Monday, July 27, 2009

HWG Member Theresa Sallach Interviewed by Janet Nitsick

HWG member Theresa Sallach is a CBS real estate agent and if you want to sell or buy a home, she is the girl to call. Her office is located at 9412 Giles Road in La Vista or call her at 297-8365.

Janet: Theresa, what are your passions and hobbies? Were they generated in childhood or formed later in life? What drew you to these?

Theresa: Hmm, Passions, well, I love to read, that's a given. I've read for a long time, since I could learn to read. My father always had an extensive library of books. I remember reading all the Boxcar Children series. Love those books. Hmm, wonder whatever happened to those?

Reading was an escape. I could delve into someone else’s world and dream. Live the adventures through a well written book. The ones that stick in your mind are the ones that stay with you for the rest of your life. Guess I'll have to check e-Bay for those Boxcar Children books.

As far as hobbies, my hobbies have waned more and more until I really don't have many anymore, or if I really think about it, probably nothing. I should get another hobby, but usually my hobbies turn into a business. Back in 1978, it started with macrame. You all remember macrame. Those plant holders, key chains, table with wire fames, lamps. I did it all. That turned into craft business, graduating to photo albums, victorian crafts, floral arrangements, then wood crafts, painted furniture, antiques and collectables.

I could cut out a shape, or glue gun with the best of them. Need a hem fixed, glue gun. Need a shape cut out, band saw. My husband once bought me a nail gun for Christmas, and I was the happiest little camper. Well, not too happy when I nailed my finger to a project or had to go to the emergency room when I tried to cut off my thumb, but I was happy, especially when things sold well, and customers loved the things they bought.

I maintained that "hobby" for 27 years until 2006 when I went cold turkey. I haven't looked back and sad to say, I don't miss that part of my life. I do miss the customers and friends I made along the way. But, I can always stay in touch with them. And, I still get some gratification when from time to time, I show a house and something I've made is on their wall, or sitting outside as a yard decoration.

Janet: You are a member of HWG. How did you hear about the organization, and why did you decide to join?

Theresa: In 2005 when I decided to close my store, I revisited a hobby I'd forsaken; reading. I'd started writing years ago, but with my young boys and other things, I hadn't pursued my writing at that time. In the downtimes in the store, I stated to write, did research online for local chapters, searching for help and advice on writing and other things an author should know. I found Pam Crooks and she led me to HWG. I joined in the Spring of 2006.

Janet: Tell us about your writing career, and where you are at in that process? You write romantic comedy, suspense and paranormal. Why do these genres interest you, and what is your favorite category.

Theresa: Ah yes, my writing career. Hmm, well, I like to have a good laugh and enjoy reading romantic comedy, and I think I'm funny! Hopefully others will too. I think with the trials of life in general, to sit down with a good funny book that can take you away into their world and make you laugh is worth a lot.

I enjoy a good suspense that can surprise me and make me think. I started writing romantic suspense first, and had a manuscript partial done, when I discovered the writing "rules". Uhggg!! That's ones in cyber freeze in my computer, but I still think it's a good story.

I think my current favorite genre is paranormal. The genre is so open. You can create anyone to do anything. The sky's the limit. The only limitations are your own imagination. I'm currently working on a paranormal/urban fantasy with JJ Keller, an established e-published author. The title of the book is Dark Justice, a sequel to Keller’s book, Dark Shadow.

Janet: How would you describe yourself, fun-loving, serious, etc.? Why?

Theresa: Uggg!! Those are hard questions. I can be fun-loving, but I worry about breaking the rules. The nice thing about writing is your characters can do wild and crazy things you wouldn't do yourself. And, revenge in words is very satisfying. *wink*

If I think need to be serious, I can be, but hopefully I've learned to be a little more tactful. I guess that comes with age, and most of the time I temper my serious nature with humor. Sometimes you can get your point across better that way.

Janet: Give us some background information about yourself, family, grandchildren and what warms your heart and keeps it pumping.

Theresa: I just hit the half century mark this year and I took that pretty well. No gray hair yet, that's a plus. Didn't have the meltdown I had at forty. Although AARP has been killing several Rain Forests sending me advertising. LOL!!

I've been married for almost 32 years. WOW! Just typing that really sounds like a long time. Wonder how he put up with me all this time. He's a great guy, patient, unlike me. At times anyhow. I have three sons, and two grandchildren. Our grandchildren live with us, with our ex-daughter-in-law. Don't ask! That's a book in its self.

I guess what warms my heart is friends and family. Knowing when I have a problem, or someone else has a problem, together things work out. God has a way of making things, (even when I screw up), come out on the positive side. I've learned that lesson well this year.

Janet: You live in the Midwest. Why did you decide to settle there?

Theresa: Well, I could call it Fate, but I know better. This might seem strange, but every house we've ever bought, I knew we were going to live there. And I didn't want to live here. I'd looked at this house a month before I brought my husband through, knowing he'd like it and not wanting to go with that flow. Evidently, someone else had decided differently. We've lived here almost fourteen years now, and I don't see us moving anytime soon.

Janet: We appreciate your time and answers. We have enjoyed getting a glimpse of line 31 of the roster. Give Theresa a round of applause!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009


 j0386116Here’s a quick tip to help save time on the mundane things of life – to free up your schedule for writing.

One of my pet peeves is having to tear through storage containers to find something. That’s one of the reasons a label-maker is a professional organizer’s best friend.

But what about when a label like ”Christmas Decorations” is too generic?

I’ve found that taking a quick photo of the contents – and attaching it to the outside of the container – is a simple and effective solution. This is also an easy way to help children who can’t read learn to put away their toys.

An added benefit is that you’ll have a record of the contents of those containers in case of a fire or flood. Just be sure to back up your photos and keep the files in a safe place.

Friday Nite Critique

Bernadette is in town this weekend, so our Friday night critique group was at full capacity. We celebrated a new sale with chocolate, shared heart-felt discussions, critiqued each others pages and did a lot of laughing. A great time was had by all. (That sentence is, of course, passive and should read: All had a good time. lol )

back - left to right: Jenn, Donna, Barb, lizzie
front: Sherri, Cheryl, Bernadette


Not everyone is creative. Not everyone is able to create. Not everyone is able to understand those who can. But those who love you, try to understand but love us anyway.

Its the difference between making one dimensional stick men, or the flamboyance Liberace character traveling from dimension to dimension. You are a writer. Your brain isn't wired the same as the rest of the world. Relish and grow in that. Have confidence in yourself and your God given talent. Set your butt in the chair, turn off the internal editor and get the words in your head on paper. You, the keyboard and the computer. Let it flow like a Colorado river in springtime!
You might just surprise yourself!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ideas! What do we do with them all?

Plodding along with a work in progress...

Bammo! From out of the mists of somewhere (for me that might be the world between worlds)-A NEW IDEA.

It could be a brilliant title. A character who leans insolently against a door frame insisting you tell HIS story. A line from a song that sparks a plot point. An overheard bit of dialog that would fit in great with that guy in the doorway.

Writing is hard work. Often getting the story right can seem like pure drudgery. Like vacuuming. So it's easy to become distracted.

New ideas are fun, exciting, alluring. Like a secret affair. For a short while you can leave the hard work and escape. Capture the excitement--see the possibilities.

Your languishing work in progress is relegated to the back of your mind and although the regret makes you pause. Ohhh, how you want that new idea in your life.
Never fear--there is a place for your new ideas. You just have to figure out how to deal with them and put them in their places, waiting until they can be your main focus. Resist the urge to set aside your WIP to fall completely into the temptation of a new idea. Jot down your thoughts in a notebook. Or start a file on your computer. Record as much as you need to remember your idea and excitement then return to your WIP. Remember that it's easy to start--but it takes work and determination to finish.
Most of my new ideas tend to end up on slips of paper or written in the margins of a notebook or manuscript pages. Periodically, I glean all those ideas, thoughts, snippits and put them in folders or notebooks designated for each idea. Stuff I don't know too much about yet, has its own place. And boy, is it fun to read through all those old ideas. Sometimes they stand as they did when first thought about. Other times a brand new idea forms. And the process begins again.
Share your idea saving strategies here... You never know when what you say may become a flash of inspiration for another writer!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The past meeting

Last Saturday was, of course, our meeting day! And boy, did we have a great time or what?

Cheryl led a fantastic pre-meeting workshop to help us identify passive writing and change those words to passages filled with active, exciting prose. Then Jenn and *lizzie focused our program on showing not telling. Excellent chances to practice and learn.

One low spot was the finger-shaking admonishment by the goals guru. Seems that only seven people answered her call for page counts. However, thanks to the double week Book In A Week, enough pages were reported to fill two lines on the Book Growth Chart. That's 800 pages, kids.

Also added to the chart were three new releases by HWG authors: Montana Rose by Mary Connealy, Your Ranch or Mine by Cindy Kirk and Hannah's Beau by Renee Ryan. The chart's filling up thanks to ALL our authors (especially those who report pages!) Don't forget, the guru still has her flying monkey!!!

In our time of introductions, everyone stated something that they'd always wanted to learn or to do... so from learning to play the piano, to sky diving, to learning patience, we're headed for some exciting times!

Not at the meeting? Post what you've always wanted to learn or to do here!
(Photo by John Shaver--This is Noid, the inspiration for a canine character in *lizzie starr's Keltic books)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Saturday Morning Basic Training

This Saturday July 11th at 8:30 am will be the first class for all of you who expressed an interest in learning basic writing techniques and principles. This month's early class is Active Vivid Writing, and it will cover passive vs. active voice construction, active verbs and words that slow down your writing.

We're going to launch this early workshop on a trial basis and see how many are serious about attending. Please let me know if you'll be there, so I can have enough handouts.

I suggest you start a binder or a notebook if you don't already have one, so that you have your material at hand for review and study. I encourage you to send me five manuscript formatted pages from your current project in the next day or two. (Double spaced, 25 lines per page.) Send to:

If you're just learning the craft, one important thing to remember is that we were all starting out once, and we've all been where you are right now.

*lizzie and Jenn will focus on Showing Vs. Telling for the program, so you will be getting double the education this month! Remember to bring pages for that, as well.

See you Saturday!
Cher :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hope for a Cleaner World

A few days ago a friend passed me a YouTube video explaining the massive garbage clean up that took place in the forests of Estonia. The event was an awesome experience for the people of that country. I was astounded by the level of leadership and responsibility that came from the movement.

I did find I had a few questions after viewing the video. Did the Estonia group limit cleanup to government owned land? Was there private land involved in the cleanup efforts? How did the leadership surface and how did they get enough initial momentum? With all the bureaucracy in the U.S., I wonder if such a project would be possible. Most of all, I began to wonder if public lands in the U.S. contained garbage like what is seen in the Estonia video.

I know there are public parks around my neighborhood that could use a good clean up and certainly vacant lots in various parts of the city. These types of projects are easily remedied by approaching some of the student organizations around the city. The bottom line is each human being must take responsibility for his/her carbon footprint. I'm a firm believer that change happens first in your own backyard. What could you do to improve the natural environment where you live?

The Mysterious Case of the Missing Brains

Saturday was the 4th of July, a time of great fun, family and way to much food. It's also a time to be reminded of our freedoms and be thankful to those who have and are guaranteeing we keep them.It is also the time when the phenomenon of Missing Brains afflicts millions of Americans. How can you spot someone who is suffering from this incurable disease? There are very distinct signs.
1. Scorched eyebrows
2. No hair on shins or forearms
3. Blisters on either or both thumbs and index fingers.
The most severe symptom? Loss of common sense.
Case in point: Normally you would place the artillery shells in the tube that comes with them, light the fuse, get a way, and the little ball of gunpowder and color travels high in the air and explodes in a breathtaking display.So we, I mean my nephew Dan thought it would be neat to put one of those shells under a plastic bucket and light it. Now any rational person would have said no way, by those of us suffering from missing brain all shouted "Go for it."So we, I mean he did. needless to say the bucket, buckets( we destroyed 5 before the night was over) flew high in the air and the ground level explosion of color was unbelievable. The entire neighborhood were watching by this time. I have also discovered the disease travels at a high rate of speed and is capable of afflicting many people at once, because the crowd was on there feet before the first bucket hit the ground screaming for more. Wehad a great time. No serious injuries. Laughed non stop, and yes I have to admit, I loved it!
We've started to collect buckets for next year.
Must be the inhalation of gunpowder or something.