Avatar"Traveling where the page takes you," says author Sue Charnley. Or as other writers call it—evoking a sense of place. It means taking us, the readers, right where the action in the story is occuring.

Every place, be it a beach in Southern France, an overused campsite, a street corner in Manhattan, or the Alaskan wilderness, can be dialed up with a few carefully chosen details. Less is always more in this case, but its pulling certain specifics out of ordinary life and putting them together in special ways that bring a place vividly to life.

By emotionally shading those details, by reprising them as motifs, by painting scenes with a large color pallette, by using word repetition and alliteration and words that sound like their meaning (snap and ding), …

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AvatarGoing with the assumption that two months late is better than never, I’m posting photos with comments about my side of the trip to Dallas. This was my first Romance Writers of America national conference, and I was star-struck, excited, and incandescently happy to be with folks who thought marks on paper is a valuable way of life.

I first started my journey to Dallas by making detailed notes about what I wanted to do during the five days I was there…

Then came the packing

Despite judicious choice of items to take with me, I ended up with too much luggage

Dallas Skyline

Romance Writers of America 2007 Logo

Literacy Autographing

With authors Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Teresa Medeiros, Elizabeth Bevarly

With authors Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, Christina Dodd

With …

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AvatarWatching Bravo TV’s show Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style outfitting a woman with wardrobe essentials, got me thinking about the top twelve things without which I couldn’t live my day-to-day life.

0. Book

1. Moisturizer — Dramatically Different by Clinique and Daily Eye Benefits by Clinique

2. Concealer — Airbrush by Clinique

3. Acne Treatment — Outer Peace by Aveda

4. Foundation — Mineral Powder by Bare Essentials

5. Lip Balm, and Lip Gloss or Lipstick — Vanilla Sugar by Bath & Body Works, and Juicy Tubes by Lancôme or Different by Clinique

6. Brow Groomer — Brow Expert by Lancôme or Quickliner for Eyes by Clinique

7. Mascara — Fatale by Lancôme

8. Makeup Remover — Naturally Gentle Eye Makeup Remover by Clinique and Galatée Confort by Lancôme

9. …

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AvatarLadyDianaHeadshotPublic displays of affection are not the norm for London. Yet, on two occasions, July 29, 1981 and September 6, 1997, thousands of people thronged the streets, and billions watched on telly, as the person they adored swept by, the first time for her wedding and the second time for her funeral.

LadyDianaMotherFriday is the tenth death anniversary of Diana, the People’s Princess. She won the hearts of millions of people and loosened the moral strictures of hidebound society by not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk. LadyDianaRedCrossFrom a shy bride to a devoted mother to a passionate campaigner, the Princess of Wales didn’t just transform herself, she changed a country. She was one of the first symbols of "girl power" — despite her desire for something …

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AvatarVirginiaWoolfIn the essay A Room of One’s Own (1929), Virginia Woolf writes, "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is going to write." I extend Woolf’s concept to: A person must have a space of her own if she is going to live as an individual.

This space that you stake ownership upon need not be a large room. In fact, it could be a hidey hole in the attic of your home or a specific couch in the family room. This space is where you can withdraw to be completely yourself. The guarantee is that it is inviolate and your privacy and access to it is respected by everyone. By definition, this is not a shared space. No one has the right to …

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