September 11, 2011

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz--Welcome to Oregon!

As a writer and editor from Oregon and writing professionally since 1993, I started writing, like most, as a child.  My first published pieces were articles in parenting, teen self-help, and writing magazines.  My first success with short stories was in the adult fantasy and soft science fiction genres.  Hard Shell Word Factory published my first novel, a middle grade paranormal mystery, Ghost for Rent.
I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1978.  When I lived in Southern California, I missed the cool, wet climate of the Northeast, but we couldn’t afford to settle in California.  We finally decided on the small rural area of Scappoose and built a home in the neighboring township of Warren. It’s a great area with lots of room for our two children to roam: friendly neighbors, beautiful scenery. With the evergreens, flowering shrubs and flowers in abundance, I never tire of the beauty. 
Portland, the largest city in Oregon, is only a half-hour’s drive. There, we find fabulous ethnic restaurants, a spectacular art museum, and an innovative science museum. Portland is also famous for its gardens, numerous parks and is a bike-friendly town.  The streets are often filled with as many bikes as cars.
A short drive takes us to the Cascades and the Mt. Hood ski resort. Perched on Mt. Hood is the historical Timberline Lodge, a place which should be on everyone’s “must see” list.  Built during the WPA, it is constructed with huge logs, massive fireplaces, and has fabulous views of the Cascade mountain range.
To the west of us is the Pacific Ocean and historic Astoria, the port town where Lewis and Clark ended their journey, plus many other tourist-friendly seaside communities.
Where I live, our favorite restaurant is Kuy’s, featuring Asian cuisine from Thailand, Cambodia, and China.  The servings are huge, the menu extensive, the food is always good.  It is a must stop for either lunch or dinner if you’re in the area.
Ghost sightings are common to my community.  The premise behind Ghost for Rent came from a story told to me by a friend.  She rented an old farmhouse and heard piano music in the middle of the night. She came downstairs only to find the ghostly image of a young boy seated at the old piano which had been left in the house.  In Ghost for Lunch, I look to the ghost stories which surround the Klondike.  Apparitions, noises and stories of things moving, have been reported for years.
I’m working on a story investigating a local high school plagued by hauntings.  It’s said the ghost came with donated costumes from an older, closed school.
Along with our un-seeable history, our local area offers more traditional fun for the traveler.  We are located on the Columbia River and have sport fishing, boating, and other water activities.  There are some wonderful antique shops with bargains to be found.  Our active art society, music group, and theatrical troop bring in a bit of culture.  Restaurants including the Hawaiian CafĂ©, the Dockside, the Warren Country Inn, Ichabod’s, Asian and Italian cuisine, as well as Kuy’s and the Klondike, tempt our palates.
Disney filmed Halloween Town at the Columbia County Courthouse. 
Now Twilight mania has hit St. Helens.  Many of the scenes for the first of the movies were shot in the area. 
 Oregon is a large state and offers both metropolitan and rural experiences.  The climate changes with the miles and scenery. If you know where to look, you’ll find covered bridges, lighthouses, beautiful Crater Lake, forests and scenic waterfalls.
I hope you have an opportunity to visit one day.
  More photos of Columbia County can be seen at

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(Picture Credits as requested by author:  The Columbia Theatre in St. Helens. (Photo No. colD0010) About this image: Date created: February 2005; Camera: Nikon D70 Digital SLR; Lens: Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED; Photographer citation: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State.  The St. Helens Marina on the Columbia River. (Photo No. colD0017) About this image: Date created: February 2005; Camera: Nikon D70 Digital SLR; Lens: Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED; Photographer citation: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State. Historic Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mt. Hood. (Photo No. clacD0189) About this image: Date created: June 2005; Camera: Nikon D70 Digital SLR; Lens: Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED; Photographer citation: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives)


  1. Oregon sounds like a fabulous place to visit (or live). Thanks for telling us about it.

  2. Wonderful post! I'll have to add Oregon to my bucket list. The high school with the ghost sounds like a must visit place for sure. Happy writing!

  3. Thank you for that lovely view of Oregon, a truly beautiful state, especially along the Pacific Ocean. Your books sound wonderful. I also write for 'tweens and teens. Good luck with your future books.

  4. I always hear wonderful things about Oregon. You live in a beautiful, admired state. Best of luck with your story.

  5. Annette, thank you for hosting me today. It's a wonderful opportunity to talk about my adopted state and my writing.

    Thanks to JR, Nora, Fran and Lauri for commenting. Oregon has so much to offer; I highly recommend it as a place to visit and live.

  6. Howdy, Neighbor, from Washington! I enjoyed your post and your ghost books sound intriguing.

    As a Montana native transplanted to WA, one thing I appreciate about Oregon is no sales tax!!

  7. Hi Heidi, yes the no sales tax in Oregon is nice, however, it's inevitable that one day we'll have one just like everyone else. Budget woes will most likely bring us one sooner rather than later.

  8. I enjoyed visiting Oregon through your eyes. I love the city's name. I have been to Oregon but only briefly. thanks so much!
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  9. Hi Debby, glad you enjoyed your Oregon visit. There's so much to see. I do hope you plan another visit.

  10. Your on the Columbia, I'm in it. Hi neighbor and fellow writer.
    Downsized To Death


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