The Great Outdoors


…is the view right outside my office window. Why is that important?


My desk where I play What if??? is adjacent to a large window, and when stuck, I take a look outside. Invariably, I’m inspired by the massive red oak trees in my front yard, the leaves changing from dark green to red orange and back. Or the large variety of cars streaming past my house, some speeding more than others.  Occasionally, the emergency vehicles with blaring sirens race to help someone. I spy colorful blooms in the flower beds which tell of Spring’s arrival and make me happy. quince 2


So why is The Great Outdoors important?


Many times, I’ve incorporated the scenery I see outside my window in my writing because being able to describe those things makes my work more authentic. And hopefully, a reader will be so engrossed, he/she is transported into the world I created and imagining him/herself where the action is. What the characters look like. What the weather is like. What people wear. What cars they drive. And et cetera.


Right now,  spring is creeping in. I can see the lacey white blossoms of the Bradford pear trees have pushed out. My quince with flowers in shades of salmon have already bloomed, leaving only the late stragglers, and tiny tiny bees buzzing from blossom to blossom searching for pollen. The grass is dry chaff. The gloomy gray sky makes me want to curl on the comfy sofa with a good book and my favorite beverage and snack. snoopy reading

asteriks 2


Near my home are restaurants and shops I frequent. In the Hattie Cooks mysteries, I have incorporated  a family-owned Italian restaurant similar to the one Handsome and I have frequented. The interior oozes Italian – the faux finished walls from which hang pictures of the Italian countryside, the Frank Sinatra-Tony Bennett-Dean Martin tunes, the ambiance created by the low lights—all perfect for Detective Allan Wellborn to seduce Hattie in Temporarily Out Of Luck. Here’s a sample:


Hunger overruled anger. I folded my hand around his and walked with him to our favorite Italian restaurant. He held the glass entry door wide and let me pass through first. My senses were overpowered by the greatest scents ever—spicy garlic, sweet tomato, yeasty bread, and sharp onions.


I loved Mama & Papas Italian Restaurant, a place my parents had brought Tracey and me to since elementary school. The same Tuscan prints decorated the golden faux-finished walls. The same Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra tunes oozed from the sound system. I breathed in deeply then looked at Allan, feeling gratitude. “Nirvana.”


               The corners of his eyes crinkled. “Forgiven?”


What’s outside your window?

Just Desserts 400x600 72dpi


Have you read very short stories? In very shorts, description is cut to the bare minimum, one choice word or two, to convey the really important things we need to know.  Find out in Just Desserts…and other stories:


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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Great descriptions! I can actually imagine myself in the restaurant savoring all the lovely food. Best of luck with sales, Vicki 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vicki says:

      Thanks, Joanne! I subbed to the editor yesterday. We shall see….


  2. Kathryn Jane says:

    Your description took me back to a special family restaurant, where “Mama” was head honcho, and her daughter “Teeny”–a formidable, Italian woman twice my age, half my height, and likely weighing about ninety pounds–scolded anyone who left food on their plate.
    The walls were filled with signed photos of the rich and famous, and the smell of garlic, onions, and red sauce stayed with you long after leaving. 🙂
    Thanks for stirring up these old memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vicki says:

      I love this! Our fav was owned by a Sicilian man. He held court at a table near the front door. I should have described the outside of the building, too. It was actually an old apartment. The restaurant was upstairs and the family lived upstairs.


  3. barbarabettis1 says:

    Oh, my gosh! The description of that restaurant was so spot-on, I wondered if we’d been at the same place 🙂 Good luck with the book, Vicki 🙂


    1. Vicki says:

      LOL. Every time we ate Italian food, it was at this restaurant. I LOVED their pizza. Unfortunately, they closed two years ago and I’m sorely missing it.


  4. Reblogged this on Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author and commented:

    A thought-provoking post on outdoor inspirations by Vicki Batman​ on The Sisterhood of Suspense​ #blog


  5. Great post, Vicki! You did a brilliant job describing your beautiful yard- I wish I was there! lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vicki says:

      Hi, Jacquie! It is a great joy to see the flowering quince…flower! I am always surprised by the tiny bees that show up in early February. Some years are better than others (see the pix above).

      Liked by 1 person

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