In November 1993, I was invited by Selwa Anthony, literary agent extraordinaire, to attend an all-day seminar and gala dinner for her little band of authors, and soon-to-be-published authors, at the Novatel Hotel in Brighton-le-Sands. It was called "Succeed Some More in '94" (and was a follow-up to a very successful dinner the previous year, "Succeed With Me in '93", named for a book she'd just written with Jimmy Thomson).
At the time, I was deep into my proposal-and-sample-chapters for a book on the social history of the Aussie soap opera, Number 96, and the wonderfully encouraging Selwa was going to agent it for me. While that project did the rounds of the publishers - twice - and gathered a lovely collection of encouraging rejection slips, it was eventually seemingly accepted by Allen & Uwin (for two weeks) in 1995, who then declined to offer a contract on it after all. Sigh.
So, rather than try to self-publish the thing instead, I launched the briefest of details as a website and started working on some other book ideas. Despite the fact that, so far, I haven't earned Selwa any percentages, she keeps inviting me back. Yesterday was "Succeed, it's Heaven in 2007".
Selwa has faith in me that I'll eventually get my act together and complete something both literate and commercial! I did get an article published in a "Starlog" magazine for Star Trek: The Next Generation (an interview with actor Leonard John Crofoot, who played Data's little gold android offspring). Mind you, I have incorporated a lot of skills learned at "Succeed with Me" seminars into my daily life, and it's paid off in so many other ways than just financial and literary ones. There has been advice I've used to tighten my book reviews for Scan, improve my mental health and feng shui, lose many kilograms, and how to use visual clues to tell when people are telling the truth. I've also been part of Selwa's unique brand of networking, helping out numerous other authors with their various writing projects. And I knew all the right answers when being interviewed for my editing position at Scan.
From November 1995, when Selwa added her annual Sassy Awards to the night's entertainment, it really added some glitz and glamour to the nighttime activities. Ten or so trophies are given out each year, to Selwa's most successful authors or editors. (Feeling a bit like the ultimate phony, as Selwa's longest-attending "author" who's never actually earnt her any $$$$, I even received a Sassy myself, in 2000, for my "Positive Attitude", from that year's Sassy presenter, Harry M Miller.) Last night, Toni Lamond was back, along with Maria Venuti (this year's Sassy presenter), Jeanne Little, science fantasy author Ian Irvine, Jennifer Green, Barb Angell, Tara Moss... And so many more.
The most amazing thing about this year's seminar was the first sentence uttered in the first presentation. Helen Hope, an astrologer who has written 2007's twelve "Daily Horoscope" guides for Hinkler Books, asked for a show of hands as to who were the Sagittarians. Had we noticed that we Sagittarians seemed to have lost some of our magic in recent years? We all nodded "Yes".
It seems that yesterday, 25th November 2006, marked the return of Jupiter into the sign of Sagittarius! Pluto has been in Sagittarius since 1995, coincidentally(?) the year my "Number 96" book was rejected. Now, thanks to Jupiter, "a big year" is coming my way: one that "may forever see as crucial". My ruling planet of Jupiter returning is cause for great celebration - and Pluto's exit from Sagittarius makes 2007 "crunch time". (Notice how it ties in to my news a few days ago that I'm back in the school library next year?) Thanks Helen!
Time to kick in my "Positive Attitude" again - and finally redeem myself and earn that Sassy!
Ah, well, back to the manuscript...