October is the time to talk about cemeteries! I’ve been on a podcast and a radio show that I’m really excited about. Here are the details:
I had a great time talking to Angie Orth at the Traveling with AAA podcast. I love that the tagline for the conversation was “If you haven’t already been adding cemeteries to your travel itineraries, then you’ve been missing out.”
I was also a guest on America’s #1 Travel radio show, RMWorldTravel with Robert Carey. We did a lightning-fast interview about four cemeteries that people should visit this season. This broadcast on October 14. I’m in the second hour, which you can skip ahead to: https://rmworldtravel.com/podcasts/2023-2/
Hour 2 — Topics & Guests on this hour of RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa include:
Seg 1 – Robert & Mary and Rudy Show Open, plus our National Communal Forum with RMWorldTravel affiliates in OH, MS and SC
Seg 2 – Personal Connection – While in Maui we spent time with Kalei Uwekoolani talking Hawaiian culture, history, traditions and more Seg 3 – With Halloween ahead in just over 2 weeks, Loren Rhoads unveils top Cemeteries in the USA to visit and experience some “spooks”
Seg 4 – Open Road – RJ Carey is joined by Barn Find Hunter Tom Cotter to talk about “America’s Greatest Road Trip!: Key West to Deadhorse”
Seg 5 – Show Friend Elaine Glusac jumps aboard for a lively discussion on Cooking When You Travel when you have Accommodations with Kitchens
The primary cemetery project I worked on last year was the Kickstarter and publication of Death’s Garden Revisited: Personal Relationships with Cemeteries.
The book was the culmination of a dream I’ve held for decades. It collects 40 powerful personal essays — accompanied by glorious full-color photographs — to illuminate the reasons people visit cemeteries. Spanning the globe from Iceland to Argentina and from Portland to Prague, Death’s Garden Revisited explores the complex web of relationships between the living and those who have passed before.
I could not be prouder of how this beautiful book turned out. You can get a copy of your own from Blurb.com.
I’ve been working on another collection of my own cemetery travel essays, a sequel to Wish You Were Here. Still Wish You Were Here will be a collection of 35 (or so) cemeteries, exploring graveyards from the California Gold Country to Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo. I’d hoped to have it finished by the end of 2022, but family trouble complicated that. The paperback will be out this summer.
I only gave one lecture in 2022. I presented “Using Crowdfunding to Support Cemetery Projects” during the online conference for the Association for Gravestone Studies on 6/9/22.
Short Cemetery Nonfiction:
I had a bunch of short pieces published, most of them in connection with promoting Death’s Garden Revisited.
I was almost interviewed about cemeteries at the last minute by the BBC! It was the day after we’d moved into our new house and I didn’t yet know where my microphone was so, in the end, I was relieved that they booked someone else. I had a really nice interaction with the showrunner, though. Maybe this year?
Doing my first kickstarter this year was one of the most intense months of my life. Death’s GardenRevisited raised more than $5k. The campaign was chosen by Kickstarter as a Project We Love.
I hosted my first Ask Me Anything on Twitter. So many great cemetery questions! I look forward to doing another this year.
Dr. Sharon Pajka hosted a Cemetery Happy Hour. A handful of Death’s Garden contributors created cocktails to celebrate their favorite cemeteries. Check out this very fun and short video: https://youtu.be/H5BN8WWZq-c
It’s that time again, when everyone’s fancies turn to cemeteries. I’ve been out there, talking up the joys of visiting graveyards.
Horror Addicts focused the last hour of their October podcast on Death’s Garden Revisited. Horror hostess Emerian Rich (also a contributor to the book) interviewed me, then contributors E.M. Markoff, Francesca Maria, and Brian Thomas read tastes of their essays. If you’re trying to get in the mood for the season, check it out.
The National Funeral Directors Association interviewed me about 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Death’s Garden Revisited for their podcast, Remembering a Life.
The Washington Post asked me for some context for recipes appearing on headstones: They’re To Die For.
199 Cemeteries inspired another Washington Post journalist to begin exploring cemeteries. Along the way, she talked to a lot of taphophiles I’ve met via twitter. You have to love her headline: Why We Love a Good Cemetery.
In and around all of that, I’ve been getting the copies of Death’s Garden Revisited in the mail to the contributors and the Kickstarter backers. If you’d like a copy of your own (and who wouldn’t? It’s gorgeous!), you can click on the book cover above and be taken to Blurb.com. It’s available in hardcover and oversized paperback now. The ebook version should be coming soon.
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.
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 had the honor of being a guest on two really great podcasts this year.
In March, I chatted with Tui Snider on her Tombstone Tuesdays video podcast. We talked about Wish You Were Here and 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, how I came to love cemeteries, and some of my favorite cemetery sculptures. It was really fun.
In November, I hung out with LaShell Scott for her Stones, Bones and Shadows podcast. We talked about our favorite cemeteries that we haven’t visited yet — Highgate for her, Savannah’s Bonaventure for me, and so much more.
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