Tag Archives: blogging

Finally, My Own Place

I’m moving to my very own place! My whole life, I’ve never been on my own.  So now I’m going out on a limb.

I upgraded to my very own domain!

Mermaids Don’t Do Windows has moved to dianabeebe.com.

You know what this means for you, don’t you?

  • Go over there and follow (subscribe for free), so you’ll get email notifications when I post something new. This site won’t get the new stuff forever.
  • No more annoying ads!
  • All the same great content to browse when you need to laugh at me.
  • CommentLuv for you bloggers who’d like to share your recent posts.

Diana Beebe's Blog, Diana Beebe, science fiction, middle grade fantasy, fantasy

It’s still needs some tweaking, since some of the widgets aren’t behaving as expected, but I’m pretty happy with it.

Thankfully, I’m still not out on my own.  I’ve got TechSurgeons to thank for helping me get the site up and running in one day (as soon as I finially decided to go out on that limb).  I have my very own TechGuy now!

What are you still doing here?  Go here and subscribe.  😉 See you soon!

Confessions of the Musically Challenged

Hi, my name is Diana and I’m musically challenged.

Isn’t that a lovely euphamism for “I suck at music”? How about “pitch deprived”? Or, “note ignorant”?

Forget the euphamisms. I suck at music. It is a skill I wished I had sometimes. I’m surrounded by people who know music. They can read music. The running joke in my family is that musical talent skipped my generation. Well, it definitely skipped me.

Diana Beebe's Blog

Growing up, I fiddled around on the old piano that we had but didn’t take lessons. My brother taught me how to play the basics of “Chopsticks” while he played the more complicated parts around me.

In middle school, music was a requirement. I picked choir, because I was terrified of failing at playing an instrument. I had a decent voice back then, so it was an easy choice. The choir director had quite an…er…interesting group of kids who had various levels of interest and talent. She taught us the notes on the treble and bass clefs, but I never learned to read them. (If you take just the notes in the spaces of the treble clef, they spell FACE. Yep, that’s what I remember.) Still today, if you played a note and asked me what it was, I’d have no clue.

I knew to sing a higher note if the note on the page went up. If I didn’t know the song already, then I didn’t really know what note to sing next. I felt sorry for Mrs. Petrash at the UIL sight reading competition. We sounded like a cacophony of wounded animals.

The Armadillo can play the piano. She already understands some musical theory. She gets what major and minor mean. I have NO clue. She heard her grandmother practicing piano (they take lessons together) and corrected her, “Not in minor.”

When she got a new piano music book, she was so excited. Here’s our conversation:

The Armadillo: “This book has ‘Blow the Man Down.’ What’s that?”

Me: A pirate song.

The Armadillo: “Cool. Then it should be in minor. You know, ’cause pirates are usually bad guys.”

Me:  *blink blink*

The Armadillo: “Let me read you the notes for ‘Hot Cross Buns.’ E D C…”

Me: *Laughs* “I don’t know what that means.”

The Armadillo: *blink blink* “Didn’t you ever play an instrument? I thought you played a horn. How can you not read music?”

Dynasty II French Horn Bugle

Dynasty II French Horn Bugle

It’s true that in high school I played a French Horn bugle. It is what it sounds like. A bugle built to sound like a French Horn. It resembles a marching French Horn, but it’s a bugle. I was pretty good at playing it, too. I loved it, actually, for a few reasons. It wasn’t a soprano or tenor bugle (those killed my lips), and there were only two of us who played it in the entire corps. Also, I didn’t have to read music to be successful. Most of us in my high school drum and bugle corps learned by ear and memorization. Remember my choir music-reading experience? Yeah, it’s a good thing no one made us do that. If someone was really bad (because they didn’t practice, maybe), then they faked it on the field (not pointing any fingers at my sister, or anything. 😉 )

Music is one area where I’m happy to let my husband help our daughters when they have a question about music or what they are practicing. They can ask me if they want, but all they’ll get is…

*blink blink*

What musical skills or talents do you have–or wish you have?  I’d love to hear about it!

If you want to vote on which comic book cover Armadillo picked, go here. I’ll post the results and the answer this week!

Why Take a Sip When You Can Drink from the Hose

Last weekend, I attended one of the most informative writers’ conferences ever. I’ve attended several writing conferences (including technical writing conferences, which have a ton of craft and business training sessions, too).

This conference was affordable, informative, and fun for traditional, independent, and unpublished authors alike. And I got to attend from the comfort of my own pajamas home.

It was the first-ever WANACon!

Wana-Conference-new2

This was the first-ever virtual and global conference with live, informative sessions in a virtual classroom. The instructors used their web cameras so we could see them, and the attendees could ask questions audibly or in a chat box. There were several literary agents (non-fiction and fiction) who took pitches–some requests were made, too (congratulations to those who got requests!).

I’m still reeling a bit from all the information. Otherwise, I might be able to write coherently about it. You’ll just have to trust me on this. 🙂

Between sessions, we congregated in the WANACon lobby and chatted about the previous session’s awesomeness and passed around virtual victuals. Check out Kristen Lamb’s post about the technology used for the conference. Her blog has posts about and by the instructors. I could never do justice to them all–go check them out for yourself.

The amount of quality information fed to us was a bit like drinking from a firehose, but it was helpful, informative, and inspiring.  Also, most of the sessions were recorded and will be provided to the attendees, so I can repeat the dousing until I understand it all.

WANA Con was so worth the price for TWO solid days (plus some extras before and after). There were no travel costs either.  🙂  I’m still giddy from the quality of the classes and the fantabulous people and the cool virtual classroom. Did I mention the fantabulous people? Well, it’s all worth repeating.

If you don’t know anything about WANA International and you are a writer or illustrator, you should check it out for informative and helpful courses on social media and publishing and craft. I highly recommend checking out the support that WANA Tribe offers, too. The WANA Way is “We Are Not Alone” and Kristen Lamb is the Social Media Jedi who started all this. No one can be successful in a vaccuum. The WANA Way is supportive, not competitive (and non-spamming). It’s about developing relationships and helping each other succeed. I took Kristen’s Blogging for Brand course (which I totally recommend if you need help getting started like I did or if you want to revamp yourself), and I’ve seen the WANA Way in action.

So get ready for the next WANA Con.  We won’t have to wait a year for it either!

Do you go to conferences for work or for fun or for both? If so, share your favorite conferences and locations.

Valentine’s Day Apocalypse Averted

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Diana Beebe's Blog

Last night I had this post written and ready to send first thing in this morning. My dog had different plans. He had the Valentine’s Day Apocalypse all figured out.

My husband heard a strange noise. I heard it, too, but didn’t investigate.  It was as if my brain couldn’t register the sound and process what it could be. Then in the middle of the night, my husband found The Armadillo’s bag of finished cards with M&Ms bags attached on the floor.

I had visions of The Armadillo not having cards to take to schoool for the class party.

Oh, no. I checked the bag.  One was missing.  It was the Valentine’s Day Apocalypse!

Then I found this:

Diana Beebe's Blog

And saw this face:

It was the demon dog...

The demon dog did it…

This dog has been known to unzip backpacks to get to goodies inside, even homework. One Christmas, he ate an entire chocolate bar out of a visitor’s bag that had been left on the floor. Before you get upset that he ate chocolate, he’s fine. This dog is something else.

I found an extra card.  There was one bag of M&Ms left. Apocalypse averted! *wipes brow*

Now back to the regularly scheduled post:

For Valentine’s Day, I’m going to share a little blog love and news love. There are many more that I could list, but The Armadillo has to finish her Valentine’s Day cards for school.

For added fun, I’m adding in some newsy love of stories.  Life really is crazier than fiction sometimes.  I hope you enjoy the links! Sorry, I’m moving these to a later post, due to the saving of the Valentine’s Day party world.

Blog Love

Do you have anything special going on for Valentine’s Day?  Are you a blogger with a fun post about the day or know someone else with one?  Share it in the comments!

Mockingbirds and Armadillos

Every so often I post something about my girls.  I’m not big on splashing them across the internet and neither are they. (My teenager isn’t on Facebook–her choice, believe it or not.) I’ve been thinking about code names for them.

Some blogging genii (my daughter’s prefered spelling for the plural of genius) have great names for their kiddos:

I know there are others. If you have code names for your kiddos, feel free to put a link to your blog in the comments.

What to do when you have two girls who are as different as mine? “The Anti-Teenager” is too limiting. “Daughter 1” and “Daughter 2” are too boring. Their real nicknames are off limits (so I’ve been told).

During a conversation with my older daughter, I realized that she is really The Mockingbird and her sister is The Armadillo.  We are from Texas, after all.  What better way to salute them in my blog?  I thought I’d share some awesome facts about two of my state’s favorite animals.

The Mockingbird

The Texas state bird is the Northern Mockingbird.  What’s not to love about these birds?

They’re smart and sassy and bold. They mimic the songs of other birds and other sounds they hear.  Really.  Some have been known to use the sounds car alarms and chain saws in their repertoires.

Diana Beebe's Blog

Photo by Captain-tucker, Wikimedia Creative Commons

My husband would sit on our front porch and whistle a sequence of notes, and our resident mockingbird would repeat it. I’d like to think that fellow passed along the song to others who mimic it now.

Have you ever seen a hawk fly for its life?  Most likely a mockingbird or two will be close behind.  If a mockingbird feels threatened, it doesn’t care how big the perceived enemy is.  One time, I was dive bombed while walking the dog.  I had no idea a nest was in the bush so close to the sidewalk, but the bird let me know about it.

My teenaged daughter is now The Mockingbird.

The Armadillo

The Texas state mammal is adorable, don’t you think?

Diana Beebe's Blog

Photo by Hans Stieglitz, Wikimedia Creative Commons

What is it? (I hear some of you asking that question.)

It’s the nine-banded armadillo.  These odd, nocturnal, and burrowing creatures aren’t smart or sassy or bold. Not much about them is remotely like my younger daughter. Although, she often curled up into a ball as a toddler if she got mad.

Despite their weirdness, she thinks they’re cute. So, my younger munchkin is now The Armadillo.

What nicknames do you use for your kiddos when you’re online?  Do you use nicknames for yourself?

Thor Isn’t a Native Texan…

But he got here as fast as he could.

If you’re a native Texan, you know what I mean.

When Debra Kristi said that Thor wanted to tour the world, I jumped at the chance to show him my little piece of Texas.

Thor thought it might be nice to have one of these lovely steeds go home with him.

Thor thought it might be nice to have one of these steeds go home with him.

The first thing he asked about was whether we had cows or horses.  Uh, no.

Horse stealing...Nasty business

But we have this lovely collection of model horses.  They were more his size than the real thing.  I lent him a hat to wear, too.  It wasn’t exactly a cowboy hat, but straw hats are nice.  He was afraid of messing up his hair though.

Real cowboys don’t worry about hat head.

Thor found himself in some trouble with the local law.  When he saw his “Wanted” poster, he knew it would be best to leave the horses at my house.

Horse rustling is nasty business.

One day, I took him to work so he could hang out with Spidey-Spud and Darth Tater in my office.  They showed him around my bookshelf and plants.  They took turns trying to convince Thor that they could hold his hammer.  They even offered up the light saber and web!

Thor wondered about the potato-shaped men...

Thor wondered about the potato-shaped men….

Thor, being the responsible god that he is, chose to keep his hammer to himself.

"I said, 'No!' You may not hold my hammer, strange potato men." He decided that he wanted potato salad and barbeque for lunch.

“I said, ‘No!’ You may not hold my hammer, strange potato men.”

Even with those eyes flashing in anger, I think he was trying to keep the spuds from embarrassing themselves when the hammer wouldn’t let them lift it.  Only one has the humility and integrity to wield it.  Just saying.

Then he decided that he wanted potato salad for lunch.

In honor of his godliness, I took him to an NBA basketball game with two of my besties (the witch and the vampire). It was the Dallas Mavericks against none other than the OKC Thunder.

He took in the crowd and asked, “All these scantily-clad women and other mortals came here to see me?”

Uh, no.

The god of thunder cheered his team to victory.

The god of thunder cheered his team to victory.

I got worried when he complained about the OKC team’s uniforms.  “How can they not include a bolt on the jerseys?” he asked.  I told him that it was better than the other ones where “Thunder” was written on the back of their shorts. (Think about it.)  The god of thunder was appeased when he saw so many lightning bolt shirts in the stands.  He was even more pleased to hear those fans cheer when the Thunder played well.

He was a bit of a stinker during the game.  Everytime the home crowed chanted, “Let’s go, Mavs,” he countered with, “O – K – C!”  At one point, he was so thunderously loud with threats to strike the arena that I thought one of the ushers might ask us to leave.  After a nail-biting overtime, the Thunder managed to win by two points.  Thor claimed the victory as his own and hailed the Thunder players as the best in the NBA (they are pretty good).  He taunted us on the entire drive home.  No humility there.

As a gracious guest (or maybe he was still giddy from his team’s win), he thanked me profusely for the look at Texas, short that it was.  I hope he wasn’t too disappointed that some of his wacky assumptions about Texans weren’t true or that he didn’t get to steal a horse.  😉

What would you do if you hosted a god or superhero?  Who would it be?  Come on….share!

2012 in Review and Looking Forward to 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for Mermaids Don’t Do Windows.

In the almost six months that I’ve been blogging, here are my top 5 posts and my theories for why they made the list:

  1. Mermaids Aren’t Real? — This War of the Worlds moment (remember the radio program that had people panicking?) had to be shared.  If they are real, they are smart enough to elude Animal Planet film crews.
  2. My Very Own My Little Pony — Ponyfest12 was a success!  I couldn’t believe that my pony won, but then again, I have awesome friends.  Look for a pony reveal soon.  In the meantime, you should check out Rebecca Enzor’s blog, because Ponyfest is hers and she’s great.
  3. Totes, Selfies, and Sharpies — Why did this one make the top 5?  Because there are people searching on teen selfies.  Not kidding! Exactly 25% of the known Google searches that linked to my blog were about selfies, and most of those were looking for teens! Ick. Parents of teens, monitor your kids’ phones and uploads.  Just sayin’.
  4. Welcome to Gattaca — Who doesn’t love that movie?
  5. We figured that one out a long time ago — I just can’t help myself when I hear of discoveries that shock scientists about the intelligence of women.

These fabulous people were my top 5 commenters. I love their blogs.  I hope you check them out:

  1. Pauline B Jones
  2. Julie Glover
  3. Ryan King
  4. Debra Kristi
  5. Jordan L. Hawk

I launched this blog at the end of June last year with a ton of support and encouragement from my WANATribe Blogging for Brand classmates and WANA founder, Kristen Lamb.

So what’s in store for Mermaids Don’t Do Windows in 2013?

  • Three posts a week.
  • Pony reveal!
  • A visit from a Norse god. Yes, Thor is coming to visit me soon!  He will get to see what Texas is all about.
  • A blog upgrade and some tweaks.
  • A posting schedule.  What?! 
  • More housework avoidance (and maybe some decluttering projects).

Happy New Year to you all!

Thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to hear what you have going on for the new year.

It’s a Brave New World

There is no such thing as a free lunch on the internet, especially where social media is a huge part of our everyday lives.

I’m a newbie to social media of all kinds having decided to jump into cyberspace only a few months ago.  Family and friends told me to join Facebook for years before I did.  They tried to cajole (“It’s fun!”), urge (“You’ll love it!”), and shame (“If you were on Facebook, you could see the pictures of ….”) me into getting online.

I don’t know why I resisted.  I loved the idea of catching up with my family, high school and college friends.  Admittedly, it creeped me out when my brother told me that one of my ex-boyfriends found him on Facebook while looking for me.  I had no interest in reconnecting with that guy–ever.  It was too stalker-ish for my liking.

A couple of years later, I finally decided that I was missing out on everything else out there because one ex from eons ago creeped me out.  So I dove in.  Well, no, it wasn’t a dive at all.

It was a tiny toe in first to get a feel for it.  I have a few rules.  I don’t use my kids’ names, and pictures are few and far between of them.  I do the same here at Mermaids Don’t Do Windows.  I know I’m not the only person who does this, so I don’t worry about it.  Nor do I apologize for it.  Is that too protective?   I don’t think so.

At any rate, I have enjoyed catching up with family I don’t see often enough and friends all over the place and new friends closer to home.

So how does a video about  a psychic go with activity on social media?

How is it possible that this man knew where one woman went to school or the color of one young man’s motorcycle?  What powers did he have that allowed him to know that girl’s bank account number or another’s best friend?

This was a public service announcement from Belgium that called people out for putting personal information on social media sites.

It is a Brave New World, isn’t it?   Our lives are being monitored all over the internet (not just on Facebook) for the world to see.  In Huxley’s novel, people were monitored for how they did their jobs and lived their lives.   Today, in the real world, companies monitor employees’ computer use and job productivity.  Companies review perspective employees’ web activity before deciding to hire them.  Unscrupulous people find ways to take advantage of others, which is what the video warned about.

Should we be more careful about what we post in social media places?  Probably.

Should we use common sense about what we write on our walls and what pictures we post?  Absolutely.

It’s hard to avoid moving through life without some kind of technology tracking what we buy (store reward cards) or where we drive (traffic light cameras) or what we do on our phones (it’s all stored somewhere).  Some might argue that Big Brother is indeed watching. (No, I don’t mean the TV show.)

Speaking of TV shows…Last night, we watched How I Met Your Mother (click to watch the episode).  Robin’s not-very-smart boyfriend told her how a fortune teller he’d visited knew so much about him–just from seeing his social security number, driver’s license, and credit cards (about 6:25 into the episode).  It’s hilarious, because we all know better.

Don’t we?

You Had Me at “Lighted Keyboard”

One day my husband asked me if I wanted a MacBook.  I hesitated.  I’m a computer girl.   I use three different versions of Windows at work.  I understand how the operating systems work.  He was asking me if I wanted to learn yet another operating system, and I didn’t like it.  His Mac baffled me even more than his iPhone did.

Honey: “You need to upgrade from that tiny netbook.”

Me: “But I like my netbook.  It fits in my purse bottomless pit.”

My netbook with its custom skin.

Honey: “You’ll like the size of the screen better.”

Me: “I don’t use the netbook for that much stuff.  I don’t need bigger.”

Honey: “You’re blogging now.”

Me: “I’ll think about it.”  What I was thinking: “I don’t want to think about it.  Mac scares me.”

Later that afternoon, I was typing away at our home computer in the study.  It got dark in the room as the sun went down.  I had to turn the light on so I could continue working.

You can stop laughing.

I’d like to think I’m a fairly decent typist, er, keyboarder.  I took typing in high school on a electric typewriter and was good enough to earn the privilege to type on one of the fancy advanced ones that had correction tape.

I’m not saying I was great and error free. Being able to type came in handy in college when I had to write ten page papers.  (I didn’t feel sorry for my friends when they complained about three pages.)

By the time I graduated from grad school, typing class was called keyboarding.  Students learned on computers–disabled backspace key, no correction tape.  I still call it typing.

Here’s the thing.  I can type without looking at the keyboard.  I can type with my eyes closed.  I cannot type in the dark.

Seriously, you can stop laughing now.

What is it that makes my fingers completely misbehave when the sun goes down and darkens my home office?  It’s not as if my fingers can see what they are typing.

My husband walked by and said, “The Mac has a lighted keyboard.”

Sold!

He could have lead with that feature.

Since then, I’ve been learning how to navigate my updated MacBook Pro.  Switching desktops, deleting files, finding files–it was enough to overwhelm me at first.  I told a friend (an avid Mac user) and he welcomed me to the Dark Side.

The double-finger and triple-finger swiping are getting comfortable.  So much so that I tried double-finger scrolling on my work laptop this week.  Just so you know, it didn’t work, and I was disappointed.  How did that happen so fast, my acclimating to the Dark Side that is Apple?

My little netbook with its custom made skin sits quietly in a corner waiting for me to use it. Sorry, it’s not going to happen. It doesn’t have a lighted keyboard.

Now, I can type in the dark. *happy dance*

Are you still laughing?  What kind of computer do you use?

If you’re checking, here are my ROW80 goals for the week:

  • Finish the minutes for the PTA meeting and send them for approval.
  • The back garden beds are ready, so now I need to plant kale, spinach, and carrot seeds.
  • Write as if I’m not a NaNoWriMo rebel this week.  😀
  • Make chicken soup and venison stew for the week.
  • Get back to 3 or more blogging posts a week.

Because My Life Isn’t Busy Enough: #WANA1012 and #ROW80

Here at Mermaids Don’t Do Windows, I don’t usually write about writing.  Today, I’m making an exception because I have some goals to post for October 1st.  I promise something thought provoking (I hope) for TINSTAAFL Tuesday.

Blogging Dreams

The day I realized that I must start a blog was the day after I returned home from DFWCON (DFW Writers’ Conference) in May.  This conference opened my eyes to the opportunities out there.

Then I started having dreams.  For three nights after the conference, I dreamed about blogging. I don’t remember anything about the dreams other than the distinctive feeling that I had to start a blog.  I still knew nothing about blogging.

I found Kristen Lamb’s blog.  I attended two of her sessions at the conference, found out she went to my alma mater (icing!), and joined WANATribe The next logical step was to take her blogging class.

Still, there were more blogging dreams.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Really?  Enough already.  I got the message.

So was born Mermaids Don’t Do Windows.  I hope you are enjoying my fledgling attempts.  I have enjoyed being here and meeting great blogging friends.

Did I mention I still have blogging dreams every so often?  Yep.  Blogging for Brand class 1012, here I come.  I have so much to learn and accomplish.  And I’d really like for the blogging dreams to stop harrassing me.

Writing Dreams: #ROW80

October 1 is also the beginning of Round 4 of A Round of Words in 80 days — ROW80.  Since I’m writing, I might as well make myself accountable with the support of other writers who also have families, other jobs, housework, stuff going on — lives.

I set my own pace and my own goals.  I post them here for the entire world to see.  Here goes:

  • Write at least 750 words every day on my middle grade WIP.  Otherwise, my daughter will get very, very mad at me (she’s my #1 beta reader).
  • Submit and query my adult fantasy manuscript, HUNTER MOON.  It’s all shiny.  *pet pet*
  • Work out 45 minutes to an hour at least 4 times a week.
  • Read a craft book. We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media might be a good place to start since I’m taking Kristen Blogging for Brand class.  (I’ve been reading it slowly.)
  • Plant carrot, spinach, and lettuce seeds to accompany the broccoli plants.
  • Post at least 3 times a week here at Mermaids Don’t Do Windows.

Those are my goals.  I may tweak them as I go, but that’s the beauty of ROW80.  I can adapt when life happens.

Everyone is busy.  I’d love to hear what you’re up to.  It’s your turn for some pimping and promoting in the comments section.  What are your current projects and goals?  Do you have any completed goals that you are especially proud of? Share some linky love.