Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Must be Sunday!

"Jesus loves you."

I seem to get that a lot in recent years. I don't know if it's just the neighborhood that I work or what, but it always seems to be on the weekend. Typically Sunday. And it's always while I'm on my lunch break from work. And it's always, always, always in an aggressive tone.

I'll go out for a meal. I'll go shopping. Just going about my business, relaxing for an hour before heading back to the grind. And out of nowhere some stranger will approach and declare, "Jesus loves you!"

Not, "Jesus loves you," said in a way that makes me feel loved and united in our frail, human experience together. Not in a way that makes me feel my fellow man is compassionate or even concerned over my well being. More like "Jesus loves you" as an alternative to telling me, "Fuck you."

That kind of "Jesus loves you."

"Jesus love you," with the same compassion as one might say, "We should nuke the sight from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

"Jesus loves you," with the sort of generosity that comes from people who refuse to tip their waitress.

"Jesus loves you," like he's drawn a line in the sand and I'm on the opposite side of it.

"Jesus loves you," like I should be waving a white flag.

"Jesus loves you," because it's politer than saying, "You look like the sort of person who deserves eternal damnation in Hell."

I assume this is because of the tattoos on my hands and wrists. Or at least I hope it's that. And more specifically I hope it's not just my face. Because how awful would that be? Somebody's pastor or priest at the end of the ceremony tells his flock, "Go out into the world and spread the good word of God," and these people get behind the wheel of their cars, white knuckle grip, and go cruising around town until they spot... me.

"That asshole. That one right there. He has the face of eternal suffering without relief."

Or maybe I just look like an easy save.

Like maybe they'll say, "Jesus loves you," in that accusatory tone and I'll just suddenly perk up a bit. I'll smile at them and say, "Oh. I was just minding my own business and enjoying this here salad, but now that you've come along I'm really going to rethink my life. What's the address of your church? I'll see you next week! Is there a Saturday service? I can't wait!"

Don't get me wrong. I am absolutely in the midst of a spiritual crisis. Well, maybe not "crisis" as much as "aloofness." I'm not feeling much of any particular belief in my heart and therefore am just ignoring it. I often feel as though my life is without meaning. But I can pretty much guarantee the absolute worst way to save my soul -probably a lot of people's souls- is through this sort of drive by preaching. Saying, "Jesus loves you," like you've been waiting in the bushes and are about to mug me isn't the most effective method of delivering that message.

In fact, you'd probably have much better luck if I happen to see you buying a stranger lunch. Or spending time with your kids. Recycling is always a good one. I love when people do what they can to protect and preserve the planet their lord has created for them. Plant something. Adopting a pet is great. Or bake some cookies and just give them to a friend, neighbor, or even the cashiers in the stores and restaurants who have to work on this lovely you're enjoying. Have a food or clothing drive. Take the time to get to know somebody you've never met. Bonus points if they're from another ethnicity or culture. Just show me you're a good person trying to form a good community. That's spreading the word. That's making a difference. That's just living a fruitful life. One thing I've always said is that I've never once felt God's presence in a church. Whatever I feel, spiritual or otherwise, it's in the individual. It's in the heart and nature of the person.

Alternatively, I suppose you could try kidnapping me. You know, burlap sack over the head. Hands bound. Throw me into your church basement for a few weeks with little food and water. Just a bucket to piss in. Ominous voices reading pages from The Bible outside my cell door but for some reason they refuse to speak directly to me. It might take me a few days to come around, and I'm not too sure what will be in my heart apart from fear, but once I've determined just how committed you are to your cause, I'll definitely become more willing to comply.

Either way it's significantly better than "Jesus loves you!" like you'd rather be saying it with a baseball bat.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Rambling on beliefs

I was responding to an email discussing beliefs and the afterlife. I haven't updated my blog in forever, so I figured I should probably post this rambling online. Wrong an incoherent as I most certainly am, I should make a point to upload these little states of mind. Feel free to tell me what an idiot I am in the comments below.

Anyway, here's my response to a question. Essentially "What's wrong with having beliefs?" on the subject of the afterlife.


I don't think it hurts to believe in anything. I mean, I do think people get carried away in their beliefs and it hinders them a ton. Bigot bible thumpers. Second amendment maniacs. ISIS. KKK. Nazis. People who think pickles taste good. You look at what people believe and how they use those beliefs and a lot of the time nothing good comes from it. People totally and completely lose themselves and wrap their hearts in stuff that's in all probability wrong. It's not the simple belief, I think. Maybe it's believing without questioning that gets me. Like how me and some stereotype in Texas can live in the same country but our comprehension of what it is to be an American is so vastly different. But that makes it hard to find a path for myself. I mean, who the fuck am I to believe in something when I clearly look down on so very many misguided hearts? Who the fuck am I to say anything is right when I so freely challenge the incorrect beliefs of billions of other people? Even if somebody out there has the right answer, how the fuck is anybody supposed to distinguish it beneath all the piles and piles of bullshit? It's not easy. And you're right. This is my fears talking. Maybe just another wall I've built. I see what people do with their beliefs so I struggle to allow myself any. Something like that? I don't know. At the same time, I know that Teemo, Franny, you, and everyone else is an absolute miracle made up of the utmost impossible set of circumstances. Life itself. The stars, moons, planets. The fact that all of this started a mixture of basic elements, atoms and molecules, and took to self replicating forms based on energy levels, gravity, accretion, heat, hydration and such simple, simple little principles. Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur. All mashed up to make self replicating RNA and DNA, and develop into increasingly complex structures. A bamboo plant and human being are made of a slightly different combination of the exact same stuff. On a chemical level I'm virtually identical to Donald Drumpf and couldn't be more far apart in every other sense. How the fuck can somebody not appreciate how much we are like individual snowflakes? To quote a song I like by Nahko, "I am a miracle. Made up of particles." The mind alone. The fact that our core functions as living beings beyond keeping ourselves alive is to observe and experience our existence should be sufficient evidence of a continued existence in some form beyond what we are now. The capacity for belief and wonderment are not at all necessary for survival but none of this would be possible without that. But every thing, every single little tiny thing happens for a reason. From your migraines to wind patterns to why certain bugs pollinate certain flowers. As awful as some of it is, everything exists in a perfect moment, at a perfect balance. That doesn't just happen. That's not an accident. There absolutely has to be a reason we interpret our existence to every conceivable and often wrong truth while experiencing an infinite gambit of beautiful and terrible possibilities. Shit. With computers and burgeoning AI we know that a mind and intelligence are perfectly possible without being tied to functions of life. So to say that a mind or soul can exist outside of life is perfectly reasonable. The form is currently impossible to comprehend. But we know data can be conducted via energy through space and transported. It's how we're discussing this right now. What is the mind but a collection of data? Energy cannot be destroyed but can take on other forms. And we run on energy. We know all of this stuff. We know so very, very much about our existence. And the more we learn the more we realize we only comprehend about 1% of our existence. For everything we're right about, we're wrong about so much more. To say we stop existing after our bodies expire is a little too foolishly certain. To say we're here at random without some form of intelligent design is naive. It's just that, you look at all this, you look at everything we do understand under the magnifying glass of everything we don't understand, and to say, "I believe in something with all my heart!" feels so small. Whether it's Heaven or nothing. Especially when those beliefs were made thousands of years ago by bigger idiots than us. I see and understand enough to know that an existence beyond our observable universe is certainly possible. I think our capacity to learn, grow, and experience shows function beyond survival. If somebody asks, "Why are we here?" The only answer that makes any sense to me is simply to be here. To experience this. To be wrong or right. To discover. To love, hate, enjoy each other. To grow ourselves. To grow together. To continue to be more than we were yesterday. To climb and stumble. To tend to, hurt, wonder, gaze upon, and question. To live. All of this, every bit of it is just as important to experience being hungry or tired. Physical sensations. We know that all behavior, all action, every single event occurs for a reason. So "Why are we here?" To do all these things seems reason enough. To what end though is the question I can't answer. And I just don't have it in me to place my faith in a belief that's probably wrong. It's not at all wrong to believe. We have that, we do that for countless reasons. And sometimes I can let myself go enough to feel the core reason we believe is because there is indeed something to believe in. Something in that vastness of shit we can't possibly comprehend. I guess I have no real way of knowing when I'm holding myself back and when I'm throwing myself forward. It's all so much and I always feel so incredibly small. I feel like I'm always wrong and terrible, but sometimes I take comfort in that. Like in some ways it's healthier than being someone who puts so much faith in the certainty of being right all the time. I think it stunts me from bridging that gap though. That willingness to look into the vast unknown and attach an absolutely certain belief to it. Does something more happen when we die? There are enough indicators in all the places we're not looking for it to say, "Yeah. There's probably something more to us than this moment." Can I comprehend what it is? No. Can I put any certainty of beliefs into it? No. Should I even be looking for a greater miracle than the fact that I have the privilege of existing against all odds in this, the absolute impossible? Fuck, that makes me feel like an asshole.






Just a few random thoughts.






People always look for ways to see the grass as greener. This seems like an incredible oversight when you take a moment to realize, "Holy shit! There is fucking grass!"






I read a thing recently discussing evolution in The Bible. Jesus was considered to be tall at the time, and him and I were the same height when I was ten. For some reason this got me thinking about how a fish will grow to fit his environment. Any archaeological site of past civilizations will show you that people are getting bigger over the ages. We're still so tiny, but we're also currently trying to extend our environment to Mars and beyond. Dumb thoughts. But fun to play with.






Anyway, I know I'm full of contradiction and hypocrisy. I'm just trying (and probably failing) to illustrate why it's so hard for me to put faith into something. Why I don't think it's wrong to believe in something but why doing so on such a grand scale is too much for me. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. I wish I could. I feel insane most of the time without it. I know I have a hole in my heart because of it. But I suppose I can't fill it until I've exhausted every reason as to why it's there in the first place. Hopefully there's some little thread of logic in my incoherent rambling.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Necromantica: Reading Trailer

A haunted forest.
A killer escaping justice.
So begins the apocalypse.


$2.99 ebook available at


$7.99 paperback available at




Check out reviews and ratings on Amazon and Goodreads.





Saturday, July 9, 2016

Vixen. Tease. Oh your siren song.

I'll admit it. I'm a bit obsessed.

While all of you are out chasing down Pokémon in the streets, I have my own fixation.



Everybody knows how this goes. Everybody knows this feeling.

I catch myself staring. Gawking. I'm finding dumb little excuses to walk by again. And again. I smile. Give glances. I act like I'm not interested and not paying attention but oh my god all I can do is pay attention.

Why am I being so coy? The longer I wait the worse it pangs me. I know in my heart this won't lead anywhere good. I've been there, right there, so very many times before and every single time amounted to nothing. Just passing through. Slam. Bam. Thank you, ma'am. But when it's forbidden? How can anybody expect me to control myself when going inside is forbidden?

You know you've got it bad when you can't help but take a picture. Why would I do such a stupid thing? It's nothing real. Nothing tangible. But I still took a picture. There it is. Right in front of me. Just waiting for me to grab hold, to capture it. If for no other reason than to stew my own sickness.


It's not so much that they walled off that part of my store. It's not even the door. But the sign? My god, the sign!

THIS DOOR LEADS TO NOWHERE.

It doesn't. I know it doesn't. Nothing leads to nowhere. Why would it lead nowhere? But then again why wouldn't it? Everybody always says my life is getting me nowhere. For a long time, whenever I look in the mirror I can feel myself at its cusp. Wandering aimlessly, lost in my phone, hoping to catch hold of things that never existed. And there it is. Right in front of me. Everywhere I've been headed. And as long as I never open that door that's exactly where it's taking me. Nowhere.

It's such a tease. The way it makes you thirst for not thirsting. God I want it. I want so little, so bad.

There's a funny thing about getting nowhere. You can step toward it, chasing it all around, pining for all the things you didn't think it was. Or just not step at all. Either route will you get you there.

Yep. I'm definitely in the middle now.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Literally a bunch of Snapchats of me eating fries


My apologies to my Snapchat followers. Sometimes I just don't know what else to say...


Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine snapchats

My brothers talked me into trying Snapchat a while back. I can't say exactly what it was that won me over.

"See, we can send quick pics and videos to each other."

Of course we can. We all own smartphones.

"But these delete after twenty-four hours."

I can just delete the stuff you send me that isn't worth keeping. Also, if I find something interesting I can already tweet it, Vine it, Facebook it, pinterest it, blog it, YouTube it, or just text message it to you.

"Trust us. It's great. I mean, except for some reason somebody sends an occasional dump snap. But apart from that it's great."

What's a dump snap?

"...Anyway, you should totally get Snapchat!"

So despite already being super saturated in social media, I downloaded Snapchat. I was right to think there's no real point to it. In fact I'd say having a point defeats it's purpose. It's just one more dumb thing to dick around with. For example, here's my yesterday:


At least I finally figured out a use for emoji.



Saturday, February 13, 2016

It's sterile. You can drink it.

I kind of hate to say Panera has become a regular part of my lunch break rotation. Not that the food isn't good. And if you study the menu online some of it's even pretty good for you. But they are a touch more expensive than they should be.

"Yes, that is a pretty good sized bowl of mac n' cheese. But it's still an eight dollars for mac n' cheese."

Vincent Vega would not eat here.


As much as I wish I could live off Panera's Chicken Tortelini Alfredo, my current favorites are the black bean soup and Asian sesame chicken salad. Both are low calorie, low fat, little to no cholesterol, and damn tasty.

An occasional chocolate chip cookie for dessert of course, which completely negates everything I just said in the last paragraph, but is still pretty good.

Panera, feel free to stop reading and send me a check now. Or some coupons or whatever.

Of course I'm sure many of you are asking one of of two things at this point. 

"Since when did Keith start writing a food blog?"

Or

"That's good and fine, but dammit man, but quit holding us in suspense! What do you get to drink?"

Beverages are that important.

Stealing clear from pop, I'm having a small love affair with their green tea.

Truthfully I don't even like green tea, but I do drink a ton of it. Usually with honey. Lots and lots of honey. 

Thankfully at Panera, no honey is needed. It tastes great. But there's still one minor problem. Not with the tea itself, but recall I'm going to Panera on my lunchbreaks. I usually get a refill on my way out and continue to sip at it over the next five hours or so.

Damn good stuff!

But every day, without fail, one coworker or another spots the cup of green tea and sizes it up like it might bite them. The typical question is this: "What is that? Piss?"

Seriously. Yesterday four separate people asked the same question. Not sarcastically. Not to be funny or clever. They're straight faced. Borderline concerned. Clear objection to the possibly threatening drink before them. So much so that they have to belittle it.

"What are you drinking? That's not... Is that piss?"


Now, let's just take a step back and consider the fact that I work with people so unfamiliar with the sight of iced tea that it puzzles them. 


Tea is totally and completely alien to a surprising amount of people that I know. Bare minimum, fifteen. That's how many were puzzled at the sight of my drink in the past two weeks.

Which means there's probably way, way more people than just them who are unfamiliar with tea.

And a curious fact about this is that there's a solid chance some of them may very well pee green.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

"I HAVE THE POWER!"

I was at my weekend job yesterday, loading a 65" ultra high def TV into a customer's SUV. I had it pretty much all the way in when my general pelvic region pressed into the back bumper of the vehicle, setting off the car alarm. The customer jumped. Several passersby all jolted. And I thought, "Yep! Still got it."


And that's the most interesting thing that's happened to my crotch in years...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Not so radical dream

I had a dream last night that ISIS was trying to radicalize me.

Let me back this up a moment and point out that I'm not Muslim. I wouldn't even say I'm particularly religious. Spiritual, sure, but I can closer acquaint my beliefs to the concept of The Force than I can any established religion.

That said, I did study some Islam in college, lived with a few Muslims at one point, and do find the faith rather beautiful. At least what I know about it. I feel like even with my experiences I only ever scratched the surface. I know enough to think that all people everywhere should celebrate Ramadan. But for what it's worth I say the same thing about Christmas. And National Ferret Day.

Anyway, last night I had a dream that I was in this dingy condo, surrounded by the sort of terrorists you expect to see on TV. Either older men with unkempt beards or younger guys in worn t-shirts and masks. And they kept trying to feed me cheeseburgers. Because that's what Americans eat.

"Come on. Have a cheeseburger. Renounce your allegiance to west and have some cheeseburgers."

No. Really. I couldn't. I seldom eat red meat. And I don't think those buns are gluten free.

"Just one cheeseburger. You've got to try at least one."

I'm sorry. I'm just not hungry. And my cholesterol is horrid.

"They're great burgers. We'll put wrestling on TV and you have some cheeseburgers."

Oh I don't watch wrestling.

And this seemed to stump them.

But that was it. My entire dream in a nutshell. I woke up kind of good about myself. Not over my withstanding the power of cheeseburgers, even in a dream state (although I do feel deserving of a trophy for it). But because, even though my imagination portrayed terrorists as the exact stereotypes pictured on TV (but isn't that more the media's fault?), they were still good hosts and although a bit pushy, still very polite and generous hosts. And pretty much every Muslim I've ever personally known has had that similar quality to them. They're always so polite and generous. So I was glad to see that translated into my subconscious. Good job, me. Good job. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

"What's your book like?"

I see this often.

Writers, to entice readers, compare their new books to other stuff. Not that it's always a bad thing. A quick example would be along the lines of, "It's a spy story. Do you like Jason Bourne or James Bond? Well my book is in that genre. It's about the top spy in India's government. It has international espionage. Intense action sequences. Exotic locations. If you like James Bond, this is similar in genre, but goes in a different direction and offers something totally new and different."

The comparison is there, but we're also given a promise of something unique and original. Unfortunately online I see a lot of writers go in another direction. The example being, "It's like if that Indian dude from Heroes was James Bond." Or, "It's like Life of Pi grows up and becomes James Bond."

 As much as we'd all love to see Pi Patel thwart Spectre, there's a lot lost in this description. Mostly creativity. My immediate reaction to this sort of advertising is that the author has very few original ideas and probably watches way too much TV.

It's just poor practice. At least for the author or publisher. You should be able to sell your story on its own merit without pilfering the credibility of more successful works.

And just to make the distinction, there's no problem here if somebody's who's read the book is trying to recommend it to friends. There's a thick line between an author trying to pitch knock off James Bond and some coworker on a James Bond kick.

My reason for pointing this out is that I recently saw an author do this in her own book title. The novel was called Blind Influence: It's Like Jason Bourne Meets The Good Wife In The West Wing.



Since I first saw this, the title has been reduced to Blind Influence. So the author learned her lesson. There's a hyperlink for anybody interested in reading her stuff. It very well could be a good book. And I can't completely fault her for attempting this tactic. The argument being that it's tough to get noticed. For indie writers like myself, it takes a lot of constant hammering for people to gain interest in our works. Every day I'm tweeting. I'm pushing my novel to friends and family on Facebook. I go to local bookstores asking if they'd like a few copies on their shelves. I post in several author and Kindle forums. I create new content for my blog. I send out promotional copies. I've purchased several online ads. I've sunk way more  time and money into my book than I've seen returned. Marketing is a full time job, and like many authors, my degree is in creative writing. Not any form of business. Actually, that's about as far from a degree as I could get. In fact, having no degree at all would be closer than mine to a degree in business. So a lot of what I do trial and error. More often than not, the day ends with no new book sales and an ever growing feeling of failure. I certainly understand Linda Riesenberg Fisler's tactic of comparing her book to three popular things in one title. It makes perfect sense why so many authors attempt pushing their work this way. But the fault is still there. While it seems enticing to draw people in by using films and shows they might enjoy, doing so runs the massive risk of showing a lack of originality.

For a bit of comparison, this is the same technique grocery stores use to push their own versions of products that are never quite the original.

"Why drink Coca-Cola when you could have Walmart Brand Soda for a dollar less? It's practically the same thing."

Simply put, it feels cheap. It feels like a knock off. It doesn't even matter how it tastes. The last thing you want to say about your new novel is, "It's practically the same thing as something else."

You don't want to sell It's practically James Bond

You want to sell This is bigger and better than James Bond

You want to sell This kicks James Bond's ass! 

You want to sell This book drags James Bond out in the middle of the woods, ties him to a tree, bludgeons him repeatedly with a baseball bat covered in razor blades, and then leaves him for dead before an inevitable bear attack.

...Okay. Well, maybe not THAT enthusiastic. But you get the idea. Don't settle for comparing your original work to something else. Elevate it above all that old news that's already out there.

So lesson over. But let's keep talking and build on it a bit. Like I said, I've been trying to push my latest novel, attempting all sorts of online and offline advertising. Typically with mixed levels of success. Building a brand takes time. You're going to have a lot of defeating days of hard work before your audience even starts to notice this awesome thing you've created. And I'm right there with you. Which of course means I have to take you down. You know, being the competition and all.

No really, I'm going to use my novel as an example for the rest of this blog to further illustrate the point. You're all safe. Or at least I want you to feel that way. But, seriously, sleep with one eye open.

Anyway, my novel is a fantasy story called Necromantica. Here's an ad I've been using online:


Feels original, doesn't it? Of course there is the worry is that some people will react negatively, thinking the ad makes the book feel like a garbled mess of far too many ideas. Or that it's too broad. And that's okay. Other ads on Facebook and Google are more image based, showing just the cover and one or lines of text. With this ad, the book looks like so many things, but what is it? Who is it appealing to? The most basic description of the plot is that Necromantica is about a thief and necromancer sneaking their way through a battle field during an orc invasion in attempt to steal a magic relic from an evil king, and everything goes horribly wrong. The advertisement says none of this. Its only goal is to create enough intrigue to get readers to click on the link and read a bit more. Whether that link is to this blog or the book description on Amazon. I'm not spoiling anything. I'm not inviting direct comparisons. I'm showing my hand while leaving as much mystique as possible. So And here's the book description and cover.


Before I go on, I should point out that all of the art in my ads were created by Christina Irwin. The link is to her email, and I can't recommend her enough. Her art is fantastic. Her rates are awesome. She's worked with multiple indie writers and definitely gets how to sell a book. Currently she's working on a book trailer for me and I'm pretty much counting the minutes until it's finished.

That said, now that you have a sense of the story, let's get back to our earlier topic of comparing stories to other things. It's an action packed fantasy novel featuring orcs, necromancy, thieves, an epic battle, and an evil king. So right away, I can draw comparisons to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Dungeons & Dragons fans would love it. But let's examine how that statement plays online:

Necromantica. It's like Lord of the Rings meets Game of Thrones! The perfect book for D&D fans.

This loses all intrigue. Originality is out the window. Any respectful fan of fantasy will roll their eyes at comparing LOTR and GOT. And not every lover of the genre is into D&D. Connoisseurs of fantasy, the audience I'm trying to cultivate, are going to be put off by that advertisement. Also, I've left absolutely no room for people not interested in any of those things. I'm never going to win over people not interested in fantasy, but I want to be appealing to people who enjoy fantasy without necessarily liking those three specific things. So instead, let's try working on statement that discusses the story, but keeping those comparisons in mind. Let's start as broad as possible. This won't be the final advertisement, but we still need an original foundation to work with.

Necromantica. An action packed fantasy adventure.

WAAAAAAAY too broad. We've got the feel of the story. We want an ad that appeals to lovers of fantasy who enjoy action and adventure. But when we say it directly, it comes off as plain vanilla. So let's build a little bit. Let's work some plot into that.

Necromantica, Two thieves battle through an orc invasion to face an evil king.

Note the underlining and italicizing. For our purposes, I'm trying to show how the sentence breaks down. A few notes here. First, we have our main characters; two thieves. I haven't mentioned that one of them is a necromancer, and given that the book is titled Necromantica, it's probably a detail that demands a lot more attention. But we're still improving from comparing to other works and flat statements of being action and adventure. We have protagonists, our party of heroes often seen in fantasy stories. We have multiple antagonists, being the orcs and evil king. Describing the protagonists and thieves helps set a tone for the story. Also note we have thieves, orcs, and an evil king. There are no good guys here. Just different degrees of bad guys. We have the implication that because these characters are thieves, this story is some sort of caper. They are after something to get at this evil king. And we have a massive obstacle for them to overcome in the orc invasion.

Another thing done here is that we're allowing the person to read this statement to make their own attachments. "There's an evil king in this. Game of Thrones has that evil king, Joffrey. Man, I want that little shit to die. I hope these two thieves really stick it to him."

Okay, maybe not that enthusiastic, but you get the point. 

"An orc invasion, huh? Lord of the Rings had an orc invasion. Bilbo was a burglar in The Hobbit, so are these thieves like him?"

But we're also not limiting ourselves to those specific franchises. We're allowing readers to make their own meaningful connections.

"Thieves, eh? I really like that movie where Sean Connery played a thief. And Sean Connery also played James Bond. Oh my god! I bet this book is exactly like James Bond. And maybe with some Good Wife stuff thrown in."

Well, probably not that comparison.

Also of note is that not once in that statement did we use the words action, adventure, or fantasy. But every single one of them was implied. We have orcs and an evil king, so this is definitely a fantasy novel. We have an invasion and thievery, so action and adventure are most definitely present. At a minimum, it's a safe bet that the two thieves aren't just sitting a room discussing the politics of the king as orcs wage war off in some countryside. So all of those adjectives are in the subtext, but we're using our limited advertising space to discuss the story itself. Is it successful? Well, we'll see how many people click on the links. Personally, I think there's still some stuff missing. Again, one of the thieves is a necromancer. She uses magic to command dead bodies to arise and become her zombie warriors. This is a major hook for the story, and a new twist on a familiar concept. Necromancers, particularly in LOTR, are consistently villains. We have one in the hero role. The fact that she's a strong woman being significantly more than a romantic interest  in a fantasy adventure appeals to an entire audience I haven't even tapped into. So let's try something about her.

Necromantica. A thief commands a zombie horde in her battle against an evil king during an orc invasion.
The operative word being her. We've got one of our main characters, but a few things are off here. It feels cluttered. We're missing the other thief. And while it's fine to drop some details to highlight other features of the story, we want to convey as much as possible. But let's back up and simplify a little.

Necromantica. A thief commands a zombie horde in her battle against an evil king.
I dropped the orcs in favor of focusing on the central conflict with the character. She's trying to get at the evil king. But in losing the orcs, I've also lost a major indication of the fantasy genre. For all we know in this sentence, the story is modern day and takes place in some Eastern European country. Since I'm trying to appeal to fantasy readers, I definitely want to make sure there's some indicator of it in my advertising. Now, those of you who really looked at the book cover and advertisement earlier may have noted that the woman has pointed ears. She's an elf. So let's substitute a detail and see how that looks.

Necromantica. An elf commands a zombie horde in her battle against an evil king.
Did we lose the thief and caper aspects? Yes. But at the price of making our lead character perhaps a bit more intriguing. We have her central conflict and her motivation. We have fantasy. We have action and adventure. We have plenty of comparisons to LOTR and GOT for people to connect with.

The question may arise, "Should I use one ad over another?"

No. Absolutely not. I encourage people to use multiple ads, blurbs, and taglines. You want to appeal to a specific audience, but not every ad is going to appeal to everyone in that audience. Every time you say something different, you're giving your potential readers a little taste of something new. Variety is your friend. Especially on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook, where redundancy gets really old, really fast. In one tweet discuss the overall plot. In another, say something about a character. In another, give a tagline. For the people who read multiple ads, the story becomes more familiar without getting old. Have you ever seen the same commercial on TV over and over again? And by the fourth time you're ready to burn down whatever advertising agency? The same rule applies. Always try to say something new, fresh, original. You're writing creatively, so be creative. And always be way more creative than comparing your book to other things.But if you have to do it, at least be more original than everyone else.

Necromantica. It's like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones were making love all over The Walking Dead when Rambo III showed up and started blasting Romeo & Juliet all over everybody's faces while belting out moments from Inglourious Basterds and stabbing The Raid: Redemption into their hearts. Then The Great Escape and The Crow showed up and were like, "This blood orgy is straight out of Kill Bill meets Cabin In The Woods but with an Assassin's Creed twist!" Suddenly, Sin City and Mad Max: Fury Road joined in while asking, "Wait? What's Star Wars doing here?" Then Edge of Tomorrow birthed Evil Dead 2 and said, "I don't know, man. But it's fucking hot."

Yeah. My book is kinda like that. There's no sex in the story. But it's kind of like that.