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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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