I just realized I’d neglected to post about the book my sister and I wrote and published on Kindle last week. How stupid was that? Pretty stupid, if you ask me and with all the promotions I’ve been doing, I can’t believe I didn’t put it up on this blog. Hmm, can we all say braindead?

So…here’s the deal. Whistling Woman is a book I wrote with my sister, Christy Tillery French, about our great-aunt’s life growing up in the mountains of western North Carolina in the late 19th century. It takes place in Hot Springs, North Carolina and is based on stories we heard from our dad and Aunt Bessie when she was alive. Along with the stories, the book includes bits of Cherokee folklore and medicine (our great-great-grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee), historical facts about Hot Springs and the surrounding area, and the Melungeons. It’s what some people refer to as faction, half fiction, half fact. It also falls under the genres of southern fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and coming of age. Quite a change for both Christy, who writes suspense and thrillers, and me, who writes mostly paranormal romance.

Anyway, the book was so much fun to write and Christy and I were amazed at how easy it was to work together. We have to give credit to Aunt Bessie for the ease in meshing our voices, there were times while we were writing and planning the book, both alone and together, when it felt as if Aunt Bessie was sitting beside us telling us her story. It was a wonderful feeling and I’m so grateful she did that! I probably should mention that Aunt Bessie was psychic, often knowing things were going to happen before they did, so it probably shouldn’t have been such a surprise to feel her there with us. And she was also a writer in her own right, penning articles for Reader’s Digest and several of the local papers here in western North Carolina. It was almost as if she came back to us for a spell and approving of what we were doing, guided us along to make sure we got it right.

To thank her, we’ve dedicated the book to her–in part. But the greatest part of the dedication is to our dad, John Tillery, who not only kept the stories about Aunt Bessie alive, but also painted the cover for the book and generously allowed us to use it.

Another thank you to him comes in the pseudonym we chose for the book. While Christy writes under her real name of Christy Tillery French, I write under a pseudonym. My real name is Cyndi Tillery Hodges and so we used our first initials and our maiden name for the pseudonym of CC Tillery.

I’m sure I’ll be posting more about Whistling Woman in the coming days–if I can find the time between trying to format it for Smashwords, going to Florida to visit our dad, and of course, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays. For right now, I’ll leave you with the cover and the 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, bothered with 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.

Oh, and if you’d like to find out more about the book, the people who inspired the stories, and how we chose the title, visit our Whistling Woman blog. 

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