A Writer’s Day at Suits & Spooks LA

How on earth, you may ask, did I end up at an event entitled Suits & Spooks? Being neither….

I do go to plenty of conferences for the day job but they’re all about science and Mars Rovers and process improvements. I go to conferences as an author too, of course, and learn to hone my skills, improve the plotting and heighten the tension…but the purpose of Suits & Spooks per their website is “to bring members from…the U.S. Intelligence Community together with innovative thinkers from a wide variety of disciplines including technology, finance, entertainment and science, for a day of frank discussions and innovative problem solving.”

Not exactly a description of SF and Paranormal Romance Author me, although I do pride myself on being an out of the box thinker, but Jeffrey Carr, the organizer of the event, was kind enough to add me to the attendees.

I went primarily because it was a rare opportunity to hear Rob DuBois speak. Rob is the author of the soon-to-be-released book Powerful Peace: A Navy SEAL’s Lessons On Peace From A Lifetime At War (due to be released on July 4th). He and I have been twitter friends for quite a while and I’d been privileged to read an advance copy of the book. Here’s part of the book blurb from Amazon:

In Powerful Peace, J. Robert DuBois takes on a crucial, unprecedented mission for a U.S. Navy SEAL: the relentless pursuit of interpersonal and international peacemaking. With gut wrenching candor and surprising moments of comedy, he narrates a personal journey through decades of conflict, its often-absurd origins, its ever-present innocent victims, and its potential solutions. Most importantly, Robert delivers practical recommendations for private citizens and policy makers alike. He offers rare context for students of international relations, community leaders, and soldiers bound for unfamiliar lands.

I’ll be having Rob on the blog in the future for an interview (and I tweet about the book and related topics fairly often). For now I’ll simply say it was a privilege to hear him speak to the concepts in the book and to have a chance to discuss Powerful Peace with him.

But I also enjoyed the other speakers (unfortunately missed a few due to being caught on the 405 Freeway “Rampture” gridlock on the drive down). It was fascinating to watch as each person spoke, how others in the room discovered possible synergies or connections – the networking was amazing. The ground rule for the day is nonattribution so I can’t go into detail but I came away with my mind buzzing about some opportunities for future involvement, with Jim Hake’s Spirit of America, for example.

From their website:

We provide whatever our troops need to help the local people: sewing machines, blankets, clean water, job training, expert solutions and more. This builds goodwill. It makes our troops safer and more successful in their mission…

Me being me, I gathered up a few kernels of potential plot ideas here and there during the day, for the future of course!

But as a concerned citizen of our country and the world, perhaps the most encouraging thing this civilian Mother and Grandmother came away with was a renewed feeling that individuals can contribute to solving the world’s problems, to tackling some seemingly behemoth problems facing us…we can all make a difference. I was encouraged by the caliber of the men and women in the room, and the things they’ve undertaken in various areas I can’t mention in the blog! My brain is still whirling, two days later, over all the topics that were discussed and the possibilities and ramifications.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and actually, if they ever have another Suits & Spooks in the LA area, I’ll be signing up to attend again.

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