New and Debut: Leigh M. Lorien


My guest today is Leigh M. Lorien, author of mm romance novella Jigs and Reels, released on Sept 16. Travelling Renaissance band meets closed off, introverted man and... if that sounds like your kind of story, read on to learn more about it and the author. Don't miss the excerpt in the end :)

Meet Leigh

1. Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to become a romance writer?

Well, I have a lot of pets, a lot of books, and a lot of plants. I like photography and the outdoors, music, rainy days, and cute animals. I never actually “decided” to become a romance writer. I was trying to write epic, serious sci-fi and fantasy, but my characters kept falling in love and doing naughty things instead of pursuing their quests. The first novel-length piece I ever finished was contemporary gay romance, but I didn’t realize I’d written a romance novel until someone pointed it out to me. That’s partly because I never thought about assigning a genre, but also partly because I didn’t think there was such a thing as gay romance except in fanfiction (and even then it’s not called “gay romance”). I have never been happier to find out I was wrong.

2. Can you share some of your favourite books and authors?

One book I recommend pretty often is Redshirts by John Scalzi. If you’re a Star Trek fan, or a sci-fi fan in general, read it. You will laugh.  I also love Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and I have a penchant for children’s books  such as Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Chronicles of Narnia, and A Wrinkle in Time.
Favorite not-children’s-books authors, in no particular order, include Jim Butcher, John Scalzi, C.S. Pacat, Josh Lanyon, Aleksandr Voinov, and Matthew J. Metzger.

3. Who/what do you consider your writing influence/inspiration?

Absolutely everything inspires me, even something as mundane as cooking a meal. Conversations overheard between strangers. A stray vine climbing up the side of a barn. Movies, books, and music are huge inspirations. Every book I read gives me some new idea. I have a tendency to pick up voices from things I read, no matter the genre or situation—if I just read a snarky character, I’ll want to write a snarky character. If I see a cool cucumber in a movie, I’ll want to write a cool cucumber. Music is a vastly important tool for how I shape characters. Listening to a lot of metal music will make me want to write an aggressive character. Listening to dubstep makes me want to write sci-fi. A passing phrase in the lyrics of a song might inspire the idea for a relationship dynamic, or an emotion worth exploring. There are stories in everything and everyone.

4. What kind of stories can the readers expect from you (contemporary/historical/sci-fi, adult/NA/YA, etc)?

I market myself as a queer romance author. The fun thing about romance is that it can happen anywhere! Space ships, castles, skyscrapers, you name it. I’m working on a contemporary novel and a sci-fi short story, and planning on an urban fantasy novel next. No matter the genre, my writing will feature characters from all colors of the rainbow. I have transgender, nonbinary, asexual, and bisexual characters in progress. My stories will almost definitely include dorkiness, pop culture references, music, humor, healthy relationships, and probably some kink.

5. Please, introduce your latest/upcoming release.

Jigs and Reels is my first release, and it came out September 16. It’s a cute, lighthearted story about musicians in an Irish band, and the important distinction between “being alive” and “living.” The romance is fun and passionate and sweet.


Elijah works in a cubicle, lives with his parents, and never goes on dates. It isn’t an exciting life, but it’s safe and easy and that’s good enough.
Then he meets Peter, a whirlwind of a man who leads a traveling renaissance band. Peter represents everything Eli usually avoids, but his boisterous enthusiasm is infectious… and his band needs a fiddle player.
When Eli agrees to fill in for a weekend, he awakens a part of himself he thought long gone. With Peter’s help, he shakes off the dust that has settled on his soul and remembers how to have fun.
But when the band asks him to join them permanently, is Eli’s newborn sense of adventure -- and insane crush on a man he barely knows -- enough to make him leave the safety of a life he’s clung to for years?

Purchase Links: PublisherAmazon / Kobo

Author Bio and Links

Sometime back in the early 90’s, Leigh M. Lorien started writing and never stopped. Her anime fanfiction is still on the internet, but no amount of torture or bribery will convince her to reveal its location. While acquiring her Creative Writing degree, she tried to write what her professors called “literature,” but her male hero kept ending up in bed with the male villain, so she gave up and joined the queer writing community. She likes it there and has no intentions of ever leaving.
Leigh’s writing is character-driven and mostly contemporary for now, but she plans to write compelling, dorky, wonderfully human queer characters in every genre she can. Leigh supports mental health awareness and general human decency. If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading, gardening, petting cute animals, getting tattoos, or losing a battle against her social media addiction. She lives in a creepy old house in a creepy old town with her husband, four cats, four dogs, and probably some ghosts.


“Wait, what?” My heartrate spiked and I swallowed against a sudden wave of nausea.

No one had mentioned this before. Morrison’s? We hadn’t practiced Morrison’s. I knew the tune, but man, I was not prepared for this. The past few days were really pushing the limits of my spontaneity for the week. Month. Hell, I hadn’t been this spontaneous in years. Seeing my anxiety, Peter caught my shaky hand as I reached for a bottle of water. My eyes widened and I glanced around, but everyone else had better things to do than watch my every move.

“Hey,” he said softly, and brought my hand to his lips for a kiss, like an old-fashioned gentleman. “You’ll be great. You know these songs, you’ve been on stage before, nothing is different.”

“No?” I said in a choked whisper. He wasn’t letting go of my hand. His skin was soft, smooth as silk, warm, and dry. Well, it had been dry before he’d grabbed my sweaty mitt. “I don’t know you guys at all. I’m going to fuck up, I’m going to miss a cue or, or, play a song too fast or too slow or get up there and forget how to play everything I’ve ever learned. I’m going to be too stiff, people are going to look at me and think I’m a zombie or something, some kind of weird fiddle-playing corpse, an animatronic fiddler. I don’t move around much, that was something Toby always told me, too. My ex ... band leader. Toby. He got on my case, said if I was going to be so still I might as well just sit in a chair for all the more entertaining I was on stage. I have no stage presence. I just --”

Soft fingers touched my lips. He didn’t put any pressure on me, but the mere presence of the touch made me shut up. “Shh,” Peter cooed. He met my eyes and smiled, but it wasn’t an impish, teasing smile this time. It was gentle and earnest. “You’re not going to forget those songs.” The fingers brushed back along my cheek until he cupped my jaw in his palm, thumb coming to rest on my lower lip. Why was I just standing there like an idiot? Do something! Those bright eyes had me hypnotized. I couldn’t have pulled away if I’d wanted to.

And I didn’t want to. It had been way too long since I’d had affection. Hell, even if it had just been last week, I figured Peter would have been able to entrance me. He just had that energy about him, that insane, hell bent for leather, bright eyed confidence like he could go out the door one day intending to get the newspaper and end up taking over the world. Katie had a similar sort of energy. I was drawn to it like a stupid moth to a lamp. And, much like a stupid moth, I could not actually obtain that energy for myself. I just bounced around it until it became too much to handle and I dropped.

“We’ve had two fiddlers since we got together, and a couple other temp stand-in members” Peter said, still holding my hand, still caressing my lip with his thumb. “We’re used to adjusting to new members, but I don’t foresee it being an issue. You and I click, musically. You pick up on cues like a pro.”

“Well,” I said, my voice matching his soft timbre, “you’re not exactly subtle.”

Peter laughed. “No time in life for pussy-footing around.” He let go of my hand and brought his other hand up to cup my other cheek, holding my face. He was taller than me, I realized. Not much, but just enough that I noticed when he tipped my face up towards his. He didn’t lean in though, just kept smiling. “What kind of cues are you picking up on right now?”

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