Day 5 – D. Jackson Leigh – The Perfect Affair, Again and Again

August 5th spotlights LGBTQ romance and invites you to read content from three popular authors within the genre.

Celebrating Romance

Romance = endorphins = uplifting emotions = better health = longer life span.

Scientists have analyzed its biological cause and effect, documented it in large studies, and published reams of reports every-second-countsdissecting the how and why of romance. Still, the chemistry that draws two people together and forges an inescapable emotional and physical bond remains a mystery. The only thing we know for sure is that it happens. And, we want it to happen again and again.

I read and write romance stories because it’s like having the perfect affair.

It’s a threesome in which the lovers are born from your own or another writer’s fantasies. They can be young, beautiful, mature, sexy, femme, butch, rich, poor, brilliant, brooding, funny, shy, flawed, talented and toned. But they must always also be tortured.

Still, you don’t hesitate to get involved, because you know there will be a happy ending.

You can be the character, depending on that chapter’s point of view. You see what they see, feel what they feel. You savor the deliciously agonizing anticipation of the courtship and the wonder of the first kiss. You experience with them (figuratively) that incredible first sex where they achieve the multiple orgasms you’ve never actually managed. And, you ultimately surrender your heart along with them as they make promises to love and be loved forever.

It’s even more emotional if you are the writer.

The final chapter is your climax. Your edit, the loving strokes that follow. The day it goes to the readers feels like the first time you go public as a committed couple.

Better yet, these lovers are never jealous. Even after you move on to a new seduction and a new set of characters, the ones you left frozen in their happy-­ever­-after will always welcome you back between their pages for a tryst.

The coup de grace: No matter how many of these affairs you engage in, your real life lover still rewards you with a kiss and, if you’re lucky, her own seduction.

Recommendations:

One of the most talented young authors I’ve read is Ashley Bartlett, author of the “Dirty” series. Her trilogy is an intrigue on the surface, but actually a coming of age story about three twenty­-somethings trying to make their way in a very dangerous, adult world.

Yolanda Wallace (also writing as Mason Dixon) writes romances with the most diversity of characters and settings of any author I know.

I’m also a fan of R.E. Bradshaw, the only self­-published writer I know who does it right. She writes both romances and intrigue. Her “Rainey” series is gritty and sweet and suspenseful.

Want to read more RARM content from prominent LGBQT authors? Find some here.


Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

I’ve always been a risk­taker in athletic or outdoors situations – the first one to jump off the high dive, the first to ride an unbroken pony, the first to take on the obstacle course. But I’m basically an emotionally shy person underneath that extrovert I project, always waiting for the woman making eye contact across the room to approach me first, never initiating the first kiss.

Still, I wanted to write lesbian romance fiction so desperately that I went to a Golden Crown Literary Society conference in Atlanta all by myself. I didn’t know a soul. I ate meals in my room so I wouldn’t have to sit alone and pathetic in the restaurant, and I attended every workshop and panel I could squeeze in. I had the manuscript of my first book gathering dust at home, and this GCLS conference gave me hope that I, too, would one day be a published author. Two years later, that manuscript – a story about a woman trying to win a spot on the U.S. Equestrian Team – was published and my life changed completely.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

I was born a “bookworm” and I’m a career journalist, so I’ve always been a writer. Reporting and editing for a newspaper, however, did little to prepare me to write fiction.

After that GCLS conference, I started searching the Internet and found a yahoo group in which the members role­played characters in fantasy setting and wrote stories alone and together for the group to read. The woman who established the group was a published author, and when one of the other members of the group – a very talented writer – shared with the group that she’d just signed a contract to be published, I decided to quit sitting on my manuscript and try for a contract. My two friends in the group were very encouraging and one read through my manuscript to help me whip it into shape. Then I submitted it and waited.

On nearly the last day of the 90 that the publisher asks for to evaluate a submission, I got an email from Len Barot, president and CEO of Bold Strokes Books, saying she wanted to publish my book. The most important thing she said to me in a phone call a week later was that BSB was interested in publishing authors who want to write more than one book and want to work at getting better with each one. I said, “That’s me.”

Bold Strokes Books has held up their end of the bargain – pairing me with an awesome editor and providing online classes and several writing retreats where we spend a week in workshops to hone our craft.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

Well, this is where I’m supposed to name a book that somebody else has written, but honestly, the book that changed my life was “Bareback,” my very first.

Few people make a living as a niche writer, but I feel extremely lucky because writing romance novels has earned me an unexpected wealth of friends all over the world. Even better, they are friends who share my same­sex orientation and fascination with romance literature.

Before I published my first novel, I had barely traveled outside the Southeast and certainly never outside this country. Using my royalties, I’ve traveled to places I would have never imagined to visit those new friends, participate in writers’ retreats, and attend book events.

Last month (July), I attended my second GCLS conference, but I didn’t eat my meals alone in my room. This time, one of my titles, “Every Second Counts,” was a finalist in two award categories – popular choice and traditional romance. I spent the four days chatting and dining and hanging out with friends and fans of my writing.

I’m still in awe every day of how my life has changed since “Bareback” was published.

Drawing:

D. Jackson Leigh is generously offering “Hold Me Forever” for the domestic drawing (entry form below) and “Every Second Counts” for the international giveaway (international readers enter here).

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D. Jackson LeighD. Jackson Leigh grew up barefoot and happy, swimming in farm ponds and riding rude ponies in rural south Georgia.

Her passion for writing led her to a career in journalism and to North Carolina where she edits breaking news for a mid­-sized newspaper at night and writes lesbian romance stories with equestrian settings by day.

 

Friend her at facebook.com/d.jackson.leigh or on twitter @djacksonleigh.

 

 Buy D. Jackson’s Books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

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  • VK Powell

    D. Jackson Leigh’s books are always a treat! Her characters have problems, hopes, and desires you can identify with, her stories are well told, and the love story is always satisfying–in so many ways.

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      Thanks, VK!

  • angryreader

    I have had the hardest time finding books for my daughter that reflect her life. It has gotten better in the years since she has left high school, but I am still so pleased when I find someone who writes romances that have females characters who are lesbians in love, and who are not caricatures of someone’s stereotypical opinions or angst ridden unhappy women headed towards a bad end.

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      I agree. I wrote my first book because I couldn’t find another one to read that had a character like me….and a happy ending. If it doesn’t have a happy ending, then I don’t want to read it.

    • YAY, Happy (not angry) Reader Just this one comment makes me feel like this day was a success! :o)

      • angryreader

        I became Angryreader when California was trying to make Prop 8 the law. I am generally Peaceful Reader, or Happy Reader, or even Constant Reader, but until ALL people share equal civil rights, I will remain in name Angry Reader. Good thoughts go out to all who read this blog!

  • Wendy C

    Connecting and getting involved is a sign of a good book. It’s a journey that you experience with the characters. You smile when it’s going right but groan when one or both of them puts their foot in it. When you can experience the highs and lows and the book leaves you wanting more you know the authors got it right.

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      My characters are very real to me when I’m writing. I even cry at my own scenes…not just when I write a sad scene, but every time I edit through it. That seems kind of weird, doesn’t it?

      • Wendy C

        Weird no. Being able to relate to the characters is very important. Without that connection i can’t see how you would be able to hold the reader. If you as the author cannot feel the heartache as well as the joys that your characters go through, then i don’t see how the reader can.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I love your essay and especially your discussion around your “affairs” with characters. My fellow reader friends and I constantly refer to the characters in our books as our “book boyfriends/girlfriends” and get so absorbed in stories that they feel like real people to us. However, my husband only benefits from these “affairs” since I immediately transfer all of the emotions and feelings to him after reading a particularly engrossing novel 🙂 I’ve only read a few LGBQT authors, but I love good stories/characters in general so I will definitely be checking out your books!

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      Thanks, Courtney. That’s the best compliment a writer can receive…that a book touched you to the point that you transferred those good feelings to the romantic person in your life. Try “Every Second Counts.” I’ve gotten some good feedback from some straight readers on that book.

      • Courtney Cogswell

        I’m definitely open to any book as long as the characters are engaging and it sounds like yours definitely are 🙂 I’ll make sure to check out “Every Second Counts” and let you know what I think! Thanks for participating in RARM and giving me some new reading fodder.

        • D. Jackson Leigh

          Great. I’d love to hear what you think. 🙂

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    I enjoyed reading your posts and answers. Congratulations on overcoming your obstacles, I can relate. Totally!

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      Thanks, Tonda. Every time I look for a DVD to buy or rent, I see nothing but male heros on the covers. Some day the movie and book industry will reflect our population, which is more than 50 percent female.

  • Thanks so much for being here today Deb, and sharing your perspective with us. I really appreciate it! Love {ALL} Romance. xo

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      Thanks, Bobbi. I love conversing with other readers of romances.

  • Jen C

    One of my favorite things about reading is learning about lives and experiences that I don’t have. I appreciate the many ways authors share the world with me. 🙂

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      Me, too! That’s one reason I like Yolanda Wallace as a writer…she goes all over the planet with her settings. I always learn something about cooking, mountain climbing, how to rob a bank…oh, I didn’t say that, did I?

  • Debbie Oxier

    So glad to find a new author. Thanks!

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      Awesome!

  • Patty Vasquez

    The description of your relationship with your books is wonderful. I’m always fascinated by authors and the way they talk about how their characters talk to them or develop into something they hadn’t planned. That you can renew your love-life with every book you write without ever having a jealous lover, is an aspect of romance writing I hadn’t considered!

    • D. Jackson Leigh

      Thanks. I love writing and reading romance stories.

  • Allie

    Bareback is my favorite of your books (followed closely by Every Second Counts!) and is the one I re-read most often. So glad readers outside the world of LGBT romance have this chance to find out more about “our” stories. Heck, I read plenty of m/f romance in addition to lesfic, don’t see why straight people wouldn’t want to read LGBT. It’s cheesy, but after all, Love is Love!

  • Sharon Clark

    I’ve been lucky enough to already read “Every Second Counts” and loved it!!

  • Mary McCoy

    Thank you for your insights on the process of becoming a published writer! I am off to tryst with another book!

  • rebecca moe

    What an inspirational story! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  • Brittany Hill

    You are a wonderful inspiration on writing!!

  • Mary Dieterich

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a lesbian romance, but there’s sure a lot of m/m out there. Why do you think there are fewer lesbian romances?

  • Stephanie M.

    I will be adding your books to my TBR list. 🙂

  • Karin Anderson

    Yep. More books added to my TBR pile. It’s going to eat my house alive. 😉

  • Tiffany McLendon

    I love D. Jackson Leigh’s characters and the emotions in her stories!

  • PEGGY ALLEN

    I was born a bookworm too. Can’t wait to read this author’s work

  • Erlinda Mejia

    Thank you for being brave enough to put yourself and your talent out there and share it with us. I look forward to reading your work!