A Little Bit of Madness – No rest for the wicked

Today sees the launch of A Little Bit of Madness at loveahappyending the third of a three-book contract published through Safkhet Publishing.

Anyone who has read my previous books would know I like to inject humour into my writing, hoping to provide people a little escapism and also, importantly to me, to leave the reader with that all-important feel good factor.  In my mind, a smile a day keeps the gloom away!  I do, however, like to write about real people, dealing with real life events that readers can relate to.  Bearing in mind changing population demographics, in A Little bit of Madness therefore, I aimed for a multigenerational read.  Alongside my hunky but flawed hero and my feisty yet vulnerable heroine, I’ve starred a cast of people of the Queen’s generation, or as Celia – our heroine – prefers to call them, her elderly independents: people who have life skills you couldn’t possibly learn from a book and who still have lives to live and something left to give.

I’ve written the book.  My publisher loves it. Now comes the nail-biting, waiting bit. Will the readers love it too??  I hope so. Having seen a sneak peek of an upcoming review, I think so.  He’s a little snippet: ‘They were funny, kind, heart-warming and eccentric and one would have to have a heart of stone not to feel affection for them.’

One character in particular, I’m told, is a firm favourite.  Bear with me while I quote from another review: ‘Sheryl has outdone herself and created a book that sits well in the modern world where more people get old(er) than in previous times. I fell in love with May as soon as she first appeared. She reminded me so much of my grandmother!’

Sweet little May is, I confess, based on a real character, someone who read the book – and loved the book.  With the kind permission of her family, I’ve popped a photograph of May (her real name) in her heyday below. The excerpt I’ve included, though somewhat elaborated, is also based around a true incident. I do hope you enjoy.  Here’s to May.  Thank you for your inspiration!

Excerpt

‘And now he’s well miffed, apparently,’ Celia finished, having filled Alex in on the Martin situation as the two of them headed for Rosemary’s new flat. If Martin had a problem with Alex’ presence, she’d point out that she preferred to bring along a policeman she knew, than pluck a strange one from the street.

The truth was, the last thing The Harbour needed was the kind of media attention fire engines would invite. Martin had assured her May was all right when he’d finally remembered to mention her at all, which she hoped Alex would confirm.

‘Because he thinks we’ve been getting better ac-quaint-ed?’ Alex couldn’t resist.

‘Hah, hah,’ Celia said, though she was far from amused. Did Martin really think she was a woolly-headed woman with no will to resist the charms of a good-looking man?

‘Course, he doesn’t realise you’d have to queue behind the multitudes,’ Alex went on. ‘Then you’d have to wait while the new me talked to them all first, which might take … ooh, half a lifetime. It’s okay, Celia. Tell Martin he can rest assured at night. I don’t think I’d have the energy.’

‘Alex, will you try to be serious, please?’ Celia hesitated as they reached the flats. ‘He’s very … embarrassed about the photograph.’

‘Ah, right, got you.’ Alex nodded. ‘Well, thank God for that. I thought you were about to tell me he was jealous.’

‘No, not really.’ Celia flushed and glanced down.

Alex studied her, a quizzical look on his face. ‘Right. Good. I won’t have to duck then.’ He smiled, and gave her shoulders a squeeze. ‘Come on, let’s go and rescue May.’

‘Ah good, someone with some sense, at last—and Alex too.’ Eleanor dripped sarcasm as they arrived. ‘We might need a bit of brawn. Colonel Burrows would have helped lift her out, of course, but he’s got a dicky heart, don’t y’know?’

‘Yours doesn’t seem to function too well either, does it?’ Alex shot Eleanor an unimpressed look. ‘Where is she?’ he asked, switching to official policeman mode.

Eleanor pointed to the garden beyond the patio doors, ‘Out there, reading the meter.’

May

‘Doing what?’ Celia spotted May protruding from a distinct hole in the ground. ‘Good Lord, what on earth … are you sure she’s all right?’

‘Yes, fine. Nothing bruised or broken. The problem is trying to work out how to get her out.’ Eleanor glanced at Alex. ‘Colonel Burrows did try actually, but … he does have a dicky heart, doesn’t he? So I felt obliged to point out that the last thing we needed was his pacemaker packing up and him pegging it on the lawn.’

‘Didn’t Martin offer?’ Celia looked over at her partner in disbelief as he peered perplexedly down the hole in lieu of doing anything practical.

‘Of course he did. He’d heave her up in flash he said, were it not for his Savile Row suit. Perfectly understandable. You’d be disinclined to wrinkle your made-to-measure, wouldn’t you Alex, to rescue a senile old woman who’s a drain on the economy?’ Eleanor remarked.

Alex glanced at Celia, who, mindful of the fact that she’d told him how uncaring Martin was regarding the elderly, glanced down.

Again.

‘Unfortunately, May’s reluctance to come back up isn’t helping,’ Eleanor went on ‘thanks to Her Royal Highness informing May she had less sense than the algae floating on her pond at Charlton Hall, don’t you know? Personally, I was tempted to drive her out there and pop her back under the algae. Honestly, have you ever heard such out-and-out rudeness?’

‘Actually, now you come to mention—’ Alex began.

‘But why did she go down there?’ Celia cut him off and headed for the patio. Alex followed her through the doors.

Eleanor followed too, unfortunately at the same time as Alex. ‘Because … ’ She gave him a regal smile as he gave way and motioned her on with a short bow. ‘ … I suggested to HRH that she might like to read her meter and make sure there were no nasty surprises when the bill arrived. It’s quite accessible, I pointed out. Under the cover, just outside her window. ’

 ‘Oh, God,’ Celia rolled her eyes despairingly and turned around. ‘The meter.’ She indicated a wooden box situated on the wall beneath the flat’s kitchen window.

Alex got the drift. ‘The cover of which has to be lifted to read the meter. So May, thinking you meant the manhole cover, lifted it for her?’

‘Don’t be tedious Alex,’ Eleanor sighed. ‘She has a soft-boiled egg for breakfast, not spinach. The Dyno-Rod man must have left it aside when the loos backed up last week. Dim-witted man.’

****

‘My husband held me this close once,’ May said, cheek-to-cheek with Alex. ‘I remember it well. They were dropping bombs on the cycle factory so he whisked me off to the Anderson shelter. It was ever so cold, wasn’t it, Alex?’

‘Er, yes, must have been,’ Alex said, his voice somewhat strangulated. ‘Tell you what May, how about you just hold tight with one arm,’ he paused to loosen her headlock, ‘and give my dad your other hand, yes?’

‘That’s just what he said,’ May obliged, blinking in wide-eyed surprise. ‘Give me your hand, he said, and then he tucked it up his—’

‘Good God woman, spare us the details!’ the colonel blustered. ‘Company present.’

‘By whom he means Her Royal Haughtiness,’ Eleanor muttered, glancing at Rosemary, whose pallor was pale and expression appalled.

‘They’re all mad,’ she said as May emerged, miraculously unscathed.

‘I couldn’t find the meter,’ May informed her. ‘I think you might need a torch,’ she added with a knowledgeable little nod, then trotted off.

‘Quite mad.’ Rosemary turned to Celia in disbelief. ‘Celia, deah.’ She smiled shakily. ‘I’m so glad you’re here. I was just explaining to Helena—’

‘Eleanor,’ Eleanor supplied.

‘Ah yes, Ellen.’

‘God, the woman’s insufferable.’ Eleanor groped agitatedly down her bra for her cigarillos and lit up, to Rosemary’s horror.

‘Sorry?’ Rosemary spluttered though a furious billow of smoke.

‘She a bit hard of hearing,’ Celia pointed out.

 ‘Oh, what a shame. She won’t be able to hear me call her an irritating cow, then.’

‘Eleanor!’

Saving Charlton hall will burrow into your heart.

Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, is too cuddly for sweatpants, she suspects. But then, her class at The Harbour Rest Home are similarly clad. Celia loves her work as an art therapist. She’s proud that she gives her elderly independents something to look forward to, even if her partner, Martin, disapproves of her efforts. He also has other things on his mind – telling complicated lies to Celia so he can sell Charlton Hall, his mum’s house, to pay off his debts.

Meanwhile, Celia fights to secure gallery space for her geriatric charges’ artwork, and to keep The Harbour from being closed. She’s even ready to abseil from a church steeple to bring attention to the plight of her old people, no matter that she might fall and end up splattered all over the flagstones. When she does fall, however, it’s much more painful – in love with PC Alex Burrows. Will he be her white-knight-in-blue and ride to her rescue?

Find out more about Sheryl including excerpts from her novels:-

 

Author page: http://loveahappyending.co.uk/sheryl-browne/
Author blog: http://www.sherylbrowne.com/
Author FB page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sheryl-Browne-Author-Page
Twitter A/c @SherylBrowne: https://twitter.com/#!/SherylBrowne
Buy: Amazon.co.uk
Buy: Amazon.com
Publisher (buy):
Safkhet Publishing LLP

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Please leave a comment

  1. Sheryl Browne Says:

    Yay! Thank you Lovehappyending! 🙂 xx

  2. Janice Horton Says:

    Wonderful – touching – and heart warming. This little bit of madness is going to be a sure fire hit!

  3. Chris Longmuir Says:

    Good luck with the launch, Sheryl.

  4. Stephanie Keyes Says:

    Best of luck with the launch, Sheryl!! Wishing you every success!

  5. Nicky Wells Says:

    wHOOOP! Happy Launch day, Sheryl ~wishing you HEAPS of well deserved succses. Can’t wait to read this latest masterpiece, I love your writing and your style. Rock on!!

  6. Sheryl Browne Says:

    Thanks so much, guys! This one is a bit special. Your lovely support is hugely appreciated! 🙂 xx

  7. Emma Calin Says:

    Happy Valentine’s Launch Day sheryl. Wow if that is May she is just so elegant and glamorous! I am looking forward to reading this book SOO much.

  8. Sue Fortin Says:

    Happy Publication Day Sheryl, I love the sound of Celia. Very best of luck.

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