Zee Kensington talks Finally Home and Taking the Plunge: Writing a First Novel ~ Guest Blog, Giveaway, Rafflecopter

Prism Book Alliance would like to thank Zee Kensington for taking the time to talk with us today.

The Book that took two years to complete.

Title: Finally Home
Author: Zee Kensington
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Hello, there! I’m Zee Kensington, making another stop on my blog tour in honor of my first novel, Finally Home. Thank you to Prism Book Alliance for having me here today.

Rather than talk about the novel itself, I thought I’d share a bit about the process I went through to get the book written.

Taking the Plunge: Writing a First Novel

I’ve always dreamed of publishing a novel. It’s been on my bucket list forever, nestled between “travel to England” (which I have yet to do) and “make a film” (which I have done).

Dreaming and doing are two very different things, though, and I never was able to commit to a project as involved as a novel—until I lost my job in 2010. After a bit of soul-searching and a few honest financial discussions with my husband, I decided that it was time to take the plunge with my writing career.

So, I set upon the novelist’s path. I brainstormed like crazy. I took classes, read Stephen King’s On Writing cover to cover, and created detailed outlines. I had dozens of ideas, and at the time each one felt like the most brilliant idea in the world. I planned and planned and planned—and every time the same thing happened. I would plan my story to death.

My M/M western romance fizzled out when I realized just how much research I’d have to do to make my story historically accurate. My fairy tale-inspired fantasy series died when a rash of fairy tale media hit the mainstream. A year passed. Though I’d completed some smaller projects, I was starting to get desperate and depressed. I was wasting my shot at my dream.

Then in the summer of 2011, a friend invited my husband and me to spend two weeks in Thailand with him and his family. I came back re-energized and inspired by my first real trip abroad. When I saw Dreamspinner Press’s call for short stories for travel-themed stories, my short story, Krung Thep, City of Angels, practically flew from my fingers. It wasn’t a novel, but it was a story I wanted to tell.

Shortly after the story was published in the Two Tickets to Paradise anthology, I started hearing my characters—Chris and Marco—whispering in the back of my mind. Their story wasn’t finished yet. So, I sat down, and began again with my novel process: brainstorm, outline, worksheets. I plastered the wall of my office with colorful sticky notes. I began writing words down, first a few hundred, then a few thousand.

Plotting the old-fashioned way.

Plotting the old-fashioned way.

I was slowly making progress, but I was still filled with doubts: had this story been done before? Would anyone be interested in a sequel to a short story? Maybe I should go back to my fairy tale story, or my cowboy story?

Then, in March 2012 everything changed: after three years of trying, my husband and I were expecting our first child. I was elated, but I realized that as far as my book went, I was up against the deadline of a lifetime. If I didn’t finish my novel before the baby was born, I knew it would be a long, long time before I could give it the attention it needed.

So I cracked my knuckles and dove into my writing head first, pushing past those fears and doubts. I followed my outline step by step. I diligently put the words down, not bothering with the editing and massaging that usually killed my flow. I crossed chapters off my outline every few days, and seeing those strikeouts encouraged me to keep going.

I was doing this between doctors’ appointments, “nesting,” and reading baby books. It was hard to stay focused sometimes, but by the time I reached my eighth month of pregnancy, I had a start-to-finish rough draft of Finally Home.

Printed and ready to edit!

Printed and ready to edit!

Editing was a different story. It took me several months after the baby was born to have the time and energy to even look at the manuscript, but I think the break worked in its favor. I saw my words with fresh eyes, and by then my brain was starved for something more stimulating than baby talk.

I worked on stolen time—nap times, time I should have been catching up on rest, time my husband bought me by watching the baby on the weekends. All in all, it took me as long to revise as it had to write the manuscript.

It took a bit of coaxing from my husband, though, to finally get it out the door. The desire for perfection can often mask the fear of rejection, and after a thorough read, he convinced me it was ready to submit to Dreamspinner. So, I held my breath, crossed my fingers, and hit send.

Exactly one week after my son’s first birthday, I got the email I’d been waiting my whole life to get: “Thank you for your submission. We are interested in publishing Finally Home.”

It’s hard to describe that moment, when I realized my lifelong dream was coming true. It was part joy, part terror, part relief. All my hard work, patience, and perseverance had been rewarded. I was a finally a novelist.

Oh, sure, there were still the editing, proofing, and layout stages to go, but let’s just ride into the sunset on that happy moment, shall we? It was a long, hard road, and I am beyond thrilled to be able to share Finally Home—the first novel I’ve seen to completion—with you.


After one night in Bangkok turned into ten days trekking together, novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways thinking they’d never see each other again. Three months later, Marco still can’t forget the greatest adventure of his life—or the gorgeous guy he shared it with. Too afraid to come out to his family, Marco is suffocating in his suburban Southern California life, until Chris announces he’s coming to LA.

Chris has spent the past four years wandering alone, rebuilding himself from the ashes of a failed journalism career. He arrives in Los Angeles eager to eat, write, and resume the sexy, casual fun he had enjoyed with Marco. But when Chris finds his friend is a terrified closet-case at home, he’s determined to help Marco confront his fears.

Priorities change when Chris’s father suffers a stroke, and Chris rushes to New York City to face a harsh homecoming with the family he abandoned. When Marco defies his parents to be at Chris’s side, Chris begins to realize there may be more to their relationship than just work and play, and that Marco may be the one to show Chris what it means to finally be home.

About the Author:

Zee Kensington LogoZee Kensington discovered a passion for writing erotica in her freshman year of college, and has been crafting sweet and sexy stories ever since. Inspired by her years working and playing in San Francisco’s LGBT community, she is especially drawn to tales that explore the joys and challenges of queer identities.

An almost-native Californian and a card-carrying geek, she currently lives in the SF Bay Area with her husband and toddler. When she’s not writing or catching up on her sleep she enjoys watching films, playing video games, experimenting in her kitchen, and dreaming of the day her son is old enough to travel the world with her.

Author Links:

Blog: http://zeekensington.wordpress.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/zee.kensington

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZeeKensington

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4563478.Zee_Kensington

Dreamspinner Press author page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=558

Amazon author page: http://amazon.com/author/zeekensington

Tour Stops:

Finally Home Blog Tour

August 29: Dreamspinner Press Blog Party—Photo Tour of Finally Home locations; special giveaway

August 29: MM Good Book Reviews—Review

September 1: Allison Cassatta—Author Spotlight

September 2: The Novel Approach—Interview and special giveaway

September 3: Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Tea House—Location, Location, Location

September 4: Cup o’ Porn—Dreaming of Travel

September 7: LIVE Facebook Chat with Dreamspinner Press

September 8: Prism Book Alliance—Taking the Plunge: Writing the First Novel

September 10: Guys Like Romance, Too—Living through History

September 11: Vicktor Alexander’s Purple Fantasy Den—Summer Romance: We’ll Always Have Bangkok

September 12: Zee Kensington (home blog)–Giveaway winner reveal

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble


Zee Kensington has kindly offered Rafflecopter Giveaway for an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise

Contest will end 7 days from original posting date (or as stated on the Rafflecopter) at 8pm CDT. Must be 18 or older to enter, void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Finally Home Blog Tour banner

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews.  The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.

11 thoughts on “Zee Kensington talks Finally Home and Taking the Plunge: Writing a First Novel ~ Guest Blog, Giveaway, Rafflecopter

  1. Hi Zee, congratulations on your first novel, thanks for sharing your writing journey with us. I look forward to reading it.

  2. Hi Zee, thank you for telling us about your writing journey it was very inspiring for any of us procrastinating or budding authors and I hope you travel to England sometime as well as take your family on some wonderful travels. We have a family friend who has travelled with his family around the world on a catamaran, so maybe that will be an idea for you?

    Thank you for a chance to win a copy of your book and the story that inspired it 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing your story with us on how you plotted and how the story came to you. Congrats on your first novel publication!

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