Tag Archive for: #A Palette for Love and Murder

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Chocolate Truffles

by Saralyn Richard

Chocolate truffles are round candies made with creamy,
chocolate ganache centers and coated with chocolate, cocoa powder, or chopped
toasted nuts. They get their name from their resemblance in shape and size to
the edible fungi, but that is where the resemblance ends.

The first chocolate truffle is rumored to have been
created in Chambery, France, but variations soon sprang up in Switzerland and
other European countries. The Californian truffle is credited to Alice Medrich,
who, after tasting truffles in France in 1973, formulated a larger, lumpier
version and began selling them in her store, Cocolat, which soon expanded into
a chain. Thus began the American obsession with truffles.

Chocolate truffles play a role in MURDER IN THE ONE
PERCENT, the first Detective Parrott Mystery novel. Thirteen friends gather for
a weekend retreat in a country mansion in the elite Brandywine Valley, and the
sumptuous menu for their Saturday night dinner includes truffles, made by one
of the guests.

Vicki is known for her decadent candies, but when her
least favorite fellow guest is found dead the next morning, some wonder about
Vicki’s recipe.

While you ponder whether a poison could be delivered
in such a delectable bit of heavenly chocolate, here’s my mother’s easy recipe
for chocolate truffles:


2 quality chocolate bars (4 oz. each), chopped into
fine pieces

2/3 C whipping cream

1 T unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ t pure vanilla extract

One or more of these toppings: finely chopped nuts,
unsweetened cocoa powder, sprinkles

Place chocolate in a heat-proof
bowl, and set aside.

Warm the whipping cream until it

Add butter to the chocolate.

Pour heated whipping cream evenly on
top of chocolate and butter.

Pour mixture into a square baking

Let the mixture sit for five

Add vanilla.

Stir until chocolate has completely

Cover with plastic wrap, placed
directly on the chocolate mixture to prevent condensation.

Refrigerate for two hours.

Scoop the set truffle mixture into
two-teaspoon-sized mounds. Roll into balls.

Roll each ball into toppings, as

Serve at room temperature.

Cover and store at room temperature
up to four days, or in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

If you’d like the menu
and more recipes from the gourmet meal served in MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT,
sign up for my monthly email newsletter at http://saralynrichard.com.


Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard has
ink in her veins. A former urban high school educator, she’s living the dream,
connecting with readers through her books: A
Murder of Principal
, Naughty Nana,
Murder in the One Percent, and A Palette for Love and Murder. Saralyn
participates in International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America, and
teaches creative writing. Follow her at https://www.amazon.com/Saralyn-Richard/e/B0787F6HD4?ref_=.


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From My Garden
Saralyn Richard

I’ve always loved to plant flowers and vegetables and
watch them grow, but never, until now, have I had the time to nurture, weed,
water, and admire the horticulture. For all of the things the pandemic has
taken away, the joy of gardening is one thing it’s brought to my life in

days when time inside seems to stand still, when one day pours into the next,
so it doesn’t matter whether it’s Monday or Saturday, the ever-changing
splendor of my garden provides something new. In March, I planted the caladium bulbs
kept in the garage all winter. Even from the first day after planting, they
were pushing up shoots that turned into buds, that opened into showy broad red
and green leaves. The progress was rapid and almost magical.

caladiums reminded me of the book release process. When I published my debut
, in 2018, I experienced that creative
push of final edits, review blurbs, pre-publication hype, and, voila! The book
was “above ground,” out into the world. As the book was nourished by reader
reviews and a dizzying book tour schedule, it opened up to book clubs, new
readers, and beautiful new connections.

fig tree in my back yard, however, has taught me patience. The sequel to MURDER
this year. I had no idea that a pandemic would wreak havoc with every launch
party, book talk, and book club I had so enthusiastically planned. Like the new
mystery novel, the fig tree burst forth in a passionate profusion of fruit.
Once the first crop was picked, though, the tree slowed down. It’s still full
of potential. Hundreds of green buds remain, patiently awaiting their natural
time to explode into luscious purple fruit. Though the book launch for PALETTE
was not what I expected, the joy of the first crop of readers and the early
reviews has been gratifying. Now I need to nurture the green buds, knowing
that, if I’m patient, they will produce fruit.

final parable comes from the enclosed planter on my front porch. I’ve never
been able to grow anything in this shady area. Too little sun, too little
water, and too little attention from me were all to blame. I had literally
given up on having anything there, except an air plant, a few aloe vera plants,
and a touch of tradescantia zebrine (wandering
jew). I decided that this was the time to experiment. I took a cutting from a
healthy ginger plant in my back yard, and I planted it in the planter. I
decided to keep the porch light on all night to give it extra light for
growing, and I water it every day. At first the leaves turned brown and I was
sure the plant was dying, but after a few more days, baby shoots started
popping up in the soil. Now the plant is thriving, and the planter is a source
of pride.

many times in writing, the easy path would be to give up. I might blame a lack
of time, a dearth of creative ideas, a busy calendar, family demands, even a
pandemic—innumerable excuses for not writing. The truth is, however, that an
author with a creative spirit can produce a story to be proud of. Yes, there
are obstacles, but obstacles can be overcome, as long as the passion and will
are there.

of us who read and write, who love books, have likely learned many lessons
during these months of social distancing. Here’s hoping all of our lessons bear
the sweetest fruit.
Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard
strives to make the world a better place, one book at a time. Her books, Naughty Nana, Murder in the One Percent, and A
Palette for Love and Murder
, have delighted children and adults, alike. A
member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America,
Saralyn teaches creative writing at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and continues
to write mysteries. Look for A Murder of
to be released in January, 2020. Reviews, media, and tour
schedule may be found at

What Makes Excellent Writing?

Makes Excellent Writing?
Saralyn Richard

I’ve taught creative
writing off and on for years. It was an elective for upper class students in a
large suburban Chicago high school. Part of our curriculum was to produce a
literary magazine each year, and we entered our work in a National Council of
Teachers of English contest. Oftentimes we won awards for our content or
layout, and quite a few of my students went on to become successful writers.
Now I teach creative
writing to adults aged 55 or older at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
I’m finding the learners to be extremely motivated. The problem for them is not
choosing what to write about, but choosing which of many ideas and experiences
to write about first. My learners are serious, thoughtful, observant,
experienced, and well-read. Their responses to assignments are creative and
clever, worthy of being submitted for contests or publication.
I’m often asked what
makes excellent creative writing, and when I consider possible replies, I find
the same things apply to both high school writers and adult writers.

The first element of fine
writing, in my opinion, is the ability to imagine and bring to life one or more
relatable characters. These characters do not have to be alter-egos of the
author who creates them. They don’t even need to be the same gender, race,
creed, or age. They don’t need to be perfect; in fact, perfection would be a
detriment to being relatable for readers.
How do authors come out
of themselves enough to paint a realistic word-portrait of characters who are
unlike them? The process for me is similar to what an actor does in assuming a
role for a play. When I’m writing about a character, I immerse myself into the
body and mind of that person. I lose my own identity as I write the scenes
where my character speaks and thinks and acts.

Another fine point of
excellent writing is awareness of theme. I use the term “theme” to mean the
overall purpose for the story. When the author consciously crafts the writing
based on a specific purpose, all of the narration, exposition, description, and
dialogue fall into place, unifying the readers’ experience. I’ve read many sagas
that took me across generations and geographical locations without tying the
chapters and sections together, and they’ve left me wondering about the
author’s intent. My favorite tales lead me to some truth, some higher awareness
about life or people.
Of course there are many
other important strategies and methods in a writer’s toolkit. As a creative
writing teacher, I encourage my students to practice them all. As a writer,
myself, I strive to do the same. The two books in the Detective Oliver Parrott Mystery
series, Murder in the One Percent and
A Palette for Love and Murder, have
thoroughly imagined characters and (hopefully) articulated themes.

I’m excited to discuss
these and other topics with the Stiletto Gang readers. Whatever questions you
have about creative writing, I’m interested. 


Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, Saralyn Richard, is a
writer who teaches on the side. Her books, Naughty
, Murder in the One Percent,
and A Palette for Love and Murder,
have delighted children and adults, alike. A member of International Thriller
Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Saralyn teaches creative writing at the
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and continues to write mysteries. Reviews,
media, and tour schedule may be found at

Follow Saralyn at:

 “A compelling story of worlds in collision, A Palette for Love and Murder plumbs the depths of love and the
human heart.”

Kent Krueger
, author
This Tender Land

“Delightful! Saralyn Richard weaves a deeply twisty mystery around
vibrant characters that will leave readers looking forward to more.” —LynDee
Walker, Agatha Award-nominated author of Front
Page Fatality

“Smart, stylish and sexy, this art world caper
delights with its verve and wit. The character studies are wonderful, and
Oliver and Tonya Parrott are an irresistible pair.”                                           – Ausma Zehanat Khan,
author of 
A Deadly Divide