Lightning and lightning bug

As I've just rediscovered for the zillionth time, Mark Twain was right: there's a big difference between lightning and a lightning bug.  There is also a big difference between "almost finished with my novel" and "turned in my manuscript to the editor." Big. But I did it. Late, late, late at night I attached it to an email and pushed send.

I took a day off (okay, I was exhausted) and then wrote up the titles for the three lectures I'll be giving at Kindling Words in a few weeks. For the last month or so I've been chucking ideas into a folder. I've got a nice, fat folder. Now, time to organize my thoughts.

Here are my three titles:
1) Steal from the best: strengthen your characters using narrative non-fiction techniques, Chinese medicine, and a few other tricks.
2) Kick ‘em when they’re down: complicate your characters relationships with each other and their environment.
3) Consolidate your gains: get Mean Barbara off your back and fly in new directions.
I'm really looking forward to the retreat.

And while I was busy finishing the novel, we managed to have a birthday party for Tom. Kind of an exuberant guy, as you can see by the photo. This party wouldn't have happened had it been left to me, but our son Will made Vietnamese pho, we invited over a few dozen of Tom's closest friends (like I said, exuberant) and we had a feast.

The boys decided to play a little music to wind down the party, and Sophie who is three-about-to-turn-four shut down the place by dancing all night.

She has now dubbed our place "the house with the band." I think she's under the impression there is always live music here....