Tag Archive for: #booktalks

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 http://saralynrichard.com, on her Amazon page here, or on Facebook here.

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Hurray for In-Person Events

by Saralyn Richard


When the pandemic hit hard in March, 2020, I had just
released A Palette for Love and Murder, and I had a full calendar of
events for promoting it. Launch parties, bookstore talks, organization meetings,
book clubs—all had been carefully lined up, taking many hours of contact,
follow-up, baking, and swag-shopping.

Then, one by one, in an exorable, painful march
through the calendar pages, each event was canceled. The book came out with a
sigh instead of a bang, and it had to find its readers through different,
mostly virtual, channels.

I’m not complaining. As Bogey says in Casablanca, “It
doesn’t take much to see that the problems of [one little book doesn’t] amount
to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” Like everyone else, I learned to
pivot. I jumped on Zooms, Skypes, and FaceTimes to beat the band.


A Palette for Love and Murder
found its audience, and so did A Murder of Principal, which came out the
following year. Again, Zoom was my best friend, and by then I’d learned a lot
of hacks for having a successful virtual book launch.

Fast forward another year, and I’ve been vaccinated
three times. I have a stylish array of masks for every occasion. Taking baby
steps, I’ve graduated from small, masked gatherings held outdoors to larger,
masked gatherings held indoors. This week, I actually went to my first indoor
gathering where no one was wearing masks.

I thought I might freak out, because I’ve become
somewhat of a germophobe, and the threat of the omicron variant is raising
those same old fears. But when I arrived at the Bay Oaks Country Club and saw
the elaborate table settings, the skirted book-table where I was to autograph
books, and especially the fifty-one smiling ladies welcoming me as a guest
speaker, a particular joy bubbled up inside me, and I wanted the afternoon to
keep going on forever.

Virtual meetings are great. I wrote a post about them several
months ago. They break down barriers of time and space and allow for valuable
human interaction. I taught and enrolled in classes, attended book clubs, and
went to conferences virtually. I enjoyed these so much that I truly repressed
the fact that they are a pale substitute for the real thing.

I’m grateful to Sheryl Lane of the Bay Oaks Country
Club Women’s Group for inviting me to speak at their December luncheon meeting.
We had this engagement booked for more than a year before we could actually
make it happen. Sharing book stories with people who love books is something
akin to heaven.

Of course, we all need to be mindful of and practice
healthy habits and mitigate risks wherever we go, but right now, I’m clinging
to the thought that more joyful reunions like this one will be in my future.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday
season and new year.


Award-winning and
best-selling author, Saralyn Richard was born with a pen in her hand and ink in
her veins. 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 schools.

A member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery
Writers of America, Saralyn teaches creative writing and literature at the
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and continues to write mysteries. Her
favorite thing about being an author is interacting with readers like you.

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