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  • Dear Cowbirders,

    I have written a new novel, called "Death Valley." It's being published in May by a lovely Canadian literary press, Wolsak and Wynn.

    The novel is all about spies, lies, and complicated love. It tells the story of Vivienne Pink, a female photojournalist with an eye for war who heads to the American Southwest desert to capture images of servicemen about to deploy overseas. Together with her novelist husband, her intel agent boyfriend, and a retired counter-terrorism man who patrols the Las Vegas Strip in a bird suit, they begin an atomic road trip into the empty thrilling desert, through old nuclear test sites, ghost towns, film sets and epic sand dunes. Then a young soldier comes into the picture and reality begins to shift like those dunes beneath their feet. Five damaged souls travelling through a damaged landscape.

    I think of "Death Valley" as my attempt to portray a slice of modern America, during the third year of the war in Iraq. Sanity meets Crazytown.

    When I joined Cowbird in late February 2012, I had already written the novel. (I had been on eight hiking-and-photography trips to Death Valley National Park itself.) It was because I was taking a break from the intense solitary work of long-form prose that I wanted to join Cowbird, to play with my photos, my art, shorter pieces, to fly more free, improvise, stretch other writing muscles.

    Through these past four years, the novel manuscript moved from one publisher to another. I rewrote the novel, front to back, oh, about five or six times.

    The Cowbird writing community, you all, without knowing it, kept me going through the novelistic underbrush, the syllabic muddy slogs, the one more workout. Thank you, my co-Cowbirders.

    Now, as if my magic: my second novel is coming out! It looks like magic. It is the secret alchemy of hours.
    You can order it on Amazon. Or through the publisher at, where if you click 'Upcoming Releases' you can see more about the book, including advance blurbs.

    Gracias, my avian tribe
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