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The Infamous Miss Rodriguez got a makeover!

This has been almost a year in the making! It all started with a new cover, made by my wonderful little sister with illustrations by Dominican artist Lydia Perez. (The link leads you to her Behance profile.)

Image description: Bright lilac background with abstract flower petals in the same shade. The title of the book is slanted across the middle. Above it is an illustration of a pale-skinned man with dark hair, a white shirt and dark blue trousers. Under it is an illustration of a brown skinned woman with her back to the viewer, wearing a fluffy blue dress that looks like flower petals. Her hair is in a braid, held back by a blue flower.

I wrote a brand new epilogue and cleaned up the text–when I first published this almost seven years ago, I couldn’t really afford professional editing. Revisiting these characters was such a joy. I hope that if you check it out, you will enjoy spending time in Ciudad Real with Graciela and Vicente as much as I did.

Happy Holidays…

…from my Abuela’s dining room, where we had an unusually small Nochebuena.

Image description: dining table with a striped cream tablecloth on top of which are four place settings and several serving plates with salad, pastelitos, pastels, roasted pork and Russian salad.

Weekly recap: green Babybel edition

Image description: screenshot of a text I sent my sister of a picture of an open package of plant-based Babybel cheese with a message in all caps reading, “Holy shit this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my entire thirty whatever years of life.”

Prone to exaggeration? Me? Never! I will, however, note that I said the same thing about the vegan “holiday nog” flavored creamer I put in my coffee this morning.

Audible shorts!

I’m really, really excited to announce that the three short stories I wrote for Audible earlier this year are now available!

Pearl On Her Toes* is a Cinderella-inspired Regency romance: there’s a ball and a missing shoe, plus a duke and a heroine who is as spirited as she is clumsy.

Ellie The Firemage was also inspired by Cinderella…if Cinderella was a firemage who had to save her kingdom from a dragon.

(Why was I so obsessed with Cinderella? Tbh, your guess is as good as mine!)

How To Raise A Magician… Or Two is an instruction manual for the father of two very different (but also surprisingly similar) daughters.

*All links will take you to Amazon.

They are quick little nuggets at approximately 4-6 minutes long–I hope you’ll have as much fun listening as I did writing them!

Shufflin’ Along

I have no words to describe what the past few weeks have been for me and my family. Honestly, I don’t even want to try. So allow me to instead show you the one thing that’s been saving my sanity: feverishly making collages on Pinterest Shuffles. (My handle on there is @lydiaallthetime as it is on most social media, in case you want to follow me, and I am collecting my favorite shuffles in a Pinterest Board if you’d like to see a few and would enjoy befriending me there as well.)

I started off with some moodboard-type collages, loosely inspired by the setting of my books.

Then I experimented with a book-specific collage…

I was too busy and too submerged in grief and exhaustion and anxiety to focus much, though, so I started experimenting with different styles and content.

Then all of a sudden all of the funerals (yeah, plural) and masses and family gatherings were over and I was left with a bewildering amount of free time in my hands. And I had work to do. So I went back to creating collages that were similar in tone to the books I was supposed to be writing, which didn’t actually add any words to my manuscripts but at least made me fool myself into thinking I was Getting Work Done.

And I even played around with a collage inspired by A Lifetime for Love, the companion short story to A Summer for Scandal:

We’re halfway through October, and I really can’t keep procrastinating. My schedule, carefully constructed around the chronic fatigue that has kept me home for the past couple of years, is in need of a gigantic overhaul. But I’m still making time every day to play around on Shuffles while I listen to music or podcasts, a luxury I wouldn’t have allowed myself a few months ago.

So anyway, here I am, shuffling along in every sense of the word, trying to move forward even if it’s only a small step at a time.

Well, I have a new hyperfocus

Instead of telling you just how many hours I have lost to Pinterest Shuffles since I got an invite last night (let’s just say I woke up at 11am with a collage hangover) let me instead show you some of the collages I’ve been making.

This is the only one directly inspired by one of my books (The Infamous Miss Rodriguez.)

The rest are more…what the inside of my head looks like when I’m writing one of my historical romances?

I was a Polyvore fiend in the early 00s, and Shuffles feels like an updated form of that. I’m really looking forward to making more book-specific collages and not, like, procrastinating on actual writing by letting the hours slip by while I fiddle around with pretty pictures…

What have I been up to lately?

You mean, aside from inhaling inhuman amounts of coffee and frozen Oreos?

One of the last outdoor writing sessions I managed to sneak in before the heat got to be too much for me!

Summer in the tropics usually means rainstorms, cyclones and hurricanes. The heat and humidity are unbearable–and yet, not a single Dominican will give up their mid-afternoon coffee.

It’s also Sahara dust season–for days at a time, the sky grows hazy with particles that have blown halfway across the world. The beaches are thick with brown algae, and heat gets more intense than usual. That usually means that it’s time for me to give up my outdoorsy life (of picnics and outdoor cafes: a hiker or camper I am not) and retreat into my air conditioned cave (also known as my apartment) before I become a Sweaty Swamp Monster.

Here are some of the things I’ve been doing from the blissful cool:

  • What’s it like working with my editor and what did I do when I got The Call from Harlequin Historical? Find out in this short Q&A! (The link leads to writeforharlequin.com)
  • Over at Fresh Fiction, I’m talking about the secret that will make my Abuelas and Tias disown me. (How’s that for a click-baity title?! Spoiler alert: the secret has a lot to do with my inability to cook rice and beans.)
  • I was also invited to talk about San Pedro de Macorís, the setting for Compromised Into A Scandalous Marriage, for the Mills&Boon blog.
  • I’d also love to share a Q&A I did with Andreina Rodriguez from Dominican Writers where we spoke about history, architecture, past, present and future books, and so much more.

And last of all, if you haven’t already checked out Compromised Into A Scandalous Marriage, my first title with Harlequin Historical, now would be a good time! (Link leads to Harlequin.com)

Thanks for checking in!

Don’t trust me with your breakables!

I will fumble and drop everything I pick up, and trip over anything up to and including a dust mote. Luckily, my author copies for Compromised into a Scandalous Marriage are sturdy enough to withstand my clumsiness.

@lydiaallthetime

I’ve been in bed with a bad chronic pain and fatigue flare all week. This was DEFINITELY worth getting up for! (Obligatory plug: releases July 26th and it’s available for preorder!!) #romancebooks #romancebooktok #booktok #spicybooktok📚 #spicyromancebooks

♬ Awkward Silence – The Elevator Music Jazz Trio

This was my very first time receiving print copies of ANYTHING I’ve written, so of course I had to make (also my very first) unboxing video! I’m not the smoothest person ever, but you can’t say I’m not excited!