Cheryl Fusco Johnson's blog


Each of Anola Pickett's novels begins with a specific incident or memory that someone shared with her.

Her mother's childhood memory of neighborhood boys burning an effigy of Kaiser Wilhelm in Kansas City, Missouri in 1918 lit the creative spark that led to Anola's newest book, CALLAHAN CROSSROADS.

Set in Kansas City during World War I, this coming-of-age story for young people explores serious issues relevant today.

For a glimpse into the creative process of an octogenarian author with a flourishing writing and publishing career, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Anola Pickett.

Who Iowans are may surprise you! Iowa writer Linda Egenes coauthored, with Dr. Kumuda Reddy, a retelling of the most widely read epic in world history--The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki's Ancient Epic--Complete and Comprehensive. The Ramayana is a cultural and spiritual guide for over a billion people in India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and beyond. For contemporary readers, this new retelling, published by Tarcher Perigee, streamlines Rama's epic quest, originally penned as 24,000 verses contained in seven volumes.

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Cultivating Strategies to Achieve Life Goals

Kate McGuinnessCultivate strategies to achieve life goals, advises Executive Life Coach Kate McGuinness. During this interview, Kate shares tools she's acquired for successfully weathering career and life transitions. She honed these tools while meeting her own career challenges and while earning life coaching certification at the Hudson Institute of Coaching in Santa Barbara, California. Linear path of career changes versus a cycle of renewal model of change is one of the many topics Kate explores. She also covers 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.

Ready for some delicious pie? You're in luck! For one-day-only, author Beth Howard is reprising her famous Pitchfork Pie Stand--this time with a popup at Sip Coffeeshop in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa on Saturday, August 27th from noon to 4PM. Beth previously baked and sold pies in the historic American Gothic House made famous by artist Grant Wood. To celebrate Beth's return from her World Piece Pie Tour, we're sharing an interview first aired on The Studio in 2015 to celebrate her cookbook, Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales from the American Gothic House. Welcome back, Beth!

Stuff Etc Truck"Talk less, listen more," Iowa entrepreneur Mary Sundblad advises. She grew a small craft and used kids' clothing shop into the largest consignment service department store in the Midwest. Her business now boasts three corporate-owned stores and three franchise stores, each ranging in size from 23,000 to 45,000 square feet. Find out how being receptive to others' suggestions led to Mary's success: tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Stuff Etc founder Mary Sundblad. Her daughter-in-law Sara Sundblad, Stuff Etc's Corporate Director of Operations, tunes in, as well.

Doodling is a strategy award-winning author and illustrator Michelle Edwards used to produce many published books for children, a nonfiction book for adults, and nearly 100 essays for knitters. Her children's picture book, CHICKEN MAN, won the National Jewish Book Award. Her children's book illustrations have been exhibited in several shows, and her essays have been monthly features in a yarn company's newsletter. Jane Smiley and a host of other knitters highly praised her first book for adults, A KNITTER'S HOME COMPANION. For insight into how one artist ignites her creative spark, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Michelle Edwards.

The Last Woman Standing Book CoverA simple success strategy helped build the stellar reputation of acclaimed film critic and novelist Thelma Adams. Before putting pen to paper, she seeks commonality with the celebrities she profiles. She did this, too, with the historical figures who people her poignant new novel, The Last Woman Standing. Both Josephine Marcus, Wyatt Earp's wife for nearly 50 years, and Molly Fly, a wild west photographer who shot photos herself and preserved those of her more famous husband, are featured in Thelma's new book. For two decades, Thelma has written celebrity features and film criticism for high-profile publications. Her debut novel, Playdate, won high critical acclaim. For insight into successful interviewing and writing techniques, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Thelma Adams.

Moni Hayne at KRTo teach gardeners easy and sustainable tricks they can use to keep pests off vegetable plants, entomologist Moni Hayne researched, wrote, took photos for, and published an e-book. Garden Insect Pests of North America--Pictures for Identifying and Organic Controls identifies and contains pictures of 30 common insect pests. It also explains which are the good bugs that you shouldn't control (because they eat bad ones). Moni, who holds two degrees in entomology, has participated in a wide variety of research projects involving many different vegetable and fruit crops. She shares her insect and plant knowledge by engaging in volunteer programs in schools, 4-H clubs, and conservation groups at the local, state, and national level.

Changeology book coverWhy do some people's efforts to improve their behavior succeed, while others' fail? Dr. John C. Norcross, the leading authority on the science of personal change, and his associates have spent over three decades and millions of research dollars answering that question. The result? CHANGEOLOGY: FIVE STEPS TO REALIZING YOUR GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS (plus 22 professional books and 300+ other publications). Backed by 30 years of scientific research, the five-step process outlined in Changeology tilts the odds of success in the self-changer's favor. Key to succeeding is knowing which actions to take during each step of the process.

Concussion book coverUnsung heroes populating tiny worlds intrigue award-winning writer Jeanne Marie Laskas. Thus, the obscurity of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian medical examiner who discovered a brain disorder destroying professional football players' lives, inspired her to seek him out.

The result? "Game Brain," a 2009 magazine article that appeared in GQ; Concussion, a Penguin Random House book published in 2015; Concussion, the Golden-Globe nominated movie starring Will Smith; and the Bennet Omalu Foundation.

Laskas, who's authored six other books, directs the University of Pittsburgh's Writing Program and is founding director of The Center for Creativity. For a glimpse into an award-winning nonfiction writer's creative process, tune in this week to The Studio with Cheryl and Jean Marie Laskas.

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