Tag Archive for: shoes

Wearing Cinderella’s Slippers

is my first post for The Stiletto Gang. I feel fortunate to be asked to
join the group. Already, the other posters have sent me warm
welcoming messages, which I very much appreciate. A grand thing about the writing community is the support offered and received. Maybe there is an enabling factor that urges authors who work so much in
solitude to reach out to others who aspire to follow their path. An
overwhelming generosity of spirit flows from writers who have made
their mark to those toiling to achieve success.

looking at past posts, I see that I’ll be filling a spot long held by Evelyn
David, one of the founding members of the blog and a very prolific writing team
of Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett
I’m humbled by the opportunity and know I have large shoes to fill. And, I’m
grateful to my fellow posters for handing me Cinderella’s slippers.
I just hope I don’t lose one or, if I do, that it’s returned by a prince!
I considered my first message, I kept thinking about shoes. Shoes often seem to
have been used in literature to define women. Consider the epic battle that
ensues when Dorothy gets the witch’s ruby red slippers. Yet, eventually, those
shoes become the vehicle that transports Dorothy home, on her own power.
I was young, after school, I would wait in my mother’s classroom while she
attended teachers’ meetings. I would listen to the footsteps coming down the
hall and learned to recognize hers returning.
when I went out into the workplace, I saw women navigating the sidewalks in
high heels, their staccato tapping emphasizing their focus and determination as
well as their rushing to the next appointment. The sound of their steps signaled
a giddy assurance that they were in the right place and making important
contributions through their work.
I visited New York City, I walked along the streets, feeling a stronger
connection with the place as my sneakers trod its thoroughfares. I had read
that Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, who loved to travel, adored having
someone stop and ask her for directions in a location she was visiting, because
that made her feel as if she were part of the place. I remember my own thrill
when I advised a tourist on a New York street corner. A sense of belonging is
so reassuring.
guess my favorite shoe image comes from To
Kill a Mockingbird
, when young Scout realizes Atticus is correct in
telling her we never truly understand a person until we have a chance to walk
in his shoes. To me, the scene where Scout stands on Boo Radley’s porch envisioning
all that had happened in their town through his eyes is a truly powerful piece
of writing.

thank you, Stiletto Gang, for including me among your posters. Thanks for your
encouragement and for believing in me, a short story writer who strives to be a
novelist. And, thanks for providing this forum for those of us who love
mystery, romance, suspense, thrills, and good writing.

A legislative attorney and former law librarian,
Paula Gail Benson’s short stories have been published in Kings River Life, the Bethlehem
Writers Roundtable
, Mystery Times
Ten 2013
(Buddhapuss Ink), and A Tall
Ship, a Star, and Plunder
(Dark Oak Press and Media, 2014). Her next short
story, “Moving On,” will appear in A
Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman
, an anthology due to be
released by Mozark Press in November or December 2014. She regularly blogs with others about writing mysteries at
http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com. Her personal blog is http://littlesourcesofjoy.blogspot.com,
and her website is http://paulagailbenson.com.

Meet Duffy Dombrowski: The Man of Female Protagonists’ Dreams

Tom Schreck was the director of an inner city drug clinic; he’s a black belt and a world championship boxing official. As an author he created the Duffy Dombrowski Mysteries, a series Publishers Weekly called “A Knockout!” Follow Duffy, the not-so-social-worker, as he moonlights as a bad professional boxer, drinks with his collection of lovable loser friends and somehow tries to exert a measure of control over his adopted Black Muslim basset hound Al. All this while trying to right the wrongs forced upon his vulnerable caseload.

“On the Ropes” was a Lovey and Crimespree Magazine nominee for “Best First Mystery” and an IMBA Bestseller. Tom is featured in the Echelon anthology “Missing” and his next Duffy Mystery is due out sometime in 2009.

First of all I’m honored to be a guest of The Stiletto Gang.

Any assemblage of women under that banner has to be a fun group.

And here’s a dirty little secret about me—my wife likes me to pick out her heels for her. She finds it only somewhat disturbing that I know more about women’s shoes than she does, but she does like my taste: at least 3.5 inches, (preferably sling backs), patent leather, black or animal print and with an obnoxiously pointed toe. Something tells me that’s all I should say on this topic.

I write the Duffy Dombrowski Mystery series. Duffy is a low level social worker whose caseload includes crack whores, addicts, small-time crooks and various other members of society that you’d find if you looked under enough rocks. At night he moonlights as a bad professional boxer, taking any fight he can for the extra cash. He beats the really bad fighters and loses to the good ones.

He’s also been saddled with a rescued basset hound named Al who flunked out of the Nation of Islam’s security force due to his personal hygiene challenges. Al has raised disobedience to a new level, prefers to have Duffy wait on him, and has a tendency to make the surrounding air unbreathable. He also has an uncanny knack of showing up at the exact right time and has saved Duffy’s ass on more than one occasion.

So a counselor with a repulsive caseload whose main hobby is a sport that involves assaultive behavior and a pet whose main traits involve flatulence, drooling, and the destruction of household furniture…

Just what today’s female readership is longing for, right?

Well, I think they should for several key reasons.

Reason One: Duffy is sensitive without being all Phil Donohue about it. He’s a Robin Hood for the little guy but he’s no bleeding heart limousine liberal—he lives it everyday. He also knows a manipulative con artist exploiting the system when he sees one.

Reason Two: Duffy can kick ass and think. He isn’t violent for the fun of it — except in the gym — but when someone is abusing the vulnerable, Duffy knows it’s going to take more than reasoning to get it to stop. Sure, he usually takes time to think things through before he throws a punch…usually, depending on how the rest of his day went.

Reason Three: Duffy isn’t a cliché. Sure, he can fight but he gets beat, he can’t cook, he lives in a trailer, not a 52-foot houseboat, he’s a counselor not a shrink, and he knows nothing about the law, forensics or science. He’s real and he’s genuine.

In other words I think Duffy would make a great boyfriend to all those frustrated female protagonists out there. All the loser men who fear commitment and intimacy and all the limp wristed wimps that our favorite female sleuths have to put up with would be refreshed with Duff’s company.

That is, if they could stand the trailer, the drooling, farting hound and Duff’s penchant for Schlitz.

Well… maybe.

Tom Schreck

For an in-depth review of On the Ropes check out the following blog –


I am a shoe whore. I love the smell of soft leather and the look of shiny patent. I worry over the question of open toe or closed like it was a question that involved our national security. I delight in espadrilles and flats; sandals and loafers; and even though my stiletto days never were, I still have a few super-high heels that I bought because…well, just because. My husband can’t fathom why I would ever buy another pair of black shoes since my closet is already bursting at the seams with black footwear. But like a mother with identical sextuplets (oy!), I absolutely can tell them all apart.

So it was with an extremely heavy heart that I discovered that my personal shoe heaven has now been shuttered. May I have a moment of silence for Filene’s Basement.

Fie on you who say: Wait! Filene’s Basement still exists. Sure that’s true if you believe that Cool Whip Lite tastes the same as Whipped Cream made from actual heavy cream. Filene’s Basement, in its present incarnation, is a perfectly nice discount store chain. You can find some good deals, but where’s the sense of adventure – and the educational component – that was part of the original Beantown bargain store?

Let me tell you the sorry tale.

In less than two weeks, my daughter is off to Scotland to spend the semester at The University of Glasgow. (Yes, I know. We all want to come back as our kids.). So, my thought was to grab a few days once her summer jobs ended, and head off to Boston for a weekend of theater, good meals, and shopping. We would bond over my credit card. We landed in Beantown a little after noon, and within fifteen minutes, headed over to Downtown Crossing, the location of Filene’s Basement.

For those who aren’t familiar with this cultural landmark, here’s the basic concept. Filene’s Basement was literally the bottom two floors of Filene’s, a traditional Boston department store. It bought up odd lots of high-end merchandise from manufacturers and other large department stores. But the fun – and that’s what it was – the fun was in the pricing system. The price tag for every item in Filene’s Basement included the date it was first put on sale. The original sale price was usually significantly lower than what you’d pay at most other stores, but there was the promise of even better deals. Fourteen days after the article entered inventory, if it hadn’t sold, the price was reduced by 25%; 14 days after that, the price was reduced by 50%; 14 days after that, the price was 75% of the original sale price. And if it still didn’t sell, then after 14 more days it was donated to charity.

At the age of seven, my daughter learned how to do fractions by calculating the savings on a pair of designer shoes that I could at last afford because they had been stuck on the shelf for 28 days. I still remember the day I found a set of 800-count, queen-sized blue sheets and matching pillow cases (and there will someday be a blog on the luxury of high-count sheets) that were just $20 because they had languished in the Basement for 42 days. Ah, those were the days.

But all good things come to an end, I guess. It was a traffic cop who took us aside to explain the brutal truth. Filene’s Basement had closed last September. The building was undergoing a massive renovation that was to last two years. It’s supposed to reopen in 2009 — but the owners have made it clear that they are under no legal obligation to do so. Sigh.

It took me a little while to figure out what it was I was going to miss. Does this make sense? We all have to shop for the basic essentials in life. Some of us enjoy it; many don’t. I probably fall in the middle and my patience when shopping usually wears thin far sooner than my daughter’s. But Filene’s Basement made it a game. I probably didn’t need the sheets — but the price was too good to pass up. It was a win-win for the store and for me. I won’t say I didn’t need the shoes, because well, just because I always need shoes. That’s the way it is for shoe-a-holics.

But mostly, I think I’ll miss the fun I had rummaging through the piles with my daughter. Calling out to each other when we found an item, even if we hated it, that was 75% off. We might not have bought it, but we enjoyed the hunt.

RIP, Filene’s Basement. We’ll miss you.

Does anyone know of a similar bargain store??

Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David