Read “Funeral Singer” for free!

Two years ago, on November 1st, I participated in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – for the first time and completed my novel, Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle, which I went on to rewrite, edit, and publish in September 2015.  While I’ve written other novels, this was the first one that I published and it is the first novel of the Funeral Singer series.

As I begin my third NaNoWriMo writing frenzy, I am celebrating by making the Kindle version of Funeral Singer FREE for the first five days of November.

Available FREE from November 1 through November 5, 2016 at Amazon –

Gillian Foster is an energetic, bright young woman in her mid-twenties, who is trying to build a career as a musician and singer while paying the bills with a dog-grooming job. She’s pretty, sassy, and a hard worker.  With her band, Spicy Jam – Ferris and Digby, musician pals from college – she plays parties, fairs, events, and clubs whenever she get a booking. When an accidental fall results in a concussion that triggers a paranormal talent, things begin to change.  While singing at a funeral, she suddenly can see and talk to the deceased in an ethereal graveyard without missing a beat on her performance.

Convinced she is having hallucinations, she looks for a physical reason for the problem. While she won’t tell her bandmates or the handsome doctor she’s started dating, she does confide in her best friend, Janna, who believes in all things paranormal. As Gillian gets more jobs to sing at funerals, she encounters more deceased who need her assistance. One of these clients needs more than an assist to the next life.  She demands that Gillian find her murderer. Can Gillian find the man and what will she do if she does?

While I don’t have many reviews on Amazon for it, the ones I do have give it a 4 1/2 star average rating.  A few of the comments about the book:

  • I liked this story very much. It’s very well written and has great character development. The author just made Gillian’s journey easily comprehensible. The use of two point of views (Gillian’s and the detective’s) paid off well. The suspense that was build kept me intrigued despite the plot being a bit foreseeable. – Amazon Reader Coral Fang
  • I’ve been reading this book as what I call my “lunch time book” but yesterday, I couldn’t stand the suspense any longer and read it straight through although I must admit, my curiosity got the better of me by chapter 18 and I swiped to the last two chapters, read the ending , then went back to where I left off. I once read that a good book or movie is defined by the ending whether one cares about what will happen to the characters when it’s done. “Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle…” gave me that feeling and therefore I recommend this book to anyone and everyone and can’t wait for the next installment!!! – Amazon Reader Cindy Western
  • This is what a book should be, well-written, well plotted, with engaging characters. It was a privilege to visit this world. – Amazon Reader PRBC

If you enjoy a suspense story with a paranormal twist, here’s your chance to take Funeral Singer for a test drive. If you’re on Kindle Unlimited, the book is available there also, even after the five day promotion.  Find the book here.

Don’t forget that if you sign up for my mailing list, you will have a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card in my quarterly promotion.

Preserving the Past

When I went scouting around the cemeteries in the Reno, Nevada area before writing my Funeral Singer novel, I spent some time on the outside of one near the University of Nevada Reno campus. The cemetery appeared run down, forgotten, and forlorn with crumbling or missing monuments, no greenery to speak of, and a general feeling of utter neglect, particularly on the south side of the bluff that overlooked the city. A dirt road ran between this side and the other side where the monuments were newer and a smaller section to the northeast that flaunted a Nevada state historic marker.

Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery in Reno, Nevada.

This is the Old Hillside Cemetery that dates back to the 1800s and is the final resting place of many of the early settlers and prominent members of the community in the Reno-Sparks area. But is it final?

Now the owner and a developer plan to exhume the bodies, relocate them, and possibly build student housing or some other dwellings on the property. This has caused an uproar with the relatives of people buried in the south section, who see this as disrespectful of their ancestors and for some, a violation of what they hold sacred. According to this article in the Reno Gazette Journal, the plan the developer proposes is to re-inter the bodies on the northern side.

Monument in the Pythian Cemetery.
Monument in the Pythian Cemetery.

However, there are over eight hundred remains in the south side and I don’t believe they have enough room to move them. The other cemeteries are the Pythian Cemetery, which is maintained well, and the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, which holds the remains of eight-two Civil War veterans from Nevada.

Before I learned all the details of the cemetery, I decided to include it in the second Funeral Singer novel, A Song for Menafee and began researching it further. I learned that the cemetery was willed to the University, and the authorities had hoped to build student housing on the site, but they soon realized the hurdles of trying to clear and move the graves would be more than they wished to endure. They sold the cemetery to Sierra Memorial Gardens and the new owners fenced the property and began to clean it up some. From my perspective, it provided the ideal location for my book. Shortly after I published in August, 2016, the issue blew up with the plan to move the bodies, clean up the property, and then decide how it would be used.

Confederate trench honors the fallen in anonymity.

For me, it struck a discordant note. In my research, I’d taken a trip to the Shiloh Battlefield, a national monument and cemetery that preserved as many graves from that battle as they could, including discovering and marking the several burial trenches where the Confederate dead, the losers at Shiloh, had been interred in mass. I’d felt a sense of connection with these people from the past and their history. Other cemeteries that are hundreds of years old also honor the dead and provide a link. Yet here, in my city, in a cemetery not even one-hundred-fifty-years old, people want to dig up some of the founders of the city and move them to a different place breaking the connection, and the energy, that exists in the burial ground.

Ghosts have been sighted at the Hillside Cemetery, or so many people report. Whether you believe in such happenings or not, there is an energy at burial sites that you can feel. For me, I’ve encountered enough odd events to make me think that ghosts are quite probable. From that standpoint, you can move the bones, but that doesn’t mean the spirit will go with them. Someone living in an apartment in a building constructed on the site may still encounter paranormal activity. Would you want to live there?