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May 31, 2006

What Happens in the Car Stays in the Car

What Happens in the Car Stays in the Car

by Susan (back from Omaha and gearing up for Chicago)

After five days at the RT Convention, you'd think I'd get a weekend off, huh?  But instead I flew to Omaha last Friday to do my seventh Mayhem in the Midlands, and I'm awfully glad I went.  I feel like the Travelogue Book Tart, 'cuz I do love to share my adventures with y'all, kind of like the relative who shows up at Thanksgiving with the slide show of his trip to the Galapagos Islands and you have to "oooh" and "aaah" over picture after picture of bird poop on rocks. 

Not that Mayhem is like bird poop.  Far from it.  I missed Friday's panels, but had the privilege of doing two panels and a "Conversation With" on Saturday, as well as hanging out with some of my dearest friends.  I saw Dusty Rhoades all dressed up and looking spiffy, and I got to admire the bottle of rum he'd purchased at the Old Marketplace.  Jon and Ruth Jordan were there, and Jon mentioned four of the, um, randiest crime writers on the circuit (without naming names, of course).  I guessed one, but he wouldn't spit out the rest.  He said that if I haunted hotel hallways at big conventions between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., I could see all the musical rooms going on for myself.  Well, geez, like that'll ever happen, since I'm usually in bed by eleven.  My adopted aunt Cae Carter flew in from Suecae Texas, and I adored spending time with her.  Hung at the bar with lots of great Buds and had the most wonderful dinner at the Flatiron.  (Thanks, Lulu!  You rock!)  Just amazing conversation and so many laughs.  And the fun didn't end with Sunday's brunch, where I listened to Denise Hamilton interview GOH Laura Lippman while I was cozily wrapped in a quilt (yes, I was cold, and Ellen Hart, who'd won a handmade quilt, noticed the napkin I'd slung over my arms and promptly draped her prize over me).

Donna Andrews and I split a room, and we did lots of yakking about blog subjects.  That topic spilled over to dinner, where Laura, Twist Phelan, Maria Lima, and Doris Ann Norris joined in, discussing privacy issues and bad advice being doled out by "experts," as well as the good stuff that encourages debate.  Like Chinese food, my time at Mayhem was devoured much too quickly, and I'm already hungry for more.

I had the pleasure of road-tripping to Lincoln, Nebraska, for a signing at Lee Booksellers with the faboo Denise Hamilton and the delightful Patty Smiley.  Which is where the "what happens in the car stays in the car" comes in.  Amazing what transpires when you toss three women together who get  along so well and whose sense of humor seems to click.  We ended up talking about all kinds of Lincolnsigning_1 things and made a pact not to breathe a word of it once the Pontiac G6 was turned back in at the car rental counter at the Omaha airport.  The hour to and from Lincoln passed in a snap because of the hilarious conversation.  The book signing went very well, too (thanks, Linda & Co!), and we were thrilled by the huge spread in the Lincoln Journal Star with color photos, color covers and terrific reviews of our latest books.  Julie Gerber, mystery reader, writerSuejulie2 and email pen pal, showed up with hubby and daughter Jamie (who's interested in writing herself).  In fact, several aspiring authors were in the crowd and asked about outlining vs. not...would you believe Denise, Patty and I are all "pantsers"?  Yay! 

Got home late Sunday night after an almost two-hour delay because of a broken plane in Las Vegas that had to be replaced.  Are delays more common than ever these days, or is it just me?

I'm driving to Chicago this weekend for Printers Row.  I'm there unofficially, signing at the Big Sleep Books booth on Saturday for a few hours as a favor to Helen Simpson, co-owner of the bookstore and a good friend.  The rest of the time, Ed and I will be enjoying the city and seeing my relatives.  That'll be almost like a real vacation, right?  Once I'm back from this trip, I can put away my suitcase for awhile, catch up on sleep, chill with Ed, and start writing the fifth Debutante Dropout book.

Oh, and I'll be blogging at Lipstick, of course, though I'm taking over a few of Harley's Mondays.  I'll be posting on the second and fourth Mondays of the month instead of every Wednesday, so I can focus more on my writing yet still drop in on y'all regularly.  I'd miss you too much if I didn't.




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Again, I have a different frame of reference than the other "Lipstick" bloggers, I thought Dusty Rhoades was the professional wrestler. A title like "Mayhem in the Midlands" could have been produced by Vince McMahon and the late Gordon Solie....

Never heard THAT one before, Dave.

It was great meeting you too, Susan, and if you wanted a wee dram from my bottle of Appleton Estate, you had only to ask. I'll mind my manners and offer next time. It's good stuff. We could BOTH be in bed by 11:00...

Hmmm, you know, Dave, I've seen panels at Mayhem turn into wrestling matches, but Dusty wasn't involved in any of them.

Dusty, how was your Appleton Estate? Did it put you to sleep after your strenuous experience at the murder mystery dinner?

Hah! No, it didn't...didn't actually crack that bottle till much later, as it turns out. But it's wonderful stuff. Tres smooth.
'Til I met Bob Morris (author of the Zack Chasteen series) I thought rum was just something you mixed with Coca-Cola.

Obviously I'm hitting the sack way too early at these cons. I'll try to make up for it in Madison. I hope that pledge doesn't keep the rest of you away. It was great to meet both Dusty and McB at Mayhem. Here's to many more adventures together. Cheers!

So there's more to rum than adding it to Coke? I swear, Bob taught me nothing about it when I saw him in Florida in April (okay, maybe because I had Ed there, so I didn't hang around Bob much). Next time, I'll sign up for Bob's "Rum Appreciation" class.

Patty, I'm hitting the sack way too early, too! (And apparently missing all the action, which is just as well.) I guess for those who do stay up, what happens at the conventions stays at the conventions, huh?

At least until I blog about it...

Dusty, I think it's your duty to do so. I'll be eagerly awaiting the first installment early in October, particularly since I won't be at B-con. You could probably charge for it, too, and call it pay-per-scoop.

I'll sign up for that! I'm missing B'con too (something about using up all my vacation time going to New York and Hawaii), but if there's one thing I love it's good gossip. Even if I don't know the people. Heck, especially if I don't know the people. The people I know are pretty boring.

Hey, McB,

Great seeing you again, as always. Kickass job moderating our panel, as always.

And again, I'm sorry for spilling pickle juice on your outfit, as always. Please send me your drycleaning bill. As always.

As always,

Sean, the pickle juice came out in the wash, so there's no dry cleaning bill. So you can just buy me a beer sometime, as always. Loved seeing you and Victor at Mayhem, and I look forward to meeting up with y'all again, as always. ;-)

Lincoln! My home town! Lee Booksellers! That's it. No actual comment, just exclamation points.

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