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01/23/2021 – Marcia King Gamble

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

May You Live In Interesting Times

I know this should be a post designed to make readers happy about getting rid of 2020. I should avoid politics, after all, most of us are either scared or worn out about current affairs, let me tell you my good news. 2020 ended on a good note for me personally. After a long negotiation, I sold a middle grade non-fiction manuscript to Scholastic. The contract was signed near the end of December - publishing houses do work during the holidays. Unlawful Orders is scheduled to be published in 2022. Mainstream publishing is a long and winding road. My original blogging plan had been to begin a series about my journey along that road. But circumstances have caused me to delay that set of posts.

Exactly a week ago today, I was in the middle of an internal debate. I've heard many of my friends rhapsodize over Bridgerton on Netflix. I am one of the apparently small number of people who do not subscribe to Netflix. To sign up or not sign up was my number one question last Wednesday morning.

I also cared about the results of the runoff elections in Georgia for Senators. The standings were being presented by my chartthrob, Steve Kornacki in his khakis. If you don't know Steve, check out People's Sexiest Man alive 2020 issue. He's definitely the sexiest nerd and deserves to be made a hero in a book.

At the same time, because I multitask, I was watching Congress, as a sort of civics lessons. It’s the first time in my entire life I had paid attention to the electoral vote count. (The first time I even knew it happened.)  Last, but absolutely not least, my fractured mind was working on a new WIP about two girls and a witch at a summer camp in Wisconsin. Never say I can't fracture my brain into multiple pieces. 

Then the news broke in, and it was not about the Georgia results. The only thing on my brain from then until after midnight was the full scale invasion of the US Capital. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about anything else, not the Bridgertons or even my WIP, since.


It’s almost like 2020 was the prologue for every dystopian novel ever written, and now we are entering chapter one. The good news:  sometimes the main story is very different from the prologue. 

I choose to be positive. Just as we read and love romances set in the Regency period or WWII, 2020 and 2021 will someday form the setting for great historical romance novels. You know, books with titles like: My Socially Distant Love, or Love in the days of Insurrection or We Met on Vaccination Day.

In the last few days my life and work have gotten back to normal. I have a virtual meeting with my critique partner scheduled for next week. I’m also in discussions about a new YA project with my agent. Between making final edits on Unlawful Orders, my magic-strewn WIP, and now this possible new project, I can’t help wondering if external conflict might be good for my productivity.

But I can’t help remembering the old curse: “May you live in interesting times.” I bet a lot of us can now understand exactly how cruel that curse is.  


Marcia King-Gamble said...

We are certainly living through interesting times. Like you, 2020 was not all bad for me. Congrats on the new contract. Well deserved!

Liz Flaherty said...

Yes...interesting. I'm sure I'm not alone in that I'm on a search, with hope and prayers, for boring days to come. Congratulations on your contract. I enjoyed your post!

Judith Ashley said...

B.A., I'm with you on the Congress approving the Electoral Votes. And I thought I knew my Civics. I've had enough of "interesting times" at least political. I wouldn't mind a bit of "interesting times" in book sales. Loved your future historical titles! I know I won't be around to read them. I don't have 50 years left.

Deb N said...

B.A. - I think you're going to have to fight me for Steve Kornacki - LOVE him! And I was so excited to hear him announce the GA results. Alas - he got relegated to his on-site cot at MSNBC (where he takes his 15 minute naps every 24 hours) and we never got to see him, while the unbelievable unfolded in front of our eyes. Not only an assault on our democracy but an assault on my "home town." I hope I can get back to work soon. I've been glued to the TV for over a week. Tomorrow - I WILL NOT TURN ON THE TV. Yeah, who am I kidding. Huge congrats on your contract and good luck with all the other projects. 2021 can only go up from here - right?!?!?

Barbara said...

Deb N, maybe we can form a Kornacki club. I get sucked in by the TV every day, all the civics I tried to forget after high school are now sucking me in. I think, hope, pray that if we can get through the next wee with no major trauma 2021 will go up. Like you, I have to turn away from the news, if it wasn't so enticing.

Good luck in the new year to you.

Maggie Lynch said...

Huge congrats, B.A. on the Scholastic contract. They are a wonderful publisher and have a good track record for getting books into schools. Can you tell us what the subject of the nonfiction book is? I'd love to see the preliminary blurb.

I am also a Kornacki nerd lover. Watched him for a week during the November election and aftermath. And, of course, watched him during the Georgia senate races. (So glad those were determined within a couple days instead of being so drawn out with recounts. Then about ten days ago DH and I were watching football and Kornacki was on his board determining the odds for which teams make it to the playoffs and then to the Superbowl. I turned to DH and said, "I didn't know he did football too. I've only seen him on politics on NBC and MSNBC." But data is data and statistical prediction is his forte.

I'm afraid I will continue to be glued to TV each evening until well after the inauguration. I thought 2020 couldn't get worse than 2021, yet it started off that way. I pray that after January 20th we can breathe a little deeper as the new administration demonstrates great competence and gets our country back on track.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great post, B.A. Looks like we're not done with interesting times yet.
I'm looking forward to your new books!