Cue David Bowie’s Fame

I returned from two days in Chaco (that’s another story) to find myself on the cover of the Albuquerque Journal’s Business Outlook. Cool! I knew Andrew Webb’s article was coming, but I never expected the big color photos by Greg Sorber (taken during an Advanced HTML class).

article by Andrew Webb; photos by Greg Sorber; published by abqjournalI am thrilled and honored, as one should be to see one’s name in the same sentence as wit sans nit. I’m humbled to be identified as a photographer, poet and prolific blogger — even if that is just a quote of mine. (For what it’s worth, it is much easier to be a photographer than a poet, and blogging is easier still. However, they all pay the same.)

I enjoyed my lively conversation with Andrew and I appreciate the generous article he has written well. Though I strive to be profoundly memorable and he took notes, I don’t expect any two people to recall a conversation exactly the same way. I’ve had students say to me the exact opposite of what I thought I just said — communication is a sloppy process, even between professional communicators like Andrew and me. Nothing that follows should be construed as criticism of Andrew’s article. Consider this compulsive tidying-up.

Originally, I was to be THE technical editor of the book, not one of several. The original author didn’t exactly back out — he failed to deliver on schedule. (I do not mean to rub his face in that.)

Although I had about five days to think about taking the job, that period was a bit more interesting. As TE, I wrote the DE (Development Editor) to inquire when I would begin to receive chapters. He told me there was a problem and if the author missed a critical deadline, Wiley would offer the book to “… wait for it — you” (quoting him quoting Barney). The five days — miserable days of doubt — were between that teaser and the actual offer. It was during that time I passed through the stages of grief/death, from elation to certainty that they had found someone else. When the EE (Executive Editor), Chris Webb (no relation to Andrew Webb), offered me the job, I waited overnight to accept. (My friend, Leah Kier, at UNM Continuing Education, once observed that when asked to do the extraordinary, I always say no and then come around to yes.)

Now, it is absolutely accurate that I wrote the first draft in barely 8 weeks — I inherited the original author’s deadline and none of his lead-time. Those were demanding, exhilarating days. In early October, 2006, I delivered the last chapter. Almost immediately, I began to receive edited chapters in return. The DE, John Sleeva, did a great job of coaxing more out of me. In fact, over the next month, I added 50% more material, including one or two new chapters. And that wasn’t the end (though I wish it had been, in some sense). Next came the PE, CE and proofreader — all striving to make this a better book.

I finished the last round of review on New Year’s Eve. Merri and I walked out the door on Valentine’s Day to find two cases of books waiting on the porch. At last, it was real.

At the moment, the book ranks #12,732 #9,885 on Amazon Books (rank has to be below 2,000 to penetrate the Best Selling Computer Books). Still no review. mjh

PS: If you want more, I blogged during the process. See the first entry (http://www.edgewiseblog.com/mjh/book/the-book/) and follow links to “next in this category” at the bottom of each entry. There are 14 other entries. Or see http://www.edgewiseblog.com/mjh/category/book/ for the same material organized newest to oldest, as is the blog-way. That’s not the best way to tell a story.

PPS: I’m wearing Marj Mullany. That’s to say, she created my beautiful tie, which Merri bought as a gift for me. The tie-clip was a gift from a stranger, but that, too, is another story.

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