Red Stilettos

Update: From Pink Bows to Red Stilettos has earned an Honorable Mention in the Poetry Section in the Paris Book Festival.

that slow build-up of tension, of the anticipation of delight,
that eagerness on arriving home to see if today – today! – is the day…
and when, at last, you see that brown cardboard envelope
you feel all warm and excited, fingers itching to tear…
no, to tease it open, gently, revealing the delicate pink interior…
the physical sensation, the pleasure,
of pages riffling beneath your fingertips…

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Suzie, Vic, Paloma, and all heroines in stilettos

I love stilettos. Of course, being male – and far from slender – I never wear them, and would never insist that anyone should… In my novel, Suzie and the Monsters, Cleo asks Suzie what special powers do vampires have, and Suzie’s immediate response is, ‘You can wear six-inch heels all day every day without worrying about damage to your spine.’ (More about Suzie and stilettos here: Superficial Specificity: Lorenzi Heels and Illamasqua.)

There’s just something about them, dangerous and elegant. I remember, years and years ago, watching the VI Warshawski film with Kathleen Turner. There’s a scene in the film where she puts on a pair of red stilettos, as a way of boosting her sexual confidence. I think it was that scene, and perhaps the wise-cracking variations on the meaning of ‘VI’ (‘So, what’s the VI stand for?’ – ‘Very Inquisitive.’ – or something like that). So I was a little disappointed to discover that red stilettos and mischievous initials are not found in the books. What is found, however, is a tough, resourceful, passionate and very serious woman called Vic Warshawski. And the ‘I’ stands for Iphigenia, who I love.

Hmm… Where was I? Oh, stilettos. Red stilettos. Now, what does that remind me of? Ah, yes. The Olympic torch! Paloma Faith running in bright red platform stilettos – you go, girl!

I am in awe of anyone who can run in stilettos. I think it’s both fantastic and hilarious that there are stiletto races held all round the world. (Heel height must be at least three inches!)

Instant Gratification

I have, over the past year or so, grown very used to reading books on my iPhone and on my iPad, and buying from Amazon rather than bothering to hunt in the bookshops – I had been growing increasingly weary of shelves full of PNR series, and other series, and more series, and… sigh. I used to love spending an hour hunting for a book that matched the mood I was in, but when the Science Fiction and Fantasy shelves are suddenly dominated by maybe ten all-too-familiar names it’s very depressing.

(I have a real problem with series. If not written with caution, they evolve into soap opera. I hate when in detective series the friends and family of the main character(s) get mixed up in the plots. I don’t want that. I read detective novels for the detective plot; I don’t want soap opera.)

So I’ve been searching for self- or indie-published books to read. On the one hand it’s a minefield of badly-plotted, badly-edited self-indulgence (I’m getting so very sick of the concept of soul mates), but on the other hand it’s a goldmine of originality.

Much of it is free or very cheap. Why spend £7 in the shop when you can get stuff for less than £2? And Amazon is so quick. Point and click, download, ready to read – on multiple devices, too.

It feels rather perverse to pay £7 for a book – a real book – from Amazon, and then to have to wait for over two weeks to receive it. Which is where we came in…

Xia Devore's From Pink Bows to Red StilettosFrom Pink Bows to Red Stilettos

Xia Devore’s From Pink Bows to Red Stilettos, published March 2013, is a really quite extraordinary collection of poems. The language is explicit and erotic, pornographic and poetic,… There’s a line in the Preface that describes the character of the poet evoked by the poetry:

From Pink Bows to Red Stilettos proves that a woman’s sexual provocative nature is nothing to take lightly and that a sweet little girl can grow up to have a burning tigress nature.

Yes, these poems were written by a burning tigress:

Fuck!!! Damn!!! This shit is so good!!!
He pumps that wood
As no other could
I scream his name
Oh yes… I bet the neighbors know his name
I have no shame

And that’s tame. Xia’s poetry is raw and wild. (And beautiful – read Live Instrumentation and judge for yourself.) I can’t believe what I’m reading. I love it.

For the second time this year: ‘wow’.


Links,, goodreads, Xia Devore’s website

About Frank

A Sci-Fi & Fantasy author and lyrical poet with a mild obsession for vampires, succubi, goddesses and Supergirl.
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4 Responses to Red Stilettos

  1. I’ve got to agree with you about red stilettos. Yesterday, knowing it was going to be a stressful day, I decided to wear red heels to work to cheer myself up. I literally couldn’t go more than ten minutes without someone stopping me in the corridor or the kitchen or at my desk to say they loved my shoes. It’s amazing the way they draw people’s attention. But oh for that vampire superpower – I’m paying in aches today. And I definitely can’t run in them.
    incidentally, I’ve finally started reading Suzie. I’m about halfway through and really enjoying it so far – and all the descriptions of shoes, clothes and make-up are very entertaining. I was wondering where all the knowledge came from, so the post you linked back to was very interesting. Suzie’s love of Illamasqua particularly amused me as one of my best friends used to be a make-up artist for them, but I’ve barely heard the brand mentioned in any other context. (I think she’s going to do the make-up for my wedding – it had better not involve black lipstick!)

    • Frank says:

      I have a bright red shirt that I wear maybe once a year to cheer myself up. It doesn’t have quite the same sex appeal as stilettos, however.
      Illamasqua occasionally appears in Cosmo, which is where I originally came across the name, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it elsewhere.
      I’m happy you’re enjoying Suzie. I like writing female characters, but I have no personal experience of being female 🙂 so I’m never quite sure how it reads.
      Have you set a date yet?

      • 16th August 2014, so fixed, but still some way off. I’m very calm so far and hoping to avoid becoming one of those women who go crazy as their wedding approaches, but we’ll see.
        I’ve nearly finished reading now, and I’ll get a proper review up when I’m done.

  2. Pingback: On the publishing of poetry and prestige of prizes | Francis James Franklin (Alina Meridon)

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