Geekomancy: Nostalgia Powered Fiction

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Nostalgia Powered Fiction

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As a writer, I’m told incessantly that I need to read broadly. If your life is anything like mine then you already have a backlist of a hundred books or more dancing seductively every time you approach the bookshelf. If that wasn’t enough, every single person you meet has their own list that they are all too happy to share with you.

Now your list is even longer!

The good news is that I’m here to help, not just make your struggles worse. Instead of delivering you a more standard book review, I want to focus in on what a certain book can teach you about writing.

This month’s pick is Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood and what I learned about writing to an audience. If a book review is what you’re after, you can find a great one here written by Paul Weimer.


Now, about My Foray into Geekomancy

Writing Excuses CruiseI first heard about this book over a year ago while listening to the Writing Excuses Podcast link. Mike was a guest on the show talking about How to Hand-Sell your manuscript to Agents and Editors and his books sounded simply fascinating.

Let’s fast forward nine months to where I was lucky enough to meet Mike on the Writing Excuses Workshop and Retreat (which was also an awesome cruise, check out this boat), which put the book back on my radar.

Upon arriving home I immediately purchased it on, even going so far as to download it onto my phone. Even then, it wasn’t until late October that I finally got around to listening to blasted thing. I didn’t make it more than a couple chapters before realizing something.


I mean, really loved it. Like, to an irritating degree. You can just ask my wife. I admit I was more than a little annoying, but that’s what she gets for marrying me. Anyway, I was about halfway through the book for a second time before a thought struck me.


WHY do I love it so much?

Well, lots of reasons

  • The nostalgia powered nerd magic was awesome.
  • The Characters were entertaining and distinctive with their endless snark and attitude.
  • The action scenes were well structured, making me want to channel my inner Michael Weston and kick some butt.
  • It was just freaking fun to read.

All of these things are true, but they still didn’t explain the essence of the matter. It actually took me several days of serious thought before I understood what was happening. In the end, here’s what it really came down to.


I felt like the book was written for me.

Like, specifically for me, C.R. Rowenson the gamer, writer, Firefly Fan, and all around nerd.

This book triggered dozens of happy memories in my life, and each consecutive chapter only seemed to amplify the effect. While reading about the adventures of Ree the budding geekomancer, I was reminded of countless hours spent laughing, crying, and everything in between, both alone and with friends. Let’s not forget all the games, books, and movies it had me pining over.

That is when I realized I was part of Mike’s “target audience.”

If you’ve been writing for a while, I’m sure you have heard this piece of advice dozens, if not hundreds, of times. I know I had, but it wasn’t until reading Geekomancy that I really understood it.


So how can you develop your own writing Super Power and really target a specific cross-section of humanity?

Geekomancy Cover

Looking at Mike’s work, the answer seems to be another piece of age-old writing advice.

Write what you love and others will love it too.

Like I said, I had the fortune of meeting Mike on the cruise, but I still don’t know him very well. From our time talking and his presence online, it seems to me that Mike is, and always has been, a massive nerd. I’m willing to bet that Mike wrote this book as much to entertain himself as anyone else.

Not only did this allow him to deliver a compelling narrative that hooked me by the jugular, I feel like I learned a thing or two about Mike in the process. It was an incredible trip and has me excited to read more of his books

So take another look at the story you are writing or the next one on your list. What about it really calls to you? What single premise or sentence makes you sit up and take notice? Can you make that pull stronger somehow?

See what you can come up with, and remember: with great power come great royalties… or something like that

Please bear in mind that I could be wrong and not all approaches work for everyone. I know several writers that don’t like to read in the genre they write in, but they seem to be the exception more than the general rule.

But you will have to read the book to see what you can learn.

Question: How does your favorite book connect with you as a person?

Let me know your answer in the comments below or shoot me an email. If you really enjoyed this bit of Book Learning, sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post again.

Until next time, keep reading and keep learning.

Rowenson out.

6 Responses

  1. MMMMWAAHAHA! “With great power comes great royalties. MMMMWAAHAAH. I nearly woke up my friend’s houseful of sleeping children with that one. Thanks a lot.

    And I have always loved mysteries (Mom taught me to read on Nancy Drew, after all), so it makes sense that Madeline would develop mad skills over time. Oh yeah, and thanks a lot. I’ve got a dead body in book 2. It wasn’t supposed to happen until book 6. I blame you.

    • C. R. Rowenson

      Thanks for validating my terrible sense of humor, and I refuse to apologize for what happened to your plans for Madeline. Besides, you write so fast, that only added a month or two to your plans. As it stands I’m too scared of falling behind to really dive into a series.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Don’t you just love that I can’t spell my own name? Cool, right?

    • C. R. Rowenson

      Given our recent efforts recording the podcast, I can’t spell your name either.

  3. […] story behind this bit of Book Learning is rather similar to that of Geekomancy: Nostalgia Powered Fiction. I first heard about Steve’s book on a Writing Excuses episode on Horror as a Subgenre and later […]

  4. […] you going for a nostalgic and geeky, action-adventure book like in Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood or Ready Player One by Ernest Cline? Maybe you want the paranormal thriller vibe like in Residue […]

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