Take Another Adventure into The Escape Universe with The Unicorn by Delphine Dryden (author guest post/giveaway)



The Unicorn by  Delphine Dryden
Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist L.C. Chase

Release Date: February 22, 2016
Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here

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.

Connect with Delphine:




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!

Review of Silver Publishing Holiday Short Stories- Someone Like You by L.M. Brown and An Unexpected Gift by Ashlyn Monroe


Review:  Someone Like You by L.M.Brown

Rating: 4 stars

Someone Like You Silver storyTodd Hunter and his boyfriend, Deacon Jones, had been inseparable right up until Todd went away to the university, then all communications from Deacon stopped.  Now Todd is home on break and is determined to find out why Deacon hasn’t called or replied to any of his emails.  For Todd, Deacon is the “one and only” and he thought he was that for Deacon too.

While Todd has been away, Deacon has undergone several major upheavels in his life, and he has held them all back from Todd.  Todd is “the one” for Deacon. Now Todd must figure out what has gone wrong with Deacon if the young men are to find their HEA.

Someone Like You is L.M. Brown’s twist on boy from the wrong side of the tracks storyline, and I think the author did a lovely job with it.  Brown’s two main characters, Todd Hunter and Deacon Jones are vulnerable, likable and very easy to relate to.  Brown’s story is as much about family expectations and obligations as it is about a first love that also is the one that lasts.

Too often when a story has young men finding their “soulmate” early, the notion seems a little too much like a teen crush than a love to build a relationship on, but L.M. Brown does a credible job of making us believe that just perhaps the love Deacon and Todd feel for each other  will be a love to last their lifetime.  And Brown does it all in just 89 pages.

So if you are looking for a sweet holiday story, one that is quick to read and yet leave you smiling into the evening hours, this is one for y0u.

A Most Unexpected Gift by Ashlyn Monroe

Rating: 2.5 stars

Aarika Marshal has a mischievous mind, and when she decides to give her boyfriend, Rafe, a most unusual gift on Christmas Eve.  Aarika decides to give herself a sexy gift too, all in the same package.  The gift in question is her bi-sexual best friend Clara who has long held a crush on Rafe.  When Rafe’s twin brother, Rhett joins in, the shenanigans kicks into high gear and it will be a very smutty Christmas for all.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title contains multiple sexual situations, including MF, FF, MFM, and MFF. Not M/M

“Clara laughed as Aarika pushed her into the closet. “Shh, he’ll be home any minute,” Aarika warned her best friend. “Push your boobs up so he gets a good look.”

That opening line pretty much indicates how the story, and what little plot there is, will go.  Aarika decides to have her best friend have sex with her boyfriend, Rafe and herself too.  She prepares her “surprise” but is surprised in turn when Rafe turns up with Rhett in tow.  This is our introduction to Rhett, who looks over his brother’s girlfriend’s body:

“You told me she had a smokin’ body, bro, but I think you left out just how nice her tits are.”  Classy, so very classy, and a perfect indication of what little character Rhett has.  In fact, all the people involved come across as mostly one-dimentional characters.  And the plot is as simplistic as the men and women involved.

And from that scene the story goes downhill from there.  For Christmas, we are given wooden characters, silly dialog and a plot that would grace a 80’s porn flick.  If this was  your Christmas wish, then Ashlyn Moore has delivered just the short story for you at 34 pages in length.  But for me, I have higher expectations for  my holiday fare and at 34 pages, this one was 34 pages too long.