Tag Archive for: #SaralynRichard

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.

Always the Season for Kindness

By Saralyn Richard

Photo courtesy of Jasper Garratt and Unsplash Free Photos

When I was an English I teacher, I assigned my students a “Day of Kindness” paper, based on the Shirley Jackson short story, “One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts.” The resulting papers and speeches led to a powerful discussion of good and evil, and how doing good deeds made the world a better place, even for the giving party.

That same concept of good vs. evil is basic to most mystery novels, including the Detective Parrott mysteries. Parrott, like most real-life law enforcement officers I know, chose the profession because he wanted to seek truths, right wrongs, administer justice, and bring a measure of peace and closure to victims and their families.

Sometimes his is a thankless job. The person most grateful for Parrott’s solving a crime might be the deceased victim. But Parrott finds satisfaction in his role, whether he is turning up evidence to prove someone’s guilt or someone’s innocence. In either case, he is protecting the community.

Parrott can be tough when he needs to, but underneath it all, he’s a kind and caring human being. Over and over again, readers see the kindness and compassion he shows to his wife, his mother, his boss, and even his suspects.

Fortunately, we don’t have to be detectives to follow Parrott’s example. We can show kindness at this season, and in every season. Anyone who’d like some fresh ideas for acts of kindness to perform might check out this list.

If you’re inspired to do a good deed by this blogpost, I’ll ask you, as I asked my students, what did you do, whom did you help, what reaction did you receive, and how did the experience make you feel? I hope you agree—it’s always the season for kindness.

Saralyn Richard writes the Detective Parrott Mystery Series, two standalone mysteries, and a children’s book narrated by her Old English sheepdog, Nana. To learn more about her, click here.

Interview with Saralyn Richard

 By Lynn McPherson

Saralyn Richard is a best-selling, award-winning mystery author. Her newest release, Bad Blood Sisters, may be the best yet. With its twists and turns, it will keep you reading all night long. Read on to find out more about Saralyn and her fabulous books!

Lynn: In Bad Blood Sisters, you incorporate one of my all-time favorite themes: secrets. Why do we all love to read about secrets? When is the right time to unravel the truth?

Saralyn: What a great question, Lynn. Secrets are juicy and exciting. They are never boring. They imply cloak-and-dagger intrigue, forbidden fruit, and mysterious happenings. They set up puzzles for readers to solve, and who doesn’t like a good puzzle? In BAD BLOOD SISTERS, Quinn and her BFF Ana have pledged a blood oath never to tell something that happened many years ago. But when Ana dies a violent death, Quinn is thrust into a dangerous position, and she must decide whether to violate her pledge. 

When and how much to tell the reader about this secret is a very delicate matter. Divulge too soon, and the plot’s tension will be lost. Divulge too late, and the reader might end up frustrated with waiting. The key to deciding, for me, is answering the question:  how important is this secret to the character motivation and action of the story? Once I figure that out, I can determine the “sweet spot,” where the secret needs to be revealed. Of course, that secret is only one of the driving forces in the book–once it’s revealed, there is still plenty of mystery to puzzle over.

Lynn: Your characters have so much depth. How well did you know your protagonist, Quinn McFarland, before you started writing? In general, what comes first, the characters or the story?

Saralyn:  My books always start and end with characters. Who they are, what they want, what stands in their way–these are central to the story and come to me long before I start writing. In this book, there is a single person’s close point of view, and that’s Quinn’s. We get to know her struggles, past and present, and sometimes they are quite intense. I’ve found myself identifying with Quinn, and I hope the reader does, too.

Lynn: You’ve written a diverse collection of books, and they’re all great. Bad Blood Sisters is a mixture of suspense, mystery, and romance. Do you have a favorite genre to write?

Saralyn Thanks for the compliment. Coming from you, it means a lot. I’ve published five books now, including two Detective Parrott mysteries, two standalone mysteries, and a children’s book. While the settings and characters are quite diverse, there are common threads that run through them all:  mystery, humor, suspense, and romance. These basic ingredients make for a fun read.

Lynn: Quinn McFarland is a mortician. How did you research her job and what was the most surprising thing you found out?

Saralyn: In researching my mystery novels, I’ve interviewed people who work in death services. While many prefer not to think about what that profession entails, morticians provide necessary services, and, because they deal with death every day, they often have a matter-of-fact attitude about it. It’s not unusual, in fact, for people in the industry to joke about death–never in the presence of the bereaved, of course. The opening line of BAD BLOOD SISTERS is, “Quinn’s family often joked about death, but that summer, death stopped being funny.”

Lynn: Bad Blood Sisters takes place in a small town on the coast of Texas. It really adds to the mood of the story. Why did you set it there? How important is setting in a mystery?

Saralyn: I was born and raised in a small town, an island on the coast of Texas. I’ve always wanted to set a book there, because the small town can be familiar and comforting, or it can be intrusive and oppressive. In this book, it is both. The steamy tropical setting adds atmosphere and tension to the story, always  crucial to a mystery. 

Lynn: I think we’re ready to read the blurb. Thanks Saralyn!

Read more

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Happy Valentine’s Day

by Saralyn Richard


Today is Valentine’s Day, and I hope you are spending
the holiday enjoying the people, places, and things you love most. As for me, I can’t help thinking of my most
cherished Valentine’s Day gifts over the years–you guessed it–books.

Unlike the more
traditional Valentine’s Day gifts, books don’t die in five days. They don’t
increase the numbers when you step on the scale. They don’t break or go out of

Instead, they provide
hours of entertainment, improve the mind and spirit, offer topics for
discussion, and connect readers. Also, purchasing books stimulates the economy,
because so many different industries are involved in the creation, production,
and selling of books.

Romances aren’t the
only appropriate Valentine’s Day books. Most mysteries also include love in
their plots, sometimes as motives. Whatever your genre, take yourself on a love-ly
journey of the heart, and snuggle up with a great book!

Not ready to commit to
a deep relationship? How about having a blind date with a good book? You might
just fall in love!


Saralyn Richard is the award-winning author of the
Detective Parrott Mystery Series, as well as the standalone mystery, A
Murder of Principal
, and the children’s picture book, Naughty Nana.
Her new mystery, Bad Blood Sisters, is up for pre-order and releases on
March 9. Check out Saralyn’s book events and subscribe to her monthly
newsletter for fun content at http://saralynrichard.com.




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.