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Thought-Provoking Memoir Brings to Life Millions' Dream of "Running Away", as Professor Leaves Job & Big City to Become Winter Desk Clerk in Death Valley

Jackie Keller’s ‘Death Valley: A Winter’s Journey’ may sound like an unlikely piece of fiction, but it is entirely true. With the allure of the desert and romance of “running away” calling to Dr. Keller for many years, she put down her pen at the height of her career as a Professor and made the liberating transformation into a winter desk clerk for a Death Valley hotel. Her powerful new memoir tells a bold journey of self-discovery, a search for true tranquility and allows readers to indulge in their own fantasies of leaving the hustle and bustle of the real world behind.


Sacramento, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/04/2014 -- While millions enjoy America’s National Parks for a daytrip or short vacation, everyone secretly wishes that they could pack their bags and move to such peaceful settings for the life they have always dreamed of. In a life-changing move, former professor Jackie Keller did just that, and her compelling new memoir tells the entire story.

‘Death Valley: A Winter’s Journey’ takes readers from the cramped life of the big city and academia, to Death Valley’s Furnace Creek, an isolated and unique community that would become Keller’s new home after deciding to pack up her former life and unravel a powerful new chapter.


The many days and years of her life had been busy, challenging and rewarding, sometimes overwhelmingly difficult. And over those years she began to dream the dream, as many do, that she could, just once, run away and escape from it all. She dreamed of Death Valley National Park, of a winter’s journey which promised her beauty, slow time and a quieted mind. So when her life stress hit the tipping point, this middle-aged professor left academia, packed her car and moved to the desert where she found everything she had dreamed of, plus blessings and adventures she had never envisioned. Through this true life story the reader can see the stunning beauty of this glorious national park, explore its history and share the rhythm of day-to-day life in the small community of Furnace Creek. All occurs while the author daily, slowly, succumbs to a powerful peacefulness, and fills that new quiet with watching, listening, musing, self-discovery and learning to simply "be".

If you treasure the desert or ever wished to run-away, you will enjoy this book which is sometimes very factual, sometimes funny and sometimes verges on poetry. Walk with the author through a season of travel, exploration, laughter and renewal.

Since its release, the book has garnered highly flattering reviews. Shelley Stokes, Ph. D. comments, “For anyone who wants to rediscover his/her true self or perhaps find it for the first time, you are invited to join this middle aged professor who quit her job and went to live and work in a vast and imposing desert. It was a winter spent watching, learning, questioning and discovering things she would never have found without her self-imposed exile….a beautiful true life story which Dr. Keller masterfully and artfully describes.”

Mary Jo Hertsenberg adds, “This is a really good, easy read. Ms. Keller's decision to temporarily "leave her life" behind and spend the winter in a place she loves is something so many of us would love to do and she did it! Her descriptions of the people and the land put you there and the impact this had on her life is well described. A great read for a lazy Sunday afternoon or to have on the bedside table!”

The National Park Service reviewer stated "I thought the book was rather delightful," while another reader communicated, "I just finished your book. I loved it! It would make a great movie."

‘Death Valley: A Winter’s Journey’ is available now: http://www.deathvalleyescape.com

About Jackie Keller
At age nine, Jackie began four years of living in the desert which surrounds Yuma, Arizona and there began a quiet passion for the beauty, great spaces and serenity of that environment. From there she lived in what sometimes seemed endless different states and two different countries until she finally found a lasting home in the great central valley of California. It was from there that she discovered Death Valley National Park which would draw her back again and again over the years. But it was only when she left academia that she could actually pack up her things and fulfill her dream of living there for a full winter. Death Valley: A Winter’s Journey is the story of that experience.

As an adult she passed many years centered on the roles of mother and wife, and then enjoyed a long career as a clinical psychologist and professor. Now she has begun her third career as an author and artist. While she has painted both the desert and the agriculture of the central valley for many years, it is now, with retirement that she can focus fully on writing and art.

A polished public speaker with decades of experience, Dr. Keller has lectured in class, testified in court, presented for public education and participated in television and radio interviews. She can engage with and tune her approach to any audience.