Tag Archives: WANA

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This conference was affordable, informative, and fun for traditional, independent, and unpublished authors alike.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.

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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!

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.

Eating Green Bean Blossoms

I completely spaced for my Tuesday post this week.  I’ll have something crazy for next week. 🙂

Last weekend was beautiful.  It was perfect for gardening.  My husband and I conscripted Daughter 1 to help clean up the summer garden beds in the backyard.  Daughter 2 cared only about whether we were going to plant the seeds.  She went inside when she got the news that the beds had to be cleaned up and prepared first.  Deserter!

Out came the eight-feet-tall okra plants.  I salvaged the last of the edibles, and Daughter 1 picked a few large ones for seeds.  The cuccuzza (Italian squash) vines were taken down from the fence they’d taken over.  I found one small squash that will be yummy in something.  The last of the green beans yielded a small handful of beans and blossoms.

What?! Eat flowers?

The blossoms are edible and wonderful.  They taste surprisingly like green beans.  The ones I picked ended up on my lunch salad the next day. Yum!

Before you start eating flowers, make sure the blossoms are edible.  This article about edible flowers by Linda Stradley at whatscookingamerica.net explains how to choose edibles.  Don’t use blossoms from a garden with pesticides.

Recently, I learned that squash blooms are also edible.  I wish I’d known that when we had squash growing this summer.  The Seasonal Chef’s squash blossom recipes are now on my list for next summer.  You can eat these without affecting a plant’s squash production. That’s not the case with green beans because the blossom is the bean eventually.

I’ve grown and eaten nasturtiums.  The leaves and flowers add a little something to a salad.  Dandelion flowers aren’t something I’ll add to a meal, even though they are abundant in my yard (LOL).

What do you think?  Would you consider eating edible blossoms?  Have you done so before?  If so, what did you eat and how did it taste?

Finally, #ROW80 update:

  • The back garden beds are ready for planting prep.   Need to turn the soil and add some compost.
  • Work out and eat better. Food does not define me.  Yep, working on this.
  • I’m a NaNoWriMo Rebel–finish the WIP and start editing. 15-20K is the goal.  Got 50 pages edited for structure and found plot holes to fill in.  I’ve written only 1 K and Daughter 1 banished all fiction reading (unless I’m reading out loud to the girls) until I finish the draft.
  • Blogging class is in full swing (WANA International).  I have a list of topics to finish for homework.  Still working on this.

Vote, Because You Can

I’d like to encourage all American registered voters to vote.  I voted early.

I often hear people who think that their vote doesn’t count, so why bother.

Why bother?   Because you have the right to! 

“US Constitution” by Jonathan on wordle.com

Some people say the electoral process is broken or the media is biased.  Please, tell me those aren’t your excuses for not voting.

Millions of people vote for reality talent shows (American Idol, Dancing with the Stars–to name only two of them).  Even if you take out those voters who aren’t registered voters, there are still many people who are eligible to vote who choose not to.  There have been recent elections that were decided by fewer than 600 votes.  Think about that before you decide to skip the polls.  Be included in the statistics of votes counted.

My late great-grandmother was able to vote in her twenties because women finally earned the right to vote.  I think about what she would think about it all today.  She wouldn’t sit by and say, “My vote doesn’t count, so why bother.”   Nope, she’d say, “Get off your rear and vote.  Be grateful you can.”

If you didn’t have the right to vote, you’d be upset about it.  Don’t let apathy or annoyance let you neglect a hard-earned right many people before us had to fight for.

Take a few minutes to read about your local candidates and vote.  Even if you decide to vote for one of the other Presidential candidates (scroll to the bottom to see all the candidates–nominated and declared–the list is longer than you probably imagined), your vote counts, because you declare who you want.

Go to your county website for voting information and sample ballots, so you know where to go and what you’ll vote on for the local and state positions.

Julie Glover’s post today about voting is great.  It was as if she read my mind this morning.  Check it out.

Finally, #ROW80 for the week:

  • The back garden beds are ready for planting prep.
  • Work out and eat better.  Food does not define me.
  • I’m a NaNoWriMo Rebel–finish the WIP and start editing. 15-20K is the goal.  Got 50 pages edited for structure and found plot holes to fill in.
  • Blogging class is in full swing (WANA International).  I have a list of topics to finish for homework.

A Witch, a Vampire, and a Skullhead

That’s what to you get when you combine good friends, a photo, and PicMonkey.  I was going to save this for Halloween, but I have to share the creepy now!

Deadly Sisters

Halfway through a scrapbooking* weekend with two of my close girlfriends, we took this picture.  I’d been dying to try out the Halloween effects on PicMonkey, which is an online picture editing tool.  (It’s free, but they have special royal effects that are free for a limited period of time.)

The site is super easy to use.  (Thanks to Kristen Lamb for telling me about it!)  Just upload your pictures and start playing.

Deadly Witch: Werewolf Fighter

The witch (Rachel) needed a gray complexion, pock marks, and witchy eyes.  (I love the eye effects!)  Black hair and a gray streak finished the look. Uh, no.  Something was missing.  In the standard editing area, we found the perfect lip color (make the color as subtle, or not as you want).  Something was still missing.  I tried a Frankenstein-type scar across her forehead, but then she suggested that this witch had a fight with a werewolf (and won, by the way).  The clawed scar over her eye was the perfect touch.

Deadly Vampire: Neck Biter

With a smile like that, Shannon had to be a vampire.  Have some fangs, sister, to go with that well-fed complexion and the brilliant eyes.  The fangs were the hardest to get right.  Nothing cutesy here. Don’t you think the veins add just the right touch?

Deadly Skullhead: Death Bringer

The Day of the Dead settings looked too fun not to use them on my own face.  I tried to make myself purple (seriously, you can pick any color!), but I didn’t look deadly at all.  Shannon nixed the purple right away because I looked cute–if a purple skullhead person can look not scary.  A pale gray complexion replaced the red one that replaced the original purple one.  I learned about layers and how the undo option works. You can’t undo an area after you move on to another area without undo-ing each step in between.  I promise that my hair isn’t really that gray.  A few pale veins on the bone complexion made the effect deeper.  Don’t you just want to smile back at me?

Happy Halloween

That’s my Halloween costume this year–right there in that picture.  It was a fun weekend with two of my close friends (I have more traveling stories about these two) and our friend Deb, who joined us briefly but left before I thought about this picture.

As I saved the photo, Rachel asked, “Is this going on your blog?”

Mwhahahahahaha!  Of course it is.  No way was I going to spend that much time on a photo and then not share it.  It was my evil plan the second we took the picture.  <evil grin>

*Scrapbooking at a fabulous crafters bed and breakfast doesn’t mean I have to scrapbook.  🙂 It’s just easier to tell people that’s where I’m going.

And now for my #ROW80 Update:

  • Need to work on the back garden beds to get ready for more planting.  It was too cold this weekend.
  • Work out and eat better.  Food does not define me, especially after two weekends away.
  • After a glorious weekend of research, I have rearranged my middle grade WIP outline and written 5k words.  Now, time to finish the draft (perhaps a mini NaNoWriMo?).
  • Blogging class and logline class are in full swing (WANA International).  Homework is progressing. 🙂
 

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.