a new post, but it also reminded me of something I’ve posted a few years ago. Since it still resonates, I’ll share this once more. In case you’ve already read it, I apologize 🙂 .

A radical change in perspective is never easy. Altering that already instinctive angle – be it broad or narrow – from which we regard life is a challenge, to say the least. As a person with somewhat twisted values and ideas (in certain respects), yet who is so stubborn that she hardly ever changes her opinions, I am also aware of the ineffable necessity of never forgetting to keep an open mind, especially when having to reach various conclusions. That’s why I normally perceive the idea of changing my perspective as a positive endeavour.

Continue reading “Angles Of Our Own Selves”

When Bad Fights Make For Good Neighbours

She was still yelling when I bid her goodbye, turned my back and left. I had said screamed my piece, there was nothing more to add. She was not getting anything from me. I was already home, the door closed loudly behind me, once again emphasizing the end of our “conversation”, but she was still yelling out there, arguing by herself. Oh well… It was about time for another one of these. Continue reading “When Bad Fights Make For Good Neighbours”

A Small December Gift

I’ll try to keep this one short and sweet. One more blogging year has passed, the good people from WP just reminded me. The fifth one… Well, this blog has certainly survived far longer than I thought it would, thanks to the wonderful community I’ve discovered here. Thank you for your support, for your input, for all the time you offered me this year… and thank you for sharing bits of your souls and inspiring thoughts with all of us! Continue reading “A Small December Gift”

Christmas Ghosts

Winter holidays are probably that time of year when ghosts of our past are most likely to come out and dig their dirty fingernails into wounds closed long ago, hoping to pry them open and make them bleed once more. And if there’s ever a chance for them to succeed…

Well, at least that’s what this time of year is like for me. So here I am, lights twinkling in the tree, Christmas songs playing… and I’m angry dancing in my fuzzy bathrobe and equally fuzzy slippers while brushing my teeth, late at night. Before you say it, no, I can’t blame this on too much mulled wine; that’s simply who I am. Continue reading “Christmas Ghosts”

Blend In And Stand Out

None of the other children are going, so you’re not going either. If everybody else jumped off a bridge, would you join them? Why can’t you be more like everybody else? You need to be better than everyone else. Look at them, they’re not causing any trouble, so why do you have to go about attracting attention? You need to stand up for yourself. You have to let go. You need to get involved. Why do you have to care so much? You have to study and be the best at what you do, that’s the only way you’ll make something of yourself and become an independent woman. Continue reading “Blend In And Stand Out”

Fun To Be Had

From dancing on tables to reading a good book, from walking aimlessly on a sunny day to carefully planned journeys, from teaching a child how to write to taking pleasure in others’ misfortune or even causing it, from being high on life to getting high to bear life, there certainly is fun to be had out there. Now, now… let’s not be too judgemental. After all, much like sorrow, “fun” is a terribly subjective concept. What hurts me, might not touch you – but that won’t diminish my pain. What you find extremely entertaining might not appeal to me, or might even be beyond my power of comprehension, yet it doesn’t mean you’re not having fun.

How many of us can honestly say they’ve never had fun in a less than moral, socially acceptable way? Continue reading “Fun To Be Had”

Don’t Forget to Remember

There are times when life is simply too hectic and overwhelming to notice anything that goes on around you; then there are those sunny lazy autumn days, when sensory memory takes over, distant moments flashing through your mind….

“You know, I don’t remember much from back when I was her age… strange…”

The woman in front of me was going on and on about her 14 year old daughter and how she hoped the girl’s adolescence wouldn’t be too wild or troubled.

“Really? I remember everything like it was yesterday,” the words escaped my lips before I knew it. Continue reading “Don’t Forget to Remember”

Mother (Fragment 2)

It should have been a boy. A boy still had a chance. It only made sense to be that way. Her innocence robbed from her without warning, by a force bigger than her, while her kind, loving fiancé had no idea about what was happening, the shame of carrying a child out of wedlock… it simply had to be a boy.

But a girl… She held her daughter in her arms, overwhelmed by an unknown wonderful warmth, torn apart by feelings she didn’t know anyone could experience. Continue reading “Mother (Fragment 2)”

End of Summer Buh Humbug

Have you ever seen a car with wipers and wing mirrors scotch taped and thought, “It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy”? Let me be clear, said car didn’t suffer some mishap; someone was trying to make a point, in a rather humorous way.

I’m no advocate of vandalism, but this is what end of summer here will do to a person. In fact, I was so taken with that original non-destructive kind of punishment, that I immediately snapped a pic which I will gladly present if I happen by when someone else contemplates perpetrating a similar kind of offense.

I start my summers full of joie de vivre, optimism and insane thoughts of “It’ll be different this year”. Continue reading “End of Summer Buh Humbug”

Us (Fragment 2)

We were talking about pillows while he had me in his arms, in a tight embrace, skin on skin. It was summer, warm and terribly humid, and I understood he didn’t care for such heat. Yet he stubbornly refused to let me go.

He was telling me he also slept with lots of pillows at home. One of his hands was holding mine, while the other took hold of a pillow, placing it between the two of us, and he was laughing. He grabbed the pillow and squeezed it tightly against his chest, allowing me to try and break free for a second.

“This is how I sleep at home. But tonight, however, this is how I’m holding you.”

That was when I realized how lonely he was.

Albatross is now available on Amazon:

Mother (Fragment 1)

He puts his hand between her legs… she needs to prove it…. Her tensed muscles try to stop him, but he’s much stronger. He pulls her near, his left hand on the nape of her neck, in her hair, pulling and squeezing. His mouth finds hers and for what feels like an endless moment she lets him do whatever he pleases… because she doesn’t know anything anymore… or maybe it’s because she’s a girl and that’s what girls like her are supposed to do. Continue reading “Mother (Fragment 1)”

Neighbours (Fragment 1)

People come together under most unexpected of circumstances. Sometimes love unites them; but there are also those times when hatred and revenge forge the strongest connections.

***

A moan escaped from the thrashed creature, but no eyes turned into that direction.

“He killed them…” the professor cried. “Do you think I have any moral holdback about hurting a man who can’t defend himself? I don’t give a fuck, not after that night. He killed them… he killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child… that’s all I have left, the hope to get my hands on him…”

The heart-breaking lament died out, the professor’s voice breaking down in tears as the officer’s wife stood in front of him. Her big, kind, motherly eyes were somehow controlling his glance, he realized, bringing it back from the object of his rage, bringing him back from his own blinding pain. Continue reading “Neighbours (Fragment 1)”

Grey (Fragment 1)

Note – Grey is the story closest to my heart from Albatross…. because Grey is a part of me. While all the other short stories are pure fiction, this one is based on some of my childhood memories. It’s a personal touch, a glimpse of nostalgia, a part of me that I wanted to share with my readers. It’s also the story that sparked this book, the one I was referring to when sharing what started this particular writing project.

***

It wasn’t bad. It was happy. It was life. We were children and we were never told grey was supposed to be bad. Grey was childhood. Grey was us in our purest form. We never denied it and we never minded it, because we never knew it.

We became grey those lazy, endless summer afternoons. Continue reading “Grey (Fragment 1)”

Albatross (Fragment 1)

When a relationship gradually suffocates the partners’ identity, the two can either find individual ways to survive or fight as a couple. Deciding what kind of betrayal is worse or whose fault is greater may not always be an option.

***

“The albatross still haunting her as she was heading home with her newly purchased purple notebook, she could no longer fight the fact that it was still too early. The time for her to forget and to give up on life hadn’t come yet. She was still young. There was still time. All was not lost, she was not lost… Continue reading “Albatross (Fragment 1)”

Albatross – The Big Day

Releasing a new book is always an exciting event, especially for the author. Well, it is such a day for me… After the initial moment of panic, also known as the “Oh no – it’s out there, for anyone to read” instant, I remember how important breathing actually is and I move on to a sort of “proud momma” sensation. Yes, I am happy this is happening and I’m happy it’s happening now, it feels right.

Dear friends, thank you for your support and all your encouraging words regarding my writing. So many of you shared inspiring stories about your experience in this field and although I am not usually very verbal (yes, I often lurk in the shadows) they haven’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated. I think we all know how such stories sometimes speak to us, especially in those moments when we consider giving up on our writing, or at least on sharing it with the world. Truth be told, I was rather reluctant about sharing my Albatross stories at first, as I tend to be about sharing most of my writing these days. Continue reading “Albatross – The Big Day”

The Magic of June

I always loved the beginning of summer. For so many reasons – some deep, others more superficial – June has always been a special time of year for me…

It’s that time of year which makes me feel everything is possible. Years keep passing, yet this sensation is a powerful constant every early summer. Together with my love for fresh cherries and strawberries and that unbelievable fragrance of blooming linden trees, it’s something I hope to always love, a part of me I hope will never change. It has always been a promise of new experiences, unexpected options and lots of fun. With that come the itch to run away and travel, the desire to try something different, and the somewhat self-destructive wish to rock the boat. Continue reading “The Magic of June”

Albatross

There are no villains and no heroes, only people caught in a pivotal moment of their existence. Nothing is absolute, no one is only good or entirely evil. One’s life course can be deviated in an instant, and choices are often made instinctively, unconsciously, not only rationally, under socially acceptable terms. Imperfect, damaged characters struggle with their duality and evolution. Their reactions are the product of violence, physical and emotional abuse, neurosis, depression, but also of love, hope and melancholy. Fear is what they all have in common. Continue reading “Albatross”

Some Stories Have to Be Told

Idea notebooks, random scribbling on post-its, notes on your phone, various drafts on your computer… if you’re anything like me – that is, if you enjoy writing – then you’ve probably accumulated all of them. I’m not as bad as it sounds, really…. It’s a neat mess I’m talking about here, I know where everything goes. I also know which nonsensical drafts/ideas might stand a chance to become something more, so I keep them… sometimes for years. Continue reading “Some Stories Have to Be Told”