Once again I'm taking a break from my own writing to put out a newsletter for our local branch of the Funeral Consumers Alliance. Josh Slocum, Executive Director of the national organization, will be the featured speaker at our annual meeting four weeks from tomorrow, and his talk is entitled "Do you know your last rights?" We're all about educating people as consumers of funerals and providing more affordable services through the funeral homes we contract with. A critically important mission, especially in these perilous economic times when our dollars are buying less and less and our investments (if any) are plummeting in value.

If you'd like to learn more, visit www.funerals.org. Being involved in this cause helps me keep things in perspective - the challenges of marketing my books are insignificent compared to the problems some of our member families are facing. Last month, tragically, I experienced the value of our services firsthand when my son-in-law died unexpectedly, leaving my daughter a widow with two young daughters. Although they lived at a distance, I was able to contact a participating funeral home and make arrangements in under an hour, saving the family enormous stress, not to mention money.

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