In today’s spotlight I’m welcoming Reid Lance Rosenthal: rancher, businessman, and author of a new nonfiction work, Land for Love and Money. Reid has also penned a popular Threads West series. Much can be said about this multi-talented gentleman but I’m limiting my intro, his impressive prose stands head and shoulders above any accolades I may attempt.
Q) Reid, welcome! What an interesting few weeks you’ve had…the excitement of your new book, Land for Love and Money, releasing plus wild fires sweeping your area! Tell us about this nonfiction work and how it developed.
A) Great to be on here with you and your terrific readers, Roxie! Thanks for the invite! Wasn’t sure with the fire 5 miles from the ranch house, and book release, but Phew! 🙂
“Land for Love and Money—Volume I—“These volumes and Reid’s presentation of controversial, real-life truths of land and real estate are sometimes serious, sometimes humorous but filled with essential, eye-opening information your banker or attorney won’t tell you!”
I have wanted to write these volumes for years. Common sense, tangible truths told in true stories a non-real estate professional can grasp and use quickly—and it is my hope it helps many folks with the big picture essentials of every phase of land/land based real estate.
I have always loved the land. I purchased my first piece of land—a ranch property—at the age of eighteen. Three generations of a family steeped in land and cattle preceded me, and from these past generations I acquired a deep and abiding love of the land and its energy. Besides being a rancher and a cowboy, I and my firms have been involved as a principal, partner or consultant in more than five thousand land and real estate transactions with a ten figure market value over four decades in multiple states, three countries and two continents. I am proud that hundreds of properties, totaling tens of thousands of surface acres, have been fully or significantly restored, enhanced and preserved by us through deed restrictions, conservation easements, planning devices and other land use controls.
This is my first non-fiction work—and I believe the unique format makes it one of a kind! The very controversial revelations, real stories, and expose’ of some of the sordid truths of government regulations and finance are real time, something every owner, or wannabe owner NEEDS to know—whether your interest is 1/3 of an acre with a home, or thousands of acres–ranch, farm, recreation, residential and large and small properties—from acquisition to disposition, management, operations, improvements and preservation.
I think readers will find the anecdotes laced with no-holds-barred, hard-hitting facts known only to a few. Each tale—the good, bad, and ugly—is intended to afford the reader a rare learning experience on land acquisition and disposition, valuable instruction about today’s floundering financial system, real estate downturn, increasing regulation and uncertain tax climate. Social, political and urgent economic considerations critical to land purchase, enjoyment, ownership and value—any type, size, use or location—are revealed, along with invaluable secrets of land purchase, ownership and sale in unstable economic times. As just a few examples:
• Why your banker says no—what’s really happening behind the vault doors
• This ain’t your mama’s appraisal—the rules have changed
• When it’s time for the seller to sign the dotted line—forget price—let’s talk net
• Pigs are fat and happy. Hogs get slaughtered.
• Looking under the rocks—due diligence and the “PPPPP Rule” can save a wreck
• The government is not here to help you—and it might be on purpose
• Mammoth real estate profits to banks, guaranteed—all from YOUR pocket (thank you)
• Buying and selling smart—the silver lining in an age of upheaval
• Conservation Easements—getting paid to do the right thing–BUT–be careful!
I sincerely hope people, many of whom long to return to the rural roots of their youth, who are searching for a safeguard against inflation, a haven, a lifestyle change, security in the event of unrest, tax advantage, spiritual connection to the earth, legacy for their family, or faced with a dilemma that forces them to sell, derive both smiles and benefits from my experiences. I tried to write Land for Love and Money to instruct and entertain, opening eyes to the danger of the powers that be. Armed with knowledge and equipped to act, folks can tickle their hearts and enhance their wallets.
Each of the volumes of Land for Love and Money, will shortly be followed by an accompanying Green for Green workbook in a CD-DVD format with the nitty-gritty details: forms, charts, and checklists for due diligence, closing, selling, and buying, actual excerpts from conservation easements regarding reserved rights and other matters–real working documents on deals that are advantageous to the buyer, the seller, or both regarding seller financing, purchase, sale, and protections for the various players involved. Most were developed by me and forged in the fire of thousands of real deals–originated in the crucible of trial and error in the course of more than $1 billion in property business.
I was stunned today when the dot coms sold out in hours and the book was a #2 best seller at Amazon, a #1 best seller and #2 hottest selling book at Barnes and Noble. Thank you readers! If it helps hearts, saves wrecks and financially empowers, I will be well gratified. Like the books, its workbook, Green for Green will be available from Barnes & Noble in store and online, Amazon, Hastings, and other fine retail outlets. The 35% special release discount will continue for several days here…
I have come to realize that in essence, all my writing is of the land. There are few who have not stood in awe of the cascade of fall colors on the flanks of mountain ranges, been immersed in the tranquil beauty of lakes, transfixed by the pull of a seething sea or swayed by the gently rolling hills of the Midwest. Some have already responded to the undeniable tug to the heart and now own a piece of heaven. Others promise themselves that someday they will transform this palpable yearning and will plant the roots of family and soul in the soil of some special piece of earth. Yet mixed with the spiritual energy of the land calling to us are nitty-gritty financial aspects.
Q) On your site, you share about one of the first occasions of writing for an audience. How did that experience influence your decision to write, delivering to your readers now?
A) My interest in writing stems from long ago, when I was nine. We were taking a family vacation to the Virgin Islands. St. John had just been declared a National Park and we planned a week of camping on the beach in part to celebrate my sisters third birthday. A mongoose ate her birthday cake, but that is yet another tale. As penance for my playing hooky, my fourth grade teacher assigned me the task of keeping a daily journal with the admonition that I would have to read it to the class upon return.
The morning we departed, overwhelmed with the excitement of my first ride on silver wings, I made my first entry. I gazed in awe out the plane window, and wrote madly with one of those old style bic pens, the ones with the very thick dark blue ink lines. Cotton ball clouds cast flitting shadows on the emerald corduroy of sea far below.
On my first day back in class, hands trembling, positive no one cared a damn about our vacation, I read to my classmates and Mrs. Darling, my teacher.
Much to my surprise, when I looked up, there was complete silence, mouths were gaped, eyes were riveted on me, and my teacher clapped. It was then I realized I could tell a story and people wanted to hear it.
It was at that moment, in fourth grade one sunny winter day many years ago, I made myself a promise. I am not much for breaking promises and though many more years passed then I originally intended, I am finally fulfilling that oath to write a young boy, wide eyed with realization, made to himself so long ago.
Q) Some have compared your Threads West with Lonesome Dove, others say it “captures the spirit of Western landscape” as only someone who has worked and breathed the land can do. What do you say, and how difficult has it been to capture the dual dynamics of distance and time in that series? How does Land for Love and Money differ?
A) I grin when I think of the interplay between my Threads West, An American Saga 16 novel series and the non-fiction Land for Love and Money. The symbiosis is the land and the folks who are shaped by the land. And, that is all of us. My generational land and cattle heritage, long-standing devotion to wild and remote places, and intense love of the land has led me to be intrigued by universal energies. As a rancher, I am drawn by the power of the earth. As a man, I am intrigued by the energy of steamy passions and the enveloping flow of heart-felt romance. As an American, I am enamored of the unique spirit of America and her people, and the evolution of all these energies through the relatively short span of American History. The land is not only an essential element of our personalities, and the source of all we need to survive, it is the foundation of our freedom and cornerstone of American self-reliance.
Yes, my novels are stories. And, my non-fiction consists of real tales. But they both have a message. The novels enjoy the weave of additional universal truths–romance–the difference between sex and making love, the synchrony of true feelings and passions, and the juxtaposing coldness of just the physical, or the forced. In both the fiction and non-fiction there is greed, warmth, and cold heartedness, all driven by ambition—the land, or its resources usually being the catalyst.
There is no one who has not stood on the beach, their feet in briny froth, looking at the sea, on a hill overlooking a vista, or peered far down a river to where it bends out of sight, that has not felt the tug. It is this universal energy which should be wound throughout. This “essence of the Earth” brings readers back to their very roots as a human being. Better yet, these universal truths remain constant in any historical era, though unfortunately less realized today than at any other time in man’s history.
I have an advantage when it comes to setting in the novels, or writing non-fiction about the land. Being a rancher and a cowboy affords me great familiarity with the varying landscapes of the West, much of which I’ve walked or ridden across. My travels and clients have acquainted me with both coasts, Canada and South America. The setting, the physical environment is all important to a western, and to our existence in real contemporary time. When a moment speaks to me…that peculiar angle of the sun, sky prisms following rain, shadows creeping with the ever-changing angle of light…I’m compelled to capture, perhaps even catalog, the image. A reader will see that in all the books. Many times, due simply to the wild and remote places where I spend many of my waking hours, I’ve been fortunate to record the vivid, mesmerizing power of the land. These are the scenes, and never to be repeated moments, that provide the visual underpinning in my writing. Mood. Setting. Energy. A snapshot of the earth. It’s all there visually, deep in the creative part of my soul. The pen becomes merely the shutter, and the paper the film.
I am, I suppose a landscape writer. The land is as much a “character” in my books–of either type–as it is the predominate image of my photography. That flows, I suppose, from the affinity I have always felt with the energy that radiates from landscape. It is my touchstone. The better I impart that spirituality in my writing, the higher the regard my readers will have for the land, and its many tangible and spiritual facets.
There is no second of any minute, of any hour, of any day of any millennium which is exactly the same in any terrain. The season, sun aspect, clouds, weather, time of day, angle of shadow, and wind are all ingredients in the ever changing and never duplicated recipe of a landscape photograph. So too are they the critical elements in penning a descriptive fiction or non-fiction scene. Like a fine moment in a romance, the instant in which the image is created or exists, can never be exactly duplicated.
The land is the stage upon which we in current, real life times exist. We and the characters in my novels line dance in a fleeting moment of existence, to then be replaced by the shoulder taps of successive generations. The only character or image that survives all the previous and the entirety of real life, or character’s chapters past or yet to come, is the land itself.
Perhaps it is the cowboy hat, the special feel and touch of a woman you care for, warmth radiating from a golden field, or the smell of horse leather and sweat. I love America and the West. I am enamored with romance, history, fiction, all things western and land based. They epitomize universal energies.
Combine these forces of land and love (or lust), mix in detailed historical fact, the West, the American spirit, and the interplay of strong, conflicted male and female impassioned personalities, and we have historical western romances! Or, conversely, write true tales, in real time, with the pressures and pull of modern life and we have non-fiction. In a way they blend. It’s all about land, love, passion, and spirit. Fiction is but the shadow of real life. Real life though an ever evolving story, is non-fiction.
Of course, there are those special times when imagination and passion link with heated tactile reality–and fiction and non-fiction deliciously intertwine. Hot sun baking down on bare skin, soft folds of a crumpled blanket, seeking kiss of land breeze mirroring the desperate search of lips, physical energy of the earth blending rhythmically with current between lovers. Oh yes–the essence of prose and so much more!
Whew! Reid that last paragraph is one fine example of your delicious writing…thank you so much for hanging out here, sharing more about your latest release, and teasing us with your charming style.
It has been a pleasure, Roxie! Thanks again.
Bonus: Reid’s advice for marketing your book from a symposium in July
Enter his contest: grand prize winner visits his ranch!