Tuesday, December 21, 2021


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.


  1. So lovely to have a great in-person event, with a gracious crowd of book lovers. Glad you got to to it!

  2. Thanks! And how we took these events for granted before...this was just magical.


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