That First Book
All published writers start with that first book. You know the one. The one you poured your hopes and dreams and imagination into. The one an editor at a publishing house liked, really liked, and now it’s being published. The one you really—really—hope readers will like, but you don’t know yet and the suspense nearly kills you until the day it does come out. And then your life changes.
That book changes your life.
Because with that book you earn your stripes as a pro. You become not just a writer, something you may have been for a long time writing for yourself or a small audience, but a writer who has taken the step of putting work out in the mass market. And make no mistake: that’s a damn big step.
The first book a writer publishes is not just a book. It’s a lesson. It becomes the writer’s vehicle for learning everything she never knew about what’s involved in turning a manuscript into a finished product for the marketplace. Whether self-published or through a publisher, the writer learns about editing for content and grammar, about formatting, blurbs, cover art, markets, pricing, positioning, and reviews. Part of this education is learning how to work either with editors and artists, if with a publisher, or learning to do or arrange all these things—and more—for themselves. It’s a huge learning curve and it all starts with that first book.
That first book teaches the writer that getting published is a business. It’s a fascinating business, too, filled with new players and rules. Watching your words being turned from a protected egg of a story into a full-fledged book set loose to fly in the marketplace is an amazing journey. And it’s amazing every time.
After the first book, most writers go on to write another. And they embark on the journey all over again, and it never gets old. Sending a book out into the world is an act of faith, pride, and joy.
With that first book, the writer becomes an author.
My first book is now long out of print, but I would like to share a blurb and excerpt from my new sword and sorcery M/M release, Thick as Thieves.
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 had no sooner yanked Madd through the vortex and into the alley than the little guy fought free of his grip and turned back, tracing a darkly glowing sign in the air. A baying hound burst through, bowling Madd over just before the dark hole vanished, revealing a plain wall of mold-blackened bricks. The barking dog crouched, prepared to leap. Vorgell rose to full height. Expanding his chest and flexing his arms to make himself look even bigger, he showed his teeth and roared. The dog yelped and fled down the alley.
“I’m glad the dog didn’t get stuck in there,” he said to Madd, who was panting and sitting in stunned relief in a puddle.
“The dog? What about me!” He got to his feet, shaking out his cloak.
“I pulled you through, didn’t I? So where are we?” Night had fallen, and the alleyway in which they stood was narrow and dark. What stray bits of light infiltrated the passage revealed grim stone walls, dripping eaves, and gutters filled with debris.
“Gurgh. Or more to the point, Rattail Alley in Sewerside.”
“You brought us to the city? I went to the wilderness to get away from here —”
“Doesn’t matter. You’re here now.” Madd began walking through the gloom toward a half-toppled archway at one end of the alley. “Well, are you coming or not?”
Vorgell glanced down his body. He’d lost his trousers and loincloth back in the forest and his nakedness was sure to draw attention. “No,” he said, “I think I’ll stay here.”
Madd stopped walking and snapped around to glare in warning. “The fucking baron is after you, and—”
“I thought he was after you. After all, you escaped.”
“And took you with me.” Madd frowned, his dark gaze traveling down Vorgell’s body and taking in his state of undress. “I guess we’ll have to find you some clothes.”
Vorgell liked that idea. “You could just hand me your cloak.”
“No!” Madd clutched the garment closed at the throat. “We’ll… find you something else.” He sighed. “You don’t get it, do you? We need to disappear. You consumed an entire unicorn horn, and—”
“And I’m horny all the time now. I know.” As if to confirm that point, Vorgell’s cock twitched and plumped at the sight of his companion. Even wrapped in shadows and with a water stain from the puddle on his ass, Madd was bewitching. Vorgell’s blood warmed just to look at him. “But I don’t see what that has to do with—”
“Are you really so gods-addled clueless? A mere sliver of unicorn horn makes a man horny for days. You consumed the entire horn! You filled your gargantuan body with so much fucking unicorn magic you’re now a walking, talking reservoir of enchantment! And you’re not a magician, are you? You’re like a toad sitting on gold coins! You can’t get rid of your pot of gold because you don’t know how to use it!”
Vorgell blinked at the little guy’s rage, struggling to see past the fact that Madd looked unbearably cute when he gestured and paced and sputtered. So cute Vorgell wanted to push him against the moldy wall and silence him with kisses while he pushed his cock against that delectable, lithe body. He fought to keep focus as his cock stiffened to full engorgement.
“I can do magic?”
Madd rolled his eyes. “No. You fucking are magic. Like a unicorn. Your blood, your bones, every living part of you, is filled with the shit.” He sighed. “Why the hell do you think I bit you in the tower, except to get at the magic? Or sucked your cock just now? Which, by the way,” he added, “I don’t plan on doing regularly.”
“But you’re good at it. And, well, I thought—” But then he realized he hadn’t been thinking for some days. It was time to start doing it. “So you are using me?”
Madd looked him in the eye. “Yes. And you’re fortunate in that. Because although I’m not a particularly good magician, I’m much more ethical than the baron or his like. Or any of the Wizards’ Guild. That lot would be bleeding you by now and amputating toes to suck on for a little extra spell power.”
Vorgell considered this. He distrusted magic users. He also knew a thing or two about unscrupulous men and could be one himself when the situation demanded. He hadn’t carried Madd away from their prison out of gratitude, but for purposes of ravishment. The latter still sounded like a good idea.
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
Buy Links for Thick as Thieves: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4002