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)”

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 – 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 – 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 – 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.

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – …Or For Worse (Fragment)

The woman in the mirror wasn’t the one she remembered. No matter how hard she struggled, she would never see that reflection again. Time had a perverted way of leaving scars on her body in spite of all her best efforts. Turning slowly, analysing every particle projected in the horridly honest mirror, she felt her spirits lifted by the image of a still beautiful, mature woman. Her thighs were almost cellulite free… and her stomach, almost flat again… her behind was no longer as firm, but the right pair of jeans made it look just as luscious… her breasts had definitely seen better days, but she would do something about that as soon as possible. It was a game of make-believe these days, she thought to herself. Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – …Or For Worse (Fragment)”

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – For Better… (Fragment)

The frantic scrolling stops abruptly as the busy fingers’ and blue eyes’ attention is now required by the buzzing phone. A large smile lights up Regina’s face, a languorous sigh accompanying her reply. She had spent the entire morning trying not to think that the text might never arrive and now her patience was finally being rewarded.

The picture on the desk caught her eye in spite of all her rushed gestures. It had been such a wonderful day! Everything she had ever dreamt of, really… look how beautiful she was, she had the most expensive dress and most extravagant wedding anyone in her group of friends and acquaintances had ever seen… and on top of everything, the man she was marrying was so wealthy and handsome… A real prince had come to finally rescue her from an average existence and she would not let this one get away. Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – For Better… (Fragment)”

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina and the Engagement Rings (Fragment)

The key didn’t turn and she opened the unlocked door without giving it any thought. She often forgot to lock it, so… Clickety-clack, clickety-clack on the hardwood floor and then the high heels flew in a corner, preceded only by the laptop case, which landed with a thud. Oh well, it’s just the work computer – what are they going to do if it breaks anyway, give her a newer and better one?… Her personal mobile phone was another story though, that one found a nice, cosy resting place when carefully placed on the hall table. Curling and stretching her toes happy to have escaped the restrictive pumps, her feet started blindly feeling around the cold floor, reaching for the comfort of those favourite slippers. They weren’t there. Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina and the Engagement Rings (Fragment)”

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Driving Regina (Fragment)

Damn it, it’s all his fault… But the person Regina had in mind in her state of shock was not the driver of that other car. Now I won’t get to see him again, not this night… Or will I? An idea occurred to the woman as her trembling fingers were fishing for her work phone in the purse on the seat on her right. Involved in an accident on my way to your place. Need you. Pls. This should get him to come over and see her… Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Driving Regina (Fragment)”

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina Gets Engaged (Fragment)

Like any other long-term couple, they had discussed marriage. The fact that they had spent more time apart than together, bickering and disparaging each other was generally an irrelevant matter to both of them. They’d swear to never reconcile again, professing their mutual loathing and would occasionally yell out their indifference in hurtful, offending words. But everything would be forgiven and forgotten in a few weeks, when they’d be back together again. Behaving as though nothing had happened came naturally to both of them. Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina Gets Engaged (Fragment)”

Spring Gifts – Read an Ebook Week

The annual Smashwords’ Read an Ebook Week promotion kicks off this Sunday, March 1st, and runs through end of day, March 7th.

Each year, tens of thousands of Smashwords authors, publishers and readers participate in this global ebook celebration, which offers FREE and deep-discounted ebooks.

The special home page catalogue enables readers to browse by coupon discount and filter by category, bestseller status, word count and multiple other factors.

Go ahead and have a look, especially if you support indie writers. You never know what little gem you may find, your new favourite book could be waiting for you. We can never have too many books… and what wonderful early spring gifts they make 😉 .

Enjoy!

You can download Parallel Lives  and Glass Slippers and Stilettos for free during the Read an Ebook Week.

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina and the Nice Guy (Fragment)

It was a particularly beautiful summer when they met, one filled with sweet poetry of hope and unrequited dreams, when the remains of old loves become the seeds of new ones and the magic of a sunset can make everything seem possible… even for a beautiful, intelligent and independent young woman like Regina to fall in love with a Nice Guy like him. Tall, with deep, dreaming blue eyes and a kind smile, elegant in his middle management suit, he couldn’t resist consoling Regina right after she presented her resignation two days into the trial period for a new job. Who could have resisted those beautiful doe eyes of hers, mystified by tears of despair she was trying so hard to stop from rolling down her pale, silky cheeks? Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina and the Nice Guy (Fragment)”

Glass Slippers an Stilettos – Regina Experiments (Fragment)

Eeeh! That hurt! The high-pitched moan escaped her lips as soon as the woman in a white uniform removed the first strip of wax. It’ll be worth it! Pain followed by pleasure, it’s always worth it, she had to remind herself. As the wax touched her skin again and again, she felt the need to congratulate herself on the wise decision of taking the day off. She needed a few hours of pampering before the big trip, a reprieve from all the stress, so she could get ready to fully enjoy the weekend’s pleasures. But time was also required to clear her mind and figure out the optimal plan, that perfect balance between delectable debauchery and worthwhile, career-oriented depravity. Experience had taught her men were more open and supportive of her cause in an intimate environment and she was relying on this opportunity to reacquaint herself with an old friend. Continue reading “Glass Slippers an Stilettos – Regina Experiments (Fragment)”

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina and Selective Memory (Fragment)

It starts off light, little things here and there, which only make you believe she is simply a more forgetful person than others. An assignment not carried out in time leads way to an almost hysterical reaction as she is blaming everybody for not telling her she was the one supposed to do it. Nobody can possibly imagine she would react that way if indeed she had known and forgotten about it. That is, until the situation becomes a recurrent event… because she does indeed forget, she forgets she was told in the first place, then she forgets having forgotten. Therefore it never happened. Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Regina and Selective Memory (Fragment)”

February Traditions

In the early days of this blog, I also started an early Valentine’s Day tradition. As my little gift to you (it isn’t much, but that’s the best I can do to show my appreciation during what many consider to be the month of love), you can download my books, Parallel Lives and Glass Slippers and Stilettos, for free. Given that neither one of them is a typical “they lived happily ever after” romance and they portray rather unconventional, uncomfortable twists and turns of relationships, they might also be a good choice for those of you not really in the mood for celebrating this year. Whether you get them for yourself or as a gift for somebody else, I hope you enjoy my small token of appreciation 🙂 . Feel free to download as many copies as you want from Smashwords.com, Barnes&Noble, Kobo or iBooks and share them with your friends. February the 14th is the final day of the promotion. If you’d rather have a copy of Albatross, there will be an Amazon giveaway on February 13 and 14.

 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

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/645454

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/glass-slippers-and-stilettos

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/glass-slippers-and-stilettos-ana-linden/1123982690?ean=2940153093093

Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Belated Introduction (Fragment)

cover1

She is friendlier than anybody would have expected a pretty girl to know how to be. She is incredibly hardworking, even when she doesn’t really do anything right. But most importantly, she is so deliciously vulnerable. The one everybody expected to be so smug and conceited is actually so surprisingly modest and demurred, even insecure at times, her big eyes filling with tears when she does something wrong. So nobody can resist helping her, nobody can bring themselves to criticize her, thus risking to cover that delicate doll face of hers with a dark shadow of regret, insecurity and fear. It’s ok, don’t worry, we’ll fix this…. No, no, no, it’s not your fault, you’ll learn, we all make mistakes, especially early on. Continue reading “Glass Slippers and Stilettos – Belated Introduction (Fragment)”

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!

December Again…

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 🙂 . Six 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. You can download Parallel Lives and Glass Slippers and Stilettos for free until December 24th. 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/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.

(Albatross giveaway on Amazon coming soon!)

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.

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 105

It was her way of saying a final goodbye to the man who could no longer bear her independent attitude and her refusal to hide the fact that she was doing better than him. Amalia had been there for the beginning of each of his projects, yet she could never bring herself to see them through next to him, because the woman knew he was no longer able to succeed. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 105”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 104

The spell had broken the moment the scent of his skin stopped having an intoxicating effect on her senses. They were not a perfect match anymore, either chemical or rational; and now material things started to matter, as she couldn’t stop thinking about his shoes, that embarrassing symbol of his constant failure. She wanted a man who could earn and keep her respect, one she would feel proud to have in her life, not the weak shadow of such an individual making her feel ashamed of him. She was neither ready, nor able to submit to Adam and give up all she thought she deserved, she was still too young, too stubborn and too strong for that; she was not yet able to give up any faint hope for the slight possibility of success, happiness, power or glamour in favour of certain dull shabbiness next to him
Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 104”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 103

Robert’s words began to echo in her head – everything would be so much easier with a man next to you. But would it? Of course, so many of the current problems would find a solution, but how about the new ones? Why doesn’t anybody seem to consider the new problems such an attachment would generate? Living in a society that values the couple as foundation of a woman’s life imposes a variety of unpleasant side-effects even on the most determined independent women, one of them consisting in the occasional doubts and uncertainty regarding their lifestyle. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 103”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 102

It was a sign of weakness to complain about your problems, the fact that you weren’t doing well reflected poorly on you. That was the long, dreary shadow of failure and Amalia dreaded seeing Adam exactly because she feared he would see right through the paper-thin façade she had so cleverly crafted. But meeting him the previous day settled her competitive spirit – his façade was even more transparent than hers, disintegrating that hyperbolic mirage generated by imagination when you interrupt all connections with a person, when you refuse to inquire about them, but once in a while you still think of them as a landmark, a relevant moment of your existence. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 102”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 101

Amalia’s rage triggered tirade against Robert was a flood of mixed ideas and furious regrets about the one she had considered a friend, yet who showed no compassion when she needed it from him. He was taken aback both by his reaction to her initial sadness and by her violent response, although the moment the room became silent, he began to perceive the magnitude of what had just happened. For the first time ever, he raised his voice at her, a thing that was so common when dealing with his wife; never had he thought of reacting that way towards Amalia. And never before had she managed or even tried to reduce him to nothing in a matter of seconds. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 101”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 100

Victor was quiet that night; and when he was watching her reflection in the mirror while she was slowly removing her makeup and brushing her hair – the way he had done every evening after her arrival – he looked old. With the odd angle and the cruel light accentuating his dark circles, he appeared the image of a man in mourning. And after all, wasn’t he? Was he not facing the need of accepting that another piece of the mirage he had created in his mind had died that evening? Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 100”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 99

Victor’s mother sighed, sipping her coffee.

“I think I would’ve been a lot like you, had I been born in different times. I envy the freedom you, young women, have these days. Back then, I was among the lucky few, I was allowed an education, my family was supportive of it, and I was also blessed with a kind, intelligent and hardworking husband. And now it’s too late to change; besides, I like the way it turned out for me. In a way some things were better, more straightforward then – women were women and men were men, they each had their roles and everybody knew where they stood. You have it so great and so rough these days… you basically need to be perfect from so many points of view, you need to cover so many areas in order to be accomplished women. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 99”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 98

Meaningless, harmless flirting was a long forgotten pleasure for Amalia, she had become so used to being aggressive with the men she wanted; and the men she wanted were normally guys who went straight for what they desired. The game, the chase were greatly appreciated stages in her flirting scheme and even in relationships, but nobody pretended to be innocent, nor was there ever a word uttered without a double meaning. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 98”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 95

“What’s wrong?”

“The fact that you cannot get everything from one person alone. If and when you think you might, it’s no more than an ephemeral mirage that leaves you empty, disappointed and disoriented as soon as it disappears. And how exactly does one manage to constantly find something more intense than the previous experience? The next thrill always needs to be somewhat more intense, somehow different and better than the one before it, otherwise the frustration is what increases and not the relief, the forgetfulness… But you don’t need any of that, do you? You find solace in simple things and even if I normally despise that, I guess I’m a bit jealous too – everything is so much simpler, your sort of happiness is so much easier to reach, isn’t it?” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 95”

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 94”

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 93”

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.
Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 92”

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. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 91”

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. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 90”

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? Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 89”

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. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 88”

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;
Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 87”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 86

A car drove past them, heading the other way, the driver’s side close enough to her so she could see the driver quite well. Just a man in the car, the driver by himself, and Amalia’s heart was racing, although she stopped breathing for a few seconds, almost unaware that she was looking back, her head turned for several moments, until the dark car disappeared in the pink morning light.

*

“Did you have a nice weekend? Relaxing? Fun?”

“I did, yes… all of the above. How about you?”

“Oh… so did I… Can’t complain, I kept busy.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 86”

Parallel Lives Sample Fragment 85

“You get used to one woman, you get used to not even thinking or wanting others and all of the sudden you realize that was something you didn’t really choose to do, you just followed the steps you had been told time and time again that you need to take, because that’s what life is. You find a woman, a good woman, you love her if possible, she definitely loves you, you get married, have children, you provide for them while she takes care of them and there you have it: life.” Continue reading “Parallel Lives Sample Fragment 85”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 84

The brisk air and the slight noise the motion of the waves propagated in the winter night impressed their awakening effect on the senses, making urges grow stronger, feelings and thoughts becoming almost palpable in the shallow obscurity of the seashore. Possibilities and desires are the only relevant matters at such a time, especially if one manages to overcome doubts and anxiety. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 84”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 83

People hide from the truth in the most intriguing and senseless corners of their mind. Paul was one of those perfectly able to deny any of the facts his soul and character were not able to bear, avoiding coping with so many things that might have to change his vision of life. He would hold on to some statement or idea, acting as though that was what conferred it a value of truth, refusing to assimilate anything that might compromise the vision that kept him going. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 83”

Ghosts of Valentine’s Dates Past

1

It’s not every day that a flower delivery guy almost throws a bouquet of roses at you, I thought to myself the day before yesterday. He had harassed me all day, calling like a maniac in order to find out when exactly I’d be home, so he could bring me the flowers – a Valentine’s Day bouquet which for some inexplicable reason was being delivered a couple of days early. As soon as I closed the door in the face of the man who was still expecting a tip in spite of his rudeness and almost offensive words, I got to enjoy the beautiful roses – in spite of the commercial fuck up, they were still the symbol of a loving gesture from a person so dear to me. I have long ago made my peace with the holiday dreaded by many, but I can’t deny that the incident brought back bittersweet memories of Valentine’s Days past.

I was thirteen or so when I survived the first “celebration” of the sort.
Continue reading “Ghosts of Valentine’s Dates Past”

Valentine’s Day, Again…

I was about to look for one of my favourite rose photos, as I do for every Valentine’s Day post. Then I remembered this display I saw last year on a street in Germany…

It was impossible to walk by and not notice it, it was just so…. so… too much. I wanted to laugh and whisper something snarky in my friend’s ear. Instead I mustered a serious look, as a pair of eyes was sizing me up, trying to determine whether I was a potential customer or not.
Continue reading “Valentine’s Day, Again…”

Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 82

Such different people, such different concepts, Amalia stopped to ponder. On the one hand, you have a woman who is loved for who she is by her somewhat limited husband, but nobody expects her to have a mind, a life or an identity of her own outside the family; and she herself has no desire for such things. On the other hand, you have the wife of an intelligent, successful, worldly man, who has all the freedom she desires as long as she maintains the appearance of the proper marriage, simply because her husband couldn’t care less about her, as she is merely a commodity. Continue reading “Parallel Lives – Sample Fragment 82”