Good News Contest: Update

•March 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Sharing can lead to good things. Last Thursday I posted about some good news as part of a contest, and to my good fortune I won part of the contest. The prize an eBook edition of an issue from each of two fantastic magazines: GUD and Crossed Genres.

GUD Issue 5Crossed Genres Issue 24

There probably couldn’t be a better time, as I can now load them on my new Nook that I got this weekend. I’ll probably have a post on this little technological gem, when I’ve felt that I’ve adequately test-driven it. I’m very excited to read both of these.

BTW folks: Some of you may just pick up on a little similarity in the content of the cover art above and the title of a certain other specfic magazine.

 

Good News

•March 3, 2011 • 2 Comments

I’m a little late posting my progress report for February, but truthfully it seems unimpressive because, although much work has been done, not much has been completed. Suffice it to say I spent a lot of February wading through PHP code for two websites and through the Port Iris Magazine slush pile to get it back a manageable level.

However, I wanted to pass along an awesome opportunity going on at the blog of Crossed Genres/Science  in My Fiction publisher, Bart Leib. The Good News Givaway seems like a great chance to win some great fiction from Crossed Genres, GUD Magazine and M-Brane Press, so I thought I’d throw in my lot as well.

My most recent good news is that today is my 28th birthdays and it went fairly well, but my best good news to occur recently is passing a huge milestone in my graduate school career, which signifies only one last leg of the journey left. More on that can be found in my previous blog post. Also, Port Iris Magazine received it’s first donation last week. Every little bit helps.

UPDATE 3/3/11 23:06: I just found out that a I was just awarded a $750 grant to present my research at a scientific conference. w00t!!!

Proposal Defense

•February 9, 2011 • 2 Comments

Yesterday, I hit another major milestone in my graduate school career. Today I defended my proposed research for the remainder of my time here. There are three such landmark moments to reach before attaining a PhD: the comprehensive/qualifying exams, the dissertation proposal defense, and the dissertation defense. All of these things involve the one thing I hate doing above most other activities: talking in front of people.

With a mild form of dysnomia, I’m not comfortable talking in general, especially not in instances where I’m supposed to be able to persuasively answer questions. So, the idea of defending my existence as a scientist and as a professional is typically met with much dread and resistance.

However, I’ve been getting a lot of practice by going to science conferences, where I have to present my research to rooms filled with people doing this for much longer than me. The max so far has been >250 people. More importantly I have to interact on a one-on-one basis with others in my field. Going to 2-4 of these per year for the last 5 years, I’ve come to the point where I actually enjoy the experience overall. Without attending them, I would not have the leads for jobs after graduation that I do now. (Not so subtle hint: attending confrences/conventions/other meetings in your field is important to your career.)

I’m an introvert by nature anyway, so my discomfort with verbal communication only accentuates my difficulty with making connections with people. I do make a concerted effort to build my confidence in expressing myself. Thus I often force myself into more social interactions and writing more often, as form of mental exercise. I can honestly say that I’m almost as proud of myself for the confidence I had going into it yesterday as I am for passing.

Progress report: January 2011

•February 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

January was a very busy month, and despite getting sick, I was relatively productive. Only one big day job assignment expected for February, so I will hopefully have more success on personal projects

Writing:

  • 1 finished short story draft
  • Handful of completed poems
  • 1 submitted poem

Science Writing:

  • 1 Scientific article draft written and edited
  • 1 grant proposal written, edited, and submitted
  • 1 postdoctoral fellowship application/grant proposal written, edited, and submitted.

Port Iris Magazine:

  • Issue #4 Web content edited and finalized

Art:

  • Several sketches
  • 1 nearly complete digital painting WIP
    • (Still learning digital techniques, and I’ve never been good with hair, so I’ve been putting off finishing it)

Yesterday was pretty big day

•January 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

1) First draft finished

I finished my first draft for a short story. Technically it was a second draft, but I don’t think of it that way, since I started over from scratch. This is the second time I’ve ever rebuilt a story from the ground up.

The obvious benefits of the rehash were that putting words to page was much faster and more coherent, allowing the whole thing to flow more naturally and the details to come out on their own.

All in all, the rewrite is much better, and actually worth editing. Assuming all goes well, there will be a completed version by the end of the month ready for submissions.

2) New assistant editor

I invited someone to assist me in the editorial work at Port Iris Magazine. More on that can be found at the here.

3)Reaching out

The busy part of the evening came because I suggested to someone that they fix an error on their website that looked small. Turns out, they’re not very proficient with web design and some site formatting was botched.

I felt a little bad, since I instigated the whole thing, so I offered my services to help fix it. The whole process took longer than expected because the site runs off of many different HTML pages. This setup works perfectly fine for relatively small, static sites. However, when the problem lies in the template used for each page and the template is inconsistent between pages, mass chaos ensues.

The page has been temporarily patched, but I think I’ve made a convert for WordPress.

Really, I didn’t mind doing the work; I want to see his magazine continue. I just wanted to post about the experience to share that there are ways to support your favorite sites and independent publishers other than giving money. If there is a way you think someone can improve, let them know. And if they’re doing something right, even better. Any feedback helps a ton.

“Unless he’s a real jerk or a cry baby, you’ll remain friends.” -Popular, Nada Surf

~Casey

 

New Year, New Blog

•January 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment

As I still follow an academic calendar, I see New Years as a chance to reboot between semesters, so I do attempt to make and stick to goals. So if you’ll forgive my not starting with an ‘all about me’ post, I will share my goals for 2011. I’ll have a page with that information anyway.

1) Maintain an active web presence

Although less important than Goal #2, this one is the reason for the creation of this personal blog. I have been limiting my blog posts at portiris.wordpress.com to subjects pertinent to Port Iris Magazine, the speculative fiction magazine of which I’m the editor.

In the current age of Internet society, I realize that a personal web presence is essential for any writer. This blog will predominantly focus on all things writerly and some of my other creative endeavors: e.g. sketching, digital painting, woodworking, and other DIY projects.

2) Increase my creative output

Last year started my first concerted attempts to become a professional writer, and I was met with mixed success. Although I’ve greatly improved the quality of my writing, the speed at which I produce anything is atrocious. I will be challenging myself to produce at least 1 finished short story (3,000 – 7,000 words) per month.

This holiday season, I have finally received a Wacom Tablet. I’ve wanted one of these for almost 10 years. After borrowing one from a friend last year, I couldn’t wait any longer. I will be shifting my drawing efforts from pencil sketching to digital painting this year.

3) Improve Port Iris Magazine

Although some unexpected, additional financial strains have prevented increasing the pay rates at Port Iris Magazine, I do have some additional improvements planned for this year. In addition to PDF, all issues will soon be available in popular ebook formats: EPUB, MOBI, and LIT. Also, the portiris.com website will be relaunched with a new face and better features.

4) Independent Science Fiction Publishers Association

The ISFPA.org web page was launched in October to a bit of a false start due to all of the setbacks that came in the following 2 months. This year will see the real establishment of the association.

5) Decrease my dependence on certain proprietary software

Last year, I had two instances where my dependence on Adobe Creative Suite products contributed to the delay in Port Iris Magazine. This year, I plan to make the switch to Scribus instead of InDesign for PDF layout formatting and to find an adequate open source alternative to Acrobat Professional for the digital contracts.

However, I won’t even pretend that I’ll stop using Photoshop. I’ll do my best to acquaint myself with GIMP, but too much of an effort will directly effect Goal #2.

Casey Seda