Short Story on Voting in 1925

I am teaching an online Race and Ethnicity course, and I asked my students to do the following:
Do some research into the history of legalized segregation in the U.S. (Here’s one story that discusses DuBois’ failed attempt in 1905 to stay in a Whites-only hotel while he was – wait for it – forming what would become the NAACP.)

Write a few sentences in the first person as an African American in 1920 or so who lives a racially segregated life. Be realistic.
Certainly because I am a benevolent teacher and not because I simply love writing short stories and making students read them (ahem), I penned a rather lengthy example for them. Because it contained some interesting information about voting rights for Black Americans in the 1920s, I decided to share it with you all. You're welcome. 
Oh and yes, I know it's problematic for a White woman to put voice to Black experiences, but in my defense, I am making this assignment first-person to get my (mostly-White) students to relate to hist…

Feminizing the Sheroes

I’ve written a bunch in the past about alpha males and how I, well, don’t quite gel with them. I mean, they’re great and all. Some of my best friends are alpha males.* But, as I might have made clear in other posts, I’m not a big fan of what sociologist R.W. Connell calls hegemonic masculinity, or the pinnacle of all things manly. As a sociologist who studies social inequalities, I just… can’t.
Contrarily, because I am nothing if not contrary, I maintain a fondness for pretty traditionally feminine women characters. I like femininity, or at least the femininity that I, a White, middle class woman, have access to. As I discussed in a recent conference presentation, I understand my brand of femininity is rooted in Whiteness, in middle classness, and in opposition to non-straight, non-cisgender, and fat and larger persons. So, yeah, the history of femme-y women shouldn’t remain unchallenged. But it’s the air I’ve breathed, the water I’ve drunk, the vocabulary I’ve wielded to express myse…

For two days, Hunted Dreams is FREE!

Picture this: You, lemonade, a lawn chair on the porch. The only thing missing? A good book. Luckily for you, I have the solution to your tragic booklessness. 

For the next two days -- June 11 and 12 -- Hunted Dreams is FREEEEEEEE!
Yep, you read it right. Free, as in no charge. Free, as in "Yay! The best book of all time can be mine with only two clicks!". Free and clear as a politician's conscience, my friends.

That said, should you consume all this literally-priceless yumminess and decide you'd like to share your opinions on it, I would be eternally grateful if you'd write an Amazon and/or Goodreads review. Regardless, though, the book is free for two whole days.

Come 'n get it here!

The Allure of Vamps

Why do we love vampires so much? I’m not gonna lie: I adore them with an undead passion. With few exceptions, these fictional masters of the night embody, literally and symbolically, the epitome of coolness: super strong, super sexy, super rich, super sophisticated, super color coordinated. But with the hand of authorly godliness, I can make anyone all those things. What is it about vampires in particular that fascinates and rivets us?
Obviously, we love the idea that these creatures live forever. I mean, not to be a bummer, but at best, we puny mortals can expect to stick around a max of 100 or so years. This is but an eyeblink in an undead’s life! To folks, especially in Western, youth-worshipping, death-denying cultures, this can seem pretty sexy. And unlike zombies or ghosts, vampires remain not only corporeal but forever young. Heck, not only are they young, but they’re beautiful. This is never more apparent when Bella becomes a vampire in the Twilight Series. She not only remains…

Elle's Proposed Book Rating System

In spite of my rather severe case of nerdiness, I have neither read nor watched Game of Thrones. Shocking, right? I refuse to do so because, before I could embark on the series, several friends told me beloved characters die in droves. Die. In. Droves.
Nope. Nopity nope nopers.
I refuse to consume media in which main characters die. I hate stories that don’t have some kind of happily-ever-after. I eschew media that allow any kind of harm to befall an animal. I also try to avoid any media, from movies to music to novels, that include any of my deal breakers: rape, harming an animal, rampant and unchallenged -isms, and really, really bad writing.
On the topics of books, you wouldn’t think it’d be difficult to find some that don’t kill main characters or end poorly, that don’t include graphic or gratuitous rape scenes and animal abuse, and that aren’t horribly racist or sexist. You’d think.
Let me give you a brief example. I just stopped reading book three of a long, enormously well-revie…

Making Peace with Our Bodies

I am an officer in my local National Organization for Women (NOW) chapter. We just pulled off a Love Your Body Celebration, which went swimmingly. Heck, I even vended my literary wares, since representing body diversity in my novels is so important to me.  

But anyway, I had the privilege of starting off the festivities and wanted to share my speech with my faithful readers. May you also find peace and comfort in your body.

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to our first annual Love Your Body Celebration. We’re here to honor, recognize, and celebrate bodies of all ages, races, sizes, sexualities, genders, abilities, religions, and so on. All bodies are good bodies.I wanted to address the idea inherent in the name: Love Your Body. That’s not something that’s easy to do, particularly if you live in a body that we devalue and marginalize in our culture. Sometimes it’s difficult to like your body, let alone love it. I hope today offers all of us an opportunity to learn more about and per…

Body Love Word Blank

I made this for the South Dakota National Organization for Women's Love Your Body Day Celebration. Enjoy, all!

AdjectiveYearAdjective - Ends in ERNounPart of BodyColorPart of BodyAdjectiveNounAdjectiveAdjectiveNounVerb - Base FormVerb - Past TenseVerb - Base FormNounAdjective