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… 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!

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We are getting very close to the release of the first book in our Brown Mountain Lights series, but we’ve run into a bit of a roadblock on the cover. Kim, as always, did an awesome job and gave us a lot of covers to choose from. We narrowed it down to two but can’t decide on which one we want. So, here we are again, asking for the help of our wonderful readers.

 

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Which do you like best, the blue or the orange? Let us know in the comments and thanks again for your help and for being the best readers ever!

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.

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!

 

firstpresbyterianChristy and I were guest speakers at the kick-off of the Women’s Bible Study group of First Presbyterian Church in Morristown, Tennessee last Sunday evening. I hope they will forgive me for stealing this picture from their website since I didn’t remember to get one of the church itself.

20160918_175626We had a great time meeting all the members, enjoyed a delicious meal (really wish I’d gotten the recipe for the chicken), heard some beautiful music by young Chloe Atkins, a really interesting Bible lesson from DruAnna Overbay,  and when it came our turn, I stumbled my way through the speech (I hate public speaking!).  I was able to get a few pictures, too. The one to your left is of the place settings for all the members. That’s the program resting on the plates along with some gorgeous note cards one of the members made.

20160918_174414And here we have a picture of some of the members chatting before dinner. It was raining for the first time in weeks and we were afraid no one would come, but they really surprised us – almost every seat was taken! If you look closely, you can see Christy walking toward the camera carrying some books for our table. You can also see (just barely!) the beautiful centerpieces which included one of my favorite flowers, zinnias–and thank you, Phyllis for telling me they used to be called “Old Maids.” I never knew that!

20160918_174501And this is our table with our books. At the end of the night we were sold out of Whistling Woman and almost sold out of the other 3 books. And that was with some of the ladies bringing in their copies from home so we could sign them. I thought I had a picture of that but it, along with several other pictures I took, seems to have disappeared somewhere during the transfer from my tablet to my computer.

As I said, we had a wonderful time and would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all the members of the Women’s Bible Study group of the First Presbyterian Church in Morristown. We really appreciate you inviting us!

We spent last weekend in beautiful Morganton, North Carolina researching the new series–and enjoying some really awesome scenery, including Brown Mountain, Table Rock, and lots of historical buildings in downtown Morganton. It’s an amazing place and we met some very helpful and informative people who helped us get a feel for life in the town and around Brown Mountain in the 1850s which is where and when the first book of our next series takes place.

This one is going to be a little different from the Appalachian Journey series … it’s still historical fiction with a touch of romance–well, maybe more than a touch, we haven’t exactly figured that out yet!–with a bit of paranormal thrown in. We’ve been trying to decide what genre it will fall under but haven’t had any luck yet. Historical Paranormal Fiction? Paranormal Historical Romance? Whatever, think Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series only in 19th century Appalachia.

MorgantonWelcomeCenterAnyway, back to our research trip. We’ll start with the town of Morganton, First up, we visited the Chamber of Commerce/Visitor Center and met Ed Phillips, the town’s Director of Tourism. Ed was very welcoming and helpful (the same can be said for all the people we met). He’s directed several symposiums on the Brown Mountain Lights and knows quite a bit about them, the legends behind what causes them, and the general area (most of which we’re keeping under our hats for now since we don’t want any spoilers to get out about the series).

MorgantonPublicLibraryEd also directed us to the historical Morganton Courthouse, a gorgeous building, and told us to see Joan Malloch, the President of the Board of the Morganton Historic Foundation. Joan walked us through the building and shared numerous stories about its history and some of the notable trials that took place there. She also told us about the Charles McDowell, Jr. House which still stands on the grounds of the Quaker Meadows Plantation–no pictures of that. That’s the courthouse to the left. Isn’t it gorgeous? Wish we had gotten a picture of the winding staircases on both sides.

 

MorgntonHistoryMuseumAfter we left the courthouse, we went to the Morganton Historic Museum and talked with the people there and then the Burke County Public Library’s North Carolina RoomOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA where we met Dottie Ervin who was extremely knowledgeable about the history of the town. She spent a long time pulling files for us to look at and told us about Demon’s Hill where they used to hang people. The library and the grounds surrounding it are … I’m running out of words …beautiful, gorgeous, stunning … how about breathtaking?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd finally, after all that, we drove up to the overlook to see Brown Mountain. That’sOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA it on the left, on the right of the “V” in the mountains. It was right at sunset, so we didn’t get to see any lights, and truthfully, we weren’t sure we wanted to see them after hearing the legends. (Some people believe whenever the lights are seen, people disappear. Yikes! Don’t want that –we have a book to write!) The picture on the right is of Table Rock. Sorry it’s not very clear! We were in a moving car when we took it!

And that about sums up our weekend in Morganton, except to say we spent a lot of time talking about the book, we know our protagonist’s name and the names of the sisters who find her on Brown Mountain and take her in, and we have the time, setting and a tentative outline for the first book. And we also have an opening we both love, so now, all we have to do is start writing. Fingers crossed it goes as well as our trip to see the setting.

For those fans of our Appalachian Journey series, we’ll continue with our readers’ favorite themes, herbal medicine (as well as other forms of medicine practiced at that time), Native American legends and culture, and stories about the Appalachian mountaineers along with historical events of the time. Stay tuned for updates!

Wise Woman Audible 3And you know what that means, don’t you? Well, if you’re one of our wonderful, amazing readers of this blog and/or one of our awesome, inspiring followers on Facebook, you do …it means we’re having a giveaway! Yay!

But wait, what are we celebrating? Wise Woman, the final book in our Appalachian Journey series, was released a little over 2 months ago in ebook and it’s been on 3 bestseller lists since then. Not only that, the other three books, Whistling Woman (or as we call it “the book that started it all”), Moonfixer, and Beloved Woman are right up there on the same lists. Yahoo! And we can’t leave out the French and German translations of Whistling Woman, they’re on bestseller lists, too!

Plus, the print version has just been released and is up on Amazon … if you search for it. For some reason it’s not showing up on the Kindle page but if you’re interested, here’s the link for the paperback of Wise Woman. The audio version (narrated by the lovely Carol Herman who absolutely nails Aunt Bessie’s voice) is available now and is linked on the Kindle page.

And, of course, we have our faithful readers to thank for our good fortune so we have 20 copies of the audio version of Wise Woman to give away. That’s right, 20! So, if you’d like to hear Aunt Bessie’s story, all you have to do is comment to this post on the blog or on the corresponding post on our Facebook page. First come, first served so don’t delay!

A side note to all our readers who are interested in our next project, the Brown Mountain Lights Series: we spent the weekend in Morganton, NC researching, researching, researching! We should have a post up about our trip and the new series later this week!

Okay, so we released Wise Woman, the final book of our Appalachian Journey series, in e-book on the 29th of January December (sorry, got ahead of myself), and in 3 days it’s already made it onto three bestseller lists on Amazon. Needless to say, we are thrilled and, of course, want to thank all of our wonderful readers–the absolute best readers in the world!

When it released, Christy and I breathed a mutual sigh of relief. I swear I could hear her “Whew!” echoing with mine all around the Blue Ridge mountains. It’s finished!. No more agonizing over which family stories to include or how much history/Cherokee folklore/herbal medicine to balance the stories. And most important, no more self-imposed December deadlines! Those things are killers! Not gonna do that to ourselves never, ever, EVER again …

GabiYankee… and then Christy, her husband Steve, and granddaughter Gabi traveled over the mountains to spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with me and my husband. We went Bear-footin’ on Main Street in beautiful downtown Hendersonville. That’s Gabi to the left posing with the hated Yankee bear (sorry Meghann, it broke my heart too!). Then we had a wonderful dinner and did a little shopping at Dancing Bear Toys and Mast General Store. A peaceful, relaxing New Year’s Eve which is just what Christy and I needed.

 

LotMwaterfallThen this morning we went to breakfast and decided to go to Chimney Rock/Bat Cave/Lake Lure to play tourist and do a little sightseeing and more shopping.

Chimney Rock is where they filmed the waterfall scene in The Last of the Mohicans. That’s the waterfall on the left. Even on a dull, dreary day in winter the Blue Ridge is filled with beautiful scenery.

 

LackeLureBridgeBat Cave is a tiny little town nestled in between Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. No pictures of Bat cave but we did buy sweat shirts. As for Lake Lure, it’s where they filmed the movie Dirty Dancing.  That’s the bridge over the Broad River in Lake Lure on the left. It’s a beautiful little town and they have a Dirty Dancing Festival in the summer. Today, New Year’s Day, they were having the Polar Plunge where all the idiots brave souls jump into the lake. Brrr!

So anyway, while we were eating/shopping/sightseeing/taking pictures, Christy and I were talking about the feedback we’ve gotten on Wise Woman from readers who have already read it. Specifically, how almost all of them said they loved the book, they were sad to see the series come to an end.

And we realized that we agree with them: while we are extremely thrilled to be through, we’ll miss working together, researching and plotting a story and then writing it down to share with our readers so …

… we decided we’re not finished yet. We have the bare bones of a new series centered around the legend–not sure if that’s the right word since it has been witnessed by people. Perhaps mystery works better–of the Brown Mountain Lights in Burke County, North Carolina (for more info, click on the name.) This is a phenomenom we’ve heard about for years and even had one of our readers call it to our attention too. We even talked about putting it into Wise Woman but it got lost in the shuffle somehow.

Also, a couple of months ago, we had another reader mention that we should write a series about the Walker Sisters from Sevier County, Tennessee. We did some quick research and while it’s interesting, we found there were already several books written about them so we nixed the idea and didn’t think anymore about it. But now with this new series we thought we could incorporate characters similar to the Walker Sisters with the mystery of the Brown Mountain lights. That way we could stick with our favored Appalachian Mountains and the mountain people we’ve come to know and love.

(Sorry, I can’t remember the names of either reader. They’ve fallen into one of the many holes in my MS addled brain–that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!–but if you’re one of them please let us know so we can acknowledge your contribution!)

And there you have it, our big news for this new year of 2016 is we’re writing another series. Funny how our relief and resolve only lasted a couple of days. No title yet and we can’t promise we’ll have the first book out in a year like we did with the last three of the Appalachian Journey series-it took us 3 years to research the first book in that one–but stay tuned. We’ll be posting about the development of the new series and on our progress soon.

Meanwhile, Happy New Year to all our cherished readers and everyone else! We hope it’s one filled with love, happiness and peace for all of you!

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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