The Illiterati: This Is What A Writer’s Group Does


Oh yeah. And we write, too!


Life, The Universe, and Everything

I went to an absolutely wonderful con this weekend. No, it wasn’t a conference. It was a symposium. And it was fantastic!


I loved every single conference and workshop that I attended. I attended a wonderful poetry panel that inspired me to pull up my garters and work on poetry again. I took an extremely inspiring class on plotting your book in an hour by the very enjoyable Robert J. Defendi.

I cornered the poor man and Dan Willis in order to get more insight. The end result? The Illiterati and I plotted the second book in the Bone Angel trilogy on the way home from the conference. I even have the very last sentence in the book. YES!


These are my peeps! The Illiterati.

I did an extremely enjoyable podcast with The Think Tank (I’ll link you when it comes out) and was lucky enough to see Charlie Pulsipher’s velociraptor impersonation. It. Is. IMPRESSIVE. Because I respect Charlie so much, I fisted my hands at my sides so I wouldn’t swing and knock the poor guy out. Go, us!

ImageOrson Scott Card taught a workshop that was limited to 50 people. The Illiterati and I were all able to squeeze in, and it was a mind-blowing 2 1/2 hours. We plotted an entire novel in that workshop. I learned things about structure that hadn’t made sense to me before, but now it did. And that night I had the first alien dream of my life.  Pretty awesome.

I had a great time. We practically lived out of the car, which we usually call Leeroy Jenkins, but is now Casa de Yukon. I spent more time sleeping in there than I can tell you. But it was nice!

I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend, my friends!


Come Meet the Illiterati Tomorrow!

The Illiterati

We’ll be speaking at the Las Vegas Writer’s Group tomorrow at 7:00 PM. The address is 5589 W Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas, NV, and there’s a five dollar charge to get in.  You can see all of the information here.


Then you get to eat dinner, if you want! Have drinks! Listen to us! We’ll be discussing critique groups and giving suggestions on how to start your own. We’ll be VERY SERIOUS AND PROFESSIONAL.  Or not.

The REAL Illiterati

Either way, it’ll be a really good time. Come and join us, if you can!

Stop 6: Interviewed by Jesus

Some of you know him as Jesus.  Or “that cool hippie dude”.  Because, thanks to Mason Bundschuh’s crazy beard, he now looks like this:


Mason “Jesus” B, billie the girl, and Ryan “I’m possessed by imps” Bridger. Oh yeah, and me.

When I met El Chupacabra, he looked more like this:


(HA, Mason! That’s for beating me at the Las Vegas Valley Book Festival Flash Fiction contest!)

Anyway, M is one of my favorite wombats ever. You hear me speak quite a bit about my writer’s group, The Illiterati.  Mason sat me down (as well as he could) and forced me to answer some questions.  Want to hear about the Titanic? Our fantastic dance-off?  (That’s in the previous interview that he links to on the page. It’s awesome.)  If you want to see a little (but not much) skin, stop on by!  The interview can be read here.


Also, I’ve been out of town because my one and only sibling got hitched to his beautiful bride. Congratulations, Riley and Corina! I love you guys!

Is This…Happiness?


Oh, my darlings. My dear ones.  I have been far busier than I have ever been. Last night I laid everything out for my writing group, whose eyes grew wider and wider and I continued without taking a breath.

“And I’m almost caught up on anthologies, but of course I still have the main novel and the book launch and volunteering for Killercon and I’m behind on putting my blog tour together but I have some signings scheduled and then there’s school and Niko’s bus takes him to THE WRONG SCHOOL and tomorrow are cardiologyappointmentsandthenwehaveimmunizations…”

Do you know what my group said?

“They shouted, ‘Mercedes, you’re nuts!'” you shriek with glee. And you would be right, if they were ordinary people.  But, ah, they are quite extraordinary.

They offered to watch my kidlets.  They offered to fill out paperwork if necessary.  They are wonderful, and if it weren’t for Mason, Ryan, and billie, I would be curled up in  little ball about now.  Thank you, my dear, dear friends!

So for a quick update:

Niko’s bus will finally start taking him to the correct school next week.  It’s been crazy trying to drop two children off at separate ends of the city when their schools start 10 minutes apart, but soon it will be manageable!  The cardiology appointment, which I was dreading, was a four hour ordeal, but both Niko and Lilia have good, stable hearts.  What a relief!

The book launch for Beautiful Sorrows will be a wonderful, low-key event  at Killercon.  Not only will I be doing a reading, but I’ll be meeting several friends (and the Shock Totem staff!) face-to-face for the first time. I’m delighted!

I hope you can come.  I also invite you, if you so desire, to help me spread the word about Beautiful Sorrows.  I can’t express how excited I am!  I love the cover.  I love the illustrations.  I love the stories, and the preface made me swoon.  Shock Totem Publications put such care into this book, and it shows.  If you can tell your friends, or surprise them with copies for Christmas, or possibly share pictures of the cover (below), or put the banner above as your Facebook cover (just click on them to bring them to full size)  I would be so pleased! So many trials and tears to get to this point, and now I look around and think, “I think that I am very, very happy.”




How To Make Peppermint Sparkle

Need a little sparkle in your life?  Something toasty and snuggly?  Fear not, my friend. In just a few minutes, you’ll have Peppermint Sparkle.

Step 1) We all have candy canes somewhere.  If not, zip down to the store and scoop them up from the clearance aisle.  Grind them up in your blender, and don’t forget to avoid breathing in delicious candy cane dust.  It’s like black lung, only more festive!

Step 2) Stir your peppermint dust into some delicious whipped cream.  Real cream that you whip yourself is absolutely divine.  However, I’m a realist. Look! Cheap whipped cream!  Generic and soulless!  But throw in some candy cane and then it becomes a dream.  Freeze it for a few minutes until it’s solid enough to hold its shape but not so frozen that you have to chip it out with a screwdriver.  Because screwdrivers in your food are just eeeeeeeewwwww.

Step 3) Fill your mug with hot chocolate and then add a generous dollop of Peppermint Sparkle. Your world is instantly better.  You are important! You are loved!

Step 4) Add a friend or three.  My fabulous writing group The Illiterati (Aka the Interdimensional Wombats) came over to write and drink Peppermint Sparkle.  Unfortunately, I only have one mug and it’s embarrassingly gigantic.  Unless we all wanted to get cozy and drink out of it with four glass straws (oh, how charming are we!) then they had to provide their own mugs.  There is nothing more Oliver Twist than somebody arriving at your front door holding a sheaf of papers and an empty mug.  It’s impossible not to look forlorn.

There you go! The super easy, super delicious recipe for Peppermint Sparkle. I hope that you enjoy it! If you try it, drop a line and let me know. 🙂