Friday, May 4, 2012

Michael Offutt on Slipstream, Dyslexia, and Goatzilla

I have a really cool guest for you today!

First, A quick reminder that the A to Z Challenge Reflections Post is this coming Monday. Post your thoughts on the Challenge and then visit the main blog or any of the hosts and enter the link to your post in the Linky sign up.

My guest today is author Michael Offutt. His first book, Slipstream, just came out last month – and those of us who are authors remember how exciting it is with that very first book! Michael would like to share with you some of his writing rules and a giveaway he is hosting. Take it away, Michael!

Here are the seven rules I use when writing science-fiction:
1) Select a title that has already been done twenty times so that when people Google it, they will find old movies starring Mark Hamill and Anthony Hopkins. In this way you at least get the secondary traffic from people who have low standards.
2) Embrace your dyslexia. This is how you get some really cool alien names.
3) Use post-modernism in your story. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what that term means. No one else does either. But use it in your pitch and you’ll come across as smart.
4) Use a teenage male or female lead, an evil scientist, and a monster.
5) Recycle ideas that people find familiar. Instead of Godzilla, create Goatzilla—a 200-foot tall goat with radioactive breath who buries Puerto Vallarta under its own droppings. People will think you’re a genius.
6) Solicit good advice from people you know personally, but who really could care less about what you do. After querying 40 times and receiving 40 rejections from agents, it’s helpful to get told, “I think the key to publishing is getting an agent. Have you tried that?”
7) Solicit beta readers from a pool of people who would rather read OK Cupid and Facebook than read a book. These are perfect because they are looking for romance and boy are they ever gonna be surprised by your book. You can write love better than anyone.

And that my friends, is advice you can take to heart. But aside from my snark, you are wonderful. Never forget that. Never stop dreaming.

I have a contest for the release of my book, entitled SLIPSTREAM. I will pick one random person who comments on this post to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a SLIPSTREAM jeweled spider (the same person wins both prizes). The jeweled spider isn’t cheap either. It really sparkles in the sunlight. I hope whoever wins it really likes it. Please make sure that your email is linked to your signature in some way or I cannot contact you to let you know you’ve won.

1) Mark my book “To Read” on Goodreads.
2) Comment on this post.
3) Tweet this post if you have twitter. You don’t have to sign-up for twitter. It’s the “honor” system.

That’s it. I will choose a winner on Saturday, May 19th. And thank you, Mr. Cavanaugh for having me on your fine blog.

You can find Michael’s book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

Thanks, Michael! Any questions? Have you embraced your dyslexia? Think you could create a story around Goatzilla? Want to win the gift card and pin? Still recovering from the A to Z Challenge? I intend to step away from my computer and do something wacky this weekend. Well, probably not that wacky. But I saw AVENGERS Friday morning and it was AWESOME! And might head over to Myrtle Beach with the wife...


Anonymous said...

Wow did I really get the first comment?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, got to be quick to get the first comment. I like those rules they made me laugh. I also plan on seeing The Avengers this week now that I can finally leave the house!

Tonja Drecker said...

Now, I know what I was doing wrong! Embrace my dyslexia. Got it.

mooderino said...

Speak truth to power!


Good tips for those with dyslexia.


Old Kitty said...

Catzilla!! There must be a Catzilla VS Goatzilla! How epic is that?!?!

Awwww enjoy frolicking on the beach Mr and Mrs Ninja!

Good luck Michael and all the best with your fab looking book - I am salivating at your spider jewelry pic - it's shiny and I want!

Take care

Unknown said...

Will have to check out Michael's book. Have a great week-end and enjoy the Avengers, I saw it last week-end in 3D, never seen a movie in 3D before and was pleasantly surprised.

Elliot Grace said...

...a teenager, evil scientist, and a monster, got it!

Well done fellas, and good luck on Slipstream, Michael.


Cindy said...

Now those are rules to live by. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeremy, you got first comment! And get out of the house and enjoy.

Kitty, if Charlie is Catzilla, he'd win.

Sic, never seen 3D movie? You need to come to my house for 3D night.

Unknown said...

I'm old but I'm still trying to cope with dyslexia brought on by forcing me to be right handed when I was born left handed - yes they did that in the dark ages.. :0)

Laura Pauling said...

Considering I love whacky stories this sounds terrific! And the spider thing is really cool and I'm sure it sparkles - but no thanks. Spiders kinda creep me out!

Brinda said...

I wish I had known all these rules a year ago *headdesk*.

Huntress said...

Michael is one of my All-Time Favorite Entities, presumably human but you never know.

Best of luck to him.

Rusty Carl said...

All those rules are now written in my heart.

And I got my Avengers tickets right in front of me... well, on my phone, can't wait.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Carole, sounds cruel.

Laura, I won't let it get you!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Goatzilla sounds like a winner to me!

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Major congrats, Michael! Repeating titles...hmmm...Google clicks. It's amazing what we writers have to ponder. lol

Liza said...

Hope you get to Myrtle Beach Alex! Thanks for the interview Michael. Congratulations!

farawayeyes said...

Love Michael!

Downloaded Slipstream last night.

Embarrass your dyslexia. I do it all the time.

I think Goatzilla lives up the hill from me with his radioactive rooster. Who I am going to shoot some morning at 4AM BTW.

I want that SPIDER.

Laura Eno said...

Oh...goatzilla! I think I can work that into my next story...

Love your snark, Michael!

Cate Masters said...

Congrats Michael! There's nothing like your first book release. Enjoy.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex and Michael .. dyslexia - so important to 'forget it' .. and you're so creative ..

Good luck to you both with your books .. cheers Hilary

Hart Johnson said...

*falls over* EXCELLENT list! I love it! I wish you a ton of luck with your book, Michael! And done, done and done on the contest... well, okay, the first two are getting done shortly... though I think I will FB you instead of Twitter--I have more FB friends than followers...

Mary Aalgaard said...

That was funny. Best of luck to your book launch. May it find its way into many reader's libraries.

Play off the Page

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Wish I could apply and stick to the rules for longer than 3 seconds.

LynnRush said...

Awesome post. This made me smile. I wish you the best of luck on your writing!!! Enjoy the journey! Off to tweet this post now.

Bossy Betty said...

I enjoyed the postmoderism in this post.

Misha Gerrick said...

Hahahaha excellent advice, Mike. Will definitely go apply it right now. ;-P

Anonymous said...

Why is Goatzilla eating that skyscraper? It's a giant goat, it will eat anything.

Marta Szemik said...

Loved the post! So, dyslexia is the key? Then I must be doing something right. LOL! Cool post.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Rusty, I'm skipping work and hitting a show at 11:00 AM.

Shari, my books are too unique to take advantage of Google clicks.

Faraway, I'd shoot the rooster.

Laura, he was warned snark was required.

Charles, they eat everything.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hello, Alex and Mike,
One thing I knew for sure was that I'd get a chuckle from reading this. Cool rules, Mike!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Fantastic guest post! Loved Michael's snark;)

The Angry Lurker said...

I thought he was serious until I started reading his rules!

Julie Dao said...

I am now rewriting my Cinderella retelling to include an evil scientist and a monster. Thanks for the tips!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love those rules!!! Clever and funny - it almost makes me wish I were dyslexic - does ambidextrous count? maybe I could make up alien names by writing with both hands simulataneously then mixing the words together . . .
Headed over to Goodreads now, but I admit I may be able to read about spiders, but I'm not sure I could wear one . . .so please give that jeweled spider to someone who can wear it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

JL, we aim to make everyone smile on this blog!

Lurker, he is serious!

Tyrean, you're not the only one.

Matthew MacNish said...

Done, done, and done.

Hilarious post.

Budd said...

that was pretty funny. well done. makes me want to go out and buy the book for hopefully more witty banter.

Slamdunk said...

Funny stuff Michael. I am sad that you took the air out of what I thought was my creative balloon--Goatzilla does have a future. Ok maybe not...

Lydia Kang said...

Michael, you are a hoot! I totally enjoyed reading this post!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Loved your tips, Michael. They are awesome. Will keep them in mind for a future book. Wishing you loads of publishing success with Slipstream.

Cherie Reich said...

Goatzilla! Hehe! Such a fun list.

I've completed all the rules and would like to be entered. :)

Emily said...

Love your sense of humor. Now I'm going to have to check out the book.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

@Jeremy: I want to know why you can't leave the house. Hmmm.

@T.Drecker: Exactly.

@Moody: Is that something the power rangers say?

@Welcome...: I know, right?

@Old Kitty: I will choose one winner from on the appointed day. Good luck.

@Siv Maria: I want to see it in DBOX. But if I see it in 3D I want to see it in IMAX.

@Elliot: A recipe for success.

@Cindy: Spoken like a true Martian.

@Alex: You own a 3D television set? I hate you now.

@Carole: I took a whole college class on why "left-handed people are evil".

@Laura: Spiders aren't for everyone.

@Brinda: I saw your book reviews on Splash of Our Worlds! Congrats Brinda.

@Huntress: Thank you dear. You are one of my faves too.

@Rusty: Rules pale in comparison to wonderful drawings.

@Elizabeth: I think it would be as terrifying as the original.

@SA Larsen: Thank you :)

@Liza: Wasn't really an interview...

@Faraway: Cool. I hope you win.

@Laura: Thank you lady.

@Cate: That's what Michelle Davidson Argyle says...

@Hilary: Thank you

@Hart: I should have posted something naked for you. But Alex might not have appreciated that.

@Mary Aalgaard: It's P.O.D. so I think there's a fat chance it will ever find its way into a library. Meh.

@Daft Scots: LOL

@LynnRush: Glad to make you smile

@PTDilloway: I could write it with Briane Pagel as a follow up to his Santa, Jesus, and Godzilla walk into a bar...

@Bossy: I know you did.

@Misha: I'm still mad at you for seeing the Avengers a week ahead of me.

@Charles the Reader: It eats anything and never gains weight. I just hate that.

@Marta: Dyslexia is the yek.

@Alex: The traffic you have to your blog is kind of stunning. I just got up and there's a ton of comments at 8:00 a.m.

@J.L. Thank you Ms. Campbell.

@Creepy: To infinity and beyond, right?

@Angry Lurker: I am always serious.

@Julie: When it never sells, don't throw food at me.

@Tyrean: I certainly will. Thanks for your support.

@Matt: You are a true jedi sir.

@Budd: My book is pretty dark. But I like to think that I'm a witty writer.

@Slamdunk: I try to be funny.

@Lydia: Thank you doctor.

@Rachna: Thank you miss.

@Cherie: I hope you win!

Jay Noel said...

I'm liking the Goatzilla. I'm gonna steal that idea, if that's okay.

I've wanted to write about radioactive poop for a long time now.

Congrats on your debut novel, Michael. And I'm looking forward to reading it!

Suze said...

Have a great weekend, Al.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I love those suggestions. I feel totally prepared to write a sci fi novel now. :D

Heather M. Gardner said...

He's a funny guy.
Great rules.

I was hoping to go see MY movie this weekend. Due to circumstances (husband AFK) I must wait a few days.

I hope you enjoy it as much as the whole world is!


Elise Fallson said...

I'm just here for the spider. :P

I can't wait to read this, been waiting for the print version to come out. Can I download it onto my PC from Amazon? I need to look into that when I get back next week. Also, it's been on my to read list on GoodReads for some time now under my GR name Laura. Good luck with everything Michael.

Unknown said...

Great rules! Although I'd definitely make a good scientist instead of an evil scientist. Really funny post!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Michael, too funny. Here are a list of other stuff he's done that would make great titles. Rocket Power, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, Wolf Tracer's Dinosaur Island, Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey, Sushi Girl. They could all be winners!
@Alex, great guest post.
@Jeremy, yes! You be the first!

Nancy Thompson said...

I'm usually a rule breaker but not any more! Thanks Michael!!

Summer Ross said...

Terrific news, congrats Michael!

Alex- have fun at the movie- look forward to your review of it so I have something to say to manly man when he suggest we go to it. :)

Summer Ross said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aleta said...

Ah! Rules for someone like me who can't write. Perfect :)

Mina Burrows said...

Awesome guest post. Michael rocks. Thanks for the rules. :)

D.G. Hudson said...

Nice points, Michael, snark included. That's a beautiful spider, and I love blue stones, gem or otherwise. But I don't do the social media that you have as part of the requirements.

Like your art work on the cover.

Good Luck with the tour!

Jessica Salyer said...

Congrats on your book Michael. I love your list, too funny. Hi, Alex. Have a great weekend.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Michael, congrats! I LOVE your spider on your cover.

I also enjoyed your rules, lol! I needed some humor after the morning I've had.


Arlee Bird said...

Okay I did all of the required things to be entered. I like the concept of this book.

And I have started rethinking my writing strategy based on these rules of writing. So indebted to you Michael--I'm going to have a best seller for sure.

A Faraway View
An A to Z Co-host blog

Johanna Garth said...

Witty advice! I'll tell my daughter her dyslexia is finally going to give her an edge at something!

Andrew Leon said...

Dude! I'm 20k words into a story about Goatzilla! Except that he's genetically enhanced to produce spider silk, and he's webbing up whole towns and eating them! Now, I have to start all over!

>waves hand in air<
I want that spider...<

Gossip_Grl said...

Thanks for the great tips shared in the posting and have a great weekend

nutschell said...

Sounds like a book I'll enjoy reading! I'm glad I managed to get into your blog, Alex. When I clicked on your blog link for some reason it said malware detected! scary. I don't know if it was just a computer glitch on my part but I went ahead and signed into your blog anyway:)

Happy weekend!

Sangu Mandanna said...

Great advice, Michael!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

@Emily: I'm kind of a smartass.

@Jay: Thank you sir.

@Patricia: LOL

@Heather: I'm funny? That's better than funny looking right?

@Elise: Paperback is on Amazon now. Just click on my books tab on my blog and it'll take you right to the Amazon link.

@Jennifer: Science is so overrated right?

@Maurice: An endorsement from the Geek Twins sets my heart a flutter kind sir.

@Nancy: Hah. So you say.

@Summer: Thank you.

@Aleta: hahah

@Mina: Thank you Mina

@D.G. Thank you miss.

@Jessica: Thanks

@Sia: I like the spider too.

@Arlee: Thanks for being so supportive. Much appreciated. I like your A to Z challenge btw. It was fun.

@Johanna: Thank you.

@Andrew: Oh whatever.

@Gossip: Well you know what they say, "Tips stands for 'To Insure Proper Service'"

@nutschell: I detected malware here too. Dunno what's going on.

@Sangu: I'm full of it in more ways than one.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Slam dunk, there's always Cowzilla.

You as well, Suze.

Elise, don't think there is a print version yet.

Maurice, think the Scooby-Doo one has been done.

You as well, Jessica.

Andrew, sorry!

Nutschell, it's a link not my blog.

Michael, my army is loyal. And don't hate me for my 3D TV.


Susan Oloier said...

The seven rules are hilarious! Congrats to Michael on the release. I just added it to my Goodreads TBR list and tweeted.
I saw the malware comment from Nutschell. That is happened quite a lot in the blogging world lately.

Unknown said...

I love your rule 1. I'll be sure to do something similar when it comes to my own writing :)

Christine Rains said...

Those rules were hilarious! Congratulations to Michael. My excitement this weekend consists of making compost pile and finding a toddler bed.

Leovi said...

I think it could create an abstract Goatzilla.

Rick Daley said...

Awesome post! I have dyslexia of the fingers, it causes many a typo. I will begin to embrace it, now that I know better.

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

I dig those rules! :D

Alyson Burdette said...

Great tips! :)

Unknown said...

Of course I love Michael, so I found this terribly hilarious! : ) Goatzilla reminds me of a movie I saw many years ago about giant rabbits taking over Texas.

I'll be seeing the Avengers this weekend as well, Alex. Be sure to share your thoughts next week so we can gossip.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Christine, sounds like a wild time!

EJ, I won't be able to do a review until Wednesday, but it rocked!

Stacy S. Jensen said...

No. 6 made me giggle. Well, No. 7 did too. Good luck.

Gwen Gardner said...

I love it! Sounds like sound advice to me, Michael!
I'm on my way now to GoodReads to put Slipstream on my TBR list:)

Southpaw said...

I absolutely LOVE the cover! Ha! Love the advice too. ;)

cleemckenzie said...

If I ever write a SciFi, I'm using his formula, if only for the laugh I'll get out of doing it.

Wonderful guest!

Helena said...

I especially liked your first rule, which I really should consider using. And this weekend I'm FINALLY gonna buy Slipstream! (Can't right now 'cause I'm at work.) Congratulations on your publishing milestone, Michael!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

@Susan: Thank you so much :)

@Jamie: Awesomesauce. Even if that isn't a word, I'm usin' it.

@Christine: compost and toddlers in the same sentence. Are they related?

@Leovi: Would it be cubist-inspired like a Picasso?

@Rick: You should. Someday Dragon Naturally Speaking will replace the need to type and therefore, dyslexia will completely disappear.

@Jaycee: Thank you.

@Alyson: You honor me miss.

@EJ: Your enthusiasm is double anyone else's.

@Alex: No spoilers until I go see it tonight. Then you can blab all you want.

@Stacy: Thank you.

@Lady Gwen: Awesome. You made my day!

@Southpaw: Thank you sir.

@cleemckenzie: I tried. I'm happy I was successful.

Unknown said...

Congrats, Michael!!! Embrace our it. :) Now, if I can only find a way to embrace my ADD!

M Pax said...

Major congrats, Michael! Hey, you should so make Goatzilla into a movie. I'd watch ... Sad, huh?

Waving at Alex.

Unknown said...

With great sci-fi advice like that, I feel I can write a sci-fi novel. You're too funny! said...

How many ok cupid types does one need? I've got a handful lined up just in case.

Thanks for the laughs, Michael and Alex. Congratulations, Michael! You have a great sense of humor.


Jemi Fraser said...

Good luck to Michael! :)

Kela McClelland said...

Alex, you're awesome and one of my favorite people to come visit, but I have to say I was SUPER EXCITED to see your guest for the day was Michael because...

You're awesome too Michael. I read your blog, but (so sorry) I'm not as good with commenting like I should. I've had the book on my TBR for a few months now, I need to go grab me a copy.

Great post!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Great rules! Made me laugh constantly. John Locke's rule: Have pretty legs in a short skirt on every cover of your male detective series! :-) Roland

Golden Eagle said...

I already did #1 and a warped version of #4--only five more steps to go. LOL.

Not sure I could create a story about Goatzilla . . . maybe if it was part-raptor instead.

Anonymous said...

Fun post! : )

Julie Musil said...

OMG, I totally just laughed out loud! Those are the best 7 writing tips EVER!

Tonja said...

How weird is it that I really like the spider ring?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Kela, thank you!

Roland, I like that rule.

Tonja, glad someone does.

Unknown said...

Sounds like an interesting book and it's now on my reading list! The "title rule" is brilliant!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Best of luck with your book Michael! Hope you have some fun in the sun at Myrtle Beach Alex! Julie

dolorah said...

Love the jeweled spider. I could have fun with that at my day job :)

Have a great weekend Mike and Alex.


Anonymous said...

Great rules Michael... I like the recycling of ideas one especially... Goatzilla...hehe

Charles Gramlich said...

Any relationship to Andy Offutt?

Morgan said...

Oh my gosh... Michael IS SO COOL. He's awesome. Love his premise to Slipstream and what a funny post! :D

mshatch said...

great rules - lol. And I can't wait to see AVENGERS!!!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

@Candylynn: I know, right?

@M Pax: I'm excited for the Backworlds launch this next week.

@Clarissa: Yours would be scary morbid with all kinds of crazy deaths!

@Rawknrobyn: I'll ask my friend Meg.

@Roland: Thank you sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

@Eagle: Raptor? You shall be the next Michael Crichton. I can see it.

@Susanne: Fun comment.

@Julie: Who knew, right?

@Tonja: It's actually a pin brooch.

@Alex: *snicker at spider comment to Tonja

@Michael: Thank you sir.

@Empty Nest: Thank you.

@Donna: It looks better in real life. It really sparkles.

@Walsh: I'm all about recycling. Keeping the earth green is the way I want to live.

@Charles: I don't know an Andy Offutt. But I have extended relatives in Texas.

@Morgan: Thank you Ms. Shammy.

@MSHatch: Well you know what they say about rules...they are made to break. Happy writing and viewing of sexy men on the Avengers.

Tina said...

:LOVED that snarky advice. I'm a huge fan of sarcasm, it's my superpower, with my sidekick of smart-ass. I think we'll get along well! Good luck with your book. Now off to buy your book. Any friend of Alex's is a friend of mine.
Tina @ Life is Good

Tara Tyler said...

stop it! you're killing me! my stomach hurts from laughing at your rules, michael! is there this much comic relief in the book too??

just read charity's stellar review, too. you have a hit!

Laura said...

Good Rules! And I embrace that dyslexia with the best of them - combined with welsh, it makes for some fab Fantasy names.

Love the pin, and slipstream's up next on my TBR - can't wait!

l dot bambrey at gmail dot com (you gotta hope, right :))

Patsy said...

I love those rules!

Karen Elizabeth Brown said...

Hmm... I keep forgetting about that evil scientist! But that spider! He's gorgeous! I think I'll start a story about him! Between the spider and goatzilla I should have a winning title after I employ my dyslexia.

Off to see The Avengers along with the rest of the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Just the right shade of snarkiness I needed to make my evening! Thanks Michael and best wishes with Slipstream! I just put it on my TBR list and should get to it later in the week.

Okay, I'm supposed to be on blogging vacation. If anyone asks, you never saw me.

Sher A. Hart said...

One good snark deserves another. Simon sings, "I'm Slipstreaming away...the nearer my destination the more I'm slipstreaming away." I know you're old enough to recognize that song. I will put a stop to my habit of removing spiders from my habitat if I win. I might even wear yours on my hat! How's that? Enough silliness. I did all that stuff and you know how to contact me.

Anonymous said...

These rules rock. :) I'm putting Slipstream on my wish list.

Talli Roland said...

Eep! I just got a malware message for your blog so I'll make this fast: love the rules!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Julie, the beach has been fun!

Tina, you sarcastic? No!

Karen, it was awesome!

Stephen, I'm on vacation as well.

Talli, sorry - removed the links to the malware site.

Libby said...

Have you tried an agent? I hear that's a good idea. :)

Anonymous said...

i don't about anybody else, but that spider is cool. And the sci fi rules were fun to read.


Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

@Tina: Thank you Tina

@Tara: My book is pretty dark and serious but there is humor in it that I think is funny and I've had people tell me that they laughed out loud at certain parts.

@Laura: Yay you recognized it as a pin. Some ppl thought it was a ring. Nope. It's a creepy spider pin.

@Patsy: Me too.

@Karen: I would read it.

@Stephen: Thanks for your support Mr. Wormhole guy.

@Sher: Too funny. I'm tweeting you now with my lulz. And yes I am old enough to recognize that ditty.

@Medeia: Thank you

@Libby: Would you believe my brother said that to me, proving that he just really didn't care at all that I'd been looking for one for almost two years? Meh

Ciara said...

Hi Michael,
It is so exciting to see you out on your first book tour. You've been so supportive of everyone else. That is one cool spider!

Enjoy Myrtle Beach, Alex.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Thanks Alex, for having me. I appreciate the support.

EvalinaMaria said...

I have your book. The spider looks fabulous and it sparkles, eh?

Anonymous said...

Excellent tips, Michael!

Downloaded your novel--can't wait to read it!