It was a crazy corporate policy. Maybe I should have just left it, but when you get a chance to write. . .No, when you get a chance to be published, it’s hard to turn that down.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since very early in my career. I’m not really sure what drives it. I think partly it’s the idea of teaching. I love to teach. And, I like to talk. So, that’s probably part of it. And of course, there’s the prestige of seeing a book in print with your name on it. I didn’t understand it when I wrote my first book, but there is also a level of prestige associated with being a published author.
So, when I had the chance to write for WordPerfect 6.0 Superbook, I jumped at it. After all, I was working for WordPerfect at the time. And that was part of the problem. WordPerfect had a policy that employees were not allowed to write books. I never really got a good answer to why they created this rule. I think it had something to do with the idea that employees had access to information that outside writers didn’t. There was the idea that it was somehow an unfair advantage if you were an employee. Of course, that’s the point. Not the unfair advantage, but books written by people close to the source are highly sought after.
In the days before the Internet, computer books were a necessary expense for anyone wanting to really learn a product. You would think that software companies would be able to write documentation well enough that 3rd party books weren’t necessary. It didn’t happen.
So, I got invited to write some chapters for Sams Publishing. I took it. The book was a collaboration from about 12 of us. I knew that if I put Rodney Bliss as the author, it would negatively affect my job. So, I came up with Milan Keeney. The first name has an American pronunciation, like “my LAN” even though it’s the name of a city in Italy pronounced “me lawn.” How do I know? Because it’s me. The “M” in Rodney M Bliss stands for Milan.
Keeney is also me. It’s the name I was born with, Rodney Milan Keeney. When I was fourteen years old, I was adopted by my step-father, Lloyd V Bliss. So, when people tell me that they like the name “Bliss” I can truthfully tell them that I picked it out myself.
If I had to create a pseudonym, I felt better using one that was actually my own name. A huge part of that, of course, is because like every writer, at least part of my motivation was the idea of my mother seeing my name in print.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.
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