Tag Archive for: Clicking Our Heels

Clicking Our Heels – Reflections on Being a Member of the Stiletto Gang

Clicking Our Heels-Reflections on Being a Member of the Stiletto Gang

As we begin a new year as the Stiletto Gang, we took the time to reflect on what we each like best about being part of the gang. We also wonder what you, our readers, like best about the Stiletto Gang?

Barbara J. Eikmeier –  I really enjoy the community and how I’ve gotten to know the other gang members through their blog posts even though I’ve only met one in person.

Saralyn Richard – Getting to know other mystery authors who share the milieu with me. We are all different, but we share many of the same values and aspirations.

Dru Ann Love – I like the variety of genres that the group writes.

T.K. Thorne – The comradery of the group. We support each other in lots of ways. And the fact that being responsible to others lights a fire under my butt to write something for my day… sometimes even on my day, but I get it done.

Debra H. Goldstein – I value the friendship and respect we have for each other plus the way we support each other behind the scenes.

Lois Winston – The comraderie and support I receive from my fellow Stilettos. Many have become dear friends, some personally and unfortunately, others only virtually.

Lynn McPherson/Sydney Leigh – It’s the comraderie. Writers supporting writers.

Gay Yellen – It’s the camaraderie. We may be separated by geography and backgrounds, but we share a kinship that seems to deepen as we reveal more about our lives, our thoughts, and our common goal to write good books.

Donnell Ann Bell – I love that the Stiletto Gang members are a great support group. Whether celebrating one another’s joy, or commiserating over someone’s loss, The Stiletto Gang are a compassionate, intelligent, and talented bunch. I’m proud to be listed among them.

Debra Sennefelder – Being a part of a group of wonderful, supportive writers. Community is everything in this business.

Anita Carter (1/2 of Sparkle Abbey) – I love the support and camaraderie of other women mystery writers. It’s a fabulous community! And I find great books to read.

Mary Lee Ashford (1/2 of Sparkle Abbey) – What I love best about being a Stiletto Gang member is the camaraderie and support that the group provides. The publishing business is brutal and having a group of fellow authors who understand and care is priceless.

Bethany Maines – Being exposed to so many great writers!

Clicking Our Heels – Our New Year’s Resolutions

Clicking Our Heels – Our New Year’s Resolutions

Every year, we make New Year’s Resolutions (or at least most of us do). This year, we are going to share our resolutions with you and have the courage to check back and report to you how we did later in the year.

Kathryn Lane – Balancing work and play, being consistent about exercising, and making time to relax.

T.K. Thorne – I want to spend less time on a computer.

Shari Randall/Meri Allen – I’m the worst about resolutions. My resolution is not to make any!

Mary Lee Ashford – 2022 was a big year for me as I retired after 32 years of working in local government. So needless to say, it’s been an adjustment year for me. In the past, I’ve always started the year with a list of goals – some work related, some writing related, and others more general and personal. This year my New Year’s Resolution is to slow down and take time to focus on the most important things.

Donnell Ann Bell – As I write this, I am really working hard at diet an exercise. (I’ll let you know how I’m doing by New Years. I have a book due!

Lynn McPherson – My New Year’s Resolution is to be more organized. Yes, it’s been on the top of the list before and I have yet to succeed, but maybe this year I’ll sort myself out. I also want to bake more. Cupcakes, muffins, and cookies. Fresh baked everything is my favorite!

Debra H. Goldstein – To relax and accept what I cannot change, but to go full steam ahead with the things I can control.

Barbara J. Eikmeier – I don’t make Jan 1 resolutions.  I use my birthday as my personal New Year and I do make a list of “goals”. They generally have to do with wellness but in 2011 I set of a goal of teaching myself how to bake pies!

Debra Sennefelder – I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I stopped that a long time ago. Instead, I focus on goals. Right now I’m in the process of working on my goals for the upcoming year.

Dru Ann Love – I learned not to make resolutions.

Lois Winston – I gave up making New Year’s resolutions years ago.

Linda Rodriguez – I’ve stopped making New Year’s resolutions. I do always try to take the last few days of year to do some reflecting over what has happened during the year and what I feel about it and also to look at things I would like to carry with me into the new year. So, rather than resolutions, I tend to set one or two guide words or phrases for the coming year, such as Peace, More Pleasure, Health and Strength, etc.

Saralyn Richard – My most memorable New Year’s resolution was made when I’d lived in Chicago for about three years. I promised myself I wouldn’t complain about the winter weather. (Complaining accomplished nothing, anyway.) What I found when I stopped complaining was that the winter months went by quite painlessly. I don’t live in Chicago anymore, but my resolutions are always based on that theme–I try to be as grateful as possible throughout the year, no matter what befalls me. Gratitude is my resolution.









Clicking Our Heels – Fall is Here!

Clicking Our Heels – Fall is Here!!!

Fall is here! It should be no surprise that each member of the Gang has a different thought about Fall.

Debra H. Goldstein – Although I hate to see the leaves drop, Fall means I don’t have to worry about keeping my white pants clean.

Shari Randall/Meri Allen – Fall has the most beautiful weather, yes? I love the changing leaves and swishing through piles of fallen ones.

Kathryn Lane – The turning of the aspen in the mountains of New Mexico.

T.K. Thorne – In addition to escape from the Alabama summer heat, I love the colors, goldenrod abloom in the fields, and riding my horse in the woods. Fall was my mother’s favorite season and I try to inhale it for her.

Mary Lee Ashford – I absolutely love fall! It’s my favorite season. I love the brisk temps, the gorgeous fall colors, and all the fall activities. When I was younger fall also always meant back-to-school and unlike some kids I looked forward to returning to school. To this day, I still get excited when they start advertising school supplies. So, give me a steaming cup of cider, a thick cozy sweater, and a bonfire and I’m content. Oh, and a book, of course!

Lynn McPherson – I love the colors and the weather. Time for hot chocolate, fireplaces, and a good book.

Debra Sennefelder – Where should I start? Fall is my favorite season. Boots. Sweaters. Pumpkin everything. Halloween-themed mysteries. I could go on.
Lois Winston – The cooler temperatures, especially since I’m now living in the south. And I thought August in New Jersey was bad!

Linda Rodriguez – Fall is my favorite season. I don’t know if it’s because my birthday is in fall, or because school starts in fall, and in my childhood, school was a sanctuary and a blessed place. I love the colorful leaves, the cooler temperatures, the crisp air, the beautiful skies, and the sense of being on the cusp of something brand new and exciting that fall always brings. Fall is the traditional New Year time for the Cherokee.

Saralyn Richard – When I was teaching in the Midwest, I used to love the crisp chill in the air and the crunching of leaves underfoot, the sweet, juicy apples, and the anticipation of new relationships and experiences that come with another year back at school.

Dru Ann Love – Get to wear a coat and can use staying indoors as an excuse.

Donnell Ann Bell – Cooler weather. I live in the Southwest. Our falls are gorgeous and so are the sunsets.

Clicking Our Heels – Physically Moving Outside Our Comfort Zones?

Clicking Our Heels –
Physically Moving Outside Our Comfort Zones?

In last month’s Clicking Our Heels blog post we
discussed our favorite forms of exercise. Our answers were quite varied, but
what if we had an opportunity to physically move outside our comfort zones?
What if we had the option to skydive, bungee jump, mountain climb, or ??? –
would we or would we opt to be couch potatoes?


Mary Lee Ashford: Oh, no. No skydiving, bungee jumping, or
mountain climbing for me. Boating could be a yes, but I would undoubtedly take
a book along.


Bethany Maines: I’ve been indoor skydiving (total blast), I
would go bungee jumping given the opportunity, I’ve hiked up a few mountains,
and I like being a couch potato but usually someone in my family is hogging it.
Frequently, it’s the dog.


Gay Yellen: The beautiful city park across the street makes
for easy, almost daily walking jaunts.


Lynn Mcpherson: I’ve been skydiving three times. It was
amazing. I’m not good at sitting around. I like to get outside and have some


Donnell Bell:  I love
taking hills, not necessarily mountains-I tried that and lost two toenails!!


Barbara J. Eikmeier: I would be willing to go zip lining.


Lynn C. Willis: Oh, mountain climbing! I have books on
training to climb Everest but have recently realized I don’t like the cold.


Lois Winston: None of the above. However, I do love to take
long walks.


Robin Hillyer-Miles: I like hiking. I am not a dare devil!


Dru Ann Love: Definitely a couch potato. Give me a sci-fi
movie and I’m in heaven.


Kathryn Lane: Love mountain climbing!


Debra Sennefelder: No to everything in that question. LOL I
won’t climb a mountain, but I love a good hike. So there you have my level of


Anita Carter: If those are my only choice, I guess I’m a
couch potato. LOL The most adventurous active I’ve ever done was ziplining.


Linda Rodriguez: I love the idea of bungee jumping with my
walker with specialized support for my wrecked shoulder. I think I’ll go with


Shari Randall: No, thank you! Couch for me!


Debra H. Goldstein: All of these require exertion – even
getting on and off the couch. I think I’ll take a long hot bath while reading a
good gossipy magazine.

Clicking Our Heels – Simple Joys


Clicking Our Heels – It’s a New
Year with lots of resolutions, but considering everything going on in the world,
we thought we’d share something simple that makes each of happy or brings us
joy (think an expanded Marie Kondo concept to life).

Barbara Kyle – Singing! I’ve sung all my life, in shows
when my profession was acting, and now, for the last few years, in choirs.
Music is pure joy.

Lois Winston – Spending time with my grandchildren.

Saralyn Richard – Seeing something I’ve planted bloom.

Kathleen Kaska – The biggest joy in my life is seeing my
husband smile at me. Coming in second is spending time with my great-niece and

Dru Ann Love – A quiet day all to myself.

Debra H. Goldstein – When words flow.

Kathryn Lane – I have two simple activities that bring me
great joy – watching elk in the mountains of northern New Mexico and Zen
meditation. My husband participates with me in both pursuits.

Debra Sennefelder – It’s simple and it’s small, but I do
find joy in my first cup of coffee in the morning.

T.K. Thorne – What a great question to ponder! It gives me
joy to discover a new character or aspects of a character that I’m writing that
I didn’t know; to dance to music while cleaning house; to offer support or
connections to a young writer; and to sit outside on my front porch and watch
lizards and hummingbirds while I write.

Anita Carter– Laughter has always, and will continue, to bring me
joy and positivity.

Linda Rodriguez – A pot of nice hot tea, a sock to knit
mindlessly (since I’ve made so many), and good conversation with my husband.

Shari Randall – A message from an old friend, clean
windows, sunlight sparkling on water, when a favorite old song comes on the
radio…simple things, but all make me happy.

Mary Lee Ashford – Family brings me joy. I think I always
knew that but have a new appreciation for not just the family get-togethers and
celebrations but also for those mundane family moments where you touch each
other’s lives in so many ways. This past year has been so difficult being away
from family members and one thing I know for sure is I’ll never take that for
granted again.

Bethany Maines – My dog. Kato is my eleven year old puppy
and he’s as goofy now as the day we brought him home. And even though we’ve
both reached an age where people tell us that we “still look good!” he brings a
joyful bouncy spirit into the house.

Gay Yellen – Watching my husband cook.

Donnell Bell – Looking at pictures of my grandchildren, playing
cards with my very competitive husband, or sitting on our back patio watching
the quail and the New Mexico sunsets.

Clicking Our Heels: What We Read

Clicking Our Heels: Writers
are often asked if they write in a particular genre, if that is the one they
read. Here are some of what the Stiletto Gang members read and some of their
favorite authors.

Robin Hillyer-Miles – I read many different genres.
My favorite authors currently are Jess Loury, Susan Addison Allen, Susan Boyer,
and Karen White.

Saralyn Richard – I read everything – mysteries,
historical fiction, women’s fiction, biography, blended genres, literary fiction.

Kathleen Kaska – I read mysteries, but I also read
anything that catches my eye, especially inspirational nonfiction. When I find
an author I really like, I read every book they’ve written.

Dru Ann Love – I prefer reading cozy mysteries. I
will read other genres, but cozies are my go-to-read.

Kathryn Lane
I write mystery thrillers, so I tend to read quite a few
throughout the year from a whole variety of novelists, such as Harlan Coben,
Alice Feeney, Jeffery Deaver, but I also like the books of Donna Tartt,
Frederick Forsyth, and Megan Abbott. I read books written by fellow writers
who, like me, are not New York Times bestsellers (yet!), whose novels are often
as good as or even better than anything else on the market. And Sofía Segovia’s
The Murmur of Bees in Magical Realism is a book I love.

Debra SennefelderI have a long list of favorite authors that I read in my
genre of cozy mysteries. Some of them are a part of The Stiletto Gang. Others
include Jenny Kales, VM Burns, Jenn McKinlay, Katherine Hall Page.

I read
anything that is well written. Crime fiction is new for me because as a former
police officer, it feels more like work than escape.  My favorite author is Sue Monk Kidd. Her
writing is beautiful and so powerful. 
But I don’t consciously try to mimic it. 
It’s important to find your own voice.

Anita CarterI read mostly mysteries, suspense, and some women’s
fiction. I enjoy Lisa Gardner (just bought her latest release!), Laura Levine,
Karen White, and Susan Boyer, to name a few.

Barbara KyleI write fiction but many of my favorite
reads are narrative non-fiction. Anything by Simon Winchester or Erik Larson.
Both are incapable of writing a dull book.

Linda RodriguezI read everything. I have
long lists of authors I recommend on my website.

Meri Allen/Shari Randall – I write and read mysteries,
and I love to go back to the Golden Age authors like Agatha Christie and Ngaio
Marsh when I have some reading time.

Mary Lee AshfordI write cozy mysteries and also read cozy mysteries but I’m
not sure we have space here for all of the favorites. There are currently so
many wonderful cozy authors! Instead, I’ll share a few of the ones I started
reading and that got me interested in the sub-genre of cozies. I avidly read –
M.C Beaton, Jill Churchill, Sharon Kahn, and Anne George and once I’d
started down that cozy path, thanks to them I was hooked. 

Bethany MainesI have been reading a fair
bit of romance lately, but I’ve read across several genres.  My favorite
recent author is Bethany Bennett (because Bethany’s are awesome) who is
working on a fun romp of Regency Romance trilogy.

Gay YellenI’m omnivorous when it comes
to reading. If I weren’t writing mysteries, I’d probably tend toward literary
fiction. But I love good writing in any genre, including non-fiction.

Lynn McPhersonI read and write cozy
mysteries. They are still my favorite. A few of my favorite authors are Vicki
Delany and Jenn McKinlay. I’ve also read some delicious domestic suspense
novels lately by Hannah Mary McKinnon and J.T. Ellison.

Donnell BellIn the fiction realm, I read across the board. From Sci-fi
to historical fiction. Right now, I’m reading a western by D.V. Berkom.  I enjoy cozies, but prefer a substantive
plot, such as Cathy Perkins’s Body in the Beaver Pond and Lois Winston’s
Anastasia Pollack series. For romantic suspense, there are too many authors to
count. My favorite thriller writer is Tess Gerritsen—she’s an autobuy for
me.  Mystery writers, again, too many to
count. If I want to read mystery and learn something about art forgery, I read
Donald Beckwith. I ADORE discovering new authors.

Lois WinstonI write humorous mysteries,
but I’m an extremely eclectic reader. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of
historical mysteries and women’s fiction.

Debra H. Goldstein – Although I most enjoy cozy mysteries
and biographies, I read everything in the crime genre as well as literary

Cathy PerkinsI read a lot of mysteries, from thriller to cozy, but I
also read extensively outside my writing genre. 
From a craft perspective, it helps to see, for example, the creative
world building of fantasy or the deep character focus of women’s fiction. I
also think reading books other than mysteries gives me a much needed break,
reminding me readers read for story, for escape, for enjoyment – elements
authors always keep in the back of their minds as they write.























Clicking Our Heels – Where Do Our Ideas Come From?

Clicking Our Heels – Where Do Our
Ideas Come From?

Readers often ask where the ideas for our books and
stories come from. Today, the members of the Stiletto Gang are letting you in
on their secrets.


Donnell Bell – My books originate from events that have
happened and affect me in life. The first book that compelled me to write
(which I never tried to publish) came after listening to a breaking news story
about a man gunned down on the New Mexico capital steps. I was on my lunch hour
and had to get back to work. Later, when I tried to find what happened, I
couldn’t find any details. Frustrated, I made up in my mind what must have
happened and that was the start of my fiction career.

Lynn McPherson My ideas usually come from my day-to-day
life–while I’m walking the dog or watching TV. Something will strike me as a
good fit for a mystery and I go from there. It could be something as small as
tracks in the snow or a disagreement I read about on social media. My
imagination takes it from there and runs.

Saralyn Richard – Almost always my ideas come from the question,
“What if?”

Robin Hillyer-Miles – I dream of my storylines.

Lois Winston – I’m a news junkie. Most of my ideas are inspired by actual
events I read about or see in the news.

Debra Sennefelder – Everywhere! My second Food Blogger book, The Hidden
Corpse, was inspired by a neighbor’s knock on our door when she needed help
shutting off her smoke alarm. My fourth Resale Boutique book, How to Frame a Fashionista,
was partly inspired by a YouTube fitness guru who was reportedly involved in a
scandal. Ideas are everywhere.

Kathryn Lane – Plot, characters, and settings often come from simple ideas
I experienced during my corporate career when I traveled the world, or an
article I read in a newspaper, a conversation I may overhear, or even a detail
from a dream. A combination of all of these usually appear in each novel.

T.K. Thorne – I was asked to write the two nonfiction books and got
intrigued about the story. One idea for a novel hit me while I was listening to
a poem, another from a snarky remark of a coworker, one started with an image
of a dancer, and one of a young girl hiding, and one arrived as three words
while I was brushing my teeth.

Debra H. Goldstein – Although I steal from my life experiences and
observations, most come out of my subconscious as I write. The characters speak
to me, and their words pull the ideas out of me.

Anita Carter – Ideas are everywhere. TV, news stories, a snippet of a
conversation I’ve overheard. Everything is free game when you’re a writer!

Linda Rodriguez – All over the place. I may read or hear or see something
that makes me wonder what-if? And then that combines with something else I’ve
read or heard or seen-or even dreamed. Like the sand in the oyster, these
gritty little ideas roll around accreting even more ideas until I have a pearl
to begin a book with.

Meri Allen/Shari Randall – I wish I knew!

Mary Lee Ashford – Everywhere. A snippet of conversation, a song, a real-life
story.  Often, it’s a story that I’ve
heard or read. Recently I read an article about a man who made himself
disappear. That’s disappear not in the physical sense but as in he got rid of
every trace of himself in all the ways we normally find people. Fascinating. I
don’t have a story for that tidbit right now, but I’m still thinking about it.

Bethany Maines – I feel like I’m sort of a mash-up artist. I get these
little bits of things sort of noodling around I my head and then sooner or
later they smash into another noodle and then I’ve got spaghetti. Or half of a
novel. Depends on how hungry I am.

Gay Yellen – My biggest problem is having too many ideas to fit in one
book. They can come from almost anywhere: the news, a lost object on the
street, something I got in the mail. In other words, real life.

Cathy Perkins – As others said, ideas are everywhere! For example, my husband and I were hiking along the Snake River in a game management area called Big Flats
(which happens to feature in So About the Money) and had to push through tangled foliage at the shoreline. Being a mystery writer whose mind can go all kinds of strange places, I glanced over my shoulder and said, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?”

That germ of an idea kept growing. Why would the heroine be out at Big Flats to stumble over the body?
How did the body end up beside the river in the first place?

Clicking Our Heels: Muddle in the Middle or at the Begining or the End?

Clicking Our Heels: Muddle in the Middle or at the
Beginning or the End?

Today, the Stiletto Gang
examines what each finds the hardest part of writing – beginnings, middles or

Saralyn Richard – Whatever I’m currently writing
(beginnings and endings are harder than middles).

Lois Winston – I spend quite a bit of time deciding on an
opening sentence that will hook the reader.

Kathleen Kaska – The hardest part of writing fiction comes
between the middle and the end. This is where I have to pull everything
together. Being a punster makes it difficult, but outlining doesn’t work for

Linda Rodriguez – Middles! Always middles – when I often
despair that I’ve forgotten how to write.

Debra H. Goldstein – Endings because I have to remember not
to rush to tie things up and in a series give a taste of the future.

Shari Randall – Hands down beginnings are the toughest to
write. I love spinning different endings and middles happen organically, but a
beginning that entices the reader and sets the tone for the book is always a

Gay Yellen – I usually don’t begin writing until I know how
the book starts and how it ends. The middle is the bugbear, because the mix of
plot details and suspense is so critical.

Kathryn Lane – Middles are the nemeses I struggle with to
make my writing as exciting as possible so the reader continues side by side
with the protagonist, solving life-threatening situations.

Dru Ann Love – The beginning as I don’t know what to write
without revealing spoilers.

Debra Sennefelder – The hardest part of writing for me
lately hasn’t been the process of writing. It has been dealing with my upended
routine and noise in the house during the day.

T.K. Thorne – I tend to write from beginning to end. If I
have a concept of the ending, then the middle is hard, if I don’t, the end can
be challenging, because everything has to come together in a surprising but
satisfying way. I love beginnings, lol!

Anita Carter – Definitely beginnings. When I first start a new
story, the possibilities of where the story can go are endless. Sometimes I’ll
rewrite the first 50 pages three or four times until I feel like I’m taking the
story in the right direction. It can be exhausting.

Mary Lee Ashford – Oh, I love beginnings and endings. But
middles? They are hard. I think the good news is that in the middle there are
so many choices and then the bad news is that there are so many choices. I do
quite a bit of plotting before I begin writing but I find that once I’ve
written to the middle of the book, there’s often a need to reassess what I
originally had planned. It provides an opportunity to ask if there is a better
choice now that the story has grown. So middles are hard, but also great fun.

Bethany Maines – Ends! I can churn out a great first act at
the drop of a hat, but oh my, those endings. Managing to get all the pieces of
the puzzle to line up and come to a satisfactory conclusion is the toughest
part for me.

Robin Hillyer-Miles – Editing is the most difficult and
most important for me.


What Stiletto Gang Members Write ….


time to get to know the Stiletto Gang Members better from a little game:  “I write —“

currently write cozy/amateur sleuth mysteries. However, in the past I’ve also
written romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, a children’s
chapter book, and a nonfiction book on writing.


I write romance, magic realism, and whatever else pops in my head. I once wrote
a scary short story that scared even myself.

Saralyn Richard
– I write police procedurals, amateur sleuth, thriller, and a children’s book.

Debra H. Goldstein
– I write a cozy/amateur sleuth series about Sarah Blair who finds being in the
kitchen more frightening than murder. I also write short stories and
non-fictional essays.

Kathleen Kaska
– I write both fiction (mysteries) and nonfiction. I have two different mystery
series. The Sydney Lockhart series is set in the early 50s and is lighthearted
and humorous. Each book takes place in a different historic hotel. The Kate
Caraway Animals Rights series deals with animal rights issues. I have a mystery
trivia series. The latest, The Sherlock Holmes Quiz Book, was
released in November 2020. I also write blog posts and reviews for the New York
Journey of Book Review. 

Dru Ann Love
– The only thing I write are short musings of books that I read on my blog,
dru’s book musings.

Kathryn Lane
– I write international mystery and crime novels. My protagonist, Nikki Garcia,
is a private investigator from Miami, Florida, that is often sent on assignment
to Spanish speaking countries – Spain, Mexico, and Colombia – where she
encounters fearsome antagonists.


I write two cozy
mystery series. The first one is the Food Blogger Mystery series featuring food
blogger Hope Early. The second one is the Resale Boutique Mystery series
featuring out-of-work fashionista Kelly Quinn who inherited her granny’s
consignment shop. Both women have returned to their hometowns and are finding
that starting over in the place where you began is challenging yet they realize
they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Though, finding dead bodies and being
pulled into murder investigations wasn’t what they expected to be happen.

T.K. Thorne
Apparently, I can’t figure out what might pop out of
the writing oven. So far—crime with a bit of magic; historical fiction set in
ancient times; nonfiction civil rights, a science fiction YA (cooking) and
maybe historical fantasy to follow.

Sparkle Abbey:

Mary Lee Ashford – I write mystery and specifically cozy mysteries. So nothing
graphic on the page but a challenging puzzle to unravel. The Sugar & Spice
mysteries are culinary-themed, but you probably got that from the titles – Game
of Scones, Risky Biscuits, Quiche of Death, and feature two friends who have
started a community cookbook business. The Sparkle Abbey books are also
considered cozy but feature a pet therapist and a pet boutique

Anita CarterAs half of the Sparkle
Abbey writing team, we write cozy mysteries. Right now, I’m personally working
on a suspense story.

Barbara KyleThrillers.
Can’t help it. Even when I write historical novels that prominently feature a
love story, they’re still always thrillers.

Shari RandallI write mysteries with
humor and heart set in beautiful New England.

Cathy Perkins – I’ve written dark suspense, but I’m currently writing lighter, amateur sleuth stories. The Holly Price mysteries revolve (romp) around a CPA living in eastern Washington. A new series featuring an event planner launches in May 2021.  








Clicking Our Heels – Diverse Women and Their Fairy Tales

Clicking Our
Heels – Diverse Women and Their Fairy Tales

A New Year, but a re-run of an old Clicking Our Heels written shortly after we changed our logo. New members and new Clicking Our Heels next month!

The Stiletto
Gang spent the past two months introducing our new logo and letting you see how
diverse we are over something simple: 
red shoes. Not only are we different in the present, but we were raised
on different fairy tales, folklore and cultural stories. Thinking back, we
decided to share with you an early one we can remember and tell you why it was
so impressive. 

Paula Gail BensonCinderella has a firm
hold on me. I wore a Cinderella Halloween costume for years and, when I began
teaching short story workshops, Cinderella
was my go-to example for story structure. I guess it’s a female Horatio Alger
story. Ultimately, Cindy wins when she is able to reveal herself.

Dru Ann Love – Your dreams can come true if you work hard for it. Because I
knew I wanted more from life than what was dealt my family. That’s why I was
the first to graduate college, the first to get a full-time job, the first to
travel internationally for pleasure, and the first to own real estate (co-op).

TK ThorneSnow White and The Seven
because I was hung up on
being blonde and the “perfect” girl, and Snow had dark hair like
me. Could I be perfect too, or at least find my prince? Not very feminist
fodder, but that is what we were fed and I swallowed.

Shari Randall – My Italian mom told us the story of Old Befana, the good witch
who flies on her broomstick on January 8, going down chimneys to leave candy
for good children and coal for the naught. Befana was known as the best
housekeeper in the village, so when the Three Wise Men came through (yes, a
side trip to Italy!), following the star in their search for the Christ child,
they stayed at Befana’s house. The next morning, the Magi invited her to join
them on their quest, but Befana wanted to finished her chores first. The Magi
let and soon after Befana ha a change of heart and tried to catch them but she
couldn’t find the three kings.  The story
is that even today she still searches for the Child, always with her broom at
her side. I’ve taken that moral to heart – if adventure calls, don’t wait –
leave the housework behind!

Debra H. Goldstein – The Emperor’s New Clothes made a lasting impression on me for the
way in which it mocked hypocrisy, snobbery and social class. The child’s honest
cry that the Emperor is wearing no clothes versus the individuals who wouldn’t
speak out, including the Emperor, for fear of appearing stupid stuck with me.
It was the first time, even though I couldn’t put it into words, that I
realized the importance of speaking the truth – even when it isn’t popular or
goes against a prevailing rhetoric.

Linda Rodriguez – Some of the earliest tales and teaching stories that I recall
came from my Cherokee grandmother, who was a huge influence in my early life.
One of the most influential was the story of Stoneskin, a giant cannibal who
ravaged the Cherokee, the early people. In the story, the Cherokee fought
against him by arranging one menstruating woman after another in front of him,
until the power of them overwhelmed him. As he lay dying, he told them all
kinds of secrets and medicine lore, which became the foundation of the Cherokee
traditional medicine teaching. So, much that is truly important about
traditional Cherokee culture comes from a dying monster killed by a the power
of women, who are capable of getting pregnant and giving birth. That story told
me as a young child that there was power in the female, even though the world
around me said that women and girls were weak and powerless.

Bethany Maines – I’ve recently been re-reading fairy tales and somehow I didn’t
remember them being as horrible as they are. Rape, murder, incest, lots of
removing of limbs and for some reason turning into rose bushes.  The one I liked as a kid were the Arabian
Nights. I think it was Ali-Baba where the maid poured boiling oil on the forty
thieves hidden in the oil jars. The hero seemed like an idiot and the maid saved
the day. Somehow, the idea of boiling a bunch of guys in oil didn’t seem as
horrific to me then as it does now.

Cathy P. Perkins – I didn’t grow up on fairy tales. Instead, my brother fed me a
stead diet of science fiction. I desperately wanted to be either an astronaut
and explore space or move onto Pern, bond with my very own dragon, and save my
people from Thread.

Juliana Aragon Flatula – I love the story of how the moon and stars were created when
Huitzilopochtli slayed his sister the moon and his 400 brothers the stars and
cut them into pieces and threw them to the heavens. This is why the moon has

Julie Mulhern – I was an early feminist. I didn’t understand why Disney
princesses’ happy endings were dependent on princes. Snow White? I did not buy
into the idea of cleaning up after seven men. How stupid did she have to be to
eat that apple? And how shallow is a prince who falls in love with her based on
her face?