Ann Raina Homepage
Copyright of all excerpts, blurbs and promotional texts by Ann Raina
When people ask me how I started writing, I cannot truly tell how the story started or what made me write this story instead of another.
First, my way of writing is hardly influenced by daily news, international affairs or political background. Sometimes a movie or a TV series gives me a hint, a direction for my thoughts and dreams and I come up with an idea.
Yet, the idea alone is nothing without the proper male and female main character. So the idea grows into a storyline with at least two persons in mind. Those characters need looks and background, a family, home, people they like, work and business.
The fun part for me has always been brainstorming. I like to sit with a fellow friend and a cup of great coffee and chat about the ways the story should take and throw away those ideas which don’t fit. Often, we laugh our butts off about silly turns and twists, but in the end the basic story is born. And I can start to flesh out characters, scenes, settings and else. Many difficulties will show up during that process, but in general a solution is found. Yes, sometimes characters take a right turn when I wanted a left, but, hey, either I catch him in time or I follow him that way and see where he leads me. Usually, a character has his reasons leaving the main part of the story…
I am lucky enough to say that my fellow friend has always followed my train of thought, has never wavered and has never been shocked by the ideas I offered. She’s been constantly constructive, always honest and the most joyful partner in crime a woman like me can call a friend.
If you have questions about writing, contact me. I’ll be happy to answer them.
If you have questions, please, send me an email. ( email@example.com )
Blog January 2012
Really, I can’t think of a better start of the new year.
My family’s doing great, we had wonderful days during Christmas and the New Year, and on January 1st, my latest novel will be released by eXtasy Books.
Here’s to hope that the year will fulfill some of our wishes. There are no New Year’s resolutions to be met. I don’t trust myself to stick to just one plan. Especially when it comes to writing, I’m more emotional than rational. I follow my muse – she is also doing well – and write whenever there’s time and an idea to type.
To all of you – have a great start into the new, still fresh year. May it be bright and shiny. Make the best out of it!
Blog February / March 2012
A perfect day.
Have you ever heard of someone speaking of a perfect day, or an hour, just a minute of perfection? Mostly, when people mention it, they say it with a longing smile or even one of regret. People long for a perfect day, but their strive ends empty-handed. Why is that so?
First, we are always busy. Since the day of graduation (and even before that) we keep very busy training for a job, getting a higher qualification, moving from town to city for a better employment. We meet a (hopefully) fitting partner along this way, found a family and see our children grow up. We want them to be happy. Some even say that their children shall have a better life than they ever had. And again, we jump into our jobs, work hard to earn money and make a better life.
Second, we make high demands on a perfect day. I hear people say that the day they will win the lottery will be perfect. Yeah, right, and when will that happen? Is it not asking too much of life to grand a fortune? And how long will that happiness about a million dollars last? A whole life? I doubt it. Some say they will have the perfect day founding their own company. Yes, indeed that’s an achievement to be happy about and it also means knowing that there will be a lot more work coming after that grand day. Will the essence of that perfect day last?
The question remains, what is a perfect day and what will make us happy?
I vote for all the small things that happen around us. Waking up to a wonderful sunrise, knowing that you got the time to leave the house on foot, with your bike or even on horseback. Look at the cloudless sky and smile, no matter if it’s really cold or windy. Being outdoors makes me free. Or take time with your children to play, make fun, watch them learn new tricks in sports. Lean back and enjoy the time when you don’t have to run for the next appointment. Be happy that you are healthy or on your way back to health. Don’t watch your neighbor build a larger house because he earns more money. Better look at your wife and children and feel glad they are happy and maybe better at school or hockey or swimming than the rich rest of the neighborhood.
It’s a matter of how you look at life and what life grants you to live a happy and perfect day. If you don’t expect too much or jump into a situation expecting nothing but trouble or boredom you might find the perfect day easier and have a smile for the world around you.
Blog April 2012
If my characters could talk they would complain about negligence. They would shake their fists through the screen into my direction and demand to be led forward through the story. After all they want to know what troubles lie ahead of them and how they will manage to survive jungle and swamp, wilderness and deadly arrows. They claim to have a right to be treated like living beings and that they, too, seek happiness, asking themselves if the love affair will grow or not. Or if the new found partner will give them away in the end.
All of these questions still wait to be answered in my latest novel. It is not the case that I don’t know how to proceed or that I got a writer’s blockade that keeps me from putting lines down. The only trouble is…
… the most wonderful spring weather I’ve ever experienced. It’s warm outside, sunny, a little windy, cloudless most of the time. How on earth shall I sit down at my desk and write while the sun shines demandingly, seductively through my window pane? (Panes I should clean up, I know.) I sit down, I even switch on the computer, but then, after checking emails, I sigh and take a deep breath of fresh air and decide that it’s much nicer outdoors than indoors. Quickly, my backpack is filled and I either go into my garden or take a ride on horseback through the woods.
Indeed, I do have some good ideas while watching the first green on the ride, and I take notes wherever possible. I just don’t continue the plot of my latest work. My muse smiles at me in full understanding. She has a garden, too, and while we work side by side, we still develop new strings of the plot to be finished.
With coffee and cakes, we give the story a new shine, talk about characters and their flaws and critically depict what went wrong in the first attempt of writing. I love that exchange.
And I promise that when the weather turns grey, rainy and chilly once more, I’ll sit down at my desk and write faster than a speeding bullet.
Until then, I wish all of you days in the sun, planning, plotting, re-writing and hopefully enjoying good weather.
Blog May 2012
My new novel makes such a good progress, I jope to have it finished before the summer is over. Though I am not used to write much during summer season, the ideas just kept going and I write whenever there is an hour left before leaving the house or duties call. I always carry my trustworthy notebook everywhere to not forget an idea or a wording when it hits me on tour.
I can’t imagine going anywhere without the possibility to take down notes. It has become a habit to check the handbag for the important items – purse, keys, car keys, papers and notebook.
Yesterday evening I wanted to go to bed. It was late and I had worked at home and with the horses, but I could not shut down. There was a scene in my head that demanded attention so I sat down at my desk again to scribble down notes around the new character. He will deliver priceless information and they had to be put down in a dialogue that runs smoothly. He does not want to tell too much, but the woman he talks to knows how to ask the right questions. Such a play of words doesn’t always come to me in the first place. If the ideas and the swings fit such a conversation is the key to the next scene, well, in this case, to solving the whole situation.
I was in bed very late and tired this morning, but
a) I’m very happy that I put down the scene in the first rush because it worked and
b) I wouldn’t have known any of the smart comebacks this morning. Promised.
The novel can go on and I hope for more moments in which I can’t wait to get a pencil and a piece of paper. I never tried it on horseback, but it’s worth the thought…
Blog June 2012
A good friend of mine moves to a Spanish island, alas, not only for a few weeks on vacation or to come back after a job will be finished. She takes her family and dogs and leaves her home for good. She will finally get a good job and she confessed that she has always wanted to move to Spain because of the wonderful friendly people. Right now she has neighbors who look over the fences to teach her how to mow the lawn and want to tell her how to keep a really wonderful garden. On the island, she hopes, the neighbors will be more easy-going without pressing her to fit a scheme.
I cross my fingers that everything – including work, home and neighbors – will work our for her. I don’t like losing her, but I understand that she won’t find happiness here. At the age of 30 she will easily learn the language and go her way. May God bless her on that new way!
Summer has come to the city and my garden demands attention. I planted so many new plants and vegetables and strawberries (and much more I hope to find again once the seed turns to green leaves…) that I have to water my garden every day. It’s worth the effort, every year. I love to watch plants grow! There was much weed to tear out this year, but afterwards much space for new flowers.
The coming months will be spend much more outdoors than indoors. Good for the garden, bad for writing. You can’t have everything at once!
Blog July / August 2012
It’s been some time since I sat here and wrote this blog. We were on vacation and, like every year, it was a wonderful time to relax and do nothing else but what we wanted to do.
That is what I find most demanding: To find time for yourself without thinking about others, without obligations to fulfil, without checking your watch every few minutes to make sure you are on time for your next appointment. I met people, who are nervous to be on time even in their leisure time. In the long run, they can’t live without a fixed time schedule and feel lost once they got too much spare time at hand and nothing to do with it.
When was the last time you leaned back to enjoy a good book, have a coffee or a brandy with it and forgot about time going by? Einstein said, time is something you read on a clock. Well, no one in the modern world can just live by relying on sunrise and sunset and plan the day in between. Imagine, you want to have a business breakfast and say, we meet when the sun is a hand’s width beyond the horizon? First it’s a good laugh, but next it’s frowning and confusion.
I don’t mind living by the watch for workdays, but there has to be a day or two without being pressed into the corselet of appointments and running late.
Have a break for summer. It’s not for long and we will whine for the warmth to return. Enjoy it now!
Blog September 2012
Writing a book can be a bitch. Writing a book in the summertime can turn nasty if there is so much more to do than sitting at the computer. Writing a book with characters who tend to change their direction can make it impossible to get it finished.
When I started my latest project I had a clear intention how I wanted it done. Then the main characters moved in. They were undecided, full of flaws and moved left and right where I wanted them straight and together. I put the book aside for two months, partly to think about the plot and its twists, partly to let the characters have a break.
I started over last week. The male character has become more steadfast and the female character stronger without being overwhelming, arrogant or suppressive. Since the novel will be carried by those two most of the time, I needed them strong or they would perish in the woods amid all of the alien creatures roaming around.
Cross your fingers that, with winter coming, the basic work will be done. After that I will polish the scenes, cross out what seems superfluous and stress what is important.
I have a German novel running in a contest. Cross your fingers for the outcome.
Blog October 2012
There is good news to be told. Two days ago, I signed a contract with eXtasy Books for my latest short novel How to Please an Alien. It deals with an invasion, different ways of living and love between a servant and a female alien from a distant planet.
I have been working on a long novel for the best part of the year, but I had to take a break. So when the idea for another plot hit me, I put together the details and wrote them down. Weather outside was cold, rainy and we had a storm one day so I did not feel too guilty staying home for polishing and rewriting.
The longer novel will be completed this year. Only few scenes are still missing and after they will be done, I will go over it with a fine comb and talk with my muse if there are scenes or dialogues that have to be altered. While creating a story and brainstorming ideas is the best part for me, the challenge to make a story even better comes next. The writing process can be tricky and there are days when I need a push to sit down at my keyboard and write at all.
I look forward to more days of rain and thunderstorms to have no excuse and get the work finally done. There is another plot waiting in the back of my head and I really, really want to start putting it down.
Blog November 2012
While shops and malls already offer their special Christmas shopping gifts, we had wonderful visitors. We had met the family five years ago on a northern trip for riding and we have visited each other ever since at least once a year. By now, their daughter is four years old, a happy, curious child, who is interested in everything and everyone. Being with her, teaches grown-ups to change their view on the world. We spent the hours of their day in harmony and decided to meet again shortly after Christmas.
That’s a present I look forward to.
And my muse granted me a lot on influence with my latest project. Now that “How to Please an Alien” and the long novel “Lovers in the Wood” are in the editing process, I used my spare time to start another story. For the first time ever, I wrote more than twenty pages in three days. It was amazing and encouraging to go on, just to follow the ideas that we both have and put them on (virtual) paper. I suppose, if I had nothing else to do than writing (haha!), I would be almost done. Right now, the story has grown to sixty pages. I look forward to the weekend and I hope that there are no more appointments to be met than usual.
Have a great and productive month!
Blog December 2012
This may sound weird, but it’s true. In only five weeks, mostly in evening and nighttime hours, I wrote a novel of about 74.000 words. Yes, it never happened before and I can’t really recall how it worked. My muse just sat on my shoulder and urged me on. The subject was not easier than others I used to plot a story, but this time the book simply wanted to be written.
Now it rests on my computer for spell check and else and I am already writing on a sequel. I usually don’t like to write with the same character again, but this time it’s different. Maybe I just can’t let them go after such a short time.
In the meantime, Christmas gets closer and my family and I have started with all the wonderful preparations that can be done. The first cookies were baked and are already gone, of course. More are to come. And we look forward to guests and calls from half across
Have a great Christmas time!