Tali Spencer is an amazingly talented author who’s been writing Fantasy and Science Fiction since the days when paperbacks were still the rage.  Her shift to eBooks enables a greater range of people to enjoy her marvelous talent.  With her new fantasy book – Thick As Thieves – released this week, it’s appropriate that she is writing today about two of the biggest elements of fantasy  – Swords and Sorcery.


Tali Spencer: Swords and Sorcery.

Fantasy is probably the oldest form of literature and readers who love fantasy have numerous subgenres of fantasy to choose from. One of the most boisterous is sword and sorcery, famous for the adventures of Conan and other barbarians. But what exactly is sword and sorcery?

I like Joe McCullough’s classic formulation, “Fantasy with dirt.” Sword and sorcery doesn’t play in palaces; it fights in the gutters and back alleys. Instead of princes and high wizards, its heroes tend to be outcasts and thieves. They’re too busy saving their own skins to give much thought to saving the world or winning a kingdom, though they might occasionally notice they’ve done so by accident. More often than not, they leave a mess. Sword and sorcery heroes are the working class guys of fantasy. They get stuff done but the higher class characters of fantasy wouldn’t invite them to tea because they tend to break things and leave bodies all over.

There’s often an element of horror to a sword and sorcery story as well. Danger or the unknown lies around every corner. Robert E. Howard’s Conan carved his way into fantasy history by swinging swords at creatures spawned from pulp horror. Even magic is more sinister in sword and sorcery, where it’s usually portrayed as untrustworthy and loaded with consequences for those who use it. Magic often goes terribly wrong and ordinary men like our heroes have to defeat it.

The opening chapter of Thick as Thieves features a hulking down on his luck barbarian, a pretty male witch, a dungeon, and inventive use of a unicorn horn.


After Vorgell the barbarian fucks himself with a unicorn horn, he ends up in a cell with Maddog, a pretty young thief. It’s lust at first sight for Vorgell—but honestly, he can’t help it. Unicorn horn is a potent aphrodisiac, and now he can’t stop thinking about sex. Luckily, Madd is one male witch who knows how to put Vorgell’s new magical body to good use when he tricks Vorgell into a kiss that helps them escape.

Vorgell may desire sex in general—and Madd in particular—but Madd has no intention of being screwed by a man twice his size. He has problems of his own, including an enchanted collar that causes him to desire his most hated enemy. He wants that collar off as soon as possible, but that requires stealing a basilisk egg from the castle they just escaped.

Drawn together by lust and magic, the two men join forces and soon find themselves up to their necks in witches, wizards, and trouble. Vorgell and Madd might just be perfect for each other, but first they have to survive long enough to find out.



Vorgell tumbled against the hard floor as the cell door slammed shut behind him with a clang far too final for his liking. Maybe Baron Flemgu hadn’t been kidding when he’d promised to lock him away and let him rot.

“Oh, lovely. A roommate.”

Startled, Vorgell looked over his shoulder. Another man sat in the corner, wrapped in a cloak and hogging the cell’s only patch of light and probably warmth. From what Vorgell could see of him, he didn’t look like much of a threat. He was small, dark-haired, and beardless, with the soft looks of some high lord’s fancy boy. Vorgell had golden hair and a warrior’s body, boasting the scars of many battles. He came from the mountains far to the east of this land, though his band of warriors had been captured and consigned to a slave trader. That indignity had lasted only as long as the slaver’s skull. Since then, Vorgell had made his way to the city of Gurgh—a den of murderers and thieves he had gladly departed so he might try his luck at hunting witches in the wooded wilderness around Baron Flemgu’s castle. And now he was here, in a cell at the tail end of a string of bad decisions.

Difficult as it was to ignore the other prisoner, Vorgell pushed himself upright and peered up at the high barred window. Judging the distance, he crouched and then leapt. He was able to grasp the window ledge with his fingers and pulled himself up until he could just see the top of a line of trees.

“Impressive,” said his companion. “I would have thought you too bulky to make that jump.”

“I’m tall.” That was an understatement. He stood head and shoulders even over the tall men of Scur, and the men of Gurgh were not fit to hold his spear. Vorgell released his grip and dropped back down, landing on his feet. He turned eagerly to his pretty cell mate, happy that in his travels he had learned to speak the local tongue. “My name is Vorgell.”

The little guy snorted. “All that gets you, apparently, is guest accommodations in the baron’s tower.”

“Same fine accommodations as you. What did you do to piss off the baron?”

“You first, big guy.” A smile like a fisherman’s knife flashed his way. The boy had pretty teeth and secretive eyes with long thick lashes, set in a face fetching enough to belong to a girl. Vorgell’s cock thickened, his excitement coming to a boil despite his efforts. He couldn’t help it. For the last three days, all he’d wanted to do was have sex.

“I killed a unicorn,” he managed, though he couldn’t stop staring. The other man’s body possessed a delicate, graceful build that only encouraged thoughts of fucking him here and now. “I was hungry. Thought it was a deer. Turns out unicorns aren’t very big.”

Smile vanishing, his companion sat up straighter. “You killed the unicorn?” His black cloak fell open just enough to reveal a tempting glimpse of skin beneath a stained shirt. “What about the horn? What did you do with that?”

Vorgell flushed. “I was hungry, as I said. There were these berries growing where the unicorn had fallen, and—”

“Love berries. They grow wherever unicorn blood falls.”

“Yes.” The baron’s magicians had explained it. “Well, I ate all the berries I could find, and—”

“And for the rest of the night, you were hallucinating and as horny as a ram.”

“So they tell me. All I remember is having vivid dreams about, well, erect members. Apparently the creature’s horn was too… shapely to resist. When the baron’s soldiers caught me, I was fucking myself with the thing. Unicorn horns dissolve inside, did you know that?”

“Actually, I do.” At least it sounded as though the man believed him. “Are you telling me your barbarian ass consumed the whole horn?”

“Yes,” he admitted.



Author bio:

Tali Spencer fell in love with writing at an early age and never stopped. Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college and enjoyed a series of interesting careers including respiratory therapist, airport executive, and raising three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to Lebanese cookbooks, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Visit Tali’s blog at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com
E-mail: tali.spencer1@gmail.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer
Twitter: @tali_spencer