Sharing the Spotlight

Sharing the Spotlight

by Saralyn Richard


When BAD BLOOD SISTERS came out last March, a book club chose it as its first selection, and invited me to speak. This was no ordinary book club. It was the Elks Lodge #126, and they were fund-raising for the Texas Elks Children’s Services, Inc. So enthusiastic were they about BAD BLOOD SISTERS! They split the book club discussion into two events:  1)a tour of the local funeral home with a discussion  about the book in the wake room (because the main character works in death services); and 2)a dinner, book talk, and raffle.

I was touched by the amount of attention they were giving to my latest novel. Sympathetic to their drive to raise money for this worthy organization, I offered to auction the privilege of being a named character in my next book. Asta Timm, Elks Sweetheart, loved the idea and we decided to start the bidding at a reasonable price.

The night of the book club dinner, there was a buzz in the air. The Elks organizers, including Karen Crummett Sawyer and Asta, had a number of fun surprises. We ate, we drank, we talked about the book, we played a trivia game (with prizes). Then it was time for the raffle. The bidding opened and took off with a bang. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to be a character in a book. My head swiveled from one side of the room to the other as friends outbid one another over and over again. Finally, the auction ended, with the closing bid at ten times what the opening bid had been.

The winner of the auction, Tammie Caballero, became one of the key characters in CRYSTAL BLUE MURDER, which was published in September. Tammie was thrilled, because she wanted her family name in the spotlight. She knew her grandfather would be proud. When I replaced Tammie’s name in the manuscript, MS Word made 365 changes.

Tammie has come with me to several book launch events, and I always introduce her and ask her to say a few words about her part in the book’s journey. Her involvement in the book adds a special dimension that we both enjoy talking about. I have a new friend for life, and the Texas Elks Children’s Services has a generous benefactor. I can’t say enough about the Elks, Asta, Karen, and Tammie. I love sharing the spotlight with them!


Award-winning author and educator, Saralyn Richard writes about people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools. She loves beaches, reading, sheepdogs, the arts, libraries, parties, nature, cooking, and connecting with readers.

Visit Saralyn at, on her Amazon page here, or on Facebook here.

14 replies
  1. Lois Winston
    Lois Winston says:

    How cool! I’ve auctioned off character naming at several writing conferences. I also routinely offer a naming up in a random drawing for my newsletter subscribers whenever I have a new book in the works.

  2. Gay Yellen
    Gay Yellen says:

    How fun is that, Saralyn! I was planning to offer a character name in Book 3 at an auction for a non-profit I support, but they’ve moved on from auction fundraisers. Maybe next time…

  3. Debra
    Debra says:

    Like you, I’ve auctioned off a character’s name — especially at an event that I’ve been privileged to be a panelist at four times (if you count this coming February 5 – Murder on the Menu experience) – and the same person bought it at all events. I finally made her a running minor character in the Sarah Blair mysteries. Your experience sounds wonderful.

  4. Lynn McPherson
    Lynn McPherson says:

    I love this!! What a fun idea to auction off a character name. And then to bring her along? Brilliant!!

  5. Kathryn Lane
    Kathryn Lane says:

    Saralyn, I love this post! And I’m very familiar with the fictional Tammie Caballero in Crystal Blue Murder since Bob and I are reading it this week. It’s my favorite book of yours and I love the Tammie character!

  6. Tammie Caballero
    Tammie Caballero says:

    Ohhhh you continue to bring such happiness and joy in my life 💙
    Crystal blue murder book will of course always be my favorite not just because I’m one of the characters in the book lol but, the friendship that I now have with you is special, you are amazing and I am so blessed to have such a special bond with you 💙

    • Saralyn Richard
      Saralyn Richard says:

      Tammie, I hope you have read all the comments on this post, so you can see what an impression your generosity has made, and what a gift you are as a reader, a person, and a friend.

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