So Taking Off - The Red Shoe Collection is officially available for purchase on Freya's Bower! Woo hoo! I'm so excited, I can't contain myself. This book is really special to me for many reasons, not the least of which was that I didn't come up with the idea all on my own. That's right, were it not for a nudge from a fellow author, I doubt Taking Off would ever have been written. And the idea all started with a pair of shoes. Well, not just one pair of shoes, lots of pairs of shoes...the entire history of shoes in fact.
A good friend of mine and fellow authoress shot me an email about a writing exercise from her crit group. The gist of the email was this: Choose a pair of shoes from the book The History of Shoes and write a short story about them. Not having a copy of The History of Shoes, I Googled "history of shoes." From there I stumbled upon an obituary for Beth Levine. For those of you who don't know about Beth, she was one of the first females to design shoes for women. Fashion has long been a male dominated field (like many other creative fields). Though she designed under her husband, Herbert Levine's label, the designed were all woman. She designed for such famous feet as Marilyn Monroe, Nancy Sinatra (that's right the boot that were made for walking were made by Beth), and many others. She was called 'the First Lady of Shoe Design.' Along with her obituary was a picture of a pair of red stiletto heels, elegant in their form and understated beauty. The seed had been planted. But instead of one idea for a short story I had quite a few... Four to be exact.
The entire book came together in about two months, though there were times I didn't think I could finish it (that happens to me with almost every single manuscript, lol). But I persevered like a woman possessed. Once I was finished with it, I didn't know what to do with it. The work was a departure from my usual erotic romances. In fact there's no graphic sex in the book at all. I closed the door on every single love scene (sooooo uncharacteristic for me). Something about the manuscript demanded this discretion.
The book sat inactive on my hard drive for another couple of months. Then I got an email from another author friend of mine, asking me if I'd like to sub the book to Freya's Bower. Would I like to? I'd love to! A short while later the book was contracted and I was assigned a singularly talented editor who took a good piece of writing and, IMHO, made it great. And then, as luck would have it, the first reviewer to recieve an ARC of the book happened to agree that the book was great (5 flutes kinda great in fact). I was moved to tears as I thought about the care and support I'd gotten from a wonderful group of women. As crazy as it sounds, I felt connected to some sort of cosmic sisterhood: A woman suggested the basic story idea to me, a woman designed the shoes featured in the book, a woman wrote the book, a woman saw the value in the book, a woman help the book shine, a woman designed the cover, a woman used her voice to praise the book, and more women still support me everyday: my crit partners, my publishers, my fellow authoresses, and my friends. I feel like I should have called the book The Sisterhood of the Traveling Red Shoes :)
This is not to say that the hairier sex has nothing to do with my successes. They know I love and need them too, but there something unstoppable about a group of women who band together with a common purpose. It's a girl thang and they just don't understand. So here's a big thank you to all the women who made Taking Off happen. Honestly, I couldn't have done it without you!