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April 19, 2009

Debby Mundy Visits Nora Roberts

Debby Mundy Visits Nora Roberts

One of our favorite TLC backbloggers--Debby Mundy--is an avid author follower.  This weekend she visited the bookstore owned by Nora Roberts. Check out her report:

Aahhhh, the start of the signing season has come upon us, and I have already been to a few signings this year, but nothing that can compare to the PreRetreat Signing at Turn The Page Bookstore in Boonsboro Maryland (a la Nora Roberts).   Well, other than RT or RWA, but since I have only been to one of those, that is in a totally different universe.  

With an ungodly start to the day, we (Jenn, Laura and I) meet up in Morgantown for our standard carpool.   If you are wondering, our meet time is at 5:30am…while it is still pitch black and sane people are either still snug in their beds or just contemplating getting ready to prepare for a work day.

Blog Debby Friends at Nora Arriving in Boonsboro MD, meet up with more close friends, and we are lucky to just barely make it into the end of A group (1-25) and the beginning of B (26-50). Why?  Because there are rules to be followed while attending some signings, and this would be one where only two books per author may be brought in from outside …and only IF you are in A or B.  Whew!!!

Did I mention that we arrived around 8:30am, and the doors don’t open until close to 10am?  No?  Ooops.  But, they do give out numbers so once you have it, after the doors open, you are free to wander until the signing time.  Although, considering that today’s signing is at 11am instead of the normal 1pm, we don’t wander at all.


Blog debby annex Today’s signing features a bunch of authors who are attending the Washington Romance Writers Conference, so we are lucky to have:  Nora Roberts, Donna Kauffman, Mary Blayney, Darlene Gardner, Michelle Monkou, Kathleen Gilles Seidel, Michelle Willingham, Susan Donovan, Carla Neggers, Rebecca York, Saly MacKenzie, Sophia Nash, Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches Love Trashy Books), and PC Cast (House of the Night series).


The line meanders around Turn The Page Bookstore and down into the Annex, where the actual signing is held, with Nora’s husband Bruce standing guard at the stairs to make sure that everybody follows the rules.  We got lucky today with a group of PC Cast fans who not only refused to listen (tried to smuggle in a few extra bags of books), but they also bought dozens more…most likely to turn over and sell on ebay or such. 


The authors are seated at tables around the Annex.  We all shuffle along, greeting the authors and getting our books signed, or making polite conversation with those authors whose books we haven’t purchased (in this economy, there isn’t a lot of pity purchasing going on).  There will be attendees who wait in glee to finally meet that one favorite author for the first time, who will then either forget how to speak or breathe.  And then there are the readers who have met their authors before and stayed in contact, so this becomes a mini-reunion of sorts.


For me, it was an even blend of authors.  Some I collect, some are new but sound interesting, some I read but didn’t need any their current stock (due to my most excellent spreadsheet to monitor what I have and what I need), and some you just think are nice people but won't be purchasing.  It all works out in the end.


And then, as you go around the last turn, you see Nora.  Signing her upcoming release (two weeks early, natch!).  And sitting next to her is Sarah Wendell, of the Smart Bitches blog.  Definitely smart and funny, and so pleased every time somebody handed her a book.  I commented, and she told me that each book is like the very first to her. Which is nice to know, when you encounter other authors who have no time for the reader, and surely don’t appreciate us.  Hmmmm….maybe that should be a seminar for authors… appreciating your readers and fan base?  Not that any of the TLC authors need to take it, but maybe they could lead it?


Back to Nora.  Considering how many readers she has met and how many books that she has signed and will be signing, it is so nice to know that she also takes a few moments to chat with the readers.  A warm smile.  A pause for a photo.  And then we are heading out into the warm sunshine to admire more of Nora’s handy work.  Besides Turn the Page Bookstore, there is also The Inn Boonsboro (Innkeeper is another friend), The Gifts Inn Boonsboro (gift shop with crafts of local artisans and scents featured at the Inn Boonsboro), Vesta (her son’s restaurant with amazing crab balls and crab fries.. not to mention the pizza), and another restaurant across the street.


We check out all of the sites, and smells and tastes (gotta eat sometime).  And then head out of town with one last pitstop in Hagerstown.  So, okay, we a huge UBS that is so ultra-organized, you love going there to find those backlisted or hard-to-find books at a reasonable cost.  This is where I often am introduced to a new author whom I may never meet.  But I can pick up a copy of one book and give it a test before committing to the author. 

So, after starting the day at 3:30am (for me), we are back in town a little over 12 hours after our initial meet at 5:30am.  Tired, yes.  Poorer, sure thing.  But thrilled over acquiring some new books to feed our reading addiction, and happy to have seen all of these authors.

To what extremes have you gone to, to meet an author?  How far will you drive for that one opportunity to support them in person? 


Let me know.  I drove over three hours the first time to Danville, PA in order to meet our very own Sarah, and I hadn’t even read her books yet.   I won’t be checking in until waaaay late, and if you can’t remember why, then please go back to Easter Sunday’s blog about giving the gift of life.  I am at the DASH, earning the big bucks for all of those who so graciously sponsored me.


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I thought that you couldn't have outside books signed at a bookstore, but maybe that was just at that location (the Moravian) and with that author (Sarah). Still, it seems like a respectful thing to do, since the author is at that bookstore to bring in business. Depending on the author, you may be able to meet them later (or earlier, in these days of the Internet and social networking) to get the other things signed.

At RT, where I was meeting people I had not met before, had about a dozen books I had purchased over the years, and had snuck into the authors' ballroom through the kitchen, I didn't obey that.

Sometimes it's the author's decision, sometimes the publisher, sometimes the store as to whether or not one can take previously purchased books in for signing. I've never done that (too lazy!), but I will buy the author's new book if I'm there....

Wow, Debby, what a day you had! I've gone to similar measures, but in the realm of sewing and fabric, not books. Maybe I should, though!

When my middle daughter was in about the fourth grade she was an enormous Ann M. Martin fan, and we owned nearly all of her extensive list (Babysitters Club). She came to town, to a bookstore at the mall, and I asked DD if she wanted to go meet Ms. Martin. We stood in line for two hours, a line that snaked down the mall for quite a way, and by the time we got to the table, there were only a couple of people behind us still. My poor daughter was so starstruck she couldn't say a word, so I had to tell Ms. Martin how big a fan she was. It was really cute. I wonder where that book she signed is now.

Then when the youngest daughter--the one who went to a military college-- was in middle school, she was a huge Homer Hickam fan (think Rocket Boys, the movie). He came to town so we had to go to Joseph Beth to hear him speak. We got a number, and stood in line to speak to him and have him sign a book. Both of these authors were gracious and kind to my daughters, who were clearly the kind of reader any author would want.

Great blog, Debby, and I am channelling energy to you as you run for Donor Awareness today!

I've never been to the Nora Roberts store, but have talked to lots of people who make the pilgrimmage - sounds great!

I have lots of e-friends from the Crusie group who attended yesterday and whom you probably talked to, Debby. Great write-up. And good Dashing to you.

Debby, you are a wonder. (Hi, Laura! Hi, Jenn!) Some day I definitely want to tag along on one of these excursions. Thanks for the great report!

Holly, we're sending good vibes to you & yours!

It was a fun day, and it certainly didn't hurt that it was usually a work day. ;) My daughter loves the PC Cast & Kristin Cast books, so I was able to get them for her, signed. I also got to try a couple new authors - I had others I wanted to buy from as well, but had to condense my list somewhat.

I love the way Nora's whole family is involved, with her son sitting next to her helping with the books to sign, her husband and daughter-in-law running the show at the bookstore (usually her other daughter-in-law is there as well, but had to work Friday), and her other son serving us all wonderful food at his pizza place. Those crab fries are to die for, people. Even the grandchildren are usually there, although this time they were in school

We were so lucky that it was a beautiful day - the trip is fun to see the authors, but another part of the draw is the friends we've made who are other "regulars", and getting to see them too.

Nancy - we'll wait for you in Morgantown next time - remember, 5:30 am. ;)

I have been fortunate enough to meet most of my favorite authors. Some of the newer ones I haven't...yet...but will work on it. Nora doesn't come to St. Louis often!

In the early 90s I worked for the "second largest independant bookstore in the US" (they sold out to Borders in '97) and was able to meet, among others:

Stephen King
Newt Gingrich (I know...yuck, but was much nicer than one you would be shocked...)
Dan Quayle
Hilary Clinton
Colin Powell

I really should go to my bookshelf & look at all my signed copies to see just who all is there.

Karen, my daughter & her friends were just flumoxed when they met Ann M. Martin, too. They were all about 10. She was the sweetest person and talked to each girl directly. I took the girls on a tour of the store & introduced them to my boss, the owner. It was one of the few time my daughter was the "cool" one at school.

Miss that job!

I can't top the rise and shine at 3:30 am but I have flown down to Houston from Dallas specifically to see and hear my favorite author speak about the latest book. Got to meet and hear Elaine that way and Cara Black as well. Not to mention meeting William Simon at Elaine's signing. What a treat, William. There is no mystery book store in Dallas any more, sad o say, so I often go to Houston to sample the delights at Murder by the Book and even stumbled upon an appearance by Robert B Parker. I had hoped to see Harley when she was there but was unable to go. As a result of the Tarts and this blog, I am going to Malice Domestic the end of the month to hear and see more authors, favorite ones, new ones who will become favorites as well as maybe some of you backbloggers, Becky????

It was terrific meeting you, also, Jodi! Murder by the Book is a dangerous place for me, so much so that I am not allowed in un-escorted. That one back corner with the English wing-back chair prompted The Boss to say, "Toss a pizza to you once in a while and you'd never move."

What was sad was, I couldn't argue with her about that....

My Bob found that same wing-back chair and he'd fight you for it. It's the perfect place to curl up and the pizza thing is soooo true.

Luckily, I don't have to go to great lengths to see many of my favorite authors - in San Diego we have Mysterious Galaxy and a couple of other indy stores that host signings. In fact today I'm planning to see one of TLC's own - Harley - is signing at Mysterious Galaxy this afternoon!

I have driven up to LA for the Annual LA Times Festival of Books. This is a great place to meet and get books signed by fave authors - if you can handle the hoards of book lovers.

My favorite memory at a book signing is when I took my then 7 yr. old niece to meet Julie Andrews, who was signing one of her childrens books. Julie was Ashley's favorite actress (OK, mine too!). Julie asked Ashley which was her favorite movie. Ashley replied The Sound of Music and said that her brothers complain when she picks it to watch again. Everybody laughed, I groaned and Julie as gracious as ever, saw the horror on my face, smiled and said "My brothers would be the same way". What a treat to meet someone whom you admire who more than meets your expectations.

Boy Debby, you sure have a lot of stamina, I would have never made it! This is also a quick thank you for all the hard work you do with organ donation!

Since I live in rural Illinois, the only chance I have for meeting authors and getting books signed is the four hour drive to Chicago or St. Louis, so it doesn't happen often. We did have one local author hold a signing at the only bookstore around for 40 miles, but it was a book about horses, breeding and care of, but with several lovely pictures. Some not so lovely...I took a pass on that one. But he had several people around him admiring his work and getting their copy signed.

Well, I have to admit I've met quite a few of my favorite authors. Of the TLC gang, I've met Nancy (at RT in '06 and at Tulsa Crime Conf), Harley Jane and Sarah (RT '06) and Elaine (Jan 09). I haven't yet met Kathy or Michele (or Me, Margie - but I'm a little afraid of Margie).

I've to RWA National conferences and you get to meet a lot of the authors there. I went to a signing with Janet Evanovitch - very nice and patient with all her fans. I went to a Stuart Woods signing...he was less than friendly. BUT then I met him again in Florida and he was much nicer. There are a few mystery writers I'd like to meet...Robert Crais (I'd fall at his feet in awe), Robert Gregory Brown, Barry Eliser, et al.

Sounds like you had a blast. Sarah Wendell tweeted all day from the signing and posted pictures on Twitter. Looks like something I'd love to do someday.

I've never gone to see one of my fave authors. But once we spent 7 hours so DD could hear Tamora Pierce speak, and get her book signed. Was worth every minute waiting in the bucketing rain at the light rail and walking to the festival and hovering for seats and more. Gotta say I read some of her books too, then, and am happy to entrust growing DD's imagination to her. Way cool woman. DD now wants to be an author when she grows up.

I've gotten to meet Pat McManus several times. He lives in Idaho and whenever he has a new book out, he comes to Boise to sign it. If you've never read any of his books, he writes outdoor humor and they are so funny. Anyway, my brother loves him and collects his books so it's become a tradition for me to stand in line to get them autographed for him for his birthday. I think I've probably done it about 10 times now. It's a mini reunion when I go. Pat is a very nice person. The last time he came to Boise, my brother finally got to meet him. He was so excited. He started telling Pat he was one of his biggest fans and could he have his picture taken with him? My brother gave me the camera and went to shake Pat's hand and Pat said "What no hug for your favorite author?" The smile on my brother's face was as wide as could be. He didn't stop talking about it for days.

So, here I am finally...back from Philadelphia and the DASH. Whew. Over 5,000 PRE-registered participants today, and who knows how much was raised. It was a gorgeous day, for a change, so made for a great time for the runs and walk.

I was helping out at my companies table, as we were a sponsor. And had freebies, too. :) I didn't win any prizes, but did earn around $1,095 as of Friday. So, I am totally flumoxed by everybodies wonderful support.

Afterwards, instead of heading home and crashing (which I will be doing soon), I stopped in Exton at the B&N. For another Lisa Scottoline signing. LOL!!! I like to stagger my purchases! Stuck around until the end in order to sit and chat and help her sign stock books. And visited with the pals who stayed, as a bunch had to depart.

Now, I think that I will relax and try to not fall asleep too early.

Oh...anybody know how to get a temp-tattoo off? I have one...on my face...and I gotta work tomorrow!!!! LOL!!

Rubbing alcohol and a qtip will remove the temp tattoo. Keep gently wiping, it'll come off eventually. Rinse with cool water after.

And I forgot to say earlier: Nora Roberts has a place in MD?! I live in Md and didn't know. Once I can transport again (post back surgery) I'll have to visit. (Plus make the visit to a certain cool book store next time visiting relatives near Pittsburgh!)

Debby, sounds like you had a great day.

Try one of the following on your temp tattoo:

rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, peanut butter

Remember cold cream? That would have worked, too. I don't even know if it's still made.

Spent my day preparing for, and then hosting my book club. Had a wonderful meal, and our next book is Sarah's "Sweet Love"! Yay. A potential five or six new fans for the Strohmeyer. :-)

To get to the WRW signing at TTP I drove to Kansas City. Stayed over. Flew to O'Hare. Flew to Baltimore. Rented a car. Drove to Hagerstown on Thursday. Saturday did the whole thing in reverse. I think the longest distance I have been to see Nora is from here (southwest MO) to Cape Cod and to San Francisco. SF was all about seeing Cherries. And I am still flustered when I meet any author at a signing--all I can say is 'sign it to Jill, please '. Sarah had to check twice to make sure she signed by copy of Beyond Heaving Bosoms. :) Signings are exciting and fun and hectic. Debby mentioned reunions--that is what TTP signings are for a lot of us.
Waves to hollygee and Cyndi.

Hi Jill. Ladies and Gentlemen, Jill is a newbie to TLC and an incredible lady. You'll get to meet her more indepth in the future.

I didn't have any baby oil or rubbing alchohol. *sigh* LOL! I used oil-free eye makeup remover and then my MK cleansing cream. Worked, for the most part. Soap and water finished the job.

The online donations for the DASH are at around $258k now....with no idea on the cash and checks that were turned in yesterday. I did receive more donations, so hit $1145 yesterday. :)

My brain is still foggy though, which is bad since I had to take the dog to the vet for her dental cleaning. There goes the tax refund. Need blood work and an ekg due to her heart murmur.

I went to a book fair some years ago where I met Bobbie Ann Mason and bought a copy of her "Girl Sleuth" which she signed for me. I blurted out that I had all her books but couldn't bring them in and she graciously signed a couple extra book plates for me to put in the books I already had. I thought that was so cool!

My favorite author that Ive met at a signing is Charlaine Harris. She had just come out with the third Sookie Stackhouse book- this was before the HBO series. She also did a mystery writing panel- she was such a hoot! I had read her Aurora Teagarden books and liked them, so I bought all three of the Sookies and she signed them and we chatted quite a while. This was at a Southern Kentucky Festival of Books- they had all kinds of books- fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks- you name it. There weren't too many mystery fans-at least when I was there, and the Vampire craze had not really hit Ky yet so we had a fair amount of time to chat. She's probably mobbed at her signings now! She would be soooo much fun to hang out with!

Debbie- hope your dog is ok. I had to take my daughter in for an ekg for her heart murmur this week (though, not to the vet, she would have rather gone to the vet, I'm sure). We have a rule at our house- any day you go to the Cardiologist (or Emergency room) you get a pint of Ben and Jerry's- this applies to Moms doing the driving,
(and holding the hand and paying the bill) as well.

Cold cream is the way to go to take off temp tattoos. If you have a Dollar General, or Dollar General Market- they still carry cold cream. In a pinch, you can use Crisco. Don't ask me how I know this.

See....nobody warned me in advance to make a purchase of cold cream!!! LOL!! Now I know.

The dog survived, but is now missing two bottom teeth. She wont mind the softer food, though. My checking account will be hurting for longer. But she is worth it.

One of my nieces went through a plexi-glass side door, and sliced her belly up. When her mom asked what treat she wanted (usually would have been Rita's Water Ice or Dairy Queen), she requested some of the Daisy Meadow's Fairy books. Aunt Debby (moi) made a B&N run, and picked up every copy they had...and she loves them best. And knows that I will keep her supplied with all of the latest as well.

Back to the DASH. Turns out a young man, 19 senior in HS, collapsed at the end of the 5k run. He died enroute to the hospital...so all was not sunshine and joy yesterday. Sad for his family and friends who were running in honor of another friend who had been a donor a few years ago.

Remember when... you could go to a Nora Roberts signing, and there were only 20 people there? Yes, it is true. Never again, of course, but all authors have to start somewhere. :)

I loved PC Casts books, all my favorite authors. Why would anyone want to sell the books on eBay? I had a wonderful author sign a few "extra" books I bought from her when they were out of print and I STILL have them. Lord, I can't get rid of a book to save my life so they are slowing taking over my bonus room. Presently stacked up in piles around the bookshelvs and I have three stacks next to my bed. Wish you all could do a signing in Charlotte NC. I truly enjoy Nora Roberts Trilogy and J.D. Robb series..LOVE Nancy Martins Sisters Series. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gift that provides us with the chance to be part of "someone elses" life for a few hours!
Keep'em comin' girlz! :)

Additional note after reading the other posts...Italians use Olive Oil for EVERYTHING! If you thought My Big Fat Greek Wedding obsession with Windex was funny, should have grown up in my house (I hear it was used on hair way back when, too) When we were kids over the summers we were constantly running around barefoot so stepping in gum...(ick!) and popping tar bubbles in the street - my grandmother would sit us up on the counter and rub olive oil into whatever was stuck on us and voila! it would come off. Yes, that included temporary tattoos and also if you were interested in getting a tan...cheaper than baby oil :)

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