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We are moving ever closer to the second book in our Brown Mountain Lights series, tentatively titled Seeking the Brown Mountain Lights, and that means our cover designer, Kim Maxwell, has started working on the cover. I met her for lunch Tuesday to talk about the design. This one is proving to be a challenge but I’m sure Kim will overcome any and all obstacles and create another gorgeous cover like she always has in the past.

This will be the sixth cover she’s designed for us. It all started with Beloved Woman, the third book in our Appalachian Journey series. And we were so impressed, we asked her to do or re-do all of our books.

 

Next, we asked her to re-design the cover of the second book,  Moonfixer , because we weren’t satisfied with the one we had which we made. It was just too dull and though it had the picture of Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletcher taken on their wedding day we didn’t like it very much. It just didn’t feel like it fit the book so … enter Kim.

We liked what she did with the other two so much we asked her to re-design Whistling Woman, the first book in the series. She changed that one by photographing the picture of Miss Cordy, adding the picture of Mama and Papa with Bessie as a baby and a few sprigs of cedar. I had the pleasure of watching her set it all up using my husband’s grandmother’s old cedar chest as the base. It was fascinating all the things she checked and double checked before she was satisfied with the picture.

The next one she did was the final book of the series, Wise Woman. For this one, Kim and I met for lunch then drove around till we found a place we could pick some of the beautiful purple asters that bloom here in the late summer/early fall so she could use them on the cover. After she put it all together, it was beautiful and ended up being my favorite cover.

When Christy and I decided to write another series we knew right away we wanted Kim to do the covers. The first book in our Brown Mountain Lights series, Through the Brown Mountain Lights, added a few extra hurdles for Kim. First, she would need to go to Morganton and shoot a picture of Brown Mountain and also, she would be designing this one without much if any help from us. For the Appalachian Journey series, we had numerous pictures of Aunt Bessie and pretty much  knew which one we wanted to use for each book but for this one we really didn’t have any idea of what to use. No worries, Kim to the rescue.

The writing of the second book in the series is finished which means the hard part for us pretty much done. All we have left is the editing, polishing, and formatting it for e-book and print. While we do that, Kim’s working on the cover which I know will be gorgeous like all her other ones have been. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with!

If you would like to read more about how Kim creates our beautiful covers, check out her blog: Covers, Cats and Clicks. That will take you to a page that lists all the posts she’s done about our books.

 

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Sorry we’ve been AWOL for so long but we’ve been busy writing the second book in our Brown Mountain Lights series, tentatively titled Searching for the Brown Mountain Lights. More on that later …

First, I want to share some news with our awesome readers. Our  publisher who did the French translation of Whistling Woman, Les deces arrivent toujours par trois, asked us to participate in a free giveaway to French readers. The book will be available free for a short time starting on November 6th. So, if you’re fluent in French or know anyone who is, you might want to check it out, and to our French readers who have made the book so popular, thanks so much! Like all our readers, we are blessed to have you!

Christy and her husband came over the mountain last week and spent several days so Christy and I could visit various libraries in the area. That’s the beautiful Burnsville library in the picture. It had been a while since we’d done this and we were thrilled to find most of the libraries already had copies of our books, including Through the Brown Mountain Lights, the first book in our Brown Mountain Lights series. We were even more thrilled to find out they had ordered them after receiving several requests from their patrons to stock the books.

We also visited several stores and were pleased with the interest they showed in displaying and selling our books. Not just bookstores but hardware stores, general stores, and stores that cater to area tourists.

We’re happy to say, we are now available in lots of area libraries and various stores around western North Carolina. We’re putting together a list for our website where the books are available and will post that in the near future.

On Wednesday afternoon, we went to Aunt Bessie’s cabin on Stone Mountain. It now belongs to David Gilliam (relative of the Possum Gilliam we write about in the Appalachian Journey series). He and Becky Bussert, owner of Smith’s Old Country Store in Black Mountain (who also sells our books) had arranged a get-together for us with several people or relatives of people Daddy knew while he lived with Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch. It was incredible to finally put a face with the stories we grew up hearing and to hear more stories and see the house where we visited our great aunt when we were children. David’s brother Jake, who built the cabin and is now deceased, kept in mind the old house and it looks very much as it did when we were kids. David now rents it as a vacation rental cabin and, according to the guest log, it’s very popular. We wondered if anyone ever hears the slave ghosts Bessie heard but forgot to ask David.

In the picture: Becky Bussert, Janice Means, David Gilliam, Joyce and Lawrence Elliot (Uncle Fletch was his uncle). Lawrence’s sister, Lois, was also there but had to leave early.

Why, you may ask, are you running around western North Carolina instead of writing? Well, that would be because we finished writing the second book in our Brown Mountain Lights series and decided to take a little break before we dive into the hard part, editing, editing, editing and polishing until we have the final draft ready to publish. We’ll announce its release here and on our CC Tillery Facebook page, so stay tuned!

That’s it for now. Have a fabulous weekend, everybody!

 

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 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!

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!

 

…. to announce that both Whistling Woman and Wise Woman are now award-winning books! Yay!

wwshelf-unboundWhistling Woman was named runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound  Best Indie Book Competition.

 

 

 

wisegoldAnd Wise Woman won the Gold/1st Place award in the 2017 Feathered Quill Book Awards Program for the Best Historical category.

 

 

 

Don’t those pretty gold stickers look good? And of course, we have to give a huge shout out to our awesome readers! If it wasn’t for you and your constant support and encouragement there wouldn’t have been a second book, much less a whole series. We are so blessed to have y’all!

 

 

 

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