Delphine Dryden's Blog, page 4

March 14, 2012

When is the zombie apocalypse? While the Mayans might have thought the world would end this December, I'm banking on March 28th! Actually, that's just when my own personal postapocalyptic vision will be unleashed on the world (again).


Cover for Love With a Chance of ZombiesYes, LOVE WITH A CHANCE OF ZOMBIES comes out on March 28th, just two weeks from today. This is a re-release of my previously self-pubbed book, revised with more smut because that is how Ellora's Cave rolls! So to celebrate, for the next two weeks I'll be posting here on the blog every few days, discussing that all-important question: are you ready for the zombie apocalypse?


Like a lot of old school nerds and geeks, I was all over this issue long before it was cool. Now, zombies are the hip new thing. But I worry that some readers simply won't understand the need for preparedness when the sh*t goes down. So I turn to that instant classic, the film Zombieland, for an accessible look at some of the rules for surviving once the inevitable happens and we are swarmed by drooling, brain-sucking legions of the walking undead.



Today we'll start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) with Rule #1: Cardio.

For obvious reasons, the best way to survive a zombie onslaught is not to be the straggler. "But Del," you ask, "how can I motivate myself to get in shape NOW when we are as yet blissfully zombie-free? Why should I not follow my baser instincts and stay home, watching Star Trek re-runs and eating pie all day?"


Well, one great way would be to play Zombies, Run, an app game that helps you remember why daily exercise is so important by simulating the sounds of the fast-approaching undead and the tension of a mad dash to collect scarce supplies for you and your fellow survivors. It does a bunch of other cool stuff too (makes me wish I could run). As the developers say, the game "is about zombies, and about running." A perfect match!


Or, you can just stick by me. Remember, you don't have to run faster than the zombies – just faster than the person you're with. With my bad knees and arthritic back and hips, plus the fact that I'm only five-foot-one, odds are you can easily outpace me. And then, while the zombies nom on my delicious English-major ex-lawyer brains, you can settle back and enjoy a little light, topical fiction. Like LOVE WITH A CHANCE OF ZOMBIES!


Read an excerpt here, and remember to check back in a few days for more timely hints on surviving the zombie apocalypse (plus an exclusive sneak-peak excerpt)!

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Published on March 14, 2012 11:48 • 15 views

March 8, 2012


Cover for Love With a Chance of Zombies


Yay! LOVE WITH A CHANCE OF ZOMBIES has a release date and a shiny new cover!


The newly updated version (improved, with more sexytimes!) releases March 28th at Ellora's Cave, and shortly thereafter at other ebook retailers.


Here's an excerpt (and a few reviews from the first edition)!


Remember, we should ALL take steps to be prepared against the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

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Published on March 08, 2012 15:23 • 12 views

February 20, 2012

Cover of book The Lamplighter's Love

I can has award?


Hi y'all, I'm so flattered that Long and Short Reviews has included THE LAMPLIGHTER'S LOVE in its erotica Book of the Year nominees. The competition includes some awesome books, so really my big goal is just "not zero votes". Please help by voting here: Long and Short Reviews.


Click here for purchase information and a steamy excerpt from THE LAMPLIGHTER'S LOVE!

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Published on February 20, 2012 08:15 • 28 views

February 19, 2012

I'm so rotten about doing this regularly, I know. Anyhoo…six from my upcoming short Intermezzo, which will be in Vol. IV of the "Something Wicked This Way Comes" anthos from Ellora's Cave (release date TBA).


"The thing is…" Aidan started, gesturing with a piece of bread as he paused to gather his thoughts.


"What is the thing?" Lily swigged back another gulp of the crisp sancerre, saving the tang against her taste buds. She'd had just enough to feel it, not enough to feel drunk, especially as she'd eaten a large dinner. The wine made her bold. She hoped it wouldn't make her stupid.


Oh, Lily. Lily, Lily, Lily. You don't need wine to make you act stupid when you're embarking on an ill-advised Paris reunion affair with the guy you had a one-night-stand with at age nineteen! You will be stupid all on your own with no liquid help required.


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Published on February 19, 2012 09:55 • 16 views

February 8, 2012

Self-pub. I'm over it. And therefore I'm thrilled and relieved to announce that I've accepted an offer from Ellora's Cave, and they will be re-releasing "Love With a Chance of Zombies" some time this year under either the Twilight or Aeon line! Possibly under a new title as well (we're still discussing that) and definitely with a few extensions to the sexytime scenes.


But whatever they call it, at least I don't have to mess with it anymore (yay!). So it's off the Kindle, Nook and Smashwords sites for now. Look for it to crop back up on the "coming soon" section of my books page within the next few months some time! I'm interested to see what Syneca and her merry band of visual smutketeers decide to do for the cover :-)


ETA: Oh, and please ignore the mess around here; I'm redecorating. Obviously.

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Published on February 08, 2012 08:22 • 28 views

November 17, 2011

Hi y'all,


As some of you know already, one of my non-writing "things" is designing websites. If you're interested in a site that's clean, easy to navigate and feasible to maintain on your own, keep me in mind! I'm cheap, fast, and have several satisfied customers willing to vouch for me.


On the other hand, it should be said – if you're looking for a site with a lot of Flash, frames, menus built largely of slow-loading graphics, and the like…then there's probably nothing for you to see here, move along. I have opinions about stuff like that. These are just a few of them.


I just finished looking at a site (not naming names) that made me so sad…not just because it hung up my browser, but because even when it did finally work, I couldn't find the information I wanted (about a series by an author I'm interested in). I went to the site actively wanting to read more of this person's work. Looking at the site, however, left me frustrated and no wiser about what to read next from the author in question. Unfortunately, the navigation was baffling and I kept having to use my browser back button to get back to the home page. The information I did find was outdated (it didn't include the latest book, for instance). But oh my, what a pretty header! Once it finished downloading, that is…all eighteen different pieces of it. The bottom line: the website was poorly designed, not because it was ugly to look at (it was okay) but because it didn't serve the primary function of an author website: information for readers about books from that author. Yet I'm pretty sure that author paid somebody quite a bit of money for that site, which made me saddest of all.


My design philosophy in a nutshell? Form follows function. , I know, but I believe this and always try to keep it in mind when building a site (I follow this credo not in the strict utilitarian sense, but in the sense that Louis Sullivan said it – there's nothing inherently wrong with ornamentation, but it's an aesthetic consideration. The ornamentation should only serve to enhance the aesthetic appeal of an underlying structure that is already functional).


What does that mean in a website design? It means a text menu that is readable, logical, and always accessible. It means making sure that a person visiting your website will not get lost or stuck in a dead end while looking for information. They will be able to find what they want to know (for authors, this means information about your books and how to purchase them). It also means a person with a less-than-optimal internet connection will (hopefully) still be able to load the site in a reasonable amount of time (this is the goal, though for writers there's always the question of all those book covers; we can't avoid the graphics entirely).


Graphics are awesome when they help your site visitors find information, and well-chosen images can enhance the user experience on your website. I love shiny stuff! But when the shiny bits actually impede the smooth experience of navigating the site…they need to go. More importantly, they ought to not be there in the first place! Focus on getting the reader to the information as easily as possible, and as quickly as possible. There's no reason you can't do that AND make it pretty. What's the point of a beautiful site if it doesn't help your readers find out what they want to know?


For similar reasons, I advocate use of a platform for site development that enables the author to maintain and update the site, as well as incorporate a blog. Why send your readers to a second location (AWAY from the information about your books and how to purchase them) to read your blog, when you can do it all in one place? Using a content management system like WordPress (or Blogger, if you absolutely must), lets you do all these things from a single dashboard with a fairly mild learning curve, which is why I prefer to set up sites in WordPress (I know some favor Drupal, Textpattern, or other Content Management Systems. WP just happens to be my current go-to). You shouldn't have to rely on (and continue to pay) a web designer to update your home page if you have a new release, or to add a review link and pull quote to one of your books' pages; you should have a site that allows you to make these kinds of updates yourself, so it is easy to keep current. It's not that difficult to add text and a cover graphic if you're using a CMS like WordPress; if you don't know how, I'll walk you through it.


Another great thing about largely text-based sites (including those that rely on css styling rather than graphics for the primary design elements) is that they're much more likely to be accessible to people with disabilities. As some of you know, I spent many years working with students with disabilities, so this issue is near and dear to my heart. A central tenet of accessible web design is that presentation shouldn't get in the way of structure. Form should follow, not dictate, function. Software that "reads" websites relies on text; it can't read pictures (only certain metadata from pictures) so it's important to use text (and not just pictures of text) to convey the key information, particularly about navigation, on your site. I've seen amazing, accessible, logically organized sites that use a lot of Flash (hard to do, but not impossible), and a lot of truly craptastic sites featuring nothing but text. But by and large, text is the way to go, with a few well-chosen images for spice. Have a site that all your visitors can find their way around.


And get it at a reasonable price! This is shameless self-promotion, after all, so…hey, take a look at some of my site designs and if you're interested, contact me.  I am a sucker for non-profits and starving authors, so don't be afraid to tell me your sob story or make me a lowball offer; chances are, we can work something out (at the very least, a payment plan).


Shiny, happy, logical websites for EVERYONE!

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Published on November 17, 2011 16:41 • 25 views

November 13, 2011

One more selection from Gossamer Wing, which is growing on me again now that I'm no longer in the middle of editing it. Enjoy!


Although he knew it was no way to help, he did the first thing available to him to try to take her mind off her pain; he moved again, easing into a rhythm, forging a connection the only way she seemed willing to allow.


Foolish, his mind insisted, selfish. But his body was so much more convincing. Sweet, it told him. Mine, mine. Soon all the words disappeared, melting into pleasure that mounted too rapidly to contain.


They were not waltzing during this week's snippet, by the way. Heh.

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Published on November 13, 2011 00:00 • 21 views

November 6, 2011

Another selection from my as-yet-unpublished steampunk romance Gossamer Wing. Enjoy!


Dreams rarely ended well for Charlotte, and she didn't trust herself when life felt too ethereal or pleasant. She tried to remind herself that people were never what they seemed, and that this was all make-believe. But Dexter felt so real, so solid, from the deft grip of his hand on hers to the uncompromisingly hard muscle of his shoulder. Based on the dimensions she'd been able to glean thus far, Charlotte thought Dexter must have the approximate build of a Greek god as depicted in the early marbles. Not one of the youths, but somebody fully ripened into manhood. Poseidon, possibly.


Get your minds outta the gutter, y'all. They're waltzing. Sheesh!

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Published on November 06, 2011 01:00 • 19 views

October 14, 2011

The soon-to-be-renamed POCKET ROCKET, my bdsm nerdmance, has just sold to Carina Press! I'm really, really excited to be working with this new publisher, and also with editor Deb Nemeth. Release will probably be middle of next year, and of course I'll post more details periodically.


Yaaaaay! *kermit flail*

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Published on October 14, 2011 11:45 • 22 views

October 10, 2011

In case you missed it, while I was enjoying the extended weekend in Ohio at RomantiCon, I was also hitting the big time with my first-ever review on RT (restrained, professional squee), for The Lamplighter's Love. Which, you know, "erotic steampunk at its best"…the review is definitely a keeper!


Icing on the cake: they interviewed me the following week! I got to act all knowledgeable about steampunk and whatnot.


Review by Dawn Crowne is here, interview on the Oct. 7th RT Daily blog here. RT Y'ALL! Crazy!

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Published on October 10, 2011 09:49 • 25 views