10 Interesting Facts About Sir Kay

I’m happy to welcome back author Rusty Rhoad to the Power of 10 series. Today, Rusty shares interesting facts about the hero in his latest novel.

Here’s Rusty!

Sir Kay, my hero in Kaffka, the Holy Grail, and a Woman Who Reads: The Quests of Sir Kay is a particularly interesting character to me. If you’ve seen the old Disney movie The Sword in the Stone, you undoubtedly remember Sir Kay—the loutish buffoon who forgets his sword and sends Arthur into the churchyard to fetch the one stuck into an anvil there so he’ll have one for the tournament.

Lies, all lies. So in my friend Joanne’s blog today, I’m going to tell you 10 things about Sir Kay to set the story straight.

1. In the original Welsh legends, Kay (known then as Cei) was Arthur’s closest and most loyal companion. Along with Bedivere, he is one of the earliest characters associated with Arthur.

2. Kay’s reputation was seriously besmirched by the 12th century French romancers, most notably Chrétien de Troyes. In his search for a foil for the far more appealing Sir Lancelot, these writers sort of settled on Kay as a suitable target. Shows you how much the French can be trusted. When Mallory used their treatment as the basis for Sir Kay in Le Morte d’Arthur, Kay character was tarnished for centuries—perhaps forever, had I not labored to restore his good name.

3. If you search for “Sir Kay” in Amazon, you come up with only two works: my novel and a short story by Samantha Warren (which I haven’t read but just downloaded). That is not to say that other authors haven’t recognized the unfairness of Kay’s treatment and attempted redemption—they have. But you can tell from that evidence alone that I’m the foremost authority on the subject. And so . . .

4. Kay was born in 467AD, far earlier than smack in the late Middle Ages as Mallory and others would have you believe. Britain was in dire straits in the late 5th century. The Romans had pulled their legions out more than 50 years before, and the Saxons and other Germanic tribesman had their sights set on the rich, fertile farmlands of the British Isles.

5. Not one to change diapers, Merlin took the opportunity to travel, notably in the Middle East, while Arthur was an infant (it is rumored that he brought the Holy Grail back when he returned, but that is a subject of a yet-to-be published novel, so we’ll leave it as mere speculation). He returned when Arthur was 10 (and Kay 13) and took up residence in a cottage on the land of Sir Ector, Kay’s father and Arthur’s foster father.

While he was there, as we all know, he taught Arthur how to be a king. But finding in Kay an eager, nimble mind, he taught him the arcane arts of mathematics. During the height of Arthur’s reign, Kay was the only person in Britain who could solve algebra word problems.

6. Kay is geek chic, beloved by the commoners as well as most of the knights. He’s constantly posing questions like “If a knight rides forth from Camelot at 2 miles per hour …), to the groans but ultimate admiration of the folks in the taverns.

7. It doesn’t hurt that Arthur’s kitchen, supervised by Kay, provides the best fare north of Rome. When Arthur denies Kay a simple quest because he’s “needed” at home, Kay goes on strike and the food goes to hell. After only one meal, Arthur reconsiders.

8. Kay is the only person who has slept with TWO of Arthur’s half sisters. Morgan le Fay, of course, who uses enchantment to seduce him—although to be fair, he doesn’t put up much of a fight. And then there’s Morgan’s and Morgause’s older sister Elaine—I’ll bet you didn’t even know they had an older sister. Their romance is part of the story in Kaffka, the Holy Grail, and a Woman Who Reads: The Quests of Sir Kay, so I won’t spoil the ending by telling you how it works out.

9. To be truthful, Kay is more of a thinker than a fighter—that much of his later reputation is at least partially true. But he’s nowhere near incompetent. He fought at Arthur’s side during the barons’ rebellion and later in the Saxon wars, and still competes in tournaments, albeit begrudgingly, to keep his hand in. Still, he’s somewhat below average at best. When he challenges Count Maleagan to a death match to free Elaine, he does so knowing that, barring magical intervention, he’s going to die in the process. So let’s not discount his martial prowess entirely, nor his courage even a little bit.

10. Kay is a lot more like me than I’d like to admit. And an excellent example of my typical “beta male” hero—he’s far less likely to beat up the bad guy and save the world and far more likely to make sardonic comments about it all.


Peace has finally been achieved—and it sucks. At least for Sir Kay.

I mean, nobody really likes the cold and the fear of war, but compared with now? That delicious, dark-roasted heady beverage Merlin brought back from the Middle East, kaffka, is long gone. Arthur expects Kay to run castle and kingdom, just because he’s the only person in 6th century Britain who can do algebra (if a knight rides forth from Camelot at three leagues per hour . . .). Guinevere treats him as her personal gofer. Middle age is fast upon Kay, and the only quest available is to rescue Miffy, a fair-but-empty-headed lady’s imprisoned dog.

Ah, but who knows what adventures lie out there, away from the comforts of Camelot? The Holy Grail, if one were interested in such a bauble? Magic, in the form of an ageless beauty with a treacherous reputation, Morgan le Fay?

Perhaps the ultimate prize, a woman who reads.

Or maybe just a night under the stars with no liveried page, face and fingernails scrubbed clean of any trace of dirt, uttering those detested words, “Sire, the Queen requests your presence.”

Kaffka, the Holy Grail, and a Woman Who Reads: The Quests of Sir Kay is a warm, humorous glimpse of Arthurian times through the eyes of a Knight of the Round Table who also happens to be a little . . . shall we say, geeky? Sir Kay is a keen observer—witty, introspective, and sarcastic at times—driven by a sharp intellect and a deep longing for something more.



Rusty Rhoad grew up in Bluffton, South Carolina—the town that is the model for White Sands in Avalon, South Carolina as well as appearing in the novel in its current state of population and trendiness—before going to school in Houston, Texas (location of as yet unpublished novel Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail). After a stint in the army at Fort Polk, Louisiana—not currently in any novel, for better or for worse—Rusty and his wife Kate took a year-long camping trip in their VW bus, covering some of the same territory that Arnie Penders explores in Return from Avalon (and Points West) before temporarily suspending their wanderlust near Houston.

During the last decade of a 32-year career as a chemical engineer, Rusty began writing novels over lunch. And now safely out of the grip of the complexity of the military-industrial rat race, he continues to write. He has four novels published, a fifth looking for an adventurous publisher, a sixth in editing, and a seventh in progress.

Where to find Rusty…

Website | Facebook


Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

While the reviews were mixed, with many comparisons made to Sidney Lumet’s 1974 adaptation of the best-selling Agatha Christie whodunit, I decided to approach the 2017 version with an open mind.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Instead, I was impressed with director Kenneth Branagh who also took on the role of Hercule Poirot. Donning an exotic mustache, Branagh delivers an excellent performance as the finicky Belgian detective, famous for solving everything from elaborate murder plots to uneven boiled eggs. The all-star cast includes Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench, Josh Gad, Penelope Cruz, Derek Jacobi, Willem Dafoe, and Daisy Ridley.

The plot follows Poirot from Jerusalem to Istanbul to a lavish train ride on the Orient Express. After an unpleasant encounter with gangster Samuel Ratchett (Johnny Depp), Poirot retires for the evening. That night, Poirot hears strange noises coming from Ratchett’s compartment and later witnesses a woman in a red kimono running down the hallway. An avalanche occurs, causing the train to derail, stranding the passengers.

The following morning, Poirot learns that Ratchett was stabbed to death sometime during the night. While early clues suggest that Ratchett was murdered by a lone man, Poirot believes the solution to the crime lies within a single locked carriage containing twelve first-class passengers. As Poirot conducts his interviews, he uncovers a series of connections and coincidences related to a tragic kidnapping case.

Faithful to Christie’s tale, the convoluted plot will keep you engaged right to the end. As will the antics of the other passengers, especially husband hunter Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer) and exiled Russian Princess Dragomiroff (Judi Dench).

Designer Alexandra Byrne captures the period beautifully with the lavish costumes, and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos treats us to spectacular vistas of Jerusalem, Istanbul, and snow-covered mountain ranges…definitely Oscar-worthy achievements.

A stylish and suspenseful movie that will delight mystery lovers!

A Massive Dose of Inspiration

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

It’s the middle of the week, mid-way through the NaNoWriMo challenge. The hump of the hump or the hump squared. Definitely a time for a massive dose of inspiration. And who better than the late David Bowie to deliver that dose.

Spotlight on Never Too Late Holiday Anthology

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Caroline Warfield and the Bluestocking Belles. Today, Caroline shares their holiday anthology, Never Too Late, and her contribution, Roses in Picardy.

Here’s Caroline!

We are currently in the centennial of The Great War, the war to end all wars, that sad failure that led to a Second World War and endless conflict in the Middle East. Caroline Warfield presents a story of light in the midst of despair set in 1916. When hope begins to flicker out, love still catches fire. It is never too late.

On a trip to Amiens a few years ago I fell in love with les hortillonnages, the city’s famous “floating islands” along the river that generations used as the garden basket of the city, growing vegetables and flowers on little plots, set in a maze of canals, many dotted with colorfully painted cottages. A leisurely cruise through them with Amien’s massive medieval cathedral visible in the distance filled me with peace. That horrific battles had been fought nearby seemed unreal.

Photos of the battle scarred Valley of the Somme in 1916 show trees stripped of leaves or any sign of life, men coated with mud, war machines of all kinds, and endless trenches. Yet, a few miles away lay the city of Amiens, its great cathedral enshrouded in sandbags, and its floating islands. How could a soldier who stumbled out of the trenches fail to be drawn to les hortillonnages?


Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.

It’s Never Too Late to find love.

25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.

The Stories of Never Too Late…

The Piper’s Lady by Sherry Ewing
True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?

Her Wounded Heart by Nicole Zoltack
A solitary widow, a landless knight, and a crumbling castle.

A Year Without Christmas by Jessica Cale
An earl and his housekeeper face their feelings for one another in the midst of the English Civil War.

The Night of the Feast by Elizabeth Ellen Carter
One night to risk it all in the midst of the French Revolution.

The Umbrella Chronicles: George & Dorothea’s Story by Amy Quinton
The Umbrella Strikes Again: St. Vincent’s downfall (aka betrothal) is assured.

A Malicious Rumor by Susana Ellis
A harmonious duo is better than two lonely solos for a violinist and a lady gardener.

Forged in Fire by Jude Knight
Forged in volcanic fire, their love will create them anew.

Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield
In the darkness of war, hope flickers. In the gardens of Picardy, love catches fire.

Excerpt – Roses in Picardy

Are men in Hell happier for a glimpse of Heaven?”

The piercing eyes gentled. “Perhaps not,” the old man said, “but a store of memories might be medicinal in coming months. Will you come back?”

Will I? He turned around to face forward, and the priest poled the boat out of the shallows, seemingly content to allow him his silence.

“How did you arrange my leave?” Harry asked at last, giving voice to a sudden insight.

“Prayer,” the priest said. Several moments later he, added, “And Col. Sutherland in the logistics office has become a friend. I suggested he had a pressing need for someone who could translate requests from villagers.”

“Don’t meddle, old man. Even if they use me, I’ll end up back in the trenches. Visits to Rosemarie Legrand would be futile in any case. The war is no closer to an end than it was two years ago.”

“Despair can be deadly in a soldier, corporal. You must hold on to hope. We all need hope, but to you, it can be life or death,” the priest said.

Life or death. He thought of the feel of the toddler on his shoulder and the colors of les hortillonnages. Life indeed.

The sound of the pole propelling them forward filled several minutes.

“So will you come back?” the old man asked softly. He didn’t appear discomforted by the long silence that followed.

“If I have a chance to come, I won’t be able to stay away,” Harry murmured, keeping his back to the priest.

“Then I will pray you have a chance,” the old man said softly.


Bio – Caroline Warfield

Caroline Warfield has been many things. Now retired to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, she divides her time between writing and seeking adventures with her grandbuddy and the prince among men she married. Her new series sends the children of the heroes of her earlier books to seek their own happiness in the far-flung corners of the British Empire.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Pinterest

Bio – The Bluestocking Belles

The Bluestocking Belles (the “BellesInBlue”) are eight very different writers united by a love of history and a history of writing about love. From sweet to steamy, from light-hearted fun to dark tortured tales full of angst, from London ballrooms to country cottages to the sultan’s seraglio, one or more of us will have a tale to suit your tastes and mood.

Website | Teatime Tattler | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


I will give an ebook copy of any of my earlier books (winner’s choice) to one randomly chosen person who comments.

Spotlight on Perfectly Crazy in Love

I’m happy to welcome back Soul Mate author Linda O’Connor. Today, Linda shares her latest release, Perfectly Crazy in Love.

Here’s Linda!

I’m very excited to share my latest release, Perfectly Crazy in Love. It is one of 22 hot romances in the Sultry Nights Boxed Set. Available now for only 99 cents!

About Perfectly Crazy in Love (Perfectly Series novella)…

Dr. Patty Kelt is trying to get Dr. Ken Marshall’s attention. They’ve been friends for four years, and it’s time to turn it up a notch. She wants him to see her as smart, competent, strong, and sexy. So far she’s just managed crazy.

Ken’s used to solving problems and giving advice. Crazy he could handle. But dealing with crazy in love? That’s entirely new.

Perfectly Crazy in Love…it’s not as easy as it looks.

Landing Pages

Romance Collection | Pronoun

Buy links

Amazon | Kobo | Google Play | iTunes | Barnes & Noble

About Linda…

linda-oconnor-author-copy-2Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at the local home décor store. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories).

Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Where to find Linda…

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Blog | Newsletter

More #NaNoWriMo Tips

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

In last Wednesday’s post, I shared five tips that helped me survive and thrive during NaNoWriMo 2016.

Here are five more tips:

1. Relax and TELL. For years, I’ve heard editors and workshop facilitators repeat the mantra: SHOW DON’T TELL. What a relief to focus on getting the scene on paper in any form and then prettying it up later.

2. Leave notes in the text. Plot and dialogue are my strengths while descriptive detail is one of my weaknesses. Instead of belaboring the setting and other details, leave notes about what’s missing. i.e. Description of waterfront or restaurant. Don’t stop to check the internet for anything.

3. Journal when stuck. Author and course facilitator, Catherine Chant recommends journaling about our character’s feelings to elicit more details and move the storyline along. The character could write her response stream-of-conscious style or write a letter describing a problem. Even if the journal entry is edited out of the story, the words still count.

4. Stop before the ideas run out. At the end of each day’s stint, write a sentence or two about what happens next. This will provide a starting point for the following day.

5. Turn off the internal editor. I need to keep in mind Anne Lamott’s advice and “write a crappy first draft.” Forget about spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Don’t delete anything. In short, give myself permission to write badly.