Page 266 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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248      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

               too disappeared almost at once. Lamble had nothing good at all
               to say about Embry after working with him, and he usually held his
                   I thought I’d been clever in avoiding having to deal with the man
               directly over quite a number of years, but I was too optimistic. After
               Rowberry had finally left for good and Steven Saylor (later a writer of
               junky gladiator porn and formulaic Roman mysteries, in hardcover
               book form no less) had taken over as a departmental fiction editor,
               I got a call from Steven after I queried him about the status of my
               novel. He said he thought I should take back the book because the
               publishing empire was dawdling with its book line, and, if the book
               ever did come out, most likely it wouldn’t receive any promotion.
               I sighed, but agreed to withdraw the book. Another publisher had
               expressed interest in it anyhow. (It never came out.)
                   Stephen, in a postscript as I was leaving his office with my novel
               manuscript, said maybe I should send a clarifying note to Embry,
               telling him I was taking back the book. This I did.
                   Well, I began to have second thoughts about mentioning the
               affair to the unreliable Emperor Embry, and I called Steven to tell him
               to intercept my letter. But it just so happened that Embry was going
               through the mail and found my letter a few moments before Steven
               could snatch it to safety.
                   I thus got a telephone call from the Evil Emperor himself, telling
               me that his evil empire wanted my novel. Blah, blah, blah! He even
               admitted he hadn’t known that his firm had accepted a book of
               mine! “But you signed the contract,” I informed him. “I did?” he said.
               “Nobody around here tells me anything!” He went on and on about
               how his staff kept things from him.
                   When I mentioned  in passing that  I had  received  a $300
               advance, he was very interested. Soon he was saying, “Well, if you
               don’t want us to publish your book, you have to return the $300.”
               Now everybody in publishing knows that authors do not have  to
               return an advance on a book the publisher agrees to publish and
               then  keeps  beyond  the  deadline  specified  in  the  contract.  The
               Emperor had already exceeded his deadline by a whole year! But he
               was so intimidating and I didn’t have the contract in front of me, so
               I’m not sure if I even mentioned this to him.
                   I couldn’t believe how belligerent and obnoxious Embry was in
               that telephone call. I just wanted to get him off my back, so I said
               possibly I could return the advance. As soon as I hung up, I said to
               myself, “He’ll rot in chains in an S&M Hell before he sees a penny
               from me, after what I’ve been through.”
                   A letter from the Emperor followed, threatening me with legal
               action. I got out my copy of the contract. The asshole hadn’t even

              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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