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We had the best time at the Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs this past weekend! Nice weather–look at that beautiful sky!–live bluegrass music, lots of readers, some known and some new. This is a special festival for us because it’s the first one we ever attended, instilling in us a love for these events. This past Saturday was the fourth time we’ve participated and although you might think attending the same festival in a town as small as Hot Springs year after year would get old, all we can say is it doesn’t. Every time we go, we come away surprised, inspired and happy.

We started off the day selling our first books before the festival even started then moved on to have a record number of sales before lunch. This was a complete surprise for us as usually this festival is slow in the mornings and we make the majority of our sales during the afternoon. But this time, we broke our top sales record before noon.

Things slowed down a bit after lunch but the readers kept coming and by the end of the day we’d sold completely out of Whistling Woman and Through the Brown Mountain Lights! I won’t say it’s getting old in the case of Whistling Woman, since we’ve sold out of it at other festivals we’ve attended, but when we realized we’d sold out of Through the Brown Mountain Lights … well, I’ll just say there were multiple happy dances going on, in our heads, of course. And by the end of the day, despite the fact we couldn’t get our Square to connect so we could accept credit cards, we’d not only broken our all-time sales record, we shattered it. More happy dances!

But as always, the best part of the day was seeing our readers, both the ones we’d already met and the new ones, talking to them about the Appalachian Journey series and introducing them to the new series. We can’t even begin to tell you how much the favorable response inspires us to continue writing. We’ll definitely be keeping that feeling close as we finish the next book in the Brown Mountain Lights series.

This year, while there were fewer vendors at the festival, there was a much larger crowd. We saw some family members we’d met before and also met some new ones (a huge thank you to our ever supportive reader and cousin many times removed, Mary Paris Merriken) which we always enjoy. We had people who came specifically to the festival to see us and get books signed and people who came to buy print books even though they had already purchased the series on Kindle.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and though we enjoyed the new sales record and the sellouts, we have to say, the best part was the reunions with known readers and family members and meeting new ones. And once again, we have to say it, we are so blessed to have all of you in our corner!

Oops, I almost forgot, be sure to watch our CC Tillery Facebook page this week. We’ll be announcing a give-away!

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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!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

We’re participating in a new festival this year: the 20th annual Greening Up the Mountains in Sylva North Carolina on Saturday, April 22nd from 10:00 until 4:00. We’ll be signing and selling all of the Appalachian Journey books, plus this will be the debut of Through the Brown Mountain Lights. It promises to be a fun day, and if the weather cooperates, it should be one of those perfect spring days in the mountains. We’d love to see some of our wonderful readers so if you’re in the area, drop by and see us!

Penland & Sons' front window

Penland & Sons’ front window

We had a terrific time at the Madison County Arts Council’s Holiday Sale this past weekend but one of the best things happened before the sale even began. A little backstory: When Whistling Woman was released in print, way back in 2012, we went by Penland & Sons Department store in Marshall and the owner bought six books. As each book came out, we kept saying we needed to go back and see if she wanted the other books in the series. But for some reason, we never made it back until last Friday afternoon before the holiday sale in Marshall.

Georgette Penland Shelton

Georgette Penland Shelton

We were very sorry to hear the owner had passed away but her daughter, Georgette Penland Shelton, had taken over for her mother. To our surprise, we found that Georgette had been buying our books off the Internet and keeping them in stock because they were so popular. She even had three of them displayed in her front window and told us she would have had all four out there but she was out of Wise Woman. She was almost as happy as we were that we happened to stop by and bought enough books so that she had six of each in the series.  And we hadn’t even set up our table at the holiday sale yet!

MCAC's Holiday Sale

MCAC’s Holiday Sale

After that, we went over to the festival and set up our booth. Then we walked over to Sweet Monkeys for an early dinner before we headed back to the sale. That’s us chatting with a reader and trying to stay warm. It was cold in there! The vendor across from us came over and told us she had bought all four books at the Mars Hill Heritage Festival in October to give to her stepfather for Christmas but had started reading Whistling Woman and liked it so much she decided to read all of them first before she gave them to him.

Spring Creek

Spring Creek

The next morning after a peaceful night’s sleep in our cabins (that’s the view from the back deck of Spring Creek–yep, the very same creek that is featured in Whistling Woman) we went to our favorite restaurant in Hot Springs for breakfast, the Smoky Mountain Diner. It was, as always, delicious but the think we liked most was finding a picture of our great-grandfather on the wall. It’s the second one on our “Meet the Characters” page with Great-grandpapa John in all his glory.

A couple of other great moments came at the sale later that day. A reader stopped by to tell us she had read the whole series and wanted to thank us for writing about a strong woman. Another was when a documentary film maker stopped by and said he’d heard about our books and wanted to read them. He bought Whistling Woman since it takes place in Hot Springs and Madison County is where he was currently filming.

But the absolute best moment of all was when Andrea (who was also our waiter the night before at Sweet Monkeys in Marshall) stopped by to buy Beloved Woman and told us her Appalachian History professor at University of North Carolina Asheville had our book on a list he gives out to all his students of recommended reads. First a Social Studies teacher and now a university professor. You can just imagine how thrilled we were to hear that!

Penland & Sons Interior

Penland & Sons Interior

Like I said it was a terrific weekend with lots of high points for us. Hope yours was the same. I’m going to leave you with a picture of the inside of Penland & Sons Department Store in Marshall, NC. If you’re ever in the area, stop in. It’s a beautiful store with tons of unique and interesting items.

 

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Just a quick post to let everyone know CC Tillery will be at the Madison County Arts Council’s Holiday Sale at the Arts Center in Marshall this weekend. This is a new one for us but we always love going to Madison County, whether it be Marshall or Hot Springs, the setting of Whistling Woman. We hope to meet some new readers and, of course, see some of the ones we’ve met before. So, if you’re going to be in the area, we’d love to see you!

20161001_140154We had a blast at the Mars Hill Heritage Festival last Saturday. It was a picture-perfect fall day in the mountains with a huge crowd, wonderful music and lots of local artists and craftspeople. Added to that, Christy brought along her granddaughter and my grand-niece, Gabi who is always loads of fun. In between designing a quilt square and playing a few games, she helped us sell books and passed out candy to the buyers. That’s her in the picture to the left, working on her quilt square.

20161001_153024We met new readers and greeted those who had read the series and came by to share their thoughts. We were grateful we were able to get some extra books the day before the festival or we would have sold out. The best thing that happened was Darryl Norton of the Mars Hill University Book Store came by and bought several full sets to sell in the campus book store. So, now, along with a teacher at A. L. Lotts Middle School in Knoxville using our books in her class, the Appalachian Journey books are in a university book store. Needless to say, we’re thrilled.

20161001_135355The first time we attended this festival a couple of years ago, it was rainy, windy, and cold enough that we had to wear winter coats. But this year, the weather was perfect with a gorgeous setting at the Mars Hill University campus. We enjoyed the festival so much that we hope to go back next year –with our fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate once again.

mhhf11 music

That’s one of the many beautiful trees on the Mars Hill University campus howing a touch of fall foliage on the left. On the right is the music pavilion.

Next up for us, a chili cook-off at the Woodson Branch Nature School in Marshall on the 29th of October. More on that later.

heritage-festival-8We’re be selling and signing our books at the Mars Hill Heritage Festival tomorrow, Saturday, October 1. We’ve been to this festival one other time, in 2014, and while we enjoyed it, it was a cold, rainy, windy day. Tomorrow promises to be a lot nicer, with temps in the low 70s and sunshine. Ah, fall in the mountains. You have to love it! We will be at Booth 87 on South Main Street (right in front of the book store) from 10 until 4. If you’re in the area, come on by. We’d love to see you!

 

wwsoldout2We had a wonderful time at Art on the Island in Marshall, NC  on Saturday–despite the heat! We met a lot of new readers and as you can see by the picture of our table at the end of the day, Whistling Woman was a sell-out again! The other books did well, too, with only a few copies left. So now we’re in a panic to get more copies before the Mars Hill Heritage Festival in Mars Hill this Saturday. We’ll put up a post about that with more information later this week.

 

ccmelmaWe also got to see our cousins, Mary Paris Merriken and Melinda Paris. Mary and Melinda brought along a special surprise: their other sister, Libby Paris. So wonderful to meet you, Libby! Thanks to all of you for stopping by, ladies. We really enjoyed seeing you and spending some time with you. Oh, and Mary, we hope you have a safe trip home.

 

before2Here’s a picture of our table before the crowds arrived and before we sold out of what has become the star of our Appalachian Journey series, Whistling Woman. That makes two events in a row where it sold out out completely and though it keeps us scrambling to get copies, we’re not complaining. The French and German printings of Whistling  Woman made their debut appearance at this year’s Art on the Island and we even sold a few copies which was an unexpected thrill for us!

If you click on the above picture you can just make out our husbands, Steve and Mike in the background. Thanks, guys, for getting us set up, manning the booth while we took bathroom breaks, getting our lunch, and breaking it all down again at the end of the day. We couldn’t do it without you!

musicAlmost directly across from our table is the stage where the musicians played. We’ve heard some really great music at this event over the years and this year was no different. I wish I had gotten a picture when the band was performing but we were just too busy by the time they got there. Anyway, this is the music pavilion before they arrived.

crane-1One of the reasons we love this festival is our table is always right on the banks of the river and we get to see some beautiful birds and ducks. This is my favorite picture from this year. I think it’s a crane but I’m probably wrong. Anyway, he stuck around for a while, fishing and just looking pretty.

ducks-1Joining the crane, there were a slew of ducks swimming around. Don’t have any idea what kind they are but we enjoyed seeing them.

Have a fabulous week, everybody, and we hope to see you next week in Mars Hill!

 

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