Good progressives don't buy used books online.

It's not something that's affecting me at the moment (zero used copies currently on Amazon), but it's evidently pretty bad for the biz. Authors only get paid for new book sales, obviously, so the used book thing can really take a bite out of a writer's livelihood.

Buying used books at your neighborhood used book store is fine, apparently.


Moderation off.

Comments back to normal. The recent weirdness outburst seems to have subsided, for now.

Amazon's taking orders again

For your holiday book-buying needs. They say they'll ship on 12/4, but they should have them on the dock late this week. Which should mean they'll be able to ship late next week. I think.


3rd printing ordered.

It makes sense—the 1st is completely sold out, the 2nd's already half sold between Amazon's order of 350 and other online sellers' likely orders. Store demand is probably in the range of a couple of hundred, too, and we're not even talking holiday shopping yet, really. Bet we're into a 4th by Christmas, but you never know.


From the Cape Codder

The Cape Codder is a pretty good little weekly paper out of Orleans. The link may not work:

Provincetown sleuth: Local author gains national attention

By Steve Desroches

Provincetown, Mass. - A televangelist is found dead on Herring Cove Beach wearing a multi-colored muumuu and high heels and a Provincetown detective who gets queasy at the sight of blood is not so hot on the case.

In a town that is stranger than fiction this tale may sound vaguely familiar, like it actually happened, but it is the premise for author Jon Loomis’ fun and campy Provincetown-based mystery “High Season.”

The poet’s brilliant first crack at fiction introduces us to Frank Coffin, a former Baltimore homicide detective who returned to his native Provincetown after starting to have panic attacks at crime scenes in tough and gritty Baltimore. The return home was just what Coffin needed, as his new beat’s most sensational crimes are limited to “break-ins, bicycle thefts and domestic disputes.”

After almost a decade on the job in freaky and funky Provincetown in walks Melinda Merkin, wife of homophobic, fire-and-brimstone televangelist Ron Merkin, to report her husband missing. But there’s a secret, the good Reverend has a penchant for wearing women’s clothing. Shortly thereafter, Merkin, clad in over-the-top drag, is found dead, strangled with a taffeta scarf.

Coffin and his partner, tough talking lesbian Officer Lola Winters, enlist the help of townies to help solve the crime. But after interviewing fishermen, drag queens and the eccentrics that stroll up and down Commercial Street, Coffin realizes that the Merkin case is not an isolated incident. There is a murderer loose in the town and it’s up to Coffin to find the killer before he strikes again.

Meanwhile, Coffin’s girlfriend believes she has a stalker, his mother is the Alzheimer’s ridden loudmouthed bully of the town’s nursing home and the townspeople are all busy playing armchair detectives in a town where gossip is a blood sport.

Loomis spent a couple of years in Provincetown as a poetry fellow at the prestigious Fine Arts Work Center. Though now lives in Wisconsin, where he is a poetry fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Loomis accurately captures the lovably twisted character of Provincetown. If you’ve never visited Provincetown, you’ll love this story for its clever twists and excellent writing. If you live in or spend a lot of time in Provincetown, you’ll chuckle as Loomis reveals some of the town’s worst kept secrets.

For instance, though not mentioned by name it’s obvious that the Merkins are in Provincetown for Fantasia Fair, the annual October festival where cross dressers come to celebrate. The locals lovingly call the cross dressers “tall ships” because as the mostly straight men unsteadily walk down Commercial Street in high heels they sway like tall ships in the harbor. Unlike drag queens, “tall ships” shy away from the glamour and settle more on suburban practicality in their dress. Through Coffin, Loomis translates what many locals say in private.

“Drag queens he could understand, sort of; there was something tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing, all that glitter and flash, a kind of burlesque-on/homage-to the whole idea of glamour in all its blowzy, tittering goofiness. The straight cross-dressers were harder to figure out – the just plain transvestites everyone in town called tall ships. The tall ships tended to be large men who strode up and down Commercial Street in plus-sized tweed skirts, support hose, and pumpkin-colored lipstick; craggy faced and lonely-looking men with dispirited wigs and five o’clock shadows poking through pancake makeup. Sometimes they had their wives, even their kids in tow. They reminded Coffin of his Aunt Connie after she’d been through several rounds of chemotherapy.”

The dark comedic mystery is a veritable road map of real Provincetown institutions, both visible and hidden, though in many cases given fake names, much like a literary witness protection program. Coffin and Winters sling back coffee at the Tip Top Diner, which is obviously Tips for Tops’n, a favorite townie breakfast place in town. Billy’s Oyster Shack sounds like a mix between Clem and Ursie’s and the Governor Bradford bar; and Dawn Vermillion, a fictional drag queen who sees all and knows all, resembles popular hometown drag star Pearlene Dubois.

Since its publication at the end of September, “High Season” has been creating buzz, likely to get louder now that the New York Times Book Review named it as an editor’s choice.

Loomis, who previously published two books of poetry “Vanitas Motel” and “The Pleasure Principal,” is working on two new books – a mystery titled “Mating Season” and a memoir called “King of Hearts.” His next mystery is set to come out in January 2008.

“High Season” is much like Provincetown, a gleeful mélange of joyous contradictions and peculiar characters in a community with a dark underbelly and glittery joie de vivre.

- Cape Codder


Photo from Volume One

Eau Claire's local alt paper. They did a little story about the book.

Photo credit to Kim Acheson. Not his fault I look like that.


3rd printing on the horizon. Maybe.

Looks like Amazon's ordered 350 of the 1,000-book second printing, so a third (perhaps larger) printing is reasonably likely. So the fabulous K suggests, anyway.


WPR/Spectrum West

So, I taped a little radio interview today out at WPR, which is next to the Shipshape car wash. Which is shaped like a ship. It was fun; nice people there. Should be on shortly after Thanksgiving.


Going to paperback.

In July. The fabulous K just informed me. Don't tell anybody, or they won't buy the hardcover.

Richmond Times-Dispatch

They liked it:

Brimstone-breathing, homophobic televangelist Ron Merkin has shed his gospel armor for a more interesting outfit: a pink and yellow muumuu. And he has also departed this vale of tears, strangled with a raspberry taffeta scarf.

In Jon Loomis' debut novel, High Season (304 pages, St. Martin's Minotaur, $23.95), Provincetown, Mass., police detective Frank Coffin must investigate the pastor's passing amid the quirkiness of Provincetown, where the large gay community lives in mostly peaceful co-existence with old-time fishing families -- and where the full-timers disdain the hordes of summer tourists (but not their money).

Coffin suffered a mental meltdown as a homicide detective in Baltimore and had hoped, when he returned to his Cape Cod hometown, that he'd never have to work a murder case again. But events intervene, and he and his partner, officer Lola Winters, track a killer who's not content to stop with one victim.

At once hilarious and unsettling, "High Season" combines a complex story with a cast of colorful eccentrics to create an exciting first installment in a projected series. It's a model mystery, told in winning fashion.


HS reviewed in Bay Windows

which bills itself as New England's largest GLBT newspaper:
High Season
Jon Loomis
St. Martin’s Press

You may have heard this on the news: Provincetown has straight people, too. Yes! This Cape Cod murder mystery (written by a straight man from the Midwest, no less) looks at P’town through the eyes of a straight sheriff who’s returned to the seaside resort after he couldn’t hack it as a homicide detective in Baltimore. His dreams of a relatively uneventful slide towards retirement are derailed when a prominent anti-gay preacher is found dead on the beach - in a dress! The wacky beginning is something of a red herring, as the religious hypocrisy is just a bit of color, and the book has the faintly dark tinge you’d expect from a police procedural, especially when the detective has to contend with several more murders, along with his messy personal life. Some of the supporting characters are a bit vague (and the sardonic take on mildly homophobic state troopers is a well-meant touch, but would Cape and Islands Staties really be so ostentatiously bewildered by P’town?), but the central sheriff is a compelling creation, and Loomis’s slow unveiling of small town corruption and dirty politics feels right on. Loomis steadily raises the tension and keeps you guessing almost till the end, making High Season a fun read.

This is a very good thing; should help out a lot with word-of-mouth in the GLBT community.

Update: I am a bit puzzled by the fact that no reviewer has said much about Lola, Frank's sidekick. I'm not sure, but I think she's fairly unique in mainstream crime fiction as a strong, sympathetic lesbian character. Who, as our friend Laura said, "kicks ass."


House-o-ganza 2

So, Jim and Travis are wrapping up the entry-way: we should have the new door ready to install tomorrow, maybe. The counter guy came and installed the Cambria today: it took him something like forty-five minutes: all the pieces are perfectly fit and formed. It's really pretty amazing stuff, and quite handsome. The Cambria/cherry/stainless combo is working better than I pictured it, so that's good. Still to do in the kitchen: hook up gas to stove and electric to range hood; install dishwasher, sink and dispose-all; screen and final gloss-coat on floors. Dave, Jim and Travis are finishing up the kitchen/pantry trim as I write this.

Other stuff: Dan's got two coats of our fabulous terra-cotta color on the dining room; it looks pretty great. He'll move into the living room as soon as Jim and Travis finish up and move their gear out. The plumber's got the tub and sink re-installed in the 2nd fl bath: once the washer/dryer are installed we'll be pretty much done in there. The tile guy comes tomorrow, maybe: he should be able to whip right through the installation. God knows what it's all going to cost. Dave's looking to trade some labor for Mr. & Mrs. Knut's washer/dryer and dishwasher, which sounds like a good deal to me. We need to do a few other little things like call the phone and cable companies, order light fixtures, etc. Long story short, we're hoping to move in about ten days.