Category Archives: book

Things Unseen – introducing my new novel

Things Unseen - introducing my new novelI’ve published a novel! It’s called Things Unseen, a psycho-romance, available in eBook format from Amazon.com (Kindle) and Smashwords (Kindle, EPUB and other formats).

Yes, I’ve joined the ranks of technical writers who write fiction, following in the footsteps of the indefatigable Dave Gash and the irrepressible Patty Blount. (And more, I’d guess.)

What’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.

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

The artist

Ryan Maddox designed the cover for Things Unseen. He’s the talented artist who created the illustrations for my technical book, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate, a wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication.

I’d love to know what you think

If you read Things Unseen I’d love to know what you think of it. If you can add a review on Amazon.com, that would be awesome. Or add a comment on this blog post. This is exciting and just a bit scary!

Here are the links again:

The Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate wiki has moved to a shiny new site

The Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate wiki is a companion to my book about technical communication, technical writers, wikis and chocolate. This week we moved the site to a shiny new Confluence OnDemand server. Please take a look, sign up if you like, and also please consider changing any external links you may have pointing to content on the site.

The new address of the Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate wiki is: https://wikitechcomm.atlassian.net/

The old address was: https://wikitechcomm.onconfluence.com/

What does the move to Confluence OnDemand mean?

Confluence, Tech Comm, ChocolateConfluence OnDemand is Atlassian’s new hosted platform. Our site will now automatically get the latest and up-to-datest version of Confluence. It’s currently running an early version of Confluence 5.0! So we’ll be able to play with the latest Confluence features before anyone else. If you’re interested, keep a watch on the frequently-updated Atlassian OnDemand release summary.

My seat-of-the-pants feeling is that the new site is significantly faster than the old one. :)

The hosted platform restricts certain functionality, primarily add-ons and customisations of the wiki. I won’t be able to install add-ons or plugins that are not pre-approved by Atlassian. This won’t have a big effect on people using the site. We no longer have the awesome add-ons from K15t Software for creation of ePub and DocBook exports. The Copy Space plugin isn’t there either. Gliffy, for drawing diagrams, is available in Confluence OnDemand, along with the add-ons listed here: Atlassian OnDemand Plugin Policy.

Existing content, redirects, and external links pointing to the site

This bit is for the 77 people already using the wiki. :) All your pages, blog posts, comments and other pieces of information are safely on the new site. Please let me know if you spot anything amiss.

Atlassian has put redirects in place. If you try to go to the old address, you should automatically end up on the new site. The old site will be decommissioned in a few weeks’ time. There’s no scheduled date for the shutting down of the redirect service, but it’s probably a good idea to update any external links you may have, to point to the new site.

The book

The book is called Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication. It’s about developing documentation on a wiki. It’s also about technical communicators. And chocolate.

Do come and join the fun at the book’s wiki site: Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate wiki.

My book now available in eBook format

Great news! My book is now available in EPUB, Kindle and NOOK formats. The book is called, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication. It’s about developing technical documentation on a wiki. It has bits about social media, agile environments, search engine optimisation, and more.

The book is available at:

Here are some screenshots of the book on an iPad. Click an image to see the pictures as a slide show.

Help write a Twitter guide for technical communicators

Would you like to help write a guide to using Twitter, especially for technical writers? At the same time, you can try out Confluence wiki and learn from other tech comm Twitter experts.

An interesting fact: The top post on this blog is a technical guide to prepopulating tweets and embedding tweets in a document. (Here’s the post.) It has received more than 13 thousand visits to date. The next most popular post, about writing REST API documentation, has received 11 thousand visits and has been around for two years longer than the Twitter post.

People really want to know about this stuff. We can use Twitter in our documentation, in our careers, and in communication with our peers. How great would it be if we had a technical communicator’s guide to Twitter, written and regularly updated by us!

That idea came to me while I was writing my book, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication. Then I took the idea a step further and made the writing of the guide a project that Ganache, the hero of the book, was tackling. Ganache wrote part of the guide. The screenshots are in the book. She also wrote some stubs for pages that she thought would be useful in the guide.

Now it’s up to us to complete the guide, and to keep it up to date.

How to contribute to the Twitter guide for technical communicators

Go to the wiki, at https://wikitechcomm.onconfluence.com/display/CHAT/About+this+site, and follow the instructions to get a username. It’s free, and you can choose any username that hasn’t yet been taken. You will need to give an email address, but the email address won’t be shown to other users (unless you make your username the same as your email address).

Read the Twitter guide, and fill in the missing details. All contributions welcome. You can edit the existing pages or add new ones. Other people will probably edit your pages too. It’s a wiki, and all logged-in users have permission to update the pages. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons copyright, as specified in the footer of each page.

Who else is on the wiki?

Your name will appear along with the others who are already there. I’m there, and so is Ganache.  :)

Wiki-Wiki Shuttle

I’ve just spent a couple of days on the island of Oahu, in Hawaii, on my way to and from the STC Summit 2012. I couldn’t resist taking this snap:

Book reviews for “Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate”

A number of people have written reviews of my book, Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate: A wiki as platform extraordinaire for technical communication. The reviews are thoughtful, quirky, in-depth, and creative. I love the variety of styles. Here’s a roundup, for those who’d like to know more about the book or simply to see what people are saying about it.

The latest is a review with a difference. It’s by Randall Ward of Appfire Technologies. He has called it a “book review and wine/chocolate pairing guide“. If you’re the slightest bit interested in wine, chocolate, or wikis, you’ve got to read Randall’s post.  ;)

All reviews to date:

More reviews will probably appear after the date of this post, as people start receiving their copies of the book. To see the latest reviews, drop in on this wiki page: Book reviews and blog posts and webinars and more.

Thanks so much to everyone who has spent the time and energy writing up a review!

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