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Capabilities, talents, and strengths

Give. Share. Be generous.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I can hear my dear mother and her always wise advice to give, share, and be generous. To honor her memory, I have two gifts for you.

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud is a light, whimsical book of flash, slices-of-life stories intended to entertain and inspire. When read aloud, the critters’ sweet talk can enchant even the youngest of listeners.

In A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way, you’ll discover ways to take a little of this and that, make a mishmash, cook, bake, eat, kibbitz, and enjoy. Along with the recipes, you’ll find recollections of cooks and kitchens that continue to sustain.

Download Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud here.

Download A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way here.

The freebies are available on May 7, 8, and 9. I hope you enjoy them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all.

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We spiffed up our website with words wrapped in graphics

Challenge

At Shenouda Associates Inc., we even edit ourselves… continually! To keep pace with evolving technology and taste, our website needed some updates: optimization for the small screens of mobile devices as well as the large screens of computers, with less need to zoom in on or scroll through dense text, and with more visual appeal.

Solution

Several associates had used the application Flare by MadCap Software and considered it an easy choice—the right choice. Its well-designed interface eliminated or minimized the need to know any of the standard languages used in website development. It included several easily modifiable templates and all the tools needed to create a modern, easy-to-use, visually pleasing website, including:

Responsive layouts that can be viewed and navigated with ease on any device

Expandable text that gives the reader the choice of what to read and when

Graphic components—on the Home page and on the Our Work page

On the Home page, we freshened the look by replacing text boxes with panels that introduce, both in words and graphics, the content on the website.

On the Our Work page, we added Read More

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Words of Gratitude from Froggy and His Critter Friends

What fun I had doing this recording of sweet-talking stories from my book, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud for the Writers & Books Literary Partners Reading Series.

You’ll find that Froggy and his critter friends mix and mingle, and work and play. They live with energy, with purpose, and with gratitude. They might just give you a few good ideas for living well in your world of plenty.

For more stories and more ideas for living well, visit Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, available as an ebook or paperback.

 

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A big thank-you to the very talented gardeners at my business, Shenouda Associates Inc., where we write all kinds of business and technical publications, including infographics like this.

Writing is like growing a garden. As we nurture the seedlings of ideas, the results we deliver are the product of a careful, methodical writing process that starts with understanding our readers’ needs and planning how to meet them.

At the start, we take a close look at the environment. We analyze the existing materials and start to picture the finished product. As the scope of work comes into focus, we map out how to move from the existing materials to the finished product. We consider how best to organize and format the deliverables. We assemble tools and break ground by creating a framework with outlines and templates. We sink our hands into the dirt, gather input from subject matter experts, and do our homework to understand the subject matter.

We place content into the right location and shape it into paragraphs, lists, tables, and other text elements. By leaving out whatever is not needed, we streamline ideas, showcasing the most important content and nurturing it to maturity.

We make sure that our creation matches our plans and feels like a balanced, unified whole. We check that the work is accurate and complete, minimizing distraction from jarring details.

As we walk through our garden, we confirm that it is easy to navigate. At harvest time, we publish our work, providing readers a bounty of new food for thought. Mature, published documents continue to grow and change with the seasons. We review and revise. We weed out what is no longer needed. We provide ongoing maintenance.

With the proper care, we allow our garden to grow.

Of course, we can do the same to support your writing needs.

For more information, visit Shenouda Associates Inc.

JudyS

Joyful Judy!

Owning a technical writing business for 30 plus years has been a true joy. While researching, writing, and publishing all sorts of publications for clients, I have enhanced my own authoring and publishing skills, which now include creating my own books, all of which are labors of love. Recently, I updated my Amazon author page. Very recently, I converted my newest book, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud into an ebook.

My next steps include:

I hope you will take a look and have a joyous moment.

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Achilles’ heel: A weak or vulnerable factor. From the legend of Greek hero Achilles, who had one vulnerable part of his body, his heel. As an infant, his mother had held him by one heel to dip him in the River Styx to make him invulnerable.

Wordsmith: A word expert who uses language very well

Wordsmith with an Achilles’ heel: Someone who has to check yet again if well or good is the correct word to use in the previous definition

Take a look at what Shenouda employee Donna Muldoon learned from a recent informal and unscientific study of colleagues and their Achilles’ heels.

The rules, they are a changing

In the survey, colleagues noted that once-standard rules have changed, making it necessary to research and confirm they are using the most recent format. For example, some businesses are still unaware that double spaces after a period or full stop are no longer the standard. A change that is more jarring for those who focus on grammar is the more recent revision to the singular subject and plural verb agreement format. It is now common to see variations of “Each owner should have their own copy of the lease.” Through use, and supported by guides such as the APA Style Blog, the new format is becoming acceptable.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Even wordsmiths who adeptly manage sentence structure sometimes hesitate when it comes to basic English grammar issues. Writers in the survey gave examples that cause them to rethink what they wrote. Is it that or which? Alternative or alternate? Since or because? On site or on-site or onsite? More than one writer found it necessary to look up when compound adjectives or prefixes take a hyphen. Some writers keep their own customized reference sheet to solve nagging, recurring wordsmithing questions.

While good spelling is common among writers and editors, specific words were an Achilles’ heel nevertheless. Condolences tripped up one writer, license another. An editor who often reviewed documents in both American and British English, would begin to lose focus on which version of fulfill/fulfil, practice/practise, aging/ageing, or program/programme to use. There was also a tendency among writers to watch for repetitive use of certain words, such as so or but. A technical writer who wrote with a controlled language that specified words could only be used in their approved category of noun, verb, or adjective found difficulty writing more creative, less restrictive marketing content. Read More

A long-time member of the Shenouda Associates Inc. team, Donna Muldoon shares her entry into the technical writing business. Reluctant or not, her writing skills are strong and solid, and her editing skills are impeccable.  — Judy Shenouda

Donna-Judy

Donna, the reluctant writer, with Judy, the boss!

I am a reluctant writer.

From my first aptitude test in junior high to my last career counseling tests as an adult, I was told that I should be a writer. Even Mrs. C, my high school English teacher with the feared red pen, commented that I should be a journalist. But I always disliked writing. It was painful, a dreaded chore, whether it was a simple thank you note or a speech to be presented. Sometimes the words came easily, but other times, they wouldn’t come out of my pen no matter how soon that assignment was due.

But here I am—after 22 years as a technical writer—still reluctant to do any real writing. I’m defining real writing here as creative writing—the opposite of technical writing. For me, creative writing requires thought, imagination, attention-grabbing sentences, interesting characters, and maybe some human emotion. None of that is in my wheelhouse.

So, when a career counselor suggested that I consider technical writing, I needed more explanation as to what that entailed. The counselor set up a meeting with someone in the field, with the warning that this was not a job interview. With a business writing sample in hand and absolute certainty that no amount of information would convince me that writing was for me, I went to the meeting. The expert in the field turned out to be Judy Shenouda! Over the course of two hours, Judy explained the concepts of technical writing and showed me some examples. The sight of 200-page finished publications did not fill me with waves of excitement, anticipation, or confidence! But Judy made me an offer that very few people ever receive: I could try out working on a technical writing assignment for a month to see if I liked it. If Judy was willing to take a risk, there was nothing for me to lose.

The first 10 years, the next 10 years, and still counting

I tried out that job for 10 years, becoming the sole writer for one complex product that encompassed over 50 manuals, totaling more than 2,000 pages. In addition to becoming familiar with the product, I learned how to write using a controlled language, how to publish on FrameMaker, and how to build periodic CDs for the distribution of the manuals.

Skip ahead to now. Read More

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With second editions of my three books now published, I’m launching them! Ready or not, world, here they are. Happily, there are some occasions to introduce them.

What’s happening?

October 6, 2018, Irondequoit Library’s Local Author Day, 1 to 4 p.m. Along with other authors, I′ll be there discussing, selling, and signing my books. If you’re in the area, please stop by. For more information, click here.

October 7, 2018, Hosted by The Shift to Wellness, 5 to 6 p.m. EDT. Kirstin Kurtz Pinit interviews me during this online discussion and reading of Living Well in Froggy′s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud. If you missed the discussion, take a look here.

December 2, 2018, at the Irondequoit Public Library, 1290 Titus Ave, Rochester, NY, Room 113. Author meet and greet at 1:30 p.m., author reading and talk at 2:00 p.m., and book sale and signing at 2:30 p.m.

I’m ready, willing, and able to participate in events and tell the story of these books, including why I wrote them, who influenced me, and how they came to life. I’m eager to share bits of wisdom learned about living well that, in one way or another, found their way into my books. My intention is to inspire you and others to live with abundance.

How can you help?

Take a look inside these new 2018 second editions:

Career Success in 12 Easy Steps, A Journal

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud

A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way

If you like what you see, write an Amazon review, ask me to be a guest blogger, and invite me to participate in your events. Tell me where I can share a little of this and a little of that about living well at work, in nature, and with food, family, friends.

Reach out to me at Shenouda@easescommunication.com. I would love to hear from you.

 

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When family members wanted to compile a cookbook of favorite recipes, I was happy to oblige. They know how to cook and bake. I know how to write, edit, and publish. We all know how to eat tasty food. Thus, the first edition of A Bisl of This and That: Eating Our Way was born.

Yummy first edition

I loved sharing the first edition with family, friends, and many others who delighted in the recipes and stories as evidenced in their comments:

“This book made me hungry in more ways than one: the delicious recipes, of course, but also the sweet family stories connected with them. From the Stuffed Cabbage to the Noodle Kugel to the Honey Cake for dessert, my mouth watered with every page. These recipes range from simple to complex, sweet to savory, little-bits and whole-lots—all delish! By the end, I felt like I was a member of the family having shared a meal and a song around the piano all together.”

“The recipes are easy to follow, which I can only imagine is a result of having been put together by an author with years of technical communication experience, and I believe the Spanish Rice and Tzimmes dishes may become a part of my own family’s go-to favorites. As a bonus, each recipe comes with a family story about how the dish was enjoyed. It is a great way to enjoy the time while the food cooks in the oven.”

A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That…the perfect title for this delicious cookbook has replaced my old, worn, always dependable go-to cookbook. Judy Ellison Shenouda has compiled not only a mouth-watering collection of varied recipes but has invited you into memories of her childhood home as (extended) family members recall and share delightful gatherings, framed by love, remarkable food, and always…music. This wonderful book almost has you sitting at her family table sharing culinary history as you imagine the aroma of home-made food that even you can easily duplicate.”

Even more yummy second edition

At book events, folks flipped through the pages of the first edition and asked interesting questions. “What, no Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls?” “No Half-Moon Cookies?” “Can you find a recipe for the Plum Kuchen my mother brought with her many years ago from Europe?” With this new second edition, you can now make these dishes and more. Start your day with Bagels or Bread Pudding. Try a wonderful meal of Chicken Paprikás, Hungarian Dumplings, and Cucumber Salad. Cook the Amish Onion Cakes and Tater Tot Shepherd’s Pie for lighter fare. Cap a meal with Mahogany Cake or Orange Cookies from Poland.

Look inside

Take a Look inside Amazon for this new edition. I bet you’ll like the recipes for eating well and the stories for living well found within these jam-packed, food-filled pages.

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A new cover, refreshed content, and a larger page size greet you in Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal.

First edition

Several years ago, I was spending too many hours in front of a computer, writing manuals for clients and managing a technical writing business. Working from a home-based office, I missed being with people. I remembered my teaching days and the exchanges that take place in group settings. I wanted to get out more to talk and listen and learn, and created a plan to transition from computer time plying my craft to sharing my work with others. Thus, the motivation for Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal was born.

Authoring, publishing, and marketing the first edition of my first book had its rewards.

Others enjoyed journaling their way to career success as evidenced in reviewers’ comments:

“Using it as it’s meant to be used, as a journal, you’ll be amazed at what you reveal to yourself.”

“The magic of this work-book is that it can be used by people at any stage in their career to help focus on what they want to be doing—a key ingredient to being successful.”

“It’s an unassuming little book that will not intimidate young people preparing to go forward with more confidence. It’s a good way for experienced adults to mentor them without preaching!”

“Quite unique to this book were a fill-in-the-word story at the end of each chapter and a complete story at the end of the book. These are not just silly Mad-Lib stories! Each section asks you to own your own dreams, successes, skills, etc. I feel like my story of career success has been written, and it is now up to me to live it and make it a reality!”

“The question ‘What are you wearing?’ led me to my ah-ha moment. I pictured myself in casual sporty clothes, holding a patient chart. Combining this with other pieces of the puzzle I had put together with the help of this book, I have found my new passion.”

Second edition

Over the past several months, I have worked on a second edition of Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal. Like the first edition, this new, improved edition is intended for those in transition from school to work, from one work experience to another, or from work to other meaningful pursuits. The scenarios and guided journaling activities offer readers time and space to think, explore, doodle, draw, dream, and create success stories. Parents, teachers, and other growth coaches might just find this book the perfect tool to support those who are journeying toward a productive, fruitful life.

This second edition of Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal has refreshed content, a new cover, and a larger page size, allowing readers to journal away. Go ahead. Take a Look Inside. I hope you like what you see.

Living well

Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal offers a path for living well at work. The living well theme finds its way into each of my books.

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, through Froggy and his critter friends, explores living well in nature.

A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way has recipes and stories for living well with food, family, and friends.

Heres to happy reading and happy living.