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2007 Spring - Wisconsin Writers Association

2007 Spring - Wisconsin Writers Association

2007 Spring - Wisconsin Writers

Wisconsin Regional Writers' Association The Wisconsin Regional Writer Volume 56, Number 1 Spring 2007 On the web at www.wrwa.net Real Writers Submit Looking For Crème Brulé in the Places We Stay by Barb Jensen When the Wisconsin Regional Writers’ Board met at the Mead Hotel in Wisconsin Rapids for a tour of the place two years ago, we were treated to a free dessert after lunch. “Oh my gosh! They have Tiramasu!” Roxanne Aehl said. “I love Tiramasu!” our former president Kathy McGwinn added. “What’s Tiramasu?” I asked. “It’s this wonderful light dessert made with lady fingers and coffee lacquer.” “If Tiramasu is on the menu, I order it.” So I tried Tiramasu. My friends were right. It was absolutely delightful. The other day I got to thinking about how choosing sites for our WRWA conferences is like looking at a dessert menu. The Mead Hotel was definitely Tiramasu. “What do you mean, you triple sheet your beds?” I asked when Cindy Richter-Groshek gave us a tour of the Mead’s hotel rooms. “Where does the third sheet go?” “It goes on top of the blanket,” Cindy said. “I have never seen that, but it does make sense,” I added. The Mead Hotel was first class all the way. The room my husband and I shared was spacious and lovely. It was clean and neat. The food was fantastic. When a mix-up occurred with a few of the meals, the WRWA members were reimbursed for their entire meal. The Mead Hotel is one of those places I know WRWA will go back to. The Best Western Arrowhead Lodge and Suites in Black River Falls was like a chocolate soufflé. Except for Earl, the rest of the WRWA Board Members had never stayed there. We had often driven by this cozy little motel along Interstate 94 with its orange moose out front, but after our warm and welcome stay, we wondered why we hadn’t sampled it more often. The Holiday Inn in Manitowoc (where our Spring Conference will be held) is like angel food cake served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. It’s one of those standby desserts that never fails to please. The WRWA has held numerous conferences at this Holiday Inn, but because of their gracious hospitality and wonderful accommodations, we know we will be back time and again. The Ramada Inn in Janesville was like a dump cake. Two years ago when I booked it, I would have rated it the Best Ever Chocolate Cake. Four months before our Fall Conference, Janesville writers were e-mailing me, asking if I knew that the motel was closing its doors for good. I didn’t have a clue as to what they were talking about. Fortunately, the Ramada Inn was still in operation when we held our conference. Thanks to Nate Scholze, our Vice President and Program Chair, the speakers chosen were fantastic and most everyone went home with a good taste in their mouth. At the conclusion of every WRWA conference, the attendees are asked to rate our host site. Wouldn’t it be interesting if our host site could rate us? What dessert would we, the WRWA, resemble? After careful consideration, I believe we would be bread pudding. When one of the sites I was negotiating with called the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point to see how many rooms we had booked for a previous conference, the answer was five. Every writer has a right to stay wherever she wishes, but a host site wants to believe that the conference attendees will stay with them. Two years ago when I explained to potential hotels that we have 70 to 80 people attend our Saturday night Jade Ring Banquet, we were not exactly welcomed with open arms. You see, a Saturday night wedding could easily draw 300 dinner guests who drink heartily to the occasion. Now that we have changed our Jade Ring Banquet to a Sunday noon dinner, hotels are a little more receptive. But I still have to promise that we will promptly evacuate the banquet rooms on Saturday at 4 p.m. When negotiating with the business manager at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells, I was quoted a price of $119 a night. Writing is not a lucrative business for everyone, so I knew anything over $100 would be frowned upon by our members. I tactfully explained that one of our WRWA members said he stayed at the Kalahari for an insurance conference and paid $88 a night. “With 500 attendees, we can do that,” the woman said. `“Five hundred attendees? We don’t even have 500 members,” I said. Needless to say, we are not staying at the Kalahari, unless we can renegotiate the price. With roughly 70 members attending our Spring Conferences and 80 in the fall, we are not the most requested dessert on the menu. (Continued on p. 2)

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