CC Tillery (aka Christy Tillery French and Cyndi Tillery Hodges) will be on Blannahassett Island in Marshall, NC for Art on the Island this Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Admission is free so come on by! We’d love to see you!
Okay, it’s been a long time since I’ve even been on this site so once again I need to apologize for not responding to comments or keeping our readers in the know about what’s going on with the Appalachian Journey series. My only excuse is that MS and hot weather don’t play well together and this summer has been extremely hot here in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s finally cooling off some and the MS is calming down–thank goodness!–and we have some major news.
No, it’s not that Wise Woman will be ready sooner than our intended release date of December but it is pretty exciting, at least for us. Our awesome cover designer, Kimberly Maxwell, has been hard at work and just sent us the cover she designed for Wise Woman, Appalachian Journey Book 4! Take a look:
You’ll notice there’s no blurb on the back. That’s on us, not Kim because we haven’t sent her one yet. The picture on the front is the one of Aunt Bessie and our dad standing in a field of wildflowers and it’s resting on top of Aunt Bessie’s photo album. The beautiful asters and clover beside the album were picked by yours truly and Kim on a pretty summer day–before this blasted heat set in. The painting on back is by our dad, of course, and shows Stone Mountain Baptist Church as it looked when he was living on the mountain with Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch.
Isn’t it gorgeous? Christy and I think it’s the best one yet! What do you think?
When we began our research for this series some six or seven years ago, we didn’t know it would create a keen interest in our heritage. Of course, we were aware of our Cherokee ancestry through Bessie’s great-grandmother Elisi but didn’t know of any other lineage flowing through our blood on our father’s side of the family. Although we both have a bit of fascination with all things Scottish, we never came across information or even suspected a connection to Scotland even though many Appalachians proudly claim that right … until this year’s Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs when Peggy Huff McConnell came to the festival and stopped by our booth.
Peggy had read our books and came by to tell us that we are distant relatives. We love it when family members stop by to meet us at these events but Peggy had more to share: we are a part of Clan Henderson through Lucinda, Bessie’s mother, Mama in the books. Needless to say, we were thrilled. Not only did we meet another family member who informed us of our Scottish ancestry, but also, Peggy may have solved a mystery we’ve been puzzling over since the first time we visited the Genealogy Room at the Madison County Library where we found Lucinda’s family listed in the 1880 Census. Problem was, the names on the census didn’t match what we’d found online or the family tree our cousin, Jackie Burgin Painter sent us–both of which were different, by the way.
Peggy was kind enough to send us the official genealogy chart of Clan Henderson and information on how we could join. which she did a couple of weeks ago. Thanks, Peggy! You’ve been a great help! The Clan Henderson chart shows … drum roll, please! … Lucinda’s parents were Robert Henderson and Lydia Roberts. At last, we’re hoping we can finally lay to rest who Lucinda’s and Belle’s real parents were.
As for Clan Henderson, here’s some interesting information we’re proud to share with our readers. The family of Henderson is as old as any clan in the Highlands, descending from Eanruig Mor Nac Righ Neachtan (big Henry, son of King Nectan) in the 11th century. Henderson is the most common surname for the sons of Henry (MacEanruig). Clan Henderson has been involved in the mainstream of history from the clan battles in the Highlands to the plantation of Ulster, the Jacobite uprisings (fans of Diana Gabaldon’s series Outlander will recognize this!), the Massacre at Glencoe, and emigration to North America and Australia.
Clan Henderson’s motto is Sola Virtus Nobilitat! which means Virtue Alone Enobles!
The Henderson tartan is a predominantly green pattern with wide, alternating blue and black bands highlighted by facing alternating fine yellow and white stripes. It appears in several different versions – ancient, modern, weathered, dress – with the sett count remaining constant while the colors vary. For those like me who didn’t know what sett means, I’ll explain by first describing tartan: Tartan is made with alternating bands of colored threads woven as both warp and weft at right angles to each other. The weft is woven in a simple twill, two over — two under the warp, advancing one thread at each pass. This forms visible diagonal lines where different colors cross, which give the appearance of new colors blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of color repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines known as a sett. The average-sized sett for a kilt in modern times is 5 to 6 inches which gives around 250 threads per sett using a medium weight wool yarn. If you were using a much thinner yarn such as silk then that thread count could multiply by three or four.
Cyndi and I have recently joined Clan Henderson and look forward to learning more about our Scottish ancestors. For those family members we’ve met both online and off who are descended from Lucinda and anyone else who might be interested, you can find out more about Clan Henderson – just click on the name!
Now, if we can only solve the mystery of which grandmother it was who donated the Elliott land to the YMCA way back in the 20s to use as a camp. Well, actually, we think we’ve found her name but we’re not positive and would like confirmation before Wise Woman comes out, so off we go on another quest!
We had a wonderful time visiting with Daddy in Florida and thanks to our husbands were able to actually talk to him without interruption. Thanks for keeping you-know-who busy, guys! It was big help and we were able to get quite a few new stories, clarify some of the ones we’d already heard, and–finally!–get a glimmer of where we’re going to go with this book. Whew!
We’re back into research this week–with a little writing and editing thrown in for fun–and while I was adding the genealogy chart to the notes file–there are so many family members it’s hard to keep them all straight!–I decided to try to find Papa’s grave. We knew it was in Knoxville and at the Bookwalter United Methodist Church cemetery but for some reason had never actually looked for it the way we’ve been actively looking for Lucinda’s. So I went to the Find a Grave site and searched for John Warren Daniels and look what I found:
Love that site! The neat thing is when I looked at the info on the site about John Warren Daniels, they actually had Lucinda’s and Green’s (they spell his name Greene) info there, too. They’re both listed as being buried in Sandy Gap Cemetery in Hot Springs which really surprised me because when we checked the Madison County Library’s book of cemeteries in Hot Springs, Sandy Gap was not listed … but there it was on Find a Grave so a big thank you to Diana (the person who added the picture of Papa’s tombstone and all the additional information on him)!
Mama is listed as his wife but Roy and Loney aren’t listed with the other children. Not sure why and we’re hoping some of Loney’s family will chime in and let us know where she’s buried so we can add it to our research file. And back when Whistling Woman first came out we received an email from Roy’s great-granddaughter and we’d love to hear from her on Roy’s grave, too!
Okay, now for some news, while we were in Florida, we were notified that the French translation of Whistling Woman had been released in the Kindle store at Amazon.fr. No print book yet, but it’s coming! The French title is Les deces arrivent toujours par trois. Neither one of us speaks French (we both took Spanish in high school) so we had to look up the title and turns out it translates to “death always comes in threes” which is essentially the theme of the first chapter. Not sure why they went with that title but after a little bit of consideration, we decided it fit well enough.
Anyway, here’s the cover:
Same as the German cover but with a different title. As I said, neither Christy or I speak French so we have no idea how to pronounce it! Maybe one of our readers can help?
And speaking of Whistling Woman translations, we just received an email from the publisher that Madchen, die pfeifen (German edition) has been selected as one of the books they’re spotlighting in a special promotion:
Mädchen, die pfeifen (German Edition) will be included in our 4hero in the DE marketplace, starting 7/1/2015 and running through 7/31/2015. During this promotion, strategically selected titles are offered for 2,49 € and are displayed on the Amazon Homepage, supported with mailings, onsite and device campaigns.
I just couldn’t resist checking the Amazon.de Homepage and yep, sure enough, Madchen, die pfeifen is right there. Pretty cool, huh? And Christy just checked the book’s page on Amazon.de and we’re back on two bestseller lists. Yippee!
Okay, time to get back to writing but not before we wish everybody a Happy (and safe!) July 4th!
A = Apology… to all the readers who left comments in the last week or two. I think I’ve responded to all of them but if I missed anyone, I’m terribly sorry!
B = Bit of news … which is why I’m trying to catch up with the comments here. Christy and I will be in Florida next week. We’ll be working on Wise Woman, of course, but the main reason we’re going down is to spend Father’s Day with Daddy! Yay! For the first time since he moved down to Florida we’ll actually get to see him and talk to him on his special day. We’re so excited!
C = Clarification … (Did I spell that right? It looks weird. I hate when words do that to me!) Anyway, we’ve noticed a few of the people who have left reviews of the books on Amazon (and we thank you all!) have mentioned that the Appalachian Journey series is a trilogy and that the third book, Beloved Woman, is the last book and we just wanted to clear that up. Yes, as noted at the end of Beloved Woman, there will be a fourth book, Wise Woman. What’s that called, a quadrilogy. Nah, I know that’s not right and I know there’s a proper word for a four book series but my brain is drawing a blank right now.
The funny thing is when we started writing the first book, Whistling Woman, we thought that would be the only book. And then we finished it and realized there would have to be at least one more. So we rolled up our sleeves, dusted off our notes file and dove right in to researching and writing Moonfixer. And when we finished that one, we did the same with Beloved Woman (only we had the title as Charming Gardeners at the time). And now, after Beloved Woman we’re busy writing the fourth book, Wise Woman. We are thinking that one will be the last but … who knows?
How’s that for a cliffhanger? Meanwhile, our wonderful cover designer, Kim, has already started on the cover for Wise Woman and we’re busy writing it. So, stay tuned here (or follow us on our Appalachian Journey Facebook page) and we’ll do our best to keep you updated on all things Appalachian Journey!
For the fourth year in a row, Christy and I (aka CC Tillery) will be at the Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs, NC this Saturday. We’ll be there from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m., enjoying the music, the delicious food, the awesome arts and crafts and of course, selling and signing books! Bluff Mountain Festival is a wonderful event held on the grounds of the Hot Springs Resort and Spa and it’s one of our favorites. It was the first festival we ever attended as CC Tillery and we always come away from it with many wonderful memories of seeing old readers, meeting new ones, and talking to all the people who stop by our booth.
For more information and a list of the musical acts and when they’re performing, click on the picture or the link above.
And if you’re in the area this Saturday, come on by. We’d love to see you!
It’s been a busy couple of weeks here in the mountains. Summer is in full swing (saw the first lightning bugs last night!) and Christy and I have been making revisions (nothing drastic, thank heavens!) to the Whistling Woman e-book and print files. Whew! So glad that’s done!
We’ve also been getting ready for the Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs on June 13th. This is our favorite yearly event because it takes us back to our favorite little mountain town. We particularly enjoy seeing friends we’ve met in the past and catching up with them. We also love meeting all the new readers. It’s a wonderful festival with many lovely arts and crafts and fabulous blue grass music so if you’re in the area, come on by. We’d love to meet you!
Added to that, we’ve been busy scheduling a couple of other events we’ll attend this summer and we’ve found a new one in the fall, Octoberfest in Old Fort! We’ve wanted to do something in Old Fort ever since Moonfixer came out but somehow kept missing all their festivals. But not this year!
And mixed in with all that, we have a new cover to show you. Yep, that’s right, our awesome cover designer, Kimberly Maxwell, has revamped the Whistling Woman cover and it’s gorgeous!
Here’s the full flat for the print book:
And the e-book cover:
And finally, the audio book cover
Aren’t they beautiful? Kim, did a fantastic job, as usual! The picture on the front is, of course, the same picture of Miss Cordy that we used for the original cover and the small picture leaning against it is of Mama (Lucinda), Papa (John) and Bessie when she was about one year old. Since the color theme for this one is a brick red, Kim used another one of Daddy’s paintings on the back of some apples in a basket.
The new cover is now up on Amazon for the e-book and hopefully, the paper back and the audio will be up in the next couple of days. Needless to say, we love the new cover! What do you think?
Christy and I took a mini-Appalachian Journey of our own Wednesday. We spent the day in Old Fort and after we visited the Gateway Museum and the Andrews Geyser (which was repaired and working this time!) we headed up Stone Mountain to visit Stone Mountain Baptist Church with the graveyard where Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch and many of the other characters who populate the Appalachian Journey series are buried.
Since our husbands were with us to handle the driving, we were able to take a few detours and get some pictures of our old stomping grounds!
First, we took the cutoff to Aunt Bessie’s and Uncle Fletcher’s old house. The road is still mostly gravel but the house has been completely remodeled and it’s very hard to recognize unless you know what you’re looking for. There have been so many changes and, of course, it doesn’t help that Christy and I are looking at it through the eyes of childhood memories–I swear this parcel of land was flatter back then! The bridge over the creek in the front is no longer there, the barn has been torn down, and it has a new front porch and new dark siding.
This is what the house looked like shortly before Uncle Fletcher died in 1958. I’m not sure exactly when this picture was taken but that’s Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch standing in front of the chimney and that’s how I remember Aunt Bessie so I think I’m safe in saying this was taken sometime in the early 1950s. Even taking into account the trees and foliage, which has grown substantially, the house just appears smaller and more compact in this picture, but maybe that’s just me.
After that, we went on to our grandmother’s house which actually looks bigger since it’s been remodeled and had several rooms added on. Sorry, we forgot to take a picture because the people who bought it, Greg Miller and his wife (I think her name is Sue) were at home and we stopped to talk to them and ask about Camp Elliott. Greg was very helpful and actually took us up to the camp and gave us a tour.
We hadn’t been to Camp Elliott since our childhood and wow, has it changed. It sits on the site of the old Elliott homestead where Fletcher grew up and the old Elliott graveyard sits. Since it was donated to the boy scouts for a camp long before we were born, we only visited once in our childhood. All we really remember is the lake and a very primitive camping ground. Most recently the camp has been used as a school for boys with behavior problems. They added lots of cabins and a bathhouse plus a kitchen/dining hall, a small community center, and a beautiful chapel.
Stone Mountain Baptist Church and the graveyard haven’t changed much since we last visited. It’s still a lovely little mountain church and though the graveyard has almost doubled in size since we were children, it remains a peaceful and lovely resting place for those residing there.
So, there you have it, another day of walking in the footsteps of our ancestors. It was a wonderful day and driving home we even found a route that’s much shorter and many times more beautiful to get there and back which I hope means more visits in the future!
I’ll leave you with a picture of the Camp Elliott Chapel. Isn’t it beautiful?
We’re working on Wise Woman and are having trouble figuring out which way to go with it so … naturally we thought of our kind, generous, and helpful readers! If you have a minute, won’t you please leave us a comment letting us know what you want to see more of in the fourth book of our Appalachian Journey series?
What would you like to see more, or less, of in Wise Woman:
None of the above? All of the above?
We would not be where we are without our beloved readers and while the books need to follow along the course of Aunt Bessie’s and Uncle Fletcher’s life on the mountain, we’d really love to hear your thoughts on what you think we should focus on more!
We got curious the other day about just how many books we’ve sold since Whistling Woman was released in December 2012 followed by Moonfixer in December 2013 and Beloved Woman in December 2014. So we went back and took a look at all the reports–yes, our eyes are still crossed!–and started adding them all up; e-book, print, and audio versions of all three books.
Imagine our surprise when the total came out to well over 100,000 books! We knew the books had done well since they’ve consistently been on 3 bestseller lists on Amazon and we’ve almost sold out at all the events and festivals we’ve been to but … over 100,000? Nope, never in our wildest dreams did we think the total would be that high!
But thanks to all our wonderful, supportive readers, it was! And we’re quickly moving toward 200,000! That’s awesome and in the midst of all our happy dances, we decided we wanted to share our celebration with the people responsible for our good fortune, our cherished readers (after all, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for y’all!) and to say thank you, we’re offering free copies of the audio version of Beloved Woman, Appalachian Journey Book 3 to the first 18 people who comment on the post about this entry on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/appalachianjourney!
So if you’d like to hear the story as read by our lovely narrator, Carol Herman (who we think sounds amazingly like Aunt Besse!), leave us a comment! But do it fast, we only have 18 copies!