Thanks for joining us on the Riptide Publishing First Anniversary Blog Hop Bash! All month long, we’re bringing you guest posts and interviews from your favorite authors, artists, and Riptide staff. As a thank you for helping us celebrate, we’re also giving away $10 in Riptide store credit to one lucky commenter at every stop! Simply leave a comment below by 11:59pm on Sunday, October 28th to enter. Be sure to check out our complete tour schedule to find out where else you can enter to win—one Grand Prize winner drawn from commenters at all the stops will also win a Kindle that we’ll load with every book we publish in 2013!

Plus, check out our anniversary sale—All October long, backlist titles are 15%-50% off!

Today we have a special guest post from Cat Grant, author of Once A Marine and many others with Riptide Publishing.

A Year with Riptide and the Evolution of Once A Marine
By Cat Grant

When Stephanie, Riptide’s lovely, ever-efficient marketing whiz asked me to participate in this anniversary extravaganza, I knew the book I wanted to talk about was my first Riptide release, Once a Marine. This story was a watershed for me in terms of subject matter as well as my development as a writer.

The book evolved over a long period of time. I had the kernel of an idea for a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell story germinating in the back of my mind for a couple of years, but I knew I’d have to wait until the policy was officially repealed before I could give it a happy ending. Rachel Maddow’s series of interviews with gay servicemen and women ousted (or facing discharge) under the policy gave me plenty of research material, but it was her conversation with Army captain Jonathan Hopkins that really got me. When he told her he’d put his personal life on hold for ten years because it wouldn’t be fair to ask a potential partner to go back in the closet for his sake, I knew I had the model for my fictional Marine, Cole Hammond.

Hard to believe it was just over a year ago that I drafted this book, then started looking around for a publisher. Got a contract offer from one publisher that I was really excited about, until they asked for revisions I had a problem with, including changing my hero Marc’s first person POV into third person. There were a lot of things I would’ve willingly changed about this manuscript, but that was not one of them. I wrote it that way deliberately, hoping that readers would get to know Cole gradually, the way Marc does, and fall in love with him the same way.

At this point, I was feeling rather bummed, and wondering if I’d taken a completely wrong turn with this manuscript, until my intrepid beta-reader Aleks Voinov mentioned this new m/m publishing company he and Rachel Haimowitz were trying to get off the ground. They were looking for submissions, and would I be interested?

I’d never been invited to submit to a brand-new publisher before, so naturally I was flattered, and more than a bit wary. Everybody hears stories about new e-publishers charging out of the gate, only to run out of gas and fold a few months later. But something told me Aleks and Rachel wouldn’t fail. They had a vision, the energy and the smarts to make it, and most importantly, a kick-ass business plan. Didn’t take long for them to convince me to come aboard.

Rachel warned that they’d work me “like a Russian circus pony” in edits – and man, did they! I’d never received such rigorously thorough edits before, and honestly, there were a few times when my confidence flagged. I cried and flailed and questioned my ability to rise to the level expected of me, then just plowed through and did it. Ended up cutting about 10K from my original word count, adding another 10K, then cutting it back by another 3K. The final draft clocked in at a tight, lean 57K, and by the time I was done, I’d crammed two years’ worth of creative growth into about six weeks. Exhausting, but incredibly rewarding!

I was also impressed by Riptide’s attention to detail at every stage of the book’s production. I’d never had a Reese Dante cover before, so they made sure I got one. The layout and proofing were second to none. Best of all, they set up a month-long launch party/blog tour, which gave Once a Marine (and all the other books in Riptide’s early lineup) a fantastic boost. Working with a marketing department was another first for me, and it proved an invaluable help, since I absolutely loathe doing promo.

Still, no one was more amazed than I when Once a Marine quickly became my most successful book. I still pinch myself when I see the number of copies sold on my royalty statement each month.

Going with Riptide meant taking a big chance, but luckily, it’s worked out well. It hasn’t always been the smoothest sailing, but what partnership doesn’t have its rocky patches? Thanks to Rachel and Aleks’ vision and expertise, I have no doubt Riptide will be around for a long time to come.


Discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, former Marine major Cole Hammond is struggling to find a new identity. But PTSD casts a pall on everything, and his hard-nosed, homophobic father can’t even bear to look him in the eye. To top it all off, he’s pretty sure he’s flunking out of law school.

Marc Sullivan is a kind, sensitive romance author-slash-waiter with a thing for men in uniform. Cole’s not wearing his anymore, but there’s no mistaking the warrior Marc meets in the diner one rainy afternoon. Cole’s sexy smile and Carolina drawl prove irresistible, but Marc’s played this game before, and he always loses. Once a Marine, always a Marine, and if there’s one thing Marc knows about such men, it’s that they all leave him in the end. It doesn’t help that Cole’s practically closeted in public, or that he refuses to seek treatment for his PTSD.

But like any good Marine, Cole’s willing to fight for what matters. And like the characters in Marc’s stories, he’s certain that if only they try hard enough, together they can find their own happily ever after.

You can find Cat here: