Page 433 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher              Chapter 17                       415

             Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta
             to Hollywood (2011). It was, in fact, Margaret Mitchell’s lifelong crusade,
             waged internationally, that helped change international copyright law to
             protect authors against publishers.
                In an eyewitness Drummer “open letter” written August 24, 1994, for-
             mer Drummer editor, Tim Barrus lacerated Embry for failing to live up
             to a publisher’s responsibilities. Barrus was the founder of the 1990s San
             Francisco literary movement “LeatherLit” which published Geoff Mains’
             Urban Aboriginals. Gay studies scholar Claude Summers’ writing about the
             legendary Barrus in The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage noted: “Some
             of the best pornographic fiction to come out of the leatherman tradition
             is by Tim Barrus.” In the zero degrees of separation, I must disclose that
             after Barrus exited Drummer, he began working at Knights Press, Stamford,
             Connecticut. There in early 1989 he advised LeatherLit publisher, Elizabeth
             Gershman, to acquire my Some Dance to Remember: A Memoir-Novel of
             San Francisco 1970-1982, which Tony DeBlase, recognizing Some Dance
             as “a Drummer novel,” had excerpted as “cover fiction” for Drummer 124
             (December 1988). That specific Drummer connection (1988) helped launch
             that book (1990) the way that my feature obituary for Robert Mapplethorpe
             in  Drummer  133  (September  1989)  led to another book contract  for
             Mapplethorpe: Assault with a Deadly Camera (1994). Previously, in 1984,
             twenty pieces of my fiction and features from Drummer compelled Winston
             Leyland of Gay Sunshine Press to publish my anthology Corporal in Charge
             of Taking Care of Captain O’Malley and Other Stories which was the first
             collection of leather fiction and drama from Drummer.
                The serial novel Mr. Benson that John Preston wrote under the pseud-
             onym “Jack Prescott” in 1979 for  Drummer  also jumped to book form
             under the name “John Preston” four years later in 1983. In 1978, Embry
             had decided to move into book publishing with my Drummer serial novel,
             Leather Blues, written in 1969 and published in a limited edition in 1972. I
             wanted a written contract detailing rights and royalties, but I declined even
             that because Embry’s failure to pay me my full monthly salary told me his
             contracts were not worth the paper they were written on. That did not stop
             the presumptuous Embry from announcing in Son of Drummer his publica-
             tion of Leather Blues as a forthcoming “Drummer novel.”
                How Mr. Benson became a book was another story. Preston admitted it
             was the first fiction he ever wrote and that he wrote it “as a laugh.” He told
             me he thought it was a comedy. When Embry took it seriously and I serial-
             ized it to Drummer specifications, Preston pressed on. Banking on Embry’s
             low-grade lust for him, Preston was, like Sondheim’s sloe-eyed vamp in

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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