Cheryl Fusco Johnson's blog

Anola PickettAnola Pickett makes history intriguing for kids of all ages. She's repeated the 2011 success of her juvenile historical novel Wasatch Summer, set in Utah in 1889, with a great page-turner, Whisper Island, set in 1913 in North Carolina's Outer Banks. Cedar Fort, Inc., published both books and will release a new, World War I era novel by Anola later this year.

Abandoned by her mother, Whisper Island's protagonist Primmy longs to someday join the U.S. Life-Saving Service like her dad and older brother, but until 1919 this precursor to the U.S. Coast Guard accepted only men. 

With an exquisite eye for detail and a deep understanding of human nature, Anola uses all the skills and knowledge she developed as an urban language arts teacher and avid world traveler to pump life into days gone by. Adults, too, enjoy reading her books! Tune in to The Studio with Cheryl this week to learn Anola's techniques for making her travels pay off.

Michael Kutcher, Inspirational SpeakerFor nearly 30 years Michael Kutcher (superstar Ashton's twin) divulged to very few people that he's struggled since birth from a mild form of cerebral palsy. Then he met Bella, a little girl afflicted with a severe form of CP. Bella can't speak so today Michael speaks for her. He advocates for people with disabilities by lobbying government officials and by accepting motivational speaking engagements. He also supports philanthropic groups, such as Reaching for the Stars (a foundation of hope for children with cerebral palsy), Organize (which encourages organ donation), and the Starkey Hearing Foundation

Michael embraces his philanthropic activities gracefully despite the demands of single parenting his young son and holding down a full-time job in the financial services industry. And he manages to do all this despite a plethora of lifelong health challenges, including a successful heart transplant at age 13. For Michael, the consequences of a mild form of CP encompass hearing loss, poor eyesight, weakness on the right side of his body, and a slight speech impediment. To learn how Ashton and the twins' parents helped Michael develop the 'I can do it' attitude that's enabled him to achieve incredible successes despite multiple health hurdles, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and her very inspiring guest Michael Kutcher.

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. Contracts for eight other picture books from a total of five different publishers quickly followed.

During this wide-ranging discussion, Pat reveals the strategies she used to reach her goals and help her stories take flight. For a detailed report on all the steps one would-be writer took to make her wildest publishing dreams come true, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Pat Zietlow Miller.

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?

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