Here it is, the German cover for Whistling Woman. I guess I should say for Madchen, die pfeifen since that’s the new title. And I just realized I’ve been spelling pfeifen wrong. Oh well…
Christy and I think it’s beautiful. What do you think?
Okay, first, I had to buy a new computer since my last one decided it wanted to retire last week and even though it’s the same model, I’m having trouble getting used to all the changes. Plus, we are experiencing a heck of a summer here in the mountains of western NC with thunderstorms almost every day and once they get started in the afternoon they don’t want to quit. Hopefully, I’ll get this post written and posted before I get tossed off the Internet again.
We have some news to share regarding Whistling Woman and the next book in the Appalachian Journey series:
The German edition of Whistling Woman will be released probably in November and it has been given a new title, Madchen, die pfeiffen and a new cover. Here’s the publisher’s explanation:
…Whistling Woman, which we name “Mädchen, die pfeiffen” in German, i.e., “Girls who whistle” as an allusion to this idea of the whistling woman being a state of mind and appeal to independent-minded women everywhere. It is also the beginning to an old German nursery rhyme that evokes a story long ago. Bessie is shown on our version as a younger woman with her hair loose, and not as her older self to resonate with this theme.
As for the cover, it’s beautiful but for some reason WordPress won’t let me display it. Grrr! I’ll keep trying!
Now, for the second bit of news; Christy and I have finally decided the third book in the series will be titled Beloved Woman. The Cherokee word is Ghigau and here’s a little background on why we chose Beloved Woman as our title:
Ghigau is a Cherokee prestigious title meaning “beloved woman” or “war woman”.
The title was a recognition of great honor for women who made a significant impact within their community or exhibited great heroism on the battlefield. When a woman was bestowed as a Ghigau she was given great honor and responsibility. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghigau)
There’s more to it than that but I see thunder clouds gathering outside my window and I don’t know how long I have before I get kicked off the Internet so I’ll leave you with the (tentative) cover and a promise to share more later.
I’ve been playing around with the cover for Charming Gardeners, mostly because I don’t want to end up in the same boat when we get ready to do the print version as I did when we did the print of Whistling Woman and Moonfixer (text running into the edges of the cover). I admit, I’m a little slow sometimes but when I repeat the same mistake twice, I usually learn not to do it again. I’m pretty sure I’m okay with that part of the cover this time. Now if CreateSpace will only cooperate and give me the right options for the color on the spine and back cover. I can’t know that until I get on there and see what they offer but…fingers crossed!
Also, when I first posted the cover here on the blog, I realized it needed…somthing. More of a contrast between the picture/text and the background. The white background, while it looked clean and pretty, needed to be changed so it stood out a little more and so, thanks to the wonders of technology (I’m blanking on the name of the program I used right now), I came up with the cover you see to the left.
It’s still only a work in progress, but I think I’m getting closer. Still, I’m not completely satisfied with it and can’t figure out how to make it better so…
If you saw this in a bookstore or online would it catch your eye? Would you pick it up or click on it to check it out and see if the book interested you. And if not, what would you change? Maybe a brighter color for the background? Or a bolder, bigger font for the title and author name (keeping in mind that it has to fit within the edges of the print version, of course)? Or maybe I should just trash it and start all over?
Okay, go ahead, tear it to pieces and while you’re doing that, I’m going to go hide in a hole and try to get some writing done. Which reminds me, I had a long phone conversation with Daddy over the weekend and he told me at least two stories I hadn’t heard before and reminded me of another one we’ll be sure to include in Charming Gardeners. Yay!
We are trying to get the blog updated to include Moonfixer (Book 2) and the upcoming Charming Gardeners (Book 3). I hate to
say type it, but it may take some time given my tendency to procrastinate. I’ve been meaning to do this ever since Moonfixer was released (way back in December of last year) but kept putting it off and putting it off and putting it off and…well, you get the picture. WordPress is usually very easy to work with but there are days when it makes me want to throw my computer against the wall. On those days, I’ve found the safest response from me is to get off the site and try another day.
Okay, first things first, the blog name has changed to Appalachian Journey (the series title) but the URL hasn’t. It’s still http://whistlingwoman.wordpress.com/. But there’s no guarantee it will stay that way…not if I can figure out how to change it to Appalachian Journey.
Second, Christy and I both want to thank our readers for the amazing response we’ve received for Moonfixer. We love hearing what you think whether it’s by email (email@example.com), here on the blog (http://whistlingwoman.wordpress.com/) , through the wonderful reviews some of you have left on Amazon, or on our Author Central page (amazon.com/author/whistlingwoman). However you decide to get in touch with us, we love hearing from every one of you and we’re very thankful we have such wonderful readers.
Third, we are thrilled that we’ve heard from, well, I won’t say long lost family members because we’ve never actually met most of you but family members who’ve found our books and either called or e-mailed and introduced themselves to us. Maybe newly discovered family members? Whatever, it’s been such fun to talk or exchange emails (and in some cases, family pictures!) with every single one of you. We’ve now heard from a member of every branch of the Daniels family–Roy, Loney, and Thee–and also from our cousin from the Henderson side of the family, Jackie Burgin Painter, whose books played such a critical part in our research. It’s sort of a new-age family reunion and we’ve loved every minute of it!
Finally, we are working on the third book in the series, Charming Gardeners. The title comes from a Marcel Proust quote: Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our and also because the quote seemed to fit her so perfectly.
And now I’ve procrastinated working on the blog enough. If I keep this up it’s never going to get done so time to get back to it but first I’ll leave you with the tentative cover of Charming Gardeners. The picture we decided to use is of Aunt Bessie and our dad gathering herbs and wildflowers (Daddy thinks the dog standing almost hidden over to the right was named Fritz).
To all our readers, thank you for being our personal charming gardeners and making our souls blossom!
To all our readers who have been waiting so patiently for the next book in our Appalachian Journey series…
Moonfixer just went live on Kindle! Yay! For the time being, it will only be available on Kindle but the print edition is in the works as is the audio edition. It will also be available on Nook, Kobo, Sony, Apple, etc., in a couple of months–or sooner depending on when we get the formatting worked out. We’ll post here when each version goes live so stay tuned!
We want to thank each and everyone of you for your patience and for making 2013 such a joyful and memorable year for us! We wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a safe and healthy 2014!
Moonfixer, book 2 in the Appalachian Journey series, begins with Bess moving with her new husband Fletcher Elliott to Old Fort, NC, where they lived with Fletch’s parents until they bought 400 acres of the Zachariah Solomon Plantation on Black Mountain.
Cyndi and I recently paid a visit to Old Fort and Black Mountain to try to get a feel for what Bess first saw in this beautiful area of the Appalachians. Since Bess and Fletch arrived by rail, our first visit was to the Old Fort Train Station and Railroad Museum, home of the original train depot. This museum is easy to find as the main locus point is a tall arrowhead sculpture standing beside it. We toured this building which looks much as it did in the early 1900s with original walls showing graffiti dating to 1886 and period railroad artifacts. Of particular interest is a large table model showing the route the train traveled, winding its way through and over mountains. To arrive in Old Fort, Bessie’s and Fletch’s train ride would have taken them though seven hand-dug tunnels and nine miles of track across the Gap (the Eastern Continental Divide is at the top of the Gap) and the Swannanoa Tunnel, 1800 feet long and the longest tunnel on the route at that time. Greeting them would be a manmade geyser, signaling the start of the long climb to Asheville. A disappointment for us was that we weren’t able to visit the geyser since it was closed for repair.
(A winter picture of the museum with the arrowhead statue is shown above.)
We chatted with the docent who knew some of Bessie’s and Fletch’s kin who still live in the area and toured the railroad car which, compared to today’s standards, seemed so bare and uncomfortable. As we walked through the museum and along the wooden platform leading to the car, I could imagine Bessie stepping off the train and looking about, wondering what her life would be like in these mountains.
From there, we went to the Mountain Gateway Museum and Heritage Center where we watched a short video about the construction of the railroad tracks over the mountains, after which we toured the museum, which has an interesting wall depicting pictures with descriptions of herbs used as medicines for different ailments. Since Bessie was a healer and used herbs, an art she learned from her Cherokee grandmother, we found this fascinating. We fell into a conversation with its docent Peggy Silvers who gave us some interesting background about the Copperheads and other secret societies of Western North Carolina and afterward emailed us her research about these, including the Red Shirts, which we write about in Moonfixer. Upon leaving, we noticed two log cabins on the property and enjoyed visiting those.
Then it was onto and up winding Black Mountain to Stone Mountain Baptist Church, to visit the graveyard where Bessie and Fletcher are buried, along with Fletcher’s parents, siblings and a host of relatives. This is the church Bess and Fletch attended, and standing there, looking up at the stately white steeple against the beautiful cobalt sky, time slipped away and I wondered if Bessie knew we were there. I suspect she did.
Outside the church is a fountain offering fresh, clear spring water which tastes sweet but is very cold. The graveyard is large and rambling and (I found) somewhat comforting. Graves are marked with monuments elegant and elaborate to simple headstones and even odd-shaped stones. As we walked along, we were thrilled to find graves of people we’ve written about who we feel are old friends. It pleased us to see someone had put fresh flowers on Bess’s and Fletch’s graves. One thing we have learned is that they were a well-loved couple.
(Although this picture of the church is dark, it shows the steeple quite well.)
We plan to return for another tour to visit the geyser and Black Mountain Museum. But walking along these paths, going up and down Black Mountain, I wondered if we actually do live in a dimensional world, as some scientists claim, where we might possibly at one particular moment have been walking beside Bessie as she made her way to the Crooked Creek Schoolhouse or Stone Mountain Church. Or perhaps she was with us in spirit, as we often feel she is. I like to think so. Aunt Bessie has been an important part of this journey Cyndi and I are on and we really hope to do her justice by writing the best books we can about her very interesting life and kindly deeds.
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For those who haven’t read the book, here’s a short blurb:
A whistling woman and a crowing hen never come to a very good end. In the waning years of the 19th century, Bessie Daniels grows up in the small town of Hot Springs in western North Carolina. Secure in the love of her father, resistant to her mother’s desire that she be a proper Southern belle, Bessie’s determined to forge her own way in life. Or, as her Cherokee great-grandmother, Elisi, puts it, a whistling woman. Life, however, has a few surprises for her. First, there’s Papa carrying home a dead man, which seems to invite Death for an extended visit in their home. And shortly before she graduates from Dorland Institute, there’s another death, this one closer to her heart. But Death isn’t through with her yet. Proving another of Elisi’s sayings, death comes in threes, It strikes yet again, taking someone Bessie has recently learned to appreciate and cherish, leaving her to struggle with a family that’s threatening to come apart at the seams. Even her beloved Papa seems to be turning into another person, someone Bessie disagrees with more often than not, and someone she isn’t even sure she can continue to love, much less idolize as she had during her childhood. And when Papa makes a decision that costs the life of a new friend, the course of Bessie’s heart is changed forever.
(Cyndi Tillery Hodges
Christy Tillery French)
It’s Friday again and that means it’s time to find out what really happened or only happened in mine and Christy’s imagination. This week we’re up to Chapter Five: She looks like she was inside the outhouse when the lightning struck.
This chapter deals with the first time Bessie meets Fletch at her Uncle Robert’s farm while she helps with the molasses making and I can tell you there’s not much about it that is true except the fact that Bessie did indeed have an uncle named Robert. Was he a farmer and did he have a farm in Walnut (the next town over from Hot Springs)? Honestly, we don’t have any idea. We found the names of Mama’s family in the Census report for 1880 and when the time came to introduce Fletcher into the story, we decided to have him working on Uncle Robert’s farm. The rest of Uncle Robert’s family (his daughter Caroline, wife Nell, and two more children) is entirely fictional–at least as far as we know!
As for the most important part of the chapter, Bessie meeting Fletcher and her instant attraction to him, that’s about 50/50. From everything she and Daddy told us over the years, the instant attraction was true, as well as Fletcher’s quiet, unassuming manner. In fact, the story we heard most often about the two of them meeting was Bessie saw him at the sawmill when she was walking home from school one day and liked his looks. She told us he was very shy and she was determined to make him talk to her. Obviously, she was successful. Oh, and she really liked the fact that she was his first girlfriend!
So, there you have it; Chapter Five, a few tidbits of fact mixed with quite a lot of fiction.
Christy and I were at the Bluff Mountain Festival in Hot Springs over the weekend and we had a wonderful time. We met quite a few people who had read the book and they had a lot of really nice things to say about it. Needless to say, we enjoyed that a lot! While we were there we started talking about Fact or Fiction Friday and realized that as we go through the chapters, we’re going to be running into spoiler territory pretty soon. We definitely don’t want to give anything away! We haven’t yet decided how we’re going to handle that but hopefully we’ll come up with a solution before we get that far. Any ideas and/or suggestions are welcome!
Chapter 4: “Be like the old lady who fell out of the wagon.”
Although this is a short chapter, it’s important in that it introduces Bessie’s brother Thee’s namesake and shows a bit of Bessie’s spirit. It involves the fight between Papa’s deputy, Theodore Norton, and a Yankee visiting Hot Springs over Mr. Norton flirting with the Yankee’s wife.
Fact: Theodore Norton was an actual person and Papa’s deputy as well as good friend. Bessie’s brother Thee was named for Mr. Norton. As children, Cyndi and I came to know Thee as Pap Daniels.
Fact: One of the characters, Mr. Gentry, is the actual name of the man who owned Gentry Hardware. Today, his descendent Keith Gentry owns and runs the same store. When we visited, Keith pointed out his hardwood floor is the actual floor from the Dorland Institute Bessie attended over 100 years earlier. If you ever visit Hot Springs, be sure to drop by. It’s a charming place to browse and filled with charming crafts.
Fact: Mr. Norton liked the ladies and was a flirt, which eventually led to his death.
Fiction: The fight. We’re sure Mr. Norton dealt with his share of jealous husbands although we don’t know if it ever came to fisticuffs.
Fiction(?): Bessie liked to watch fights. We’re not sure if she did or not but Bessie was a spirited girl so it wouldn’t be a surprise if she did.
Fact: Bessie loved it when Papa would say, “Damn, Bess,” his way of addressing her behavior at times.
Fact: Bessie was close to her Papa and loved him deeply.
Fiction(?): Bessie keeps Papa on a pedestal for most of the book and we’re not sure if this is true or not but something we’ve gleaned from the stories Daddy tells us about Bessie and Papa.
Chugged full – an old southern saying that means full and/or overflowing with happiness.
Chapter three starts with Bessie and Papa getting ready to leave on a business trip to Paint Rock. Papa needs to see a man about a horse…wait, no that’s wrong, he needs to see a man about doing some repair work on a house. There are several places in this chapter when fiction crosses fact but for the most part, it’s all 100% true and it’s based on my favorite story when I was a kid: Bessie dancing in her red dress in a saloon in Paint Rock. I always wished I had the courage and confidence to do something like that!
Okay, so the story is true, but Christy and I did take a few liberties with the facts. For instance, the story Papa tells Bessie about the Shelton-Laurel Massacre which is well-documented and well-known here in western North Carolina. All of that happened, there really was a Colonel J. A. Keith who lined those men and boys up and had his soldiers shoot them, and they really did leave them on the bank of the creek, some of them buried but most of them just lying on top of the ground. And the families really did come the next day and buried them.
The liberties came with Bessie imagining she hears the Melungeon boogie-man. As Christy told you last week, parents were prone to threaten their children back then with an imaginary character of Melungeon descent but we have no idea if Bessie or Papa or even Mama knew of such a made up monster, much less if it played a part in their lives. We used it at this point to give Papa a reason to tell the Shelton Laurel Massacre story and of course, because that’s one of the major themes of the book; the persecution of people who are different in some way.
The part about Bessie dancing at the saloon while wearing a new red dress is true but we had to use our imagination to fill in the description of the saloon. We also made up the…shall we say, ladies-of-the-evening. We have no idea if there was a player piano in the saloon, Daddy always called it just a plain piano. We do know that the saloon was in an old house on the main street that ran through Paint Rock but when we tried to find it, we had some trouble. Not much to the town of Paint Rock any more and I have a feeling there never was much–but the drive from Hot Springs was absolutely gorgeous, if a little harrowing at times!
And finally, we come to Papa and Bessie and their relationship. Neither of us remember our Great-great Grandpapa John but we remember Aunt Bessie talking about him. It was obvious, even as young children, she absolutely adored her Papa. And then we have the many stories Daddy’s told us. Daddy, whose real name is Raymond Earl, goes by John because as a young boy, he was always with his Grandpapa John and people started calling him “Little John.” And I just noticed, looking at that picture of him, there’s a birt of family resemblance there. So, we never really knew him, but I think we came very close with his personality from the many stories we heard. Daddy always says he was a good-natured soul, always smiling and joking, and with more than his fair share of charm–and of course, a natural born storyteller–which he passed on to Bessie and then to Daddy, thank goodness!