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.
“YOU CAN’T be serious. No. It’s out of the question.”
“Penny, you’re our last option. The hospital won’t keep him any longer. They can’t. His own family don’t want him, and no foster family will take him. He can’t go to a children’s home because he’s such a high risk. Frankly, I have no idea what to do with him.”
“But this is a secure unit, and that kid’s done nothing wrong to anyone but himself. Do you have any idea what kind of kids we have here? We can’t watch him all the time, and half the little bastards would be queuing up to hand him the razor blades.”
“What else can we do? He’s stable enough for the psychiatric unit to discharge him, but he can’t live alone, and no one else wants him. We’re out of options.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the kid. He’s in an impossible situation, but we’re just not set up to handle someone like him. Are you sure he wouldn’t be better in a care home or psychiatric unit?”
“Honestly? I believe that’s where he’s likely to end up, but the kid’s sixteen and has been through the most horrific experience. He deserves a chance.”
“And you think he’s going to get it here?”
Penelope Creedy, Penny to her friends, struggled and failed to keep the incredulity out of her voice. It was obvious the social worker was new; she hadn’t had the idealistic desire to help everyone beaten out of her by “the system”.
“No, no I don’t, not really, but the poor thing has to go somewhere.”
“I don’t understand why he can’t go to Hillcrest or Maes Y Ffynnon.”
“They won’t take him. It’s too much responsibility for them, and they can’t give him a high enough level of care.”
“Care? We don’t provide care to our kids, Donna. We provide food and shelter and locked rooms. If we’re lucky we get them to study now and again, and a couple even go to school. Most of them are under psychiatrists and headed straight for prison. Occasionally, we see one of them turn around, but mostly we’re marking time until they can be unleashed on society and start committing their crimes.”
“That’s a very bleak view.” The social worker had a hint of censure in her voice, which made Penny defensive. Damn those idealistic idiots with their rose-coloured views.
She snapped back, “This is a very bleak place.”
“No bleaker than his last.” The comeback was soft and sincere and made Penny feel vaguely guilty. She sighed and closed the folder that lay open on the desk in front of her. She ran her finger over the name on the cover and sighed again.
“It’s one prison for another, Donna. Is that really what he needs?”
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
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/