Cheryl Fusco Johnson's blog

Can you write funny things about people without make them hate you? Standup comic and internationally known performance poet, June Melby can. Her hilarious 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 minature golf course.

June's the voice of "Bang" in the Warner Brother's film Space Jam, which also featured Michael Jordan. Don't pass up this chance to hear June's other secrets! Tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and June!

I Knead My Mommy Turning grief into a wildly popular, hilarious series of pet poetry books is one of Francesco Marciuliano's many accomplishments. His latest book, I Knead My Mommy and Other Poems by Kittens was just released by Chronicle Books. It follows two other volumes, I Could Chew on This and Other Poems by Dogs and I Could Pee on This and Other Poems by Cats, which made it onto many best-seller lists. Francesco dedicated his first pet poetry book, I Could Pee on This, to his cats, Natasha and Boris. After they died, he coped with losing them by writing humorous poetry from their point-of-view.  

Where does the creativity to spin sadness into joy come from? Francesco (who's also a cartoonist and playwright) employs several tactics to avoid writers block and facilitate creative expression. For insights into the creative process of a very talented guy, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Francesco Marciuliano.

Esther Ehrlich, Author of NestWhy do people's stories matter? Because they help us discover what it means to be human. They help us explore how to make good choices about how to live, too. So says oral historian and author Esther Ehrlich. Her recently released historical novel NEST is receiving well-deserved and widespread critical acclaim. Nest explores serious issues (family dysfunction, physical disability, depression, grief, and loss). Still, joy leaps off its pages, and the healing power of nature, friendship and art is stressed. For a glimpse into the creative journey of a gifted writer, tune in to The Studio with Cheryl and Esther Ehrlich this week.

 

D. J. MacHale Book StormNYT best-selling author D. J. MacHale's YA thriller trilogy The Sylo Chronicles is going strong with publication of Book #3, Strike, slated for mid-October 2014. Book #2, Storm, hit stores in March. In this rebroadcast interview, first aired in July 2013 shortly after publication of Book #1, Sylo, D. J. shares secrets of success he's gleaned from famous people (Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock, Haig Manoogian) and the less well known (a young fan, a school librarian, and his then 10-year-old daughter). D.J. explores the best way to help reluctant readers, wordsmithing vs.

Where do writers find the inspiration to craft NYT best-selling books? Author and illustrator Loren Long's children's picture book Otis spent 17 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. During this visit to The Studio, Loren reveals he found inspiration for a pivotal page in his new book Otis and the Scarecrow from the final "O Captain, My Captain" scene in the award-winning film, Dead Poets Society, which featured Robin Williams. For a peek into the creative process of one gifted writer/illustrator and clues about how to unleash your own inner genius, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Loren.

Book Cover: Lost Clerihews

With authors and book titles swirling incessantly inside his head, legendary literary tastemaker Paul Ingram of Iowa City's Prairie Lights Bookstore fell victim to clerihew mania. The result? A new book, The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram, published recently by Ice Cube Press and illustrated with Julia Anderson-Miller's witty and thoughtful pen-and-ink drawings.

As award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken reports in the foreword, this book is "everything that Paul Ingram himself is: hilarious, ribald, tender, erudite, naughty." Watch out! Containing over 120 four-line poems that lampoon a variety of public figures, Paul's book (and Julia's artwork) just might inspire clerihew mania to grow inside you! For a glimpse of the super creative minds that produced this naughty new book, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl, Julia and Paul.

On the Observation Car book coverIowa Writers Workshop alumnus Wayne Johnson credits his ability to create award-winning fiction to story angels singing in his ears. Creativity tricks Wayne gleaned from UI's master writers just might play a part in his ability to elicit his muses' support. While discussing his latest story collection, On the Observation Car, Wayne reveals techniques he gleaned from Wallace Stegner ("pin setting"), John Updike (forward lean), and Jane Smiley ("that delicious question of outcome--the need to know 'what happens . . .'"). Tune in to The Studio with Cheryl this week for Wayne's insightful, often comic musings on the source of his fiction and the origins of creativity.

 

Cheryl Fusco Johnson & Linda Eve DiamondWhere does creativity come from? Linda Eve Diamond, who's authored a dozen books ranging from poetry and self-help to business and educational, provides clues in her newest book, The Beauty of Listening.

This compendium of poems explores inner listening, communication, the impact of listening on love, and other intriguing topics.

During this hour, Linda explains how Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Book Project, Anastasia Clark's Hobo Code Event, and a life-changing trip to a Publix sushi counter sparked her creativity. For a lively discussion that just might spark yours, too, tune in to The Studio with Cheryl and Linda this week. Linda's husband, Jeff Novick, chimes in a bit, as well.

Dave ThebodoProviding life-size, actual train cars for "The Lone Ranger," "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," and other Hollywood movies may not be a snap for Fairfield entrepreneur David Thebodo but, like Radar from the TV show M*A*S*H, he somehow always manages to find and secure what's needed. How did a guy with an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amhearst, 4-1/2 years of service doing search & rescue missions for the U.S. Coast Guard, and a stint as Assistant Director of Fiscal Affairs during the earliest days of Maharishi University of Management end up in such a weird profession? David shares this and more--including timely news about The Fairfield Cultural Alliance's grant program--this week on The Studio with Cheryl. Tune in for a glimpse into the life of a creative, community-minded, unique Iowan entrepreneur.

Norman Zierold cover photo

 

How did small-town Iowa boy Norman Zierold become a Hollywood biographer, recording the stories of movie moguls, child stars, and famous actors?

Even more exciting than his tales about the many celebrities he's encountered is Norman's own story. Lucky us! Norman's recorded his journey from shelling peas beside cooks in his family's Amana colonies restaurant to rubbing knees with Barbara Walters on TV.

This week on The Studio with Cheryl, Norman discusses the mentors and experiences that inspired his life choices.

Learn about his life and about THAT REMINDS ME, his stream-of-consciousness memoir (and what a consciousness it is!), by tuning in to The Studio with Cheryl and Norman this week.

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