Monday, August 27, 2012

Escape, Part II -- by KittyCat

Chased blocks away from my home by dogs and people, I finally stretched out under a car on a cool garage floor and fell asleep. I woke up to the smell of fried chicken, and voices—a man and woman I learned were Charlie and Sharon. Hungry, I picked up and ate a line of chicken pieces that took me close to them. Trapped. Charlie pushed me into a pillow case while Sharon talked to a vet.

At his office, the vet said I didn’t have a chip. Wrong. I do, too. You don’t forget a day like when I got my chip—and it wasn’t one you eat, like I expected.

Kimberly Holt, a famous author who went to New York and got on TV was in a Hastings store near us signing a skinny brown dog book Mom wanted. When Mom called for information about the book signing, she learned a group called AKA was selling chips real cheap, and I could get one.

I never found out what was skinny—the dog or the book, but I did find out about the chips, and they weren’t food.

At Hastings, we were in line with all kinds of dogs—from horse-sized on heavy leads, to small breeds shivering in their owners’ arms. A woman beside Mom looked at the name tag on my kennel and laughed. “Kitty Cat?” Then she saw me inside. “Oh, it really is a cat!”

Right. A putting-on-the-dog event, I was the only cat there. It was awful. When the chip lady picked me up, people laughed cuz I was a cat, and I could see the big dogs betting on who’d catch me first if the lady dropped me. Using a scary-looking needle, the chip lady put one in my back. “Now if you’re ever lost,” she said, “with this micro-chip you’ll be home in no time.”

Back to the present and in the pillowcase, I felt about as happy as a chicken waiting to get its neck chopped. “Bring him in Monday for an exam,” the vet said. “Except for a handful of fur missing from his tail, he looks fine. His ears aren’t torn, and fur isn’t matted, so he hasn’t been on the lam for long.”

My new home, I learned, would be that garage I’d mistaken for a safe resting place. My food? Well, they didn’t buy cat food when Sharon insisted they’d need a litter pan. “We’ve needed a good mouser,” said Charlie.

They drove into the garage, let the door down, and then dumped me out of the pillowcase. Thirsty and starving, I headed for the door to the kitchen. “Charlie!” Sharon’s voice hit the air like a firecracker. “Get that cat. I’m not having an animal in my house.”

Charlie closed the screen door to block me, but in a minute, he did put water out. “What do you want to name her?” 

Her?” I’m thinking Charlie’s a bird brain and Sharon’s meaner than the bitch that started the mess I’m in.

Closed in and feeling helpless, I did nothing for hours but stare at walls and wish for Mom and Dad.

Mom! -- Mom’s says something’s always better than nothing. I jumped up on garage shelves and knocked stuff down—jars, paint cans, plastic boxes that scattered stuff everywhere when lids came off. I’d already started yowling louder than Sharon’s screeches when the house door crashed open.

I scrammed as the garage door went up and Sharon screamed, “Get that cat outta here.”--Was after midnight when I got home. I could tell Mom had been crying. She told me how happy she was to see me, and cried some more. Go figure.

I’ll bet Sharon was glad she bought cat litter. I hear it’s good for cleaning up paint messes. And I’ll bet on Sunday Charlie bought some mouse traps.

(c) 2012, Bernice W. Simpson

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Don't Shout at Me

Critique Acumen: a Heads-up for Considerate Critics is a presentation for writers. The subject: how to deliver and receive critiques. The following is a presentation handout.

Rules. Most critique groups, small and informal, don’t consider them necessary. But problems do arise. You can’t anticipate every divisive situation, but a set of printed guidelines can offset some of them.

  • Set up a group email. Decide on a time for members to notify others before each meeting. To let members know how many manuscript copies they need to print for the meeting, tell if you will attend. 
  • Some groups have rules pertaining to how many meetings a member can miss before that writer is dropped.
  • For invitations to prospective members, consider this: announce by email you would like to invite a certain person to a meeting, and ask if there are objections. If none, ask the prospective member to visit a few times. After a few visits, have an email discussion about whether or not the group wants that person to be a permanent member. If so extend an invitation. If not, tactfully let him or her know.
  • Establish guidelines with regard to your meeting routine and how you will handle members who constantly chatter or interrupt. Your group may need a sergeant at arms.
  •  Adopt a policy for conducting business. Suggestions: schedule a special business meeting every month or so, or allow a specified amount of time for business matters  before critique starts, have email discussions so that meeting time is used to merely formalize decisions made through email.
  • Disagreements will occur, and they can be divisive. In your printed guidelines, make it clear that courtesy rules, both in face-to-face meetings and in emails. In emails, all caps constitutes shouting—unprofessional, in fact it’s utterly rude.     

(c) 2012, Bernice W. Simpson

Friday, August 24, 2012

Better Than a Big Screen Production

What makes a “good read”...a “page turner?” It’s easier to recognize than describe. Joe Douglass Trent may or may not define it in a few words, but he knows how to write it. I’d recommend his novel, The King of Silk, because it contains elements I look for in a story, whether fiction or nonfiction.
It’s really a movie playing on the screen of my own mind—one so engrossing, that interruptions including blurring eyesight, a growling empty stomach, and muscles begging for a stretch annoy me.
I enjoy a setting where all my senses open to things I haven’t experienced. In the environs of fifteenth-century Venice, The King of Silk’s protagonist, Michael Patriate, amplifies sensations for me, because, suddenly dropped from the twenty-first century to a different time and place, his perspective never has a chance to become jaded from everyday happenings. I heard a galley’s oars clip the water in a steady, almost sleep-inducing rhythm. Later, I wondered how anyone slept in a ship’s foul-smelling cabin which packed passengers side-by-side on bedrolls, too narrow for stretching.
I like characters who look different from us, but not so much my left brain reminds me this is after all, fiction.  Joe’s imagination produced a colorful assortment—interesting, yet realistic. Great work, but at times I could have used a cast list for reference.
I want to be treated to analogies that enliven scenes: “A fly buzzed over Michael’s head in a loud lazy arc. In the fall the insects headed inside to escape the coming cold. Michael wondered where he could hide from the wrath of ....” It’s especially delicious when a second notice discovers poetic elements embedded in the metaphor. Listen to the soft, almost unstressed vowel combined with a sibilant (s-sound) in insects, inside, and escape; and the hard c (k-sound) in escape the coming cold.
In addition to uncommon words (the novel is peppered with them), I relish words used well: “The crew threw ropes to the dock workers, who pulled them tight and tied them off.  Michael admired the skill in their choreographed activity.”
 I enjoy the unexpected, like philosophical statements woven into an action novel. Joes sprinkles his story with tidbits that may find their way into quotation collections someday. For example, “’It is hard for us to let someone else care for us.’ Felix looked toward Enrico and sighed. ‘It forces us to admit that we aren’t in control as we think we should be.’”
Now you know a little of what I enjoyed in The King of Silk. Order a copy to discover what you look for in a “good read.” One thing we’ll agree on—it will be written by an author who has more than a story to tell. It will be crafted by a writer who, like Joe Trent, rewrites until he or she is certain the words have done their work.
Learn more about Joe Douglass Trent and links to information about him and his writing (including a sneak peak to the beginning of The King of Silk) at  

(c) 2012, Bernice W. Simpson

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Escape -- by KittyCat

I stayed so close to Mom yesterday, I'll bet it looked like she wore unmatched slippers--a little white one and a big black one shaped like a cat.

See, Saturday I think I lost half my nine lives--maybe eight of them. Who has time to count when you're barely holding onto whichever one you got?

The day started good with Dad and me sitting on the porch while he had coffee. When my buddy Chris joined him, I took a long drink so I could overspray where a tomcat left his logo around my place. By the time I reached the backyard, I was lost in deep thinking about how I was gonna kill the nervy tom. Two posts and the gate itself, and I'm out of pee.

Holy @#*@!! I took one leap to the fence and another over it. A dog looking a whole lot like laughing hyenas you see on TV was after me. She was bone lean, hungry, and for sure not laughing.

I felt the sting, and figured my tail got shortened, but I didn't have time to check it. By the time I jumped on top of a dumpster, she'd left my yard and caught up. Using furniture garbage piled beside the dumpster for a spring, she was on me again--almost. I made it to a tall wooden fence, took a few shaky steps along the top rail, and fell into rose bushes that stabbed me all over. At least I'd got away. Uh oh... Hello pit bull.

Whew! I was saved by the yellow-eyed bitch that wanted me for breakfast. She growled. The pit bull turned and threw its weight against the gate, snarling at the bitch. While the dogs growled at each other, I used the bushes for a shield and limped behind them to a space between a shed and the fence. Safe, but barely. I had to escape from that yard. 

I crept along the side of the shed, then eyed the distance to the fence that divided the lot between the dog's half and street side. With luck I could make it--dash to the doghouse, ("Killer" printed over its door) from its roof, to a planter on the fence, and over it. I just hoped if I fell again, it would be to the other side.

A car's brakes screeched as I ran across the street, through another yard to an alley. I spied a small water dish on a patio. No dog in sight, but the chain link fence, just like ours, looked fifty feet high. Somehow I climbed over it.

At the dish I drank and drank. A high-pitched bark interrupted my looking over the yard for a place to rest. I hissed at a terrier poised for a game of chase.

"Get outta here Cat," A man who appeared at the gate to the front yard, opened it. "Sit, Snuggles."

"Snuggles?" Any other time I'd have laughed. But this time, there was no time. Tired, and not paying attention, I walked into the path of a man with two chows on leads. One lunged at me, but its owner yanked it back. Across the street a homeowner had opened a garage door just enough to let in cool morning air--and one tired cat.
--to be continued
(c) 2012, Bernice W. Simpson

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How to keep Writing Momentum

The following is part of the handouts for my presentation, Critique Acumen: a Heads-up for Considerate Critics.

Tips from Dynamic Opinions, a Critique Group
Keep Your Writing Flow

Imagine these scenarios:
×       Abuzz with creativity, you relish a rare writing experience—everything works. Your dilemma: too many metaphors are like too many cooks in the kitchen. But you’re feeling euphoric, and you cannot decide what to keep and what to cut.
×      You’re not positive about a word you thought you knew, but you’re on a roll, and don’t want to stop to look it up in a dictionary. If the word is not used correctly you’ve thought of a substitute phrase—a phrase you’re apt to forget if you don’t write it down immediately.

What do you do? Postpone making a decision.

Preserve your alternative phrases inside a pair of brackets, [ ] and keep on writing. For example, [Elaine’s and Jim’s house // Elaine and Jim’s house]. Later search through the document for a bracket. When the cursor stops at the bracket, you’ll remember to check a grammar guide, and keep only the correct “Elaine and Jim’s house.”

If you remain indecisive, you can leave the brackets in place to solicit your critique group’s  opinions. On the critique copy, flag the bracket areas by putting them in bold. Members of Dynamic Opinions know, without extra explanation, that [... // ...] requests a reader’s vote. Readers circle or underline their preference. Sometimes members cross through all choices, offering their own ideas.

An example of writing that uses brackets
 to postpone decisions and invite opinions on word choices

Brenda caught movement in her peripheral vision—black, [it skittered across the wooden chair seat at cockroach speed to disappear over the edge. // at cockroach speed it flashed across the wooden chair seat and disappeared.] In response to the horror, Brenda’s heart drummed against her ribs; her stomach convulsed with spewed acid and foaming gas. She scanned the carpet while she grabbed the lightweight chair and [flipped it to its side. She  // flipping it to its side, she] jerked the shoe from her right foot.

She eyed a creature centered on the chair’s underside, huddled motionless as if resigned to a fateful, deadly blow. Brenda slipped her loafer back on. She dumped pencils from a nearby jelly jar, eased the spider into it, and moved toward the patio door. Exquisite, she thought, studying [it // its articulated body] as she stepped outside. Releasing her captive to a planter of zinnias, Brenda’s fascination grew. In the outdoor sunlight the spider’s black body shimmered iridescent with [color // jewel tones // jewel toned color] --purple, cyan, and cobalt. She watched as the spider landed, turned toward her and crawled up a leaf as if to face and thank her. Brenda started in amazement. [Emerald green eyes! // Its eyes were like emeralds, glorious green emeralds!]

Briefly those living gems locked onto Brenda’s eyes and pierced an inner consciousness. Her decision to call the exterminator [suddenly moved // careened] from her mind’s area of lucid logic to murky rumination: does the damage from spraying for household pests outweigh its benefits? She simply did not know.

(c) 2012, Bernice W. Simpson


Friday, August 17, 2012

Mary Lou Cheatham

In June, Barnes and Noble Booksellers hosted a book signing that featured 2012’s Frontiers in Writing conference presenters. I visited with authors Joe Trent and Mary Lou Cheatham, two of the event’s out-of-town speakers.

I was curious about Mary Lou Cheatham’s Secret Promise, because she worked on it during the short time she lived in Amarillo. Yesterday, I finally read a copy. Typical of the romance genre, the protagonist is lovely, and her romantic interest is handsome and athletic. But Mary Lou's inspirational story about a young woman in 1907 proves that creating steamy sex scenes is not a prerequisite to writing a romantic novel. As expected, it finishes with the required happy ending.

The deep South inspired the setting for Mary Lou’s Christian romance story as well as a cookbook she authored with Paul Elliot. The Collard Patch includes information about growing and harvesting the amazing cholesterol-lowering vegetable.

Learn more about Mary Lou Cheatham on Facebook, and two blogs: and

Monday, August 13, 2012

Happy Cat -- by KittyCat

When Mom and Aunt Pen talk on the phone, it doesn’t sound like they say anything that couldn’t wait til Aunt Pen gets home from vacation. In fact, it sounds like stuff that could wait if she never got home. Knowing Mom will ask, I listen to learn how Snookie, my tabby friend, is doing. Yesterday I got the best news. Snook’s coming home tomorrow. It’s been a lonesome summer without her.

There was more to do last year when she was gone.

For one thing, the schnoodle, Vondelle, just down the alley from us was still a puppy. She flunked puppy school twice. She went crazy barking and chasing anything she got her sights on, and a jillion things she simply dreamed up.

For sport, I’d jump up on the brick wall between her back and front yard. She’d come bounding across the yard, tearing up the new fescue sod worth a ton of money. On top of that I heard it cost three hundred dollars a month to keep it watered. New lawns don’t do so good in a drought.  Ha, ha—Vondelle’s backyard is just a big patch of dirt now. There were paw prints along her side of the wall where she’d stretch hoping we’d get nose to nose. Of course that never happened.

Another fun thing last summer was to watch a neighbor clean her black Mercedes. She’d get every bug and bird speck off it, make the whole car shiny, and then go in the house. I liked to step up on the back—I was careful not to scratch it—and walk over the top, slide down the windshield, take a few steps to the front bumper, jump off and run home. The car looked real cool—kinda like those back-to-front stripes kids put on their cars. But my paw prints, spaced just so looked fancier.

I never got caught, but both Mom and the neighbor figured it was me. Feeling guilty, Mom’s gonna put money in the neighbor’s bank. I’ll bet the neighbor wished all the Julian Blvd. folks had cats that liked decorating cars. This year, a white SUV replaced the black Mercedes. It wouldn’t matter if I wanted to climb on it, cuz it’s mostly in its garage.

Snook will notice how the cicadas are noisier this year. Maybe there’s more of them. I heard they lay eggs that stay under the grass for seven years. There’s gonna be a whole lot less seven years from now, cuz I’ve eaten so many I got sick a few times. Wings still wet, they come crawling up through the ground and with grass so thin, they’re easy to spot. I pounce. They don’t even get to find out if their pretty wings work.

I wonder if Snookie is as excited to get home as I am to see her. I’ve missed her so much, I’ll never again call her Snook the Snob. –Well, at least if she doesn’t act like one.

(c) 2012, Bernice W. Simpson

Two from Ten

"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter--it's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." --Mark Twain

Good writers bring together words that create pictures, stimulate thought, and stir emotions. "Powerful words harmonize heart and mind as if a symphony," said Toba Beta.

How do you learn to use the right words--words that harmonize? First, collect. circle, and later clip words in context from yellowed paperbacks, magazines and newspapers. Then use them. But not as you did in school by order of teachers of tedium: "Use the word in a sentence that indicates you understand the word's definition." There is a better way:

Learn Words through Play 

  • Collect words in context. No time just now? Then borrow from my collection. Today's ten examples, listed alphabetically, all begin with the letter T--one letter to expedite checking definitions if you need to. 
  • Scan the word preceding each selection. By itself a word is like an elm tree in winter, its branches dark and tattered against a grey sky. In context, words take on color like the leafed-out tree, its green variegated by sunlight.
  • Notice how the word is used in each selection. Did the context increase your interest in the word? 
  • Mark the selections you like, and note why they deserve a happy face. 
  • Choose two or more words, and use each in a sentence or paragraph. Call on your muse and have fun. Think of each as a splash of color in a painting. The activity's purpose is to practice writing well, and not to exemplify a word's definition. 
  • For feedback, take your selections to your critique group. 
  • "Somehow the workers always seem to be able to find ingenious ways of evading or even sabotaging the plan. Sometimes, in fact, these evasions take place with the tacit connivance of the foremen, who are no fonder of the restrictive controls on them than the workers are of theirs.” -Unknown
  • "The pistol was used in self defense, but when the prosecutor does not pursue the issue of carrying a concealed weapon, the DA's office is giving tacit approval for vigilante behavior." -Unknown
  • "Their imprint endures in neat coastal villages, carefully cultivated fields, ... and taciturn men of the sea like Carl Darenberg, Jr., who talks in slow tempo of the fortunes of sportsfishing." -Unknown
  • “I picture McCrae, the whimsical but principled free spirit, and Call, McCrae’s taciturn and granite-hard best friend and partner, riding through these dusty streets before leaving Texas on a grand adventure….” –Suzy Banks
  • “They are known to be gregarious, exceptionally intelligent primates, and the only apes whose society is said to be matriarchal … and orgiastic: they have sexual interactions several times a day and with a variety of partners. While chimpanzees and gorillas often settle disputes by fierce, sometimes deadly fighting, bonobos commonly make peace by engaging in feverish orgies in which males have intercourse with females and other males, and females with other females. No other great apes—a group that includes eastern gorillas, western gorillas, Bornean orangutans, Sumatran orangutans, chimps and, according to modern taxonomists, human beings—indulge themselves with such abandon." –Paul Raffaele, Smithsonian11/06
  • “They point to an Islamicized Europe, where mosques teem and churches go empty; where the Islamist position on almost every critical issue is either adopted or tolerated”. - Dr. Richard Benkin
  • “Then Kristin's talk paused, and Elsa looked up to see her holding a dress she had just taken from the telescope. The dress was cheap, too-much-laundered, and the instant defensive words jumped to Elsa's lips…” -Wallace. Stegner The Big Rock Candy Mountain
  • “Mrs. Switzer was trying … to get all of Daisy’s things into the battered telescope that lay on the bed.” Ruth Suckow
  • “She tried hastily to put on the cover of the bulging telescope and to fasten the straps. One of them broke.” Ruth Suckow
  • “For almost sixteen years, Sandy dominated my marriage like a termagant mother-in-law, and now that she is no longer there to edge between us as we walk, Gerdi and I hardly know what to do with our new-found freedom.” - Dayton O. Hyde, 1968
  • “Washington’s mother ... was a termagant and a Tory, though his wife was a jewel of affability and charm who endured the rigors of winter encampments with her husband through the war and sustained him through periods of ravaging pessimism.” –Fawn M. Brodie
  • “As he ate, a seagull landed on the thrum cap and eyed him quizzically. ” D. Preston & L. Child
  • “Then, as if a herdsman had cracked a whip, wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and antelope sweep over the plains, and for a few weeks the Serengeti thrums with hoofs pounding against hard earth. These are sounds our hominid ancestors would have heard. … a scene they may have watched from a hillside overlooking the plains.” – Virginia Morell, Smithsonian ‘06
  • The thrumming pulses in her brain had begun to leak into one another like spies whispering secrets but she was still on her feet and … her enemies had not triumphed.” - Joyce Carol Oates
  • “Edna Duvalier clambered into the tonneau, scowling and fanning herself impatiently.” -Scott Zesch/Alamo Heights
  • These were the days of extra fuel carried in a can, of rear-door tonneaus, acetylene lamps, and rims which were not demountable. The filling station, where it existed in its rudimentary form, was still the mere adjunct of a garage whose weightier business lay in repairs to motors.” -Charles Merz
  • “While admirable biographical and critical studies appear from time to time, and here and there a whimsical or trenchant discursive essay like those of Miss Repplier or Dr. Crothers, no one would claim that we approach France or even England in the field of criticism, literary history, memoirs, the bookish essay, and biography.” –Bliss Perry
  • On Jargon … gives trenchant and amusing examples of that disregard for the primary meaning of words to which all writers are liable, whether they are freshmen in college of practicing journalists.” –McCullough & Burgum
  • “Though The Devils is quite possibly the most violent of Dostoevsky's novels, it also brims with buffoonery and trenchant social satire.” - Vance Adair
  • “He had a selection of weapons laid out on the old pine table: a wicked-looking knife that he claimed was SS equipment, a Walther P38 automatic pistol of the kind Flick had seen German officers carrying, a French policeman's truncheon, a length of black-and-yellow electrical cord that he called a garrote, and a beer bottle with the neck snapped off.” -Ken Follett
  • “Police used truncheons and plastic shields to disperse protesters along the narrow streets…” -Unknown

Keep what you write in a notebook or binder. If you like to write, you'll enjoy comparing your early efforts to later work.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bad News and New Rules -- by KittyCat

Mom forgot something when she said folks should read the newspaper. I have another reason—well at least if you read our newspaper: restaurant reports.
Mom and Dad used to own a tiny b-b-q place. They say you get your real business license from the public. How so? It’s like this—treat your customers like family (and you’ll knock yourself out to give your family the very best, right?) and they’ll come to your table.
What if health workers who think up rules, make forms, and have other workers go around and fill them out thought that way? There’d be less folks working for the government. Ha, ha. Get axed from that cushy deal, and a body could end up working in food service. –In the kitchen. Cuz bossy people would make lousy waiters who wouldn’t get good tips. 
“Watch out for all those germs,” Mom said. She’d been reading restaurant reports to Dad. “Like the ones that escape when a food handler puts on rubber gloves.”
Ha, ha. Get this: food service people are supposed to wash hands before putting on rubber gloves. I didn’t hear anything about maybe dipping the gloves in germ-away water after they’re on. Sounds like it doesn’t matter if the gloves are dirty—just so long as hands inside them are clean.
I guess if you’re in a hurry, you don’t get marked up if your hands aren’t dry when you put them inside those gloves. It’s not like wearing sweaty socks, is it? Guess there’s no such thing as itchy bumps between your fingers that you can pass on to others. I’ll have to ask my smart tabby friend, Snookie, but I’ve never heard of athlete’s hands.
Another thing you gotta watch for is what’s called “sanitation solutions”—they gotta be just right. And I know a bit about that. Mom uses bleach when she cleans the kitchen. She says it’s a teaspoon of bleach to a gallon of water. But I’ve never seen her measure it. Uh oh, come to think of it, I don’t think she washes her hands before she puts on those yellow gloves.
Some places get bad marks cuz they aren’t sanitary at all, but others are too sanitary. That means when somebody wipes off your table, and it gets too clean, that’s bad news.
Well, that makes sense, cuz I heard a guy on TV say kids get sick easier these days cuz their moms don’t let them get around enough germs. And no fooling, hair can fall out if washed too much. Ha, ha—I’ll never have that problem. Don’t believe it? Just come and try to shampoo my hair.
Another no-no is dinted cans. I like that one, cuz Mom can buy dinted cans at a cheap food place, and use the money she saves to buy treats for me.
I’m glad I’m just a cat. All those rules—how does a person keep up? And I hear all kinds of rules are  made all the time, and more of all kinds of police, including food police, get hired to make sure nobody gets away with anything someone else thinks is not so good.
But ya know what? I heard while alley cats got by just fine, a bunch of nice family dogs and cats got real sick and died a few years back. So I don’t get it. It’s against rules to have a dinted can of American-grown green beans in your cafĂ©, but rat poison in cat food is just fine. –That is, so long as it comes here from another country. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Greater Sense of Place

When we begin to weave a setting into our prose, our first thought of the scene is usually visual. But if you have started a collection of scenes you've found in writing, you've probably noticed how experienced writers appeal to your five senses.

In July, I shared miscellaneous selections of my "Scenes" collection with you. Following are more from that file, this time sorted by sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.

  • "It was a two-story weatherboard place with a porch running along the front and side." -Stuart Harrison
  • "Just as he said, the pavement ended, but the road, now narrow, potholed and dusty continued to link a few estates and one little-known lodge to civilization. 'A perfect place for a tryst,' she thought." -Bernice Simpson
  • "Except for the relentless chorus of cicadas, the veld was silent." -Unknown
  • "The crooked channel, like a voluted thread of ink, the pirogue moves steadily to the paddle which both entered and left the water without a sound." -William Faulkner
  • "They were sitting at a booth in the corner, and the waitress, harried by the lunchtime crowd, dropped off a pitcher of sweet tea and two glasses of ice on her way to the next table." -Nicholas Sparks
  • It had to be the most beautiful place in the world--old-style homes on winding streets, outdoor markets, flowers everywhere--all of it made better with each sip of wine. It tasted of a touch of honey, a hint of apricot blended with the grapes, sweet and delicate." -Unknown
  • "The honeysuckle fragrance wafting through the open window, and the seagulls' calls to each other lulled us to sleep." -Unknown 
  • "The have their ghastly origins in the rank miasma of the tarn." -Unknown
  • "Our Land Rover wallowed through a maze of ravines and gullies while the sun stood scorchingly overhead." -Unknown
  • "The shell in my hand is deserted. It once housed a whelk, a snail-like creature, and then temporarily, after the death of the first occupant, a little hermit-crab, who has run away, leaving his tracks behind him like a delicate vine on the sand." -Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Sensory details do not need to dominate a scene to be effective. Note the last example. Take out "in my hand" and the scene loses its drama. I'm not sure scorchingly is a true word, but without it, would you feel the sun burning, or would it merely be warm?