The Unicorn by Delphine Dryden
Cover Artist L.C. Chase
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Delphine Dryden here today to talk about her latest novel, The Unicorn. Welcome, Delpine.
Hi! I’m Delphine Dryden, touring the internet to talk about my latest book, The Unicorn. It’s a geeky, kinky M/F/F romp, it’s part of Riptide’s “Escape” universe, and it’s a much-expanded version of an earlier story called Roses and Chains. Thanks so much to all the blogs hosting the tour! Be sure to comment on tour posts for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate and your choice of two books from my backlist.
The Story of The Unicorn: Fun with Do-Overs
So a funny thing happened to me a few years ago—an author friend who’d also written some things for one of my early publishers mentioned she’d decided to ask for her rights back. She only had a few titles there, and her sales had never been crazy high, so she got the books back pretty quickly. The whole process was smooth and she was happy with the result. I also had some books there I thought could have sold better—a series, in particular, that I felt had never been marketed as well as it might have—and I’d since moved on to other larger publishers so I knew what my numbers could be. So I asked for reversions on all my books, in two big batches, figuring it couldn’t hurt to ask.
I got one book back immediately, a clump of them six months later, and another chunk a few months after that—leaving only two titles that I had to buy back (for a sum I felt was reasonable). Easy-peasy. Except I suddenly had 13 titles to re-sell or self-publish, to get them back out on the market. Four were novellas—I self-pubbed those as an experiment, and it didn’t suck nearly as hard as I’d feared it might! So I self-pubbed my five-book series Truth & Lies, too, and that also went just fine. Nine down, four to go. Three of those are still in limbo, but the fourth, Roses and Chains, is what eventually became The Unicorn.
My friend Christine d’Abo* and I had both contributed to a multi-author universe at the previous publisher, so we both had these reverted, loosely connected, kinky queer books to shop around. And we’d been under a strict word limit with the original novellas, something like 30K? Both of us felt we had longer stories to tell in these books. So we decided…hey, why not revamp them, expand them, start a new universe of our own? And Riptide was hip to buying it, fortunately. Christine’s book Controlling Acquisitions became the delightful Dom Around the Corner to kick off the new series (“Escape”). And Roses and Chains got almost 100% longer and became Escape #2, The Unicorn.
So a cool thing about this book was that I got a do-over, but with five more years of writing and publishing experience under my belt, and the freedom to ignore word count. I saw the story I’d written to the original series guidelines…and saw where I could expand and improve on that. But I also saw how far I’d come as a writer in those five years. Back then I had some good instincts but knew very little about craft from a structural standpoint. I was pretty much a straight pantser, and because the original book was supposed to be borderline erotica, not erotic romance, I had completely ignored anything like a black moment or any kind of character development for two of the three main characters. Those were all things I got the chance to layer into the revised story—along with some tweaks to heighten the conflict and align the expanded plot (okay, “the plot,” since it really hadn’t had much of a plot at all to start with) to the structure I’ve developed and over the intervening five years of writing. In going through that process I realized I’ve become a hybrid or perhaps even started leaning slightly toward the “plotter” side of the whole pantser/plotter thing (and as a side effect I came up with a great idea for a conference workshop).
It’s so rare we actually get opportunities like that—to live out that feeling of if only I had known then what I know now. We always hope we’re learning, growing, improving at our jobs, but this time I got to see exactly how I’d changed for the better, and apply those improvements to an older project to give it a whole new life. I liked the original book and readers also seemed to…but I like the new version even more, and I hope readers will feel the same way!
How about y’all? Have you ever had a chance at a “do-over”?
*Full disclosure: As part of my “day job” I do freelance editing for Riptide Publishing; I happen to be Christine d’Abo’s editor for her books there, including Dom Around the Corner. However, in this case I’m mostly pimping her book with my author hat on, as a series-writing partner in crime 😉
About The Unicorn
Delia and Daniel have a picture-perfect life. They like their jobs. They love their house. Everything is coming up roses . . . but in private, they’d rather have the thorns. Their recent forays into kink have brought them closer than ever, but there’s still something missing, and they can’t quite work it out.
Mara knows what she’s missing: a significant other. She tried vanilla, and it was a total bust. But when she and her last girlfriend took things out of the kink club and into the “real” world, they fizzled. Even their friendship is on the rocks now. Mara feels like a lost stray, looking for a forever home.
When the three of them meet up at the brand-new club Escape, their connection is instant. And surprising—none of them were expecting more than a few hot nights. But now they might be ready to bring their kinky threesome into the light of day and build a life together.
Publisher’s note: This title is a heavily revised re-issue of a prior story, Roses and Chains, originally released in 2011.
This title is part of the Escape universe. But can be read as a standalone.
About Delphine Dryden
Delphine Dryden probably should have gone ahead and become an English professor like she planned. Instead, she took a detour through law school, another detour through the wonderful world of working in special education, and took an extra fifteen years to end up where she belonged: writing kinky romances.
Del’s writing has earned an Award of Excellence and Reviewers’ Choice Award from Romantic Times Book Reviews, an EPIC Award, and a Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence. When not writing or editing, she can be found binge-watching television shows, playing tabletop games, and tweeting to excess.
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Leave a comment for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate and your choice of two books from Delphine Dryden’s backlist. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 27, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!