I still feel a twinge of sadness when I see the spine of Men of Bronze on my bookshelf. Why sadness? Should I not feel boundless elation and the overwhelming urge to dance? I feel all those emotions, but its the sadness that’s most poignant — sadness that I will never again have a first book.

A first book evokes the same emotions as first love. There’s the heady rush of attraction as contact is made, sometimes across a room crowded with thousands of other manuscripts, all of them competing for attention. There’s indescribable euphoria as you’re chosen; intimacy flares as the heart of your manuscript is laid bare and what was once pure animal magnetism turns to something deeper. The months presaging a book’s release are a whirlwind of emails, phone calls, and letters. It is a dance, and it grows more frenetic with each passing day. You sweat, your pulse pounds, until finally . . . fruition. Then, in the afterglow of creative passion, you realize your book’s grown beyond you; you have to let it go, let it make its way in the world. This happens with every book. But, the first . . . ah, the first . . .

So, yes, I feel a touch of sadness when I look at the spine of Men of Bronze; it’s the same melancholy you’d feel if you came across a picture of an old lover. My consolation is knowing that, with every project, I can return to the worlds of my imagination and fall in love all over again.

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