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Christy and I were invited to give a presentation at the beautiful Old Fort Library yesterday and we had such a good time. It’s getting so we enjoy these short events more than the festivals. They don’t take up a whole day and we get to know our readers more since it is a smaller crowd and we can spend one on one–or should I say two on one? — time with them.

Yesterday was especially fun for us because almost everyone who was there either knew Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch, and in some cases, Daddy, too, or they had relatives that knew them. And the best part, they knew most of characters we wrote about in the books and kindly shared some stories about them with us. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in a very long time. The hour and a half we spent with them was like going to a family reunion or homecoming.

So, a word of thanks to Ashley Salazar for inviting us to speak. She did a fantastic job with the set up. And thanks to all the ladies that came out to meet us: Becky Bussert, Janice Means, Mary Lee Lytle, Kiesa Kay, and Karen Nilsen, just to name a few. I would love to relay the stories they told us … but who knows, maybe we’ll end up writing them instead. But first, we need to finish the second Brown Mountain Lights book!

 

 

 

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We’ve had a pretty eventful past week. On Saturday, the 29th of April, we participated in the Pioneer Day Festival in Old Fort, North Carolina. Although the temperature reached into the 80s, it was a breezy day which made it seem cooler and was very comfortable. RoAnn Bishop, the museum director and event coordinator, placed us in the same spot we had last year, behind one of the log cabins on the museum property, across from the amphitheater where live bands performed throughout the day, and within eyesight of the beautiful burbling creek. A local radio station came by for an interview which prompted several people who knew Bessie and Fletch, and a couple who knew our dad, to come by and introduce themselves. This is one of our favorite festivals due the Civil War reenactments, music, food, friendly attendees and festival staff, and a gorgeous view. There was even mining for gold in the creek. But best of all, spending time with readers old and new. We were thrilled to receive invitations to several other festivals in North Carolina which we plan to attend. If you haven’t visited Old Fort, I’d recommend a trip. Although it’s a small town, it’s filled with history and beautiful views, and is one of the most charming towns we’ve visited.

On Tuesday, May 2nd, we were invited to the Noon Book Club at the Morristown-Hamblen Library in Morristown, Tennessee to speak about the first book in our Appalachian Journey series, Whistling Woman. (The picture on the left is the  room where we met. All the rest are of Frontier Day in Old Fort,) The ladies couldn’t have been nicer or more inspiring to us and we enjoyed spending time with them and eating the delicious home-made dishes they prepared for the covered-dish luncheon. We received great feedback, which means more to us than we can express, along with interest in the remaining books in the series and our new Brown Mountain Lights series. An added bonus: the library wanted the books for their system and invited us to a book signing in August which we’re looking forward to.

Next up: a presentation at the Old Fort Branch Library on Thursday, May 11th at 5:30, where we’ll talk about our Appalachian Journey series. Ashley Salazar, branch head of the library, stopped by our booth and told us there’s been much excitement about our presentation with several asking if they can share stories with us. We’re really thrilled about that. Who knows, maybe it will lead to a future book…

And on Saturday, May 20th, we’ve been invited to the Donut Festival in Marion, NC, sponsored by Mr. Bob’s Donuts. If you haven’t tried them, you’re missing out on something: they’re delicious. There will be over 100 vendors, including donut makers, regional artisans and nonprofit organizations. The festival will feature a 5K dash, car raffle, donut pageant and donut eating contest. Best of all, the proceeds go toward supplies for the local schools. This will be our first time at this festival and we expect to have a great time there. If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll stop by!

 

We participated in our first spring festival, Greening Up the Mountains, this past Saturday, April 22nd, in the beautiful town of Sylva, NC. We couldn’t have asked for a better festival than this to kick off our spring-fall rounds of attending festivals and meeting old and new readers. It took place in downtown Sylva, with live music, over 200 arts-and-crafts and food vendors, and thousand of attendees, many of whom had dogs in tow.  The picture to the left is of Railroad Avenue lined with vendor booths. Note the steeple in the background, which is now the library but was once the courthouse.

Jackie Burgin Painter, our first cousin once removed (I believe that’s the right terminology – she’s our dad’s first cousin) lives in Sylva. Jackie’s an outstanding historian whose books we used extensively in our Appalachian Journey series. We hoped to spend time with her but due to illness, Jackie couldn’t meet us. But there’s always next year because this is an event we do not want to miss and plan to attend in 2018.

I was curious how the town ended up with such a pretty name so did some research and it all goes back to William D. Sylva, a Danish wanderer who ended up in the small town of Webster, NC (named for Daniel Webster as a concession to the Whig element of the county) one blustery January evening in 1879. Frozen and starving, Sylva knocked on the door of Judge Riley D. Cannon’s house, where he was greeted by General E. R. Hampton, son-in-law of the judge. Judge Cannon welcomed Sylva inside for food and lodging for the night and liked him so well he invited the wayfarer to stay and work for him at his sawmill until he decided where he wanted to settle down. Eventually, General Hampton decided to build a town near Scott’s Creek where he also had a sawmill. When he asked his daughter, Mae, what they should name the post office, she immediately said, “Sylva”, because Sylva was the nicest person she had ever known. Although Sylva suggested they name the town something else, everyone seemed to be in agreement Mae had found the perfect name for the town. I think it fits.

 

 

 

That’s the headline of the wonderful article Fred McCormick wrote about CC Tillery. We are so grateful to him for his interest in our books and for taking the time to write about them and us. If you’d like to read his article in the Black Mountain News all you have to do is click on Appalachian Journey ends, new series begins and it’ll take you right to it.

Thanks so much Fred! And also we need to give a huge shout out to Sue Miller (she and her husband, Greg, live in our grandmother’s house) for putting us in touch with Fred!

 

… is finally available on Amazon! For some reason, Amazon hasn’t linked it to the ebook page yet but if you’d like a copy, just click on the picture below and it’ll take you to the print book’s page.

copy-of-bml1-kdp

We’ve been so busy dealing with this (plus a couple of other exciting things that we’ll share with you later) that I forgot to thank everyone for voting on the cover. As you can see, blue won. Thanks so much to our awesome readers who take the time to let us know what they think and are a constant source of support and inspiration to us. We love all of y’all!

,,,new book! Yep, that’s right, Through the Brown Mountain Lights, the first book in our Brown Mountain Lights Series is now available on Kindle!

bml1-kdp

Wishing all of our awesome readers a wonderful holiday season!

We are getting very close to the release of the first book in our Brown Mountain Lights series, but we’ve run into a bit of a roadblock on the cover. Kim, as always, did an awesome job and gave us a lot of covers to choose from. We narrowed it down to two but can’t decide on which one we want. So, here we are again, asking for the help of our wonderful readers.

 

c

 

d

Which do you like best, the blue or the orange? Let us know in the comments and thanks again for your help and for being the best readers ever!

We had a great time at Woodson Branch Nature School on Saturday, October 29th. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect while we got the chance to meet readers, sign copies of our books, and enjoy the enticing smell of a chili woodson-barncookoff.  In between meeting the attendees, we also talked about and resolved issues with our new series, the Brown Mountain Lights series, which is close to being finished. We hope to give our readers a glimpse of the beautiful cover very soon so watch for it!

Fall in the mountains is our favorite time of the year, and surprisingly the drought hasn’t affected the color of the trees which are woodson-treesbeautiful, even more so when  silhouetted against a fall cerulean sky.

Afterward, we drove down the mountain to Hot Springs to have dinner at our favorite diner, then walked to Bluff Mountain Outfitters, where we found out our books had sold out and were more than happy to sell more of the books to them. If you ever visit Hot Springs, be sure to stop in at Bluff Mountain. They cater to hikers hiking the Appalachian Trail and it’s a great place to hang out or shop. On our way out the door, we met the largest dog we’ve ever seen, a 2-year-old Great Dane named Briggs who was friendly and so adorable Christy wanted to take him home but couldn’t convince the owner to give him up. woodson-great-dane

Before leaving, we visited Springbrook Cabins in Hot Springs to talk about booking an overnight stay when we plan to attend the Christmas festival in Marshall on December 9th and 10th. If you’re in the area at that time, we hope you’ll stop by and say hello. Christy took a picture of the trees outside the woodson-hot-springsoffice there, which were too pretty to ignore.

This week, we’re in Florida visiting our dad (the storyteller behind the Appalachian Journey series), while working on the first edit of the first book in our new series, tentatively titled Through the Brown Mountain Lights. The book will take place during the Antebellum period in the Appalachian Mountains and, like our Appalachian Journey series, is filled with herbal medicine, Catawba folklore and a bit of romance wrapped around historical facts. We’re adding a different twist to this one (think Outlander meets Cold Mountain) and hope our readers will enjoy it as much as they have the Appalachian Journey series.  We’ll announce the release on our CC Tillery Facebook page so stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been trying for almost two weeks now to get this post up and just kept getting sidetracked–I’m happy to say writing got in the way. We’re about 2/3’s of the way through the first book in our Brown Mountain Lights Series. Yay! And yes, you know superstitious me, my fingers are tightly crossed against the jinx–and I’m knocking furiously on wood!

Our table Christy, me, DruAnnaAnyway, we had a lovely time at the East Tennessee Historical Society History Fair in downtown Knoxville. That’s our table to the left. We shared it with DruAnna Overbay who was there for Vardy Community Historical Society.

 

amanda campbellWe enjoyed meeting new readers along with a few who’d already read our books (that’s always a pleasure for us!). The young lady in the picture is Amber or Amanda (Sorry. there were so many people around us we’re not sure we got her name right) Campbell, who came to the fair specifically to see us. She goes to A. L. Lotts Elementary School in Knoxville and one of her teachers has been using Beloved Woman in her class. The teacher (I wish we’d gotten her name, too!) had a question about Beloved Woman on a test and told her students if they came to the fair and met us they would get extra credit in her class. Hands down, that was the most exciting thing that happened all day! Imagine, our books being used to teach a class. Amanda made our day when she told us that!

music music,periodWe also heard some beautiful music, both from the bands who performed on the stage (picture on left) and the quartet in period dress that strolled around playing (picture on right). Don’t know how they survived in those uniforms!

 

 

reader in period dressAnd, of course, we loved selling and signing our books and are grateful to everyone who came by–whether they bought a book or not!

Again, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to DruAnna Williams Overbay and the Vardy Community Historical Society for inviting us to share their table. We had a great time and loved spending the day with you!

 

ETHistFair booths

Here are a few long views of the festival–it was huge. Don’t know why we didn’t take more pictures–we always mean to but never do.

Okay, time to get back to writing!

 

Wow, it’s been a super long time since we’ve posted anything on here. Sorry! We’ve been busy researching and writing the first book in our new Brown Mountain Lights series. We don’t have a title yet and are hoping one will come to us as we’re writing. This one doesn’t have Southern sayings as the chapter headings. Instead, we’re using lines from 60’s songs–mostly Bob Dylan–but we’re only about 8 chapters in and who knows who we’ll throw in there.

But that’s not what we’re here to tell you about today. This requires a little bit of backstory–or I should say a lot of backstory so I hope you’ll bear with me.

First, remember the Melungeon character from Whistling Woman? Her name was Druanna. We got the name from a newspaper article in the September 2, 2007 Living Section of the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper written by Rick McDaniel and titled “Melungeon Mystery”. I happened to see the article and found it so interesting that I cut it out of the newspaper and held on to it.

The next month (October 2007), Christy and I were in Florida on our annual visit to see our dad. One night we went to his house to have dinner and he told us some family stories while we were eating. After we got back to the house we had rented for the week, Christy and I were sitting out on the screened-in porch and that was when we decided to write Whistling Woman to honor our dad and to keep the many stories he’d shared with us throughout our lives from being lost forever.

We met in Hot Springs a few times, talked and plotted the book, and somewhere in there I happened to come across the article again and showed it to Christy. We decided we would try to put a Melungeon character in the book and the next time we talked to Daddy we asked him if he’d ever heard of them. That’s when he told us the story of how Bessie’s mama used to say, “You better behave or the Melungeon boogie-man will get you.” We took it as a sign that we had to include a Melungeon character in the book. DruAnna Williams Overbay is quoted in the article and since we both found the name unique and beautiful, we decided to use it for our character.

Fast forward to earlier this year. Christy heard about a fundraiser for a young girl who had terminal cancer and decided to put together a basket and contribute it to the auction. Among a bunch of other things, she put in the four Appalachian Journey books.

Steve WilliamsThat basket was bought by Steve Williams.

As it turned out, Steve is the sister of DruAnna Williams Overbay whose name we chose for our Melungeon character. When Steve unpacked the basket and opened the book, it fell open to page 151 and the first thing he noticed was his sister’s name. So he started reading and found out the Druanna in the book was Melungeon. He immediately called his sister and told her about it.Druanna and husband

In May 2007, DruAnna was invited to speak at the Henderson County Public Library and met Brenda, the woman who asked Christy and I to speak at the first author’s night at the library. While DruAnna was here, Brenda happened to mention our book and the Melungeon character named Druanna and later she sent us DruAnna’s contact information. That’s DruAnna and her husband Fred in the picture.

DruAnna, me, ChristyOkay, long story short (I know, I know, it’s much too late for that but I’m almost finished, I promise!) we met DruAnna for lunch a few weeks ago in Knoxville and she asked us to attend the Melungion Heritage Association’s 20th Union and give a presentation which we did last Friday.

We spent the afternoon meeting a lot of very nice and interesting people who are members of the association and learning more about the Melungeon people. The Union took place in the Vardy Community Historical Museum in Vardy, Tennessee, which is sort of a birthplace of the Melungeon people–not a  birthplace really but the place they all went to get away from the bias and unfair treatment back in the late 19th and early 20th century.

ChurchThe museum is housed in the Vardy Presbyterian Church and the cabin of legendary Melungeon moonshiner Mahala Mullins is across the street. The church is filled with intriguing artifacts and pictures of Melungeons throughout the years and the cabin in beautifully restored. Both are open with a guide to the public each Saturday, 11:00 to 3:00 P.M. from May to September and on the third Saturday from October to April.

Moonshiner's cabinFair warning: getting there can be harrowing if you follow Google Maps but if you stick to the major highways it’s beautiful mountain scenery all the way.

We had a wonderful time meeting all the people and signing books in Vardy and want to thank DruAnna for inviting us. There areAntique piano much better pictures on the Melungeon Heritage Association website if you’d like to take a look. Also, DruAnna has a great book about the history of the Melungeons in East Tennessee, Windows on the Past, available on Amazon.

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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