Get to know what AQP authors see

In this month’s column, I thought you might enjoy getting to know a bit more about some of our AQP authors (  This month – the view from AQP author windows!

Dee Lloyd tells us on a cold winter day: 

Right now, the garden outside my office window is fairly bleak and colorless. The branches of my massive maple tree and the lilac hedge are bare of leaves. Large snowflakes are falling on the lawn, which is already covered with a light dusting. The wind is blowing snow in the face of my black mini labradoodle, Meg. I’m glad I’m in here in the warm, but she’s happily putting on a show for me…leaping at the flakes as they fall. Love that dog! She makes me laugh and keeps me young. 

And what does Carolyn Banks see?

My view is crappy. I see the roof and side wall of the pump room for our pool out of one window (I guess I’m sitting lower than I ought to be). Out of the other window, I look out on our screened porch, where bathing suits and towels from last summer still hang. Beyond that I see my neighbor’s balcony, but fortunately, he’s not on it. I guess I could imagine that one of the guys Trace draws is out there, though.

Debra Kemp has a vista to enjoy!

Three majestic blue spruce trees form the far boundary of our backyard. The apple and oak trees aren’t providing much shade this time of year, but were the key features why I fell in love with this house and had to live here. I love watching the birds using the feeders we have everywhere!

It’s a mountain view for Chris Grover:

I look out at Hamilton Mountain (not a mountain in the real sense of the word but it’s part of the Niagara Escarpment). In summer, I see lots of green trees, houses and apartment buildings, and the buses going up the Jolly Cut—in the winter, I see either bare branches or snow instead of green leaves, and I can see the odd CN train traveling the tracks at the foot of the mountain. I know the trains are either coming from or going to Toronto, but where else they’re headed, I’m really not sure. At night, it’s like fairyland when I look out—a wall of twinkling lights, stretching all the way from downtown where I live to Mountain Brow Blvd. at the top of the mountain.

And a different mountain view for M.L. Rhodes:

My desk faces my office window, so I see huge ponderosa pines and the sky…particularly beautiful in the winter when the pines are pretty much always covered with snow. 

What a wonderful 270 degree spectacular for Mimi Riser!

I don’t have an office, but I have a view. I work in the living room where two big windows face east and one faces west. I sit between them where I can also gaze into the kitchen and out the south windows. In all three directions, I see wide-open sky and rough and tumble ranchland with thorny mesquites, sagebrush, clumps of prickly pear, and in the summer, mile-high wild sunflowers. Hawks soar in the blue, jackrabbits romp through the scrub, and sometimes horses wander over a neighboring knoll for a visit. It’s amazing I don’t write more westerns. 😉 

Cathy Snodgrass has a different perspective:  

I have an “office.” It is actually the “everything” room. It used to be our sons’ room. When the last son left home, our cocker spaniel took it over as her room. With her passing, it became the guest room and my office. Now our grandsons have named it their “beach home” because it apparently reminds them of the hotel room they stayed in when they went to the beach. Anyway…there is a window in the room. I keep the vertical blinds drawn because the sunlight hurts my eyes. I prefer the dark.

Deirdre O’Dare has a view of Old West history:

My windows (I have two) look out to the east as does my front door (in good Navajo hogan fashion.) I see half my yard which has some trees and natural grass and the tan pressure tank for my well which blends fairly well, Beyond that is the mesquite thicket outside my fence and then the mountains on the far side of Tombstone, a range called the Dragoons. Those mountains hold Cochise’s Stronghold, a tumble of huge granite rocks into which the Apache leader often led his people to escape the cavalry. It’s set in a canyon that cuts through the mountains and has openings on both sides. Tombstone itself is out of sight behind some lower hills, about twenty miles away. The view can be distracting to look out and dream, but also inspiring. Close by, there’s a hummingbird feeder hanging on the eave. I may still have one hanging around, though have not seen it for a few days! So far I haven’t had one stay the whole winter, but seems every year, one or two linger a little longer. In the summer I have many flying jewels to entertain me! 

C.K. Crigger’s view keeps her on task:

I work in a basement office with a window just large enough to crawl through should the house catch on fire. In the varying seasons I might catch a glimpse of a snow drift, like now, dried peony stalks in the fall, big red tomatoes in late summer, or not much of anything in the spring. Once in a while one of my pooches peeps in, wondering why mom doesn’t come out of her hole to play. I guess I can say the uninspiring view outside my little window helps keeps me working with no distractions.

Sharona Nelson’s suburban view:

A view? What’s that? 😉My window, which always has the blinds down, looks out over our suburban street and a bunch of subdivision houses. Whoopee. (Can you tell I’m not thrilled with living in southern Jersey?) The other window in the room, which I can’t see out of while I’m at my desk, at least looks out at yards and trees. Nicer. My office space is in an area of my bedroom. My desk is nice and big, and I have file cabinets and an overflowing book case, so no complaints.

It’s an inland view for Shannon Leigh:

I have a window office, and I think what I enjoy most is just being able to see the sun shining.  I don’t feel so cooped up. There’s nothing like looking out at cloudless blue skies with the sun beaming through the window. The only thing better would be looking out over the ocean.  But since I live in Indiana, I don’t imagine that’ll happen.  Ha-ha. 

A furry view for Cindy Proctor-King, but it also purrs:

I see my tortoiseshell cat lounging on her perch that takes up most of the window! However, I also see our back yard maple trees, a glimpse of the lake in winter when the leaves are gone, rolling hills and a wide, blue sky that, at the moment, is absolutely cloudless.

It’s a mouse-town view for CJ England: My office looks out over a small lake surrounded with green lawn.  I’m blessed with all kinds of wild critters such as alligators, wild turkey, deer, squirrels, and more birds than I can count.  When it rains, a gorgeous rainbow traces the sky.  What’s even more amazing is this beautiful view exists right in the middle of a city–Orlando.  Yep, the city of the mouse.  But even with all the crowds, I have this tiny piece of heaven that keeps me sane. http://cjengland.comEileen Watkins “stripes” a suburban view: My home office used to be a teenaged boy’s bedroom (previous owners). The real estate agent apologized to me for the black stripe painted all around the walls halfway up, but it worked fine with my office furniture. I look out on another suburban house across the street, and while the view isn’t a picturesque as some that have been described, I do see trees and the occasional human or animal strolling by. This year I insulated and dressed up with windows with a set of vintage “barkcloth” draperies, a light gray background with oversized magenta and teal-green fronds—helps set the melodramatic atmosphere. On the opposite wall, I have gray floor-to-ceiling bookcases and cabinets my father knocked together many years ago from a kit. They hold novels and writing reference books, and many knickknacks friends have given me with a horror twist—sea monsters, gargoyles, a plush Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc.

Darlene Marshall soaks up a tropical view:

I have an office with a lovely view of my front yard.  It’s a North Florida paradise of magnolias, oaks, camellias, azaleas, ferns, palmettos, roses, and pots filled with impatiens, pansies and mums.  There’s also a dog bed in front of the window, where my muse likes to rest her chin on the window sill and remind all passers-by that she owns this street.  It’s a dachshund thing.

Rena Allcott has an ever-changing view:

I spend a lot of time moving from one child’s house to another.  Today I am baby sitting eleven puppies and watching the workmen replace the garage door (it fell on my daughter’s car last Friday.)  Later today I’ll pick up a daughter who popped two tendons falling downstairs. So my desk is usually in my purse (yellow pad, lots of pens) and a laptop that hangs out in either the back seat or the trunk, depending on how many kids I’m hauling at the time. Every so often I get to visit my desk. We’re moving and the desk accidentally ended up in the basement. I tell it that someday it’ll have a room of its own, but I’m not making any promises as to when. In the meantime, I write in the car, in the grocery line, waiting for traffic to clear on I25, and parked outside the drug store waiting for a prescription. As far a scenery is concerned, it snowed, will snow, and has snowed, so there are a lot of bare branches dribbling cold wet stuff down any neck that comes its way, and the dogs (not the puppies, the big ones) are making mud trails throughout the house.  Any one know how to teach big dogs to wipe their feet, and how come dog doors don’t come with mats?

Margaret Carter’s view is “guarded” by a St. Bernard:

Our office is at the back of the house. My computer is right next to a bay window looking onto the back yard. Mainly, I see our storage shed and the shrubbery-covered fences dividing our lot from those of the neighbors. I enjoy having the sun shining in and being able to look away from the screen to rest my eyes on an outdoor view, but the only interesting thing I ever see is a neighbor cat wandering through the yard to visit the spot where we planted catnip many years ago. Our St. Bernard likes to stare out the window and will bark if he notices anything offensive, such as another dog in the yard next door.

Tons of sunshine in Carolina Valdez’s view:

I share an office with my husband, two printers, three computers and a scanner. Unfortunately, claustrophobic me writes with my back to the windows, but I can turn around and look out on our front yard. A tall, bottle brush hedge provides privacy from the street, and we love to watch the hummingbird who dominates the territory of the feeder. Sometimes we have to chase Casey away—the beautiful, black-and-white cat who climbs in the branches to stalk birds. The silly feline doesn’t realize her paws are so precariously perched she could never pounce on a bird, especially a hummer. It’s a kick to watch her figure out how to get down. Two computers face the windows, and the southern California sun can be blinding. I found shades we can lower from the top or raise from the bottom to block it. They’re great.  

Gabrina Garza’s view can be “fuzzy” sometimes:

You can tell I’m from Indiana. My desk is a TV table and the couch, where I’m constantly keeping an eye on my eight rescued doggies. I have two new dogs in the house and am supervising their interactions to keep everyone happy. So far, so good. 🙂 And no, not all of them belong to me. I’m fostering three right now, one of which was abused and is getting used to a gentle hand. 

Kelli Wilkins has a changing view:

I have what I consider to be a “portable” office.  Because I write all of my stories in longhand, I can write wherever the mood strikes me. For most of the year, I write outside in my back yard. I have a wrought-iron table and chair set in a corner of the yard under a small grove of lilacs. I like being outside to get fresh air, and I’m often visited by butterflies, birds, and the occasional cat who wanders through the yard. In winter, when I can’t sit outside (or when I’m typing up/revising my stories), my office is in a spare bedroom. The window overlooks several trees, and I get little glimpses of nature – squirrels chasing each other, birds building nests, etc. Too much of a scenic view would be distracting, so I’m content with my small corner of the world. 

A tropical view for Rick Reed:

You can tell I’m from Miami. Looking out my office window, I see the backyard with its pool and palm, banana, and avocado trees. I also see the occasional stray cat strutting through, many assorted geckos (once a huge bright green iguana), and, on Mondays, the pool cleaning guys who chatter to each other in Spanish. They’re probably laughing about the man trapped inside in front of a computer screen who never gets sunshine and fresh air in his work. But I wouldn’t know…I only speak English.

Next month, learn where some of AQP’s award-winning authors wrote their first novels! 

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