10 Reasons Why You Should Hate Shoes

You should hate shoes. Really. Before I give you the ten reasons why, let me ask you a question.

Do you love your shoes? If you do, you’re in the majority. In an extremely scientific poll (I asked a bunch of my friends), 9 out of 10 women said they love shoes (error margin of plus or minus 9 people).

I’ll never understand shoe mania. Recently while researching shoes for a character’s outfit (I needed something stylish from the 1950s that would go well with a feathered hat and cigarette holder), I asked for help on Facebook. People fell over themselves to educate me about slingbacks, wedges, the various combinations of heel, toe, and strap, and a NSFW term for six-inch heels. (Ooh, strap! Darn, not that kind.) We agreed to disagree on the name for six-inch heels. (Stilettos. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

Last year for Ana’s Advent Calendar, Siobhan Muir talked about her love of shoes.

Are you ready for the reasons for hating shoes?

  1. Blisters. foot fungus, and other foot woes. Have you ever known someone to get blisters from going barefoot?
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  2. Cost. A good pair of shoes can cost $50, $100, or more. For $100, you could buy a new ereader, a night in a hotel, a tank of gas for a road trip, a Hitachi wand plus attachments, the Battlestar Galactica Blu-Ray set, the entire Anastasia Vitsky book collection, and the list goes on! Priorities, people. 😀
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  3. Potassium dichromate. Most good shoes are leather, and almost all (I’d say all but perhaps handmade Italian shoes, but there might be an exception) shoe leather is tanned with potassium dichromate. This is a chemical used in cleaning solutions and mixing concrete. I’m not making this up. Seriously, do you want this next to your skin? (“Vegan” leather, or leather tanned with natural materials, is safe.) If this is such a toxic substance, why do shoe companies use it? Easy. It’s cheap. Need I say more?
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  4. Artificiality. Sure, we need shoes to protect our feet from nails, hot/cold surfaces, and dangerous substances–but we don’t need shoes on our feet from the time we wake up until we go to bed. Take babies, for instance. They don’t wear shoes. In fact, it’s recommended for babies not to wear shoes while learning to walk. Wearing stiff shoes can interfere with grip and balance.
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  5. Germs. Shoes track in dirt, pesticides, germs, bubblegum, and all kinds of filth from outside. Wearing them inside the house is unhygienic, and it makes sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping necessary more often. Isn’t this reason enough to make you hate shoes?
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  6. Cost to health. Chronic foot problems, knee replacement surgery and twisted ankles are only a few of the hazards that go along with shoes for the fashion-conscious, particularly high heels. In addition, we often wear shoes that don’t fit well (such as a pointed toe box) in the name of fashion.
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  7. Storage space. No matter what shoe contraption I buy, I end up with shoes all over the place. (Point of reference: I regularly wear approximately five pairs of shoes. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those of you who own dozens, if not hundreds, of pairs.) When I go on a trip, shoes hog suitcase space. Can’t we all wear flip-flops and get along?
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  8. Poor fit. Unless you have your shoes custom made, they probably don’t fit. If you have wide toes and a narrow heel, good luck. If you have smaller or larger feet than “average,” don’t hold your breath. If you want shoes other than the current fashion … yep, you guessed it. Which brings me to my next point.
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  9. Planned obsolescence. The dictates of fashion and new construction methods that lead to cheaper products that break or are perceived as no longer functional (out of style). Straps break (ooh, more straps!), heels break off, holes appear, and in general only ugly shoes last for years. How much of enjoying shoes is true enjoyment, and how much is clever marketing designed to part us from our hard-earned money every time we see a shoe sale sign?
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  10. Getting spanked with a shoe hurts. ‘Nuff said.

How about you? Have you seen the light, or are you still a recalcitrant shoe lover?

 

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#ThursThreads flash fiction winner: a peek at a new story

 

After a hiatus, I participated in Siobhan Muir’s Thursday Threads flash fiction this week. How fun to receive this compliment from the judge:

Jeff Tsuruoka says: Perfectly captured slice of life. Just enough of the history between the characters is dropped in and it ends with a moment we’ve all lived through at least once in our lives. Love the clean, clear prose.

Hope you enjoy. 😀

—————

Audra slides her hand over my collarbone, slipping the satin pink bra strap over my shoulder. I bat her hand away and adjust my bra.

“Ouch,” she says, withdrawing to her end of the couch. “I took a shower this morning.” She picks up her neon pink coffee mug and takes a sip.

“I love you.” I scan my pile of papers, frantic to finish my report before the deadline. “I’m just…”

“Busy,” Audra offers. She takes another sip, watching me.

“I’ve got to finish before Grandma’s birthday party tonight.”

At the silence, I realize my mistake. “Look, I’m sorry. I know you want to go, but it’ll be tapioca pudding and cake with dull conversation.”

Two patches of pink appear on Audra’s cheeks, and she clinks her cup onto the ceramic mosaic coaster. We chose the set together when she first moved in. “You act like you’re ashamed of me.”

I groan. “We’ve gone through this a thousand times. That’s not how my family works.”

“Huh.” Audra stands up and carries her mug to the kitchen sink. “Thought I was part of your family.” She returns to the living room and sits in the chair furthest away from me.

I pound away for five full minutes until I give in. Audra has silent treatment down to a science. I can apologize, but it won’t change anything. “I need some space,” I plead.

“That can be arranged.” She stalks out of the room and slams our bedroom door.

What if Kat met quilting grannies? #ThursThreads

What if Kat, in preparing for the baby, took up quilting at her church? Here’s a 250-word snippet imagining what it might be like. Hope you enjoy!

I held out my fake quilt-print fabric, stitched with love but little skill. The German quilting thread cost ten dollars, so I settled for flimsy polyester thread that knotted whenever I sneezed.

“Please don’t laugh,” I said. Straight pins stuck out at awkward angles, and the fabric crumpled where I had gripped the edges. “I know the back looks terrible.”

My mother would have tsked at the multicolored tangles, but my white-haired companion patted my shoulder. Dorothy let fabric fly through her sewing machine without patterns or pins.

“I hate it,” I said, picking at the Frankenstein-like mess of red and blue stitches showing through the back.

“There’s a better way,” she reassured me, dabbing spit onto thread to push it through the eye of the needle. She slid the needle through the muslin backing without letting it show on the mock quilted top.

“Oh!” I exclaimed as she knotted the thread and worked the loose ends under the stitches, leaving a tidy trail of thread.

“Snip it here, next to the knot.” Dorothy held the tail while I followed her instructions. “You finish here,” she said, pointing to the unstitched squares. “Next time, I’ll show you how to do the binding.”

“Okay.” I gathered my material, as if I were collecting sheet music after a childhood piano lesson.

“Kat,” she said, and I paused. She closed her hand over mine, and my chest tightened. “Well done.”

I ducked out the door before she could notice my tears.

This flash fiction piece originally appeared in Siobhan Muir’s Thursday Threads event on February 13, 2014. Judge Kate Richards awarded it Honorable Mention, saying:

Her easy style for this piece,  was appealing on a whole other level. Made me feel as if I found a whole new Anastasia to read, one I like as well, but in a different way, than her usual carefully crafted words.

Toys and Playtime (Advent Calendar, Day 18)

Siobhan Muir, a wonderful writer and friend of mine, asked me a month ago when I began planning surprise day posts:

Can I talk about toys?

In our kinky corner of the world, “toys” can mean any number of things, right? So I agreed–and found that Siobhan meant shoes! Shoes! Ana doesn’t like shoes. 😀 But in the spirit of inclusiveness, let’s enjoy Siobhan and her shoes. Welcome, Siobhan! For more information about Siobhan, read this Fika article or visit her blog.

Happy Holidays! It’s time for all good little girls and good little boys to get their hands on some naughty little toys!

Wait, that can’t be right, can it?

Hang on, let me do some figuring here… good = nice, bad = naughty, good toys and naughty toys… and good naughty toys… I think I’m gonna be naughty this year. 😀

So today, boys and girls, we’re going to be talking about toys today on Ana’s Advent Calendar. When you hear the word “toys” what do you think of first? Matchbox cars and Barbie dolls? Ereaders, iPhones, and tablets? Or vibrators, nipple clamps, and floggers?

Whatever your definition, everyone wants some sort of toy for Christmas and everyone has their own definition of them. I have two kinds of toys I like. The electronic kind: Kindle Fire, smartphones, tablets for traveling writing, and digital cameras. And the more erotic variety: vibrators, leather cuffs, floggers, and lingerie. Lingerie, by the way, includes shoes for me. 😉

New shoes

Let’s focus on the erotic side of things. Toys are for playtime and playtime can mean anything you want it to mean. Remember when you were a kid, you dressed up like a police officer or a fireman or a doctor or you even played house? This is kinda like that and there are all sorts of costumes available for those professions if you so desire. But in this kind of adult playtime (after the kids go to be or are at a sleepover), you can dress up as the local whore, the badass pimp, the Domme, the vixen, heck even the buttoned up Librarian (do you know what they do in the stacks at night?). For those roles, maybe you’ll need a whip, handcuffs, leather cuffs, or a flogger. Maybe you’ll need some accents like nipple chains and male chastity cages. I like the thigh-high f*ck-me boots. 😀

The point is everyone should play, even when they get older – particularly when they get older. That’s what the magic of the holidays are really about. The wonder children express isn’t for them alone. Just because your tastes have changed and your toys have changed (yeah, baby!) doesn’t mean you have to stop playing. Playtime is better with friends and it’s meant to be fun.

Mr. SM and I make it a point to play a couple times a week. Not only does it remind us that life can be good, it also strengthens the love and joy we have in each other. I get to dress up in fun clothes (and even funn-er shoes) and play with him for our mutual benefit and enjoyment. Sometimes we use specific toys (vibrator, butt plugs, genital jewelry – which is really hot on a guy, I gotta say), other times it’s just role playing. I still want to try the one from When a Man Loves a Woman where Meg Ryan hits on Andy Garcia in a coffee shop as if he’s a stranger when he’s really her husband. Actually very romantic in my mind. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VSyKVgi0_8

So this year, as the holidays approach, take a little time to play with your partners, whoever or how many there may be. Find just the right toys to stuff into their stockings and maybe let Santa know what kinds of toys you’re dreaming of.  And I wish you a very Happy Holiday. 😀

So my question for all of you to be included in a chance to win your Advent Calender prize: If you were given a choice of any toy for Christmas, naughty or otherwise regardless of price, what would you ask Santa for this year?

Monday Morning Fika with Siobhan Muir: Making your stories real

What makes a story feel real?

I’m absolutely delighted that Ana asked me to join in her Fika Mondays. Ana and I met on Six Sentence Sunday when we were both trying to get our names out there and find out about other authors we’d never read. Though we don’t usually read each other’s genres, one trait we both share in our storytelling is the ability to capture just enough reality to grab the reader.

So what makes a story feel real?

For me, it’s the ability of the author to make me feel like I could be there, in the story, doing what the characters are doing. I need dialog and vivid description to take me into the world, to hold me there, and make me believe I could be experiencing everything going on. Suspension of disbelief is necessary as well, but there has to be enough realism, particularly in paranormal romances. You’re dealing with complete fantasy creatures, but have to make them seem like you could see them on the street.

When I start writing a story, no matter the premise, I always try to write it as if I’m there, doing whatever the scene calls for (and yeah, that goes for sex scenes, too. :D) Put yourself in the shoes of your character. How would you react to someone charging out of the shadows, roaring, and swinging a sword at your head? How would you respond to someone shifting shape from human to something else right in front of you? How would you react to shifting into a werewolf if you thought yourself human?

When writing your stories, ask yourself how you’d react to whatever you’re putting your characters through. Put yourself in the conversation and write the dialog as if the other characters are in the room with you. Fill the narration with sensory data (tastes, sounds, sights, textures, and emotions) and paint the scene as if physically present. If standing at the edge of a graveyard, at dusk, what kinds of sounds would filter into your awareness? What kinds of scents would perfume the air? Rotting vegetation? Freshly turned dirt? Anything you can add to a scene, whether an emotional response from the main character or a sensory detail, will make it all the more real to your reader.

You don’t want your story to read like a movie – where the reader is here, watching the action over there. You want your readers experiencing the anxious excitement of the heroine being stalked by the bad guy, or the adrenaline rush of the hero as he lights an entire cohort of alien troops up with a thermal grenade. And yes, you want the reader to be out of breath and shaking with orgasm after a really hot sex scene. 😀

So how do you make your stories feel real? Picture yourself in the scene and write it as if you’re there. That way the reader will be there, too.

BLURB

Magic, mayhem, and motherhood… a witch’s work is never done, but Sabrina draws the line at the Fae.

 

After almost two decades as a practicing witch in Cloudburst, Colorado, Sabrina Foxglove is done with men, magic, and the fertility rituals of High Beltane. She’s dealt with all three before and ended up with a young daughter and no partner. Twice. She’s looking forward to a magic-free May Day, with nothing more exciting than making brownies for a kindergarten class and decorating a May Pole. She definitely doesn’t have time for a handsome, Fae-touched man.

After almost two centuries as the human chamberlain to the Fae’s Summer Court, Darius Winterbourne is a man accustomed to getting his way. So when the Summer Queen tasks him with finding a witch to perform the annual rituals and strengthen the ancient warding magicks, he figures it should be easy. He doesn’t expect Sabrina’s hardheaded refusal, her untrained abilities, or his attraction to her. With less than a week to Beltane, he must gain Sabrina’s trust before he loses his home, his position…and his heart.

 

BIO:
Siobhan Muir lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband, two daughters, and a vegetarian cat she swears is a shape-shifter, though he’s never shifted when she can see him. When not writing, she can be found looking down a microscope at fossil fox teeth, pursuing her other love, paleontology. An avid reader of science fiction/fantasy, her husband gave her a paranormal romance for Christmas one year, and she was hooked for good.

 

In previous lives, Siobhan has been an actor at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, a field geologist in the Aleutian Islands, and restored inter-planetary imagery at the USGS. She’s hiked to the top of Mount St. Helens and to the bottom of Meteor Crater.

 

Siobhan writes kick-ass adventure with hot sex for men and women to enjoy. She believes in happily ever after, redemption, and communication, all of which you will find in her paranormal romance stories.

 

Siobhan’s recent release, The Beltane Witch, is the second book in the Cloudburst Colorado series, and she has also published Not a Dragon’s Standard Virgin and Queen Bitch of the Callowwood Pack through Siren Publishing, and Her Devoted Vampire through Evernight Publishing. Her free read entitled A Hell Hound’s Fire introduces her Cloudburst, Colorado series.

Website: http://siobhanmuir.com

Blog: http://siobhanmuir.blogspot.com