To Defy Homophobia of Original Publisher, Read/Buy “Woven” When it’s Published!

Michael Jensen and David Powers King got an awful shock when their YA fantasy novel, Woven, was just about to be published. On the final proofs, Jensen noticed that the reference to his living with his boyfriend in Salt Lake City had been removed. At first, the publisher said that this was because they could reach more “LDS [i.e. Mormon] buyers” if they took out that reference. But when Jensen said that was fine and that they could just use the word “partner,” the publisher balked at that too. There was to be no reference to Jensen’s domestic relationship at all. Unlike King’s bio, which happily mentioned his own domestic relationship (wife and kids).

Note: the publisher, Sweetwater Books, a division of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, already knew Jensen was gay when they signed him. But when the book was in its final stage before release, they changed his bio without mentioning it to him and without getting his permission–which was required, incidentally, by their contract.

The International Business Times sums things up quite nicely in this article: Publisher Cancels Novel Because Author Is Gay? Michael Jensen Says Cedar Fort Publishing Axed Project Following Boyfriend Reference. The writer, Christopher Zara, quotes Jensen: “Lyle [Mortimer, the company owner] 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.”

Of course Jensen wasn’t going to back down, and he was fully supported by King. Eventually, after Mortimer blustered and the authors casually mentioned all the bad publicity they could create for Cedar Fort, they got the manuscript and all their rights back. Apparently, the advance reviews had been very good, and Cedar Fort had expected Woven to be a best-seller. So I think we can say that Cedar Fort seriously lost out due to its institutional anti-gay/human stance.


This email exchange of the events and the final press release are very interesting. Start with the first email at the bottom.

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