Update: Have been talking with Helium developers. We are thinking the issue may be the Nook's feature of having external sources turned off.
I decided yesterday, upon further reading, to try and use the SD card version of recovery to back up my system if nothing else (for some reason, when I first read it I thought recovery was permanently installed...not sure why). I feel blessed...when I inserted the card and powered Nook HD+ back on, it went straight to cyanoboot screen! From there backup was made successfully.
My next step was to install leapinlar's "Extra's" zip file. Again, smooth as silk, not a single issue. Without rooting, i figure since extras turns on the "unknown sources" feature, I now have a way to try helium again once the web page is back up.
That aside. I REALLY like the Zeam feature in extras rev 3.zip...and now seeing how simple it is to achieve root, may try it if my current plans to get Helium to run fail.