Thank you so much for hosting me on your lovely blog and helping me launch my latest book: A Little Bit of Madness, my fourth book 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 multi-generational 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.’
With Steph’s kind permission, I’ve included a blurb brief excerpt below. Ooh, I do hope you enjoy! Thank you so much for reading!
No rest for the wicked
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 abseilfrom 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?
Celia rounded a bend, one eye on the speedometer and one on Ben strapped in the back. He was kneading his eyes, tired and miserable, poor mite. ‘Never
mind, sweetheart,’ she soothed, ‘we’ll be home soon and Daddy will read you Greenwill … Oh, shit! Shit!’
She slammed on the brakes. Too late, something hit the windscreen with a sickening thud—black and wild-eyed like a bat out of hell. Celia flinched andsqueaked.
The car swerved.
She grappled with the wheel, but it wouldn’t …
‘God … damn … it, STRAIGHTEN UP!’ She found herself bellowing above the screech of the brakes, the terrifying squeal of rubber on wet tarmac.
She’d been driving too fast. Much too fast. ‘Oh, dear God!’ The car veered, teetered for an agonisingly slow second on two wheels, then came to an abrupt,
All was suddenly quiet. Deathly quiet. No sound at all except for the pounding of her heart in her ears.
It was on a slant, Celia realised, dazed, as if lost in some terrible dream. It was going to turn over. She tore at her belt, her eyes blinded by tears.
‘Ben!? Oh, please, please … ’ With strength she hadn’t known she possessed, she heaved the driver’s door up and scrambled out. She fell. Grazed
her knee, but didn’t feel it.
‘Don’t you dare! Don’t you dare take my baby!’ she yelled, struggling with the tailgate, jabbing at the release button, pushing it, shoving it and
finally, finally, yanking it wide enough to crawl inside.
‘Ben?’ she said again, her voice barely a whisper.
‘Thit!’ said Ben, his eyes like saucers.
‘Oh, my beautiful, beautiful baby.’ Celia unbuckled him, scooped him over the seat into her arms, and deeply breathed in the pure scent of him. ‘Naughty
Mummy. Naughty word.’ As she shuffled back out, she laughed a hysterical laugh, which caught in her throat, then turned into a sob that came from her soul.
Ben blinked, stunned for a second before his surprise at his roller-coaster ride turned to out-and-out shock. Mummies didn’t cry. Celia knew she wasturning his little world upside down twice in a row, but she couldn’t stop. The tears rolled down her face until, in snotty-nosed unison, mother and son
Even when a gentle arm wrapped itself around her, a concerned voice asked if she was all right, she couldn’t stop. Ben clutched to her breast, she turned
and sobbed even harder, right into a stranger’s shoulder.
‘Hey, hey,’ he said as she cried mascara all over his shirt, ‘come on. You’re safe now. It’s not the end of the world.’
‘It is,’ Celia assured him, her body shuddering from her head to her toes. ‘I could have killed him!’ It came out a scream. She couldn’t help it. People
had thought her mad to have another child so late in life, but they couldn’t have known that from the moment she’d felt him growing inside her she would
have killed for him. The raw hollowness she’d felt fifteen long years back, when she’d walked away from the special care baby unit, leaving her second
child—so cruelly stolen from life in too short a time—washed over her afresh. For the first time, in a long time, she let it—and cried harder.
‘Well, you didn’t,’ the man said, his tone firm. ‘Sounds to me as if he’s very much alive and kicking.’ He pulled her close, stroked her hair, as if she
was a child in need of comfort—and she was. Oh God, how she was. Then, carefully cajoling Ben as he did so, the stranger persuaded Celia to part with him.
‘I hit something.’ Celia sniffled, immediately at ease when the man nestled Ben’s head on his shoulder as only a father would. ‘I must have … It must be
He met her eyes. His were kind, she noticed, and sincere. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I think it might be. You couldn’t have avoided it,’ he added quickly as Celia’s
eyes filled up all over again. ‘I was behind you. It launched itself from the hedge like a bloody cat out of hell.’
Celia swiped her hand under her nose. ‘Not a bat then?’ She emitted something between a laugh and a hiccup then squeezed her eyes shut. As if it made any
difference what animal it was. She’d still caused it unnecessary suffering. ‘It could have been a cyclist,’ she said. ‘Or someone else’s child.’ Thatthought had her clamping her hand over her mouth and crying all over again.
‘Do you—hiccup—think it might—hiccup—still be alive?’ she asked a minute later, quivery-voiced and all cried-out.
‘I doubt it,’ he said gently. ‘I’ll go and take a look, shall I?’
‘Come on.’ He turned for his car. Celia followed, unable to do much else with his arm wrapped around her son.
‘The emergency services are on their way,’ he said, seating her authoritatively in the passenger seat, handing Ben over, and then reaching over the back
for his coat. ‘I’ll be two minutes.’ He draped the coat about her. ‘I’m guessing it belongs to the people whose garden it flew out of. It might be good
idea to let them know.’
Celia nodded, feeling wrung out, wretched and cowardly. She should go, not him. She should own up and see the distress she’d caused its poor owner. Somehowshe doubted he’d let her. Doubted also her wobbly legs would carry her that far. Better to stay here, she thought, closing heavy eyes and leaning her head
against the headrest. Keep Ben safe.
Safe?! Lord, she didn’t know this man from Adam! Yet she’d just climbed into his car! He could be a maniac on the loose. A mad axe murderer! Her eyes shot
open to find his face disturbingly close to hers.
About the Author
Sheryl Browne grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. A partner in her own business, a mother and a foster parent to disabled dogs,
Sheryl has also been writing for many years, the road along the way often bumpy. She was therefore thrilled beyond words when Safkhet Publishing loved her
writing style and commissioned her to write her debut novel.
RECIPES FOR DISASTER – combining deliciously different and fun recipes with sexilicious romantic comedy, is garnering some fabulous reviews and was
shortlisted for the Innovation in Romantic Fiction Festival of Romance Award. Sheryl has since been offered a further three-book contract under the Safkhet
Publishing Soul imprint. SOMEBODY TO LOVE, a romantic comedy centring around a single father’s search for love and his autistic little boy,launched July 1. WARRANT FOR LOVE, Blackmail, lies, adultery, entrapment – three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly –
released August 1 and A LITTLE BIT OF MADNESS –White Knight in Blue rescues the Harbour Rest Home – releases Valentine’s Day 2013.
- Sheryl’s Website
- Safkhet Publishing
- Author Facebook
- Romantic Novelists’ Association
Sheryl is a loveahappyending featured Author and Editor.