Cheryl Fusco Johnson's blog

Sophie's Squash Book CoverA full-time day job, 126 rejections, and a family to care for didn't keep PAT ZIETLOW MILLER from realizing her goal to become a successful children's picture book writer. Plucked from Schwartz & Wade Books' slush pile, Pat's first picture book SOPHIE'S SQUASH received starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Publisher's Weekly, and School Library Journal. It also captured seven major honors for picture book writing, including the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book Award, the Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book Award, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Golden Kite Award.

Maddi's FridgeHow can kids combat food insecurity in children? As a little girl, author Lois Brandt didn't know how to help when she discovered her best friend's family had no food to eat. As a grownup Lois researched strategies; then she penned MADDI'S FRIDGE so today's kids wouldn't feel as helpless as she did. Publisher Flashlight Press donates 10% of the book's profits to help fight childhood hunger, and Lois waives her author visit fees to schools that organize food drives. To learn how to empower yourself and the kids in your life to combat food insecurity in children (and also a little about how to write a great picture book), tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Lois Brandt!

Michaela Making Quiche

 

"Music feeds us energetically." So say husband and wife singing duo Steve & Mlchaela Terrien McLain, who will serenade couples at 8:30 PM on Valentine's Day in Fairfield at The Burning Oak's basement bar. Whether she's stirring up quiche filling, painting pictures, or writing songs, Michaela says, "It's fun to create!"

During this wide-ranging interview, she and Steve reflect on the origins of their musical journeys, express gratitude toward mentors, and reveal the conditions they find most helpful when writing songs. For tips that just might help your creativity flow more freely, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Steve & Michaela Terrien McLain! 

Transcendental Meditation in AmericaHow has the Transcendental Meditation Movement affected Fairfield, Iowa? Award-winning journalist Joe Weber answers this question in his new book, Transcendental Meditation in America: How a New Age Movement Remade a Small Town in Iowa.

Currently an associate professor of journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Joe explored different areas of life in Fairfield by interviewing past and present residents of this small Iowa town. His conclusions haven't pleased everyone, and perhaps they won't dovetail with yours.

For a glimpse into how a former financial reporter perceives Fairfield's future, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Joe Weber, a former Chief of Correspondents for Business Week and the current Jerry and Karla Huse Professor of News-Editorial at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Kate McGuinness, Life CoachCultivate strategies for handling career and other (sometimes unexpected) life changes, Executive Life Coach Kate McGuinness advises. During this hour, Kate shares tools she's acquired for successfully weathering transitions. She honed these tools while facing her own career challenges and while earning life coaching certification at the Hudson Institute of Coaching in Santa Barbara, California. The linear path of career change versus the cycle of renewal model of change is one topic Kate explores. Others include identifying core values, reframing, experimentation, cocooning, and the role emotion plays during decisionmaking. Kate also shares titles of many books she and her clients consult during times of transition.

 "Turning down my muse is not an option!" So says artist and art instructor Elaine Duncan, past winner of the Eisner Award for Outstanding Creativity. Whatever form you like your creativity to take, if neglect has caused your muse to go on strike, Elaine's advice will help you gently coax it back. Elaine earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of California at Berkelely and pursued postgraduate studies in art at Colorado State University. In 2007, she served as a panelist during a UC Berkeley symposium on "Making Art in Times of Change." In 2008 Mulberry Knoll Books released Feathered Space, a 120-page story revealed through Elaine's drawings, designs, and poetic word play. Elaine has won many art awards and has exhibited her artwork at The Presidio in San Franscisco and at galleries in Iowa, Arizona, and Illinois.

One Simple Change Book CoverTransform your life in 2015 by making ONE SIMPLE CHANGE each week. Need help with this transformation? Happily, Winnie Abramson, who earned a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Seattle's Bastyr University, has penned a perfect guidebook for you. In the beautifully formatted book, ONE SIMPLE CHANGE: SURPRISINGLY EASY WAYS TO TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE, Winnie provides 50 clearly explained and easy steps toward a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Since 2009, Winnie's been the recipe-developer, writer, and photographer of HEALTHY GREEN LIVING, a blog that touts green living, home cooking, and wholistic nutrition. 

For quick and easy steps to quickly improve your life this year, tune in this week to this rebroadcast episode of The Studio with Cheryl and Winnie Abramson.

 

Atlantia Book CoverHer young, autistic son's quiet and brave approach to life inspired Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched Trilogy, to pen Atlantia, her latest New York Times bestseller. In this stand-alone, dystopian, young adult novel, Ally thoroughly explores the power of voice. Trapped in a disintegrating underwater world, her protagonist, Rio, must harness latent powers to save herself and those she loves. Rio's challenges include assessing the sincerity of others' voices, unscrambling mysterious voices from the past, and honing the power of her own voice. The complexities of female relationships are explored in this book, too. Rio struggles to understand her relationships with her sister, mother, and aunt. Why has Rio's beloved sister betrayed her?

Ruth BackstromRuth Backstrom, Executive Director and co-founder of a nonprofit called Solution Generators Network, has explored techniques communities can use to identify and address issues, such as economic disparity, food insecurity, and lack of affordable housing. In Durham, North Carolina Ruth's nonprofit partners with other organizations to support film and lecture series, facilitated community discussions, wisdom circles, and local sourcing of jobs. Ruth also has tips regarding grantwriting and how to improve the odds of success in securing funds for community projects. For ideas on how individuals can help their communities forge the future they want for themselves, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Ruth. 

Anna-Maria PetricelliAt the age of 10, Anna-Maria Petricelli, who was born and raised in Croatia, visited New York City with her mom and vowed to someday return to the U.S. Nine years later, Anna-Maria made her way to a small college in Iowa, where she earned a B.A. in Literature and graduated summa cum laude and as valedictorian of her class. How did a young woman, from a single-parent family with modest funds, manage to fulfill her dream? Now studying linguistics in a graduate program at the University of Iowa, Anna-Maria plans to teach English as a Second Language. She's also crafted a successful writing career for herself. Under the pen name Erin Aislinn, she's had three novels and three novellas published. Her latest book, BLOODLINE: THE LEGACY, is a vampire erotic romance.

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