I Could Chew on This and Other Poems by Dogs

I Could Chew on This and Other Poems by Dogs

Francesco Marciuliano’s new book, I Could Chew on This and Other Poems by Dogs, captures the thoughts and emotional life of man’s best friend. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant, Francesco’s new book is partly the result of his lifelong fascination with Charles Shultz’ Peanuts comic strip, which Francesco points out, was sometimes sad. Besides studying other writers, Francesco draws inspiration from walking–a lot! Formerly shy and with an interesting cast of real-life relatives, Francesco has funny, thoughtful, interesting things to say about the creative process and also about people as well as cats and dogs. He’ll be my guest on The Studio with Cheryl on kruufm.com Monday, Sept. 2 at 1 PM.

Best-Selling YA Author D. J. MacHale’s Tips on Writing & Life

Sylo: Book #1 of D. J. MacHale's YA thriller trilogy

Sylo: Book #1 of D. J. MacHale's Trilogy of YA Thrillers

On The Studio last week New York Times best-selling author D. J. MacHale shared some of the secrets of success he’s learned while directing films, executive producing TV series, and penning wildly popular young adult novels, like his new YA thriller Sylo. From famous people (Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, Haig Manoogian) and the not-so-famous (a young fan, a school librarian, his 10-year-old daughter), D. J.’s gathered nuggets of knowledge that help him in all his endeavors. He’s developed expertise on many topics: helping reluctant readers, wordsmithing vs. storythinking, long-haul truckers’ reading preferences–and lots more! D. J. also shares his thoughts on fan fiction, Skype school visits, and the first book in his new YA series (deemed unputdownable by Kirkus). Click here to download this interview or listen to it online.

D.J. MacHale’s Sylo – An “Unputdownable” Thriller

D. J. MacHale's book Skylo

D. J. MacHale's new YA thriller

At The Studio on KRUU this week, NYT best-selling author D. J. MacHale chatted with me about Sylo, his new YA thriller. He related lessons he learned from famous people (Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, Haig Manoogian) and humbler folks (a young fan, a school librarian, his 10-year-old daughter). For a guy who writes thrillers, he had lots of thoughtful advice, on writing–and life. This free one-hour radio interview airs Monday, July 8 at 1 PM CDT and Wednesday, July 10 at 7 AM CDT via live steaming on kruufm.com. http://kruufm.com/node/15971 — at KRUU.

From traditional to self-publishing: Diana Star Helmer

Helmer 300dpi 2000px highDiana Star Helmer switched to epublishing after traditionally publishing 43 nonfiction books and the popular picture book, The Cat Who Came for Tacos. Her ebook novel for middle-grade students, Elsie’s Afghan, highlights the transformative power of a shy girl’s love for the afghan hound she knitted. On The Studio, Diana discusses why, despite her love of printed pages, she embraced new technology. She also reveals tidbits about her creative process and how she and her husband, fellow writer Tom Owens, facilitate each other’s writing.

Diana’s book, Belles of the Ballpark, about the All American Girls Baseball League, was named to the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list. She and Tom had seven of their coauthored books about Women’s National Basketball Association teams published in one year. That same year Diana had an eighth book, American Woman Suffragists, published, as well.

Admirably versatile, Diana also writes plays and teaches piano. She assisted aspiring writers by helping found statewide conferences of the Iowa chapter of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She also helped organize that organization’s mentorship program. Tune in! http://www.kruufm.com/node/15609

Linda Egenes & Fairfield’s First Annual Local Authors Exhibition


Linda Egenes will explain “How to Stay Healthy While You Write (Or Work Any Desk Job)” at the Fairfield Public Library Wednesday, April 17th during Health & Fitness presentations from 7 – 9 PM. Three other wellness authors will speak Wednesday, too, and Mayor Ed Malloy will laud the First Annual Local Author’s Exhibition.

The Exhibition begins Monday at 7 PM with poetry readings at the Fairfield Public Library in celebration of National Library Week (April 14th-20th).

For details on all Exhibition events, see http://kruufm.com/node/15488 and tune in to The Studio with Cheryl on KRUU 100.1 FM Monday at 1 PM CDT.

Help Rob Cline Save a Genre! Read 365 Short Stories in 2013!


Rob Cline, Author of Pizza by the Slice

My February Reading List

32) The Last Rung on the Ladder, Stephen King

33) One for the Road, Stephen King

34) I Know What You Need, Stephen King

35) Sometimes They Come Back, Stephen King

36) Mrs. Box, Michael Chabon

37) House Hunting, Michael Chabon

38) Spikes, Michael Chabon

39) Love Is Not a Pie, Amy Bloom

40) Welding With Children, Tim Gautreaux

41) The Piano Tuner, Tim Gautreaux

42) Dancing with the One-Armed Gal, Tim Gautreaux

43) The Resurrection of Trout Fishing in America Shorty, W.P. Kinsella

44) The Pine Oil Writers Conference, Tim Gautreux

45) The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield

46) Miss Brill, Katherine Mansfield

47) Paper Garden, Jerome Wilson

48) The School, Donald Barthelme

49) A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner

50) Barn Burning, William Faulkner

51) The Lady with The Pet Dog, Anton Chekov

52) Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King

53) Bliss, Katherine Mansfield

54) The Fly, Katherine Mansfield

55) A Simple Heart, Gustave Flaubert

56) Shiloh, Bobbie Ann Mason

57) The Open Boat, Stephen Crane

58) A Good Marriage, Stephen King

59) A Party Down at the Square, Ralph Ellison

Thanks, Rob Cline, for suggesting a resolution I can keep!

B.K. Loren: How to Write Like a Wolf

B.K. Loren, Author of Animal, Mineral, Radical

B.K. Loren, Author of Animal, Mineral, Radical

Why did the editor of B.K. Loren‘s first book of essays accuse her of writing like a wolf? How does B.K. strive daily to live up to that accusation? B.K. answers these questions during an in-depth discussion of the creative process that helped her produce her novel,Theft; her first essay collection, The Way of the River: Adventures and Meditations of a Woman Martial Artist; and her newest book, Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food. B.K.’s writing has garnered Pushcart nominations, fellowships, and inclusion among Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies. To learn how B.K. crafts prose that reviewers deem visceral, lyrical, and incandescent, tune in to “The Studio” on KRUU Monday, Feb. 11 at 1 PM CST or on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 AM CST.

An Easy-to-Keep Resolution for 2013

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Cultural Professional Rob Cline

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Arts & Culture Professional Rob Cline

Rob Cline, my second guest on “The Studio,” captured my attention by writing an article for The Iowa Source. His title–Reading Resolutions for 2013: Rob’s 365 Short Stories–mesmerized me. Short stories are the genre I most love to read. Bookcases all over my house are stocked with books of short stories I bought during different eras in my life. I’ve read them all, but for years I’ve longed for the time and discipline to sit down and reread them. Many times I’ve thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to read a short story every single day?’ Once I even taught a high school class where that’s exactly what we did; the students and I silently read (then discussed) a different  story–most were short, shorts–during each and every class. The stories the students wrote for that class surpassed many I’d seen from other writing students; could all that reading have made a difference? (Yes, is my guess.)

Well, here it is: day 26 of 2013, and I have Rob Cline to thank for the peaceful half-hour or so I’ve spent each day revisiting texts that feel like old friends from long ago. Right on target, today I finished Story #26 (“Returnings” by Tim Gatreaux). Honestly, I think this is one resolution I’m likely to keep straight on through to December 31st. Did you know June 21st, the longest day of the year, is International Short Story Day? Maybe that day I’ll stage some kind of celebratory read-in for reaching the nearly-half-way-there point.

As it turns out Rob Cline does much more than sit around thinking up fantastic New Year’s resolutions. As a Cedar Rapids Arts and Cultural Professional, he wears a lot of hats and they’re all related to forging meaningful connections between artists and audiences. Rob earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Teaching with an emphasis in English, Philosophy and Secondary English Education at the University of Iowa. Specializing in marketing, writing, editing, and public speaking, he’s currently the Director of Marketing and Communications for the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, the Grants Manager of the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, and the Series Coordinator for Outloud, the Metro Library Network Author Series.

While maintaining these positions, Robb also somehow managed to write and self-publish a partially autobiographical mystery in 2012. Murder By the Slice features a pizza delivery driver whose hobby of devising rules of peaceful pizza delivery is interrupted by the murder of one of his customers. Tune in to learn more about Rob’s 365 Short Stories project and his many other creative endeavors.

Murder by the Slice by Rob Cline

Murder by the Slice by Rob Cline

Learning to Live Creatively – One Show and One Good Habit At a Time!

On January 7th, 2013 I embarked on a new  adventure: hosting, writing, and producing my own radio show! My show airs on KRUU-LP 100.1 FM. KRUU is a noncommercial, community radio station. Volunteer hosts produce nearly all its programming. I’m thrilled to be a part of this creative community! While its broadcasting power–supplied by solar energy–is low, people all over the world can access its programs via live streaming and the archives on kruufm.com. Many friends helped me celebrate the launching of this venture by stopping by the radio studio in the cultural district of Fairfield, Iowa.

Jim & Co

I named my new show “The Studio.” Creative people thrive in studios. My new show is broadcast from a radio studio, and I’m learning things I never thought I could by spending time in this new-to-me kind of studio. Some of the guests I’ll have on “The Studio” work in art studios, fitness studios, music studios, writers’ studios. By coaxing different kinds of creative people out of their usual studios and into KRUU’s radio studio, I hope to broaden my and my listeners’ understanding of what creativity is so we can learn how to slip more of it into our lives. “The Studio” is not just a place to me: it’s also a curious and receptive state of mind.

Jill Farmer, Life Coach

Jill Farmer, Life Coach

The premiere episode of “The Studio” featured Certified Master Life Coach Jill Lingwall Farmer. Jill’s mission in life is teaching fun, open-minded men and women how to overcome their belief that there’s not enough time to get everything done. Jill shared client-tested strategies for streamlining to-do lists so that they reflect our deepest motivations in life and ensure satisfaction and success. A former TV anchor and consumer issues reporter, Jill’s a summa cum laude graduate of Drake University’s School of Journalism. She’s received Emmy Awards and other accolades for excellence in reporting. Her book, “There’s Not Enough Time…And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves” was published in 2012. I’ve seen real improvements in my life after putting Jill’s strategies to the test. Piggybacking–grafting new good habits you want to form onto old good habits you’ve previously developed–really works! So do the other strategies Jill shared. Tune in, and give them a try!

Art for poster-1