Tag Archives: writing

“Are You Still Here?”

It’s been an entire year since I decided to move my blog to my own domain. It’s like a blogiversary, or something. I’d love to see you at http://dianabeebe.com!

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My new website: almost the same, but better…

Yeah, because nothing much is going on here anymore. During the month of April, I’m posting in the A to Z Challenge. So much fun! Here’s the link to the first in the series.

In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “What are you still doing here?” ūüėÄ

"What are you still doing here?" Go over to Diana's new website!

“What are you still doing here?” Go over to Diana’s new website!

 

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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.¬† ūüėČ See you soon!

Someone make sure I’m not a pod person!

I did something¬†the other day–it was a thing that I don’t ever do. It horrified me a little. ¬†I don’t know if I’ve been taken over by a pod person.

Movie poster Copyright 1993, Warner Bros

Movie poster Copyright 1993, Warner Bros

What was the horrible thing that I did?

*whispers* I used the wrong pronoun agreement in a compound phrase in a conversation with another person. (OK, so I said it to my mom-in-law who is also a writer.)

*hangs head*

I’m pleading momentary body snatching.

Why was I so horrified?

I used to teach college English grammar classes–the rules were engrained in my memory.¬† I corrected students to the point that they began correcting each other. Yes, I was the Grammar Police–it was my job–and I enjoyed it.

After I left teaching, I had enough restraint¬†not to correct¬†other people when they broke grammar rules. ¬†(OK, so I don’t correct them out loud–unless they’re my¬†children).

What is this grammar rule that I broke?

My pronoun was body snatched!

These can be tricky sometimes, because they can be subjective (subjects do the action) or objective (an object receives the action).  Hang on for just a second while I get through the technical stuff.

These are examples of compounds that are subjects:

  • Mockingbird and I are going to the store.
  • He and Armadillo planted 50 beans in the garden.

The compound object rule is the one I broke. A compound object is the part of the sentence that receives the action. I said something like:

“Armadillo is going to the store with Mockingbird and I.”

Take the compound out and you can see what I did wrong:

“Armadillo is going to the store with Mockingbird and I.”

It’s pretty obvious that she didn’t go to the store with I. She went to the store with me. A subject behaving like an object is a clear sign of body snatching.

More examples:

Body-snatched pronouns:

  • Mockingbird asked her father and I¬†if she could sell her little sister.
  • Sophie isn’t going to Maui without she and Zander.
  • The pod people want to steal the planet from you and I.

Correct:

  • Mockingbird asked her father and¬† me if she could sell her little sister.
  • Sophie isn’t going to Maui without her and Zander.
  • The pod people want to steal the planet from you and me.

Read them aloud without the compound, and you can hear the difference.

I’ve seen this rule broken on many TV shows lately, too. Some¬†offending characters are those¬†who love to correct others.¬†They are the pod people, and they are snatching the pronouns. I’m sorry, but you can’t correct others if your grammar isn’t perfect.¬† (Grammar Police, remember?)

Maybe now, you’ll hear it in your favorite TV shows, too–like that song you can’t get out of your head.¬† I know. That was evil, but the objective pronoun disagreement pod people must be stopped. I won’t apologize for trying to save our planet before we are all replaced and our planet dies.

That was extreme, I know. The best way to test for pod people is to take out the rest of the compound to see if the pronoun should be the subject (doing the action) or the object (receiving the action) in the sentence.

I promise I won’t ever mess up pronoun agreement in a conversation again. If I do, check for a pod person and the alien race trying to take over our planet. ūüėȬ† (No promises about other grammar rules.)

For a list of wonderful places to check your grammar and look up words, you must check out this post by fellow-Texan, Julie Glover.

Are you a grammar guru?  Do you use the language as it happens in your daily life (what rules?!)? Do you have any grammatical pet peeves? Are you a pod person?

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.

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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. ūüėČ )

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. ūüôā

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.¬† ūüôā¬† 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!

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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:

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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.