Tag Archive for: #award-winningauthor

It’s World Hello Day!

There are lots of things to love about November. Cool, crisp mornings. Warm, cuddly clothes. A lovely fire in the hearth. And hints of cinnamon spice everywhere.

I recently learned that today, November 21, is annual World Hello Day. At first it seemed like a made-up trifle akin to National Pickle Day (which was actually last Tuesday). But after researching the origins and purpose of this holiday, I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong.

World Hello Day

World Hello Day was created in 1973 by two young brothers, Brian and Michael McCormack, as a panacea for the Arab-Israeli war known as the Yom Kippur War. Gathering all the money they had at the time, these two bought postage and sent out letters to as many world leaders as they could and asked them to support this new holiday.

from Pete Seeger

Within the first 12 months of their campaign, the results were overwhelming. World leaders, educators, Nobel Laureates, show biz celebrities and other luminaries responded. And in the last 50 years, they have managed to gather the support of 180 countries.

It’s interesting to read the thoughts of people like James Michener, Colin Powell, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, and Whoopi Goldberg on the subject. My favorite replies are the little ditty that Pete Seeger offered, a wacky postcard from David Sedaris, and a heartfelt letter from the Idyllwilde Elementary School in Florida.

You can read more of these interesting letters here: https://worldhelloday.org/letters/

How to Celebrate

World Hello Day is a good opportunity to express our concern for world peace. According to the organization’s website, anyone can celebrate simply by saying hello to at least ten people. Friends and family count. Extra points if you greet a stranger, or say hello in a different language. And if you’re inspired to encourage a world or community leader to settle a conflict, go for it.

It seems a bit Pollyanna-ish to think that the simple act of saying hello can lead to world peace. And, we may feel silly saying hello to a perfect stranger. But we can start by greeting the nearly invisible people we encounter in an ordinary day: the checkout clerk at the grocery store, the people we pass on the sidewalk, someone we’re sharing an elevator with or sitting next to at the theater.

Acknowledging another human being’s existence can go a long way toward recognizing that we’re all in this crazy world together. At any rate, that’s the philosophy of the McCormack brothers, and they’re trying to make a difference. Why not try it, too?

And while you’re at it, say hello to Book #3 in the Samantha Newman Series, The Body in the News. I’m overjoyed (and relieved) that it’s finally out there!

Who have you said hello to today?

Gay Yellen‘s award-winning Samantha Newman Mysteries include The Body Business, The Body Next Door, and The Body in the News!  Now available on Amazon.

Woman of the Year

Woman of the Year

By Saralyn Richard


I found out in April that the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce would be celebrating me as a Woman of the Year for 2023. The announcement, broadcast live on social media, came as a total surprise—overwhelming to this day. The honor entails participating in an all-day video production, inviting family and friends to accompany you to the Women’s Conference (held on September 15), going up on the stage in front of 1500 people to receive the award, and lots more.

As an educator, I always considered myself a star-maker, rather than a star. I revel when my students receive accolades or limelight, but I’m not all that comfortable receiving them, myself. I’ve struggled with the idea of whether I’m worthy of all this attention.

Over the past four months I’ve given a lot of thought to this and similar issues, and I’ll tell you what I’ve concluded. But first, some background. I was born and raised in Galveston. After college and marriage, I moved to St. Louis and Chicago, where I practiced my profession and learned a lot about life. One of the things I always preached to my students was to give back to the communities that they came from. I poured a lot of time and effort and care into the communities where I worked, but, in the back of my mind, I thought, what about Galveston?

When my husband and I were exploring possible places to live in the future, Galveston called to me. I wanted to be part of the community where I grew up. I wanted to volunteer in ways that would make a difference. Fortunately, everything aligned to make that happen, and we moved here in 2005. Since then, I’ve had interesting jobs, met fascinating people, and volunteered here and there in places that stole my heart. I never expected to be recognized—I was happy contributing to my community.

So that brings me to the Woman of the Year award, for which I am eternally grateful and a little uncomfortable accepting. My ruminations, though, have led me to believe that the award creates a valuable opportunity for reflection and evaluation. It has caused me to embrace all that is precious in the way I spend my time, and it’s given me motivation to recommit to my goals and mission, to live up to the standard of those who were honored before me, and to set an example for those who follow.

I also believe there aren’t enough awards given to worthy women. There are so many wonderful angels who give freely of their time and energy to help others. If you are reading this, you are probably one of them. So I want to share my award with you, Woman of the Year. If we all set our sights on making a difference, we can really change the world.

Award-winning mystery and children’s book author, and BOI (born on island), Saralyn Richard, is also an educator whose journey has taken her to schools in St. Louis, Chicago, and all over the country. Her books, Naughty Nana, Murder in the One Percent, A Palette for Love and Murder, Crystal Blue Murder, Bad Blood Sisters, and A Murder of Principal, have garnered many awards, reviews, and fans.

Saralyn and her husband Ed moved back to Galveston in 2005 with the express intent of serving the community by working and volunteering with various meaningful organizations. Saralyn worked for the Galveston Independent School District, the Southern Regional Education Board, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, The Friends of the Rosenberg Library, The Grand 1894 Opera House, and others.

Years ago, Saralyn was a founding member of the Book Nook committee of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce Women’s Conference. The Book Nook is a group of authors who are strategically selected each year to provide mentorship and support for other women who aspire to write and publish books.






by Saralyn Richard


This month, it’s my pleasure to interview fellow-Stiletto-Gang-member,
Gay Yellen, author of the Samantha Newman Mystery Series: The Body Business
and The Body Next Door. While I’ve known Gay for a very long time, I
learned a lot from this interview, and it’s fun to share these things with you.

SR:  Before we get serious, here’s a burning
question: The Body Business and The Body Next Door feature a leggy woman
wearing drop-dead gorgeous stilettos. (Way to go with subliminal advertising
for the Stiletto Gang!). Whose legs are those? Samantha Newman’s or yours?


GY:  I wish my legs were that great! Since the
titles reveal that the book is a mystery, I wanted the images to reflect the tone:
fun and a little bit sassy.


SR:  As someone who’s followed your career from
the early days in Hollywood, I’m fascinated by the cinematic nature of your
writing. How do you feel your writing has been influenced by your experiences
as an actor and director?


GY:  My training gave me an ear for authentic dialogue, scene
pacing, and character motivation, all of which helps create what I hope are
entertaining stories. And improv allowed me to think outside the box.


SR:  I enjoyed
getting to know Samantha Newman. She’s spunky and clever and totally likable.
How did Samantha’s character develop in your imagination? Is she a lot like you
or someone you know? If Samantha could change one thing about herself, what
would that be?

GY:  Samantha was orphaned
at a young age and forced to make her own way; I was lucky to have a loving
family circle. We do share a sense of justice, and like many women, hard-won
resilience. As for change, I think Samantha would prefer to live a less
complicated life.


SR:  As much as I enjoyed Samantha’s character,
the secondary characters in the series really resonated with me. What
techniques do you use to depict secondary characters in such a way as to give
them the attention they deserve? Who is your favorite secondary character and


GY:   I love all my
characters, but there’s a special fondness for Gertie, who holds a certain
likeness to my grandmother. Lizzie, the little girl that Samantha befriends in
an elevator in Book 2, simply showed up fully formed and stole my heart as I
wrote the scene.



SR:  I remember reading one of the sex scenes in The
Body Business
and thinking it was the most scintillating, but tasteful sex
scenes I’ve ever read. Are sex scenes difficult for you to write? What is your
philosophy about them?


GY:  A reviewer once complained that just when the sexy
stuff gets interesting in my books, I shut the bedroom door. To me, part of the
fun is leaving the rest to a reader’s imagination. We don’t really need an
anatomy lesson, do we?


SR:  Can you give us a hint about what Samantha
might become embroiled in next?


GY:  Sam is struggling with a new career that isn’t
turning out as hoped. She’s also a material witness to a shooting, and faces a
big decision about her relationship with Carter Chapman.


SR:  What makes Samantha and Carter Chapman a
perfect couple? What stands in the way of this?


GY:  They’re both strong-willed, and they both like to
fight for the underdog. Problem is, he keeps wanting to protect her, and she
doesn’t want his help. Stubbornness could be her undoing.


SR:  I read on your website that you are toying
with the idea of writing a historical novel set in the 16th century.
What is it about that time that draws you to that setting?


GY:  I’m fascinated by the clash of cultures in the New
World at the dawn of that century: indigenous peoples, conquistadors, the
secrecy and terror of the Inquisition. It left a legacy that’s still with us today.

Won’t you join me in celebrating Gay and her fun and sparkling books?



After a show-biz stint
in Hollywood, Gay Yellen began her professional writing career as managing
editor of Tennis Illustrated Magazine and later, of D
 in Dallas. She was the contributing editor/ghost writer
for Five Minutes to Midnight
, a New York Times New & Notable
 thriller, after which she began her own 
multi-award-winning Samantha Newman Mystery Series, which
includes The Body BusinessThe Body Next Door and
the soon-to-be released, Body in the News.

Want to know more about Gay and her books? Read
more at her 
website and Amazon


            RONE Finalist
            Pages from the Heart Finalist
            Readers’ Favorite Mystery
            Chanticleer Mystery &
Mayhem 1st Place
            Silver Falchion Finalist,
Killer Nashville
BODY IN THE NEWS – Coming in 2021


Award-winning and best-selling
author, Saralyn Richard was born with a pen in her hand and ink in her veins. A
former educator, she loves connecting with readers. Her humor- and
romance-tinged mysteries and children’s book pull back the curtain on people in
settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high

Saralyn’s most recent release
is A MURDER OF PRINCIPAL. Look for her mystery/thriller, BAD BLOOD
in March 2022.

Visit Saralyn here, on her Amazon
here, or on

Gay Yellen: Spotlight on Saralyn Richard

It’s my pleasure to interview sister-Gangster and award-winning author Saralyn Richard today to find out more about her latest mystery, A Murder of Principal, which recently earned a Readers’ Choice Award from Killer Nashville. Way to go, Saralyn!

Before her publishing career, Saralyn was a highly regarded educator. So it’s only natural that her latest book is set at a fictitious high school where murder and mayhem ensue. Did her former career lead to A Murder of Principal? Read on…

Gay: How does the atmosphere at the fictitious Lincoln High mirror your experience as a high school educator?
Saralyn: I have worked in dozens of urban high schools as a teacher, administrator, and school improvement consultant. My experiences could fill thousands of books, so I have many memories from which to choose. Readers who knew me at a particular school have pegged Lincoln High as that school, but I’ve heard from teachers at schools unknown to me that Lincoln High is exactly like theirs. What that tells me is that the atmosphere in urban schools is universal and relatable. 

However, A Murder of Principal is a work of fiction, designed to entertain.

Gay: Would you share some teachers’ reactions to the book?
Saralyn: Most comment that the setting and issues in the book are so authentic, they can actually name individuals in their own school who match my characters. But teachers are actually a small part of the book. The primary characters are administrators, school leaders, and students. Schools are a microcosm of society, and while everyone is supposed to share the common purpose of elevating students to achieve their highest potential, people have their own goals, desires, and emotions. The dynamics are always fascinating. As I like to say, there are a million stories beyond the flagpole.

Gay: One side plot in the book that piqued my interest is the conflict between proponents of the commonly used lecture as a teaching technique and those who use the Socratic method. Would you elaborate?
Saralyn: Educational research, brain-based research, and a trend toward results-driven decision-making have revolutionized thinking about curriculum and instruction. Lectures have given way to more interactive, student-centered lessons, like Melody Singer’s Socratic seminar in my book. The higher level questions engaged her students to find deep meaning in the lessons of the Salem witch trials. Her lesson was so powerful, it affected the whole school.

Gay: This book is a departure from your Detective Parrott series. Are you returning to it soon?
Saralyn: I wrote A Murder of Principal in between the first two Parrott books, but I waited to submit it until I thought the time was right to talk about race relations, sexual harassment, gangs, safety, and leadership. Another stand-alone mystery/thriller, Bad Blood Sisters, is to be released in March 2022. I’m currently writing the third Detective Parrott mystery, so my pattern has been Parrott/standalone/Parrott/standalone/Parrott. I should also mention my very first book, Naughty Nana, a children’s book narrated by my sheepdog. All have “mystery” in common.

Gay: Here’s more about Saralyn:

Award-winning Saralyn Richard was born with a pen in her hand and ink in her veins. She loves connecting with readers. Her humor- and romance-tinged mysteries and her children’s book pull back the curtain on people and settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools. Her most recent release is A Murder of Principal. Look for her mystery/thriller, Bad Blood Sisters in March 2022. Visit Saralyn here, on her Amazon page, or on Facebook.

Gay Yellen writes the award-winning Samantha Newman Mysteries, including The Body Business, The Body Next Door, and the soon to be released Body in the News. She’d love to hear from you here, on Facebook, on BookBub, or via her website.