Publisher cancels novel because author is gay

Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Yes. You read that right. I am shaking because I'm so furious. I happen to be friends with both the authors--Micheal Jensen and David Powers King. I also provided a blurb for the book, Woven, which was absolutely fantastic. 

The publisher cancelled the book because Micheal wanted the fact that he lived with his partner in the bio (something that was fine for his straight coauthor's bio). Cedar Fort feared that one of their distributors would drop the book and insisted it be removed (CF knew Micheal was gay from the beginning). 

Micheal fought for his equality, at which point Cedar Fort's owner, Lyle Mortimer "started yelling about my agenda and how I was trying to destroy families. He even started saying inappropriate things about how God had given me a penis for a reason. It was very uncomfortable. Then he threatened to publish Woven without our names attached or without our bios at all—rather than print that one sentence. He told me that if he decided not to publish because of this, I‘d have to buy back the rights to our book and reimburse him for his work so far, and that would cost me thousands of dollars."

Sick as this makes me, I absolutely know Mortimer is capable of such atrocious behavior. 

Why? Because I've had dealings with Cedar Fort before. I haven't talked about it publicly  because I don't believe in badmouthing anyone. Cedar Fort has moved passed that point. I know feel a need to warn my fellow authors away from this TERRIBLE publisher. 

I sent them my first manuscript, The Priestess Prophecy, in 2009. They accepted the book for publication, but their contract was downright predatory. I called to try to negotiate some of the terms. They kept giving me the runaround--pushing me to sign before the contract expired. They told me the only person who could change the contract was Lyle Mortimer, and he was on vacation. I transferred to another employee, who apparently hadn't been briefed on the "Lyle's outta the office" runaround. That's right. Mortimer was upstairs. 

I stood my ground and Lyle finally called me. At which point he yelled at me and told me if I didn't want to sign the contract as it was, he had twenty other authors eager to fill my spot. 

That's when I walked out. 

I know dozens of authors published through Cedar Fort. NONE OF THEM ARE HAPPY. Not one. You are better off never publishing than to publish with Cedar Fort. Just go self publish. You'll be happier and make more money. 

So here's my call to action. Authors, never never never send Cedar Fort another manuscript. They are predatory jerks who will harm your career. 

For the rest of the world, tweet, FB, let others know that regardless of a person's sexual preference, hate will never be tolerated. To read the whole exchange, click here

And Micheal, next I see you, I'm giving you a big hug. Hang in there, my friend. You're a wonderful writer! 

*Edit: I find it ironic that the very people screaming for equality are starting to "Mormon bash". I'm a Mormon. Micheal's coauthor, David, is Mormon. I know 4 of the 6 authors who provided blurbs for the book are Mormon. 

Lyle Mortimer's used the Mormons as a scapegoat for his own prejudice (as LDS bookstores already carry books by gay authors, and when was the last time you researched an author's sexual orientation before purchasing a book?). 

For further reading, check out Larry Correia's post, David Powers King's post, or J Scott Savage's response

Sidenote: I have a giveaway going on below. Feel free to enter. 


  1. C.J. said...:

    Amber, I hope this leads to much better things for Michael. And I'm sure it will. I saw it on the news tonight and felt sick to my stomach. It's so great that he has the integrity to stick to his principles.

  1. They are going to be so much better off in the long run, though.

  1. Iola said...:

    I take your point about the way you were treated - it sounds like they gave you the run-around and lied to you.

    However, I don't understand why two gay men would submit a book to a conservative religious press. Cedar Fort are a LDS publisher, and their website is quite clear that they publish "LDS-oriented" books.

  1. Woven is a clean book, believe me, I've reviewed it. So, the book meets all CF requirements. The sexual orientation of the author should have no bearing over the publication of a book.

  1. I appreciate your post, Amber. Thank you for sharing this and sharing your experiences.

    Iola - it was to go to press under Sweetwater, their national market imprint, which shouldn't be exclusive to LDS audiences. And just one of the authors is gay. ;)

  1. I was going to go with them. The offered me a contract for my novel Unlovable three years ago, but asked me to change a few things. I did a rough draft and asked them to look it over and see if it was what they wanted before I redid the entire book. They sent me and email that said: 'We are no longer interested, thank you.' That was it! No other explanation. Jokes on them. I have sold (self-pub) 25,000+ copies of Unlovable and I'm under contract to have it made into a movie! All money CF will NOT get because of their unprofessional work ethic!

  1. I'm so shocked I just ... I'm going to echo CTW's statement and leave it at that before I start ranting, honestly, some people ...

  1. This is so insane. I was wondering about this issue a only recently when I was trying to think how to thank my partner in my bio without putting people off. Not out of fear of being dropped - my publisher is wonderful - but just in a general sense because some people are weird about it. It's genuinely horrifying that Michael has had to face outright hostility over his sexuality and I hope they find someone else to publish the book. Preferably someone who doesn't live in the Dark Ages.

  1. Pili said...:

    That is so absolutely disgusting... I still can't understand why anyone can think that in any shape or form it would be ok to be a bigot about other people's basic rights, and being free to love whoever you want is one of those for me.

  1. I am beyond flabbergasted. I feel so bad for Michael, I believe in God as well but would never treat someone in such a manner because I disagree with their lifestyle or beliefs. Wish David and Michael all the best. Success will find you again and may it be even sweeter. Thank you for publishing this Amber, I knew nothing about it until just now.

  1. This is so wrong. Thank you for spreading the word.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    I am for once, speechless.

  1. My mouth is hanging open. I can't believe that someone can be so callous.

    Definitely NOT offering anything I have to them, EVER.

  1. Julie Dao said...:

    Thanks for this post, Amber, and for sharing your cautionary tale. When I got David's email about what had happened, I was sick to my stomach with fury. I am truly disgusted by all of these combined experiences.

  1. Wow, I'm stunned they are still in business! Writers need to be warned.

  1. Oh, wow! That's terrible! I knew Michael was having problems with the publisher, and he's better off not getting it published with them, if they're going to act that way. I hope this issue is brought up with Preditors & Editors. They'll help spread the word. It sounds like Michael should get a lawyer too, so he can get his rights back. It sounds like they are in breach of contract (or most likely, since I haven't seen said-contract).

  1. That is so sad. My heart goes out to both authors and hope they find a way to get their rights back (all of them!) without too much more pain and suffering.

    It's silly that people let their personal views prevent them from acting professionally and instead turn them into intolerant pricks.

  1. Suzanne said...:

    Hi,found you via Sheena-Kay's link. I just can't understand how CP can relate their beliefs in a God that asks for compassion and love by behaving like this :( I hope Michael is okay, even with so many people obviously horrified by this, he must still be hurting xx
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe

  1. Tara said...:

    Thanks for having the courage to post this and warn others. Sadly, people are so desperate to see their names on a book that they'll keep subbing to these horrid and corrupt publishers anyway (I know of a few), but it's important folks know this.

  1. My reply to Ceder Fort and any in the "LDS market" who wouldn't read something written by a gay author:

    Here's a list of gay writers, many quite famous:

    It includes Francis Bacon, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, John Milton, Plato, Virgil, and Oscar Wilde. Better not read any of their stuff either. Would make it tough to study literature, though.

    And yes, I am Mormon as well.

  1. Trisha said...:

    I just read David's post about this and could not believe it! It's completely shameful, and though at first I was sad for David and Michael that their book wasn't being published (yet), but now I think they were lucky to escape from this publishing contract!

  1. Unknown said...:

    Please pass on my support to David and Michael. This has nothing to do with LDS, this has to do with hatred and it's disgusting. I'm so sorry they (and you!) had to deal with them.

  1. What an unbearable douche. It's my opinion that nine out of ten small presses are screwing their authors and anything that screws people over is likely to be run by an a-hole. Fact proven.

  1. When I first read this I thought there was no way, this had to be a mistake, a publishers can't be judging people on their sexuality. Refusing to publish a book because the author has a 'partner'. I read through everything including the emails and the entire thing is wholly unprofessional. Along with the unbelievable claims that Lyle said 'God gave you a penis for a reason'. Outrageous. What a man does with his willy is his own business as long as it's not illegal, and being Gay is not a crime. Have they never heard of Equality!

    I can't help but feel the authors have had a lucky escape and a better publisher will come along. I mean it's not hard given the diabolical display of unprofessionalism from this one.

    I am disgusted that an authors having a 'partner' is such a huge issue. I've never once picked up a book and thought 'hold on let me see what the authors sexual preference is' and I never will.

    Wishing the authors all the best for the future and a huge 'Thhhhrrrruuuupppp' to the so called publisher.

  1. I've been very happy for the support David and Michael are receiving on this.

  1. While I'm horrified at what all have had to endure with Cedar Fort.. from all the aspiring authors out there sill fine-tuning our manuscripts, THANK YOU!! Thank you for sharing this very personal story, and THANK YOU to David and Micheal for standing your ground and being brave enough expose Cedar Fort for what it is. Why anyone would submit to them now is a mystery.

  1. Thanks for your honesty in dealing with this publisher. I'm so mad about this discrimination case.

  1. Wow, Amber, thanks for sharing your story.

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