Call for Papers: Election Recounts and Audits

Hi, friends. I don’t know if any lawyers or political scientists ever stumble across this old, quiet blog, but anyhow the Election Law Journal has put out a call for papers on election recounts and audits. The deadline for submission is March 15. For general information about ELJ, go here.


The Astrobiology Primer v2.0

Everybody, the Astrobiology Primer version 2.0 is online. I have been looking forward to this moment since 2009, when I encountered the first version of the Primer. I found it helpful and engaging, and I wondered when an update would come along. You see, I love what the Astrobiology Primer does. I love how the Primer is created. And I love why the Primer exists.

Longer than a science article but shorter than a textbook, the Astrobiology Primer presents a summary of astrobiology. It is an introduction written for a broad audience, especially for young scientists and just generally curious people who like to think about science.

The Primer proceeds through a series of questions—awesome and epic questions that have always preoccupied humankind: What is life? How did Earth form? What do we know about the possibility of life beyond Earth? Of course, we have so much further to go to answer these questions. Yet it is amazing to realize how much we do know. The Primer provides a starting point for discussing current knowledge and introducing new realms of research.

What makes this project particularly rewarding is the people behind it. The Primer is written by graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. It represents the future of astrobiology, with enthusiasm and fresh perspectives. It means a lot to me that the journal I work for can support these newcomers. And I admire the authors for successfully bringing together topics as diverse as planetary accretion, phylogenetic trees, and the presence of methane on Mars; forming these topics into a clear and consistent narrative; and persisting through all the reviews, proofs, and final touches of the publishing process.

In conclusion, a word of praise to astrobiology. I love it so. A diverse collection of disciplines (geology, biology, astrophysics, chemistry, engineering, philosophy, climatology, sedimentology—to name just a few) converges to address the most essential questions. Who are we? How did we get here? Are we alone? How can we find and communicate with others? Astrobiology is microcosm and macrocosm. It is the very ground we walk on, and it is the farthest reaches of space. It is our past and our future.

So read the Astrobiology Primer! It is available for free download! Right now:

Three cheers and three awards for Overcup!

Congratulations to Overcup Press for winning three awards this week: two IPPYs and one Nautilus Book Award. They’ve earned it: Overcup publishes beautiful art books. I copy edited Buckminster Fuller: Poet of Geometry for them. And I’m keen to see The Tall Trees of Paris, which comes out next month.

For more info on what exactly an IPPY and a Nautilus Book Award are, see Overcup’s announcement here.

Write to Publish 2014: a valuable publishing conference

I see Ooligan Press is gearing up for its 2014 Write to Publish conference, to be held Saturday, February 15, from 9 am to 4 pm at Portland State University’s Native American Student Community Center. In her blog post today, Ooligonian Missy Lacock makes a great case for what makes W2P valuable and why you, writers of the world, should attend.

On a personal note, I remember the W2P attended by Ursula K. Le Guin and Chuck Palahniuk. It was epic, and at the time we all wondered about the future of the conference and hoped it would prosper. Four years later, it is still delivering insights into the publishing industry. Further information about this year’s Write to Publish is at

Announcing Write to Publish 2013

Today Ooligan Press announced that tickets are on sale for this year’s Write to Publish conference. They’ve kindly shared a press release with me, which is below. First, however, I want to say that I’m pleased this year’s W2P is about nonfiction, broadcast cleverly in the conference’s theme “Write What You Know.” Though I adore and highly recommend much young adult fiction (e.g., the Newbery medal winners I have reviewed on my blog), I must say that I hold a special place in my heart for nonfiction.

If you are a writer seeking to publish and if nonfiction is near and dear to you, consider attending W2P. You will learn about publishing and support a worthy cause: a fabulous student-run publishing house.

Here is the press release from Ooligan:

Write to Publish: Write What You Know tickets are available now!

Portland State University’s Ooligan Press is excited to announce its fifth annual Write to Publish conference, to be held on February 23, 2013, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s theme, Write What You Know, will feature local nonfiction authors including Floyd Skloot, Kristian Williams, and Lidia Yuknavitch.

Write to Publish is a unique writers’ conference focused on publishing. This year, workshops will cover the basics of getting published in the nonfiction genre, and a panel of writers will speak about their personal experiences navigating the industry. In addition, local vendors from the publishing industry will contribute their knowledge and services to attendees. As in years past, Write to Publish promises to help demystify the publishing process by offering insight, resources, and encouragement for burgeoning writers.

Write to Publish is the brainchild of Ooligan Press, a nonprofit trade press run by students of Portland State University’s Book Publishing graduate program. In addition to producing high-quality books celebrating the rich literary tradition of the Pacific Northwest, Ooligan is committed to teaching the art and craft of publishing.

This year’s conference will also host a lunch catered by California Pizza Kitchen and a writing contest for nonfiction submissions limited by 2,000 words. The grand prize winner will receive a pitch to agent Betsy Amster of Betsy Amster Literary Agency! Submissions are due by February 9.

For more information, please visit To purchase tickets, go to

Oh blog, I have not forgotten you.

I have been thinking of you for a while. I just haven’t had (haven’t taken?) the time to post.

Yesterday, January 10, was the seventh anniversary of my first day of graduate school in the Portland State University Publishing Program. I had two classes that day: Introduction to Book Publishing and Book Design & Production. Being in school again filled me with an unprecedented apprehension and elation. Mostly elation. I could not get enough of the lectures and readings: I felt more alive, and my mind was more active than it had been in years.

So here’s to you, Ooligan Press and the Publishing Program. And here’s to me, I guess, for taking the bold step of enrolling in graduate school. And here is to everyone who helped me on the path to completion of a master’s degree. Thank you!

The Crazy Eights Author Tour: I wish I’d posted about this sooner

The Crazy Eights Author Tour has two more events lined up:

  • November 15 at Graham’s Book & Stationary in Lake Oswego (7 pm)
  • November 17 at Klindt’s Booksellers in The Dalles (2 pm)

I have heard only good things about this tour, which the organizer describes as “speed dating” with authors. Each author is given five minutes to talk about his or her writing life; when all are done, they participate in a mixer with the audience. It’s a great way to have face time with authors and hear their insights about writing and publishing. The participating authors sound fabulous.

Also fabulous are the event locations. I value the idea of touring diverse communities in Oregon. It draws attention to independent bookstores statewide and celebrates Oregon as a state of readers.

I really hope this event returns next year.