1) How it all began, The Collector's Guide To Clive Cussler.
*Wayne approached Clive with the idea of publishing a collector's book of his writing. "Clive believed in the book from the very beginning" and even paid to have it published. **Gary Conklin helped Wayne with research, along with information from Craig Dirgo, Kerry Shaw, Bill Parmentier, Jack DuBrul, Ellsworth Boyd, Peter Lampack, Bob Shearer, Roger Hahn, Paul McCarthy and Clive Cussler. Printed by Morris Publishing in 2000, this handbook quickly became a hit and filled a huge void for fans and collectors around the world. At the time, Wayne had no idea the impact this book would have on Cussler fans. Everyone who bought a copy was an instant expert on all things Cussler.
*Picture of Wayne and Clive holding book
**Picture of CG2CC
*** Pix - Celebrating 15th year of the CCCS
**** CCCS Logo
2) Getting the word out, Simon & Schuster BB.
The Internet made it possible for everyone to access instant information. It created a new world where Cussler fans could get their fix. Back in the day, bulletin boarded were the original social media. Simon & Schuster, Clive's publisher before he moved to Putnam, had a Clive Cussler BB where fans from all over the world would gather to ask questions and talk about Clive's writing. This was an outlet for fans starving for information, and the *CG2CC caught on and spread like wildfire. The people on the SS CCBB quickly became friends and many later joined the CCCS. The timing was perfect and Wayne quickly became well known for his Cussler Collection and wide knowledge of all things Cussler. There was talk about forming a club and everyone was all for it. One person jokingly called Wayne's book "The Stalkers Guide To Clive Cussler". When the CG2CC sold out, prices went through the roof in the secondary market. ** To fill the demand, the CCCS published a second printing with a different cover from the first edition, but the content was the same.
*Picture of CG2CC
**Picture of CG2CC second printing
3) Bruce and Wayne first meet.
Bruce and Wayne first met on the SS CCBB. Bruce was buying books (cg2cc) from Wayne and reselling them on Ebay and local book stores in his area. Wayne was talking about his collection on the SS CCBB one day and said that anyone who wanted to see his collection was welcome. Bruce asked Wayne if he and his wife could stop by that weekend to see his collection and Wayne said "great". They arrived in Denver Saturday AM, checked into a hotel and called Wayne. Wayne said he and Cristie would meet them at the hotel. Bruce then realized that they had never met in person and Wayne was probably going to check him out before he let him in his house. The meeting at the hotel room went well and Wayne decided Bruce wasn't a nut case serial killer so they went to see his collection. Wayne's collection was in a small bedroom in his basement. At that time, Clive only had 19 books published but Wayne had several hundred books in his collection, no 2 were the same, and stacks of manuscripts, magazines, newspaper articles... The room was so full, there was hardly room for 2 people. They talked about Clive's books, collecting and starting a club. They all got to know each other at dinner and went up on the mountain to a restaurant overlooking the night city lights for coffee and desert. This meeting was the first of many that evolved into a unique working relationship between the two of them.
4) Forming the CCCS.
The CCCS is filed as a Class C-Corporation in the state or Oregon. No payrolls were to ever be taken, everyone involved is on a volunteer basis. In the beginning, Wayne, Bruce and Gary Conklin (who left for personal reasons) were working to get the CCCS started. At first, the idea of starting the CCCS seemed pretty straight forward. They had the name and made the official announcement. Getting a web site up & running and deciding on how to structure the club and set up memberships was another matter. It seemed that all they did was talk about it and no final decisions were being made. They could open the site and build it as they went along, but they didn't want to do that before everything was ready.
Bruce and Wayne's job descriptions were agreed on early. Wayne was in charge of contacting Clive, the writers and anyone of importance. No VIP contact information would be given out to anyone without their permission. Bruce was in charge of everything else...
5) Delays, decisions and personalities.
Months were passing and still no web site. An associate stepped forward and offered to set up a web site for free. Then, a couple of CC Fan clubs* sprung up after the CCCS made their announcement and this really upset Bruce and Wayne. Wayne was having second thoughts about going ahead with it. Bruce told Wayne that In a few years those other guys would be gone and we would be the only ones left standing. It seemed like there was always 1 more thing holding them up. Bruce flew back to Denver with a long list of things that had to be decided before he went home...
*One of the CC fan clubs folded a couple of years ago. The owner asked Wayne for Clive's contact information. He was going to ask Clive if he wanted to buy his web site address (URL)...
6) Web site finally up.
With everything finally decided, the ball got rolling. In a couple of weeks their new web site up and running. Memberships were coming in slow but steady. Everything was doing great. Then the ball dropped. Their web designer said he was going to start charging a $30.00 fee every time we needed something on the site updated. Talk about bait and switch. Bruce and Wayne both felt like they just got stabbed in the back. The cost to update the site would cost more then they were taking in. They felt this whole endeavor was a total mistake. Not knowing what to do next, they decided to sit on it for a couple of days before making any decisions.
7) Rob Greer.
The next day, out of the blue, Bruce got an email from Rob Greer who had just joined the CCCS. Rob's email went on and on berating our web site saying it was obviously set up by an amateur... Sloppy, cluttered, unorganized, jammed up with unnecessary content on the front page that distracted users... This went on for half a page. In the last sentence, he said he was a professional web site designer and would be happy to build and maintain a new web site for free. Perfect timing, this was a no brainier. Bruce immediately forwarded the news to Wayne, followed by a phone call. They felt like they just found the Hunley. Telling the first web designer to "shove it" was going to be icing on the cake.
One of the perks with our new web site was the mailing list. Cusslerlist replaced the SS CCBB for our many of our members. Some didn't like all the Cusslerlist emails, so Cusslerlist was changed to announcements/information only, and a separate "chat list" was created for those who wanted to communicate with each other. We soon found out about bouncing emails. There was some kind of a glitch between our web provider and AOL. Chuck Sonntag replied to a chat list email and the trouble started. His email bounced, and wouldn't stop. There was nothing our service provider could do to stop it. It bounced for several days, every 15 minutes another one of Chucks emails would show up in everyones mailbox. You'd wake up in the morning with 32 emails from Chuck. It was getting old and everyone was getting upset. Then a few days later it stopped. Chuck was given a tee shirt at the Charleston convention, on the front it said: Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, Chuck... *Tom Gwinn even had "Remove Me From The Chat List" hats made.
*Remove me from the chat list HAT pix
8) First Convention.
The first cccs convention in 2005 at the Denver Radisson Greystone Castle was a huge success. Members got to meet and know each other in person instead of just through emails. Putting on the event was a learning experience for Bruce and Wayne. The problems they encountered were resolved and implemented in the next convention. Every year they would find more challenges and changes that were implimented in the next convention so it ran more smoothly. The Friday night arrival of Clive in one of his classic cars was a big hit and became an annual event. In Charleston, Clive arrived in a model of the Hunley...
9) More delays and decisions on Web Site.
Around 2004, Rob Greer showed Bruce how to post the new member passwords for the web site. This actually saved both of them some time. Shortly after the first convention the entire web site was dumped on Bruce, Rob moved on to other things. This was another huge blow to both Bruce and Wayne. They decided to just go for it instead of having to depend on other people. Bruce knew nothing about website management and didn't have the tools to do it, now it was added to the growing list of his job duties. The cost of the tools, getting up to speed and the added work load for Bruce was high. He was now spending far more hours in the day working on the CCCS then on his excavation business.
10) PP Book signing with members.
Early on, several CCCS members started getting together for the CC book signings at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona. They would arrive a day or so early and hit all the book stores for collectible books and get together for the book signing, dinner and drinks.
Over the years, several Doxa watches were donated to the CCCS and auctioned raffled at the conventions. The group Doxa Photo was always a big hit.
Andy Scheer pup on a couple of square dances.
(#17) Group photos.
11) A Few Of Their Special Projects.
Frank Bolle - DP Action Series (4-pix)
Jim Sharpe - Med Caper 30th Anniv (pix)
Publishing - Wayne's books, Rebound Paperbacks (pix)
Getting stuff signed by Clive....
12) Wayne's passing and filling the void. *
Bruce and Wayne were concerned about what would happen when Clive stopped coming to to the conventions. They decided that as long the CCCS had support, the show would go on. As expected, the attendance dropped without Clive. The conventions still had a respectable showing, but breaking even was near imposable. It wasn't about the money, it was about supporting the work and world of all things Clive Cussler, to help keep the flame burning.
During their many phone conversations, if Wayne had an idea, question or suggestion, he seldom if ever got right to the point. After a few minutes of beating around the bush, Bruce would have to ask Wayne what he was getting at. One day, Wayne called and got right to the point: "I'm sick and they don't know what's wrong with me." That wasn't like Wayne at all, something was terribly wrong. Bruce was on the next flight to Denver. Wayne was in bad shape but had a good attitude. They talked about his health, the upcoming convention, his Cussler collection and the future of the CCCS.** Not much later, Wayne passed away. There was huge support from friends and members to continue on with the society and conventions. To insure the future of the CCCS, it became obvious that more people needed to be involved.
When Wayne was ill, Chuck Sonntag wrote him a poem.**
**Poem to Wayne from Chuck Sonntag
*Picture of Wayne's obituary
13) What the future holds.
Bruce's first concern was the upcoming 2016 convention. He and Wayne had already talked about selecting volunteers.
Shane Stratton: Lead convention contact person for VIP'S.
John Vinson: MC at conventions.
Walter Winterburn: Runs the CCCS Facebook page.
Walter set up the CCCS Facebook page before the 2016 convention and quickly had a huge following. Everything went like clock work at the convention. Shane, John and Walter all did a great job. The speakers, special guests, Cussler Museum, Sue Connelly, Barry Campbell, Andy Scheer and Tom Gwinn all played a part in its success.
"In closing, the CCCS will continue to have it's annual conventions. The CCCS will always be considered a family. Great memories and many friends have been made over the years.
From the table stuck way in the back corner to accommodate the roudies (Buddy and Tom), Kim Fisher and his Atocha Gold, Ralph Wilbanks and his NUMA adventures, waiting for Clive to get out of the bar so we could start the program... and his great stories, E. Lee Spence crashing the Charleston convention and had to be removed, Moonshine shots in Charleston, the "Mr. Stupid Speech", our international attendees (Lara from Italy, Wim from the Netherlands, Ian from Moscow and friends from Canada, The diverse people of Las Vegas, Wayne's "Cactus" and "Wawarro" stories, Paul Kemprecos and his vast knowledge on nanotechnolagy, Group DOXA pictures, Clives co-authors: Jack closing the bar every night. The list goes on and on...
Many thanks for the help and support of Clive, Dirk, Terry and Dayna... Clives Co-authors... Ralph Wilbanks and NUMA... Our special guests and speakers over the years... The Cussler fans who attend...
14) Convention locations through the years.
All of our convention have been video taped...
Denver, Colorado - 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019
Scottsdale, Arizona -2006, 2010, 2012, 2014
Charleston, South Carolina - 2007, 2018
San Diego, California - 2009
Las Vegas, Nevada - 2015
Online Virtual Zoom Webinar -