Death’s Garden Revisited

I’ve just now finished the final proofing for my next book, Death’s Garden Revisited: Personal Relationships with Cemeteries. Today we’ll order a paperback proof to check the quality of the photos one last time, then I can order the books and start fulfilling the Kickstarter pledges. The book will be available to everyone else in October.

It’s such an exciting time. The genesis of this book began in 1994, when my friend Blair gave me a box of photos he’d taken in cemeteries. Automatism Press published the first book inspired by them in 1996 and ever since, I have wanted to do a sequel. This book exceeds all my expectations.

I cannot wait for everyone to see how beautiful this new book is. I knew the text was going to be powerful, emotionally affecting, and life-affirming, but Automatism Press had never done a full-color book before. The photos truly are all I had hoped.

If you are interested in preordering a copy, you can drop me a note via my bookshop and I will let you know when the books are available.

In the meantime, enjoy some of the photos from the book! My phone isn’t really doing them justice, but you can get the idea.

Old Stirling Cemetery, photographed by Ann Bollen.

Unnamed graveyard, photographed by Greg Roensch.

St. Stephen’s Cemetery, photographed by Emerian Rich.

Cemetery Travel news

I was completely burnt out by the time the Death’s Garden Revisited Kickstarter ended in April, but I meant to post that not only did the book reach its funding goal, it bypassed it by a factor of five!

The book is in the proofreader’s hands now. Once she finishes with the text, I should be able to finalize the book’s layout and start ordering printer samples. Backers will have their copies on schedule in October.

I’ll post the order link for everyone else once I have the book is ready for preorders.

Other than that, I was a guest on the Curious State podcast, talking about what makes a cemetery a tourist destination. This was a really fun conversation & Doug’s team did a great job putting it together. Here’s the link, if you’ve got 15 minutes to be entertained: https://pod.link/curiousstate/episode/11cc72334c9520361edd8bdb5f6f22ab

I assembled a list of my Top Five favorites for The Best Books about Cemeteries on Shepherd List. Check out my list and let me know if you agree with my choices: https://shepherd.com/best-books/about-cemeteries

Tomorrow I’m giving a talk called “Using Crowdfunding to Support Cemetery Projects” at the virtual portion of the annual Association for Gravestone Studies Conference. I’m excited to share what I learned during my Kickstarter.

I think you can still get tickets for the conference here: https://gravestonestudies.org/conferences/2022-conference

 

The Kickstarter’s Last Day

It’s finally here! Today is the final day of Kickstarter campaign for the cemetery book I’m editing, Death’s Garden Revisited.

At this point, 100 people have backed the project, ensuring that the black & white photos will be upgraded to color, I’ll be able to commission a couple of essays to fill out the book, and there will be more cemetery photos than I originally planned. This book is going to be so beautiful!

Backers are giving me the ability to finish the sequel to my cemetery memoir, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. Everyone who donated — from the $5 level on up — will receive a copy of the new ebook. I am really excited to find out what they think of it.

The best reward — at least in my mind — is that every backer will be thanked inside Death’s Garden Revisited. I’m thrilled to be able to acknowledge their faith in me.

In case you haven’t seen it, this is the video in which I talk about the book:

Sometimes the video embeds get stripped out of the email versions, so you can watch it at this link: https://youtu.be/gxg-Hjh8-bo

This project has been a dream of mine for 25 years. I’m so excited that it’s going to become a reality this year.

Cemetery Happy Hour!

What is a Cemetery Happy Hour? Last summer when I attended the Association for Gravestone Studies conference online, Dr. Sharon Pajka hosted a virtual happy hour for attendees. She’d even created a PDF recipe book filled with tasty drinks like Preservation Punch, Decoration Day Daquiri, and Cemetery Cider. What a great souvenir!

When the contributors to Death’s Garden Revisited and I started talking about events we could hold to get the word out about the book, Sharon offered to host a Cemetery Happy Hour. We recorded it last weekend.

If you’re reading this on your phone, sometimes the video embedding doesn’t work. You can watch the video on youtube: https://youtu.be/H5BN8WWZq-c

Each of the contributors — Chris LaMay-West, Sharon Pajka, Denise N. Tapscott, and me — created a drink to celebrate the cemetery they wrote about in their essays. I wanted to include my recipe here.

The Ghost of Lone Mountain Cemetery

2 oz. St. George Vodka

1 oz. Creme de Mure

1 oz. Creme de Violette

A squeeze of lemon

Served in a martini glass and garnished with a skull ice cube.

Remember, if you’d like to preorder a copy of Death’s Garden Revisited, personal essays about the cemeteries we form relationships with, the Kickstarter ends on Saturday, April 16, at 9 AM Pacific. Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lorenrhoads/deaths-garden-revisited-relationships-with-cemeteries 

Death’s Garden contributor: Emerian Rich

Emerian Rich is a kindred soul, albeit with a much better fashion sense than mine. I met her through a a Facebook group dedicated to women who write horror. She invited me to contribute to The Horror Addicts’ Guide to Life, then invited me to join her — the first time I attended BayCon — in a group reading from that book. It was amazing to meet her in person. She is a bundle of energy. Since then, we’ve gone to conventions together, we’ve done readings together, we’ve poked around graveyards together… and I’ll have several cemetery pieces in her upcoming book The Horror Addicts’ Guide to Life 2.

Emerian wrote a really lovely piece for Death’s Garden Revisited called “How the Forgotten Angels Saved My Life,” which is about how she pulled herself out of a depression by caring for the neglected graves of long-dead children.

Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series Night’s Knights. She’s been published in a handful of anthologies by publishers such as Dragon Moon Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, and White Wolf Press. She is the podcast horror hostess for the internationally acclaimed HorrorAddicts.net show.

What’s your favorite thing to do in a cemetery?

Soak in the ambiance and write. I also like to do etchings of the gravestones, if they have an interesting carving on them.

Tell me about your favorite cemetery.

I think it’s St. Stephen’s, the one I wrote about. It’s small and forgotten, but that is part of what makes it unique to me. I also love the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, where the ashes are kept in books, but I don’t get there as often.

Is there a cemetery or gravesite you’ve always wanted to visit?

I really want to go to New Orleans and visit Metairie Cemetery and the graves there, especially now that Anne Rice is buried there. I never got to see her in life. I’d like to pay my respects at her grave.

If you could have a say in it, what would your epitaph be?

She tried her best.

Do you have a favorite song about cemeteries or graveyards?

“Don’t Go” by Matthew Sweet – Although it’s more about losing someone than the cemetery, but the line “I can’t watch them put you in the ground” is heart-wrenching.

Loren again:

I had a lot of fun putting together a playlist of cemetery songs recommended by the Death’s Garden Revisited contributors. You can listen to it here.

I would also love it if you’d check out Death’s Garden Revisited, which is available for preorder on Kickstarter until Saturday. April 16, at 9 AM Pacific. This beautiful book will be full of 40 amazing essays about why visiting cemeteries is important. Please consider preordering a copy for yourself: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lorenrhoads/deaths-garden-revisited-relationships-with-cemeteries