Let me back up for a minute and tell you the story of Master Class’s road to publication. I’d written it quite some time ago—long before I ever published Counterpoint, actually; Devon and Nicky have been kicking around in my brain for years, pulling out the whips and chains to spur me to write their story. I’d written Sublime: Collected Shorts featuring them as well, and those I put out on my own as an experiment in self-publishing. They did well, but the one thing people who read them kept saying over and over was that they wanted more. Ten shorts is a fun way to explore a whole big pile of different kinks, but maybe not the best way to connect with the characters. That’s where Master Class came in.
But I didn’t want to self-publish Master Class. I thought I really had something special there, and I wanted to do something special with it. I first subbed it back in October of 2010 to what I’d consider the most editorially prestigious house in the epub-first romance space. They loved it, but they wanted more romance. While it is a romance—or the start of one, anyway—it’s also very much erotica. More so than anything, I’d say, given the deep focus on the psycho-sexual journey of the submissive. While the editorial feedback was by and large brilliant, I wasn’t quite comfortable with requests I felt would change the nature of the story. I thanked them profusely and set the piece aside to edit and resubmit when I had time.
Alas, time got away from me. Fast-forward to April of 2011. I finally wrapped up the first draft of Crescendo and had a week or so to go back over Master Class. Several edits later, I sent it off to one of the larger M/M publishers I hadn’t yet signed with and wanted to try. Their submission guidelines said six weeks. Antsy though I was to finally get this story out the door, I sat back and waited.
Six and a half weeks later, I still hadn’t heard back. I was also deep into a conversation about contracts and editing with Aleks Voinov. Our frustration with not being able to find “the perfect house”—the one with Manhattan-quality editing, great covers, great marketing, and truly author-friendly contracts—was growing by the day. We both had projects to shop. Neither one of us knew where to take them (although we were in the midst of a wonderful experience with Break and Enter at Samhain Publishing). And oh boy was I anxious to do something—anything—with Master Class that would get Devon and Nicky’s story out to all those folks who’d read Sublime and were waiting, eager, to learn how the two had met.
Well, at this point, you know the story (and if you don’t, check out our About Us page, where we share it from start to finish). Riptide Publishing was born that afternoon. I told Aleks I’d write to the publishing house where Master Class was currently sitting, thank them for their time, and withdraw my submission.
Turned out, I heard back from the house in a matter of hours after I withdrew the submission. They wanted to buy Master Class. But by then, the wheels for our own house were already in motion. It’s kind of sobering to think that if that house had been just one or two days faster, Riptide Publishing might never have been born. Or at least, probably not for a while. I think eventually Aleks and I would have reached the same conclusion anyway, but at the time, it was Master Class that lit the fire under our asses and spurred us to pursue this dream.
And boy are we both glad it worked out that way. I love what we’ve done here, and I hope you will too.
Here's the blurb from Rachel's book, Master Class:
Performing before a crowd of thousands? No problem. Baring his heart before a crowd of one? Better tie him down first.
Broadway darling Nicky Avery is a shooting star by night, but by day he bounces from one heartless one-night stand to the next. A quick flogging, a rough lay, a new whip-hand to manipulate—yet still he yearns for something he cannot even name.
He finds his first true hint of satisfaction in Devon Turner, a self-possessed film star and expert Dom. Devon knows what he wants the moment he sees it, and what he wants is Nicky Avery. Nicky’s never learned to trust and has a nasty habit of topping from the bottom, but he learns fast that in the bedroom, Devon won’t tolerate his actor’s masks.
Nicky's a broken boy, but Devon knows exactly how to put his new sub back together. With patience, care, and all the punishments his little pain slut can handle, Devon breaks Nicky down one scene at a time, revealing a mind that yearns to trust and a heart that hungers for the ecstasy of true submission at last.
This title is #1 of the Master Class series.
Master Class will be released on October 30, but is available for pre-order at Riptide Publishing.
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