09/16/2017 In Guest
Sep 16, 2017

Guest Author—Cheryl Headford Talks Shade’s Champion

Today one of my favorite authors, Cheryl Headfor, stops by for another visit. This time to share an excerpt from one her favorite stories.  Don’t expect fluffy and light stories when you read Cheryl’s work, but do expect to be wowed. Shade’s Champion was re-released September 15, 2017. So if you like a good story with a hard where the main characters have to work hard for their happy ever after, check out Cheryl’s new story. You won’t be disappointed.

Shade’s Champion:

Sixteen-year-old Shade has spent years imprisoned in a dark cellar after being snatched off the street as a young child. Events since his release have left him traumatised and desperate to die.

Dory is a lively and engaging seventeen-year-old with mental health issues that make him a slave to his dangerously uncontrollable emotions.

When Shade comes to the secure children’s home, Eastbrook; because no one else wants him, the manager appoints Dory as his champion, an appointment Dory takes very seriously indeed.

As friendship turns into something else, something new and exciting, they struggle to find their feet, but every step leads to more complication.

When a spiteful act separates them, it seems their love is doomed before it ever had a chance, but when Dory falls ill, it’s up to Shade to pick up the standard and become his champion, although it might already be too late.


“You were the one who asked Dory to be Shade’s champion.”

Penny laughed and sat back in her chair. “That was different, and you know it.”

“Was it? Was it really?” He also sat back and steepled his fingers.

“Don’t start your psycho-crap with me. You know it was different.”

“I’m not so sure. You did it because you knew Dory was up to it, and you knew Shade would benefit from it.”

“I didn’t know anything of the sort. It was a whim.”

“Really? Well, anyway. I think Dory can handle a lot more than we give him credit for. You know his greatest ambition is to live independently.”

“As if that’s going to happen.” Penny sighed and gazed wistfully out of the window. It was so sad and so unfair. Most of the children who passed through her hands moved on to independent living, many of those turned to crime or violence. Dory, who didn’t have a violent bone in his body, when he had that body under control, was likely never going to achieve his ambition because there just weren’t the places out there for him. Assisted living facilities, such as there were, wouldn’t accept him because of the risk of violence.

“Why not?”

“You know why not.”

“I think you mollycoddle him too much. You’re so afraid of him having an episode you refuse to push him, to test his limits. How can we know if he can utilize the coping techniques he’s been taught if he never has to use them? He’s overprotected.”

“How can you say that? He…” She petered out and thought about it. “Maybe you’re right. My heart goes out to that boy. If it wasn’t for his condition he’d be such a lovely kid.”

“He is a lovely kid, despite his condition. He shows a maturity far above anyone else his age, a deep instinctual understanding of what people need, and an open willingness to give it. The biggest danger would be making sure he wasn’t taken advantage of. On a day-to-day basis, there’s no reason at all why he can’t take care of himself.”

“What about when he snaps?”

“It’s not as if it happens out of the blue. He knows the triggers and how to get out of dangerous situations before they get out of control. If he has someone supporting him—”

“He’s had someone supporting him since he was five. He still managed to put two people in hospital.”

“That was an accident.”

“That would have put him in prison if he’d been an adult. It would have got him a custodial sentence in a youth facility if his psychiatrist hadn’t stepped in. It’s not going to happen, Rich.”

“Well, all right, we’ll put that aside for now. I still think he could do Shade a world of good, and I believe Shade would be good for him, too.”

“Exactly how?”

“If he’s fighting Shade’s battles for a while, he’ll be less focussed on his own.”

“And that’s what I’m worried about.”

“Give it a chance.”

Penny sighed and searched Richard’s face for a few minutes before she spoke again. “One week. I’ll give it one week, but they’re watched every minute, and we discuss progress every day, with Dory, too.”

“Fair enough.”

“Then we’ll—” She broke off when an alarm sounded. A glance at the control board told her all she wanted to know. “Dory,” she said, and they ran.

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About 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.

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