An Interview With Roan

September 2, 2014

In honor of the release of Infected: The Long Weekend (and the temporary hiatus of the rest of the Infected titles – look for the re-release in October), I thought I’d check in with some of the characters in the Infected universe. First up, the man at the center of it all, Roan. Continue reading “An Interview With Roan” »

Let’s Get The Party Started

September 2, 2014

Hello! And welcome to the launch party for Infected: The Lost Weekend. I’m Andrea Speed, thank you for joining me.  Infected: The Lost Weekend was released yesterday, and it’s available here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5408&osCsid=tdf9jnuplbmhntk31u9nfr2j25  It’s a free download, so why not take a chance, even if you’ve never read the series?

 InfectedLostWeekendFS

For those who have read the Infected series, this is canon, and occurs between the events of Infected: Undertow and Infected: Epitaph, although don’t expect a mention of it in Epitaph. (Because I wrote it out of sequence.)  And as is usual with my stories, there’s a soundtrack for it, available to listen to here: http://andreaspeed.com/2014/infeted-the-lost-weekend-is-available-right-now-for-free/

Which means this is a great time to ask the first question of the day: Do you like these little weird extras, like soundtracks or wallpapers? What kind of bonus content would you like to see more of?

New Releases: September 1st, 2014

September 1, 2014

Husband Hunters by Rick R. Reed

 

Best buddies Matt and Cody audition for a gay reality TV show. Will their story be one of best-friends-to-lovers—or an outright disaster?

You never know where the love of your life might turn up.

 

When Matt Connelly suggests to his best buddy Cody Mook that they head to downtown Seattle to audition for the gay reality TV show Husband Hunters, both agree the experience might be a lark and a chance to grab their fifteen minutes of fame. What they don’t know is that the show, modeled after HGTV’s House Hunters, will open doors of longing neither expected. For Matt, the secret love he has long harbored for Cody might be thrust into the spotlight. Cody might realize his search for his perfect-forever-man extends no farther than the man who’s always been at his side.

 

Husband Hunters promises laughter, tears, and, just maybe, a happy ever after. Will Cody and Matt’s story be one of best-friends-to-lovers—or an outright disaster?

 

Length: Novel (206p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: September 1, 2014

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-235-9) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-234-2)

 

 

 

 

 

The Path by Ariel Tachna

 

New Inca Trail guide Benicio and and his mentor Alberto must find a path through the challenges keeping them apart.

All his life Benicio Quispe has dreamed of being a guide on the Inca Trail. He gets his chance when the top travel agency in Cusco, Peru hires him. Alberto Salazar, his assigned mentor, fits Benicio’s idea of a perfect guide, but he’s also everything Benicio never dared to dream of in a boyfriend.

 

Alberto learned a long time ago to be discreet about his sexuality. It’s a necessary sacrifice to keep the respect of the guides and porters whose help is critical in a successful hike. So he pushes aside his attraction to his new junior guide and goes on as usual. But when a group of old friends arrives to hike the trail again, they convince him a relationship with Benicio is worth pursuing. His newfound resolve is enough to get them on a first date, but no amount of courage can change the attitudes of their family and friends. The risks on the trail are easy compared to finding a path through the challenges keeping them apart.

 

Length: Novel (254p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: September 1, 2014

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-223-6) | Buy as Paperback ($16.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-222-9)

 

 

 


Ransom by Lee Rowan

 

When midshipman Marshall learns of Archer’s sacrifice, he discovers what he feels for Archer runs stronger and deeper than friendship.

3rd Edition

 

Royal Navy Series: Book One

 

An officer, a gentleman… and a sodomite. The first two earn him honor and respect, the third may cost him his life. David Archer realizes how hopeless his attraction to his fellow midshipman is from the moment a newly-arrived William Marshall challenges a sexually abusive shipmate to a duel—and shoots him dead.

 

To Marshall, the Navy is his one chance to move beyond his humble beginnings. While others spend shore leave carousing, he curls up with a navigation text. When they and their captain are abducted, Archer and Marshall become pawns in a renegade’s sadistic game.  To protect the man he loves, David Archer chooses to face his own demons of past abuse returned in a different form. When Marshall learns of Archer’s sacrifice, he discovers what he feels for Davy runs stronger and deeper than friendship. He’s in love, for the first time in his life, and he wants to know all about this new emotion.

 

But first they must escape. Only then will they find out if they can preserve their love without losing their lives.

 

1st Edition published by Linden Bay Romance, 2006

2nd Edition published by Cheyenne Publishing, 2009

 

Length: Novel (276p.) | Genre: Historical European | Release Date: September 1, 2014

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-239-7) | Buy as Paperback ($16.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-238-0)

Finally Home Release Party: Bon Voyage

August 29, 2014

Toast

Well, it’s been a heck of a party, folks. Thank you to Dreamspinner Press for letting me take over their blog for a day, and thank you to everyone who stopped by to listen to me talk about Finally Home!

We do have one bit of unfinished business before we part ways–it’s time to announce the winner of the giveaway!

And, according to the random number generator, the winner is:

 Trix!

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations! Please email me at zeekensington @ gmail.com so I can arrange your prize!

If you didn’t win, please don’t fret. There’s a second way to win! This release party marks the kick-off of a two-week blog tour (August 29-September 12) where not only will I be talking up Finally Home, but I’ll be giving away an autographed book bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise.

Finally Home blog tour banner

August 29: Dreamspinner Press Blog Party 

August 29: MM Good Book Reviews

September 1: Allison Cassatta

September 2: The Novel Approach

September 3: Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Tea House

September 4: Cup o’ Porn

September 7: LIVE Facebook Chat with Dreamspinner Press

September 8: Prism Book Alliance

September 10: Guys Like Romance, Too

September 11: Vicktor Alexander’s Purple Fantasy Den

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

 

Thank you all again! I hope to see you again down the road. May your travels be safe, and may you always find your way back home.

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

 

New Releases: August 29th, 2014

August 29, 2014

Finally Home by Zee Kensington

 

When Marco defies his parents to be at Chris’s side, Chris realizes there may be more to their relationship than just work and play.

Sequel to Krung Thep, City of Angels

The Traveler and the Tourist: Book Two

 

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.

 

Length: Novel (220p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: August 29, 2014

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-907-7) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-906-0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secret Energy by Chris T. Kat

 

Even as shifters Robin and Peter cement their bond as mates, crisis looms when an old enemy of the pack shows up.

Sequel to Secret Chemistry; Shifters: Book Two

 

When wolf shifter Robin agreed to cover for his older brother Tim and Tim’s lover Jay, he never imagined feeling so stifled. Tim’s overprotective attitude suffocates him. Pressure from within—the urge to find his own mate—mounts daily. With a little help from Jay, Robin finally convinces Tim to let him go for a run alone, but he has no inkling that his life will change forever as a result.

 

Unexpectedly, he finds his mate Peter Brannigan, an old and special soul, and the one shifter who can bring balance to Robin’s life. The new couple spend days together, developing their bond as mates.  Yet even as they explore and cement their relationship, crisis looms just ahead when an old enemy of the pack shows up and kills someone Robin loves.

 

Length: Novel (274p.) | Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Paranormal, Werewolves/Shapeshifters

Release Date: August 29, 2014

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-886-5) | Buy as Paperback ($16.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-885-8)

 

 

 

 

 

Beneath the Stain – Part One by Amy Lane

 

When Mackey’s band finally has a chance to make it big, Mackey and Grant are put to the test. And fail miserably.

Part One of Beneath the Stain

 

In one breath of shotgunned pot smoke, Grant Adams breaks every taboo Mackey knows—and Mackey refuses to look back. In the shadows of their small town, Mackey and Grant carry on a precocious affair under the noses and behind the backs of girlfriends, parents, and overprotective older brothers. When Mackey’s band finally has a chance to make it big, Mackey and Grant are put to the test.

 

And fail miserably.

 

 

Five Ways to Buy

 

1. Serial Package

• Automatically get each part with special content on your bookshelf as it is released and the digital novel upon release. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. Novel releases 10/17/14.

• $12.99. This option only available through dreamspinnerpress.com.

 

2. Serial Deluxe Package

• Automatically get each part with special content on your bookshelf as it is released and the digital novel upon release. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. Novel releases 10/17/14.

• Also received a signed paperback mailed to you upon novel release.

• $24.99 +shipping. This option only available through dreamspinnerpress.com.

 

3. Serial Only (7 parts)

• Buy individual parts with special content weekly for $1.99. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14.

 

4. & 5. Novel

• Purchase the complete novel in eBook or paperback, no special content included. Novel releases 10/17/14.

• eBook $6.99, paperback $17.99

• Upon complete novel release, the serial will no longer be available.

 

Length: Serial (95p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: August 29, 2014

Buy as eBook ($1.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-511-4)

Finally Home Release Party: Location Inspiration Part 2

August 29, 2014

Let’s bring it back to Marco and Chris’ respective hometowns: Los Angeles and New York.

Santa Monica Palm Trees

Santa Monica, CA

…Marco resumed the important task at hand—updating his Facebook account with pictures of yesterday’s after-work walk on the beach in Santa Monica. Sure, it hadn’t been a weekend in tropical Hua Hin, but the sun and surf had done wonders for his mood.—Finally Home

 

LAX International Terminal

Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, CA

Marco felt like he was waiting in the bowels of a spaceship, with the ring of lights hovering above and the panels of cobalt light lining the wall. In a place like this, it seemed more likely that little green men would materialize than Chris would actually show up.—Finally Home

*Source

 

405 Freeway

405 Freeway, Los Angeles, CA

“I swear, freeways look the same everywhere. Only difference is the language of the signs,” Chris murmured. “I’m not used to seeing them only in English.”—Finally Home

*By Mariordo (Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

FDR Drive

FDR Drive, Manhattan, NY

Autumn dusk was swallowing New York slowly, and the streets and buildings fought back with hundreds of little lights of their own. He didn’t have a poetic view of the downtown skyline from here, but the sight of the East River was enough to make his New York pulse beat a little faster.—Finally Home

*Photo by Ryan Vaarsi (Flickr: Comedy on the FDR, New York City, May 2011) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Upper West Side NYC

Upper West Side, Manhattan, NY

With the TV off, the apartment was nearly silent, with no hint of the urban, nocturnal energy humming outside. More than the expensive leather couch or the granite countertops, the silence was testament to just how pricey the condo was, a combination of prime location and well-insulated walls.—Finally Home

 

Central Park

Central Park, Manhattan, NY

He hummed as he scrolled through the dozens of pictures he’d taken with his smartphone since he’d left Chris’s apartment around eleven. He’d traipsed through Central Park until he came out on the Lower West Side, then navigated the subway to Greenwich Village.—Finally Home

 

Brooklyn_Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, New York

He told Chris about the phone conversation. By the time he finished, they were at the first arch of the mile-long bridge. They had the viewing platform mostly to themselves—aside from a few hearty bicyclists, they seemed to be the only visitors crazy enough to brave the cold October wind lashing the bridge.—Finally Home

 I hope you enjoyed the slideshow!

How about you? Do you have any links you want to share to your favorite travel photos?

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

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!

 

Finally Home Release Party: Location Inspiration Part 1

August 29, 2014

Since travel is a huge theme in Finally Home, I drew a lot of inspiration for both the character and plot from the various cities the guys stop in. Whenever I could, I tried to use locations I’d visited before so I could more accurately capture their experiences, from the smell of the air to the color of the buildings.

I’d like to share with you some of the photos of the places that inspired Krung Thep, City of Angels and Finally Home. Let’s start with the international locations, Thailand and Mexico.

Grand Palace Bangkok

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

They’d spent the past couple hours wandering the expansive palace grounds, taking in the detailed murals, jeweled temples, and towering yak demon statues. They’d said little, but a sort of quiet camaraderie had grown between the two travelers amid the tinkle of hundreds of golden bells.—Krung Thep, City of Angels

 

View from Baiyoke

Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

From up here, they seemed closer to the large, honey-colored moon than to the ground below, and Marco’s heart soared as he drank in the view. —Krung Thep, City of Angels

 

 Sukhumvit road

Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok, Thailand

They left the restaurant, joining the flow of foot traffic back toward Sukhumvit Road, one of Bangkok’s main drags. The night lent some relief from the constant humid heat, though not a real reprieve. That was the rainy season in the tropics for you.—Finally Home

 

elephant in night market

Hua Hin Night Market, Hua Hin, Thailand

“And that was when the elephant walked down the street! I mean, right down the middle of the night market!” Marco waved his hand for emphasis, almost spilling his Thai iced tea on his date. “It was a baby, sure, but it was still almost as tall as I was!”—Finally Home

 

Street in Coyoacan

Coyoacan, Mexico City, Mexico

Chris had been staying in Coyoacán for a couple of weeks with some old ex-pat friends…after spending a month in the crowded, diesel-soaked hub that was the heart of Mexico City, it was a relief to take some time in one of the city’s quieter, greener boroughs.—Finally Home

*Photo by AlejandroLinaresGarcia (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

PlazaHidalgoCoyoacan

Plaza Hidalgo, Coyoacan, Mexico

He turned into the heart of the Plaza Hidalgo, which was bustling with color and activity, hoping to banish the shadows from his mind.—Finally Home

*Photo by AlejandroLinaresGarcia (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

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!

Finally Home Release Party: Creating Chris and Marco

August 29, 2014

Hello again! Now that I’ve introduced myself more properly, and given you a peek into how Finally Home came to be, I thought I’d share a bit about what went into shaping my main characters, Chris and Marco.

Like most characters I write, Marco and Chris are composites created from bits of people I’ve met, other fictional characters and/or famous folk, and traits that are created to serve the story.

Anthony Bourdain

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that travel writer/TV personality Anthony Bourdain was a big inspiration in creating my travel writer, Christopher J. Springer. I love Bourdain’s brusque, no-nonsense New York attitude, and how fully he embraces new flavors and cultures, no matter how outside his normal comfort zones. Those definitely were traits at the core of Chris, though his background came from journalism and foreign correspondence rather than Bourdain’s as a chef.

I had a much more personal—though similar—inspiration in the friend who played host to me in Thailand. He was an American who traveled extensively, and had spent years studying in Thailand before falling in love with and marrying a Thai woman. He knew how to navigate Thai space almost as well as any local—even as a tall, redheaded farang (the Thai word for Westerner). However, because he was still an outsider, he was also able to easily move through the expatriate community. The man could ingratiate himself to about anybody, and thanks to his friendly and educated manner our experience of Southeast Asia was unique and memorable.

As for Marco…well, in all honesty, Marco, the novice backpacker, was modeled a bit off me, the traveler who felt lost and overwhelmed in a completely foreign country. It was easy to write that fish-out-of-water feeling, and that terror and joy you feel when your deepest dream comes true and you don’t know what to do.

Luke Skywalker

It’s hard to point to any one other fictional character as an inspiration for Marco, though.  He’s meant to be a bit of the “everyman,” or for those who prefer Joseph Campbell’s terminology, the archetypal hero. He’s a little Luke Skywalker, a little Bilbo Baggins (especially with that curly hair!). He craves adventure and excitement in his boring, suburban life, but when he gets it he doesn’t quite know how to handle it. He has to face himself and his fears, come to terms with who he is before he can get his happily ever after.

Hmmm…if we follow the monomyth, though, then that makes Chris his Obi-Wan Kenobi. Or Gandalf. Marco is always teasing Chris for being nine years older than him…

How about you? Who are some of the people or fictional characters you draw inspiration from?

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

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!

Finally Home Release Party: Giveaway!

August 29, 2014

Alright, I think it’s about time for the giveaway! Oh boy!

I’m offering an eBook bundle of Finally Home and Two Tickets to Paradise (the anthology Krung Thep, City of Angels appeared in) to one lucky winner.

The giveaway is open until 7 pm PST tonight, August 29, 2014. At that time, I’ll randomly select one winner from the answers below, and announce at the end of the party at 8 pm PST. To be valid, though, you have to answer my question: are you more of a traveler or a tourist?

suitcase stickers

Are you like Chris, who prefers to go off the beaten path on his own and discover new treasures—though it occasionally leads to trouble? Or, are you more like Marco, who plays it safe by sticking to known areas and traveling with friends—though it sometimes means missing out on experiences? Or, are you a little of both?

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

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!

Finally Home Release Party: A Little About Zee

August 29, 2014

I’ve just realized that in the excitement of introducing you to Marco, Chris, and Finally Home, I completely neglected to introduce myself properly. What a bad hostess I am!

Let’s start again. Hello, my name is Zee Kensington. I’m an almost-native Californian, and I currently reside in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband and our toddler son. I’m a lifelong writer, and I’ve penned and published a range of things under a variety of names: magazine articles, blog posts, screenplays, comic book scripts, fan fiction, short stories, erotica, and even bad goth poetry. Finally Home marks my first novel ever.

So, why did I decide my first novel should be about a novice backpacker and a travel writer who meet abroad, but fall in love back home in US? Well, unlike my scrapped cattle rustler story or my unfinished fairy tale series, I actually had real experience with travel.

Bangkok Soi 8

When I wrote my short story, Krung Thep, City of Angels in 2011, I’d just returned home from my first time traveling abroad as an adult. My husband and I had spent two weeks in Thailand and Cambodia on the invitation of a friend who vacationed every summer in Bangkok with his wife’s family. I was still buzzing with the memories of immersing myself in completely different cultures with their own languages, customs, cuisines, and philosophies, and I was eager to relive that experience.

The novel came about when I realized that my characters Chris and Marco had potential beyond a short story. They had rich back stories that I never got to touch on in the short, and a whole slew of unfinished issues that got tabled when time came to edit Krung Thep. How would Marco handle coming out to his tight-knit family when he got home? How would Chris deal with being alone again on the road after sharing his life with someone for the first time in four years? What would happen if they got back together, but this time as equals, not just as a traveler and a tourist?

Finally Home touches on the things that matter most to me: family, identity, travel, food, and sex (oh, did I forget to mention the hot sex?). It’s actually quite a personal novel, drawing on some of my own experiences, inspirations, and passions. It hints at my love of cities, fascination with culinary writing, and multi-cultural upbringing, among other things.

Mostly, Finally Home reflects and my deep belief that “home” is who you make it with, no matter where you are in the world.

How about you? What characters have refused to go quietly back into the vault of your brain?

Finally Home
When novice backpacker Marco and seasoned travel writer Chris parted ways in Bangkok, they thought it was the end of their summer romance. Three months later, though, a change of assignment reunites Chris and Marco, and the pair embarks on an adventure greater than ten days trekking through Thailand—forming a real relationship amid family drama, coming out fears, career woes, and personal demons.

Now available from Dreamspinner Press in eBook and Paperback!

Finally Home Blog Tour and Giveaway

Finally Home blog tour banner

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!