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Author Fran Orenstein

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About the Author

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. She writes for kids, ‘tweens, teens and adults, in multiple genres. Her published books include Gaia's Gift, a contemporary woman's novel, Death in D Minor a historical murder mystery, Murder in Duplicate and Murder in Disguise, contemporary mysteries, and Danse Macabre a short story paranormal anthology for adults. Also in her published list are The Book of Mysteries, a YA fantasy adventure trilogy in one volume, One Amber Too Many and Amber and the Whipped Cream Dress, a chapter book series for younger children. Also, two historical YA romance adventure novels, The Calling of the Flute, The Spice Trader's Daughter, and a contemporary 'tween novel, Fat Girls From Outer Space. In addition, two adult poetry books, First Steps and Winding Ways, and The Shadow Boy Mysteries, a four-book 'tween mystery series. Her prize-winning short stories and poetry appear in anthologies. She presents writing and publishing workshops at various venues. Fran’s books are available on-line and from the publishers in E-book and paperback format. Visit Fran’s World at for further information.  

She has a BA in Early Childhood Education, a MEd in Counseling Psychology, and an Ed.D. in Child and Youth Studies. Fran’s writing affiliations are Florida State Poets Association, Arizona State Poets Association, Sisters in Crime, and The National League of American Pen Women.

Gaia's Gift


Author: Fran Orenstein

Print ISBN:     9781937593827

E-Book ISBN: 9781937593834

Genre: Women's Lit/Romance

Release Date 1/12/2012

Rachel Wells loses everything she cherishes in a brief summer storm off the coast of Florida. Haunted by the ghosts of her past, driven to the point of insanity by survivor’s guilt, Rachel turns her back on the world and retreats to a deserted island with her cat. Here she plans to live out her life in isolation, frozen behind an impenetrable veil of pain. That is, until she receives a gift from the sea that opens a slit in the veil and allows the world to intrude. Ignoring her conscience, Rachel learns too late that some gifts are not meant to be kept forever, and that forgiveness and redemption sometimes require sacrifice. The gods and spirits watch as the many layers of love unfold to reveal a complex finale.

Murder in Duplicate


Author: Fan Orenstein

Print ISBN:       9781939865465

E-Book ISBN:   9781939865472

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Release Date 06/15/2013

Romance mystery writer, Lily Aaron is a young woman looking for a forever love and inspiration for her popular books. On a lunch break from her job as a magazine editor, she meets a sexy, gorgeous man in a coffee shop, and falls hard. Is Ken Braun’s image as a successful attorney and charming companion all a façade, or is he the man destined for Lily’s future? Meanwhile, Ted Warren, an obsessed computer geek starts stalking her, calling her Laurel. She can’t get rid of him and before she can figure it out, Ted is murdered and Lily is now in first place as the killer. Lily struggles to prove her innocence, and deal with the enigma of a new man in her life and the secret behind Ted’s obsession and death. In a harrowing climax, Lily discovers the truth, but it may not be in time to save her own life.

Murder in Disguise


Author: Fran Orenstein

Paperback ISBN: 9781629899725

eBook ISBN: 9781629899732

Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Release Date 08/20/2018


Lily Aaron, alias Lilyann Allon, mystery writer in Murder in Duplicate, reappears in this sequel, Murder in Disguise. As Lily Cooper, a happy wife and mother living in Florida, she secretly writes best-selling romance novels as L.A. Cooper. Still living with the nightmare events in New York, Lily remembers the threats against her life by Agatha Warren, driven to insanity by the death of her brother Ted. Agatha blames Lily and still searches for her with murderous intentions. When Lily wins an award for her romance novels, she has to make a decision, return to New York in disguise for the award conference, or remain hidden in Florida, and allow her agent to take her place. Meanwhile Agatha Warren, now convinced that R.L Cooper and Lily Aaron are the same person, hatches a plan to kill Lily at the conference. Lives teeter at the edge of a cliff unless they can unravel the reality behind the disguises that lurk inside the covers of Murder in Disguise.

Death in D Minor


Author: Fran Orenstein

Print ISBN:      9781629890203

E-Book ISBN:  9781629890210

Genre: Historical Murder Mystery

Release Date 12/01/2013


Behind the doors of Hull House lurk many shadowy secrets of love, anger, betrayal, and death that have haunted the Hull family for generations. Laura Hull thought she had escaped when she married a gentle poet and could pursue her love of music. Then the unthinkable happens and Laura returns to Hull House as a young widow with a child, to once again face a father who hates her. Set in the mid to late nineteenth century along the Delaware River north of Philadelphia, the novel spans forty years from the turbulent post-Civil War and the industrial revolution, to the fight for women’s rights. Laura Blake must unlock the secrets by solving the mystery behind her mother’s untimely death, while evading the evil Anton Walling who is dedicated to protecting her father by any means necessary. When Laura meets the wounded war hero, Dr. Samuel Martin, she arrives at a crossroad that may determine her destiny…life or death. Twenty years later, Laura’s daughter, Amanda Jane, a suffragist, budding writer and accomplished musician, meets a handsome Philadelphia lawyer and with his help finally learns the truth about her family, culminating in a climactic confrontation. These women defy the bonds of the Victorian era to resolve the decades of violence that haunts their family, and to fulfill their dreams of love and success.

Danse Macabre


Author: Fran Orenstein

Print ISBN:    9781629892887

eBook ISBN:  9781629892894

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Release Date 08/01/2015

Peer into the bubbling, black cauldron at a simmering stew of restless spirits, creatures of the night, murder, mayhem, and pure evil. Add a smattering of sci-fi and you have a Danse Macabre of chilling stories, seasoned with a dash of happy endings and touching tales of the many faces of love.  An anthology of short stories, Danse Macabre beckons you to curl up in a well-lit corner and journey into another dimension -- the scary fantasy world of make-believe.  Or is it?

Juvenile Fiction

The Book of Mysteries


Author: Fran Orenstein

Print ISBN:      9781938243585

E-Book ISBN:  9781938243592

Genre: Juvenile Fantasy/Suspense

Release Date 6/15/2012


Enter The Book of Mysteries at your own risk with Tyler Trent and his best friend, Zack Vander. Tyler and Zack live in an apartment house in New York City. Tyler’s uncle sends him to a find a disappearing bookstore, an ancient bookseller, and The Book of Mysteries, where exciting and danger-filled adventures await them. 


In the strange world of Balara, the two boys, with the help of a Balaran girl, a dragon-slayer giant, and a yellow, polka-dot dog, must un-mask and force a wizard to release a fire-breathing dragon from a deadly spell. The boys must complete the quest before they can they return home, that is, if the disappearing bookstore is still there and they remember the magic words. 


In the second novella, Tyler and Zack face marauding gargoyles.  Good King Elveron’s golden scepter has the power to keep the country of Gothica safe and thriving, but it has been stolen by his evil stepmother, the former queen. She has cast a spell on the gargoyles that sit atop Blackthorne Castle, home of the King’s half-brother, Lord Malevil, and the winged-beasts menace the countryside every night. The boys, with the help of twin Goth princesses, Lily and Ivy and their cousin, Sir Valor, must retrieve the scepter and free Gothica from the terror of the Gargoyles. Only then can they return to their own world through the bookstore that may have disappeared. 


This could be the last adventure Tyler and Zack undertake, for they may not be able to return home. They emerge in a world populated by the hairless people of Haven, trees that can speak and move, and colonies of mythical beasts that live in the surrounding plains and mountains. There is imminent war between Griffons and Hippogriffs and Haven lies between. Even guarded by a massive forest of trees, the destruction of Haven appears to be a real possibility, unless Tyler and Zack and their Haven friends, Kai and Cassa, can find a stolen crystal, prized by the Centaurs in the mountains of Spyr and convince them to help stop the war. The Centaurs live in isolation and want nothing to do with the other inhabitants of the country. Tyler and Zack face the most dangerous quest of all, and this could be their final journey into The Book of Mysteries.

One Amber Too Many


Author: Fran Orenstein

Print ISBN:     9781939865007

EBook ISBN:  9781939865014

Genre: Middle Grade Ages 6-9

Release Date 03/15/2013

Bad things are happening in Gillian Sandler’s life. Just after her ninth birthday her parents announce that they are getting divorced. If that wasn’t enough, her dad is leaving for a younger woman named Amber whom he intends to marry. Even worse, Gilly, the star goalie for the school soccer team, knows three Ambers, all on the team and in her fourth-grade class. Embarrassed and furious, Gilly conspires to get rid of Amber, her future stepmother, and enlists the help of her older brother, Marcus. Whatever she tries seems to backfire, until one terrifying night, when she learns something important about Amber. Then there’s the Amber Club at school. If she can become a member, will they join the conspiracy?

Amber and the Magic Whipped-Cream Dress


Author: Fran Orenstein

Print ISBN:    9781629891781

eBook ISBN:  9781629891798

Genre: Middle Grade Ages 6-9

Release Date 12/01/2014

Gillian’s future stepmother, Amber just won’t go away no matter what Gillian tries to do. Now Amber is planning her wedding, and Gillian hates the junior bridesmaid’s dress Amber has chosen for her to wear. Gillian thinks the color looks like something she smears on a bologna sandwich or worse. As the war of wills continues between them, Amber takes Gillian on a shopping trip for a new dress. Once more, the feisty nine-year-old is plotting how she can sabotage the wedding and get rid of Amber, who has a secret she won’t reveal until the wedding. In this second book in the Amber series, Gillian laughs, cries, stamps her feet, pulls pranks, and tries her best to accept this new person in her father’s life. The question is, will she succeed, or will the battle between Gillian and Amber go on and on.  

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