“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 – Frames (Sample Fragment 1)

The two young men look each other in the eye for a quick moment. Worlds colliding, brought together by a common surge of arrogance – it becomes one of them, it makes the other look even more uncouth. One smells like expensive aftershave, drives a German luxury car and looks impeccable in his designer clothes, next to his model of a girlfriend. The other one reeks of manure after cleaning the stables, wears dingy clothes and shoes, and his hair is a mess of unwashed uncombed curls. They are only a few years apart… they are worlds apart… with no common ground other than this temporary, illusory dimension. How could they ever really see each other? Why should they?

Continue reading “Frames – Frames (Sample Fragment 1)”

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.

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)”

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”

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)”

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”