Tag Archives: ghosts

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?

New “Funeral Singer” book releasing on Sunday!


A Song for Menafee

Releases on August 28th in both Kindle and paperback on Amazon.com.  You can still pre-order to be among the first to get the book for your Kindle.

About the Heroine:

As a musician, Gillian Foster hopes to make a career of it, but so far, she’s settling for local gigs with her three-piece band, Spicy Jam, in her hometown of Reno, Nevada.  By the way, she tells you to pronounce her name with a “g” sound like gill, rather than the British way with a “j” sound like Jill. Most people get it wrong.

Following a gig at a wedding, an accident occurred, she hit her head, and after she healed, she discovered she had a new “gift”.  On being asked to sing at a funeral, she  found herself in an ethereal graveyard, face to face with the newly departed soul and singing praises of the deceased’s life as she escorted the spirit to the exit gate and into the tunnel of light that led to the next plane. She assumed the whole incident must have been a hallucination. Only it didn’t stop happening and she found herself in demand to sing at funerals.

In A Song for Marielle

In Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle, one of Gillian’s “clients”, a preteen girl, enlists her aid in finding the man who brutally murdered her. As Marielle’s spirit guides her through the events via visions seen through the child’s eyes, Gillian questions her health and her sanity while pursuing a serial killer. She’s in the wrong place more than once and draws the attention of Sheriff’s Office detectives, Egan Moss and Dave Hernandez.

Book Two is A Song for Menafee

Returning in the second book of the series, A Song for Menafee, Gillian is now more used to the “spirit escort” task, as she’s come to think of it, but her gift also appears to be expanding in its scope. While leading an accident victim’s soul to the gate, she detects another spirit nearby watching them, but he disappears before she can approach.  She’s made a promise to the soul she just escorted to help his son, who is a student at the University of Nevada in Reno and underfunded for his education.

This connection carries her to an encounter with the spirit from the cemetery, a lingering soul with a Civil War history, a possible treasure, and a mystery in his past. The ghost is the triple great grandfather of Thomas Willits, the young man she agreed to aid, and he needs her to assist him to put his spirit at ease. Seeing a way to help both Thomas and the unsettled ghost, she agrees to a quest that will lead her and her best friend, Janna, across the country to Tennessee.

One of the mass burial sites at Shiloh Battlefield.

Moss and Hernandez keep in touch as she’s a witness slated for the trial of the serial killer from the first book, but Moss, the skeptic, seems to be coming around as he seeks her assistance with another case.  Her band mates are unaware of her new gift and almost everything that’s happened to her in the past few months, but there is tension growing there as they plan to record an album.

If you enjoyed Funeral Singer, I think you’re going to love A Song for Menafee.  If you haven’t read Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle yet, I definitely suggest that you read it first as the second book builds on it.

A Song for Menafee releases on August 28, 2016 on Amazon.com.  It is now available for pre-order for the Kindle.  The paperback will release on the same date. If you are on Kindle Unlimited, the book will be free to subscribers. Visit my book launch page for more information and a short book trailer.

Please feel free to share this with anyone you think might enjoy my books.  I rely on my readers to help me get the word out, so I appreciate anything you do to help me.  Thanks.

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“Funeral Singer: A Song for Marielle” is LIVE!

BookCoverPreview-FuneralSingerI am so excited to announce that my book is now published at Amazon in both paperback and e-book for the Kindle.  While this is not the first book I’ve written, it is the first one to be published.

My thanks to everyone who has supported my efforts on the book and is following me.  My heartfelt thanks to the beta readers and editors who helped me whip it into the shape it is.  If I’ve missed any spelling or punctuation errors, it is entirely my fault although after eight times through you’d think I would have caught them all.

You can check out the information on my book at my launch page.

Or just go straight to the book page on Amazon.

Here’s the best part.  Today only (September 1, 2015), the e-book version of my book can be downloaded for FREE.  This is my way of introducing myself to you and giving you the opportunity to read it soon.  I do ask that if you enjoy it that you will at least rate it at Amazon and maybe even write a review.  Even if it’s not your cup of tea, please leave the feedback.  Reviews are really important to all writers, so it will help me out tremendously to have a few reviews, good or not so good, on the book.

Thanks and I really hope you enjoy the read!  Feel free to post comments and questions here or on my Facebook page.