About my books

This page is about the books I’ve written. I’m excited about them and proud of them, and I hope that you’ll enjoy them.

Daredevil May Care (fiction)

Daredevil May Care is a contemporary romance, a quick read full of character and passion and adventure. You can get it at Amazon.com (Kindle) and Smashwords (PDF, Kindle, EPUB and other formats).

daredevilmaycare_cover2-800pxWhat’s the book about?

Amy inherits an island from her eccentric great aunt. On her way to claim her inheritance, Amy meets Luke, a man who knew her great aunt well. Luke is a devil-may-care pilot, of the “here today gone tomorrow” sort. He has plans to develop a business on the island. Amy’s island. From first acquaintance, Luke and Amy strike sparks off each other. Sparks of anger, and something more…

Alone with Luke in a small seaplane, floating high amongst the clouds, Amy asks herself, “How would I behave in an emergency? Would I be of any use at all?” Little does she know that soon enough she’ll learn the answer to that question.

What I like about this book

It’s a quick read, at just over 45,000 words. Fast moving. Adventure and derring-do. Great location. Vibrant language.

The book is set in a beautiful, intriguing part of the world, with enough stories of its own to enthrall you: The Thousand Islands of the St Lawrence river. River rats, smugglers, a daredevil seaplane pilot – they all fit right in. What’s a girl to do but join ‘em?

Things Unseen (fiction)

Things Unseen is a psycho-romance, available in eBook format from Amazon.com (Kindle) and Smashwords (PDF, Kindle, EPUB and other formats).

Things UnseenWhat’s the book about?

Dirk and Elise meet in Cape Town in the mid 1980s. They fall in love. Things happen. Well, you’d expect that! But some of the happenings are tragic, scary, or just plain weird.

Dirk and Elise bump heads with lovable rascals and with more complicated people. Evil people, supernatural beings? That’s for you to find out.

What do I think of it?

I am delighted with this book, and proud of all it represents. A love story. African and European cultures meeting, competing, and merging to produce something new. The results of careful study of African culture, language and stories.

Is there a link between African witchdoctors and Carl Jung? Read the book to see what Dirk and Elise discover. In this, I am indebted to M. Vera Bührmann’s book, Living in Two Worlds, Communication between a white healer and her black counterparts.

Here’s a review by a less-than-unbiased bookworm, who nevertheless has interesting insights into the book: Inside the book – Things Unseen by Sarah Maddox.

I think you’ll enjoy Things Unseen. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate (technical)

This is a technical book with a touch of humour. It’s about developing documentation on a wiki. It’s also about technical communicators. And chocolate.

Title:  Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication

Online purchase:  Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

Publisher: XML Press

What’s in the book?

The book is primarily a guide to developing technical documentation on Confluence. But that’s not all. There are ideas and philosophies, tips and tricks, and special notes for technical writers about why a wiki is the tool we dream of. Many of the ideas apply to wikis in general, although the book focuses on Confluence because that’s the one I know best.

It’s a book for technical communicators, from someone who knows and loves them. It’s also for product owners, CEOs, developers and anyone else who is considering a wiki as a platform for technical communication.

The first part of the book introduces wikis and Confluence. Part 2 is an in-depth guide to developing technical documentation on Confluence. It starts with planning and design, moves on to developing content, through workflow all the way to release management. The more esoteric concepts are there too, such as content reuse, structure, style and online help. In part 3 we see what it’s like to work on a wiki. The book finishes with a section crammed with ideas. It’s all about making the most of the unique features that a wiki provides, to turn your documentation into technical communication extraordinaire.

Just in case you’re wondering: This isn’t an Atlassian project. It’s all my own, though of course Atlassian management and my closest colleagues know about it. It will be fun to see what other Atlassians have to say when they see the book. And when they see this post. ;)

By the end of the book you will know everything I’ve learned in four years of working on a wiki. Oh, and chocolate plays a part too.

Note: For the first 18 months after publication, a Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate wiki site was available for readers to experiment with. That site is no longer available. If you like, you can get a free evaluation licence from Atlassian, to experiment with Confluence.

Who is the girl on the cover?

I love the illustrations in the book, and especially the picture on the cover. They are the work of a talented artist named Ryan Maddox.

The girl on the cover is called Ganache. She is the hero of the book. She is a technical communicator extraordinaire. When you read the book, you will follow Ganache as she sets up a Confluence wiki and adds a technical documentation space. Learn from her expertise with the wiki editor and macros. Share her adventures in agile development and search engine optimisation. Grow wings, as Ganache does, and make your wiki documentation fly. Discover why Ganache says we need a “kiss my wiki” attitude.

The artist

Ryan Maddox is the talented artist who designed the covers for Things Unseen and Daredevil May Care. He also created the illustrations and cover design for Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate.

  1. Congrats, Sarah- this book looks awesome!

    • Thanks Arnold! It was a very interesting experience writing it. I learned a lot, both about the wiki and about the process of publishing a book. It was great working with the publishing team.
      Cheers, Sarah

  2. Congratulations on your book, Sarah.

    This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Confluence. Especially for anyone interested in an insider’s perspective on Confluence.

    An idea – a “dog-food challenge” – for the next edition: produce a publication-quality PDF – the final camera-ready copy (CRC) – directly from Confluence.

    I understand that XML Press might have its own technical reasons for wanting to push content exported from Confluence through its own formatting tool chain. Although I think it would be preferable if Confluence could directly produce output that is acceptable to XML Press as CRC, I think it would still be a useful exercise to produce an equivalent-quality PDF of the book directly from Confluence in a single click or a single command/API call.

    • Hallo Graham

      Thanks!

      I’m not an expert on the Confluence PDF export, alas. I’d like to put more time into it. I know that it’s not as easy to configure the output as it should be, and that the customisation opportunities are limited. There’s a plugin by K15t Software that makes more options available:

      https://marketplace.atlassian.com/plugins/com.k15t.scroll.scroll-pdf

      For the production of the book, we needed to go to DocBook first, so that we could include things like the index and footnotes. The DocBook export plugin provides macros that you can use to embed index entries and footnotes into the content of the page. When you generate the DocBook output, it converts the macros to DocBook index entries. This means that you can move the content around, and reformat it at will, without worrying about the page numbers for the index. You can also decide at printing time whether you want your footnotes at the bottom of the page, end of the chapter or end of the book.

      I agree it would be good to dogfood the Confluence PDF export for producing camera-ready copy, assuming you don’t need the index entries and such-like. Maybe next time. :)

      Cheers
      Sarah

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