Tag Archives: cemetery books

Wish You Were Here’s 4th anniversary

In March 1999, I met Thomas Roche, who was editing nonfiction for Gothic.Net. I pitched him a column about visiting cemeteries: on vacation, with friends, with my parents, with tour guides. My initial list of proposed columns had 42 cemeteries from San Francisco’s historical columbarium to the artists’ graveyard Vysehrad in Prague.

I’d never written a column before. I had published a handful travel essays in Trips magazine and the Traveler’s Tales books. I’d edited the book Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries and three issues of Morbid Curiosity magazine. Tom had no indication that I could actually do what I was proposing. He gave me a chance anyway.

My first column appeared in April 1999. It was adapted from my introduction to Death’s Garden, which had gone out of print. It was part survey of cemeteries I’d visited, part manifesto about why it was important to visit graveyards and what they had to teach us.

For the next couple of years, I wrote each month about a cemetery I’d visited, roaming from Gettysburg to Hiroshima, from Northern Michigan’s Mackinaw Island to the Roman catacombs. Gothic.Net never put any limitations on what I wrote about — and the editorial staff were hugely encouraging. Often I’d get nice emails from them even before the essay had gone up online.

After I’d written the first dozen columns, I started to think about putting together a book. I began to travel to historically significant cemeteries just so I could write about them. My husband Mason and I arranged a tour of East Coast cemeteries, starting in Boston and driving to Providence, then on to Sleepy Hollow, Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and back to Brooklyn to see Green-Wood Cemetery. In all, we visited 14 cemeteries in 11 days. It was wonderful.

Then my younger brother died suddenly and I got pregnant at 39. Complications ensued.

It took a while for me to complete the book. I joined the Red Room Writers Society in October 2004, which gave me a place to escape to (the Archbishop’s Mansion) where I could write shoulder to shoulder with other writers. I finished a bunch of new essays, filled out the book, and named it Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel.

WishYouWereHere-cover-FINAL-600x900It took a while to find a home for it, but John Palisano published it in May 2013 through his Western Legends Press. Working with John was a dream: he let me choose the essays, arrange them how I liked. He made me a book trailer that I love.

When Black Dog & Leventhal approached me to write 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, I asked John if I could have the rights to Wish You Were Here back. There were some errors I wanted to correct and I wanted to include an index. The updated version was published on July 21, 2017.

I have felt so lucky and supported as I created this book. It contains 35 of my graveyard travel essays and visits more than 50 cemeteries, churchyards, and gravesites across the globe. It explores the pioneer cemetery in Yosemite, the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Arlington, Pere Lachaise, Vysehrad, the Protestant Cemetery of Rome and the Catacomb of Saint Sebastian, and so much more.

It starts with me discovering my love for cemeteries when I visited Highgate for the first time in January 1991 and ends just before my daughter’s birth in 2003. There’s so much more I want to say about cemeteries–and so many more essays I’ve written. I’ve started to assemble a book that I’m calling Still Wish You Were Here: More Adventures in Cemetery Travel. I think it might be out early in 2023.

In the meantime, you can see where this all began in Wish You Were Here:  

Get the book:

On Amazon: https://amzn.to/3BsAlH9

On Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wish-you-were-here-loren-rhoads/1126830675

On Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/a/18236/9780963679468

Or direct from me, if you’d like it autographed: https://lorenrhoads.com/product/wish-you-were-here-adventures-in-cemetery-travel-autographed/

Join me for a live conversation about Cemeteries

DATE CHANGE: Despite the podcast being called Tombstone Tuesday, this will take place on Wednesday, March 17 at 4 pm CT (or 2 PT). Tui’s getting her vaccine on Tuesday.

Tui Snider, author of Understanding Cemetery Symbols and Six Feet Under Texas, has invited me to come chat about cemeteries. You can join us live on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc8atGbwYis

We’ll be taking questions from the chat, if you have anything you’re dying to know.

Cemetery Season begins now

Cemetery season is starting early this year. I’ve already been on two podcasts to talk about graveyards and travel:

Something (Rather than Nothing) with Ken Volante: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4WyvBI3A5WgIqeJUSOejRN?si=V4CThu30QL2IESwbxeiAkg

Ghost Magnet with Bridget Marquardt: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3wAvGv98DvKVDDBURHEPGy?si=-iaUGgVyQq2IivHelzEr-g

Coming up next month will be the Books & Travel podcast with Joanna Penn. I’m not sure of the date yet, but here’s the homepage: https://www.booksandtravel.page/listen/

Things have been slow on the cemetery book front this year. While I’ve been waiting to sign another contract, I’ve gotten two fiction books out:

What if Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail?

Angelus Rose is the second novel in the succubus/angel series I was writing with Brian Thomas. Of interest to cemetery folk is that the book visits three cemeteries in LA. It’s available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, Indie Bound, and Smashwords.

Finally, my brand-new collection of short stories, Unsafe Words, came out on Sunday.

From the back cover:

In the first full-length collection of her edgy, award-winning short stories, Loren Rhoads punctures the boundaries between horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction in a maelstrom of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Ghosts, succubi, naiads, vampires, the Wild Hunt, and the worst predator in the woods stalk these pages, alongside human monsters who follow their cravings past sanity or sense.

Unsafe Words is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie Bound. It should be up at Bookshop.org and Smashwords soon.

I hope to get back to work on the cemetery updates soon. In the meantime, tell me…have you had a cemetery adventure lately?

Cemetery Press in 2018

Considering I didn’t have a new book out in 2018, I was pleased with the attention that 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die continued to draw. It opened doors for me to speak at a bunch of new (to me) venues last year, too. Hopefully, I persuaded some new people to check out the beauty of these fragile historic places.

Book publications:

I put a collection of my cemetery essays up on Wattpad in July and August. Graveyard Field Trips: A Memoir gathers essays I published on Gothic.Net and GothicBeauty.com, along with the introduction to the original edition of Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries.

At the moment, I have a proposal out for my new book, The Pioneer Cemeteries of the San Francisco Bay Area, and another proposal for a nonfiction book with Lisa Morton, president of the Horror Writers Association, that I’m excited about.  Hopefully those books will find homes in 2019.

I’m not sure what cemetery project I’ll work on after those are done. Maybe I’ll finally finish the second volume of Death’s Garden.

Short Nonfiction Publications:

Four Graves for Harvey Milk” appeared on The Cemetery Club  to kick off Great Britain’s Gay Pride Month.

10 American Cemeteries to See Before You Die” appeared on The Daily Beast in April 2018. My collection of cemeteries to see in springtime was illustrated with images from 199 Cemeteries.

I wrote 9 cemetery columns for the Horror Writers Association’s newsletter about the histories of burial and cremation, cemetery ghost stories, and gravestone iconography.

The Madam’s Haunted Tomb” served as part of the Ghosts in the Graveyard series on Roxanne Rhoads’s All Things Halloween blog. I talked about a ghost legend centered on New Orleans’ Metairie Cemetery.

Here on CemeteryTravel.com, I was proud to put together a two-part series on the “Resting Places of Horror Icons.” Here’s part one.

Lectures:

At Cypress Lawn in Colma in September

I spoke to Angela Hennessy’s “Over My Dead Body” class at the California College of the Arts in February. My lecture, called “Memento Mori: Even Graveyards Die,” covered the demolition of the historic cemeteries of San Francisco.

In April, for the “Memento Mori” evening of the Reimagine End of Life week, I talked about the dismantling of “Laurel Hill Cemetery: San Francisco’s Garden Cemetery” at the Swedish American Hall.

I talked about how I came to write 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die at the Association for Gravestone Studies conference in Danbury, Connecticut in June.

In September, I showed slides of my favorite cemeteries from 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.

Professor Steven Brown invited me to talk about cemeteries to his horticultural class as San Francisco’s City College on October 1, 2018.

My last lecture of the year was near to my heart.  For years, I’ve wanted to trace the development of San Francisco’s Old Mission Cemetery through tourist postcards.  I finally got to do it as part of the Odd Salon’s “Cemetery Stories” event during the Litcrawl on 10/20/18. My lecture was called “Postcards from History.”

Podcasts:

Extreme Genes, my first genealogy podcast ever, chatted with me about cemeteries on 3/25/18. My bit starts 24 minutes in:
https://extremegenes.com/2018/02/25/episode-226-black-history-month-advances-in-african-american-research-199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die/

Venerable goth podcast Cemetery Confessions broadcast our conversation about cemeteries on 6/17/18:
http://www.thebelfry.rip/blog/2018/6/15/cemetery-expert-loren-rhoads

Mark from On the Odd chatted with me about 199 Cemeteries on October 26, 2018: https://ontheodd.com/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die/

And I talked with Timothy Renner about cemeteries for his Strange Familiars podcast, but it hasn’t been released yet.

Print/Online Interviews:

“Loren Rhoads takes us through the gates of the Cemetery” for Women in Horror Month on Library of the Damnedhttp://libraryofthedamned.com/2018/02/22/wihm-interview-loren-rhoads-takes-us-through-the-gates-of-the-cemetery/

Sonora Taylor invited me by for a Q&A on her blog in August. Mostly we talked about 199 Cemeteries, but also got into my Alondra short stories: https://sonorawrites.com/2018/08/15/ask-the-author-a-qa-with-loren-rhoads/

Erin Al-Mehairi invited me by her Oh, for the Hook of a Book! blog for a long conversation about cemeteries and more on 10/30/18: https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/hookinterview-cemetery-travel-writer-and-horror-author-loren-rhoads-lohf/

Articles:

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die continued to get some press attention this year, even though the book’s been out more than a year. Most of these stories were nice surprises when I stumbled across them online.

I served as a consultant about Potter’s Fields for “State-Funded Funerals: What Happens to the Unclaimed Dead” on How Stuff Works. I’m a fan of the podcast, so this was an honor. https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/cultural-traditions/state-funded-funerals-what-happens-to-unclaimed-dead.htm

A feature story on 199 Cemeteries called “From Established to Eccentric, These Cemeteries are To Die For” appeared on Gonomad in April: https://www.gonomad.com/109276-from-established-to-eccentric-these-cemeteries

Lifestyles over 50 reprinted Larry Bleiberg’s “10 Great Cemeteries to See Before You Die”: https://lifestylesafter50.com/10-great-cemeteries-to-visit-before-you-die/

Atlas Obscura did a lovely piece called “In Search of Cemeteries Alive With Beauty, Art, and History” for Halloween: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/cemeteries-to-visit-before-you-die-monuments

Halloween Lifestyle cautioned readers “Don’t Die Before You see These Amazing Cemeteries”: http://www.halloween-lifestyle.com/2018/04/23/dont-die-before-seeing-these-amazing-cemeteries/

And the Steampunk Explorer put together an in-depth 3-part series of historic cemeteries that would appeal to those of a steampunk persuasion:

Part 1: USA and Canada
https://steampunk-explorer.com/articles/exploring-historic-cemeteries-part-i

Part 2: Europe
https://steampunk-explorer.com/articles/exploring-historic-cemeteries-part-ii

Part 3: The Rest of the World
https://steampunk-explorer.com/articles/exploring-historic-cemeteries-part-iii

Miscellaneous Good Things:

A catch-all category for things that made me smile this year.

199 Cemeteries made the preliminary ballot for the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award in Nonfiction. While the book didn’t advance to the final ballot, it was still an honor to make the long list.

The podcast Two Girls One Ghost read my fan letter on air after they mentioned 199 Cemeteries in an earlier episode. Here’s a link to their Haunted Cemeteries podcast: https://audioboom.com/posts/6692482-episode-27-rest-in-peace which originally aired on 2/25/18.

199 Cemeteries made a Buzzfeed list! “30 Gorgeous Products for Anyone with a Morbid Mind”  appeared on 4/13/18: https://www.buzzfeed.com/malloryannp/gorgeous-products-morbid-mind

I came across the first edition of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel listed on Amazon for $1200. I’d gladly set you up with one for 10 bucks.

Sonora Taylor mentioned 199 Cemeteries in her list “October Reads: Time for (More) Darkness” recommendation list on 10/5/18: https://sonorawrites.com/2018/10/05/october-reads-time-for-more-darkness/

Finally, I got to provide a cover blurb for the first time.  I am really excited about Erin-Marie Legacey’s Making Space for the Dead, which is coming from Cornell University Press in April 2019. You can preorder it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2RkuyiT.

Cemetery Books for Sale

It’s time to clear out some of my extra cemetery books.  There will be more, but for now, here’s the list of what I have for sale.  Let me know (either in the comments below or through the Contact Me form above) if you are interested in any of these and give me your mailing address, so I can check the postage for you. PRICES DO NOT INCLUDE POSTAGE.

I take paypal.

NOW AVAILABLE:

Green-Wood 002Green-Wood 001The Green-Wood Cemetery
Walk #1: Battle Hill and Back
Walk #2: Valley & Sylvan Waters
by Jeffrey I. Richman
Published by The Green-Wood Cemetery, 2001. Spiral bound.  Two walking tours of this lovely garden cemetery. I bought the books from the cemetery, but they’ve never been used.
$20 for both.

Abney Park001Guide to Abney Park Cemetery
by Paul Joyce
Essay, listing of interesting graves, some b/w photographs of one of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries.
Rare, out-of-print. In good shape.
Second edition from 1994.
$30

Igualada bookIgualada Cemetery
by Enric Miralles and Carme Pinos
Very rare architectural study of a new modern cemetery in Barcelona. These start at $100 on Amazon.
The edges have discolored very slightly over time. Published in 1996.
$20

Tomb SculptureTomb Sculpture: Its Changing Aspects from Ancient Egypt to Bernini
by Erwin Panofsy
Henry N. Abrams, 1970. Paperback reading copy with some shelfwear. This collects 4 lectures given by a scholar who was considered the “greatest interpreter of the meaning of art.”  It contains 471 crisp black & white photos of tomb sculpture. A really lovely book, but showing its age.
$20

RIPR.I.P. Memorial Wall Art
by Martha Cooper and Joseph Sciorra
1994, Henry Holt. Paperback with some slight edgewear, but still very tightly bound. This is a study of memorial murals painted when someone in the neighborhood died, often by violence. The photos are full color throughout.  If you’re interested in urban memorialization or graffiti, this is for you.
$10

Milltown CemeteryMilltown Cemetery: A Brief History
by Raymond J. Quinn and Joe Baker
Undated 1st edition signed by Joe Baker. An oversized saddlestitched paperback focuses on a Nationalist cemetery in Belfast, examining the history of the Troubles as recorded in the gravestones and news stories of the day. This is not available on Amazon.
$15

Friar BushTwo Acres of Irish History: A Study through Time of Friar’s Bush and Belfast 1570-1918
by Eamon Phoenix
2001, Ulster Historical Foundation. An oversized saddlestitched paperback focuses on Friar’s Bush, the oldest Christian site in Belfast, with ties to St. Patrick. The cemetery contains a cholera pit and memorials to historic citizens of Belfast. It contains a map, walking tour, and some b/w photos.
$10

Arlington001Here Rests in Honored Glory: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery
By R. Conrad Stein
Weekly Reader Books, 1979.  Hardcover, in great shape. A kids’ book on the cemetery’s history. Great for introducing a kid to the appeal of cemeteries.
$5

The Grave001The Grave
by Robert Blair
Spiral bound, letterpress printed by Cary G. Birdwell.
Just an unillustrated copy of this lovely, morbid poem.  The poem was first published in 1747.
$5

Remember Me001Remember Me: A Lively Tour of the New American Way of Death
by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
Collins, 2006. Mary Roach says this is “A must-read for anyone who plans on dying.”  No photos, but the text is inclusive.  Trade paperback reading copy with dog-eared pages.
$5

Mystery of Life001The story behind “The Mystery of Life” plus a Pictorial Map and Guide to the Famous Art Treasures of Forest Lawn and another Forest Lawn brochure
Saddlestitched. Discoloration on cover from a price sticker.
Rare advertising booklet from the original Forest Lawn about one of their over-the-top fountain sculptures.
$10

Tombstone Tourist001Tombstone Tourist: Musicians
by Scott Stanton
First edition from 1998.  This is a very comprehensive encyclopedia of musicians’ graves around the world, with a particular focus on the graves of bluesmen. Autographed but cover is not in great shape. Tightly bound. One dog-eared page.
$5

I ALSO HAVE NEW COPIES OF:

WYWHere - CoverWish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel
by Loren Rhoads
Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel contains 35 graveyard travel essays, which visit more than 50 cemeteries, churchyards, and gravesites across the globe. More info here.
2nd edition. New trade paperback.
$15

Cover of the Cemetery Travels Notebook

Cemetery Travels Notebook
by Loren Rhoads
The Cemetery Travels Notebook is the place to keep field notes from your own cemetery adventures. It features 80 lined pages, interspersed with 20 lush full-page color photographs of cemeteries from Paris to Tokyo, with stops at Sleepy Hollow, San Francisco, and all points between, to inspire your wanderlust.
New trade paperback.
$20

ON HOLD:

Sacred New OrleansSacred: New Orleans Funerary Grounds
by Elizabeth Huston
Photomoinium Press, first edition paperback. Lovely black & white — and some colorized — photos document the cemeteries of New Orleans before Katrina struck. A nice companion with Consecrated Ground.
$10

Victorian CelebrationThe Victorian Celebration of Death
by James Stevens Curl
First edition, hardcover.  Sutton, 2000. This book covers everything from cemeteries to mourning jewelry, exploring the history and the philosophical change in the way the dead were regarded in Victorian England.  Full of pretty black and white images, from photos to etchings.
$25

Mexican001The Mexican Day of the Dead
by Chloe Sayer
Shambala, 1990. Small paperback. Some dog-ears. Lots of color and b/w photographs. This book helped bring Dia de los Muertos in an English-reading audience.
$5

Last Laugh001The Last Laugh: A Completely New Collection of Funny Old Epitaphs
by Gail Peterson
Published by Hallmark Editions.
Small hardcover with dust jacket. Jacket has small rips. A collection of very silly epitaphs, perfect for a gift for just the right person.
$2

photoConsecrated Ground: Funerary Art of New Orleans
by Lisa L. Cook
Pixieco Press, 1998. This HUGE (15” x 12”) beautiful hardcover collection is absolutely stuffed with black and white photographs. It’s signed by the photographer.  This will cost extra to mail.
$25

Graven Image New EnglandGraven Images: New England Stonecarving and its Symbols 1650-1815
by Allan I. Ludwig
1966, Wesleyan University Press. First edition, paperback.  Still tightly bound, but the bottom edge has foxed and there’s some slight shelfwear. This is the masterwork that expanded the study of stonecarving in New England.  It is packed full of black & white photos of skulls, skeletons, and deaths heads.
$25