Cheryl Fusco Johnson's blog

Book Cover of the Two Family HouseHer deceased mom's messy recipe box is one of author Lynda Cohen Loigman's most prized possessions, and it appears in the hands of Rose, a viewpoint character in Loigman's debut novel, The Two-Family House. "This book is for the women in my mother's family," Loigman's acknowledgment reads, but both men and women play pivotal roles in this richly-textured multi-generational story that explores the impact of sustained family lying.

The Pharos Gate by Nick BantockBored with his mail, Nick Bantock grew jealous when he visited his local post office and spotted people clutching personal letters. He fantasized about receiving such letters himself. The result? Two fan-cult favorite, best-seling trilogies that are about to reach closure with the upcoming grand finale, The Pharos Gate: Griffin & Sabine's Lost Correspondence. Twenty-five years ago, Nick redefined the art of storytelling by combining fine art, fiction, and three-dimensional interactive books in his Griffin & Sabine trilogies. Multi-million best sellers, his books spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and received wide critical acclaim.

George FosterGeorge Foster has designed covers for over 1200 books, including 83 bestsellers and 16 #1-bestsellers. Dubbed the best book cover designer in the country and a master at creating covers that sell, George has earned over 300 awards for his work. To discover the attitudes and techniques that contributed to the success of this small businessman and arts entrepreneur, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and George Foster.

Fantasy Author Sarah Prineas

 

What if the stories tell us? That's the innovative question author Sarah Prineas posed recently while signing copies of ASH & BRAMBLE, her brand new young adult fantasy novel.

In Prineas's feminist retelling of the Cinderella story, protagonist Pin and her insightful friend Shoe struggle to create their own destinies despite the warping influence of stories spun in the powerful and ill-intentioned Godmother's fortess.

For a glimpse into the creative process of an award-winning and popular fantasy author, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Iowa author Sarah Prineas.

Portrait of Author Delia Ray

 

A fading Iowa town's real-life elderly mayor, his donkey Wayne, and the centenarian daughter of an Iowa button company magnate all helped author Delia Ray bring history alive for young readers in her intriguing new mystery novel, FINDING FORTUNE: A MYSTERY ABOUT TREASURES LOST & FOUND.

True life details, like the connection between actor Ronald Reagan and Muscatine's 1946 Pearl Button Queen, enliven the story of why Ray, an award-winning Iowa author, felt compelled to write this book. For a glimpse into an award-winning author's creative process and Iowa's forgotten history, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and author Delia Ray.

Maddi's Fridge by Lois BrandtCan kids help combat food insecurity in children? Yes, says author Lois Brandt, and her picture book Maddi's Fridge shows them how. As a little girl Lois didn't know how to help when she discovered her best friend's family had no food to eat. As a grownup, she researched strategies and then penned Maddi's Fridge so today's kids wouldn't feel as helpless as she did. Publisher Flashlight Press donates 10% of this book's profits to help fight childhood hunger, and Lois waives her author visit fees to schools that organize food drives.

Stacey Hurlin at KRUU

 

Can one person help alleviate desperate refugees' suffering?

Through her actions, artist Anastasia Kitakis Hurlin is showing that yes, one person can. This Fairfield, Iowa artist launched the Lesvos Refugee Project to connect people in Fairfield, Lesvos, and other places all over the globe to find ways to help one child, one mother, one man at a time.

For an inspiring glimpse into how individuals in far flung places are forging liaisons to offer refugees' aid, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl on KRUU.

Artist Elaine Duncan at KRUU

Fire Ravages Studio: Artist Creates Collages from Burnt Paintings. Four years after fire ravaged her Fairfield, Iowa studio, artist Elaine Duncan has created collages incorporating pieces of paintings that, though damaged, miraculously survived the blaze. A retrospective exhibit and sale containing these collages will take place 10 AM to 6 PM Saturday, Oct. 24th and noon to 5 PM Sunday, Oct. 25th at Fairfield's ICON Gallery. Paintings, ceramics, and other pieces created earlier in her career (and stored elsewhere) will be exhibited, also. A past winner of the Eisner Award for Outstanding Creativity, Elaine earned a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of California at Berkeley and pursued postgraduate studies in art at Colorado State University. In 2007, she served as a panelist during a UC Berkeley symposium, "Making Art in Times of Change." Elaine discusses her creative process this week on The Studio with Cheryl on KRUU.

June Melby Playing Miniature GolfCan you write funny stuff about people without making them hate you? Standup comic June Melby can. Her memoir My Family and Other Hazards reveals universal truths and individual quirks she discovered about herself and others while helping her family run an unprofitable, hand-crafted miniature golf course.

Michelle Edwards, Author & IllustratorDoodling can lead you to the right frame of mind to get things done and to unleash your creative flow. Author, artist, and knitter Michelle Edwards uses doodling, color, and other life hacks as a successful arts entrepreneur. Michelle won the National Jewish Book Award for her children's picture book Chicken Man. Her illustrations have appeared in several shows of children's book art. She's written a monthly column for the Lion  Brand Yarn Company, and her book, A Knitter's Home Companion: A Heartwarming Collection of Stories, Patterns, and Recipes received praise from author Jane Smiley.

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