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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!

 

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!

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!

One of the perks that go along with Wise Woman winning the Feathered Quill Gold Award for best historical fiction is they gave us a free ad on their home page. This is the ad we sent them:

They notified us this morning that it was live on their home page and that it’s linked to the book’s Amazon page. We’re so excited about the award and we’re so grateful to Feathered Quill. If you click on the picture of the ad above, it will take you to the Feathered Quill homepage where you can see the ad and (if I did this right) if you click on the ad on their page it will take you to Wise Woman’s Amazon page. Pretty cool, huh?

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!

 

 

 

… 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!

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