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City of Roses is a serialized epic firmly set in Portland, Oregon—an urban fantasy mixing magical realism with gonzo noirish prose, where ancient sea-gods retire to close-in apartments with lovely views, and the Duke of Southeast throws wild parties in the Masonic Temple on Hawthorne Avenue. —It’s the story of Jo Maguire, a highly strung, underemployed telemarketer, and what happens when she meets Ysabel, a princess of unspecified pedigree. Jo rather unexpectedly becomes Ysabel’s guardian and caretaker, and now must make a place for herself among Ysabel’s decidedly unusual family and friends—which involves rather more sword-play than most of us are used to.
The story is published first as a serial, online, in chapters that are later collected in zine-sized chapbooks sold through the website and at zine-focused retail establishments such as Reading Frenzy. These volumes, “Wake up…” and The Dazzle of Day, each collect 11 chapters, and together form a complete novel—each chapbook as the equivalent of a single episode of a contemporary arc-driven television show; each volume as a DVD box set; the run of 22 chapters to date as the first season of a quirky television show—but perhaps the metaphor has done its work.