Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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Where in the World (Japan) – When sushi meets peanut butter

On our trip to this particular coastal town in 2008, my wife planned lunch at a sushi restaurant. (The woman in front of my wife is my MIL.) I know that sushi is available all over Japan. Japan is a nation of islands with numerous coastal towns. However, this city, located on the Sea of […]

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Mary Preston - April 11, 2014 - 3:28 am

I like my fish very well cooked, but peanut butter I love.

Marilyn Baron - April 11, 2014 - 4:42 am

I guess the moral of the story is “Don’t sweat the pink stuff.”

I don’t eat sushi but my daughters Love it and it is always the most expensive thing on the menu.

I loved this travel post. I remember when I lived in Florence, Italy, after six months we were craving American food. When we went to Munich for Oktoberfest, we pigged out on McDonald’s Hamburgers and French fries.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 8:55 am

Mary, there’s a resturant near our house that does all-you-can-eat sushi once a week. We go there once a quarter and probably would go there more often if we could.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 8:57 am

Marilyn, after four years in Japan, there are now certain Japanese foods I crave. My wife is Japanese, so she cooks a lot of it. However, with one exception, she doesn’t do Japanese desserts.

Susan Carlisle - April 11, 2014 - 8:57 am

When my kids and I were in Germany we found peanut butter in an off the beaten path place. I squealed and we all just stood there looking at it. We hadn’t seen any in over two months. We had a PB&J as soon as we got back to the house we were staying in.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 8:58 am

Gang, I will be traveling today, so I will be out of pocket for a lot of today. I don’t know when I will go off-line, but I will be back on this evening as soon as I can.

Pam Asberry - April 11, 2014 - 9:05 am

I was raised on Peter Pan peanut butter. I would have done exactly what you did.

Piper - April 11, 2014 - 9:19 am

Not being able to get those home foods when traveling abroad can be hard. I probably would have paid that $15 too Walt, and I prefer Jif! When I came back from Belgium a few years ago, I told my husband to take me to a Red Lobster so I could have all of the Walt’s (obviously named for you) fried shrimp I wanted. I was only in Belgium a week, but I understood within a day why a lot of the people there are so svelte!

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 9:54 am

Loved your post. Like Mary, my fish must be very well cooked. Even my steak must be pink…never, never, never red on the inside.

We were on a two-week cruise in Europe recently and even though the ship had all kinds of American food, I found that I craved Greek yogurt and Coke. Why I thought I wasn’t getting enough of those two items is beyond me. The night before we flew home we wanted dinner (it was about 5:30pm) but the restaurants in the area near the airport didn’t open until 7:00pm. We ended up at a grocery store that took American money (we were out of Euros) buying a banana, Italian bread, cheese, Greek yogurt and four large Cokes. Later we sat in the middle of our bed and feasted.

Great article…looking forward to next week.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 10:01 am


Was it an American brand of peanut butter or a German one? I remember finding a Japanese brand of ketchup and being excited about it. The taste was a different experience. It wasn’t like getting used to Japanese milk (which tasted different as it’s pasteurized at a higer temperature).

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 10:14 am

That should be “higher” temperature. :-)

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 10:32 am


Glad to know I’m not the only one.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 10:33 am

Piper, given the taste of Beligian chocolate, I’m mystified as to the slender appearance of Belgians.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 10:36 am

Sandy, when I lived in Japan, you couldn’t get a lot of American food without working hard at it. Yes, McDonald’s was everywhere, but it’s still a Japanese version of McD’s. Spent my first Christmas overseas in Singapore (traveling away from Japan). Every American restaurant you could imagine had a location in Singapore.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 10:36 am

Signing out for now to get on the road. Back on later. :-)

Connie Gillam - April 11, 2014 - 12:16 pm


When I was in China, I ate Thai and Japanese (cooked fish, LOL) The Chinese food was not what I expected.

What does your wife miss living in America?

Carol Burnside - April 11, 2014 - 4:38 pm

Peanut butter. I did not see that coming in a travelogue on Japan.
I am a big fan of sushi. Having lived in Hawaii, raw fish dishes do not bother me.

As for the city in question, I did a little sleuthing based on your clues. Were you going to the Sapporo Yuki Matsuri to see the sculptures?

Maxine Davis - April 11, 2014 - 4:39 pm

Walt, I am very much enjoying the visit to Japan. When I’m away, I miss the standard food. To me, that is fresh vegetables and cornbread. Have only tried sushi once – so-so to me. What is your wife’s favorite American food?

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 7:43 pm

Connie, the thing she misses most is the food. Her parents live in SoCal and often sends her care packages.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 7:45 pm

Maxine, it’s hard to say what her favorite American food is. However, I think it’s sweet tea. :-)

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 7:49 pm

Carol, yes, you are correct. Sapporo was my intended destination. I talk more about this in next week’s post. Sapporo is on the island of Hokkaido and is an amazing city. You’re in the ballpark.

Walt Mussell - April 11, 2014 - 8:01 pm

Also, Carol, “yuki” is the Japanese word for “snow” and “matsuri” is the Japanese word for “festival.”


by:  Sandra Elzie There are a lot of adjectives that could be used to describe me:  Female, retired, Christian, romance fiction writer, wife, aunt…and the list goes on and on.  But there’s one that I’m very proud of that I’m focusing on today.  Mother.  Aw, yes, and now that I’m on the “other side” of […]

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Marilyn Baron - April 10, 2014 - 7:41 am


Loved this list (especially Eat Chocolate) and my all-time favorite, Order Out or in my case,Make Reservations. I think you’ve about covered it. Somehow I’ve managed to raise two wonderful daughters so hopefully I’ve done something right but these are good rules to live by.

Piper - April 10, 2014 - 7:43 am


A truly excellent list. I cannot think of a single thing to add to it. I love the one about laughing. That is so important. My mother was one of the funniest people ever, and her laughter was a reminder that we take ourselves too seriously for much of the time. I try to make my son laugh as often as possible–when warranted of course.

I don’t order out as often as I should–so I’m going to take that one up–starting with tonight’s dinner. Thanks!

Pamela Varnado - April 10, 2014 - 8:12 am

I totally agree about eating out as often as possible. As for adding to your list, which is excellent, I would include never criticize your child. Hurtful comments destroy self-esteem. Parents can nurture without calling their child lazy or stupid. And if you are blessed with more than one child, please don’t compare them to each other. This often shatters the bond siblings share. Each child is special in his or her own way. Cherish them and give them the same unconditional love they give to you.

Maxine Davis - April 10, 2014 - 8:56 am

Sandy, Excellent list. I totally agree. I bet you were/are a good mom. I truly believe in complimenting them when they’ve done something that shows their heart is in the right place or when they’ve truly tried.

SUsan Carlisle - April 10, 2014 - 9:35 am

What a great list. I’m going to take a number of these to heart. Thanks for sharing.

Debbie Kaufman - April 10, 2014 - 10:17 am

Love the list. One of my rules was, “Bake often.” Kept me sane because it was an activity I enjoyed, kept the kids happy because they could eat the results, and chocolate was usually involved.

Carol Burnside - April 10, 2014 - 11:37 am

Excellent list. The only thing I’d add would be positive reinforcement or Build Self-Esteem. Others have mentioned this also. It’s important for a child to hear “You can do it.” and “Good job!”

Connie Gillam - April 10, 2014 - 1:26 pm

An excellent list, Sandy. The only thing I can add is ‘listen to them.’ Give them your full attention when they’re discussing their day.

Trudy - April 10, 2014 - 4:13 pm

What a great list! Can’t think of anything to add – I’ll try to remember it when things get hectic.

Mary Marvella Barfield - April 10, 2014 - 4:16 pm

Sandy, you are a wise woman! Your rules resonate with me!

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 4:48 pm

Hi Marilyn,
Yes, chocolate helps in times of stress. We didn’t eat out very often (where reservations were required) when the kids were younger. It was more like Taco Bell or McDonalds, but they loved it…and I loved not having to cook that night.

You have two beautiful daughters who love their parents, so you must have done a great job.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 4:53 pm

Way to go, girl! In fact, pizza sounds pretty good right now. I love to laugh. One day our three put on a skit where they all bent over in a row, put a sheet over themselves and had one of their cousins act as MC…bringing them out as a trained worm. Then the MC got one of their uncles to lie down on the floor so Henry the Worm would jump over him. Well, the first two stepped over, but the last one poured a glass of water on their uncle….at which time the MC apologized and said that Henry The Worm needed a bit more training.

I think the kids laughed more than anyone else. It was a great evening.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 4:56 pm

Hi Pam, You are sooooooooo right about not criticising. Of course there are times when you have to explain that certain behavior isn’t acceptable, BUT there’s a right way to do it…but it needs to be done in a calm voice, explaining what’s is acceptable…And in private. Thanks for commenting.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 4:59 pm

Hi Maxine,
My daughter once had a teacher that told her class that they all had 100% in her class. She told them that they all had an A. Then she explained that not doing homework or disrupting the class would result in them getting a lessor grade. I thought this was a different, yet innovative way to show kids that they were good, but there was a consequence for not following the rules.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Hi Susan,
Since you had four little darlings…and since they’ve all turned out great…you must have been a fantastic mother. And chocolate MUST have been on your list of Mom Rules since I’ve tasted the fudge you make from scratch (and from memory). Yummmmmm

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:02 pm

Hi Deb,
Yeah, bake often…but then the girls got older and they started baking, so it took some of the stress off me….well, except cleaning up behind them in the kitchen after they had “cleaned.”

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:03 pm

Great “rule” Building self-esteem is vital to kids. The world will try to know them down and it’s part of our job to try to make a difference…try to build them back up and show them how to succeed in life. Thanks.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:06 pm

Oh Connie, great rule! Listen to them. We all want others to listen when we talk…and the kids are the same. I’ve watched children struggle to get their parents to watch them jump into the pool or spin in a circle, or whatever and the parent is just too busy talking with someone or reading or whatever to be bothered.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:08 pm

Hi Trudy,
The Mom List can work for just about anytime in our lives…even when dealing with adults. It could just as easily be entitled The Wife List….or The Friend List.

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:10 pm

Hi Mary,
Thanks for dropping by and commenting. The list was something I did many years ago and I recently ran across it. Maybe I should have added…Plan to Take Care of Your Elderly Parents…or something like that. :) Of course, all our kids are in their 40s, so it’s probably a bit late.

Walt Mussell - April 10, 2014 - 5:47 pm


Great list! Eat chocolate definitely belongs on it. My other favorite is “Enjoy the Moment.”

Sandy Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 5:58 pm

Hi Walt,
I enjoyed adding chocolate to the list when it really wasn’t on it before….even though it should have been ! And yes, Enjoy the Moment means a lot to me. I enjoyed supporting their trying new things (even tho they weren’t very successful at a few of them). Life was just a lot of fun with the kids in it.

Bruce - April 10, 2014 - 10:36 pm

As I knew way back when (but didn’t realize,being young and dumb)that you would excel at everything in your life, and now I have no doubts, that you not only thrived but became one great Mom, a friend to many, a loving wife,and a great long time friend. I hope that all the good that you have accomplished over these many years will remain with you for all eternity, YOU DESERVE IT.

Don - April 11, 2014 - 4:45 am

A very good list indeed. I found that dad also needed to follow such list to help keep mom on track and to stay on a parallel course with her. Work together within the same rules.
One rule that I took on as a personal issue was that even though I worked in some rough environments with lots of “colorful” language; I found that I did not need such language to prove I am an adult. I later found out that the kids (not just ours) really respected me for that self control.
And Bruce’s comments are spot on!

Pam Asberry - April 11, 2014 - 9:03 am

Great list, Carol. Enjoy the moment, indeed. What I wouldn’t give to have just one day back with my children when they were small.

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 9:26 am

Hi Bruce,
Ah, gee, you make me blush. You’re a sweet friend and I appreciate all the nice words. I try hard to do well at each thing I do…but nothing was ever as important to me than being a good wife and especially a good mom. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. :) Thanks for coming by and commenting.

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 9:32 am

Hi Don,
You are sooooooo right. Parenting is so much easier if both mom and dad are on the same page. It’s also less confusing to the children and keeps them from playing one parent against the other. If one of ours said he/she had already asked the other parent and the other parent had left it up to the parent that wasn’t present at the time, we ALWAYS checked with that other parent first before giving a final answer. No games. We tried very hard to be a united force.

And you make an extremely valid point about the language. They hear enough of that stuff from their peers and sometimes join in when around those kids, but it might surprise parents to know how much kids look to them for direction on the proper way to act the rest of the time. And, BTW, thanks for the kind words.

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 9:33 am

Hi Pam,
I’m with you girl…there are times I wish I could go back (but only for a day or two) and enjoy a special time with them while they were young. Times are tougher now…so new moms & dads really have their hands full to raise kids properly.

Sandy Elzie - April 11, 2014 - 1:51 pm

The winner of the $5.00 Starbuck’s card is Don. Don, if you’d send me your e-mail addy or your street address, I’ll send along the card right away.


The Baby Whisperer

By Piper Huguley I have a special talent that many don’t know about.  I’m a Baby Whisperer.  I’ve always been mystified by the inability of others to get babies to calm down out of their various upsets.  You have an upset baby?  Give it to me.  I’ll get the little one to calm down.  What […]

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Carol Burnside - April 8, 2014 - 5:10 am

Piper, welcome to PFHT! A Baby Whisperer, eh? That’s pretty cool. Thanks for sharing with us and letting everyone know about the Autism Awareness/Rafflecopter event.

Piper - April 8, 2014 - 7:16 am

It didn’t even translate into a special talent until I had started reading Whistling Down the Graveyard, and Eula calls it a “special gift.” So I thought it must be true! Thank you for the welcome,Carol!

Marilyn Baron - April 8, 2014 - 7:42 am

Welcome to Petit Fours. We’re so glad to have you. I love your “sweet pea” in his “sweet pea” outfit. In answer to your question “What is colic?” you don’t want to know. My first daughter had colic and we had to drive her around the neighborhood till she calmed down. It could have been all the spicy food I ate… Anyway, being a baby whisperer is a gift. Thanks for sharing your story and Kennedy Ryan’s event. Looking forward to many more of your posts.

Julie Steele - April 8, 2014 - 8:05 am

Piper, what? I didn’t know you were a baby whisperer. And really love the connection to discovering your nephew has autism. So many times folks know something is off but no one listens to them. Looking forward to learning more from your posts!

Piper - April 8, 2014 - 8:05 am

Thank you for the warm welcome Marilyn! The whole colic thing sounds awful. Maybe your daughter had a “Miss Daisy” syndrome and she just wanted to be driven around, but didn’t have the words to ask! *shudder*
I enjoy babies very much and it’s a very satisfying feeling when they can no longer resist my whisperer powers and they go to sleep. It is a gift, but it’s a good thing it doesn’t translate into the classroom. I need the students to be awake there!

Piper - April 8, 2014 - 8:07 am

The day in the life approach is working! It allows you to find out things about people you thought you knew! Love this! Thank you for stopping by!

Piper - April 8, 2014 - 8:08 am

And that comment was thanks to you, of course, Julie Steele!

Piper - April 8, 2014 - 8:47 am

Going to be on the road for the next few hours for a spring break trip you’ll get to read about in May, but I’ll check back in later!

anna steffl - April 8, 2014 - 8:58 am

What a touching post, Piper. You are a baby whisperer and a gifted writer. You can touch both young and old with your spirit.

Connie Gillam - April 8, 2014 - 9:30 am

Babies are beautiful, aren’t they? If you’re the baby whisper, my husband is the pied piper. Little children can’t resist him, especially our grandchildren. When they’ve been bad, he “speaks” to them. Instead of running to their parents, they nod their head to his instructions and slip their little hand in his.

Walt Mussell - April 8, 2014 - 10:46 am

Okay, where were you about 16-17 years ago? (I was in Oregon, so it wouldn’t have made much difference. Still, there are days I would have driven a long way.)

Susan Carlisle - April 8, 2014 - 12:51 pm

Welcome. I’m the Alex whisper at my house. Alex is my 16 month old grandson. It used to make my husband so mad that I could get him to sleep and he couldn’t. I loved it.

Elaine Manders - April 8, 2014 - 1:37 pm

Knew you were talented, but not a baby whisperer. I remember baby-sitting my nieces and nephews. Frankly, I found them to be annoying. Now my grandbabies were an entirely different matter. Go figure. Looking forward to learning more about you, cp.

Piper - April 8, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Thank you, Anna for your kind words. I appreciate you stopping by to comment on my first post here at PFHT.

Piper - April 8, 2014 - 4:06 pm

I have got to get out of my office and meet this other “piper” on campus! He sounds like a gem! Thanks for your comment!

Piper - April 8, 2014 - 4:08 pm

Let’s see Walt, that was about when I first moved to Atlanta. If you were willing to drive from Oregon, I would have been glad to help! Thanks for your comment!

Susana Ellis - April 8, 2014 - 4:12 pm

I love babies too, Piper! And toddlers too, I guess. I just think they are so sweet! I’m such a pushover for little kids!

So glad to hear you’re publishing your novellas! I’d be glad to host you on one of my blogs. Just let me know and I’ll put you on the schedule!

Piper Huguley - April 8, 2014 - 4:14 pm

I appreciate the comment, cp. I am so glad of this opportunity to get to share with others. Thank you for stopping by!

Piper Huguley - April 8, 2014 - 4:16 pm

Many of marriage has faced a threat when one spouse can comfort the baby and the other one can’t! It all evens out eventually but they are such loves in the meantime! So glad you stopped by!

Piper Huguley - April 8, 2014 - 4:19 pm

Babies are wonderful! You can expect to hear from me soon about a visit! Thank you for stopping by!

Anonymous - April 8, 2014 - 5:39 pm

Just love reading your posts.. Waiting on the next one. And Ruby

Maxine Davis - April 9, 2014 - 7:54 pm

Piper, A big welcome to you. PFHT are delighted to have you with us. I enjoyed your post. I think it’s wonderful that you’re a Baby Whisperer. I’ve never had much association with babies, but when I took them in my lap, they generally got quieter – I wasn’t sure i wanted to know why, lol. Congratulations on your books and awards!

Sandra Elzie - April 10, 2014 - 7:34 am

Hi Piper,
I’m sorry I missed your post yesterday…and it was a great one. Love the Baby Whisperer. I needed you years ago when mine were little (about 40+ years ago).

In Calif I worked for a state department that dealt with Autistic children. I loved that job. We didn’t rock babies, but we did things at Christmas…singing to them and all.

Great first article and welcome aboard!!!

Piper - April 10, 2014 - 7:45 am


Thank you so much for the warm welcome! And you are right–we don’t need to question what makes the babies get quiet–it’s a gift, enjoy it! Thank you for the congrats as well!

Piper - April 10, 2014 - 7:47 am


Thank you so much for your welcome. The autistic ones require a little bit more work from us, but it is so rewarding when they come around. Makes it all worth it, doesn’t it? Thank you for your comment!

Pam Asberry - April 11, 2014 - 9:02 am

Sorry I missed your first post the day it came out, Piper; I was on a ship in the middle of the Caribbean. But welcome to the PFHT and thanks for sharing your gifts with us. I have a couple of piano students with autism; working with them can be trying at times but the results are so worth the effort!

Piper - April 12, 2014 - 8:01 am

Thank you for stopping by Pam! It must have been nice to be on that ship! I appreciate the warm welcome and I so agree about the rewards that special needs children can give. :)

Hurray For Hair Dye!

by Carol Burnside So, I had this hair color dilemma with Cass, my latest heroine in the Sweetwater Springs series . . . In Book 1 (A Suitable Wife), Cass was a secondary character I described as petite and blonde. Somewhere in the years between when I wrote that and the current work (Book 3: […]

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Walt Mussell - April 7, 2014 - 9:09 am

I had something like this in a slightly different format. When dealing with Japanese characaters, you have similar eye and hair colors. However, one of the facts I disocvered is that Japanese people are occasionally born with red strands of hair. The don’t have a lot of them. Their hair is still the expected color. except for those strands. However, because Japanese people don’t like standing out, it’s often dyed.

In my first year in Japan, I taught in a middle school. One of the girls had red strands in her hair (which is how I learned about it). The girl was lucky in that she was not in a strict school and was allowed to “be who she was.” A more strict school would have forced her to dye it.

In my first Japan novel, my heroine has those streaks of red hair.

Susan Carlisle - April 7, 2014 - 9:43 am

I love the excerpt. I have read books where the eyes or hair color get misxed up. It doesn’t happen often but I’ve seen it. I have to make notes of those especially when I’m working on more than one book at a time in order no to mix up the hair, eyes and names. I put in a name from another book just the other day into my newest book. Not good.

Connie Gillam - April 7, 2014 - 10:31 am

That was smooth, Carol. And I liked the excerpt.

Can’t wait to read the whole book.

Piper - April 7, 2014 - 10:56 am

Walt, what a fascinating detail. The same thing is true for me inwriting about African Americans in a historical way, but the eye colors can vary. I had a big issue in one story with keeping up with how to spell “gray” in the American way instead of “grey” the British way.

Love the excerpt Carol! Looking forward to the book!

Carol Burnside - April 7, 2014 - 2:54 pm

Well, Walt, I’ve learned something new from you today. Interesting factoid.

Carol Burnside - April 7, 2014 - 2:57 pm

Thanks, Susan. After editing Claire’s book and doing promo on Claire, I have to remind my fingers that I’m now supposed to be typing Cass. I’ll probably have to do a check for Claire in this book when I’m finished, just to make sure a few haven’t snuck in where they’re not needed. ;-)

Carol Burnside - April 7, 2014 - 2:57 pm

Thanks, Connie.

Carol Burnside - April 7, 2014 - 2:57 pm

Thanks, Piper. Glad you enjoyed it.

[…] or brunette? Today I’m blogging on PetitFoursAndHotTamales with a title of “Hurray for Hair Dye” about a hair color snafu that I encountered while […]

Marilyn Baron - April 7, 2014 - 3:26 pm


Very cool save. I’ll have to remember that. I mostly notice that names get changed rather than eye or hair color but it’s always something to watch out for. In fact, I think I heard someone call another person the wrong name on a TV show. It’s amazing how resourceful writers can be!

Maxine Davis - April 7, 2014 - 4:08 pm

Good save. Carol. I can’t wait to read the book. I have caught a name wrong. it really threw me. I wondered if I’d missed something. Reread a chapter and decided it was just a wrong name.

Maxine Davis - April 7, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Carol, I just remembered: In the movie, Operation Petticoat, a young boy in the movie, is introduced to the Cary Grant character and shakes hands. The young boy actually calls him Mr. Grant, but you can barely hear it. I’ve got to see that movie again.

Walt Mussell - April 7, 2014 - 6:02 pm

Piper and Carol, I was once told those red strands appear in about one in every 150 Japanese people. I could be wrong. (I’m remembering from over 20 years ago.)

Carol Burnside - April 7, 2014 - 10:45 pm

Thanks, Marilyn. I’ve come across those name changes a few times too. I guess I’m never totally satisfied with my end results. Even after something has been published, I read it again looking for a small excerpt and find myself thinking I should have phrased that differently or added a little bit more. lol

The worst is finding a typo in the published product after having been through the book a gazillion times.

Carol Burnside - April 7, 2014 - 10:45 pm

Oh, Maxine, that’s too funny!

Carol Burnside - April 7, 2014 - 11:01 pm

That’s not extremely rare. It’s interesting though, that they see it as something negative to stand out, rather than embracing diversity.

Pam Asberry - April 11, 2014 - 8:59 am

I am a girl after Cass’s heart, Carol! :-)

Where in the World

This is my first travel post. The odd thing is, I don’t travel that much. I used to, but that was a long time ago. With two kids at home and college tuition in the not-so-distant future, I focus on local things like the beach and visiting the grandparents on both sides of the family. […]

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Pam Asberry - April 4, 2014 - 12:38 am

I know so little about Japan that I’m not even going to venture a guess, Walt! But il really looking forward to your travel posts this month!

Mary Preston - April 4, 2014 - 4:44 am

I’m just taking a stab, but I really could not begin to say: Kobe.

Looking forward to learning more.

Marilyn Baron - April 4, 2014 - 4:51 am

Japan has always seemed to be a beautiful and mysterious place. I’ve never been there but would like to go one day. I’m sure I’m wrong since you already mentioned the city in your post but I’ll guess Tokyo. I can’t wait to find out more about Japan.

Walt Mussell - April 4, 2014 - 7:51 am

Pam, hope you enjoy the posts.

Walt Mussell - April 4, 2014 - 8:02 am

Mary, Kobe is a short train ride from Osaka. I love Kobe and my wife is from that area. This was a long train trip.

Walt Mussell - April 4, 2014 - 8:06 am

Marilyn, Tokyo was where we changed trains to catch another bullet train. It’s a bullet train hub. It was a long day of travel.

Piper - April 4, 2014 - 8:41 am


I’m guessing Yokohama, because it is what it is–a guess! :)

I hear you though on the family vacations though. My guys and I will go up to D.C. for spring break, but a lot of our vacations consist of going to see family. It’s important to do visit, while they are still here.

Lovely family!

Maxine Davis - April 4, 2014 - 9:08 am

Walt, Nice pictures of the family. I haven’t a clue. Will get out my maps – I love maps – and will find where you end up. I look forward to the posts.

Susan Carlisle - April 4, 2014 - 11:16 am

I have no idea of the town. I’ve travel a lot but outside of being on Iwo Jama for a day I’ve never been to Japan. I’m looking forward to all your posts. I’m one of those Westerners that knows so little.

Walt Mussell - April 4, 2014 - 11:40 am


On the bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo, the final stop before Tokyo is Yokohame. Good guess, but the trip is much longer. I do love Yokohama though. A lot of history with the city.

Walt Mussell - April 4, 2014 - 11:41 am


Have fun looking on the maps. I’ll give clues each week.

Walt Mussell - April 4, 2014 - 11:44 am


I have never been to Iwo Jima. (The closest I’ve been is Okinawa. Given the number of American bases on Okinawa, there are a number of American products and a 24-hour American TV station. MacGyver was on a lot.)

Debbie Kaufman - April 4, 2014 - 12:45 pm

Oh wow. No clue. But hope to see more travel posts on Japan!

Walt Mussell - April 4, 2014 - 1:07 pm

Debbie, I’m planning on a one-of-a-kind travel blog this month.

Connie Gillam - April 4, 2014 - 4:50 pm

I’ll disqualify myself from this guess. LOL

Walt Mussell - April 4, 2014 - 5:37 pm

Connie, you do have the at-home expert. :-)

Marilyn Baron - April 4, 2014 - 11:40 pm


Carol Burnside - April 5, 2014 - 2:31 am

No clue here either. Nice pics of the family.

Walt Mussell - April 5, 2014 - 5:18 pm

Marilyn, the golden temple (my picture above) is located in Kyoto. However, that’s not the location of this game.

Walt Mussell - April 5, 2014 - 5:19 pm


Thank you. The boys were much younger then. Always adorable.

Walt Mussell - April 5, 2014 - 5:19 pm

One clue to everyone. The unknown location is in the map at the top of the post.

Sandra Elzie - April 6, 2014 - 6:24 pm

I’m already looking forward to the rest of your travel posts for this month. Japan is on my list…but I’ve never been there. Love the pictures…and I have no clue where the picture was taken.

Laura Russell - April 10, 2014 - 3:53 am

Hi Walt,
I made my first visit to Japan this summer! I did see that Golden Temple in Kyoto. My guess for the city you were visiting: Fukuoka. PFHT has great travel blogging! I look forward to seeing more of Japan.

Anatomy of a Book Signing

By Marilyn Baron You put your heart and soul into your book and then it’s ready to be released to the world. You’ve put the word out on social media but now it’s time to come face to face with your readers or hopefully, potential readers. So you sign up for a book signing. Book […]

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Sandra Elzie - April 3, 2014 - 7:06 am

Hi Marilyn,
First, congratulations on the new release and the successful first book signing. You’ve also included a lot of great information here and you’re right, they take some advanced planning to be successful. The last thing to remember is to just enjoy yourself and the readers once you get there. You’re a natural for book signings…you’ve got a very engaging smile. Good luck with the next two!

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 7:56 am

Thank you. I appreciate that. Enjoy yourself. Great advice.

Maxine Davis - April 3, 2014 - 9:27 am

Hi Marilyn, I thoroughly enjoyed the signing at Hiram Books – a really neat store and I do hope to make it to the others. They are close to family and friends. Enjoy yourself and I hope you sell and sign many books!

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 9:44 am

Thank you for coming to the Hiram Book Signing, all the way from Macon. It was so nice to see you and thank you for your continued support. I hope to come to one of your book signings soon.

Piper - April 3, 2014 - 12:39 pm

This is great information, Marilyn. There is so much here about particulars that may seem small but are big–for example, when you mention to bring a tablecloth. So important. A naked table looks strange at a book signing and who knows if the store will have one? Thank you for this helpful list.

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 12:56 pm


Thank you. You’re right. You learn as you go. When someone else arranges the signing they take care of the details. When you do it, you have to take everything into consideration. Thanks for commenting.

Carol Burnside - April 3, 2014 - 1:28 pm

Great tips and a stellar basket to giveaway. Best of luck with your signings, Marilyn!

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Thanks, Carol. That’s nice of you to say.

Connie Gillam - April 3, 2014 - 3:27 pm

Great advice, Marilyn. Especially about having an assistant and getting a great place to sign.

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 5:21 pm

Thanks, Connie.

Debbie Kaufman - April 3, 2014 - 6:13 pm

Great suggestions! The other thing I do is carry the Square with me, an attachment for my smartphone that allows me to take credit cards when I am at a signing where the book vendor couldn’t get my books. Easy-peasy to use!
And, yes, as Carol said, great basket!

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 7:26 pm

Everyone keeps telling me about the Square but I am so technically challenged I would probably not be able to use it.

Susan Carlisle - April 3, 2014 - 8:04 pm

I’m tickle with your sucess. Thanks for the great info.

Marilyn Baron - April 3, 2014 - 9:15 pm

Thank you Susan.

Pam Asberry - April 4, 2014 - 12:33 am

Great post, Susan! Now I need to get back to work so I will have a book to sign someday, LOL!

Pam Asberry - April 4, 2014 - 12:35 am

I mean MARILYN! Clearly it is too late for me to be up reading blog posts, LOL!

Marilyn Baron - April 4, 2014 - 4:40 am

Thanks Pam, I know you will be signing a book soon.


  Why Do You Write? Honoring Your Writer Self-Image   By Kelly L. Stone     Answer this question: Why do you write? Whatever your answer is, whether it’s to achieve a lifelong dream of seeing your novel on a store bookshelf, to pen your family’s memoirs, or for the simple pleasure of capturing an […]

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Marilyn Baron - April 2, 2014 - 5:06 am

What a great post. I’ll have to try that exercise. I could use some relaxation. My problem is I write for my day job In public relations so I’m exercising my creative juices all day but I need to spend more time on my novel writing. I wonder if my psyche can tell the difference? I’ve always wanted to be a writer so I get satisfaction from any kind of writing but there’s nothing like seeing your book in print.

Pam Asberry - April 2, 2014 - 7:38 am

I am going to try to find a few quiet minutes later today and do this exercise, Kelly. My writer self-image could use some honoring. Thank you for blogging with us today.

Kelly L Stone - April 2, 2014 - 7:47 am

Marilyn, thanks for the comment. Writing fiction and non-fiction, to me, uses different parts of the brain. You can train yourself to tap into your creative juices for the novel by helping your brain get into an alpa state first, which is conducive to creativity. The relaxation will help with that. Try it and let me know what happens.


Kelly L Stone - April 2, 2014 - 7:48 am

Pam, great to see you. Honing your self-image as a writer is an on-going task. Try the exercise and let me know how it works for you.


Piper - April 2, 2014 - 7:59 am

Hi Kelly!

This seems a wonderful exercise for whenever I feel “frozen” about the why I write. I have no problems with the why I write, but when I think about the larger purpose of what I do, the old self-doubt kicks in. It seems this relaxation exercise would be a good way to banish those demons. I look forward to using this!

Maxine Davis - April 2, 2014 - 8:59 am

Kelly, As always I enjoy the way you think. I will try this exercise. Right now if someone asks why I write, it’s because I enjoy it.

Connie Gillam - April 2, 2014 - 10:24 am

Thank you, Kelly for the exercise. When the self doubt kicks in, I’ll have to remember this exercise.

Kelly L Stone - April 2, 2014 - 1:47 pm

Hi Piper! Thanks for your comment. This is a great exercise for identifying and releasing self doubts. Let me know how it works for you.

Maxine, great to see you here. Thanks for your comment. :)

Connie, thanks for stopping by!


Walt Mussell - April 2, 2014 - 6:20 pm

I write because part of me feels like I need to let people know about the Christian century in Japan. It’s like I write because I feel I have to write.

Kelly L Stone - April 2, 2014 - 7:58 pm

Walt, great to see you here. I love your stories of Japan, and your passion for the subject always shines through. :)


Sandra Elzie - April 2, 2014 - 8:47 pm

Hi Kelly,
I enjoyed your article. I write because, like you said, it’s a burning desire to get the people in my head out “there.” They have a story to tell…and I’m just their way of showing themselves.

Thanks for visiting with us.

Kelly L Stone - April 3, 2014 - 7:25 am

Great way to put it, Sandra! Always a pleasure to visit this blog! Thanks for having me on.

Debbie Kaufman - April 3, 2014 - 6:16 pm

Hey Kelly,
I may need to explore this question a bit. Lately I’ve been asking myself the opposite!

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