“And what a lovely name: Reno!”

If you can finish that scene from the movie Sister Act, I’m sending you a postcard from our tour!

I’m serious. Leave the next line in the comments section below. And then email your address to petethepopcorn@gmail.com. I’ll mail you a postcard.

Reno. I didn’t know a darn thing about this city, aside from the fact that Sister Mary Clarence spent her days here as a lounge singer. Oh, what the heck, why not a quick video?

It’s one of my favorite movies. And several scenes take place in Reno. Forgive me.

Anyway, Reno has inexpensive hotel rooms. So guess where we stayed after driving from Pocatello? Yup!

We ran past the slot machines. Slept. And then took in the obligatory casino-town buffet for breakfast. All in all, it was awesome.

The point of this tour is to read to kids and teach them to encourage each other. This, we have done every single day. But we also want to see this beautiful country. And Reno is a place that is now on my RETURN TO list. I definitely want to come back!

After a needed sleep in Reno, it was off to Carson City for an afternoon reading of Pete the Popcorn. The kids at Fritsch Elementary were awesome and the Principal had to be one of our favorites! She was involved in the assembly, told us great things about her students and led us in the right direction of things to talk about with the kids. It is clear why the children behaved so well, with the excellent direction they receive from their teachers and Principal.

Here is the video from our day in Carson City:

As you can see, we also drove by Lake Tahoe. It was simply stunning. Add another on the list of places to return.

Writing this, I’m sitting in a Hampton Inn in Sacramento, California. Compared to some of the other drives of this trip, today’s was a piece of cake.

This weekend, we are off. And we’re also taking a little break early next week for some fun and exciting stuff.

But I’m most excited about visiting Napa Valley this weekend. It’ll be a quick, introductory trip just like the rest of this tour. But I’m busily scratching things off my bucket list that I didn’t even know were on my bucket list— and that’s a good thing.




Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 


Encouragement Across America Tour

Why didn’t I put this one on my bucket list? Well, at least it will be done.

As we’ve been visiting classrooms here in the Great Lakes area, I’ve had this aching desire to hit the road and see how things are in other parts of the country. How are the schools? Are the kids different? Will they embrace Pete the Popcorn like folks around here have?

I’m finally going to have the opportunity to answer these questions. From September 4th through November 7th, we will be criss-crossing the country, visiting schools, churches, parent/teacher organizations and other civic groups. Joe and I will be reading our bestselling Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn. Furthermore, we will be starting a conversation about encouragement— and how children need to encourage each other, to eliminate bullying in our schools.

Later this week, I’ll tell you a bit more of what I personally hope to accomplish with this project. I’m very excited for all the possibilities. But for now, here are the tour dates for our Encouragement Across America Tour:

Tuesday, 9/4 – Grand Rapids, Michigan
Wednesday, 9/5 – Chicago, Illinois
Thursday, 9/6 – Chicago, Illinois
Friday, 9/7 – Green Bay, Wisconsin
Monday, 9/10 – Madison, Wisconsin
Tuesday, 9/11 – Rochester, Minnesota
Wednesday, 9/12 – Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota
Thursday, 9/13 – Fargo, North Dakota
Friday, 9/14 – Bismarck, North Dakota
Monday, 9/17 – Spokane, Washington
Tuesday, 9/18 – Seattle, Washington
Wednesday, 9/19 – Portland, Oregon
Thursday, 9/20 – Eugene, Oregon
Friday, 9/21 – Medford, Oregon
Monday, 9/24 – San Francisco, California
Tuesday, 9/25 – Los Angeles, California
Wednesday, 9/26 – Los Angeles, California
Thursday, 9/27 – Los Angeles, California
Friday, 9/28 – Las Vegas, Nevada
Monday, 10/1 – Denver, Colorado
Tuesday, 10/2 – Denver, Colorado
Wednesday, 10/3 – Traveling
Thursday, 10/4 – Omaha, Nebraska
Friday, 10/5 – Des Moines, Iowa
Monday, 10/8 – Detroit, Michigan
Tuesday, 10/9 – Toledo, Ohio
Wednesday, 10/10 – Cleveland, Ohio
Thursday, 10/11 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Friday, 10/12 – Washington, D.C.
Monday, 10/15 – Richmond, Virginia
Tuesday, 10/16 – Norfolk, Virginia
Wednesday, 10/17 – Traveling
Thursday, 10/18 – Raleigh, North Carolina
Friday, 10/19 – Greensboro, North Carolina
Monday, 10/22 – Charleston, South Carolina
Tuesday, 10/23 – Savannah, Georgia
Wednesday, 10/24 – Jacksonville, Florida
Thursday, 10/25 – Orlando, Florida
Friday, 10/26 – Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Florida
Monday, 10/29 – Naples/Bonita Springs, Florida
Tuesday, 10/30 – Tampa, Florida
Wednesday, 10/31 – Traveling
Thursday, 11/1 – Panama City, Florida
Friday, 11/2 – Mobile, Alabama
Monday, 11/5 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Tuesday, 11/6 – New Orleans, Louisiana
Wednesday, 11/7 – New Orleans, Louisiana

Now, here is where I need your help. We have contacts in all of these cities that are helping us book schools and other groups to read to. But if you are located in any of these cities (or within a reasonable driving distance), we would love the opportunity to visit your school or group. Our presentation is free. And it’s guaranteed to be fun and educational.

Please spread the word if you have friends or family in any destination listed above. Together, through our complimentary grass-roots effort, we will eliminate bullying in our schools— through the simple tool of encouragement.

Take care,



Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 

Bright Light City…

I have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas, as I’m sure most can relate.

I don’t shop. So I can’t walk around the obnoxious malls.

I gamble just a little… and I get mad when I play $20 and never get a bonus on the slot machine.

I should just stick to the video blackjack, because I LOVE it when I do actually sit there and play.

This weekend’s Las Vegas adventure was… different.

We actually had work to do and a roadtrip to take. And THAT part of the journey was great.


Pete went with us to visit Popcorn Girl, where we will be appearing for a book signing sometime before Easter (hopefully before Easter… never thought Pete would make our schedule this crazy!).


And here is Popcorn Girl Laurie herself, with Pete. This girl is high-energy and that exuberance spreads throughout her business. She has over 60 flavors of Popcorn in her shop— and let me tell you that the ones we tried were FLAVOR-ful!


Pete was amazed at all of the bright colors of popcorn available at Popcorn Girl! When you read the book, you’ll understand why Pete was so excited to see all the diverse popcorn….


Popcorn Girl was a little different than some of the other shops we’ve visited, due to the vast array of gift baskets she has to choose from— all ready to be filled with her popcorn, of course!


You can tell by the astonished look on his face that Joe was very impressed by the Strawberry Cheesecake Popcorn. It was a fun little visit to Popcorn Girl and I can’t wait to be back soon…

After our visit, we headed towards Southern California to hit up another shop… and to visit our friend Kim Kittner, her daughter Hailie.. and Hailie’s friend Kim… at my favorite restaurant ever!


On the way, Pete wanted to stop for this photo…. and how could we resist?


Pete has really become good at posing lately. I hope he isn’t letting stardom get to his head… but this shot really showed some of the beautiful scenery between the Los Angeles County and Las Vegas.


Before we even got seated at the sushi bar, they had to see the book! Now, not many people have gotten the chance to see Pete the Popcorn ahead of it’s release date on February 29th, but Kim and Hailie are special. They even got the very first SIGNED proof copy!

The girls enjoyed the story and Kim Kittner also commented on the beautiful illustrations done by Kathleen Smith Waters! Hailie also gave us some special writing secrets to share with classrooms when we conduct our readings over the coming weeks and months.

Now, Kim was being a little camera-shy. So Pete covered for her.

If we’ve learned one lesson from marketing Pete so far it is this: everyone has a child in their life. Be it kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters… so we talk about Pete to EVERYONE! These girls gave us a nice tip on a piece of Salmon Sushi to try, so we showed them Pete! And they loved it enough to pose for a quick pic. Note the awesome sushi-making going on in the background.

Pete refused to try any sushi. Even the Popcorn roll! Yes, there was one roll called Popcorn. And of course we tried it. Tempura was involved. Yum!

Big Tuna Sushi in Lancaster, California rocks. Everything is awesomely fresh. The guys behind the counter rock. And the best part of all is this: nobody makes you feel dumb for asking questions about the food or the experience. And the shark tip-collector is pretty neat, too.

Thanks, Kim Kittner… for a great night with friends. We will see you very soon.

I-15 headed back to Vegas in the dark was scary, but fun. The coolest thing, and it was almost impossible to capture on camera, was how you could see nothing in the desert but the highway laying out before you for miles and miles.

And when we saw the neon sign for Whiskey Pete’s, we knew our journey had come to an end.

We’re leaving Las Vegas in a few hours… and hoping to grab some more photos of Pete before we do. If we have time to do so, you’ll be seeing them soon, I’m sure.

Tell your friends to visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com in anticipation of PETE DAY on LEAP DAY!