Book signings at Press Publish Portland

The Press Publish Portland schedule boasts a number of published authors, and guess what?  Three of our speakers have agreed to bring copies of their books to sell and sign at the event!

Kathy Cano-Murillo will be signing her latest novel, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter.

Waking Up in the Land of GlitterCano-Murillo, known as the ‘Crafty Chica’ and for her line of craft products, has delved into the writing world to create one of the most lively, imaginative novels I’ve run across lately. Full of humor, love, friendship and some pretty cool art projects, Waking Up in the Land of Glitter will have readers howling one minute, sobbing the next, and reaching for their trusty glue guns to create their very own ‘love shrines’ before the end of the book. This novel was just a delightful glittery, shiny, light-hearted treat.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal )

Cecilia Gunther will be signing Letters for My Little Sister, “a book of letters, essays, and poems written by sixty-eight women about their experiences with Menopause.”

Letters to my Little SisterLetters for my Little Sister began as a real letter that Cecilia began writing to her little sister to help her sister navigate the journey of aging and menopause. Their mother died when they were young, and there was no one to give them this very personal advice. She realized the taboo and silence around this subject, and was struck with inspiration midway through: What if she could open up this subject, ask other women to contribute their stories and experiences, and bring light and warmth to a subject many fear talking or asking about. This book was born out of their overwhelming and wonderful response.

Jerry Mahoney will be signing Mommy Man: How I Went from Mild-Mannered Geek to Gay Superdad.

Mommy ManComedy writer Mahoney struggled with his gay identity while growing up and, after settling into his career, stumbled through the process of coming out. He had long ago conceded that it was unlikely he could ever merge his desire for a life as an openly gay man and having a family life. Then he had the good fortune, after a torturous introduction to gay dating in L.A., to find a loving partner equally interested in being a parent. The couple set about actually trying to have a family and learned of the numerous obstacles facing gay couples. They decided on gestational surrogacy with donated eggs to avoid genetic ties and legal controversy. Thus began a two-year process filled with ups and downs, from being interviewed to determine their suitability to interviewing to find the right egg donor and surrogate, with friends and family on hand to witness every setback and triumph. The roller coaster of drama and comedy ends in the birth of their twins. Mahoney is equally heartfelt and hilarious in this chronicle of modern parenthood. –Booklist

After their talks, each of these writers will hold a book signing in the Happiness Lounge. Don’t miss the chance to meet Kathy, Cecilia, and Jerry and get signed copies of their books!


Press Publish Portland Livestream

Can you tell how excited we are about Press Publish happening this weekend in Portland? Because we are. Really. A lot.  🙂

As a Portland native, I wish that everyone could come to my beautiful hometown and enjoy this event in person, but I know travel can be expensive and difficult to arrange. That said, this is the first Press Publish ever, and we’re very eager to get as much feedback on the program as we can.

So (drum roll please), this Saturday we’ll be bringing you the sessions in the Queen Marie and Fireside rooms via livestream, for free, in exchange for your feedback on the sessions you watch in a follow-up survey. Just sign up for a free livestream ticket, and we’ll email you instructions on how to log in on Saturday to enjoy Press Publish from the comfort from your own home. We’ll email you the survey when the conference is over.

Tell your friends! Heck, invite some people over for a viewing party, plan a potluck, and make a day of it! Portland loves a potluck. We want everyone to enjoy the great content we’ve got planned for Saturday — the more the merrier. If you can’t be in Portland on Saturday, I hope you’ll join us via livestream. It’s going to be brilliant! Allons-y!

Come to the Writing Clinic in Portland and Get Some Feedback!

Mark and MikeLongreads founder Mark Armstrong and I will be leading a one-hour writer’s workshop where we’ll be giving some tips and constructive criticism on how to improve your writing.

The two of us have spent several years editing writers with a wide range of experience, and here’s your chance to get some one-on-one time with us. Having a second pair of eyes on your work will help you become a better writer. No writer is perfect — the majority of your favorite writers have editors who make sure their copy is clean and that their work is structurally and narratively strong. We’ll do the same for you by looking at grammar, tone, style, introductions and endings, and how to write concisely and avoid meandering.

If you’re interested in attending this workshop, you’ll benefit the most by preparing some writing for us to look over and critique. Have a specific blog post ready for us to look at, or better yet, drop a post URL below in the comments section now so we can prepare some critiques in advance. We’ll also have a piece or two on hand to go over as examples if you’re more interested in observing.

Either way, we’re looking forward to seeing you and your work!

Get Happy, Get Swag

Oh, Portland. Do we have some great stuff in store for you this weekend! “Yeah Andrea,” you say, “we already know all about the great speakers and sessions on the schedule. What more could we possibly need?”

Two Happiness Engineers at a desk
photo credit: Marketing Melodie

Why the Happiness Lounge, of course! 🙂 At Press Publish Portland on March 28, one great big room will be staffed all day by real, live Happiness Engineers, ready and waiting to help you, personally, get the most out of your WordPress site. Bring in your questions, doubts, and idle musings about using WordPress, and get advice from people who help people with WordPress as their full-time job.

Got a problem with your sidebar, footer, or donate button? Trying to figure out how to get your blog to do that thing other people’s blogs do? Need advice on Jetpack, Polldaddy, VaultPress, themes, or plugins? They can help you with all that and more!

mugwpNeed a new t-shirt, water bottle, battery pack, coffee mug, or sweatshirt to help you show off how much you love WordPress? We’ll have a swag store, too, where you can buy WordPress apparel for kids and adults. Need a new Gravatar? We’ll have people with some great cameras on hand to shoot a spiffy new picture of you!

And if all you crave is a little quiet time to relax, charge up your phone, and maybe have a cup of coffee with your fellow bloggers, the Happiness Lounge will have a charging station and plenty of space to gather, chat, and rest.

We can’t wait to see all you Press Publish Portland attendees this Friday and Saturday!

Going Pro: What Do You Want to Know?

Erick in Romania
Erick Prince-Heaggans

At Press Publish in Portland next weekend, we’ll be ending the day with two panels — one about book publishing for bloggers, and one about going pro with your site. Our Going Pro panel will be made up of Erick Prince-Heaggans, Ariel Meadow Stallings, Kathy Cano-Murillo, and Kelly Bejelly.

Ariel Meadow Stallings
Ariel Meadow Stallings

These bloggers have all made the transition from personal bloggers to professionals whose websites are their business. Between them, they’ve done all the things tied to monetizing a blog: selling advertising, doing sponsored posts, getting paid to write for bigger outlets, running a store on the site,

Kathy Cano-Murillo
Kathy Cano-Murillo

working with brands for promotion, creating product lines, and even running a multi-city expo. This brain trust knows what it takes to be successful and wants to help you get there. In a few years, maybe it will be you speaking on this panel!

Kelly Bejelly wearing a striped shirt in her kitchen
Kelly Bejelly

As you think about wanting to make a living with your site and related opportunities, what questions do you have? We’ll try to answer as many questions as possible during the session, so tell us what you want to know! Questions can specific or broad, whatever you think would be helpful in your journey to success.

Ask away!

Suggest questions for Portland’s Blog to Book panel

Do you ever dream of publishing a book? If so, you’re not alone — getting published is a dream shared by a lot of bloggers (including me!). So I’m especially jazzed to be moderating the From Blog to Book panel discussion planned for Press Publish Portland, considering how many of our featured bloggers either have already published books or have books coming out this year.

Jerry Mahoney, ready to sign his book
Here’s Jerry Mahoney, signing his book Mommy Man: How I Went From Mild-Mannered Geek to Gay Superdad.

Mary Laura Philpott, Cecilia Gunther, Jerry Mahoney, Christine Lee, and Ananda Leeke will join me on stage in Portland on Saturday, March 28 to talk about how each of them came to publish a book (or books) and how blogging influenced their journey to publication. From self-publishing to multiple book deals with major publishing labels, these bloggers will share about a lot of the ways books are born in this new age of print media.

I know I’m dying to ask these folks a bunch of things, but I want to know what you’re curious about, too! If you would like to suggest questions for the panel, please leave them in the comments — note that we won’t answer them here, we’ll save it for the panel discussion at the Portland event.

By the way, if you’re in or near Portland, tickets are still available for Press Publish, and they come with a Premium upgrade or VaultPress Backup Bundle — a $99 value!

Get your ticket!

And don’t forget to RSVP for the free Longreads Story Mixer on March 27, so we can make sure to have enough snacks and libations for everyone.

RSVP for the free mixer!

We can’t wait to see you soon at Press Publish!

Join us for a Longreads Story Mixer in Portland on March 27

We are very proud to host a Longreads story mixer in Portland!

Photo by Johannes Jansson/ [CC BY 2.5 dk]
Photo by Johannes Jansson/ [CC BY 2.5 dk]
In the evening of Friday, March 27, please join Press Publish and Longreads at the Embassy Suites for a free mixer, featuring stories from some of our favorite writers:

nathaniel-friedmanNathaniel Friedman (“Bethlehem Shoals”) is a writer living in Portland. He’s a founder of, the co-author of The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac and The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History, and a regular contributor to

* * *

meaghanMeaghan O’Connell (author, “A Birth Story”) is a freelance writer and a columnist for New York Magazine’s The Cut. She just moved to Portland from Brooklyn, New York, and is working on a book of essays about new motherhood.

* * *

author photoNancy Rommelmann writes for The Wall Street Journal, the LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times and other publications. She is the author of The Bad Mother, a novel, The Queens of Montague Street, a digital memoir of growing up in 1970s Brooklyn that was chosen as a Top 10 Longreads in 2012 and excerpted in The New York Times Magazine, and the story collection, Transportation. Destination Gacy, about her trip to interview serial killer John Wayne Gacy, was released as an ebook in 2014. She is currently at work on To the Bridge, the story of Amanda Stott-Smith, who threw her two young children from a bridge in Portland, Oregon. Her website is

* * *

aaron_scottAaron Scott recently started producing Oregon Public Broadcasting’s weekly arts and culture show, State of Wonder. Before joining OPB, he was a senior editor at Portland Monthly, orchestrating the magazine’s arts coverage and reporting narrative features. He has also filed award-winning stories for Out Magazine, Radiolab and This American Life. He has only told one story before a live audience, about his first relationship, which lasted a whole weekend in a D.C. hotel during a youth activism conference. Somehow, Ani DiFranco lyrics were involved.

The Longreads Story Mixer will be held on March 27 at the Embassy Suites in downtown Portland, OR at 319 SW Pine Street.

The event will open at 5:30 with snacks and libations, the storytelling will begin at 6:30pm, and the event will close at 8pm.

This mixer is free, but please RSVP so we’ll have enough libations and snacks for everyone.

RSVP for this free event!

Speaker Spotlight: Ariel Meadow Stallings

This last featured blogger announcement for the Portland is pretty special to me, and really brings home how small the world can be when you’re a blogger and able to make connections through your website. I am beyond pleased to announce that this speaker is Ariel Meadow Stallings, the founder of the Offbeat Empire lifestyle sites.

I met Ariel back around 2001 when I moved to Seattle. We’d “met” through our blogs, and then met in person at a bloggers meetup. Back then, there weren’t very many people calling themselves bloggers, and it was easy to know the few dozen people doing so in your city. We became friends, and I have fond memories of hula hooping on the roof of her apartment building at sunset. She was a raver with multi-colored hair, editing a couple of zines and sites and writing reviews for to supplement her income. If you had asked either of us then what she would ‘grow up’ to be, it wouldn’t have been the head of a wedding industry business.

When she got married, Ariel wrote a book called Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternative for Independent Brides, and started a site to go with it.

In the years that followed, she grew it into a business, added more sites to complement other areas of the Offbeat lifestyle, and developed it all into today’s Offbeat Empire. Now running a successful web content business with a small, dedicated staff, Ariel is also a mom (hello, Offbeat Families) and recently renovated her Seattle home (and hello Offbeat Home & Life). In short, my old raver friend has totally grown up into an amazing role model for anyone hoping to build a business starting with their blog.

Her session in Portland will be an interview/conversation rather than a presentation, and will really give you a chance to get to know her and how she accomplished what she has. If you would like to suggest questions for the interview, please leave them in the comments — note that we won’t answer them here, we’ll save it for the interview at the Portland event. In the meantime, here’s a little Q&A to get you started.


Q. What made you start blogging?

A. I was editing a rave magazine in 2000, and got an inquiry from a freelancer who linked his blog as his writing sample. I was immediately struck by the immediacy of self-publishing… I was sick of being beholden to the magazine model of printers and distribution, of having to wait months to hear feedback about the work I was producing. Thanks to the joy of ye olde, I was able to have my own blog within an hour of being introduced the the concept.

Q. You started as a personal blogger and now have your own Empire running on WordPress. What made you shift from a personal site to professional ones?

A. I came of age with the early wave of personal bloggers, and was totally focused on first-person writing. After a couple years, I started exploring more topical publications, first with in 2002 (dedicated to hula hooping) and then with in 2007. I shifted to WordPress when I launched, which was originally just to promote my wedding memoir that I was oh-so-excited about. Within a few months, it became clear that no one cared about my stupid memoir, but everyone loved the website.

Part of this shift to more topical writing was getting sick of talking about myself, but part of it was also in response to some pretty intense trolling that I dealt with for several years. While my desire to be a publisher never slowed, my patience with personal attacks got pretty thin. I made my personal blog members-only in 2009.

Offbeat Bride eventually grew to be a whole network of lifestyle sites (including and, and while the writing is remains personal and first person, it’s most definitely NOT my personal story. I still write on my personal blog a couple times a week… while the readership is about 100 people vs 1 million people on my work blogs, it’s the best 100 people ever.

I wish more of my old-school blogging colleagues had members-only blogs. Personal blogging is still awesome.

Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?

A. First answer: Revenue. HA! Just kidding. (Sort of?)

Second answer: Chartbeat! I’m addicted to watching real-time reader counts after publishing something.

Third answer: New toys. I cannot lie! Nothing like a fresh WordPress update with new functions to fiddle with to keep me excited. I did a HUGE redesign of all my site templates last year, and the new format made writing on the same old site feel new.

Q. What’s your most popular post?

A. I got left at the altar: turning heartbreak into artwork
This post was carefully engineered to hit a sweet spot… Just negative enough to get the drama-hounds on Facebook sniffing the air and baying into the wind… but not so negative that it’s out of line with our mission — which is all about empowerment.

Ultimately, the story garnered huge mainstream media attention — the bride ended up on the Today Show — and even made waves internationally.

I wrote all about the strategy behind this post over here:

Q. What are some of your other favorite posts?

A. There but for the grace of pageviews go I: where blogging and my business are going,

See it, click it: getting over my RSS/old school blogger brain, and

Clicks don’t lie: people gravitate toward drama (and who am I to deny them?)

Q. How have readers responded to your writing?

A. Over the years, I’ve got some truly amazing feedback about how my publications have made real, tangible differences in readers’ lives. Offbeat Bride isn’t curing cancer, but the site’s commitment to inclusivity and tolerance is downright revolutionary in the wedding industry, and knowing that we’ve changed people’s minds about trans* issues, or marriage equality, or how they communicate with the people around them… it’s hugely motivating.

I also love that as a publisher, I’ve been able to get my contributors noticed on a national level… in some ways, I consider myself as much a publicist as a publisher, and nothing makes me happier than when one of our stories blows up in the mainstream media. I love being the person who delivers offbeat culture to the mainstream’s consciousness.

Q. What are you hoping to share with the Press Publish audience?

A. A sense of wonder at the unexpected paths your career can take. I thought that getting a book deal was going to be my ticket out of web writing… and instead the blog supporting the book grew into a publishing company that now supports a staff of six. I found the wedding industry exhausting and stupid, and yet now here I am, not only a part of it, but actively working to improve it. Life is weird. Make plans, but enjoy the ride!

Q. Is there anything you’re hoping to learn at Press Publish?

A. I’m mostly stoked to talk to other people who spend as many hours a day living inside WordPress as I do!


New Sessions Added to Portland Schedule!

There were already a lot of great sessions and classes on the Portland schedule, but we’ve gone ahead and added some more! Those last TBDs are filled in, and we’re pretty psyched about how it’s all come together. Some of the new sessions:

  • An interview and Q&A with Ariel Stallings of Offbeat Empire on how she went from personal blogger to running a network of successful lifestyle sites.
  • $$$: Ads, Affiliates, and Stores. Because everyone wants to know their monetizing options, right?
  • Blogging 101 — Planning Ahead. A hands-on workshop to teach you how to set up an editorial calendar, schedule posts for publication, and keep a drafts folder for quick and easy posting when the well runs dry.

There’s more, and you can see it all on the updated Portland schedule.

Portland Press Publish schedule grid

This event is only two weeks away, so get your tickets now!


Speaker Spotlight: Kelly Bejelly

Kelly Bejelly wearing a striped shirt in her kitchenIt wouldn’t be a blogging conference without at least one food blogger, right? Portland local Kelly Bejelly is the force behind the popular Paleo blog A Girl Worth Saving. Her site is filled with recipes, gorgeous food photos, and general cooking and baking tips, like how to make ingredient substitutions or how to freeze peaches. Her work includes vegan and allergy recipes as well, to make them accessible to the greatest number of people.

A sample of her photos:

Now I’m hungry. Must have chocolate! Er, cacao. 🙂

book cover of Paleo EatsLike many, Kelly started blogging as a hobby, but over time has not only turned her blog into a business, but has branched out into other sites, like meal-planning resource 20 Dishes. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Redbook, Parade, and Natural Solutions Magazine. On top of all that, she recently completed a cookbook, Paleo Eats: 111 Comforting Gluten-Free, Grain-Free and Dairy-Free Recipes for the Foodie in You, that’s available now.

One of the things that Kelly does really well is tying her blog into social media. She has a strong presence on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, produces a regular newletter, a podcast and the occasional webinar, and even has a store on her site for recommended products. She’s going to be talking at Press Publish Portland about how to turn your blog into a business, sharing what has worked (or not) for her in her path to (successfully) monetizing her blog.

Get to know her a little bit right now, and get your ticket to Press Publish to see her in person!

Q. What made you start blogging on (your main blog)?

A. This is highly embarrassing, but true. I was new mom in search of helpful information about how to wrangle my newborn, so I turned to mom blogs to figure out if the lack of the sleep was normal. I noticed that most mom bloggers work with brands by reviewing products. I quickly became a giveaway junkie. One day a light bulb went off, and I realized that I could do this too. At that point, my blog was born again.

Q. What kept you (and still keeps you) posting regularly?

A. A Girl Worth Saving transitioned from “Mommy-life” to a food blog that shares about my grain-free/paleo lifestyle years ago. I’ve found that knowing that my recipes are helping others in their lifestyle (especially the kids) keeps me creative in the kitchen and leads to regular posts.

Q. What’s your most popular post? 

A. A paleo slow cooker round up. This goes to show how much people love their slow cookers!

Q. Is that also your favorite post? If not, what are a few of your favorite posts, and why?

A. No, while I adore my slow cooker, my favorite post is my recipe for a Raspberry Pop Tart. I was really trying to push the idea of “Paleo” and do so in a way that everyone with allergies could enjoy. The recipe is nut-free, egg-free and dairy-free, but it’s tasty and a well-loved recipe.

Q. How have readers responded to your writing?

A. In my line of work, it’s the recipe, not the writing. I get praised on how easy and quick, as well as delicious, my recipes are. Is there anything you’re hoping to share with the Press Publish audience? I hope to share my journey as a blogger and the tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

Q. Is there anything you’re hoping to learn at Press Publish?

A. I’m always on the lookout for the newest trends and how to better serve the paleo community.