David Ek held a successful and award-winning career with the National Park Service, where he led science and natural resources teams throughout the country. His resource management work often tackled complex issues of regional and national scope. David’s extensive natural resource-related writings have appeared in dozens of science and management publications—and in countless forms intended for general audiences of all ages.
On the literary side, David writes both fiction and nonfiction. Editors for literary journals have found his writing “strong” with “much to admire.” His short stories and essays have appeared in Canary, Weber: The Contemporary West, and elsewhere. Pedro’s Pickles and the American Dream was his debut novel. He is a member of the Virginia Writers Club and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association.
When not sciencing or writing, David has been an active rock and mountain climber, caver, and explorer of the American wilds. A native of Seattle, Washington, he currently lives with his wife, children, cat, and dogs in rural northern Virginia.
Lizard People: Death Valley Underground
Literary Fiction: Mystery
Sid Emerson goes missing while trying to determine what mysterious cosmic force lies within Death Valley’s wilderness—a force that draws in such an odd mixture of eccentrics, societal outcasts, alien conspiracies, and those seeking hidden truths to ancient earth mysteries.
Sid’s niece hires local desert rat Paddy Darwin to find her uncle. However, she soon discovers that strange things happen when the lost search for the lost, especially within a harsh alien landscape filled with clandestine “patriots” chasing shapeshifting alien Lizard People, a media-seeking crackpot who believes his dead-body-detecting machine can locate additional victims of the Charles Manson murders, and an overworked sheriff who continuously recovers withered and desiccated bodies from Death Valley’s enchanting yet brutal landscape. The journey forces Paddy to face his troubled past in ways that provide a few lizardly twists and turns of their own.
Pedro's Pickles and the American Dream
Literary Fiction: General
Having traveled from Paraguay, Pedro arrives in the small town of Rose, Texas, where he plans to start a new life in America—the land rumored to be bursting with opportunity.
After discovering a location he imagined would make a perfect farm, Pedro heads into Rose to meet like-minded folk. In a local store, he meets Jim, a self-proclaimed farmer who offers to sell Pedro land that he said would make a fantastic pickle farm. Pedro can own it for only ten thousand dollars—cash. After parting ways with his money, Pedro believes he found a mentor and friend in Jim.
Pedro works day and night to get his farmstead in shape. Despite using seeds provided by Jim, and the untold hours of grueling work Pedro put into his farm, no pickles set on the pickle plants. Left with only hope, he prays for success—but his prayers go unanswered.
People continue coming into Pedro's life, each intent on further taking advantage of his trusting and kind heart. Eventually, manipulating forces land naïve Pedro in jail. No one who once claimed to be his friend comes to his aid, so Pedro must say goodbye to the pickle farm and his American dream.
Later, when a casual traveler who had befriended Pedro the previous year attempts to follow up to see what has become of him, she discovers that everyone throughout Rose has a different version of who Pedro was and what became of him. While nobody knew the real Pedro, it doesn’t stop anyone from using their memory of Pedro to reinforce and perpetuate whatever biases they held that would ensure their version of Rose remains unchanged.