Giveaway of lesbian romance “Ordinary is Perfect” by D. Jackson Leigh

My second guest in my series of lesbian fiction author interviews is D. Jackson Leigh, who just released her thirteenth novel, a small-town romance titled Ordinary is Perfect. She has graciously agreed to give away an ebook copy of her latest novel, so make sure you don’t miss the giveaway at the end of this post!

 

Welcome, Jackson! Please tell us a little about your newest release, Ordinary is Perfect.

Ordinary is Perfect is about looking past our preconceptions to discover the treasure lurking inside. Most romances have main characters we think we’d like to be—super-smart, strikingly beautiful, rich, or famous—who come together because an instant sexual attraction. Ordinary is about two pretty regular people. It’s really in keeping with a theme common to my books: People—and animals—are so much more than what you see on the surface, both physically and emotionally.

 

The blurb of Ordinary is Perfect describes Catherine as “passable-looking”—which is pretty refreshing in the romance genre. Would Autumn, the other main character, agree with that assessment? What makes Catherine perfect in her eyes?

Catherine has a pleasant, but not beautiful face. She’s not a person you’d notice in a crowd, because she’s reserved and does nothing to enhance her appearance—no makeup, her clothes practical for farming, and her shoulder-length brown hair simply tied back rather than styled. She actually prefers to go unnoticed.

Autumn is very style conscious, always seeking to make an impression and to prove herself worthy. She sees only Catherine’s surface at first and deems her too butch and too “country” for her tastes. It’s only after Autumn gets to know Catherine that she begins to recognize how really special Catherine is, and that changes how she sees Catherine’s outward appearance. Autumn no longer sees Catherine as a butch lesbian, but as a handsome woman. She no longer sees boring; she sees an anchor to her storm. And Autumn comes to see Catherine’s lack of concern about enhancing her appearance with makeup, clothes, and a designer haircut as a statement of honesty—something she’s rarely experienced in her life.

 

Ordinary is Perfect has a 10-year-old supporting character. Was she hard to write? How did you make sure to get her right?

She was not hard to write. I pretty much raised my two younger sisters after my mom became a nurse and started working when I was twelve years old. I also have a big, pretty close-knit family and loved spending time with my nieces and nephews as they were growing up. I’m the cool, lesbian aunt who keeps their family from being ordinary in the eyes of their friends. LOL. Now, I love spoiling my great-nieces and great-nephews. So, I’ve had a lot of experience with their fears and constantly shifting moods. And I’m still a bit of a kid at heart and so could easily slip into Gabe’s head.

 

You have written three speculative fiction novels, the Dragon Horse War series. How was the writing process different from writing a contemporary romance novel?

The world-building and maintaining consistency throughout the three books of the trilogy was extremely difficult. When I started the project, I had no clue about the millions of details I would have to remember. I thought there were a lot of secondary characters in the first book, but the second and third books added even more characters. Also, the setting is more than two centuries in the future, so I had to consider how society would have changed during that time. The great religions had finally extinguished each other in a worldwide holy war, so since there was no belief in a single omnipotent god, I had to come with new swear words. Also, each book had to have a story arc within the overall story arc of the trilogy.

There were times that I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. I usually stick to a specific outline, but these characters totally took the story out of my hands as I wrote. That was scary. I just knew I’d get to 90,000 words and suddenly discover I’d written a major flaw into the story.

In the end, it was good experience for me, and I think it allowed—and sometimes forced—me to stretch as a writer. Most important, the Dragon Horse War trilogy is my social commentary about how we allow our differences to divide us as a society when we should be celebrating them.

 

As an editor, I couldn’t help noticing—and appreciating—that your writing got stronger with each of the books you published. What did you do to improve your writing skills?

I am a career journalist, but fiction writing is so different from reporting news events. I’ve had a lot to learn since my first book.

When Radclyffe called me almost eleven years ago to say that Bold Strokes Books would publish my first book, Bareback, she cautioned that she was only interested in authors who wanted to hone their craft and write more than one book. Every other year, Bold Strokes hosts a retreat for their writers with workshops on subjects like point of view, character development, conflict, writing sex scenes, etc. We discuss and examine the mechanics of our craft.

Also, every Bold Strokes writer can get free ebook copies of all BSB books published each month, if they want them. I read as many as I can, then spend my money on books by authors I admire from other publishers to note the words they use, the plot twists, scene and character building. And I incessantly listen to audiobooks even if I’ve already read the book, because audio allows you to feel the pacing and rhythm and to hear the melody and flow of the words.

However, I have to give most of the credit to my editor, Dr. Shelley Thrasher, who has been the biggest influence in my development as a fiction writer. She’s edited all but two of my books and helped me tighten my sentences and overall pacing. Her editing style is uniquely suited to me. Most book editors I know make several passes over a manuscript, editing for a specific thing each time. Many do this before they return the manuscript to the writer to clean up the problems. Shelley sends the manuscript back more than once, each time allowing me the opportunity to read through the manuscript too, after weeks of not looking at it. I find edits I want to make too and send them back for her approval along with the corrections she’s asked me to make. A lot of writers dread the editing process, but I love it because Shelley lets me be involved. In the end, I feel confident that we’re printing the best book I can write.

 

Most of your books feature horses in one way or another. What makes horses special to you personally?

I’ve always been crazy attracted to the beauty, power, and rhythm of horses. I’m that kid who asked for a pony every Christmas and never understood why I couldn’t keep one in our backyard. I’m not a formally trained equestrian, because my family never had money for such things. But in the small rural town where I grew up, I had friends who lived on farms, and I rode their horses at every opportunity.

When I moved to North Carolina in my 30s, I finally bought my first horse, an Arabian. The first close friend I made in North Carolina is an equine veterinarian. When we met, she was just starting her own practice so picked up a lot of weekend emergency work for other horse vets in the area. My best weekends were when she’d swing by and pick me up to ride with her on calls. She liked having someone to talk to while driving from farm to farm, and I loved soaking up her horse knowledge and visiting lots of different farms and horses. We used to joke that we were both horses in a previous life.

When I moved to Raleigh, my Arabian was in his 20s and, although I’ve seen twenty-year-old Arabians still winning ribbons in the show ring, I retired him at another friend’s farm. He’s gone now, taken in his late twenties by sudden and deadly case of colic.

 

What wallpaper do you have on your computer or laptop right now?

At home, something generic that Microsoft throws up there and changes every now and then. At the office where I edit news stories, I have a Peanuts cartoon that declares: “Editors are sometimes human, too.”

 

What did you want to become when you grew up?

I mostly dreamed of being a cowboy (obviously not a cowgirl because they all wore silly skirts), but it was a fantasy, not a real aspiration. My childhood was a string of barefoot summers, fun with cousins, riding ponies, and reading every book I could get my hands on, and I never spent much time worrying about what I’d be when I grew up. I never aspired to be a journalist. I just fell into it because I loved reading and writing and thought journalism was the only alternative to teaching. Much to my surprise, I found I was pretty good at it, too.

 

What types of books do you like to read? Any favorites you can recommend?

My favorite genre is romance, obviously. I consider Radclyffe and Gerri Hill masters of the romance craft, but there are many, many others I love, too. I’ve read or listened to every one of your books. This blog would be too long if I listed them all.

I also love fantasy (more than science fiction). I spent a month once reading every one of Jane Fletcher’s books. When I won a Goldie in the fantasy category for Dragon Horse War: The Calling, I think I was more thrilled that the other two winners were Fletcher Delancey and D. Jordan Redhawk than I was about receiving my award. I love their books.

I love LL Raand’s Midnight Hunters series, but I also love Gill McKnight’s Garoul series. I’ve read Amber Eye at least three times.

 

When’s your next book coming out, and what are you working on right now?

Ordinary is Perfect just came out this month (January 2019). My day job—the move from a printed newspaper to a digital product—is consuming my life right now, so I don’t feel like I can sign a contract with a deadline right now.

However, I have a 15,000-word piece on the back burner that started out as a short story for Ylva’s Don’t Be Shy collection. I’m considering fleshing that out as a short novel. It’s an erotic story about a writer who falls for her niece’s riding instructor.

I also have a story loosely mapped out and titled Naked. It’s something of a romantic comedy about a woman who has spent her life letting her ovaries make her life decisions—the worst ones happen when she’s naked and in a sex haze—and results in a series of ridiculous situations. She’s personable and attractive, and her reputation for calamity makes her a popular party guest and leads to string of short-term relationships. She’s okay with that until she meets that special woman. She desperately wants to prove she’s not a total screw-up but can’t seem to get out of her own way.

 

Where can your readers find out more about you and your books?

My books are released first at www.boldstrokesbooks.com, then midmonth on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, www.bellabooks.com, and many independent bookstores.  My website www.djacksonleigh.com doesn’t have my latest books on it, but links to my personal blog.

On social media, I can be found at facebook.com/d.jackson.leigh and @djacksonleigh (Twitter). Also, I love to hear from readers, and they can write to me at author@djacksonleigh.com.

 

Book giveaway

D. Jackson Leigh is giving away an ebook copy of her latest novel, Ordinary is Perfect. Anyone can enter. To be entered into the drawing, leave a comment on this blog.

Entries close on Thursday, February 7, 2018, 10 a.m. CET, when I’ll draw the winners using a random numbers generator. I’ll notify winners via email. Your email address won’t be used for any other purpose.

There’ll be more author interviews, giveaways, and free books this year. If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of them, please subscribe to my blog.

 

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115 thoughts on “Giveaway of lesbian romance “Ordinary is Perfect” by D. Jackson Leigh”

  1. Sounds amazing to have Radclyffe and all those seminars to help you. Book sounds fab, it’ll be going on my wish list.

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  2. Most of us are a wee bit ordinary in real life. This new book definitely looks a bit more realistic to the norm. Can’t wait to read it!

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  3. I like the concept of “ordinary”. It seems the majority of lesfic has two perfectly beautiful women ciming together, so this is nice to see. I’m looking forward to reading this book!

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  4. Interesting interview !! :-)

    About the giveaway : That’s awesome !!! ’cause I love small-town romance & I can only agree with that title … + I didn’t read “Ordinary is Perfect”, yet (It’s on my never-ending and longer each day MBR-list …)

    GOOD LUCK all !!!! Greetings, from 🇷🇪 Reunion Island

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  5. I really enjoy your interviews. They have helped me discover new authors that I otherwise wouldn’t have known or considered.

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  6. Great interview! I have enjoyed D Jackson Leigh’s previous books, and I can’t wait to read “Ordinary is Perfect.” Also, she has great taste in sci-fi/fantasy novels!

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  7. I wish more authors would write about “ordinary” characters! Throw in a chin hair every once in a while. Not all lesbians are slim Butch/femme types… Can’t wait to read this book!

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  8. I love reading the stories with ordinary characters. After all, in life, there are far more ordinary people that we know and come in contact with. Unless we’re the rich, the famous or the beautiful. Each one of us have attractive qualities that people we contact with recognizes. Can’t wait to read Ordinary Is Perfect!

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  9. I love her books and am so excited to read this one with an “ordinary” character that I can identify with. Made me laugh that the author wanted to be a cowboy, the quintessential dream of many a baby butch back in the day, including me!

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  10. I think I’ve just found a new author I need to check out – I love characters that come across as ordinary, everyday people.

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  11. Hi Dj, I always like the way you write totally down to earth characters. Are we likely to be able to listen to more of your books on audio? Cheers Beni

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  12. I very much look forward to reading your newest book. I’ve very much enjoyed your others. The different perspective is intriguing.

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  13. I love all the extraordinary women I read in lesfic novels but I’m really looking forward to reading about a character I might identify a little more closely with.

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  14. Thank you, for taking your time away from other projects, for this interview. I have ‘Ordinary is Perfect’ on my TBR list. I really can’t wait to read it!

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  15. Awesomeness another author to add to my TBR List. Love authors who write characters who are realistic, flawed and imperfect, makes for a much more enjoyable read.

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  16. I love the question about the wallpaper on your computer! My childhood was also focused on reading every horse story I could find and I read Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series over and over. There is just something about animals!

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  17. I’ve enjoyed all of Leigh’s previous books and look forward to reading this one. ‘Call Me Softly’ Is a favorite of mine and the fantasy trilogy was beautifully done.

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  18. Any book that includes animals automatically goes on my list of books to read. All my life I was an animals first kind of gal. From an extremely early age I bonded with animals. My parents moved into a house that was just the 2nd one finished in a birthing subdivision. So there weren’t any people nearby yet just workers during the day. I was 4yrs old. Mom said i nearly caused her to have a heart attack when she glanced out in the backyard and saw me surrounded by a roaming pack of stray dogs. Hell me and the dogs were having the time of our lives while she kept expecting them to spook and attack me. She managed to find her voice and called me to come inside. Me being me I am sure I argued not wanting to leave my new friends. She probably threatened to bust my ass if I didn’t obey her. And she said I was excited for days about seeing the dogs again. Dad was informed that a chain link fence was to be put up immediately. I too love the Arabians but saw a paso fino perform at the horse park and it was love at first sight. They are similar in build and shape of head but they have a totally smooth gait. Which was demonstrated by the rider carrying a tray of full wine glasses and the opened bottle. Not a drop splashed out. So they pushed ahead of the Arabian even though I loved both. Those and the horse I cant spell. Lippazanna. The white dancing stallions. They were rescued during ww2 led by Americans. And as a teen dad took me to see their show when it happened to be close enough. If only could time travel with modern day phones in order to have filmed them. And telling my age now but as a kid I was in love with Trigger and Buttercup. Lone rangers horse whose name I cant remember. Mr Ed. My books were the black stallion. And misty of chincoteague..cant spell it either… stormy mistys foal. Next to Lad a dog. Books were all horses and dogs unicorns and dragons. I loved cats too. Just didn’t seem to be many books. Until Walt disney put out books along side their movies .
    I noticed that your favorite authors are mine as well. Most of whom started their careers as xena fan fiction writers. I dont think I have read your fantasy series but I am adding it to my list because it sounds like a true experience. I get upset with amazon because when you search for lesbian books you are bombarded with sex stuff,no not even decent erotica, written by straight women and men. I have yelled at them and another site that there are tons of breathtaking thrillers mysteries sci fi and fantasy books written by lesbians and that something should be done to weed out all the sex books so as to be able to find the legitimate lesbian authors and their works. And lesbian erotica and romance truly written by lesbians. Not housewives in heat etc. It doesnt help dispel the stereotype that we are about so much more than just who we have sex with when the only thing that shows up on book site searches are books about sex.
    I hope you will consider adding Smashwords as a place to get your books someday. They are the ONLY retailer that treats their customers with respect. When you get books from them its just like using a regular bookstore. The books you buy are immediately available to you with no strings attached no hoops to jump through. You can use the ereader of your choice. You dont have your books stolen and taken hostage until you are forced into using oversized overhyped apps…Or expensive products… Just to be able to read books that according to your receipt are yours no longer theirs. Wifi only products no less. Not everyone can afford Internet or wifi. And many dont live within walking distance of free wifi either. And smashwords doesn’t demand credit card info in order to get so called free books like Barnes and noble and Google. How many times has google been hacked that we are told about. I would be crazy to expose myself for things that are free. So I do hope you will consider them in the future for at wide books.
    And I love the idea of using not so perfect physical examples in your book. Most of us dont fit into some cookie cutter mold of what is beautiful and acceptable. Yet too many romance books are still falling into that same trap. There is far too much more to a woman than looks. Everytime an author promotes that fact is an added plus as far as I am concerned. I hope I am lucky enough for a change to win a free book so that I will be able to read this book. It has everything in it that anyone could possibly want. And the dog on the cover is adorable.

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  19. Refreshing to not have a character be the perfect beauty who could have walked out of the fashion magazines, we are all lovely in our own way and need to read about that too.

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