We would like to thank author Cheryl Headford for donating two ebook copies of Shade's Champion, to the lucky commentators here or on her blog.
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.
“Aren’t you going to at least try to bring his fever down?”
“We’ll keep an eye on it, but it’s one of the best weapons he has against the virus. It’s surprising how many defences the body can put up itself to invasions like this. Viruses and bacteria can’t survive in high temperatures, which is why the body raises it. Hopefully, the fever will break by itself over the next few days as the virus dies out.”
“And if it doesn’t?”
“If it gets to dangerous levels we’ll bring it down a little, but....” The doctor shrugged. “I’m sorry. I wish I could do more.”
When the doctor left there was silence, and everyone looked at Dory, who seemed to be sleeping peacefully.
“He doesn’t deserve this,” Mrs. Bowden snapped, and for a moment Shade thought she was mad with him, but she wasn’t; she was just angry. “After everything he’s been through, how hard he’s worked, he really doesn’t deserve this.”
“What does it mean?” Shade asked. He’d picked up on the grave tone and knew what the doctor said had been serious, but he didn’t really understand.
“It means that Dory’s very ill, sweetheart. He might die, but that’s not very likely. He might have... other problems.”
“Like maybe he won’t be able to talk... or do all the things he does now, like reading and writing and.... He might not know who we are, or who he is, or have memory problems or... all kinds of things.”
“I don’t understand.”
“No one knows what’s going to happen, Shade,” Penny said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
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.