Thursday, September 04, 2014

Thursday Thoughts with Zee Kensington

Dreaming of Travel

Hello, Zee Kensington here, excited to be stopping by Cup o’ Porn while on my blog tour for Finally Home. Thanks for having me here today!

As I’m a proudly flying the Dreamspinner Press flag, I’ve been asked to talk about my dreams. As much fun as it would be to tell you about my favorite dream of Sean Bean and me alone in the back of a limo, I think I’ll talk about a dream I actually made come true—my dream of travel.

Travel has always fascinated me. When I was a kid, I would pore over my parent’s copies of National Geographic, and my favorite movies involved journeys to far-off lands.

I was lucky to visit Mexico a few times as a child. Though those vacations were mostly to visit family, we still got to see the sights of Mexico City. I vividly remember standing in the ruins of an Aztec temple in the heart of the Zócalo and looking up at the National Palace, not quite grasping the layers of history I was experiencing, but feeling them nonetheless.

As I got older those international trips were replaced by road trips to Arizona and day trips to Disneyland. Fun as those were, I craved the experiences I’d had before, of exploring new places, trying new flavors, reaching back in time to feel history under my fingertips.

Sadly, it would be a while before I had that chance again. In the years that passed, I began to believe that travel just wasn’t for me. Travel was for those people with money to spend on nice resorts and tour groups, or for those wiry hippie-types who could live out of a fanny pack for a year. Travel certainly wasn’t for a plus-size, middle-class geek such as me, who couldn’t afford luxury but was uncertain about “roughing it.”
It all began to change about ten years ago. The urge to travel had been growing year by year, to the point where I was literally having dreams—anxiety dreams, even—about wanting to travel but not being able to. With the encouragement of my husband and my parents (and a bit of financial assistance) I took the plunge and joined a girlfriend on a trip to New York City.

New York may not seem that far, but to someone who’d never traveled further east than Phoenix, it was like flying to a new country.  My friend and I stayed at a hostel, and though we had to drag our heavy bags up six flights of stairs, we had a private room to ourselves. It was definitely not the Hilton, but it wasn’t a fleapit either. It was affordable and just comfortable enough. Perfect.

I got off to a bit of a rocky start. My San Francisco sensibilities had made me pack jeans and a jacket even in the middle of the summer, not understanding that there was no 6 p.m. ocean fog to cool NYC down. I dragged that jacket around for a full day before ditching it. I’d packed the wrong shoes, and had to buy new ones. I was hot, sticky, and sweaty most of the time. I freaked out about how fat and frumpy I felt next to the svelte New York girls in their Sex and the City sundresses. I was mildly paranoid about someone seeing us with a map, and refused to use the subway for a full day for fear of getting lost.

However, I was in New. York. Flippin’. City. There was so much to see: Central Park, the Chelsea Hotel, The State of Liberty, Greenwich Village…the list went on and on. My confidence grew day by day as we explored the city and the outer boroughs. Every time we took the subway without getting lost, or touched a famous landmark, or made friends with a stranger over late-night sangria, my soul just lit up. I was out in the world, exploring, tasting…just being. I was a traveler.

It was just the beginning. In the years that followed, I traveled to various places in the US—Portland, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington D.C.—and abroad—Thailand and Cambodia—sometimes alone and sometimes with friends. Each time I travel I gain even more confidence in myself and my abilities, and every time I stand in the heart of a new city and look up, I am filled with that awe and pride that comes only from making your dream come true.


Finally Home

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.

Finally Home is available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook or paperback.  

About the Author

Zee 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.

Zee's Blog          Zee on Facebook          Zee on Twitter          Zee on Goodreads

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Join me on my blog tour (August 29-September 12) and enter to win an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise!


  1. I haven't been to NYC since I was a teen--I need to remedy that! And I definitely relate to the NorCal habit of bringing layers everywhere....

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I still pack layers. I went to San Diego last month, and I still packed jeans and a jacket. Never took them out of my suitcase. :P

  2. You were pretty brave to travel to New York, partly as I am not fond of big cities and much prefer the countryside, mountains and forests. I am bit of a country girl and even when I travel or when I went to college, I never felt right and still don't in a busy city or touristy environment. I always take just too many clothes as I try to plan for ever eventuality and even sneak in an umbrella just in case. I totally agree though its pretty wonderful to travel to new place, especially one so different from your own, and be amazed by the different culture and buildings.

    Thank you :)

  3. I wish I had more time to travel, work just gets in the way:) I am enjoying your blog tour.

  4. I love travel, though I don't get to do it nearly as much as I would like. There are so many more places I dream of seeing.

  5. NYC is a great city to explore!! I can't see myself leaving this area for long...........there's nowhere else like it!

  6. Aloha Zee

    Love hearing about aomeone else's drive for travel. It's one of my great joys in life. I love New York. San Francisco is like champagne for me. And New York is like a cocktail. Both good but different energy.

    I love the sound of your story. It's really grabbed me. I will put you on my TBR list.

    Thanks. Aloha Meg Amor. :-)

  7. I love NYC, the buzz of excitement just walking down the street brings. Haven't been in a bit, need to go back.

  8. NYC was so much fun to explore! Thanks for the fun blog tour!

  9. I finally made it to New York this year. It was a very short trip, but I'd love to go back someday and explore some more.

  10. It seems like "write what you know" is coming true in your case! It's so awesome that you got to fulfill your dreams like that.

  11. Loving your blog tour. I can't wait to get started on this book :) I have been making it through my GRL list and only have 6 books to go, but I need a break, so this is next up.

    I had the exact opposite experience of your trip to NYC! When I was 14 we took the BIG FAMILY VACATION from Chicago suburbs driving out West, down the coast of CA and back. Northern route out up through MN,SD, ID, MT, UT and back through AZ, NM, CO etc. This was a trip that my father's family had taken in the early 50s and we were sort of recreating it in 1977. For those of you youngsters, this was another decade where CA was suffering through a terrible drought. In fact there were NO falls at Yosemite. Maybe a trickle :) So it was a hot and dry summer and then we got to SF. For three days. With no coats. Really. And it was in the 50s. MISERABLE! We had to buy sweatshirts. Years later, I spent over a year on a project in Foster City, but I had learned my lesson ;)

    I began my overseas travel as an exchange student to Finland. First plane flight was from Detroit to Oslo when I was 16 and then on to Helsinki. Alas, I did not make it back to Europe for another 25 years. Life, circumstances, school, work, family all took their toll. Then I made it to Paris and that was it. Since then I've lived in Canada, and been to loads and loads of fascinating places - my favorite so far being Turkey. If anyone asks me where I'd go back to, it's Turkey.

    I am sorry that I didn't spend the extra $900 for Cambodia leg of the Thailand trip even if it was only for 3 days. I still want to go to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. I somehow doubt I'll be up to making that trip again - it's just so difficult to get there. But I would still love to go to Vietnam and Cambodia. I was a history major and I can't get the Vietnam: A Television History out of my head. One of the breakthrough moments in PBS broadcasting.

    Hope you get to travel to many exciting places in the future and hopefully they will inspire you to write more books! I love NYC too - try to get there at least once a year, but I think this will be a year when that's not possible :(


  12. Thank you for sharing! It's been a while since I've been to NYC and truthfully when I visited I didn't even get to site see so it wasn't much of a trip.