Dolores woke up feeling plagued. For several days now, she had been struggling to find sleep, even in the late hours of the morning after her body would finally surrender to exhaustion, under the weight of worries and anger. She hadn’t lost weight nor gained it. Her body stubbornly held onto its fat. Still, she felt strangely fuller after those restless nights. She sensed that her flesh was tougher, her body more rotund, and hard to the touch, not softly hanging like the folds of the women in Rubens’s paintings. As she stirred from a brief half-hour doze, it took a moment or two to realize where she was and that she had just napped. Now she was awake again, with deep rest still eluding her. The voices outside her window assaulted her senses, loud and strong, unmistakably familiar. She could recognize them. It was him! Assole, that contemptible piece of living shit. Even at eighty, he was still running around, daring to flout the quarantine measures, brazenly disregarding the rules. Dolores knew him all too well. She recognized the arrogance in his voice and the belief he always held, placing himself above the law.

If it weren’t for that brief stint in jail for corruption and malpractice, Assole would have felt untouchable. Above God, even. The problem was, he wasn’t above the law. He was merely living in a town where the law was a ghost, haunting the streets but never making its presence felt. Justice, it seemed, had taken a wrong turn, arriving at the wrong station and meeting a grisly fate. Rumor had it that Justice was raped and slaughtered, ground into sausages, and sold at the local farmers’ market before sunrise.

Assole stood there, chatting with his two cronies: one, a corrupt politician, and the other, the police chief known for favoring the wealthy and kicking everyone else’s ass. Dolores recognized their voices instantly, each one a reminder of past encounters that left a bitter taste in her mouth.

With a huff, Dolores turned her head slightly and glanced into the open doors of her large, antique wardrobe. She needed a moment to adjust her sight to the darkness within its depths—a darkness that once served as her refuge during childhood escapades. As she considered her choice of attire, her hand, almost automatically, reached for her grandmother’s nightgown from the 1930s.

It was a white night gown, elegantly embroidered, draping over her figure with modest allure. Far from being overtly seductive, it bestowed upon her an almost virginal air, masking the passage of time that hinted at the fact that she was not a teenager any longer. With quick, decisive strokes, she tended to her hair, fluffing it up as though she had just awakened. She wanted to achieve that natural and effortless appearance of Hollywood beauty that required required meticulous preparation and hordes of hairdressers and make-up artists. A carefully blended concoction of lip gloss, crafted from a mix of brands, added a glossy sheen to her lips as she scrutinized her reflection in the mirror. Satisfied, she emerged, radiating an air of determination, as if stepping onto a stage rather than a balcony.

The warm embrace of the midday breeze enveloped her, causing a shiver to run down her spine and every muscle in her body to tense. Sensations surged through her, her flesh swelling with anticipation. If she were a man, she thought, she would have been straining against the fabric of her clothing with a raging hard on. And so, she began.

“Good morning, coglioni!” Dolores exclaimed, her voice echoing across the space. The Italian word for testicles—used as a deliberate insult—hung in the air, emphasized by an even more deliberate theatrical pause between ‘morning’ and ‘coglioni’. “Is this the way you show the best example of what wonderful law-abiding citizens you all are?”

written by

Dolores de Alma Blanca

Introducing Plagued—an enthralling novel by Dolores de Alma Blanca, a masterful storyteller renowned for her raw and evocative prose. Prepare to embark on a gripping journey through the corridors of power and corruption in a small Italian town, where Dolores, a woman not as young but fiercely self-assured, takes center stage.

In Plagued, Dolores wakes each day burdened by the weight of her own demons, struggling to find solace in a world tainted by deceit and moral decay. As she grapples with insomnia and inner turmoil, she finds herself thrust into a web of intrigue and danger, confronting the malevolent forces that threaten to consume her.

From the relentless pursuit of justice to the harrowing depths of betrayal and redemption, Plagued captivates readers with its unflinching portrayal of human frailty and resilience. With each meticulously crafted scene, Dolores navigates the treacherous waters of power and deceit, determined to uncover the truth and restore order to a town besieged by corruption.

Through Dolores’s eyes, readers are transported to a world where darkness lurks in the shadows and secrets lie buried beneath the surface. Plagued is a testament to the author’s mastery of storytelling, weaving a tapestry of suspense, intrigue, and emotion that leaves readers spellbound from start to finish.

Prepare to be enthralled by Plagued a riveting tale of courage, defiance, and the enduring power of the human spirit. This novel is a tour de force of literary prowess, offering readers a glimpse into the complexities of human nature and the relentless pursuit of truth in the face of adversity. Experience the exhilarating thrill of a masterfully crafted narrative that will leave you breathless until the very end.

Excerpts & Images



Dolores de Alma Blanca, Plagued, trans. Lanfranco Aceti (London, New York, and Rome: OCR/Passero Productions, 2024).


With Gratitude

A book is the result, at some point or another, of a collaborative effort. Thanks to Lanfranco Aceti for his support.


Through creative ideas, innovation & sheer determination