I’m a writer. I’ve written about a dozen non-fiction books, on topics like creative uses for Tarot cards, divination with the I-Ching, and lucid dreaming. I’ve also designed about a dozen Tarot decks published by Llewellyn and Lo Scarabeo. Oh — I’m the writer of about 300 corporate video scripts produced between 1990 and 2020. My whole life’s work revolves around creativity, simplifying complex information, and telling great stories.
I’m a strategic advisor. That’s a fancy way of saying that, when I worked for the Federal Reserve, I helped teams clarify their identity, rethink how they worked together, set adaptive goals, and get great work done. I love introducing small teams to new ways to meet, evaluate work, and work more effectively.
I spend a lot of time making notes. Two pieces of software have revolutionized the way I research, think, and write: Obsidian and Ulysses. I’m a well-known presence in online communities where people come together to discuss what we can achieve using these powerful tools. I have a special interest in helping writers and small teams discover them.
Fun Facts: A former minister who escaped evangelical fundamentalism. Loves science fiction (especially Kim Stanley Robinson, James S.A. Corey, Lu Cixin, and Haruki Murakami). World traveler. Would probably love to meet for coffee. Misses living in a big city. Could eat pizza every meal.
After escaping my home town of Anniston, Alabama, in a rainbow-hued balloon, I was kidnapped by post-modern minimalists at the prestigious Center for Writers (University of Southern Mississippi), where I earned an MA in creative writing. During that time, I designed and taught in the nation’s first computer-aided collaborative writing classroom, earned my first writer’s paycheck with a wince-worthy comic book script, and began coming to terms with the fact that, despite having been groomed as a fundamentalist minister, I was definitely gay.
Since then, I’ve authored more than a dozen non-fiction books on subjects from Apple Computers (101 Reasons to Switch to the Mac, from Que Books) to lucid dreaming (Lucid Dreaming for Beginners, for Llewellyn Publications). I’ve also designed and scripted more than a dozen Tarot decks for publishers in the US (Llewellyn) and Italy (Lo Scarabeo).
Back in 2000, I was the first NaNoWriMo novelist to draft a novel live, online while the world watched. MadeByMark.com (online since 2000, but relaunched as a personal blog for items related to spirituality, travel, and LGBTQ issues in 2022) and MarkMcElroy.com (my professional presence) remain a hub for a tech-savvy little tribe of smart, spiritual, literary, tech-savvy, LGBTQ-friendly folks.
Over the past three decades, to keep the lights on and feed my hungry babies, I worked for big organizations (SkyTel/WorldCom and the Federal Reserve Bank) writing more than 300 corporate video scripts designed to explain complex ideas (like “benefits cliffs” and “red lining”) to people who have the good sense to spend weekends in the park instead of attending conferences on quantitative easing.
I live a quiet and happy life with Clyde (my husband for thirty-one years) and our two rescue dogs, Sunny Day and Windy Day.
I’m no longer active on Twitter, but if you’d like to keep in touch, you can follow me at Mastodon: @firstname.lastname@example.org.Mastodon