|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.
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.
“His name’s not Shane,” Dorien said, wanting to do something to earn his champion status. Champions were like knights, and he had to fight for the damsel in distress in any way he could. Well, kind of.
“Excuse me?” The social worker looked at him as if he were some kind of curious object. She had a patronising air that infuriated him. She treated everyone like a five-year-old and didn’t listen to anything.
“His name. It isn’t Shane. It’s Shade.”
“Don’t be silly, Dorien. No one’s called Shade.”
“Erm, actually, he is,” Richard said.
Uh oh, Richard was frowning. Richard never frowned unless he was really cross, and Dorien was very glad he wasn’t frowning at him.
“Really?” She looked at Shade, who looked back with no expression at all on his face or in his eyes. Damn, this boy was going to be a challenge. Oh well, Dory liked challenges. There was a vague unease in the back of his mind. If ever there was anything to get angry over, Shade was it. Already he was feeling a kind of protectiveness he’d never felt before. If anyone hurt Shade…. Oh dear.
“Well, come on then,” the woman said, taking Shade’s elbow and steering him up the steps, way too fast. He stumbled again, and both Richard and Dorien hurried forward.
Richard gave Dorien “a look”. “It’s alright, Dory, I’ve got it from here. You’d better get back to the common room. It’ll be dinner time soon, and I’m sure you’re going to want to tell everyone about Shade.”
“I haven’t said hello yet.” Ignoring Richard, Dorien held out his hand to Shade, who simply looked at is as if he didn’t know what a hand was, let alone why it was waving about in front of him. Patiently, Dorien took Shade’s hand and shook it. “That’s the way we say hello, at least the grown-ups do, which you are, practically, although they’ll still treat you like a kid. My name’s Dorien, but everyone calls me Dory. I don’t know why because that’s a fish in
Finding Nemo who has a very bad memory. I have a very good memory. Anyway, I’m going to be your friend. Penny said I was to be your champion, but that’s a funny kind of word, so I think friend is better.” Impulsively, Dorien threw his arms around Shade and hugged him briefly. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’m going to look after you.”
Dorien turned to Richard. “I mean properly, Richard. You don’t need to look at me like that. Penny explained, and my intentions are purely honourable, I can assure you.”
“Close your mouth, you’re catching flies.”
“Common room, Dory. Now.”
With a last glance at Shade, Dorien grinned and called, “See ya,” as he raced off inside.
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 http://cherylheadford.com/