Monday, December 31, 2012

Michael Offutt - Sci-fi, GLBT, and Paranormal Word Wizard


Hello everyone – I have a nice treat this week, Michael Offutt, author of A Crisis of Two Worlds Series, and particularly the second book, Oculus, a sci-fi GLBT with a paranormal twist. Doesn’t this sound like a fun genre mix;) Before we get started with our interview, here’s a bit about Michael:

Michael Offutt writes speculative fiction books that have science fiction, GLBT, and paranormal elements. His first book, "Slipstream" has received some critical acclaim and was published by Double Dragon in the spring. The sequel, "Oculus" came out in November 2012. He has one brother, no pets, and a few roots that keep his tree of life sufficiently watered. By day, he works for the State of Utah as a Technical Specialist. By night, he watches lots of t.v., writes, draws, and sometimes dreams of chocolate. 

Michael Offutt graduated from the University of Idaho in 1994 with a Bachelor's degree in English. 

He keeps a blog and would appreciate a visit or two even if all you want to do is say hi.

Okay, Michael…and everyone, settle in while Michael gives us the dish on Oculus and its story-stars… 

Tell us about the story-star hero, Jordan…what’s his job? What does he do for a living?

Jordan is a hockey player for Cornell University’s men’s hockey team. He’s in the college physics program (the only one on his team that majors in something so difficult).

See more of Michael's artwork here:

Can you tell us about the abilities of Jordan? How do they help OR hinder?

Jordan is an archangel (the big reveal at the end of book one). He can create a field of invisible energy around him that allows him to match the velocity of one particle of matter to one that’s already moving. He calls this effect “the slipstream” and in Oculus it gets quite powerful because he realizes that light is a form of matter. So he can throw beings he encounters out of our universe by making their particles accelerate to the speed of light. Since physics doesn’t permit this, they vanish from the universe to go to a place where physics does allow this, hurtling presumably, at the speed of light until the end of time. It’s kind of a horrible fate. 

Dang…I’ll say it’s a horrible fate, but I’m sure worthy of a bad-guy’s fate from an archangel;)

Why this location? Anything in particular in real-life that made you select it?

The setting of the book is Cornell University. I’ve always had a crush on Ivy League schools and Cornell has everything that I needed to make the book work.

Is Oculus included in a series? If so, what series and can you give us titles and a tagline for other books in this series?

Oculus is book two in A Crisis of Two Worlds Series. The first book is Slipstream. My tagline for it is “A teenage boy from Earth must battle for survival in a world filled with glass spiders, hockey sticks, and monsters from the id.”

Can you share anything about the evil / magic / mystery / paranormal or fantasy beings in the story? What’s unique about them?

The creatures that I use in Oculus consist of a demon prince called Belial (who is one of the four-crowned princes of Hell), Charon (a demi-god), a “ghost” named Miranda, azghuls, and a creature called “the dustman.” 

Belial basically serves a greater evil created in the first book and is following his instructions to find a way for her master to survive on Earth. To do so, he must possess a body, but not just any body. It needs to be one that can successfully host the spirit and power of the Horcus (her master).  

Miranda is not a ghost in the traditional sense. She’s called this because her brain is kept alive in a fluid suspension in a jar somewhere (normally, she would inhabit a machine.)  

But in this story, Charon (an entity with god-like powers) actually transplants Miranda’s mind into the body of a young woman in exchange for her service. Miranda is overseeing the construction of a vast army of automatons called “Dustmen.”  

These things are literally filled with dust and are almost unkillable. The Horcus plans to destroy the Earth, and he’ll need the use of an unkillable army.  

The azghuls are humans who have been impregnated by a worm that wraps itself around the brain stem and turns them into mental slaves of Charon, willing to do his bidding, and serving the needs of his secret cult.

The story-stars in Oculus sound rich in flavor with sci-fi and paranormal…yum;)

Which scene was your favorite to write? Can you share a little of it?

My favorite scene was actually the climax. It’s extremely exciting, but I don’t want to share it because it’s the climax of the book. I think I really nailed the ending and endings are so hard to write.

Oh, man, I completely get the hard to write endings – just went through that myself…for months.

Where can we find you? List all of your links.

Anyone that goes there will find all the links they could possibly want and information about all of my stories.


Quickie Quiz

       Getting to know Michael Offutt…


2 Things you do to relax: I watch television and illustrate. 

Favorite sport to watch: Hockey.  

Cat or Dog: Nope 

Favorite places to write:  My computer in my office. 

Place you’ve always wanted to go, but haven’t: San Francisco 

Breakfast drink: Coffee with biscotti 

Favorite season ~ why: Summer because it’s warm. 

What are your hobbies /past times (besides writing): I love to draw, play games, and watch movies/television.


Michael offers an exclusive GIVEAWAY for this post – Drawing on Friday (1/4/13). Leave a question or comment along with your e-mail address to be entered – he’s offering a custom made bookmark that he’ll mail to any commenter (international is fine), and his book, Oculus, in pdf, mobi, or epub to a commenter as a prize. Additionally, if you need the first book, Slipstream, he would be happy to e-mail this instead. 

TOUR-WIDE: 6 signed copies being given away tour-wide, open to international shipping – enter Rafflecopter below…

Click Cover for Amazon Buy Link

Oculus by Michael Offutt 

Genre: Sci-fi, GLBT, touch of paranormal 

Book Description: 

Autumn has arrived in New York, and Jordan Pendragon attends his first classes as a freshman at Cornell. Born with a brilliant mathematical mind, he balances life as a research assistant with that of a student athlete. 

But Jordan also has a quest. He must find the Black Tower, a monolithic edifice housing a thing that defines the very structure of the universe. Jordan believes it is buried somewhere in Antarctica under miles of prehistoric ice. 

October finds Jordan earning a starting position with the Cornell hockey team. But a dark cloud gathers over his rookie season. Unexplained deaths, whispers of a cannibal cult, a prophecy, and a stone known only as the Oculus, cast a shadow over his athletic ambitions. It is the start of a terrifying journey down a path of mystery, murder, and to a confrontation with an Evil more ancient than the stars. 

Free short story that's a lead-in to this book series:

Click Button for Michael's Tour Schedule

Michael – thanks so much for hanging out at my place for the whole week;) I’ll be asking more questions in the comments and please feel free to share more about yourself, your work, and your story-stars…we always love to hear moreJ

Congratulations on the release of Oculus and your upcoming release Caledfwlch, which is Book 3 of A Crisis of Two Worlds series.

Thanks everyone! Glad you stopped by to visit with Michael – please show him some love and stop by his blogsite…follow him on twitter and FBJ AND, don’t forget to leave a comment with your e-mail address to be entered in his giveaway. Fun Times when reading sci-fi, GLBT, and paranormal;)

Until Next Time…warm hearts and hugs,

Kay Dee 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Kay Dee Royal said...

Good Morning Michael, welcome to my place - and thank you for hanging out until Friday:)

I love the art of the college boy in the woods and noticed there were other pictures on your Amazon page - are you the artist? If so, is there a place we might look at your gallery?

ALSO...what inspired the initial idea for "Slipstream" the first book in the series?

Roxanne Rhoads said...

He is an artist you can see a lot of his work at his blog

Louisa Bacio said...

What a great interview. I enjoy reading about new writers (new to me), and Michael, you certainly seem to have a varied imagination and talent!

Best of luck.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

@Kay Dee: Happy New Year and good morning to you too! And I don't mind hanging out until Friday. My blog is on hiatus until Wednesday when I blog for Alex's Insecure Writer's Support Group. So you might see a spike in blog traffic then. Until then, I've been active on twitter and sending out links and dangling a $50 gift card if people will just send out a tweet about where I'm at in the tour.

Thank you sooo much for complimenting my drawing of Andy. He's Jordan's best friend. I'm working on another one of Robbie and got some new supplies from the Ultrecht art store. And to answer your question, yes I'm the artist. Roxanne linked the page for you. It shows all the art from stories I work on, etc.

"Slipstream" was kind of inspired by quantum physics. I read Stephen Hawking and Neils de Grasse Tyson and was just thinking: what if there are multiple universes? And that led me to thinking that if there is a god, he might not be in this universe but in another one and would use angels as messengers to go between universes that he engineered. Which led me to envision god as an engineer and not the conventional "god" that most people think of. So I created these "boxes" and had them run a continuous mathematical program that defined all the laws of physics for the universe in which they reside. That's what my sci-fi series is all about: what happens when one of the boxes is interrupted for just a microsecond?

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

@Roxanne: Thanks for being so attentive! You swooped in before I could respond LOL *hugs

@Louisa: Thanks for the great compliment. I approved your friend request on Goodreads! It's great to meet new people and new authors. Your books look fascinating. I love vampires...Anita Blake, Anne Rice, the Vampire Diaries...although I didn't/couldn't quite get into Twilight. That was just way too different for me. I love reading erotica, but more the m/m type. The other stuff is great though so I do read m/f combinations. I wish there was more sexuality in science fiction. For example: George R.R. Martin gets it totally right and that's about the level of sex that I have in my books. But I think most authors just don't want to go there (too uptight or something).

Tanya Reimer said...

That was a really great interview. I enjoyed learning more about Michael and his great imagination.

bn100 said...

Nice interview. Thanks for sharing more about the book.


Kay Dee Royal said...

Thanks for the link, Roxanne:) I've got three grandsons taking up my time today and will need to wait till tomorrow so I can take my time:)

Hi Louisa - thanks so much for stopping in - I know exactly what you mean by meeting new authors - my genres for reading has definitely been expanding - sci-fi was the genre I read in my youth...and I've never really lost my love of it:)

Thanks for sharing, hearing how your idea came to you - love the concept of God and using angels for messengers:) How imaginative/creative.

Hi Tanya - thanks for stopping in and visiting with Michael - I know exactly what you mean about his sharing his imagination;)

bn100 - so glad you stopped in...I love when you visit:) Michael shared some great info in the interview:)

Happy New Year everyone:) See you tomorrow:)

Kay Dee Royal said...

Michael - what's your favorite TV shows - series?

Who is your favorite story-star in Oculus and why?

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

@Kay Dee: My favorite t.v. show is "The Walking Dead"

My favorite story-star in Oculus? That would probably be Jordan. He's the main character. I like him cause he's got a lot of great qualities, including that he's really smart.

I think "intelligence" is very attractive.

Donna Hole said...

Awesome interview Kay Dee and Michael. I liked the explanation of some of the demon/monsters.

I'm half way through the novel and hoping to have a review posted sometime this weekend. Your artwork is amazing - despite your own self critique Mike. I love it. Its why your covers are so great.


Christine Rains said...

That was a great interview! I especially loved reading about the paranormal beings in the book. So cool!

Helena said...

In all honesty, Michael, I kinda skipped a couple parts of this interview because I want to be really surprised by Oculus and just learn what happens as I read. That was my approach to reading Slipstream and for me the surprises made the story all the more fun for me. I also really liked how your universe and ideas were grounded in physics.

Kay Dee Royal said...

Hello Donna - welcome! Thanks so much for visiting - love to read your book review:)

Good Morning Christine - thanks so much for stopping by to visit with Michael:) Michael's "beings" do sound captivating and intriguing:)

Helena - Hey...thanks so much for stopping in and visiting with Michael - thanks for sharing that little tid-bit of physics, also:)

Michael - I've never seen The Walking it a premium station series? (like Showtime, HBO, Cinemax, etc.)

AND, I can understand having the hero of your series being your Jordan stars in each book of the series. (Not all series are set up with the same hero in each book).

Michael - I took a tour of your artwork - WOW, what an eye for detail. I love your work! So, did you take classes to hone your skill? Do you have other artwork besides what's on your blog site pages?

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

@KayDee: Yes, the series is about Jordan. Also, The Walking Dead is on AMC and airs on Sunday nights. It's presently on hiatus until February. I took a few art classes, and I just continuously hone my ability.

@Donna: I didn't do the covers for my books. That's the DDP cover artist, Deron Douglas.

Kay Dee Royal said...

Thanks for sharing, Michael - I'll have to catch one of the Walking Dead shows in February. I'm a complete push-over for Supernatural...always taping reruns to watch:)

We have a couple of winners - drawing ended up much later than I anticipated - here's the lucky winners:
CONGRATULATIONS to Donna Hole - you've won the custom made book mark

bn100 - you've won an e-copy of Oculus

Thank you both for leaving a comment and visiting with Michael.

Thank all of you for stopping by and visiting with Michael.

AND, Michael, it's been a pleasure having you here for the week...I've enjoyed learning about you and your genre...your art, and your stories;) Have an amazing 2013 and I wish you many, many more successes:)

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