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.
- A Word If You Please – a Trilby Trench adventure
- Daredevil May Care
- Things Unseen
- Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate (now out of print)
A Word If You Please – a Trilby Trench adventure
A Word If You Please is an action series about a technical writer who seems to attract adventure. Her name is Trilby Trench.
In her own words:
I’m Trilby Trench.
As in the hat, the coat.
The role of a technical writer is more exciting than you’d think. Sometimes things get physical. Trilby has always been lucky in a fight. Or perhaps it’s skill rather than luck. As every technical writer knows, you need to do something yourself before you can write the manual. Trilby has written a variety of manuals.
Read the series online: A Word If You Please.
Daredevil May Care (fiction)
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)
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)
Note: This book is now out of print.
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
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.
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.