Monthly Archives: September 2013

Release Day!

fs_cover_smallTHE FUNERAL SINGER is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! It will soon be up on Kobo … I’ll be sure to post that link as soon as it goes up.

A huge thank you to all of you for your support and for sharing the “journey to publication” with me over the past few months.

Release week brings lots of exciting adventures, including a blog tour for the book (links to come); a guest appearance at 9 p.m. Eastern time on the September 25 Twitter #YALitChat; and a blog radio interview at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on September 26 at WriteSpa.

I am so excited for the world to finally “meet” Mel and her cast of friends and family! I hope you enjoy!!

Going Viral

Yes, THE FUNERAL SINGER comes out in one weekon Tuesday, September 24! To celebrate, here is one last sneak peek inside the book. This is the scene where Mel realizes a news clip of her singing “Amazing Grace” at Mick’s funeral has gone viral:

What? This couldn’t be. I sunk slowly into my desk chair. Two million views? Last night it’d had less than a thousand. “I didn’t realize Mick’s funeral would be such a huge deal. They haven’t been on tour or anything for—.”

And then I saw them. On the right-hand side of the page appeared a string of videos: “Melody Martin,” “Melanie Martin,” “Funeral Girl,” “The Funeral Singer.” All showed freeze frames of me singing. I scrolled through them—seven in all—and clicked on each one. Most were shot at funerals, though one was taken during my solo at a chorus concert.

Why on earth would people be posting these? And an even better question: Why would people be watching them?

“You’ve gone viral. Can you believe it?” Lana grabbed my shoulders from behind and shook me. “This is so cool!”

“Cool?  More like weird. Why would a million people want to watch me sing ‘Danny Boy’?”

“Who knows? Why did that video of that big, fat beagle howling ‘God Bless America’ become such a huge hit last week? Nobody knows why these things happen. But it is happening. To you. This is so awesome. So freaking awesome. And check this out.” Lana nudged me out of the way, logged onto Facebook and brought up a page with a huge photo of me and the heading: THE FUNERAL SINGER.

“Whoa. I have a group page? And thirty thousand people like it?”

“Look at these comments: Fantastic voice … How can I get her to sing at my funeral? … Almost makes me wish I were dead (in a good way).

I laughed. “In a good way. That’s hilarious.”

Lana grabbed the back of my chair and swiveled me around to face her. “Can you believe this?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know what to think. It’s so … so….” My voice trailed off. I felt as though I were in a heavy fog trying to make out the road ahead of me. How had this happened? What did it mean? 

What DOES it mean for Mel?

I hope you’ll download a copy of THE FUNERAL SINGER next week (!!!!) to discover how it all turns out.

Thank you for reading and sharing this journey with me!

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

To celebrate THE FUNERAL SINGER’s September 24 release, I’m posting a few excerpts as teasers. You can find the first one (Mel’s first kiss with love interest Zed Logan) here.

The next scene I’d like to share is what writers and editors call the “inciting incident.” Mel is at a burial ceremony for local rock star Mick Nolan, keyboardist for The Grime. His band was supposed to play a song during the ceremony, but they are nowhere to be found. So Mel (literally) steps outside of her comfort zone:

Dad read a few verses from Psalm 23 and signaled a pair of cemetery workers to step forward. Dad’s eyes searched the crowd, and he turned to my mom. “Where’s Bruno? Where’s the band?”

Mom shook her head. “I haven’t seen them.”

“Their car pulled in ahead of mine. I know they’re here somewhere.”

Mick’s grandmother stepped forward and stared at my dad expectantly.

“We can’t keep her waiting,” he muttered. “We’ll need to go ahead without the music.” He nodded to the cemetery workers. As the vault slowly descended, Mick’s grandmother dropped the roses onto it, one by one.

The Stiletto Chicks stood a few feet behind her, scrolling through their photos and giggling. Next to me, a cell phone rang, and a guy answered, practically shouting into it, “Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?” A group of guys halfway down the hill cracked open a cooler and began passing around beers.

Meanwhile, Mick’s grandmother stood tiny and alone, the bouquet growing smaller and smaller.

This was all wrong. Mick’s “Celebration of Life” had been perfect for me and the rest of his fans, but what about her? The whole service was so loud, so irreverent, so … untraditional.

I stepped up onto the small stage and approached the mic. The crowd stretched out as far as I could see. Hundreds of people, maybe thousands. My legs shook so bad I thought I might collapse, and I grabbed the mic stand to steady myself. Everything suddenly seemed to grow still. I glanced over at my father, who gave me a questioning look but then offered a slow, solemn nod. I took a deep breath and began to sing.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

The nerves melted away. The song was easy, comfortable, and I slipped into it as though it were an old t-shirt. As I sang, a couple toward the back held their hands in the air and started swaying together, and soon all the people around them joined in, and the swaying spread and spread until it seemed as though the whole cemetery was one big wave of arms and bodies. A weird tingling spread through my chest. This was nothing like being perched up in the chapel balcony.

For the final verse, I turned toward Mick’s grandmother as she dropped the last of the roses. Instead of belting it out as I usually did, I brought it down and kept it pianissimo, soft.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.

As the last flower fell, the old woman straightened and turned toward me, her eyes brimming with tears. For a moment it was just the two of us. Everyone else faded into the scenery, like so many tombstones and trees. I watched as the first tear fell to her cheek, and then, just as quickly, the moment ended.

The crowd erupted in hoots and applause. Startled, I glanced over at Lana, who smiled and gave me a thumbs-up.

Dad placed his hand on my back. “That was lovely, Mel,” he said. “Thank you.”

A video of Mel’s brave, impromptu performance goes viral on YouTube, launching the story of THE FUNERAL SINGER. When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? How did it turn out?

Thank you for reading!

That First Kiss…

Today is September 1, and guess what that means? That means THE FUNERAL SINGER is coming out THIS MONTH! September 24 to be exact. To celebrate, for the next several weeks, I’ll post a few of my favorite snippets from the book. But don’t worry … no spoilers!

This week, let’s take a sneak peek at Mel’s first kiss with Zed Logan, bass player for a local band called The Grime. (Yes, I know I said no spoilers. But this is a romance novel, so you knew there would be some kissing, right?)
Here goes:
Zed took a step closer. “You sounded amazing today, you know that?” He reached up and brushed a strand of hair off my face, his hand lingering just behind my ear. I remembered the first time we’d touched, that day in the funeral home. The electricity that had run through my arm on that day coursed through my entire body now. Meanwhile, one thought coursed through my mind: Please kiss me. Please kiss me. Please kiss me.
Zed’s hand moved slowly down my neck, light as a whisper against my skin. I reached up and touched the scar on his chin, the flaw that somehow made him even more beautiful. His hand made its way all the way down my spine to the small of my back, and he pulled me toward him. And he kissed me. A soft, warm, slow kiss. A kiss that vibrated through me with a sensual rumble. I was his bass, and he was playing notes I’d never known existed. 
What do you remember about your first kiss? Or, your first kiss with the one who really set your heart a-pounding? Share your story in the comments or on my Linda Budzinski – Author Facebook page!