“Bite Me (Or Don’t)”, Bitch Magazine (this article has been republished in multiple anthologies, including The Best Sex Writing, 2010)
Twilight has created a new YA genre: abstinence porn, and it teaches girls that sexual purity is her most desirable quality.
“Paranormal Boyfriends, Purity Myths, and Practical Virgins: The Literature of Losing It”, Bitch Magazine, (click here for .pdf)
Being abstinent in YA books is not empowering for female characters; instead, it’s a consequence of decisions enforced by their male counterparts.
“Distraction Is Keeping You From Writing Well,” The Writing Cooperative, 1/17/20.
Let’s try a quick experiment: Juggle plates while reading a novel while doing jumping jacks. I’ll wait. Can you do it? Probably not. In fact, you probably didn’t even try. It’s just as likely that you also can’t work on a thorny problem, answer email, text your sister, and check Twitter for updates. But you probably do that on a daily basis.
“Distraction Is Changing Our Perception of Reality,” The Startup, 12/18/19.
Here’s the bad news: The battle for our attention is over. We lost. The attention economy won. We are no match for technologies that have been designed to keep us in a constant state of endless distraction.
“Do Less: Anti-Productivity Is the New Productivity,” The Ascent, 12/3/19.
We’re at the end of the hyper-productivity era, and it’s not a moment too soon.
“Four Reasons Why Your Family Should Avoid Bedroom Media,” Your Teen Magazine, 11/20/19.
For years, 13-year-old Sasha and 14-year-old Roman have brought their iPads to bed to watch Netflix or YouTube before falling asleep. It’s not uncommon for one or both siblings to wake up the next morning with a tablet under their arm, headphones still attached from ear to device like an electronic umbilical cord.
“What’s Keeping You from Writing: It Might Be Digital Distractions,” The Writing Cooperative, 11/15/19.
The secret to writing success is to write.
“The Ultimate Exercise for Your Brain: Five Reason to Read Fiction,” The Startup, 11/15/19.
As a lifelong reader who devotes a fair amount of time to books, I get asked a lot about how I manage to find time to read as much as I do. The answer is really quite simple: I make time for reading because it’s a priority.
“Utah Makes it Easier for Ex-Offenders to Clear Their Criminal Records,” Bitterroot Magazine, 11/15/19.
Utah is at the forefront among Western states when it comes to expunging people’s criminal records.
“Writers: It’s Okay for People to Hate Your Work,” The Startup, 11/14/19.
If you publish, someone out there hates you, guaranteed.
“My Hair Taught Me to Stop Looking at Myself Through Other People’s Eyes,” P.S. I Love You, 11/11/19
I’ve always had bad hair. It’s fine and wispy. It’s like baby’s hair, if the baby spent five minutes rubbing a balloon on her head.
“We Aren’t Too Partisan to Spot Fake News; We’re Too Lazy,” ArcDigital, 11/10/19
As a society, we are getting worse at distinguishing facts from lies, especially where it comes to politics. And cognitive science research shows us that partisan bias—the standard villain in this story—isn’t really why.
“Toxic Culture Will Kill a Startup: Three Ways to Call Out and Address Incivilities,” The Startup, 11/5/19
Toxic culture proliferates when we fail to address it swiftly and firmly. But what about when we simply don’t recognize what toxic culture is? Startups are poised to define and identify toxicity early and before it becomes pervasive.
“Four Strategies for Finding Freelance Article Topics,” The Writing Cooperative, 10/2/19.
One of the biggest challenges for freelance magazine writers is finding interesting stories.
“Pitchtober: Six Tips for Publishing a Freelance Story a Day for a Month,” The Writing Cooperative, 10/21/19
Successful freelance writers know that it’s all about the pitch. The more you pitch, the better you get at it.
“Incest-Heavy Book ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Will Now Be a Lifetime Movie”, Bitch Magazine (blog)
“Indecent Proposal: The Modesty Survey,” Geez Magazine
“Let’s Get It In: Decoding Jersey Shore’s Sex Slang” , Bitch Magazine, (click here for .pdf)
“The Coaching Transformation”, Inside Higher Ed, (with Richard Chapman)
“Five Tips for Ensuring Your Social Media Content Reaches Your Audience,” Writer’s Weekly.
The following list includes titles of custom content I’ve written for clients (and sold for full rights). If you’d like to see examples, I’d be happy to share privately.
- “Networking for People Who Don’t Like Networking”
- “Reduce Stress and Increase Your Mental Well-Being in Just One Hour a Day”
- “How to Make Summer Reading Fun for the Whole Family”
- “How to Accept Criticism: Three Ways to Turn Critical Feedback into Opportunities for Self-Improvement”
- “Capture and Maintain Audience Attention: Four Steps to Improve Your Market Research in an Attention Economy”
- “Toxic Work Relationships: Four Indicators You Might Be Missing”
- “Tech Trends for 2020”
- “Strategies Versus Tactics”
The Triangle Factory Girls: A Kaleidoscopic Account (Zest, 2017)
The twentieth century ushered in a new world filled with a dazzling array of consumer goods. For the first time in American history, fashion could be mass produced. Even the poorest immigrant girls could afford a blouse or two. But these same immigrant teens toiled away in factories in appalling working conditions. Their hard work and sacrifice lined the pockets of greedy factory owners who were almost exclusively white men. The tragic Triangle Waist Factory fire in 1911 resulted in the deaths of over a hundred young people, mostly immigrant girls, who were locked in the factory.
That fire signaled a turning point in American history. This book looks at the events leading up to the fire, including a close look at how fashion and the desire for consumer goods – driven in part by the excess of the Gilded Age – created an unsustainable culture of greed. Told from the perspective of six young women who lived the story, this book reminds us why what we buy and how we vote really matter.
Whoppers: History’s Most Outrageous Lies and Liars (Zest, 2015)
History of full of liars. Not just little-white-telling liars, but big-honkin’, whopper-telling liars – people who can convince us that even the most improbable, outrageous, nonsensical stories are true. And the worst part is that we believe them. Whoppers tells the story of history’s greatest liars and the lies they told, providing a mix of narrative profiles of super-famous liars, lies, and/or hoaxes, as well as more obscure episodes.
The Predicteds (Sourcebooks, 2011)
“We wanted to know what makes a good kid good and a bad kid bad. Can you blame us for that? We found an astoundingly, marvelously simple answer: The brain isn’t so much a complicated machine as it is a crystal ball. If you look into it, you will see everything you want to know.” -Dr. Mark Miliken, senior researcher at Utopia Laboratories
Who will it be?
Will the head cheerleader get pregnant?
Is the student council president a secret drug addict?
The whole school is freaking out about PROFILE, an experimental program that can predict students’ future behavior.
The only question Daphne wants answered is whether Jesse will ask her out…but he’s a Predicted, and there’s something about his future he’s not telling her.
The Predicteds has been published in three languages.
And sometimes I write books for teachers, librarians, and academics.
Virginity in Young Adult Literature After Twilight (Scarecrow, 2015)
Around 2005 something surprising happened in young adult literature: YA books became obsessed with presenting characters who wanted to have sex but couldn’t—at least not without losing something vital to their identity. Since the publication of Twilight, the YA market has been flooded with books that feature naive virgins finding true love. While some YA novels do present nuanced depictions of sex and of healthy sexual relationships, the fiction most popular with young adult readers presents adolescent girls as virginal sex objects waiting to be fulfilled by their love interests.
In Virginity in Young Adult Literature after Twilight, Christine Seifert looks at an alarming trend in YA novels. Labeling this phenomenon “abstinence porn,” Seifert argues that these novels that fetishize virginity are harmful to readers. Like pornography, such works reduce female characters to objects whose sexual acts are the sole expression of their identities. Chapters in this book examine paranormal, dystopian, and contemporary romance, paying particular attention to recurring virginity themes or tropes. The book also provides an antidote by showing how some sex-positive teen novels provide more empowering messages to readers.
Organized by genre, the books were selected for this study based on their popularity with teens. Exploring how messages about virginity are sustained and repeated from text to text, this book also calls out key reader reactions to demonstrate how they are responding to these messages. Featuring a list of discussion questions, Virginity in Young Adult Literature after Twilight will be a valuable resource for teachers, librarians, parents, and mature young adult readers.