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A Book Store Treasure ...Leaving the Hall Light On

I am an avid devotee of everything about Red Room. The three Es ….enthusiasm, encouragement and empowerment of the writer are daily demonstrated in Red Room blogs.

My first purchase from the site’s Book Store was Leaving the Hall Light On by Madeline Sharples. Originally I had purchased it on Amazon shortly after the book’s original publication about one year ago. Ten pages into reading the book, it was stolen by a family member who is a noted book thief. If you don’t read a book quickly enough and it seems interesting enough to her…off it goes with a promise that it will be returned. Through word of mouth about the creative insight and inspirational spirit of the book one of my loving daughters kept lending the book and lending the book to her friends. A year past and still no return …constant reminders resulted in proclamations of the disservice it would be if  so and so” didn’t read the book. Fortunately the ease of ordering from the Red Room’s book store prompted me to order the book again and keep it in my possession. 

Leaving the Hall light On by Madeline Sharples is a gift of sharing about one woman’s journey about the experience of losing her much loved son, Paul, to suicide. Every aspect of the before, during, and after impact of the suicide is honestly reflected in her path to healing through passages remembered in the book. She openly discusses the “toxic gloom” that encompasses her daily life with the onset and progression of her son’s bi-polar illness.  The reader easily falls in love with the growing up years of her son before his illness, but the depths of despair of the on and off again ravages of this disease are described openly . While reading this book I was in constant admiration of Madeline’s awareness and confidence in her expressions of the disruptions and annoyances that this mental illness brought to her and her family’s daily living. However, her never ending deep love and compassion for her son was always evident. Many times there are those of us who sugar coat what it is like to live through troubling times, but not Madeline. She unveiled the good and bad effects of her son’s illness. And the after life of the event of her son’s death gives the reader a demonstration of a remarkable strength of a woman who then chose a different role to pursue, She called it very aptly “playacting.” When asked how she was doing, she transitioned from “okay” to an over the years progression to  a reply of a meaningful “good.” She knew that walking the talk had positive results.

In my collection of books Leaving the Hall Light On will always be well remembered. Top reason is the excellent written skills of Madeline Sharples that reveal a story that needed to be told. Not only did it chronicle the illness of one young man but it offered the reader a look at the altered environment that he created for those who loved him and wanted to help and understand.

Madeline Sharples was generous in her steps to guiding other Red Room members in the development of the process of the publishing of her book. This member will always be grateful for her blog postings. But most all I cherish the reading of her story.

I think for Red Room members we should all be encouraged to purchase and read some of our favorite authors/members books that are offered in the Book Store. Strangers can turn into publishing and reading companions. Before the Book Store I read and treasured books written by Red Roomers, Sue Glasco, Jessica Barksdale Inclan, and Susan Browne. I am happy that now those books are easily available on the Red Room site.



10 Comment count
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Thank you.

Dearest Mary,

I thank you so much for your perseverance in finally reading my book, and I'm so glad you liked it. It means so much to me, because I have so much enjoyed our Red Room contacts in the past. Also thank you for writing a blog piece about it. I wondered who bought it from the Red Room bookstore after I saw that it had been sold.

Your review means so much to me - especially now that I'm looking for a new publisher. I do have a couple of nibbles - one from someone who read my reviews on Amazon and was impressed by what he read. (Do you mind posting your review on Amazon as well? I think it would definitely help me in getting a publisher.)

I also thank you for your publishing suggestions. I will definitely look into them. I never thought I'd be in this predicament last year when I was so excited about my book launch. But, your encouragement gives me a good feeling that it will find a new home.

Mary, you have really made my day.

With love,


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Hi Mary,


This is my next book, for sure! In fact, I'm ordering it right after my reply.

Your post  "Leaving the Hall Light On" is written so beautiful and clear. It enraptured me that I immediately looked it up again to see if it was, indeed, already a written review.  It is undoubtedly a five-star***** and a win-win, for Red Room Bookstore, Amazon, Madeline, and Mary Walsh.  And most of all, it will certainly captivate the audience, as well!

Thank you, thank you, Mary, for always bringing us the highlights with so much love! :-) XO




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Thank you.

Dear Catherine,

I agree. Mary's post about my book is so wonderful. I'm glad it enticed you to read my book. I would very much appreciate hearing what you think once you've read it.

Yes, Red Room is a wonderful advocate for us writers. I'm so proud to be a member, especially to meet people like you and Mary.

All best, Madeline

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Close to home

Hi Madeline,

I have a dear friend; whose 17-year-old son just went on medication. I am anxious to read your book and possibly share it with my friend. Perhaps, your words will help us with something for her son, that we may need.  I believe God blessed us with your book. :-)

Thank you, Madeline.



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My thoughts are with you and your friend.

Dear Cathering,

I hope so too. It is important for your friend to find a very competent psychopharmacologist to take care of her son, so he won't be on meds that make him feel worse. I will keep him in my heart and think healing thoughts for him.

All best,


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I am so happy that we have connected, Madeline and Catherine!

I can't say enough about the honesty and meaningful words that leave the reader with a great understanding of bipolar illness in Leaving the Hall Light On.

 One thing I forgot to mention in the blog were the wonderful family pictures that were included in the book. Catherine and I have shared mutual admiration of pictures that visually accompany the content of blogs. She is, also, going to be one of your biggest fans, Madeline

Glad to know both of you,and always look forward to your creative expressions in every format.

Mary aka Pat

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This is such a treat

Mary (aka Pat ????) and Catherine. 

This is such a treat being connected to both of you. I feel so blessed to have you and your energy in my life. 

Mary, I'm glad you like the photos. I like to post them on my personal blog as well. Please visit there sometime at Choices - http://madeline40.blogspot.com.

I just posted photos from our recent trip and of my darling great niece and nephew. 

And, please someday, explain the aka Pat to me.

Love you both,



PS. Catherine, I apologize for the typo on your name on my last message to you.

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Amazon review

Dear Mary,

Thanks so much for posting your review on Amazon. It came at the best time. My new publisher, Dream of Things, and I are changing some of the wording in the book's description space on the page. So I'm very pleased to have a new review up there as well. (I'll blog about my new publishing agreement soon, but it seems like I've landed in a very wonderful place.)

As always I so much appreciate your reading and reviewing and blogging about my book. May I return the favor? I'd be glad to review your writing.

Love, Madeline

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Jamaica and Leaving the Hall Light On.

Hi Madeline,

Your wonderful book arrived at my house the very same day that my neighbor dropped of her son's clothing to stay at our house for a week while they went on vacation. The book was on my kitchen table.

He didn't want to go to Jamacia and chose to stay with our son and us. Not only was I too happy to have him ( we adore him). I was thrilled that she asked to take YOUR book to Jamacia with her.  After I explained a little about it to her. 

This is one book that I'm perfectly comfortable sharing before I've even read it myself. 

I'll keep in touch. Thank you, Madeline. 



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Thank you

Dear Catherine,

Thanks so much for ordering my book and for sharing this story with me. I'm thrilled that you are sharing my book. The more people who read it, the further we'll get to erasing the stigma of mental illness and suicide.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Madeline xoxoxo