Read the first two chapters of my new YA science fiction novel Star Song

Available directly from Shadowpaw Press or get it now from your favorite vendor!

Read the first two chapters

Cover art by Dan O’Driscoll

My newest novel is a young adult science fiction adventure in the style of Robert A. Heinlein and Andre Norton, published by Shadowpaw Press.

Let me take you back in time . . .

It’s October 1985. I’m 26 years old, and I’m the news editor of the Weyburn Review, and I’ve just sold a short story (not my first, but among my first) to JAM Magazine. It’s called “The Minstrel,” and they put an illustration from it on their cover–that’s it at left.

I liked the story so much (and still do–it’s the first story in my short-story collection, Paths to the Stars), that I decided to try to turn it into a novel. Which I did: in fact, it became the first novel I tried seriously to get published professionally.

Among the editors I sent it to was Josepha Sherman, who was then editing for Walker & Company, a medium-sized, independent publisher. She sent it back with a thoughtful letter saying that she liked what was there but it was really missing a big chunk of the story–in the first version, there was a huge time skip. She said if I wanted to take a crack at expanding it, I could resubmit it–which, of course, I did.

By this time, I was living in Regina and was communications officer for the Saskatchewan Science Centre. It must have been 1991, because I had a letter from Josepha saying that I’d done exactly what needed to be done and she was ready to make an offer on it–but the publisher had died, his son had taken over, and his son had decided they wouldn’t be publishing science fiction anymore.

And that was that. That would have been my big breaking-into-the-business moment, but instead, it fizzled, and it was years before I had a novel published.

Fast-forward to the present. Over the years, I’ve occasionally polished the book a bit, and submitted it here and there. Then, in 2018, I started Shadowpaw Press. I also took a really good, long look at my old story, and realized I wouldn’t write it the way I did then if I were writing now. For one thing, I wrote it solely in the viewpoint of the young male character, and it seemed clear to me upon re-reading that for it to work its best, it needed to be a two-viewpoint story, with scenes also from the young female character’s POV.

That meant a major start-to-finish rewrite, and that’s the version that I’m now publishing.

Here’s the blurb:

From an Aurora Award-winning author comes a thrilling young adult outer space adventure.

When the old woman who raised him in a remote village is murdered, Kriss Lemarc finds himself alone on a planet where he’ll always be an outsider.

His only link to his long-dead, unknown parents is the touchlyre they bequeathed him, a strange instrument that not only plays music but pours his innermost feelings into the minds of his listeners.

When Tevera, a girl of the space-going, nomadic Family, hears Kriss perform, she is drawn to him against her better judgment and the rules of her people. With her help, though mistrusted and even hated by some of her comrades, Kriss seeks to discover the origin of the touchlyre, the fate of his parents, and a place where he truly belongs.

But the touchlyre proves to be more than just a musical oddity. Powerful, ruthless people will stop at nothing to get it—and Kriss and Tevera are all that stand in their way.

I’m pleased and thrilled to be able to finally present this novel to readers. I hope you’ll check it out!

You can buy it directly from directly from Shadowpaw Press or get it from your favorite vendor at this handy link:

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