Category Archives: Back stories

Catching Up and Current Status

Hello, Tribe…

I know it’s been a while since I sent an update to my blog. Bad me. But I have been busy with writing and rewriting.  That’s the good news. The bad news? I’m behind on my planned schedule, particularly on the book I am reworking.

… the YA Novel

Let’s start there. I’ve been fighting my way through Dew Dropping Hour, my first YA novel and there are parts of it that are great and parts that just don’t quite flow the way I want them to deliver. So, that is still in the works and way behind my original time frame for the novel, but better to take the extra time and get the best book I can do, I believe. Since this is the first book of a trilogy, I really want it to pop! Don’t you agree?

…the next Funeral Singer novel

I’ve started working on my third book in the Funeral Singer series, called A Song of Betrayal and I’m excited about this story. While it follows the main story line with a murderer to catch, this also begins to focus more on the through story as Gillian encounters more of the dark spirits and that story line begins to heat up.

So far, I’m at Chapter 18 of the first draft and expect it to be about 24 or 25 chapters, so I am getting close to the end of the first draft. I hope to have it done by the end of May, but we’ll see how that goes. If all things, including beta reads and editing, go well after that, I am hoping for a September release on it.

For a little glimpse into this book, here’s the first couple of paragraphs:

“Who the hell are you?”

Battered, bloodied, and angry, the petite woman glared up at me from a crouch on the ground.  A clotted slash of blood tore across half of her throat and her light blue silk nightgown bore a ragged, crimson hole where a bullet had ripped into her chest. Her walnut-colored eyes blazed with fury as her nostrils flared like an angry bull’s.  “What is this place?” she asked.

I wasn’t her enemy, but that mattered little at this moment.  Echoing at the edge of my awareness, I heard the melody and indistinct words that my physical self back in the chapel sang for her, but my full attention focused on this distraught victim of a horrible murder. Her appearance mimicked the way the Reno police had found her, not the pristine version of the body lying in the coffin for family, friends, and curious gawkers to view before they tucked her away forever.

The other exciting news on that front is that I have a cover that I think works well in the set and here it is, a first look!

My covers are all independent-looking rather than following a specific theme and that may not tie them together well. Is a tombstone on each cover enough? Let me know what you think.

And what about the O’Ceagan’s Saga sequel? I hear you asking that and it’s really in the swirl of the thought-cloud at the moment. I wrote a related, but not direct sequel to it that I plan to get edited and out this year, but the actual next book in the series hasn’t been started yet. But there will be more coming up…

….Earth Day thoughts

I had a great time at the Reno Earth Day Celebration. It turned out to be a lovely day in the Biggest Little City although spring is an ephemeral, but recurring season in Northern Nevada,  Margaret McGaffey Fisk and I talked to lots of nice people and we hope some of them will check out our books.

Book Giveaway and a Chance for a Gift Card

Ok, I want to include you on a little giveaway I have lined up. I am really trying to get reviews on both Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle and A Song for Menafee as well as for O’Ceagan’s Legacy. Reviews are one of the hardest things to get it seems and I know some people are reading them and downloading copies. But I only have 11 reviews for A Song for Marielle and 3 for Menafee.  About the same for O’Ceagan’s Legacy.  So here’s what I’m trying.

I will give away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky person who posts a review on one of those three books.  Of course, I need to know who you are and when you posted in order to enter you in the drawing, so if you write a review and let me know, I will include you. And, if you are willing to read and write an honest review, I will even send you a code to get a free copy. Just email me at and ask for the code for whichever book you want to read and I will send you a code at Instafreebie that will allow you to download a book in the format of your choice. So, you get a free book and a chance at a gift card. It’s a win-win for you no matter how you look at it.

The gift card will given away on August 31st, 2017, so that’s over three months to read a book and review it. How about helping me out?

Until my next update, thanks for reading this and have a great summer!


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?