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We received a wonderful email the other day from one of our awesome readers, Gail Strong who lives in South Carolina. Along with some really lovely words about our Appalachian Journey series. Gail, who does restoration on old pictures, she was nice enough to include four of the pictures we have on our Meet the Characters page which she had restored. They are absolutely gorgeous and seeing them just blew me away. I’ve included a copy of the business card she sent and want to encourage all of our readers to contact her if you have any pictures to be restored (just click on the pic and it should give you a larger version). We can honestly say Gail does impressive work!

The pictures she restored for us are below. The first one is of Bessie’s parents, Lucinda and John Daniels, and Bessie as a baby. The second is of Lucinda. In both these pictures, you can really see Lucida’s Cherokee heritage. The third picture is of Bessie and Fletch on their wedding day and the fourth is Bessie and Fletcher many years later.

 

 

 

 

 

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We had a wonderful time at the Old Fort Pioneer Day this past Saturday. This is one of our favorite, have-to-attend festivals and this year was no exception. Along with seeing bunches of our readers and a few family members, we just love the atmosphere in Old Fort. Like in Hot Springs, we always feel closer to Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch when we’re there. The train station where they arrived when they moved from Hot Springs is right down the road from the museum grounds where the festival is held.

It turned into a picture-perfect spring day after a rather chilly morning. We enjoyed the lively music and seeing all the craftspeople demonstrating their skills, from milling corn to quilting to weaving. Like every year, we also enjoyed all the people dressed in period costumes and wondered how they could stand wearing all those layers back then, especially the Confederate and Union troops, with their wool uniforms. To top it off, it was a record-breaking day for us and kept us so busy the time just flew by.

This Friday and Saturday, we’ll be in Townsend, TN for the Townsend Spring Festival from 10-6 both days. This is a new one for us and we’d love to see some familiar faces if you’re in the area!

 

Meanwhile, enjoy some more pictures of Pioneer Day in Old Fort.

                           

And finally, can anyone tell us what this plant is? We meant to ask but forgot. My guess was some kind of rhododendron, possibly wild. I know they grow here in the mountains but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one this pretty orange color.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been invited to participate in the inaugural Mossy Creek Arts Festival which takes place in the historic Mossy Creek District this Saturday, April 14,  in Jefferson City, TN. This is the first festival of its kind and we are so grateful to have been asked to participate. It promises to be a fun time with local artists and crafts people, live music and food. According to the weather, it’s supposed to be a beautiful spring day in the mountains of East Tennessee, and we can’t think of a better way to spend the day. If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll stop by and say hello.

For more information, click on the link above.

We hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful season and rejoicing in feelings of love and warmth from family and friends. We also hope you’ll take a moment to celebrate with us the release of our latest book.  That’s right, the second book of our Brown Mountain Lights Series, Seeking the Brown Mountain Lights, is now available in ebook on Amazon!

For those who are waiting for the print  book, we’ ll be working on that next. As soon as Kim puts the final touches on our beautiful cover (is that thing gorgeious or what?) and we get the file formatted, it’ll be available on Amazon, too. The audiobook will be available soon as well, and we’ll announce both releases here and on our Facebook page, so stay tuned!

We want to wish all our lovely readers a happy, healthy holiday season and may 2018 be your best year yet. Thank you all for your encouragement, support and inspiration. We are truly blessed to have you.

 

 

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.

 

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!

 

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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