Be Moved By This Heartbreaking Memoir for less than $1- April 20

LEAVING THE HALL LIGHT ON is a moving story of a mother’s struggle to help her bipolar son and coping with his death. Madeline describes her life when her son Paul is diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a psychotic break at 19. She goes on to talk about life with Paul and finding meaning in her life after his suicide.

Readers of A Year of Magical Thinking , The Liars’ Club, and The Glass Castle will appreciate LEAVING THE HALL LIGHT ON. 

Ms. Sharples came about writing this book from her experiences with audience members from her talks. She wanted to share her story with others as a way to erase the stigma of mental illness and to help others cope with the suicide of a loved one. 

This will be available on April 20 for $0.99.


One night right before the first Thanksgiving after Paul’s death, Sherry left a basket on my doorstep. Her note said that she dreaded the holidays after her mother died, so she gathered—“harvested” was the word she used—a few things to ease the holiday season for me. As I read her note and looked through the basket, I cried. Among the items inside was a book about coping with the loss of a love. This one was in poetry—she knew I wrote poetry—and the first book I was able to concentrate on enough to read through after Paul died. She also included a journal, a sweet smelling candle, a box of absolutely delicious chocolate covered graham crackers, and a smooth gray stone. This stone became my biggest comfort. Just large enough to fit in the palm of my hand, it feels the perfect size when I close my hand around it. One edge is round and the other is triangular. One side is plain; the other has the word “son” carved into it. My little stone became my night-time friend. I soon got into the habit of going to bed with it. Once settled, I held it on my chest just between my breasts. I liked its coldness on my aching heart. It helped me relax. Holding it in my hand and reading the word with my thumb also helped. I carried it around in my pocket for a while. I wanted to feel that it was there for me. Then, I began to wonder about my own sanity. Was I trying to exchange my son for a stone? When I got more together and began to feel better, I let go of it and let it rest on another item from that basket—a little, silk-covered, sachet pillow that smells like lavender. It has hand-painted butterflies and the word “heal” printed on the silk. They are still there on my bedside table after all these years.


I worked for most of my professional life as a technical writer and editor, grant writer, and proposal manager. But my love of poetry and creative writing began in grade school. I pursued my writing interests to high school while studying journalism and writing for the high school newspaper, and studied journalism in college. However, I only began to fulfill my dream to be a professional writer later in life. In addition to “Leaving the Hall Light On,” I co-authored “Blue-Collar Women: Trailblazing Women Take on Men-Only Jobs” and co-edited the poetry anthology, “The Great American Poetry Show” Volumes 1 and 2. My poetry also accompanies the work of photographer Paul Blieden in two of his books, “The Emerging Goddess” and “Intimacy.” I live in Manhattan Beach, California, with Bob, my husband of 40 years.

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