SIWC gave us a live security demo just like TV, for Master Class Day

Juneau AK Mendenhall Glacier with Fireweed in the foreground

The expected arrival of two former US presidents, Bill Clinton and George Bush, at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel on the same day of the master classes of the SIWC gave a live demo of the security set-up for such an event. Why did the presidents come to the Sheraton Guilford Hotel? For an economic summit.  An story there somewhere!

Roads closed, parking compromised, guards at the elevator doors and populating the lobby, and a heavy presence at every entrance. Secret service, Security, RCMP, crew cuts and suits, everywhere … casting eyes to and fro and maintaining that special blank blind look.

I had waited too long and barreled toward my favorite bathroom, suddenly blocked by two guards. As I pleaded with my eyes, already tinged yellow, a tall buff ‘suit’ wearing a squiggly wire leading from his ear to the back of his neck, and tucked down behind his open size 17 collar, gave me the, “One more word and I’ll shoot.” look.

Rumors? The Surrey Fire Department Hazmat team was on the way. Thursday slipped into the late afternoon, and they all disappeared.  Not a trace. Thankfully.

The writer’s conference rose above the milling ‘suits,’ limitations and elevator delays. Workshops, presenters from Canada, the US,  Scotland, and beyond, the MC nicknamed ‘Betty White of the North,’ the food variety served buffet style, the sharing at the round tables during keynotes and meals, the entertainment in “Shock Theatre” provided by presenters, and the hotel Sheraton Guildford service—all drew over 550 attendees into camaraderie—as we absorbed the full circle of instruction of immense value to writers.

Saturday night’s highlight, with a Royal Canadian Mounty standing on stage for protection, began as the audience buzzed with anticipation. Robert Dugoni, best selling author and presenter, stood beside the auctioneer, watched and perspired, as KC Dyer she auctioned off his T-shirt, the winner to strip

1958 photo of Mounties in Uniform, Musical Ride Cranbrook BC

the shirt away on stage.   The crowd cheered and laughed until muscles couldn’t bear it.  We heard a few bids by men and female shouts, “How much for the Mountie?” Bidders hiked the price to buy the symbol of the black T- shirt, “This day, we will write!” Our motto after his keynote speech Friday brought us to our feet. KC Dyer managed, using innuendo, to get the bidding up to $400, the final bid echoing through the banquet room from a male voice. Anyone want to guess who got Robert Dugoni’s T-shirt?  We laughed long and hard, loving every minute.

Congratulations all who put the conference together—atmosphere warm, superb education, agent/editor appointments plentiful, blue pencils with authors reading our work valuable, and workshops to hone our skills in writing, business, social networking, films and the future.

Many writers and presenters are heading to ECWC.  Wishing you in GSRWA another “best conference ever.”  Sorry I’ll miss it this year.

Last year I won a raffle basket.  Anyone who comments will be drawn for a free book, Donald Maass “Writing the Breakout Novel.” And if you guess the specialty item I won, you get an extra ticket in the draw pot to win.

My Blog plan is to write once weekly on a variety of topics,  so I hope you’ll stop by each Tuesday.  Cheers!

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diana Murdock
    Oct 27, 2011 @ 11:14:45

    Well, that was exciting! I still have yet to go to one of those conferences. Now you have me jazzed to go! Thanks for sharing your experience!!

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    • Marion Spicher
      Oct 27, 2011 @ 14:55:43

      Yes, exciting. I’m gathering my notes, putting things away, and longing for my daughter who attended with me. I refused the wrench when I dropped her off at the airport, but the hollow spot infiltrated today somehow. S’okay. Shows how much I love her.

      Now to roll up my sleeves and apply what I learned to the manuscript. I’m going to break up the challenge into small bits so I don’t face a giant.

      Thanks for stopping in, Diana

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  2. jennifer tanner
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 21:15:29

    Obama was in San Francisco. Between his arrival and the anti-Wall street protesters and protesters in general, traffic was a mess for a few hours. Sounds like you had a great time at the conference…AND..with the hub bub in the hotel, I truly think you’ve got the components of a great suspense thriller.

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  3. patriciasands
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 18:51:07

    You sound ‘pumped’ Marion! Conferences like this do wonders for motivation!

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    • Marion Spicher
      Oct 25, 2011 @ 19:41:28

      I laughed when I saw one of the tweets on #siwc2011, one word. “Recovery!” That about covers it. Looking for those ducks so I can get them all in a row! The motivation is high.

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  4. Callene Rapp
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 17:35:10

    Wow! It sounds like you had a great time! What a fun conference.

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    • Marion Spicher
      Oct 25, 2011 @ 19:22:58

      I did, Callene … and to increase the ‘special’ quotient, my daughter flew up from Texas and joined me. Took her to the airport today. At 5:30 AM. ZZZzzzzzz.

      Other writer friends from Bellingham area were there as well.

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  5. Pamela Beason
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 17:06:36

    Wow! Sounds more eventful than your average writing conference. I will definitely attend next year if there are shirts to be ripped off.

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    • Marion Spicher
      Oct 25, 2011 @ 19:19:21

      That shirt just keeps getting more expensive! Reserve October 19, 20, 21, 22 if you mean it! Maybe he’ll do it again. Did you figure out who got to take the shirt off? I am suspicious and think there might have been a bit of collusion.

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  6. Laurie Ryan
    Oct 25, 2011 @ 16:05:37

    What an exciting time you had at the conference. Wow. I hope you took notes for that future story. 🙂
    I already have Donald Maass’ book and LOVE it. And I will miss seeing your smiling face at ECWC, Marion.
    Welcome home!

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    • Marion Spicher
      Oct 25, 2011 @ 19:11:50

      I will miss you and many others at ECWC. By the way, I didn’t mean to “like” my own page! I have no idea how that happened!

      I used my echo smartpen at the conference with which I wrote notes on their special notepad, and recorded the sessions. I described it in an old blog. I hook my pen via USB to my computer and download both the handwritten notes and the recording. The notes downloaded well. I haven’t listened to a recording yet … I’ll let you know how it worked.

      Have a great conference, and hope you come home jazzed!

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