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I can’t really say how it came to me, it just did. Like many story ideas, it just sort of appeared in my head (surely I am not the only writer this happens to, am I?). The idea was for a short story about King Arthur, with all the familiar Arthurian themes and characters, but in a different time and place.

I can’t really say how it came to me, it just did. Like many story ideas, it just sort of appeared in my head (surely I am not the only writer this happens to, am I?). The idea was for a short story about King Arthur, with all the familiar Arthurian themes and characters, but in a different time and place.

“Buccaneer of the Caribbean” is a painting by Howard Pyle, and served as inspiration for my story in King of Ages. Pyle was an American illustrator and author, and was well-known for his illustrations and novels about King Arthur.

Thus the thought popped in my head: “What if King Arthur was a pirate, sailing the seas of the Caribbean?” and so I set about to writing a story based on that simple concept. I re-wrote the story more times than I can remember and revised the ending at least half a dozen times until I was (mostly) satisfied with it. But then I didn’t really know what to do with the story. I wasn’t aware of any markets seeking alternate-history Arthurian short fiction, so it basically just sat on the hard drive of my computer.

I revisited the story several months later, and as I was re-reading (and again revising, I can never pass on an opportunity to revise!) another thought popped into my head: What if King Arthur was a samurai warlord in Sengoku period Japan? Then another: What if Arthur was king of Sparta in 650 BC? Then more: What if King Arthur was a Norse Viking explorer circa 900 AD? What is King Arthur was a Native American chief uniting several tribes to fight off European settlers in the early 1700s? What if King Arthur was living is a dystopian future? What if King Arthur was living in another galaxy, the very far-off future? The possibilities seemed endless, but the thought of writing all these stories myself seemed overly daunting.

This N.C. Wyeth illustration also served as inspiration for my story, and was originally featured in Sidney Lanier's classic book, The Boy's King Arthur. N. C. Wyeth is also well-known for his art featuring King Arthur, and was actually a student of Howard Pyle.

This N.C. Wyeth illustration also served as inspiration for my story, and was originally featured in Sidney Lanier’s classic book, The Boy’s King Arthur. N. C. Wyeth is also well-known for his art featuring King Arthur, and was actually a student of Howard Pyle.

So, under the banner of Uffda Press, I put out a general call for submissions for my anthology concept called “King of Ages.” I didn’t ask for full story submissions (the thought of someone putting time and effort into writing an entire story specifically for this anthology only for me to reject it did not sit well with me), but rather for proposals on the time/place/setting of an Arthurian story. The response was somewhat overwhelming, and I received so many outstanding idea proposals. I had to narrow it down to thirteen stories, and while sending out the rejections was tough, I knew that the proposals chosen for the book would be fantastic stories.

Once I started receiving the final submissions I got the feeling that we had something really special on our hands. King of Ages features a wide range of diverse and absolutely stellar short fiction. We have a few different types of futuristic/sci-fi stories. We have a post-apocalyptic tale. We have a couple stories set in modern times, including one hilariously funny story that takes place at a Star Trek convention. “She Who Makes Us Free” is an absolutely brilliant story that is loosely based on the 1912 Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, MA. We have a story set in 17th century Easter Island, another that reimagines King Arthur as a Viking explorer. We have stories that feature Arthur as a man, as a woman, and a couple that poignantly address sexual identity.

If I can be so humble for a moment, my own story, the one that started it all with King Arthur re-cast as a swashbuckling pirate, pales in comparison to the stories from the other contributors. These authors should be very proud of the stories they wrote, and the book they helped create.
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00033]King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology is available now at Amazon.

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