It's a cliché moment: a cardboard carton delivered to your front door. You open the box, and there's the reveal: years of work distilled into 6"x9" stacks of bound paper. You and your family are overjoyed! You're George McFly, validated as a novelist at last.
The carton came to my house yesterday. My third novel, Eve's Daughters, published by Moonshine Cove. Gorgeous cover, lovely printing. A real book!
I can barely remember what it was like the first time I received a carton full of books. I wrote my first novel during MFA studies way back in 1991. The revised manuscript was finally printed six years later. The carton was delivered and I opened the box, but that day our beloved dog was in the University of Pennsylvania animal hospital and we didn't think he'd make it. The moment I'd been waiting for all my life had come, but I couldn't give my precious book its due joy.
Since then, I've been lucky enough to have two more novels published, and two poetry books. Each time the carton of new books is delivered, I'm thrilled to see it. A vague idea became tangible, and I can hold it in my hands, feel how smooth the cover is, smell the ink. But there's only one first book for an author, and thanks to a sick dog, I won't ever know what it's like to feel uncomplicated happiness on opening that carton. My happiness was all for our dog, who, thankfully, recovered from a complicated surgery and lived another three years.
So if I'm a little excited right now to be holding the new book, please indulge me. Once in a while, a cliché is just right.