Walking in the footsteps of our ancestors … again.

May 22, 2015 by
Andrews Geyser

Andrews Geyser

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!

Aunt Bessie’s and Uncle Fletcher’s house, May 2015

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.

Aunt Bessie and Uncle FletchThis 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.

Camp Elliott Lake

Camp Elliott Lake

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.

Camp Elliott Chapel

Camp Elliott Chapel

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?

 

 

Wise Woman–we want your help!

May 11, 2015 by

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:

Aunt Bessie and Daddy
Family stories?

 

 

 

SheltonLaurel

 

 

Historical fiction?

 

 

 

CherokeeMuseum

 

Cherokee folklore?

 

 

 

Cone flowers

 

Herbal medicine?

 

 

 

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’re so happy we’re giving away free audio versions of Beloved Woman, Appalachian Journey Book 3!

April 22, 2015 by

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!

BWACXmorecontrastyBut 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!

 

It’s here … well, almost!

March 25, 2015 by

For those of you who are waiting for the audio version of Beloved Woman, Appalachian Journey Book 3, we were just notified that it’s available at Audible (hmm…they have it listed as Appalachian Journey Book 2–gonna have to fix that!) and should be up on Amazon and other sites within the next few days! Hopefully, Amazon will do the same as they did with the other two books and offer the audio version of Beloved Woman at a discount if you’ve already purchased the ebook!

Our narrator, Carol Herman, did an outstanding job–she just keeps getting better at Aunt Bessie’s voice!–and even though I listened to it chapter by chapter as she was doing the narration, I can’t wait to listen to the entire thing again.

 

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Cover makeover for…

March 24, 2015 by

Moonfixer, Appalachian Journey Book 2!

We posted about this already on our Facebook page and now we’re announcing it here. Moonfixer, Appalachian Journey Book 2 now has a new and improved cover. We were so pleased with Kim’s fabulous design for our Beloved Woman cover that we asked her to redesign the cover for Moonfixer–which we’ve never liked very much. Kim sent the final version to us yesterday and here it is:

MoonFixer

That’s Aunt Bessie’s school bell in the front (the one Fletch gives her in the book) and the painting on the back is another one by our dad, John Tillery. Though Daddy never saw the original house (it was torn down years before he was born), this is how he imagined it when Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch told him stories about it. The picture of Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch on their wedding day that was on the front of the first cover is still there, just smaller. Since it’s in pretty poor shape, Kim touched it up a bit to make them show up a little better. And you can’t really see it unless you enlarge the picture but the background on the front is the wire in my antique jelly safe door and on the back is, of course, the full moon.

I can’t wait to hold it in my hands and just look at it! Kim pays so much attention to the little details and manages to blend them all in a perfect gorgoues cover. She has a color theme for each book (this one is gold) as well as a design (not sure if that’s the right word!) theme that will tie all the books in the series together, and of course, there’s that wonderful series logo and our official Spring Creek Press (the name we publish under) logo.

So, what do you think? Christy and I absolutely love it and have already given Kim the go-ahead to start on the cover for Whistling Woman, Appalachian Journey Book 1!

Okay, back to updating the Press/Media page and hopefully, after I get that done, I can do a little cleanup work on the rest of the blog–I need to get the new Moonfixer cover up in the sidebar!

 

 

Catching up…

March 3, 2015 by

I’ve been catching up on the comments this morning and hopefully I responded to them. If I missed someone please know it’s not because I’m ignoring you! I really need to spend more time on this site but with all that’s been happening in the last couple of months, I’m having a hard time keeping up.

First, there was the e-book release of Beloved Woman in late December. Then there was the print release in January and then came the audio version which should be out in the next few weeks.

As a result of listening to the audio version, we’re now making a few minor changes to the e-book and print book–mostly little things (punctuation and a couple of misspellings) that we missed on our many read-throughs of the book. They don’t change the story in any way but when you have two nit-picky writers collaborating on one book, these things pop up and we’re bound and determined to get them fixed!

Anyway, we wanted to give our narrator on all three Appalachian Journey books, Carol Herman, a huge thank you. Carol nailed the voice of Bessie from the first and she just keeps getting better and better with each book. We’re so happy we chose her to do Whistling Woman and that she enjoyed it enough to come back and do Moonfixer and Beloved Woman.

So, here’s to you Carol; thanks so much for giving a voice to our great-aunt Bessie. When we listen to you, it’s almost as if Aunt Bessie is with us once more, telling us one of the many stories we’ve heard all our lives!

We also wanted to share the cover for the audio book. Thanks again, Kim for doing an outstanding job!

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Oh, and before I forget, our sales have been so awesome in January and February we decided to leave the price of all three books at .99 until further notice! So, if you know of anyone who you think might enjoy them, spread the word. We’ll be eternally grateful to you!

 

Snow, Sleet … and ‘Sang Tea

February 17, 2015 by

Sitting here looking out my office window at the sun sparkling on the ice-coated branches of the Bradford Pear trees in my front yard. It sure is beautiful but … I really wish it would go away. Unfortunately, we’re not supposed to get above freezing for the next three days! Brrr!

red_ginsengSo I decided while I’m waiting on the temps to warm up, I’d work on getting my office organized. That lasted maybe five minutes, until I got to the Appalachian Journey notes file and I found a few notes I’d jotted down during phone conversations with Daddy. Some of them were very hard to read–my handwriting has gotten atrociuos since I quit teaching. I’m not sure why I hadn’t ever added them to the computer file, but I suspect it’s merely laziness, so I decided I’d better get out my magic decoder ring and do my best to decipher the chicken scratch…

And I found a note about Aunt Bessie’s springtime ritual of giving Daddy a tonic made of ginseng (or ‘sang asginseng_bed_001 she called it) roots to clear away the winter blahs and get his blood pumping again. Below that, I’d written Tasted Terrible!!!!, underlined  three times.

I’ve never had ginseng root tea but I trust Daddy’s taste and don’t think I’ll go looking for a cup anytime soon. Still, it got me thinking about a program I’d seen about harvesting ginseng and how it’s now listed on the endangered plants list and a lot of states have laws governing when and how you can dig the roots.

But if it tastes so awful, why is it being dug to the point of extinction? To answer that, I turned to my trusty research book, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs, authored by Steven Foster and James A. Duke, put out by Peterson Field Guides:

ginseng-roots-400009“Root considered demulcent, tonic. Research suggests it may increase mental efficiency and physical performance and aid in adapting to high or low temperatures and stress (when taken over an extended period). Ginseng’s effect is called “adaptogenic”–tending to return the body to normal while increasing resistance to adverse influences on the body.”

So, it looks like Aunt Bessie was right; ginseng root tea taken as a tonic in the spring does have the ability to take away the winter blahs and get your body ready for the increased activity that comes with the warmer weather.

There’s a lot to be said for those old remedies!

Finally! Beloved Woman is…

January 22, 2015 by

…now available in print on Amazon! So if you’d like to get your hands on a print copy, just click here.

Amazon has included the back cover in their “Look Inside” feature so if you want to get a closer look at the rest of Kim’s beautiful work–including one of Daddy’s paintings of Aunt Bessie’s house–scroll down all the way to the last page of the sample and check it out.

Also, another bit of exciting news, Carol Herman, our narrator for the audio books of Whistling Woman and Moonfixer, is busy recording Beloved Woman. We’re more than thrilled to have her back on the third book of the series as she captures Aunt Bessie perfectly!

BelovedWomanFinalfrontTN96dpi

 

Update on Beloved Woman print book!

January 20, 2015 by

Just wanted to let everyone who is interested in the paperback of Beloved Woman know that it has been approved and should be available on Amazon in the next couple of days–or as the printer said in their e-mail, “within 3-5 days.” It would’ve been available last week except when I got the print copy I noticed the cover wasn’t centered properly and I–or I should say one of the readers of the Kindle version noticed a mistake and kindly emailed us to let us know. So I made the correction and Kim fixed the cover and then I proofed it online instead of waiting for another proof copy. Hopefully, it will look exactly like what I saw on the online review!

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Whew! And now that Beloved Woman is officially finished it’s time to move on to the next one, Wise Woman. No release date yet–not even a tentative one–but you can be sure we’ll shout it to the heavens when it’s done. Stay tuned…

 

 

ww 6-smMeanwhile, all three books in the Appalachian Journey series, WhistlingMoonfixer Cover Woman, Moonfixer, and Beloved Woman are available for .99 each on Kindle until January 31, 2015! Plus, Moonfixer and Beloved Woman are available free with Kindle Unlimited (KU) membership and/or in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL) if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

And watch for Whistling Woman to show up there in a few days!

One last bit of news (and I hope you’ll forgive a little bit of bragging); all of the books are currently in the top 15 of Kindle’s Historical Literary Fiction bestseller list, as well as in the top 100 of two other Amazon lists, Kindle Historical Fiction and Amazon Historical. Needless to say, we’re doing happy dances and at the same time, gushing thanks to our awesome readers!

 

 

 

Beloved Woman Print Cover Reveal!

January 7, 2015 by

Here’s the full cover for the print version of Beloved Woman (click on the pic to enlarge):

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Another beautiful job by our cover designer, Kim Maxwell! We love that she added one of Daddy’s paintings to the back. That’s a picture he did of Aunt Bessie’s house and every time I see it, it brings back happy memories.

The cover and the manuscript file have been approved for print and we’ve ordered a proof copy. Should be here next week and after we do a final read-through, we’ll approve it (hopefully we won’t find any errors!) and then it goes up on Amazon. So … those of you waiting for the paperback, it shouldn’t be long now!


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