About The Author

A.W. FordA. W. Ford

This is an odd page to write, as the first thing that anyone should know about me is that I don’t have any prior experience as an author.

Like many, I’ve always wanted to write and was an avid reader from a very early age. My first literary loves were mystery and detective books. But then I discovered fantasy and science fiction in the late ’70s, thanks to the original Battlestar Galactica and the first Star Wars movie. I was hooked…

Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s – before the all invasive internet – if you wanted to get more scifi and fantasy in your life that meant getting into the many table-top, pen and paper RPG game systems that were so prolific then.

The Traveller game system in particular gave me lots of early exposure to world building while developing campaigns for my friends. I kept up the writing attempts, and as a teen even got to participate in a few writers workshop sessions with the under-appreciated scifi master Dean Ing.

Of all my favorite genre series, however, I was always most intrigued by those that were collaborative, most notable of all, the Thieves World series created and edited by Robert Lynn Asprin.

Many of my young friends were also amateur sci-fi writers and we tried writing collaborative pieces through the mail after I left home for the Army. We used good old snail mail, sending paper copies back and forth as the story progressed. We would alternate writing chapters and went out of our way to create surprises for each other. Imagine, finding out your main character that you’ve been writing about for four chapters is actually a woman in disguise.

If nothing else, we kept each others’ creativity on it’s toes. 🙂

It was fun, but not very productive. I continued to write over the years; independent scenes mostly. I struggled with bringing it all together into finished stories.

I wanted to write grand, series-long story arcs that would surprise and entertain my readers. I couldn’t finish most short stories, much less a series of novels.

But recently, after re-reading through so many of these unfinished ideas, I happened upon my “grand story arc” one day, quite unexpectedly, while feeding the chickens here on the farm. This plot arc would allow me to bring all these people and places that I had invested so much energy into over the years, into one central story. 

Some of the characters and stories that eventually became the basis for The Ballad of the Gypsy King are almost thirty years old, written on pocket sized notebooks while sitting in a foxhole in Germany during the Cold War, even though the full setting of those stories didn’t exist until decades later…

Because I’ve always been so intrigued by collaborative writing, it only seemed natural to open up my universe for others and share. I already owned the openstory.org domain from a previous project, so it would be relatively easy to set up. This project is the result.

I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them. And if you’ve ever had the inkling to write, even just a little, I invite you to participate. There are only a few simple rules to follow, and you could end up creating a permanent new part of the Ballad of the Gypsy King, including full author credits and more!

Submit your story or idea:

Where Were You When the Galaxy Shattered?