AEP Welcomes Author Mary Jo Nickum

Mary Jo Nickum is a retired librarian and project manager, who is now an editor and freelance writer. Her primary focus is on science for the public, especially topics related to natural history. She has chosen to extend her science for the public outreach to children.

Mary earned a B.A. degree in English education at Northland College, Ashland, WI, a Masters in Librarianship (M. Lib.) at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) from Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

She worked as a science librarian at the US Environmental Protection Agency, National Water Quality Laboratory in Duluth, MN, as Oceanography/Zoology librarian at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, as Project Manager of the Fish and Wildlife Reference Service in Rockville, MD, and as a Division Manager for the Maxima Corporation, a Washington, DC firm that specialized in information services for Federal and County governments. She is a former editor of The Progressive Fish-Culturist, Editor-in-Chief of the Intermountain Journal of Science, and currently edits the World Aquaculture magazine.

Mary’s articles on aquaculture topics are published in: Hatchery International, Aquaculture Magazine, Northern Aquaculture and Fish Farming News. She is currently working on several nonfiction books and articles for children. Her website for children is

Mary has been writing science for the public since 1995.


  • OWAA Excellence in Craft Award 2009 (Technical Contest, Magazine category)
  • OWAA Outstanding Board Member, 2010

The Path: A Literary Magazine by Mary Jo Nickum

A literary magazine produced semi-annually by The Path to Publication Group, Inc. It is a themed literary magazine available in paper and ezine formats featuring essays, short stories, poetry, humor, interviews and book reviews. The theme of this issue is ‘Wish upon a Star.


Coelacanth: The Greatest Fish Story Ever Told (The Aquitaine Reluctant Readers Series) (Volume 2) By Mary Jo Nickum

The primitive-looking coelacanth (pronounced SEEL-uh-kanth) was thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But its discovery in 1938 by a South African museum curator on a local fishing trawler fascinated the world and ignited a debate about how this bizarre lobe-finned fish fits into the evolution of land animals. There are only two known species of coelacanths: one that lives near the Comoros Islands off the east coast of Africa, and one found in the waters of Sulawesi, Indonesia. Many scientists believe that the unique characteristics of the coelacanth represent an early step in the evolution of fish to terrestrial four-legged animals like amphibians.

Looking at the Cat: An Eye on Evolution (The Aquitaine Reluctant Reader Series) (Volume 1) by Mary Jo Nickum

“The history of the domestic cat may stretch back even further, as 8,000-year-old bones of humans and cats were found buried together on the island of Cyprus.”

The history of the cat goes back much further than the Egyptians, as the reader will find out when reading “Looking at the Cat, An Eye on Evolution”. This book is an overview of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution as it relates to the cat. The student not only is exposed to the concepts of evolution but, at the same time, is shown examples of how evolution has progressed and the timeframe during which these changes have taken place. The book contains 44 pictures, photos and graphs along with 10 sidebars to further supplement the text.


A Girl Named Mary by Mary Jo Nickum

A Girl Named Mary tells the story of Mary, the Mother of Jesus as a young girl. Though she has a much older sister, she’s raised as an only child. Her cousin, Rebekka, is her closet friend and confidant. Together they grow and learn how to maneuver in a culture that is steeped in tradition. One that looks backward instead of forward for solutions to problems. Mary cares about others, helps the sick and disadvantaged and is a voice, albeit a young voice, for women.

At twelve, Mary was betrothed to an older man who had sons her age. She resisted this arrangement strongly. She argued with her parents against the betrothal with every bit of logic and strength she had but found this tradition beyond her ability to fight. The marriage took place and she was rewarded by the birth of a beautiful baby boy, Jesus.

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Mom's Story: A Child Learns About MS by Mary Jo Nickum

Mom’s Story; A Child Learns About MS tells the story of a young girl who sees her mother with some frightening health problems and learns she has MS but she will not die from it. This book is a compassionate, accessible and easy to understand account of symptoms, search for help, diagnosis and adaptation to this heart-wrenching disease. Amy fears the worst, which is common when one is confronted by the unknown. Her best friend, Kayla, doesn’t quite understand why Amy is so worried. Amy’s older sister, Kelly is concerned and does her best to help, while older brother, Tony, tries to deny the whole situation. Information is the key to allaying much of her fear along with understanding from parents, adult friends and her older sister.

Ten percent of the net proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

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Wishing Makes It So by Marilyn Meredith

In an effort to make a change in a child's live, Alyse and Steven take in a four-year-old who has been thrown out of several homes prior to theirs. Because of their successful parenting of three children of their own and Steven's career as a counselor, they feel sure they can help Belinda and give her a loving home. However Belinda quickly proves to be a great challenge. She is often disobedient and trouble making, hurting the other children and vandalizing their possessions. At times she seems sweet and innocent, easily charming the unwary. Her desire to be the only child takes a deadly turn.

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Dr. Phyllis A. Langton Working on the Final Revision for Sweet Abandon

During March 2017, Langton was a Resident Fellow at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, Rabun Gap, Georgia, working on the final revision of SWEET ABANDON: An Orphan’s Life Amid Secrets and Lies - A story about families that live with secrets and lies grounded in shame.

In the summer, Dr. Langton volunteers at Camp-to-Belong in Georgia at the Roosevelt estate working with children who have been separated from their siblings early in life. The children spend a week together in June with their siblings, some whom they meet for the first time at camp. It is a great program.

From 2007 to 2010, she published chapters in eight anthologies published by Wising Up Press, Georgia. The stories drew from Last Light Out and my current memoir, Sweet Abandon. In 2010, she co-edited one anthology with Heather Tosteson and Charles Brockett-owners of Wising Up Press: View from the Bed, View from the Bedside. Knowledge for this anthology drew from my years as a Registered Nurse and as a Medical Sociologist.

"Words are my passion. It began as a young child when I lived in foster homes and a Children’s Home during the Great Depression in the 1930s and continued through the 1940s. I learned to write and tell stories to anyone who would listen as a way to connect with the people in my life. I didn’t understand why my friends and schoolmates lived a different life from mine: pretty clothes, bicycles, parents who picked them up in big, black cars, while I wore second-hand clothes and walked everywhere.

My writing passion flourished during the early 1950s, when as a student nurse, I learned to write narrative non-fiction in the form of 'nurse’s notes' on patients' charts that described in detail: how the wound smelled and the color of the wound drainage. Again, the medium was words.

My next writing journey began in the 1960s with my graduate education to earn a PhD in Sociology where the predominant medium was numbers. I learned a new form of thinking and writing that was heavily focused on the manipulation of quantitative data. Writing science was a challenge because I preferred words to numbers. But I accepted the challenge and evolved into a social science researcher, publishing books and articles as an academic sociologist. But my thirst for narrative non-fiction remained. This hunger led me to my current journey: creative non–fiction.

Early in 2000, my husband showed physical signs of a severe neurological disease: hand tremors, facial tremors, and slightly slurred speech. I began writing a journal of my observations. On Friday the 13th, 2000, he was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. I continued this journal throughout our journey. Journaling exposed me to myself. I found that sometimes I wanted the dying to happen sooner so I didn’t have to watch his pain and he would be free of this ugly disease, but then he would be free of me. The contradictions loomed large during the journey we shared."

Last Flight Out: Living, Loving, & Leaving

How do you live the rest of your life when your doctor says, “You have Lou Gehrig’s disease, you probably have six months to live. Go out and have fun, do all the things you’ve wanted to do while you still can and prepare to die?”

Americans continue to fear death and dying. Comedian Woody Allen said, “I’m not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” Phyllis Langton’s memoir, Last Flight Out: Living, Loving, & Leaving, is a passionate love story, one that deepens as she and her husband George Thomas live their way into the experience of ALS, its unremitting losses and its surprising gifts, with dignity, keen humor, a fighter pilot’s courage and a nurse’s unsentimental pragmatism. 

“I know what’s going to be on my death certificate. That’s more than you can say,” George tells her after receiving his diagnosis. 

How they are going to live the time that remains to them as a couple is also not in question, for they are equally committed to savoring every minute, respecting George Thomas's choices about what makes for a meaningful life, a meaningful death.  

Supporting her husband's wishes is a moral as well as emotional choice on Langton's part, and definitely not always an easy one. As a medical sociologist, she invites her readers into an open discussion of some of these choices through a thoughtful discussion guide.
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

"Phyllis Langton has had as illustrious a career as anyone in academia, but she has taken infinite pains now to write a different kind of book. Her story of her husband's life with and death from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) yields many a valuable lesson, but this lesson above all: that dying, whatever its pains, can be both a negative and a positive experience. Here love and mortality, laughter and sorrow are all but inseparable, and their inseparability may help lessen a reader's fear of death and dying. Anyone who enjoys a deeply moving story will want to read this wondrous, indispensable book, and anybody who faces adversity, that is to say everybody, will need to read it."

Jeffery Paine––author of Father India, Re-enchantment, Adventures with the Buddha, and Tales of Wonder (with Huston Smith). Judge for the Pulitzer Prize and former vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle.

"Like many others, I've not been comfortable with the subject of death––the death of my loved ones or myself. How lucky we humans are to have Phyllis Langton's story as part of our lives. This moving book has allowed me to look death in the eye, and even find a way to laugh about it. Langton shows us that deep love and laughter make the sorrow and loss bearable, paving the way for this ultimate journey and beyond. . . ."

Jill Breckenridge––author of The Gravity of Flesh and Miss Priss and the Con Man.

“I couldn't put Last Flight Out down. I wanted it to go on so I could learn more about Phyllis and George and their story about facing ALS together. George had a terminal disease and he and Phyllis chose to live and love to the fullest! What an incredible message to read especially with a disease that takes and takes.”

Sharon J. Matland, R.N., M.B.A.––Vice-President of Patient Services, The ALS Association

“Who would have thought that disease can be a page-turner? But Phyllis Langton's bittersweet memoir of her fighter-pilot husband's last years shows that a good marriage can be as joyous in sickness as it is in health. Last Flight Out is a vivid, sparkling story about facing death with grace and high spirits.”

Mark Weston—author of Giants of Japan and Prophets and Princes: Saudi Arabia From Muhammad to the Present.

“Last Flight Out really touched my heart. As the hospice physician who cared for George, I found the description of the denial of his symptoms extremely compelling and riveting and it taught me to appreciate more deeply the psychological defenses which patients use to protect themselves against the perception of their own vulnerabilities. In addition, this memoir reminds all who read it of the paramount need to honor and respect a patient's wishes to control the conditions of care and medical treatment. George achieved a wonderful peace of mind as his disease relentlessly progressed. Everyone should be so fortunate to have such a resourceful and loving advocate for their partner.”

Dr. Henry Willner––Hospice Physician and Palliative Care Consultant, Capital Hospice.

Finishing Touches Underway on New Thriller by Award Winning Journalist, Glen Carter

Soldier Boy: 
A novel of reincarnation, redemption and revenge

Lightening splits a savage desert night and in the arms of a priest, a nameless woman dies while giving birth. The baby survives, but as a growing child he is tortured by disturbing vignettes of soldiers and war and a blood soaked act of betrayal. As a man he has unlimited riches magically at his fingertips, though he dwells among the legions of mole people who exist beneath the Las Vegas strip. A strange meeting sets him on a path to discovering who he once was and what was stolen from him. Samuel Bolt has come home, to a place he's never been. He needs to set things right, but it will mean exposing a man who murdered him in the middle of a war, taking everything, including the woman he loved. Bolt has determined enemies who will stop at nothing to send a dead soldier back to his grave. Though, he must have justice, so long denied, and to get it, he will have to stop a psychopath from becoming the most powerful man on earth.

About the author:

Author Glen Carter is an award-winning journalist who has worked in the high-pressure world of television news for more than thirty years. He has covered everything from national politics and world leaders to crime and deadly disasters. 

He is now applying his story-telling craft and decades of fact-driven writing to the flight of fiction. Angels of Maradona is his first novel, published in 2008 by Breakwater Books. His second, Last Witness, is available online, Amazon, Kindle, Chapters and Kobo. 

“Story telling is not a career, it's a calling. I've been writing true and compelling news my entire professional life. My novels are packs of lies.” ― Glen Carter

Other novels by this author:

Months before it was announced by President Barack Obama, a novel by Canadian author Glen Carter eerily mirrors the White House rapprochement with Cuba. Though, Last Witness contains an explosive conclusion and certainly a more tragic beginning - from more than 50 years ago.

A mysterious letter has reached retired FBI agent Ed Malloy. A letter bearing a name from a lifetime ago, from a woman who claims she saw what really happened on the day John F. Kennedy died in Dallas. Many were there to film the president, but Helena Storozhenko snapped a photo on November 22, 1963, that would have changed everything. Then she vanished. Until now. From her death bed in Odessa, the Babushka Lady provides a piece of evidence that will send Malloy and network television host Jack Doyle on a desperate search for the truth. She has summoned Malloy and finally reveals what she witnessed in Dealey Plaza. Malloy and Doyle need each other to solve a decades-old mystery, and to stop an assassin who is driven by the same evil which changed the world so tragically – so long ago. It all comes down to one place, one time, and one bullet as they race to prevent history from repeating itself – more than fifty years after a president was brutally slain – and Helena Storozhenko was The Last Witness.

'This is a sprawling thriller in the example of Jean Le Carre or Frederick Forsyth, with multiple characters, exotic globetrotting locations and a core plotline that twists and turns and cliff-hangs chapter by chapter.' The Telegram

In the mountains of Colombia, an old man stumbles sweating and breathless into the Jaguar Forest. Cursed, he feels forced to commit a savage act, and a family is destroyed - his own. From Luis Mendoza's insanity, survivors emerge, but they will not know what their grandfather intended for them, even though they were the ones destined to die. 

Decades later, veteran reporter Jack Doyle is about to become his network's next anchor star. Doyle has always done his job the right way, and when eight girls, including a US senator's daughter, are brutally murdered, Doyle discovers a trail of blood and drugs that leads to Colombia. It's where the story is, even if his network bosses don't agree. Colombia is a country on fire and la violencia means no one is safe, including Doyle and his producer, the beautiful Kaitlin O'Rourke. Narco-terrorists strike. Doyle comes home. Kaitlin doesn't. 

With his career and life adrift, Doyle struggles with the blame for his renegade assignment. Kaitlin was his friend. Possibly much more. Trying to rescue his soul, Jack sets sail. Alone and faltering on the Atlantic Ocean, he receives an astonishing message so bizarre it sets in motion his most dangerous assignment - a covert mission through the blood-soaked Colombian jungle to find a woman who stepped away at dinner and never came back. Doyle is plunged into a story of deception, betrayal, and a drug lord's insane plan to deliver an apocalyptic message to the White House. To stay alive, Doyle must confront his past and untangle his future. And before it's too late, he must uncover the unbelievable truth about Kaitlin O'Rourke and the Angels of Maradona.

"With his taut prose, and gripping storytelling, Carter delivers a stunning page-turner." - Rick Mofina, two-time Arthur Ellis award-winning author of A Perfect Grave.

"Angels of Maradona is an entertaining novel that successfully maintains its established tone of mystery and tension...with each new page, Jack Doyle becomes increasingly real." - Clare O'Connor, Atlantic Books Today

Deadly Trail by Marilyn Meredith

Tempe Crabtree Mystery Series Prequel
The tranquility of the village of Bear Creek in the Southern Sierra is disrupted by the suspicious death of the owner of the local Inn. Investigating a murder case isn't Deputy Tempe Crabtree's job, but when the detectives don't look any further than Nick Two John as the primary suspect. Tempe begins asking questions. Putting the planning for her wedding to Pastor Hutch Hutchinson on hold, it doesn't take long for her to discover there are several more people who wanted the victim dead, including his wife. Tempe follows the trail of clues putting her job, her upcoming marriage and herself in peril.

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The Astral Gift by Marilyn Meredith

A victim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather, Elaine Brinsfield can't bear the thought of being touched by a man. The coping mechanism of astral projection she used as a child returns unbidden, accompanied by the threatening appearance of ghostly evil spectral beings. The gift-or curse-of astral projection enables Elaine to solve a vicious murder, but skeptical cops make her the number one suspect.

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