Author Name: Cheryl Headford
Book Length 214 Pages
Book Name: Shade’s Champion
Release Date: 18th December 2015
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Cover Art by: Kellie Dennis: Book Covers by Design
Shade has been kept in the dark for eight long years. Now he’s facing a world that terrifies him. A world that seems to hold no place for him.
When the authorities are unable to find a home for Shade, Penny, reluctantly accepts him into the secure school she manages, despite thinking it’s the wrong place for him. Penny fears for his safety among the other troubled children. In an attempt to forestall the disaster she predicts will happen she appoints one of them as his champion.
Dory, an engaging seventeen year old with mental health issues, is proud to be chosen as Shade’s champion and throws his heart and soul into the job. In doing so he is forced to face the thing he fears most – his own emotions.
An unexpected friendship begins to grow into something more, until a spiteful act tears them apart and leaves them broken.
When Dory falls ill, Shade is forced to face his demons and struggles to find the strength and courage he needs to fight for the right to love, and to be there for his champion when he needs him most.
It was the last week of June: a beautiful day, with glorious sunshine and a soft breeze. Dorien and Shade were in the conservatory. It was the closest Dorien had managed to get Shade to the outside. Initially he’d been terrified of the room with its glass walls, just a flimsy skin between them and the big wide world. Dorien had tried to get him to lie on one of the loungers and gaze at the clouds, but he couldn’t look up at the sky and always kept his eyes down when they were in there, avoiding even glancing out of the windows if he could.
Today, they were reading a book. Shade had been working hard to learn to read and was taking to it quickly. He was still at a very basic level and taking his lessons alone with an individual teacher, but there was talk of beginning to integrate him with the younger children for some of the wider-ranging lessons. Of course, that led to ridicule from the older kids, but Shade didn’t seem to mind. Shade didn’t seem to mind anything much. He was the calmest and most laid back person Dorien had ever met. Even Penny and Rich got frustrated and annoyed sometimes, if not with him then with the others or life in general, but Shade never seemed to be in a bad mood. Although sometimes he got kind of sad and distant.
There was nothing sad or distant about him today, though. Shade’s head was bent over the book and his fingers traced the words as he worked through them slowly and methodically.
Meet The Author
Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and menagerie of three cats, a dog and a dragon. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close.
Immersed, as always, in the world of fantasy, she maintains a burning desire to share the stories and these days it’s in the form of books which all contain her spark and unique view on life, the universe and everything.
Where to Find the Author
Flying with Red Haircrow: The Runaway, Enigma I and II
Wayward Ink Press: Project X, Stranded Anthology, Of Heaven and Hell Anthology, Ari
Cool Dudes Publishing: Draven's Gate
Featherweight Press: The Face in the Window, Memories of Forgotten Love
Harmony Ink: Hostage
I have two copies of the ebook to give away to randomly selected commenters on the Shade’s Champion cover reveal or blog post on my website Website