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Good day, lovely readers! We wanted to let you know that the audiobook of Seeking the Brown Mountain Lights is now available at Audible.com. We have a limited number of free download codes, so those that are interested, please email Christy at BML2 for KDPctfrench252@aol.com for the download code and instructions.

Singer/songwriter Reagan Boggs, who narrated Through the Brown Mountain Lights, did the honors with this book and we think you’ll find her voice as lovely as we do. It’s amazing how she can so easily change her voice and accent to relay each character’s persona.

We’re hard at work on book #3 (untitled as of yet) and will make further announcements as it progresses through publication.

As always we cannot thank you all enough for your continued encouragement and support. We are truly blessed to share this journey with you.

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Well, the creek did rise last week and we didn’t attend the Gold Festival in Old Fort last Saturday, but tomorrow looks promising for the 23rd Bluff Mountain Music Festival in Hot Springs, NC from 10 am – 5 pm.

Did you know that the Bluff Mountain Music Festival first took place in 1996 to raise funds and awareness to save Bluff Mountain, part of the Pisgah National Forest, from a destructive logging and road-building plan? A compromise was eventually reached with the timber industry and now hiking trails and a public parking area have been built where logging roads were once planned. We feel connected to this festival, as we wrote about the damage inflicted on the Appalachian Mountains by timber companies and Bessie’s efforts to save her mountain from their assault.

This is one of our favorite festivals, with the best bluegrass music throughout the day, a silent auction (to which we always donate a book), lots of artists and craftsmen selling their wares, and great food. It looks to be a beautiful day, and we hope if you attend, you’ll drop by and visit.

 

 

Did you know that in the 1800s, North Carolina was the biggest gold producer in the country until gold was discovered in California in 1848? Not many people are aware but gold was one of the reasons the US government wanted to move the Cherokee and other Native Americans out of the mountains so they could claim the land and poach the gold.

There are actually two Gold Festivals this year, and we’ll be attending the official one in Old Fort on the banks of Mill Creek at the Mountain Gateway Museum on Saturday, June 2nd, from 10-4. Activities include live music, gold and gem panning contests, gold vendors and a display by the Reed Gold Mine, a Bechtler Gold Coin exhibit and Bechtler Museum House exhibit, along with artisans and food vendors selling their wares. And for country music fans, comedian Cledus T. Judd will take the stage at 2 pm.

The other Gold Festival will be held at the Lucky Strike Gem Mine in the Vein Mountain region of McDowell County, near Marion, NC on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 from 10-6. There will be a variety of vendors, including the latest in gold mining equipment, and a lapidarist will demonstrate gem faceting. Other activities include live music, BBQ, nugget races, horseshoes, and artisans and food vendors selling their wares. At the mine, attendees can learn to sluice and crevice the river or pan for gold at the flume. The Thermal City gold mine is only two miles away.

The two festivals are within half an hour of each other, making it easy for those who would like to attend both in the same day. There is no entry fee for either festival, and as participants in past Gold Festivals, we can attest that it will be a fun day for all.

 

 

We wanted to share with our awesome readers the EPIC 2018 eBook Award for Historical Fiction we recently received for our book Through the Brown Mountain Lightsepic ebook award 2018(This was taken with my phone and doesn’t do it justice but I hope you get a sense of how beautiful it is.) And to once more thank all of you for sharing this journey with us and offering your constant encouragement and  support. We would not have gone past the first book, Whistling Woman, if not for you and cannot thank you enough for helping make all this possible.

This past Saturday, September 30th, we participated in the Art on the Island Arts Festival on Blannahassett Island in beautiful Marshall, NC. This is the only town I am aware of that has an island in the middle of its downtown area, and it is just gorgeous. The weather couldn’t have been better with sunny skies and mild marshall3temperatures. And talk about ambience! Fantastic live music (was that Santana I heard?), great food from the Sweet Monkey Cafe, artisans selling their wares, and even a blacksmith in the midst demonstrating his art. And dogs, my favorite animal, galore. I tried to get a picture of Cyndi at our booth but she ducked just before I clicked. If you look closely, you can see her trying to hide behind the mum. Gotcha, Gik!

Although this is the smallest festival we’ve attended yet, we were thrilled to break another record while meeting new and past readers. Georgeann at Penland Department Store in Marshall told us she had sold out of all books but one in the Appalachian Journey series so placed an order for more books as well as book 1 of the Brown Mountain Lights series. We were marshall5asked to do an interview on a live radio show around Halloween and are really looking forward to that. And met a couple who lived on Brown Mountain and were more than willing to share their fascinating recollections of seeing the Brown Mountain lights on “many” occasions. Both admitted to now being firm believers that there is something mysterious and unexplained about these lights.marshall1

Next up: the Mars Hill Heritage Festival in Mars Hill, North Carolina. They’ve placed us close to the bookstore, which is exactly where we wanted to be. This is a really fun festival in this marshall2small college town, with close to a hundred booths including diverse and talented artisans and vendors, live music, activities for children, and food and drink. If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll drop by and say hello. So far, it looks like the weather will be perfect and what better way to spend your day than participating in a fall festival in the mountains of North Carolina?

 

 

Friday and Saturday, September 8th and 9th, we participated in the Historic Morganton Festival in beautiful Morganton, North Carolina. We couldn’t have asked for a better day, with gorgeous cerulean skies dotted with puffy white clouds and highs in the 70s. Or for a mfbetter site, being placed on the lawn of the historic Old Courthouse, which is where William Waightstill Avery shot his nemesis Samuel Fleming, and which we write about in our book Through the Brown Mountain Lights.

This is the largest festival we’ve yet attended with close to 1000 vendors and I would estimate fifty thousand or more attendees. Somf2 many, the streets were packed throughout the festival. During the day, the crowd was entertained with live music (at one point, I wondered if Tina Turner was actually there!) with live concerts each evening. We loved it when a bluegrass band set up next to our booth and played during the afternoon.

We were pleased when several of those who bought books commented they had read about us in the paper and wanted to come meet us. And even more thrilled when Ed Phillips, Director of Tourism at the Burke County Tourism Development Authority, stopped by to chat and ask if he could add our book to an exhibit he’s putting together about the Brown Mountain lights.  Ed is mf3known for the symposiums he holds on this subject and we’re looking forward to visiting Morganton when he unveils the exhibit around Halloween. We had fun chatting with readers, always asking if they had seen the Brown Mountain lights. More than a few actually had and it was fascinating listening to their stories and descriptions about the lights, which only made them more mf7mysterious to us the more stories we heard.

Our cousins Mary Paris Merriken and Melinda Paris stopped by. We’re related to them through Lucinda Henderson, Bessie’s mother. I knew we were descendants of Clan Henderson through Lucinda, but Melinda and Mary told us we are descended from several other clans in Scotland, one of which is the Balfour clan. Didn’t Diana Gabaldon write about a Balfour in her Outlander series? Whether she did or not, it’s great knowing we can definitely claim Scottish heritage. Mary has done extensive research on Bessie’s cousin Frank Henderson, the first man to die in the electric chair in North Carolina (skeletons in closets, right?), and is planning a book which we look forward to reading.

All in all, we had a fantastic day with the added bonus of breaking our sales record. We’ve been so blessed with these festivals and library and book club presentations and signings this year, and appreciate more than we can ever express our fabulous readers, who are always so inspiring and mf5encouraging. Y’all are absolutely the best!

Up  next: Art on the Island in Marshall, NC on September 30th, and the Mars Hill Heritage Festival on October 7th.

We’re giving away audiobook downloads of our latest book, Through the Brown Mountain Lights. Interested? Email Christy at ctfrench252@aol.com for the code and instructions for downloading. We don’t have many left, so first come, first served!

We’re sure you’ll enjoy the voice of our producer/narrator Reagan Boggs. She’s also a singer and songwriter and is the perfect voice for Lizzie and the other characters.

We hope our fabulous readers are enjoying a fun-filled summer. We’re hard at work on the next book in our Brown Mountain Lights series and looking forward to its release this fall.

 

We’re continuing on with festival season and this past Saturday, June 3rd, we participated in the Gold Festival in Old Fort, NC. It was a beautiful day with temps in the low 80s and a nice breeze, comfortable enough that we didn’t have to resort to the improvised “air conditioner”. Although this is a relatively small festival, the turnout was fantastic and we had a fun day chatting with artisans, meeting readers, selling and signing copies of our books, and listening to live music while watching people pan for gold in the mountain stream that runs behind the Gateway Museum.

We always love feedback from our readers and a highpoint of our day was when a reader who bought the Appalachian Journey books at the Donut Festival in Marion a couple of weeks ago stopped by to tell us this series has become her favorite, that they made her laugh and cry and touched on all emotions, and she wished she could find more books as well written as ours.  Another highpoint was when Becky Bussert, co-owner of Smith’s Old Country Store in Black Mountain (the very store we always walked to when we visited our grandmother) came by to talk about placing our books in her store and showed her fabulous retail skills when she pitched the books to passersby.

And I guess all our faithful readers know what’s coming next … I know we say it a lot but it’s so true, we have the most awesome and inspiring readers!

Since the area is so beautiful, we wanted to take pictures to share with our readers. The first one below was taken on the drive to Black Mountain/Old Fort. It’s easy to see why they’re called the Black Mountains and look at that gorgeous sky. Next shows a group of people at the stream panning for gold. The third is one of the bands, which was awesome – the singer’s voice reminded me of  Stevie Ray Vaughn. And the last is of some women line dancing to Bob Dylan’s “Rock Me Mama”.  Never have I connected Bob Dylan to line dancing but, dang, they were good.

Next up: Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs, North Carolina, this Saturday, June 10th. Hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the area! Oh, and we’ll have free audiobooks to give away so look for the announcement on our CC Tillery Facebook page!

 

We had a great time at the 2nd Annual Carolina Donut Festival this past Saturday, May 20th, in Marion, NC, hosted by Mr. Bob’s Donuts. (If you haven’t tried their donuts, you really should – absolutely the best we’ve ever tasted.) Marion’s beautiful downtown Main Street was lined with vendor booths and thousands of attendees throughout the day. Although the temperature got hot as the day went on (upper 80s), we were blessed with a cool mountain breeze and a portable air conditioner built by Christy’s husband Steve out of a cooler and batteries. As always, we had fun meeting and visiting with readers but an added bonus was receiving invitations from three different organizations to do future presentations.

So far, we’ve met quite a few people who have seen the Brown Mountain lights, two of whom said the ones they saw were amber in color, and one man, a historian, telling us they were different colors. We really love the mystery surrounding these lights and are fascinated hearing these stories, and hope to hear more as we go along, especially when we get to the Morganton Historical Festival this fall.

A bit of history about Marion:  It was founded in 1844 and named in honor of Brigadier General Francis Marion, an American Revolutionary War hero whose flare for guerrilla warfare earned him the nickname “Swamp Fox”.  It’s motto is “Where Main Street meets the mountains” and that couldn’t be more apt. It’s a gorgeous town, surrounded by green mountains and blue sky.

donutfestival7Next up: The Gold Festival in Old Fort, NC, on Saturday, June 3rd. Come join us for what promises to be a fun event. They’re even going to be panning for gold in the mountain stream behind the Gateway Museum!  panning for gold

We’ll be participating in the 2nd Annual Carolina Donut Festival in beautiful Marion, NC on Saturday, May 20th, from 10:00 – 4:00. The festival will also feature a 5K Dash, Carolina Donut Festival Car Raffle, Donut Pageant and a donut eating contest. There will be booths filled with artisans and specialty donut makers, so if you’re in the area, we hope you’ll stop by for what promises to be a fun event and some amazing donuts!

donutfestival.2017

Seeking the Brown Mountain Lights

Through the Brown Mountain Lightss

Brown Mountain Lights Book 1

Wise Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 4

Beloved Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 3

Moonfixer

Appalachian Journey Book 2

Whistling Woman

Appalachian Journey Book 1

Madchen, die pfeifen

Whistling Woman (German)

Les deces arrivant toujours par trois

Whistling Woman (French)

Christy Tillery French Cynthia Tillery Hodges

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