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After Christy found the picture of Aunt Bessie as a young girl with her family, we started thinking about all the pictures our dad has given us of her at different points in her life. Some of them are already posted here on the blog on the “Meet the Characters” page but there are so many more, especially of her in her later years. And yes, I know, I really do need to get back to adding the other pictures to that page, but with working on the first book in our Brown Mountain Lights series, I just can’t seem to find the time.

So, because we’re sure our wonderful readers would love to see them, we decided to do a blog post with all the pictures we have. A sort of walk through Aunt Bessie’s life.

Mama, Papa, & BessieThis is the earliest picture we have of Bessie which shows her as a chubby-cheeked baby sitting on Mama’s lap with Papa beside them. Even looking at the picture through a magnifying glass, I can’t make out what’s on Papa’s lap but it appears to be material of some kind. You can see his boots below it but the rest just isn’t clear. This picture appears on the new front cover for Whistling Woman, the first book of our Appalachian Journey series, propped up against the painting of Miss Cordy by our dad.

bessie and familyNext, of course, is the picture Christy shared with you in the last post which shows Bessie as a young girl, probably between 6 to  8 years old. Of course, I’m only guessing at her age and the fact that we know the family moved to Hot Springs in 1886 when she was 4 years old.

BessieFletch300The next picture we have is of Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletcher on their wedding day or shortly thereafter. The note on the back says “Uncle Fletch and Aunt Bessie when they first married”. We know from the Madison County Marriage records that she and Fletch were married in Madison County on February 20, 1902 at age 21 and 22, respectively.  This one appears on both the old and new front covers of Moonfixer, the second book of the series.

05-27-2013 05;53;11PMAfter that, we have the postcard she sent to Papa after he and the rest of the family moved from Hot Springs to Knoxville. There’s no date on what’s written on the back and the postmark is faded but it looks to be 1914 when she would have been 33 years old. This one appears (partially) on the front of Beloved Woman, the third book.

Then, there are several of her with some of her students and one with some womenBessieandfriends friends and relatives. Not sure of the date on any of them so we have no way of knowing how old she was but I’m guessing most of them were taken when she was in her 20s and 30s. Left to right on this one is Aunt Bessie (with her head cut off), Lee Davis, Clarse Davis, Cordie Davis and Aunt Minnie Elliot (sitting down). The pictures of her with her students are on the “Meet the Characters” page here on the blog.

Aunt Bessie and DaddyThe next one is my favorite of all the pictures we have, the one used on the front cover of the final book, Wise Woman. It’s a picture of Aunt Bessie and our dad standing in a field of wildflowers with the family dog, Fritz (you have to look really hard to see him!) off to the right. This one isn’t dated either but it had to be shortly after Daddy moved in with Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch in 1934 which would make Bessie around 43.

Bessie and Fletch outside their houseThen we have one of her and Uncle Fletch standing outside their house by the chimney. Not sure how old they are with this one either or when the pciture was taken but they’re bolth pretty old. I’m guessing it was taken shortly before Uncle Fletch’s death in 1958 which would make both of them in their 70s. You can see Aunt Bessie has a scarf around her neck which she took to wearing in her later years because she had a goiter.

Bessie,Daddy,MamaDaniels,JimmyDavisThis picture is of a much older Aunt Bessie with Daddy, Uncle Thee’s wife, Myrtle (who we called Mama Daniels), and Bessie’s second husband, Jimmy Davis. Not sure when this was taken either, but judging by Daddy, it was sometime in the early to mid-60s. I’m not sure but I think they’re sitting on the steps of our grandmother’s (Jack in the books) house on Stone Mountain. Notice Bessie’s scarf wrapped around her neck. I don’t remember a time when she didn’t wear one!

BessieSquareLast but not least, thanks to Kimberly Maxwell, our awesome cover designer, a close up of Aunt Bessie cropped from the same picture. Since she died in 1970, she had to be in her 80s in this one. She may not look too happy here but this is the Aunt Bessie of my memories and I know from Daddy’s many stories she had a long and happy life and she was, to me, the epitome of a Whistling Woman.

So there you have it, a picture journey through our Aunt Bessie’s life. I hope you enjoyed the trip!

 

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!

Just a quick post to let everyone know we’ll be selling and signing books in the Appalachian Journey series at Old Fort Pioneer Day this Saturday, April 23rd from 10:00-5:00. Looks like a fun day in the mountains with beautiful weather predicted. This festival offers something for everyone: bluegrass music, crafts demonstrations, Civil War reenactors, antique cars and equipment. For the kids, there will be storytelling, games, animals, wagon rides and more. Not to mention a variety of food! For more info, check out this article in The News-Herald.

If you’re in the area, we hope you’ll stop by and visit. We would love to personally thank our fabulous readers who have taken this series far beyond what we ever expected and who continue to keep these books on bestseller lists.

 

 

 

 

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!

Wise Woman e-book… should be available on Kindle within the next 12 to 24 hours. Fingers crossed it’ll be up sooner than that.

As always, we appreciate your patience. This book … okay, not sure what’s going on but it’s already available on Amazon! Yay! Needless to say we’re doing multiple Snoopy dances over here.

Enjoy! And thanks to all our readers for their patience! Y’all are the best ever and we are very blessed to have you!

We are working diligently on Wise Woman but wanted to take a break to celebrate the 1000th review of Whistling Woman!

Whistling Woman-e-book

And to give a huge thank you to all our readers! We know we could never have reached this milestone without you. We’re so grateful to have you all in our corner and, though we say it a lot, it can never be said enough: We have the best readers in the world!

MoonFixer96dpifront

And to us that equals giveaway! Would you like a signed copy of the first three books in the Appalachian Journey series? Maybe you have it on Kindle, but would like print copies of the books for your bookshelf? Or maybe you have print copies with the old covers and you’d like to have the new ones? Or maybe you’ve started your Christmas shopping and know someone who would like the print books? Or maybe you haven’t read our books yet but are looking for a good series to get into now that the weather is cold?

BelovedWomanFinalfrontTN96dpi

Whatever your reason, here’s your chance to win a signed set of the first three books in the Appalachian Journey series, Whistling Woman, Moonfixer, and Beloved Woman. All you have to do is leave a comment here on the blog or on the post about the giveaway on our Appalachian Journey Facebook page before midnight, October 28.  On Thursday, October 29, we’ll put all the names in a hat and choose one lucky winner!

 

 

 

CC Tillery (aka Christy Tillery French and Cyndi Tillery Hodges) will be on Blannahassett Island in Marshall, NC for Art on the Island this Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Admission is free so come on by! We’d love to see you!

ArtontheIsland

Okay, it’s been a long time since I’ve even been on this site so once again I need to apologize for not responding to comments or keeping our readers in the know about what’s going on with the Appalachian Journey series. My only excuse is that MS and hot weather don’t play well together and this summer has been extremely hot here in the mountains of North Carolina. It’s finally cooling off some and the MS is calming down–thank goodness!–and we have some major news.

No, it’s not that Wise Woman will be ready sooner than our intended release date of December but it is pretty exciting, at least for us. Our awesome cover designer, Kimberly Maxwell, has been hard at work and just sent us the cover she designed for Wise Woman, Appalachian Journey Book 4! Take a look:

readyforbacktext (Small)

 

You’ll notice there’s no blurb on the back. That’s on us, not Kim because we haven’t sent her one yet. The picture on the front is the one of Aunt Bessie and our dad standing in a field of wildflowers and it’s resting on top of Aunt Bessie’s photo album. The beautiful asters and clover beside the album were picked by yours truly and Kim on a pretty summer day–before this blasted heat set in. The painting on back is by our dad, of course, and shows Stone Mountain Baptist Church as it looked when he was living on the mountain with Aunt Bessie and Uncle Fletch.

Isn’t it gorgeous? Christy and I think it’s the best one yet! What do you think?

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