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The eLearning Companion to Career Success

With a pandemic looming and lingering, a long period of sheltering in place presented an opportunity to move back-burner projects to the forefront. With a pause in client work, both this business owner and employees could focus on some fun stuff. Long-time employee Julia expressed an interest in learning Articulate Storyline 360 to create eLearning content. The question was, “What existing content could we use?”

For 35 years, Shenouda Associates Inc. has created technical and business publications for clients, from guides that show users how a product works to manuals that service engineers use when installing equipment, replacing parts, doing adjustments, and more. Over the past 10 years, I have authored and published my own books, both in print and eBook formats. With the help of my extraordinary employees, these books have been inside jobs, from writing and editing, to designing and publishing, to distributing through online stores. One book, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal, proved to be the right candidate to use for eLearning content. Thus, the process began.

Julia explored the capabilities of Articulate Storyline 360. Early on, she wrote, “My first goal was just to see how well the tool could handle users answering the types of questions in the Career Success book.” She found that the tool could handle the book’s essay, multiple-choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions.

Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal includes a Self-Assessment in which readers begin to explore their strengths, their likes, and their current work situation. The book also includes My Evolving Story, a series of 12 stories (each aligned with one of the 12 steps to career success) in which readers fill in the blanks to write their own story for moving forward at work or in other life endeavors. The Self-Assessment and My Evolving Story are the backbone of the eLearning companion.

Julia continued to learn the tool and communicate her progress. Throughout the development process, I set the direction, reviewed drafts, and offered feedback.

With the eLearning ready to share, the focus now is finding organizations and groups that can benefit from using it as a standalone tool, a companion to the book, or in preparation for an instructor-led workshop.

I applaud Julia’s desire to learn Articulate Storyline 360 and consider the resulting eLearning product impressive and useful.

If you would like to try the eLearning companion and feed back how it worked for you, please provide contact information below.

Shenouda-Froggy-Toasts

Bye-bye 2020. Hello 2021. To welcome the new year, download the eBook version of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud at no charge on January 1, 2, and 3. Click here.

Here’s one of the 30+ flash stories intended to cheer the young, the old, and everyone in between.

Toasts

His many critter friends lift a paw, flap a wing, toot a tune, and share a toast.

Today is Froggy’s birthday. Now a not-so-tender age, Froggy is what you might call seasoned. But never mind. It’s good to age and to do so gracefully. His many critter friends lift a paw, flap a wing, toot a tune, and share a toast.

With her sweet aroma permeating the air, Orchid speaks, “May the fresh, evergreen earth, caressed by the sky blues above, make your every breath heaven sent.”

“Ditto,” adds Minnie O.

In perpetual motion, Franny Fish blows some bubbles in Froggy’s direction. “May you sparkle with every hop, skip, and jump you take. May you and may we take pleasure in the ebullience you exude.”

Belle Birdie and Bobalong Bird dance and chirp, “May every do-re-mi you hear and every fa-so-la you sing create harmony that suits you to a ti.”

Woodsy taps his message, “My dear, chipper friend, may you love a bushel and a peck, peck, peck.”

Bumbler B and Sweetie B send a zinger to Froggy, “May you be zapped with honey and health, with sweetness and life.”

Flutter By, who once upon a time could only crawl, flies by and throws Froggy a kiss, “May you be uplifted.”

Fuzzy Chick Chick sheds her fluffy, downy feathers. “My dear Froggy, may your every landing be safe and sound and soft.”

“May this earth nourish you,” Wiggly Worm adds.

“May you reach the top of every hill you climb,” Anty Annie toasts. “Always remember that friends like me are just a step away.”

“You have sown well, my dear friend. May you reap rich rewards,” adds Rosie Flower.

Froggy responds, “I’ll drink to that and that and that.”

Froggy is saturated in the roasty, toasty warmth of so many well-wishes from so many well-wishers.

To read more, download the eBook version of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud at no charge on January 1, 2, and 3, 2021. Click here.

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.

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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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.

For someone who is much more adept at creating with words than creating with pictures, I’m learning how much fun it is to match words with pictures. While in the process of updating my three books and branding them with a consistent look and feel, I’m preparing to redo the book cover for my first book, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal.

In my quest for pictures, I discovered Pixabay.com, which provides “Beautiful Free Images.” I searched combinations of key words such as careers, success, steps, stairs, path, journal, and more. I discovered many, many images from very talented artists that are available for commercial use. My idea is to wrap the entire book cover—front, back, and spine—with an image. I’m considering the three options below. Read More

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An excerpt from Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud by Judith Ellison Shenouda

When all is well and good in Froggy’s world, there’s a sense of light—light weight, light load, light mood, light head, and light heart.

Froggy stretches and straightens all fours and jumps higher and higher. As if on a springboard and becoming weightless, up, up, up Froggy goes and then gently lands, this time on the lanky, long, lush, green grass growing from terra firma, swaying to and fro, right next to Froggy’s watering hole.

With all the leaps and bounds, Froggy seeks nourishment. A teeny, tiny bug and a wayward ant are just enough to satisfy his hunger and yet maintain a lithe Froggy physique.

During this particular day, Froggy feels especially playful. After all, today is the summer solstice and the sun rises early and sets late. This is a day of light, more light, and more light still. On this day, the hot sun with a powerful, strong beam feels so, so good drying Froggy’s damp, soggy back.

Venturing from the pond, the thick, silky grass tickles Froggy’s toes and legs and tummy, making Froggy laugh and laugh and laugh again. “Croak, croak, croak. Ha, ha, ha.”

“How my critter friends amuse me, day in and day out. Let me explain.”

For Froggy’s explanation and more slices of life well lived, read Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, available at Create Space, Amazon, and other online stores. There’s fun, inspiration, and wisdom on every page.

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Half moon cookies made from scratch (My brother Larry, me, and the cookies!)

December is here. With the colder weather and holidays, we often look to comfort foods like these yummy half moon cookies. Yes, they include the white flour and sugar that we like to keep in check. Yet, they are so, so good and often are reminiscent of a favorite childhood hometown bakery, like Snowflake or Harrison or Blooms in Syracuse, New York, where I grew up and still have deep roots.

Whether you call them half moons as we did in the ‘cuse, black and whites, or something else, serve them on a special occasion. After all, we all enjoy some extra sweetness.

Here’s the recipe Larry followed (courtesy of family friend, Eileen). Along with the turkey, we gobbled these up at our Thanksgiving feast!

The Recipe

Cookies

1 – Mix and set aside

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking power

3 1/2 cup flour (sifted)

2 – Mix

1 cup shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar

Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla

Mix until creamy and light

3 – Prepare the sour milk

1 cup milk

1 tbsp vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice

Let stand for a few minutes

4 – Alternately add to the shortening / sugar mixture

Some of the dry flour mixture and then mix

Some of the sour milk and then mix

Repeat until all of the ingredients are mixed together

5 – Refrigerate for at least two hours

6 – Drop scoops of the dough on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper

(An ice cream scoop works well. Leave plenty of space between the scoops, since when the cookies flatten, they are large.)

7 – Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until a light golden color

8 – Let cool and add the frosting to the flat side of the cookie

Frosting

1 – Mix

1/4 cup Crisco shortening (can increase to 1/3 cup if the frosting seems too liquidy)

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (can increase to 3 cups if the frosting seems too liquidy)

2 – Add and mix

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp hot milk

3 – Add to half the mixture and mix

unsweetened cocoa (the amount is up to you)

More Favorite Recipes

The cousins, originally from Syracuse and Elmira and with new generations scattered hither and yon, compiled favorite family recipes, which resulted in A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. Have a look. Have a taste. Click here to view on Amazon. Clear here to view on Create Space.

One happy Froggy (courtesy of https://openclipart.org/user-detail/krzysiu)

One happy Froggy (courtesy of https://openclipart.org/user-detail/krzysiu)

Most years have 365 days, but 2016, with 366 days, is a leap year. And today, February 29, is the day that was added. Look before you leap, leaps and bounds, a quantum leap, leaping lizards, and leap frogs have come to mind throughout the day. Leap of faith has lingered longer than the other leaps.

A little story about Froggy has started to poke into consciousness.

One day, Froggy finds a wart, an imperfection, an irritant. Through a leap of faith, Froggy imagines a day when this wart will be gone, gone, gone! That day arrives, and Froggy ponders, “What happened?”

Today, I am taking a leap of faith that, in time, Froggy’s story will be written and published—right here!