Brenda Combs, Ex-Homeless Crack Addict, to Team With Former Reporter for Book

Brenda Combs is a former crack addict from Phoenix whose successful efforts at turning her life around will be featured in a planned book.

And that same book may help Slim Smith, (right), a disgraced local newspaper columnist and former alcoholic, turn his own life around.

Smith, who was fired from the East Valley Tribune two years ago while serving a four-month prison sentence for a DUI, wrote on his blog recently that he'd agreed to co-write the book with Combs.

The pair are hoping that Oprah Winfrey features the book this fall. Combs (left), the subject of a Today Show report two years ago, roamed the mean streets of Phoenix for years as a homeless addict until blistering her feet one summer day after someone stole her shoes. She went on to become a teacher, first at Starshine Academy and then at Grand Canyon University, where she's working on finishing up her PhD.

According to a Wikipedia entry about her, Combs is the "Ambassador of Inspiration and Achievement" at GCU. The site also states that her book, "In My Shoes," was supposed to have come out last year. Smith is apparently being brought in to finish the job. Smith writes that he's qualified because he also knows what it's like "to make a train wreck of your life."

Maybe they can refashion the rubble into a fully operable gravy train.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.