A sci-fi and fantasy author who has published 26 books will have a book signing in Madison on Saturday.

Stephen Leigh has been writing stories since he was in elementary school. He had his first story professionally published in 1976 and has been writing ever since.

Leigh's latest release is "Assassins' Dawn," which is a collection of his first three novels: "Slow to Fall Dawn," "Dance of the Hag" and "A Quiet of Stone." Those books were all released in the early 1980s and are being re-released as one book.

The book focuses on a group of "ethical assassins" known as Hoorka, who live in a society that tolerates assassinations and violent confrontations. But they live by an ethical code that gives their targets a chance to survive.

Leigh said he got into writing science fiction and fantasy novels because that was one of his favorite genres growing up.

"I think a lot of writers write what they like to read. I'm certainly no exception to that," he said. "Once you run out of books at the library, you start writing your own."

Leigh lives in Cincinnati and has never been to Madison. Nathan Montoya, owner of Village Lights Book Store, met Leigh through aikido, a Japanese form of martial arts, that Montoya and Leigh practice in Cincinnati.

The two started talking and when Montoya found out Leigh was an author, he thought it would be perfect for him to come to town for a signing.

"He suggested I come up to Village Lights and do a signing," Leigh said.

Montoya said he has read Leigh's books and is currently working through "Assassins' Dawn" and loves them all.

"His work is very layered, very textured. He deals with complex social and political relationships and structures," Montoya said.

His writing style, Montoya said, focuses on internal conflicts that results in complex, multi-dimensional characters.

Science fiction and fantasy are seen as two different genres to publishers and because of that, Leigh said, he has to use the pseudonym S.L. Farrell when he writes a fantasy book. The science fiction novels are all published as Leigh.

While they are considered different genres, Montoya said it can be difficult to distinguish between the two.

"He goes back and forth very comfortably between the two," Montoya said.

Leigh's newest book will be released in March. He said "Immortal Muse" will be a fantasy and historical book spanning from the 14th century to modern times.

The signing will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Village Lights Bookstore.