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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

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.

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!

 

IMG_0629We had a wonderful day at the Old Fort Pioneer Day last Saturday. Beautiful weather although it was a bit cool to start and at times the wind was a little gusty, but overall, a gorgeous day to be outside. We met lots of new readers and a few who were already familiar with our books. Plus, we met two family members, Mary Paris Merriken and Melinda Paris, distant cousins through Aunt Bessie’s mother, Lucinda Henderson. Christy put up a picture of us all on the CC Tillery Facebook page.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Patti Holda, Genealogy Assistant at the McDowell County Public Library who told us she’d had several people come in and request our books so she ordered IMG_0626them for the library. McDowell County Public Library also participates in an Interlibrary Loans program which makes the books available not only in McDowell County but in 65 other libraries in North Carolina.

Added to that, we had people stop by our booth and ask us if we would be interested in attending two other festivals. We were also invited to meet with two production companies about our series in the near future, which is exciting! We’ll keep you posted on events as they unfold. All in all, it was a very good day for us and our books.

IMG_0627We enjoyed some great music, including a man in a kilt walking around playing the bagpipes, and one storyteller who entertained us with stories about the history of Old Fort. We loved hearing him tell about the great flood of 1916 which we wrote about in Moonfixer

The festival offered many interesting demonstrations of everyday life during the Civil War era. Everything from basket weaving to quilting to grinding corn into corn meal like they used to do it. So glad I can go to the grocery store and buy corn meal whenever I want cornbread! And lots of people were there dressed in period dress. All of that was great since we will be writing about that time in our new series, the Brown Mountain Lights Series.

In between the re-enactments of the Civil War battles, there were a lot of soldiers walking around carryingIMG_0627 muskets. Several times during the day, the re-enactors performed a 21-gun salute using their muskets, which was as loud or louder than the cannon, pictured to the right, and which always managed to catch us by surprise. After the second time, we learned there would be two more volleys following the first which allowed us to brace ourselves. That first volley got us every single time though!

FullSizeRenderThe best part for us was that we had time in between all this to discuss the new series and brainstorm on the characters, the setting, the conflict for the first book, and the paranormal aspects and how they’re going to work.

We’re excited about the first book in this new series, and after Saturday, it’s beginning to take shape in our minds. We’ve already written the first two chapters (only a rough draft, they still need a lot of work!) and are looking forward to bringing it to you, our amazing readers, as soon as we possibly can. Stay tuned!

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