Posts tagged ‘real estate’

June 9, 2015

A writer’s home is for sale

A writer friend is moving, and the house she built is for sale.

It’s a very pleasant writer’s home in great neighborhood–quiet and friendly, in a small town that’s conveniently close to city shopping and entertainment.

About the house: beautiful kitchen, walk-out basement, 6 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths for $234,900. It’s 3,035 square feet. (I have no idea how that compares with houses in other places.)

So here’s the information–please help my writer friend and pass it along!

March 26, 2013

My Lake House

The Great Salt Lake, late summer 2012

The Great Salt Lake, late summer 2012

In the late winter and early spring of 2012, I began writing a book for my eldest daughter. She always enjoys action and adventure, especially in unreal or historical settings.

This is the daughter who loved the first Pirates of the Carribean movie so much that she choreographed a pirate ballet when she was seven. She and a ballet-class-friend performed it at their Christmas recital. After that, how could I not take her interest in pirates seriously? So she learned about Anne Bonnie and Mary Read, and when I finally got around to starting her book, her love of all things pirate-y was my inspiration for it.

I can’t say that it’s gone without a hitch. The first draft needs some major re-writing to fix plot holes. I’ll spend days editing it to deepen the characters, enhance the writing and clean up the grammatical errors.

I set it aside this winter when I began blogging because I needed a break from it. Now that there are hints of warmer weather, I think I’m getting ready to tackle it again.

That’s partly because I’m reminded of it every time I drive past the Great Salt Lake and see sail boats out on the water.

In the spring, when the water is high, I can see a small sliver of the lake from my office window. The fact that it’s about twenty miles away doesn’t matter. I’ve never lived anywhere with a lake view of any kind before, so by default, this has become my lake house. I’m finally settling in, but for the first full year here, that’s how I thought of this place. It felt temporary.

Moves always do that to me. For quite a while, I feel like I can set my new home aside as easily as I set aside a manuscript I’m not in the mood to edit. It takes a while for the feeling of home to seep back into my skin. It’s finally happened. I realized today, as I was thinking about picking up the pirate manuscript again, that I’m ready to resume life as normal.

I’m not on vacation. This isn’t temporary. It’s real, and it’s wonderful, and it’s a life worth embracing. I think I love it here.

I’ll be working on the edit for this particular manuscript through the spring. I have a goal to get a solid next-draft done by the first of June. I’ve even contacted a book cover artist, and I’ll be commissioning a cover with her as soon as I’m able to pull the money together. It feels good to be sailing ahead on this again.

Speaking of which, there’s something else really great thing about this: in order to make my plot believable, I’ll get to learn at least a little bit about sailing.

I’m really, really looking forward to that–and if anybody out there sails and feels like answering questions, please let me know!

December 6, 2012

The Bakken and my constant education


A few days ago someone asked me when I became syndicated. “I’ve never been syndicated,” I had to tell her, “But I’ve been a regular contributor for one publication for quite a while now.”

I’ve always told myself—and others, too—that writing is my constant education; putting together articles for this particular publication certainly has been. While I’ve written about the energy industry for a few other magazines, I’ve never had the opportunity to delve into it as deeply as I wanted. Now I’m up to my ears in a river of information concerning the oil and gas industry.

That’s not a bad thing. There’s something to be said for driving past an outpost of metal buildings and suddenly understanding that I’m looking at a disposal well or a set of frack tanks. I get excited when I see water trucks heading into the hills or lines of oil tank cars moving down the rails. Although I do most of my work by telephone, I feel camaraderie with the folks who live and work in the Williston Basin, the Bakken area of North Dakota.

Those are almost my old stomping grounds, after all.   It’s only been a year since my family and I moved away from North Dakota. In many ways it’s still my home.

Maybe that’s why it’s wonderful to see so much growth there, spurred on by the booming oil industry. While other states struggle with funding, North Dakota is in great shape. It makes me proud.

It also makes me worry. Conversations with friends in the Bismarck area leave me baffled. The real estate market there is crazy. I’ve heard there are no houses on the market. If one comes available, it’s bought quickly. It doesn’t sound like there are many rental units, either. I can’t begin to imagine how much harder it is to find a place to live in Williston or Tioga or even Dickinson.

And, like Christmas, the Bakken oil industry has become a new center for commercialization. I just received an issue of a new magazine, North Dakota Business. One of the featured articles was an oil impact report.  Several of the ads inside were for new housing units, shopping areas and commercial office space in the Williston area.

It’s becoming a trend. The Great Plains Examiner, a small Bismarck-area newspaper that has been in business for a year or year and a half now, has just been purchased. New plans are to expand it to cover western North Dakota, including the oil patch, if I understand this article correctly.

I guess I’m not the only person who’s become intrigued by the Bakken and by oil production in general. And it’s quite possible that the world needs more than one publication to tell about it. The oil industry is intricate, full of proprietary information, binding contracts and new technologies advanced enough to give me writer’s block. The housing crisis is something else worth writing about, perhaps from a different angle.

Deep down, I believe the Bakken area is getting so much interest because it could be at least part of the solution to becoming nationally energy-independent (hand in hand with clean production technologies, wind farms and renewable energy resources).

But what does this mean for me personally?


Well, if I’m going to keep writing about it, I’ve still got a lot to learn.

And that’s okay. It’s my constant education, after all, and I love it.

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