My first book signing ever
On February 2, I attended my very first book signing. At Turn the Page Bookstore. WITH NORA ROBERTS. The following is my abbreviated (Yeah right, let’s be serious. I don’t abbreviate anything.) recollection of the happiest blur of a weekend ever.
Mr. Lucy and I arrived at our hotel Friday night. It just so happened that there were 25+ BRAs (Binge Readers Anonymous is my reader group on Facebook) also staying there. We ALL met spontaneously in the lobby in a screamy, squeally lovefest that the Hampton Inn of Hagerstown was incredibly tolerant of for several hours. Oh, and my admin and PA Joyce who was “so sad” that she “couldn’t be there” strolled through the dang front door of the hotel and surprised the everliving crap out of me! She’s a truly excellent liar. One of her many favorable qualities. There were hugs, gifts, and a lot of pictures! They presented me with a charm bracelet with charms representing EVERYTHING I’ve ever published. ????????????
It was an overwhelmingly amazing preview of the fun to come… So the morning of the signing dawned freakin’ freezing. It was 10 degrees, or scientifically known as really effing cold. Readers braved the inhuman temperatures to line up for their tickets. Meanwhile, back at the hotel I pulled out every trick in the book and every YouTube hair and makeup tutorial to look like a put-together adult human being.
On our way into Boonsboro, a reader sent up the alert that the bookstore had sold out of my books. Sold. Out. Before the signing even started. Mr. Lucy, knowing that I’m a total panic monster about going into new situations, had genius-ly suggested we drive down earlier that week to drop off the paperbacks and get the lay of the land. We took 90 paperbacks. And they were gone before the signing started. I was basically living the dream of some other super cool and famous author. (Actually, I thought maybe the bookstore had misplaced like two boxes.)
But not to worry! In a fit of optimism heretofore unbeknownst to Mr. Lucy, he brought an additional 40 or 50 books back to Boonsboro “just in case.” I thought he was nuts at the time. But once again, he was just proving his handsome genius.
So, Mr. Lucy and I pulled into the parking lot behind the bookstore. I’m sitting in the passenger seat trying to psych myself up and not be all nervous bladdery when the back door of the store opens…
Out strolls Nora Freaking Roberts in a full length fur coat with the skinniest cigarette in the universe.
I opened my mouth and made a deflating balloon noise that dragged on long enough that Mr. Lucy had to physically pull me out of the car. My first words to my hero, the reason I write romance, the literary dynasty we all know and love were as follows:
Me: Hi. Where do I go in? *spoken eight octaves above my normal voice*
Nora: Are you signing today?
Me: *nods dumbly*
Nora: Then you go in this door.
Me: Thank you. *whispered breathily, nine octaves higher*
I stumbled inside the store away from the fabulousness that is Nora Roberts and walked right into the bookstore manager. Janeen is a wonderful human being. She looked at my dazed face and said, “Hi. WHERE ARE YOUR BOOKS?”
Mr. Lucy shot pistol fingers at us. “Pew pew! I’ll be right back!” (That didn’t actually happen, but it’s funnier that way.) He hustled back out the door to grab the remaining books. While I sat on the floor to change out of my snow boots—did I mention it snowed the day before and made for pretty messy travel?—Janeen also politely asked me to choose a new favorite Nora book. Why? Because I’d blabbed my big fat mouth to everyone about how much I love The Obsession (seriously if you haven’t read it yet, GET IT) and readers had listened and purchased every copy they had in stock. Oops. At this point, I felt like a really small-time Oprah. It was glorious!
Anyway, I put my super cute boots on and introduced myself to the rest of the authors who were all really, really nice. And then it was time for the signing to start. The first 20 or so people who poured in bee-lined for Nora so I had a few minutes to drink some water and try to bring the register of my voice down to normal levels. The first person who had me sign a book was a white-haired gentleman who also writes romance! Next up was a husband-wife couple who were there picking up some books for their daughter, an avid romance reader. They had me sign one of the books “Your dad is awesome.” ????
Then #LucyCon happened. Ya see, BRAs don’t just show up to a signing. They all buy matching #LucyCon merchandise and show up at Nora Roberts’ bookstore and tell her they’re there to see me. Thankfully, Nora, her fabulous publicist, Laura, and the rest of the staff have really wonderful sense of humor and had no problem with the #LucyCon invasion.
I proceeded to have the best day ever. I hugged a ton of people. Took a lot of pictures. Signed a lot of books. Shot only slightly disturbing admiring glances in Nora’s direction. And enjoyed a pizza and champagne lunch with all of the authors. Nora even ate some of the chocolate chip cheesecake I brought (because I’m afraid no one will like me unless I bribe them with baked goods). One of the highlights of the day was when my sisters surprised me. I had no idea they were coming and they made it the whole way through the line to my table before I even spotted them!
After the signing, we took pictures with all the authors and then it was time to leave and act like a normal human being. It was difficult. Mr. Lucy and I got in the car and sat there for a full minute without saying a word. It had been so much fun and such a perfect day not just as a writer, but as a reader who has been devouring Nora books for a few decades now. It was so perfect it almost felt traumatic. The conversation went something like this.
Mr. Lucy: *staring through the windshield at nothing* Uhhhhhhhhhh…
Me: *whispers* We must never speak of this day.
I bet you’re thinking this would be a good place to wrap it up, right? I had the best first book signing in the history of authors signing books. And this blog post is already novel-length. But wait! There’s more!
We met all of the BRAs for dinner at a golf course/tavern place hosted by my stunningly lovely and fiercely organized admin Tammy. There were 45 of us. Drinking drinks. Eating incredible food (shoutout to Schroyer’s Tavern for not batting an eye at the size and volume of our group, your food and service were amazing). Hugging some more. They got me a Happy Birthday/Book Signing Taco Cake and sang to me.
It was. Amazing. And I am beyond grateful from the depths of my romance writery heart (so you know its deep, y’all) for everyone who turned up for that freezing cold weekend in February in Boonsboro, Maryland. Thank you to the bookstore staff for being so damn nice and so damn organized. Thank you to Nora and Laura for your graciousness and sense of humor. To my BRAs, thank you for picking each other up at the airport. For sharing hotel rooms. For carpooling. For being so incredibly generous. For choosing to read my books. For being people with obvious great taste and big hearts.
I love you all! Thank you for being the best part of my best day! ????