A Dream Weekend

turn the pageThese first couple of years as a published author have been a wild ride with lots of magic moments–including hitting #1 on Amazon twice.  But last weekend I had one of those moments that romance authors–and readers–dream about.  I got to spend the day with Nora Roberts!

It all started at the RWA conference in New York this past July.  During the mayhem that is the”Readers for LIfe” Literacy Autographing, I was approached by Janeen Solberg, the manager of Turn the Page Bookstore, in Boonsboro, Maryland.  The same bookstore that happens to be owned by Nora Roberts.  Janeen mentioned that my book, BACK TO BEFORE, was a favorite with readers in the store.  One thing led to another and the next thing I knew I was being invited to travel to Boonsboro as a guest author at one of Nora’s book signings.  It took me all of a nano-second to say yes. 🙂

So, on a beautiful fall weekend, my husband and I traveled to western Maryland.  Nestled at the base of South Mountain, Boonsboro itself is only a few blocks long, but it is steeped in history.  The town was founded in 1792 by George and William Boone, cousins of Daniel Boone,  Boonsboro serves as a gateway to relevant colonial and Civil War heritage sites including the National Road, Washington Monument State Park, South Mountain and Antietam National Battlefield.  But two of the town’s biggest attractions are the Turn the Page Bookstore and the Inn Boonsboro, also owned by Nora Roberts.

inn at boonsboro

The Inn Boonsboro is located in the first stone building constructed in the historic town. It received a $3 million remodel and renovation in 2008 and it’s gorgeous!

The Inn Boonsboro is a bed and breakfast that feels more like a boutique hotel.  With the exception of the penthouse, the Inn’s eight guest rooms are named after literary romantic couples.  There’s the Jane and Rochester room, Elizabeth and Darcy, Marguerite and Percy, Westley and Buttercup, Titania and Oberon, Eve and Rourke (of course!) and, the room where we stayed, Nick and Nora, inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s THE THIN MAN.

The Inn also features a dining room, a parlor where wine and cheese is served nightly and a library that featured a cozy fireplace and an ample supple of Jameson whiskey, much to my husband’s delight.

The innkeeper asked me to sign a book for the library shelves--how cool is that?

The innkeeper asked me to sign a book for the library shelves–how cool is that?

There’s also some inviting garden areas and porches to find a quiet place to read in.  The best part about the stay is that many of the other guests are there for the signing, as well, and we all bonded over our love of books.  I met some fabulous new friends and readers including Nora’s UK publicist, Antonia.


Hardy fans braved the chilly early morning temps to get their tickets. Fortunately everyone was pretty jovial because The Confectionery store beside Turn the Page also sold guns and ammo. 😉

The day of the signing–Halloween–arrived crisp and clear which was a good thing because fans were lined up outside the bookstore before I came down to breakfast at eight!  At ten o’clock, timed tickets were handed out so that folks could return to the store at their allotted interval to buy books and get them signed by Nora and the eight other authors who’d been invited to the event.  Nearly four hundred tickets were handed out.  The signing started at noon and we signed books until nearly four o’clock with only a short break for pizza and champagne!  .

That's Nora's son Jason helping out. You can tell they've done this a time or two before. Nora even wrapped her hand before the signing began. I probably should have taken that as a warning of the fun to come!

That’s Nora’s son Jason helping out. You can tell they’ve done this a time or two before. Nora even wrapped her hand before the signing began. I probably should have taken that as a clue of the fun–and writer’s cramps–to come!

photo 4

The lovely ladies of Turn the Page got into the spirit of Halloween. Can you see my tiny witch’s hat on my head?

I spoke with some wonderful readers who came from as far as Texas and Canada just for the signing. Best of all, I was able to catch up with old friends from the Washington, D.C. area who trekked out to Boonsboro.  Okay, I’m sure many of them came to see Nora, but that’s okay, I did, too!  The weekend truly was an awesome author experience.

The line up consisted of authors Sara Humpreys, Terri Brisbin, Heather Heyford, HelenKay Dimon, myself, Nora Roberts and Maryland history authors Mark and Julia Brugh and Leonard Adkins.

The line-up consisted of authors (front) Sara Humpreys, Heather Heyford, myself, Nora Roberts, (middle) Terri Brisbin and HelenKay Dimon and (back) Maryland history authors Mark and Julia Brugh and Leonard Adkins.

If you ever get to western Maryland, be sure and make the trip to Boonsboro to see the civil war battlefields, the trolley museum and, of course, Nora Roberts’ Inn and book store. Tell them I sent you!

GIVEAWAY!!  I’m giving away a copy of BACK TO BEFORE, Nora Robert’s latest book STARS OF FORTUNE (both signed!) and THE THIN MAN to one lucky reader.  Just leave a comment below.

Do you have a favorite book by Nora Roberts? Have you ever stayed in a historic home or B&B?  Would you want to? Have you ever visited a Civil War battlefield?

Comment by midnight on November 8 to be eligible!

About Tracy Solheim

Best-selling author of the Out of Bounds series--sexy, contemporary sports romance novels. See what she's up to at www.tracysolheim.com.

Posted on November 6, 2015, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. I have stayed at a B & B before and it is a little weird at first because I always feel bad that they are waiting on me, that I should be helping in some way.

    • I’ve stayed at several B&B’s and some feel like you’re staying in someone’s home. This one felt more like a hotel with some serious pampering. The staff is very friendly!

  2. Sounds like so much fun. This is on my bucket list to visit. Have never stayed at a B&B. Have not read Nora in years, but have always enjoyed her books.

  3. Sounds like a great little town and what an exciting adventure!

  4. So glad the weekend was fun! You know I love Nora. Can’t wait to dish!

  5. Jennifer bernard

    That in sounds amazing! I have never had the opportunity to go a bed and breakfast but I so want to go…maybe when my teenagers are gone. 😉 I grew up on the East Coast and I know how quaint some of the seaside towns can be, I’ll get back one day. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

  6. I love everything about this post! Your joy is palpable. I’d have been the same way, with my inner fangirl squeeeing the whole time. I’m so happy this happened for you. You deserve it!! Thanks for sharing with us. xoxo

  7. I have read several of Nora Roberts books;enjoyed them all but don’t have a favorite. Because we travelled by motorhome we have not stayed in a b&b or historic home but would like to We have visited several civil war battlefields and hope to visit more. Ranger led tours are terrific.

  8. I would love to do a Civil war battlefield tour. Also a WW II European battlefield tour since my dad and uncles were there.

  9. I love B&Bs….not found one I dislike yet, but I understand the compulsion to help 😉

  10. I’ve never stayed in a historic home, but I’d like to. Yes, I have visited a Civil War battlefield. It was in Pea Ridge Arkansas, it really makes you think about those times. It would be really hard to pick a favorite Nora Roberts book, I love them all. I will say that New York to Dallas was one of my favorite J D Robb books.

  11. Once a year I have an overnight with my two sisters at a B&B. We choose different small towns close to Raleigh and explore while we’re there. I love Nora Roberts’ books. What an amazing experience you had! I’m happy for your success.

  12. There are some great B&B’s in that area!

  13. I have read so many Nora Roberts books, it would be so hard to choose just one. I recently finished the Cousins O’Dwyer series so that’ll probably be my favorite at the moment although I do also love the Bride Quartet and the Three Sisters trilogy. Haven’t stayed in a B&B yet but it’s on my list. I always like the idea of a quaint little home with an incredible backstory. Maybe one day!!

  14. It is hard to choose a favorite Nora Roberts book. I have loved all of her books that I have read. I have never stayed at a historic home or B&B. I think it would be interesting to try. I also have never visited a Civil War battlefield.

    Thank you for sharing your trip with us. 🙂

  15. Wow, how exciting for you to visit the Inn Boonsboro and meeting Nora Roberts would be such a fan-girl moment for me. Her books were one of the first romances I read in high school and she has so many great books. Have to say the Bride Quartet really struck a cord with me since I love reading about HEAs, having a whole series centered around the wedding business owned by four life-long friends were just fabulous reads. I’ve never been to a B&B or a battlefield before but they’re one my bucket list. Thanks for sharing your fun times!

  16. Jennifer Schultheis

    The Bride quartet series is definitely a favorite from Nora Roberts. Never stayed in a B&B, but if given the chance I would. Sounds like you had a really great experience!

  17. I’m so happy that you got to sign at Nora’s bookstore and hang out with her. I can’t even imagine. I’ve read everything she’s ever written, including all of her J. D. Robb books. My mom got me hooked on romance books when I was 12/13. (She used to get Harlequins and Silhouttes every month delivered right to our door) Meeting Nora Roberts is at the top of my bucket list. I’m way down South in Mississippi but one of these days I plan to get up there to one of her signings and stay at the Inn Boonsboro. Thank you for sharing your experience. I really enjoyed reading about it! 🙂

  18. Sounds like a very fun time! Yes many of Ms Roberts book and look forward to reading yours. The north in the fall is always so pretty. But have not visited this place yet! Congrats!

  19. I have never stayed at a B&B but I think it would be neat to some day.Have not read any of Nora’s books lately but would love to.I think it would be neat to go to a small town on the coast and stay in a B&B.

  20. My favorite Nora books are the Born In trilogy. Love love love them!!! Have never stayed in a B&B but want to. I love the history of them.

  21. I cannot name a favorite Nora Roberts because I love so many of hers.

    Stayed at a B&B on Prince Edward Island where we went to go watch a play version of Ann of Green Gables. my parents turned our house into a B&B one Summer as there was a major event happening close by. No we haven’t been to a civil war site

  22. I adore Nora Roberts (and JD Robb) and never dreamed that the Inn Boonsboro was a real place after reading, and loving, the trilogy. Only ever stayed at a B&B once, but it was a charming place in Mars Hill, NC, and the owner gave me her Chocolate Applesauce Tea Bread recipe. Loved the atmosphere. Jealous that you got to meet Nora but would say that you definitely have earned it!

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