There’s nothing quite like the experience of holding your finished book at the end of the publishing process. After writing, waiting for editing, designing, and working through multiple revisions, you’ve got it! Reminds me of a story from my childhood about a peach…

As a kid growing up in Southern California, I looked forward to two things every summer: our annual July trip to Minnesota, and the homegrown peaches that were waiting for us when we returned home in August. Every summer the peach tree that leaned against the fence in my backyard would produce the most juicy, sweet peaches imaginable. My family would get so many of them that my mother spent many hot summer days in the kitchen canning fruit and making jam. I loved that tree.

So when my father decided to try out his tree-trimming skills on my beloved tree one winter, I was horrified. My sister, mother, and I stood helplessly by and protested as he trimmed a little here, a little there, and then a little too much here and there until the entire tree consisted of only the trunk and a few large branches. Don’t get me wrong, I love my dad, but this was a sin approaching the unpardonable. It didn’t surprise any of us the following summer when our poor tree produced no peaches at all. “Take heart,” my dad reassured us. “We’ll have peaches next summer.” And so we waited. But the next summer came and went without any peaches either. And so did the following four summers, until we had given up on ever seeing another peach from that tree again.

And then one fateful August day my aunt and uncle came to visit.

Now my aunt and uncle lived on several acres of land in Northern California, and grew many different kinds of fruit trees, so we told them about our beloved peach tree. Immediately, my uncle headed to the backyard with the rest of us following. He stood at the base of the tree, rubbing his chin and looking up into the branches. Then he said the unthinkable.

“Well, there’s a peach right there!”

Our eyes followed the direction his finger was pointing, and there, almost hidden between branches and leaves, was the largest, most perfect-looking peach any of us had ever seen. My dad hauled the long fruit picker from the garage, raised it up to the peach, and plucked it from the tree. He said it was so ripe it nearly fell into the basket on its own volition. We stood over it, marveling at its size, which rivaled a small cantaloupe. We couldn’t wait to taste it, so we sectioned out six large pieces—one piece for each of us.

And the taste? Well, it was the sweetest, juiciest . . . the absolute best peach any of us had ever eaten!

As far as I know, that was the last peach our tree ever produced. A few years later my sister went away to college, and I followed the year after that. Then my parents moved to a different house. But I’ll never forget the summer of the greatest peach. Was it worth the wait? You betcha!