Cheryl Fusco Johnson's blog

Singer Songwriter Chad ElliottAward-winning singer-songwriter Chad Elliott's channeled his creative energy into 19 albums, two movie sound tracks, a kids' book line (that he writes, illustrates, and enlivens with original music), photography, ceramics, fine art paintings, and more. How does he do it?

Grace Gillespie Carter, AuthorFriendship helped Grace Gillespie Carter access the fortitude to plan, write, revise & self-publish City of Three Rivers, her award-winning epic novel set in Dayton, Ohio. As school girls, she and lifelong friend Rachel Hyde bonded over their shared love of writing. Eventually, they vowed to support each other's efforts to get their books written and published. Now both have succeeded: in December Rachel released her novel, More than We Know.

Grace's book, City of Three Riverscontains an intriguing mix of colorful fictional and actual historic figures (like the Wright brothers and quirky entrepreneur John Patterson). This novel's setting in flood-prone Dayton heightens suspense. With deftly drawn characters and a multigenerational approach, Grace's novel has won accolades from Dayton's current mayor and a number of authors. It also captured second place in the inaugural Inkfingerz writing competition. 

For a glimpse of how two friends urged each other on to self-publishing success, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Grace Gillespie Carter.

Anna-Maria Petricelli, AuthorHave You Written Today? Author Anna-Maria Petricelli's free creativity workshop for FAIRfest 2015 targets all writers who want to write more and wonder why they don't.

Born and raised in Croatia, Anna-Maria has learned a lot about what it takes to make one's dreams come true. As a 10-year-old, she vowed to one day live in the U.S. Nine years later, she moved to Iowa, where she earned a B.A. in Literature and graduated summa cum laude and as valedictorian of her class.

Anna-Maria's had three novels and three novellas published (using the pen name Erin Aislinn). Her latest book BLOODLINE: THE LEGACY is a vampire erotic romance. She's currently studying Linguistics in a graduate progam at the University of Iowa.

Eugene GaubHow do classical musicians celebrate Spring? With an amazing performance of Beethoven's "Spring" Sonata coupled with Gabriel Faure's colorful and delightful "Sonata in A Major." Fairfield's own husband-wife duo, pianist Eugene Gaub and violinist Nancy McFarland Gaub will present this lively program 4 PM Sunday, May 3rd at Grinnell College's Faulconer Gallery. Lucky enough to hear the Gaubs play these very sonatas--we're neighbors!--I have to say I've never heard Spring welcomed so well. Hearing them play together is an unforgettable, transcendant experience.

In honor of their upcoming concert, The Studio with Cheryl is rebroadcasting a fascinating interview with the Gaubs, who serve on Grinnell's music faculty. Be sure to tune in!

Jill Burnett

 

 

It's Money Smart Week! Celebrate by learning how Jill Burnett, CEO of Libertyville Savings Bank and winner of the 2014 Extraordinary Banker Award, honed her money management skills by raising and selling calves on the family farm.

Like her dad, whose career path included being a bank janitor, a bank president, and a bank owner, Jill believes, "Life is a good teacher."  

For tips on developing "Money Smart" skills, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Jill Burnett. 

Stacey Hurlin"Everyone has that creative impulse: it's what we have in common." So says arts advocate, Fairfield First Fridays Art Walk founder, and visual artist Anastasia Kirtakis Hurlin (a.k.a. Stacey Hurlin). How did this dynamic Fairfielder thrust the impulse to showcase art every month on the Fairfield town square into a reality that will soon celebrate 13 years of existence? That's over 150 diverse & delightful art-focused social gatherings in a town with less than 10,000 people!

Tim BrittonBest known for his virtuosity on the Uillean (Irish) bagpipes, wooden flute, and tin whistle, Tim Britton is also famous for making Uillean bagpipes and for engineering and producing all types of music. In 1989 Tim was designated as a "master" by the Iowa Arts Council and nominated for a "Best of Philadelphia Music Award." He's performed in concerts all over the world, and his music has been included in over 30 recordings, including one that's been archived at the Smithsonian Institution. He's composed and performed music for National Public Radio, stage plays, modern dance, and TV shows and commercials. Tim authored a book and a video on reed making, and he's taught at workshops, schools, and community programs. 

For a glimpse into how a highly respected musician has channeled his creativity into so many different arenas, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Tim Britton.

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.

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