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Aquitaine Authors

Mary Jo Nickum is a retired librarian, teacher, writer and editor. She is also a biologist, specializing in fish and other aquatic as well as terrestrial life. She enjoys writing about biological subjects for kids.


Visit her website for more about animals.

Leslie Kohler grew up in the small town of Loomis in northern California. After graduating high school, she moved to southern California’s Newport Beach area where she attended the University of California at Irvine. She achieved a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and acquired teaching certificates in both general education and special education. After fourteen years living in Newport Beach, she relocated to Arizona.

Leslie currently works as a special education teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. She is also working on the next installment for the “Lives” series, Uninsured Lives, in which she recounts her real life encounters with a serial contract murderer.

Brian Lester and has a been a sports writer since 1997 and his work has appeared in newspapers and magazines as well as on various sports websites. A native of Rockford, Ill. and an award-winning writer, he began his journalism career by slipping a column on the 1994 NHL lockout under the door of the student newspaper at Rock Valley College. He went on to write for the student newspaper at Eastern Illinois University, where he received in BA in Journalism.


He has a wide range of experience as a freelance writer, doing work for USA Hockey Magazine,,, as well as having articles appear in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer and the New York Daily News.

Fran Orenstein, Ed.D., award-winning author and poet, wrote her first poem at age eight and submitted a short story to a magazine at age twelve. Her prize-winning short stories and poetry have appeared in various anthologies. She presents writing and publishing workshops at various venues.


She has a BA in Early Childhood Education, a MEd in Counseling Psychology, and an Ed.D. in Child and Youth Studies. Fran is a member of the Arizona State Poets Association, Sisters in Crime, [Desert Sleuths], and The National League of American Pen Women.

Born and raised an only child in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cathy spent her early years listening to vivid stories by parents, relatives and other elders. With firsthand insight into historical events, she developed a keen interest in the art of storytelling. In her fiction, as in life, characters suffer from a skewed sense of justice and bittersweet victories.

After establishing her accounting and tax business, she resurrected her writing career with various short stories. She published her first novel, Here Lies Buried, in February 2014, followed by Deliberate Fools later that year. Sick In Shadows is her third novel, in 2015. Her fourth and fifths novels her second Pilar Sagasta mystery, Here Lies Hidden and Deliberate Fools - The Serious Suit are coming soon.

She weaves her tales in the arid climate of the Arizona desert and where life takes her.

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