Shnakvorum rikoyoch. Dine tif rikshin yarga! (Greetings, friends. I have great news!)
"We got major trouble on two fronts today." S-Man sank against a counter stool, hands waving. "This Saurian character keeps insisting his name isn't Gruin when I know it is, and that he's only three aboyoch old--mighty young for a shopkeeper. And he informs me he has just one leg--" S-Man's eyes widened, his hangs hanging in the air. "Wait!" He blinked rapidly. "The hatchling Rathe saved during his training had its leg bitten off, and he would be about three aboyoch right now!" S-Man's mouth rounded, possible consequences of the new story twist flitting across his face. Pushing away from the counter, he gave Bailey a grim look. "Oooh, Rathe isn't going to like this one bit."
--S-Man makes his entrance in Violet Dawn, first of the Kanner Lake series
Yup, a couple of you guessed my news yesterday. The intriguing science fiction story that inspired the popular character of S-Man, aspiring novelist in the Kanner Lake series, has been sold! Starfire, written by Stuart Stockton, will be released April 1, 2009 from Marcher Lord Press, CBA's new publishing house for speculative fiction. What's more in this fiction-begetting-fiction-turned-fact story, the real-life release of Starfire fits perfectly with its fictional Kanner Lake release.
Stuart not only allowed me to use the Starfire manuscript in my Kanner Lake series, he also wrote for the character of S-Man on Scenes and Beans, the Kanner Lake blog. Read S-Man's description of how he came up with the idea for his Saurian world and characters in three posts on Scenes and Beans, starting with July 11, 2006.
On an alien world far from Earth, a Saurian warrior named Rathe seeks to rise from lowly origins to achieve greatness in the Karn Empire. Rathe is haunted by a terrible secret as his military squad is given a mission that will take them deep into enemy territory and the deceptions of his allies. Soon he must make a terrible choice: save his empire, or save his world--which will cost the life of a friend. All the while Rathe confronts Wayfarers telling him there is a Being who desires his worship, a Being who has a plan for him.
Here's what editor/publisher Jeff Gerke has to say about his acquisition of Starfire:
I'd read a bit of Starfire back when I was over Realms at Strang Communications. I loved that it was a completely non-human, non-Earth story, and I thought the writing was strong and the imagery powerful. But I knew I would be in for a terrible fight at the publishing house to get such a story published. I knew the committee would feel--probably rightly so--that the usual Christian fiction audience would not be willing to embrace such an unusual science fiction story about computer-using dinosaur people.
So years later when I launched Marcher Lord Press I was pleased to see Starfire show up again in my acquisitions files. This time I was not limited by what the traditional Christian fiction demographic might like. So I sat down to read the full manuscript, this time free to publish it if I liked it.
And, oh my goodness, did I like it. I found it utterly original and captivating. Every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, I would turn the page and something entirely unpredictable but fascinating would happen instead. I found myself thinking about the story when I had to put it down to do other things. I couldn't wait to get back and find out what would happen to Rathe and what he would decide to do about the Starfire.
I'm publishing the story because it's exactly the kind of thing I seek for Marcher Lord Press titles--and because I love the story and the writing. I'm pleased to know I've created a publishing company that can bring this kind of way-off-the-edge-of-the-map story to fans of Christian speculative fiction.
Visit Stuart's web site for more information about Rathe and Starfire.
In the months leading up to the release of Starfire, I will be telling you more about the story. Perhaps I'll interview Rathe. He's ... not quite human, you know.
Do leave your congratulations for S-Man in the comments. I mean--Stuart.