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.
And now a quick peak inside Cheryl's newest release...
THAT EVENING, Dorien had more appetite but still found he couldn’t finish a meal without feeling sick. He’d have to work back up to it.
“You’re looking brighter tonight, Dory. The fresh air did you good.”
“What will happen when I’m eighteen? Will I be able to leave then?”
“Is that what you’ve been thinking about? I’m sorry, Dory, I don’t want to crush you but it’s best you get the picture straight right away. This place is for kids from ten to eighteen. Care orders last until you’re nineteen. That means we’ve got another year of the pleasure of your company. Unless, of course, Dr. Blake assesses it appropriate for you to move on before then.”
Dory’s heart burst with pain. “A... a year?”
“Maybe not. I know Dr. Blake is really pleased with your progress. If you keep working hard you might be able to move on before that. It’s up to you, really.”
“No. No, it’s not. Nothing is up to me. My entire life is controlled by someone else. And they say I have control problems.”
Suddenly, his stomach roiled and he ran for the bathroom.
Dorien sat on the floor in the bathroom and rested his hot head against the cool china of the toilet bowl. He’d never felt so ill in all his life. His stomach hurt and his head throbbed. The arms that clutched his stomach were trembling, as was the rest of him, and worst of all, there was a terrible weight in his chest that made it difficult to breathe. Emotional pain eclipsed the pain in his stomach and head tenfold.
Closing his eyes, he must have drifted, because he could swear he heard Shade’s voice, and felt his arms around him. “Shade,” he whispered, then jolted fully awake at the knock on the door.
“Dory, are you okay in there?” Penny’s voice came through the door from a long way away.
“No. Leave me alone.”
“Dorien, are you making yourself sick?”
“No. It’s doing it all by itself.”
“Can I come in?”
“No. Leave me alone.”
“Dory, I’m coming in.”