Outer Alliance Interview

And in other Hollowstone news….

The latest episode of the Outer Alliance Spotlight podcast is out. The Spotlight features news about (and sometimes interviews with) allies who are active in supporting and celebrating LGBTQI speculative fiction.

It features an interview with SF author David Levine and an interview with yours truly about a little novel I like to call Hollowstone.

Mad love to the beautiful and awesome Julia Rios for being an excellent interviewer to a very nervous yours truly.

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You can also download the ep here.

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Final Stop: Hangar 18

And as the Hollowstone Magical Mystery Virtual Book Tour concludes, business is about to pick up. I’ve got other interviews planned and a few other things in the works to boost the signal on Hollowstone. So make sure you stay tuned.

Also, because several people have inquired, if you didn’t get a chance to participate in the book tour but want to ask me questions, do a Q&A or have me write a guest post, drop me a line and let me know.

So before I head to the airport and head home, there is one final stop on the tour.

Yesterday I had the honor of sitting down for an interview with my good buddy Travis Kilgore on Facebook and he also cross-posted to his Livejournal.

The two of us discuss Hollowstone and why diversity and social justice matters.

Cult of Personality

And while Hollowstone is out, The Magical Mystery Virtual Book Tour isn’t over.

My next stop is at The Jack Fiend’s Lair where my main girl and I sit down for a Q&A on Hollowstone, writing and being from the Dirty South.

After that I’m stopping by the website of the lovely and talented Corinne Duyvis: author of contemporary fantasy novels, professional portrait artist and all around badass-in-training.

While she’s attending Clarion West, I had the distinct honor and privilege of penning a guest post for her blog: Ten Moves I’ve Made To Boosting Blog Readership.

Hollowstone: The Official Release

Hello. My name is Dennis R. Upkins and today is the official release of my debut novel, Hollowstone. The book is kinda awesome if I do say so myself, and I’d like for you to check it out.

Life for Noah Scott changes drastically when he is accepted to Hollowstone Academy, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country set in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. Within the hallowed halls of the illustrious school, Noah soon discovers that the world of the privileged is rife with social hierarchies, politics, depravity and corruption. It is also there that Noah meets his roommate and best friend, the charming and enigmatic Caleb Warner. 

Tragedy soon strikes when Cal is brutally murdered in a hold-up. But when Noah is haunted by Cal’s ghost, he soon discovers that the random act of violence was in fact a premeditated one. Determined to uncover the truth and find Cal’s killer, Noah soon finds that the school and its patrons have more than their share of secrets. Secrets they are willing to preserve at any cost. Noah also quickly learns that greater supernatural forces are at play. In a race against time, Noah must solve Cal’s murder before he’s the killer’s next victim.

You can check out the official trailer below:



So why should you pick up Hollowstone?

Here are 12 reasons why I think you’ll want to grab the novel.

In many respects it’s a modern day retelling/homage to the Great Gatsby with a Southern Gothic twist. But more than that, the story features both POCs and queer characters in leading and compelling roles. In fact, of the three main characters, one is a young black male while the other is a bisexual female teen. And for marginalized readers, we know all too well the dearth of stories that feature us with respect.

Characters welcome, this is a profile on the players of Hollowstone. And just to get you even more intrigued, check out an excerpt from the novel.

But wait! There’s more!

As part of promoting the novel, I’m in the middle of a virtual book tour. Not only have I had the distinct pleasure and honor of answering questions about Hollowstone and becoming a published author, but I’ve also had the privilege of writing a series of guest posts about why diversity in the media matters and why representation affects real life.

Hollowstone is available now in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. It’s also available in other ebook formats at Parker Publishing. You can find me at my author page on Amazon, Goodreads and my official website.

Hollowstone, it’s out now. Grab it today. Tell your friends. I think you’ll like it. It’s an awesome story. Granted, I could be a bit biased. Maybe….just a little. 😉

 

The Players Of Hollowstone

Life for Noah Scott changes drastically when he is accepted to Hollowstone Academy, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country set in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. Within the hallowed halls of the illustrious school, Noah soon discovers that the world of the privileged is rife with social hierarchies, politics, depravity and corruption. It is also there that Noah meets his roommate and best friend, the charming and enigmatic Caleb Warner. 

Tragedy soon strikes when Cal is brutally murdered in a hold-up. But when Noah is haunted by Cal’s ghost, he soon discovers that the random act of violence was in fact a premeditated one. Determined to uncover the truth and find Cal’s killer, Noah soon finds that the school and its patrons have more than their share of secrets. Secrets they are willing to preserve at any cost. Noah also quickly learns that greater supernatural forces are at play. In a race against time, Noah must solve Cal’s murder before he’s the killer’s next victim.

________________________________

You know, I’m beginning to suspect that you all aren’t feening for Hollowstone the way I want you all to be. While I know June 17 can’t get here fast enough you all, and I know you’re eagerly counting the days, I don’t think some of you are quite dying with the frenzied anticipation as I would hope.

But fear not. This is an area of opportunity for me, to step my game up. And step it up, I shall. GAME ON!!!!

So to entice you further to purchase my debut novel on June 17, and get you even further hyped, I realize I should introduce you to the main players of this saga. But more than that, we’re also going to discuss a little thing I like to call dreamcasting.

One of the things I’m repeatedly asked is if I was to cast a film of Hollowstone, which actors would I pick and why. When I was filling out the marketing/press packet for Parker Publishing. I actually gave a bio on the characters and supplied pics of actors who I thought could capture the essence of the characters.

It’s interesting because the characters I envisioned while penning the novel are different from the “movie version” (and we all know movie versions are stories that take place in a sister universe).  Two or three actors could’ve easily played one role while I couldn’t envision anyone else playing another role, some were older, some were perfect, some I wouldn’t have considered and now I can’t consider anyone else…. and well……yeah….like I said, interesting. But a lot of fun though.

I’m dreamcasting my own novel. EPIC!!!!!

Okay, I’ll stop rambling now.

Below are the principle players of Hollowstone and the actors who I think would take.

Cal Warner– Caleb “Cal” Warner is Hollowstone’s residential bad boy with the heart of a poet. The centerpiece of the saga, Cal is the culmination of James Dean and Jay Gatsby. Most of Cal’s past is shrouded in mystery which only adds to his allure and his charm. One of the wealthiest kids at Hollowstone, Cal plays by his own rules and flippantly ignores the pervasive social hierarchies and politics. While parties, writing and sex are Cal’s vices, his heart of hearts ultimately belongs to Abigail Phillips, the motivation for Cal attending Hollowstone. In fact, when it comes to women, Cal believes there are only two kinds: Abby and every other woman on the planet. Cal also forms a close brotherly bond with his new roommate, Noah Scott who often acts as his moral anchor. The two teens bring out the best in one another. Whereas Noah learns strength from Cal, from Noah Cal learns about compassion and the true definition of family.

-Robert Hoffman

Noah Scott- Noah is the Nick Carraway to Hollowstone’s Great Gatsby. A very spiritual Catholic, he also serves as the story’s moral compass. Noah is a gifted violinist which repeatedly establishes him at Hollowstone. Small in stature and soft-spoken, Noah is often overlooked, especially when in the company of the charismatic larger than life Cal, but to the astute observer, Noah is a formidable force in his own right.He is proof to the old adage, “It’s always the quiet ones.” This is further illustrated when a determined Noah searches for the truth about Cal’s murder and will stop at nothing until he gets answers.

-Lee Thompson Young

Neely Daniels– Spunky, outspoken, and not afraid to be her own woman, Neely transfers to Hollowstone to search for answers regarding her brother’s death. She soon learns that the murders of her brother and Cal are connected and teams up with Noah to get answers. Neely is not without her share of gifts. In addition to being an accomplished martial artist, she posseses limited psychic ability due to a near death experience at a young age. She can see the auras of others, sense supernatural fluctuations and is the only other person aside from Noah who can see Cal’s ghost. A bisexual Wiccan teen in a Southern conservative prep school, Neely is accustomed to being treated as an outcast for being true to herself.

-Amanda Seyfried

Abigail Phillips– The daughter of a televangelist, it’s little surprise that Abigail is a very spiritual and compassionate young woman. It’s also little surprise that Cal views her as an angel. As class president of the student body and girlfriend to Chris Goddard, Abigail is considered royalty at Hollowstone. Upon leaving Goddard, Abby decides to follow her own heart. However such decisions aren’t without consequences, as she’ll soon discover.

-Kirsten Dunst

Vaughn Pope– A laid back rock music aficionado and a computer hacker, Vaughn leads a mellow life. Of course said mellow life becomes a far more chaotic when he becomes romantically involved with Neely Daniels and helps her and Noah discover the truth behind Cal’s murder.

-Jesse Moss

Cassidy Reeves– Cassidy epitomizes the term overachiever. All business with a no-nonsense demeanor, she is also known as Hollowstone’s resident “Ice Queen.” However under that tough exterior is a shy and lonely young woman who yearns for friends, love and acceptance that she never received from an emotionally abusive mother. A warmer side of the Ice Queen begins to manifest when her relationship with Noah evolves from antagonistic to friendship.

-Jessica Lucas

Chris Goddard– Arrogant, sadistic and cruel, Chris doesn’t mince about the fact he thrives on abusing and terrorizing others he deems as inferior. Goddard is consumed with destroying his bitter rival Cal Warner at any cost.

-James Lafferty

Phyllis Goddard– As one of Hollowstone’s “royalties,” Phyllis is no stranger to putting on airs and keeping up appearances to present herself as a “proper lady.” Underneath the demure confident exterior lies an individual who is as cunning, calculating and ruthless as her brother Christopher, if not moreso.

-Rachele Brooke Smith

Brianna Allen– Resident bad girl, Brianna is Abigail’s good friend and becomes a love interest for Noah. Jaded and cynical, Brianna is the classic rebellious rich girl  who acts out and indulges in promiscuous sex, drinking and drugs to garner some modicum of attention from her dysfunctional neglectful parents.

-Willa Holland

Randy Tyler– Randy is the quintessential idealistic 20-something teacher who soon finds himself taking a stand against the corruption and politics at Hollowstone. When he refuses to modify his grades to pass the Hollowstone football players (and thus jeopardize their season), he soon comes under fire.

-Ryan Eggold

Wallace Miller– Miller is a science teacher and assistant football coach at Hollowstone. Like many at Hollowstone, Miller isn’t without his share of secrets.

-Eric Mabius

Ryan Foster– Quiet, kind and reserved, Ryan is a young man who has spent his life apologizing for his existence, whether it was his abusive older brothers and parents or horde of bullies at Hollowstone for being gay. Not surprising, he spends most of his days blending in the background to avoid attacks. But when tragedy hits, Ryan decides to strike back and take a stand, once and for all.

-Lucas Grabeel

Elias “Eli” Cole – One of the Hollowstone Knights football players, Eli stands out as one of the few members of the team (and the school’s “elite”) who is kind and warm. But as Eli comes to a crossroads in his life, he finds himself on the outs with his former friends. He also discovers himself through an unexpected romance with an unlikely classmate.

-Chad Faust

Levi Nolan–  The most feared teacher at Hollowstone Academy, Prof. Nolan could best be described as Edna Mode’s older brother. The renowned surly musician becomes an unlikely mentor to Noah Scott.

-Wallace Shawn

Ruby Scott– Ruby is Noah’s great grandmother who raises him after his parents die in Hurricane Katrina. Wise, soft-spoken, armed with a sharp wry wit, Ruby carries herself with grace, class and inner strength and is an homage to elder Southern black matriarchs.

-Ruby Dee

The Greatest Expression

The Magical Mystery Virtual Book Tour is still going strong. And today we’ve got two stops.

First up, I have the pleasure of sitting down with Joy E. over at The Greatest Expression. We discuss writing being a form of activism and why Neely Daniels kicks all kinds of ass.

Next, yours truly has a guest post up over on [info]chaeri‘s LJ. I discuss another reason why media representation matters and what I learned from one Alexis Arquette.

London Bridges

And the Hollowstone Virtual Book Tour now finds me in jolly ole England. In southeast London to be precise. So much to see here. Curious, some skinny guy with shiny spiky hair and a beautiful black woman just dashed into a blue police box. Wonder what that’s all about?

Anyway. Today is real treat because I get to sit down with one of my favorite people on the planet: Laura aka[info]sisterspooky: Book Fangirl and the epitome of AWESOME!!!!!!

This is definitely a fun interview where we discuss Hollowstone, fandom and a little Joss Whedon to boot. Enjoy.