Hubby and I have attended Mayhem in the Midlands every year but one--the very first and I hadn't heard about it. Since we've been going, we've fallen in love with Omaha. The restaurants are wonderful, and our favorite is the Persian Restaurant. The owner always recognizes us and greets us with "California" and a big hug and a kiss for me. There are so many great restaurants we try to make our rounds.
Another plus is the people we've met who are regulars like us. Many of them are authors, but we've also got fans we're anxious to see again. Actually attending Mayhem is a bit like going to a family reunion.
Before the panel assignments, I got an email from one of the committee asking if my hubby would be willing to be on the Spouse Panel which is more or less the spouses telling what its like to be married to an author. Hubby was on one once before with Wm. Kent Krueger's wife and Jan Burke's husband. It was hilarious.
On Friday at 9 a.m. (some people hate this time slot but I like it because my brain works better in the morning) I'll be on a panel called "Not Just a Royalty Check: What you need to know about being published." Should be interesting. Everyone on the panel is with a small, independent publisher.
Having said I like morning panels best, I also have one at 3 on Friday. (Not too bad, I'll have had time to go to lunch somewhere wonderful). This one is called "Off the Beaten Path: Exotic locales and cultures." I do write about Native Americans which could fit the culture part, but neither the mountains of the Southern Sierra nor a small beach town fit exotic locales. But I won't have any trouble figuring out something to say. Usually what someone else says triggers an idea.
And last but not least, on Saturday at 10:30 (another good time) I'll be moderating a panel on "Causes and Casualties: Issue-driven fiction." One of the panelists is Radine Trees Nehring, one of the authors I'm looking forward to spending time with, and I've read her books. She writes about places in Arkansas. I haven't read the other two panelists so I've ordered their books in order to ask some intelligent questions.
Another thing hubby and I like about Omaha is the most wonderful zoo. We are arriving on Wednesday night so if the weather cooperates we'll go to the zoo Thursday morning before things get started that evening.
Years ago, before I'd ever been to Omaha, at a Bouchercon, I met Kate Birkel of the Mystery Bookstore in Omaha. She told me if I ever came to Omaha she'd give me the best booksigning I'd ever had. Foolishly I told her I'd never be going to Omaha. Ha ha, little did I know.
The very first Epicon was held in Omaha, after I signed up I contacted Kate and asked if she could arrange a signing for me on a free evening we were at the conference, she did, and believe me, it was definitely the best book signing I'd ever had, before or since. And that's when we first fell in love with Omaha.
a.k.a. F. M. Meredith