Frank Herbert's Dune is one of those early-on influencers that I haven't read in years. Nevertheless I have managed to make references to Dune in a couple stories--and not really on purpose, and only one was direct. The other involved a girl with deep cuts in her shoulders and the medic thinking that they reminded him of something he'd read about drowned fishermen with similar claw marks (You know, one fisherman saved himself by standing with his claw boots on the shoulders of the less fortunate fellow).
Anyway, there are pieces of culture, old stories, folklore, and other interesting bits of information floating around my head--along with all the other crap--when I have my fingers on the keyboard, and some of them manage to surface at just the right time--just in time to make the perfect connection with the words that happen to be running through my fingertips.
Sometimes it's on purpose. I think to myself, I need to make a reference to Aristotle somewhere in here, or Boston, or how different army posts are from the houses and streets right on the other side of the fence. And there's a purpose to this.
I have given my characters t-shirts with something written on them, something I picked up somewhere, thought cool, worth telling--or retelling. (Surf New Hampshire!)
So, I'm wondering if anyone has ever taken advantage of this? Have you thought of purposefully showing--writing in--one of your characters wearing a t-shirt with something cool on it--tough girl wearing a shirt with "I HIT LIKE A GIRL" (with the obvious implication that you don't want to know what that feels like)--or your book title, or some reference to your story or characters?
And then making t-shirts and giving them away for publicity?
The thing about t-shirts is that people wear them over and over. And people read what's on them. There are blogs dedicated to critiquing t-shirts. There are t-shirt companies that produce form-fitting cotton versions of sandwich boards (Reactee).
Okay, even if you don't think of it when you're writing (I have to say, I don't), what about putting a little something in after the fact. A couple words, a phrase, something short enough to put in big letters on a shirt...