On October 12, I managed to not lose my shit in front of about 200 people at Portland's famous Powell's City of Books for the official book launch of Forest Avenue Press's City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales. I got to share the stage with fan-girl-worthy authors Rene Denfeld, Dan DeWeese, and Mark Russell, read about five minutes of my queer cephalapod romance, "Octopocalypse: a Love Story," sign a bunch of books, and meet dozens of cool Portland writers and readers. It was a truly swoon-worthy evening.
According to Forest Avenue Press, "City of Weird conjures what we fear: death, darkness, ghosts. Hungry sea monsters and alien slime molds. Blood drinkers and game show hosts. Set in Portland, Oregon, these thirty original stories blend imagination, literary writing, and pop culture into a cohesive weirdness that honors the city’s personality, its bookstores and bridges and solo volcano, as well as the tradition of sci-fi pulp magazines. Including such authors as Rene Denfeld, Justin Hocking, Leni Zumas, and Kevin Sampsell, editor Gigi Little has curated a collection that is quirky, often chilling, at times surprisingly profound—and always perfectly weird."
Contributors: Stevan Allred, Jonah Barrett, Doug Chase, Sean Davis, Susan DeFreitas, Rene Denfeld, Dan DeWeese, Art Edwards, Stefanie Freele, Jonathan Hill, Justin Hocking, Jeff Johnson, Leigh Anne Kranz, Kirsten Larson, B. Frayn Masters, Kevin Meyer, Karen Munro, Linda Rand, Brian Reid, Bradley K. Rosen, Nicole Rosevear, Mark Russell, Kevin Sampsell, Jason Squamata, Andrew Stark, Adam Strong, Suzy Vitello, Leslie What, Brigitte Winter, and Leni Zumas.
The book has landed a ton of awesome reviews, so you should probably just go ahead and read it:
Portland Tribune: "I would much rather be reading about octopus monsters than Donald Trump right now.”
NetGalley: "City of Weird is a very strong collection, beautifully edited and illustrated. While I have never visited Portland, the array of authors brought it to life; tentacled, monstrous, ghostly, beatific life....Highlights for me were 'Octopocalypse: A Love Story' by Brigitte Winter (fighting the patriarchy and finding love with tentacles), 'How I Got this Job' by Brian Reid (Santacon taken to its horrifying conclusion), 'Alder Underground' by Jonah Barrett (Strange environs written about tumblr-style), and most especially 'The Color off the Shelf' by Karen Munro (the horrors of unknowable things versus the horrors of racism and violence)."
Sweet shout-out on City of Weird editor Gigi Little's blog: "'Octopocalypse' fit right into City of Weird with its giant man-eating octopus, but what I really loved the story for was its subtle but wicked sense of humor, it's steamy, sexy scenes, and most of all, the beautiful, gentle, real way the relationship between the characters of the sisters was written. When I had all my stories chosen and was looking for a figure to carry the book cover, I zeroed in on Brigitte's octopus right away."