Amy Reade and The House of The Hanging Jade

61otJ-CSB4L__UX250_I would like to welcome my friend Author Amy Reade. Today is the launch of her new book The House of The Hanging Jade. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I love Amy’s books and I will download it today and give it a review when I am done reading. So enjoy getting to know Amy.51yypRj9G-L__SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

Amy M. Reade grew up in northern New York. After graduating from college and law school, she practiced law in New York City before moving to southern New Jersey, where she lives now with her husband, three children, dog, two cats, and a fish. She writes full time and is the author of Secrets of Hallstead House, a novel of romantic suspense set in the Thousand Islands region of New York, and The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, a novel in the same genre set outside Charleston, South Carolina. Her third novel, House of Hanging Jade, is set in Hawaii and will be released in April, 2016. She is currently working on the first book of a series set in the United Kingdom (expected release date in early 2017). She loves cooking, reading, and traveling.


Julie has asked me to write a guest post about a topic of my choosing- oh, the possibilities!

I figured her readers would want me to write about a topic I know a little something about. I know about a lot of stuff- here’s what comes to mind first: laundry, how to disgust three kids using just one recipe (chicken pot pie, if you’re interested), first aid, how to clean a fish tank, the fine art of applying flea and tick medicine to both cats and dogs, and my personal favorite, decluttering the car.

But then I thought to myself, do people really want to know about the nitty gritty of my life?

Wouldn’t they rather learn about visiting far-flung places?

My newest release is called House of the Hanging Jade and it’s set on the Island of Hawaii, more commonly called the Big Island. Having been lucky enough to spend some time on the island, I wanted to write a book that would share some of its rugged beauty with readers.

So I’ve asked my main character, Kailani, to take you on a driving tour of her tropical island home. Have a good trip, Kailaini!

“I’m Kailani Kanaka. It’s nice to meet you. Hop in the car and we’ll get started. Before we go, I’ll give you a quick rundown of the area immediately around the home where I live and work.

House of the Hanging Jade is set near the northwest coast of the island. It’s an area where thousands of acres of ranchland butt up against sheer black cliffs falling into the Pacific Ocean. From the lanai of the house which gives the book its title, I can see the island of Maui. During the winter, whales calve in the ‘Alenuihaha Channel between the Big Island and Maui.


“The lava fields that are closely associated with the Big Island are so old on this part of the island that much of the lava has been covered by a velvet cloak of grasses and trees swaying in time with the trade winds.

“So let’s set out. We’ll leave the House of the Hanging Jade and make a right onto the main highway, heading south. If you watch the water closely you may be able to see whale antics- anything from blowhole spouts to flippers slapping the water to full breaches. Often these behaviors are part of the courtship ritual between males and females, but sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to see a competition of sorts between males who are vying for a female’s attention. Then the breaches and flipper slapping become much more frequent and the males really put on a show.


“We’re coming to a part of the island where you’ll begin to see vast expanses of ropy black lava extending mauka (toward the mountain) and makai (toward the sea). The lava may look smooth, but it’s really very sharp and you have to be careful walking on it. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might see wild Hawaiian goats, too. They’re dark, so they blend in with the lava.

“Coming up on the right is the airport and pretty soon we’ll be going through the town of Kailua-Kona. It’s a small bustling city catering to locals and tourists alike. This is one of the towns where the cruise ships dock.


“A little further south is Kealakekua Bay, where Captain Cook was killed in 1779. He was the first white man to visit these shores, which he called the Sandwich Islands. There’s some great snorkeling in this area.

“As we round the southern tip of the island you can see Ka Lae in the distance. This is known as ‘South Point’ in English and is the southernmost point in the United States. Isn’t it beautiful?

“Let’s take a quick detour off the main road and have a look at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach. The sand is formed by lava rock that has been pulverized by the action of the waves. This is a favorite resting place for honu, or sea turtles.

]Punalu'u Black Sand Beach 2

“Now let’s continue up the southeastern coast. You’ll be amazed at the visible volcanic activity. Steam rises off the Pacific Ocean where the flow of lava meets the water. The Big Island is actually getting bigger every year from the new land being formed by lava.

“Kilauea Volcano has been erupting continuously since 1983. On several occasions the flow of lava has threatened homes and land; you may recall seeing in the news over the past year that the flow necessitated the (optional) evacuation of several people and families living in the volcano’s shadow.

]Kilauea eruption

“So now we’re coming into the northeastern part of the island. You’ll start to notice a change in the scenery soon. You’ll see more rainforest, less scrub, more waterfalls. We’ll come to the city of Hilo pretty soon. Hilo is the biggest town on the Big Island. My favorite Thai restaurant is there, too. The Hilo Farmers Market is a must when you’re in town- you can find any tropical fruit or vegetable your heart desires, and it’s likely been picked that morning.

“On the other side of Hilo, we’ll stop at Akaka Falls, a state park with breathtaking waterfalls amidst a primeval bamboo forest. I take a special trip to these falls in House of the Hanging Jade.

]Akaka Falls

“Let’s start heading back toward home. We’ll drive through the eucalyptus forests and take one more detour to see Waipi’o Valley. It’s not easy to get down to the bottom of the valley, but the views are really better from the top. There’s no way to express the majesty of those huge black cliffs. Once we get back on the main road, we’ll take a right at Honoka’a and drive through the ranching town of Waimea. Home to a gigantic private cattle ranch, Waimea is a cowboy, or paniolo, town. It’s cooler here than on the coast, and the views of the ocean from this elevation are beautiful.

“Coming out of Waimea, we can take one of two routes back to the House of the Hanging Jade. Let’s take the Kohala Mountain Road, which will wind us through verdant hills with gorgeous and unforgettable views. I had a terrifying encounter up here on the Mountain Road, and it’s not something I like to talk about. But House of the Hanging Jade describes it in detail. I haven’t been back since!

“At the end of the Kohala Mountain Road we’ll head right and make a stop at Pololu Valley. It’s one of the prettiest places on the Big Island and I don’t want you to miss it. Another dark cliff that plunges to the Pacific, Pololu Valley has a switchback trail that’s great for hiking.

Pololu Valley

“And now we head back through the town of Hawi, another place where some pretty frightening things happen in House of the Hanging Jade, and it’s back home. Aloha and mahalo for joining me today!”

Thanks, Kailani, for taking readers on a tour of your Big Island. I hope they enjoyed it!

]Waikoloa sunset

Amy can be found online at the following places:









Watercolor Artist Charlotte Laxen

From the show at the Interchange

From the show at the Interchange

When I meet someone with talent I admire I swoon. I have never been a groupie for rock bands but if the word expanded to artists or authors the name would fit.

I am not shy of name dropping about those I have met who are famous in their world such as in my author world. Since at heart I feel as if I have the heart of an artist I have added painting to my groupie world and one of the people I follow is Watercolor Artist Charlotte Warmka Laxen.

I can claim knowing her, since high school in fact. We have maintained a friendship over the years but recently have reconnected and spent more time together.

So today I would like to share the artwork and story of my friend Charlotte in her own words.


Creating has been part of my life since I was a little girl. My love for watercolor began when I took my first class from Gerald Korte at St.Cloud State University where I received my B.S. in Art Education in 1972. My passion for watercolor began after my first trip to France in 1991. I have been blessed over the past years to receive both emerging and career grants from the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council with funds appropriated by the McKnight Foundation to help me continue to move forward in my artistic growth and recognition.

Having seriously been painting in watercolor over 24 years, I still continue to find new ways to get excited about the beauty and expressive qualities of this medium! I am presently exploring painting watercolor on canvas!

I generally paint in my studio but also venture outdoors often to paint as well. I began my journey to teach myself “plein aire” (outdoor) painting by painting the “Arboretum Through the Seasons”-an eighteen month period of painting at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum from 2005-2006. This was followed by a show in their Reedy Gallery from Oct-Dec. of 2006 which shared this journey!

The privilege of teaching watercolor painting in Monet’s Gardens in Giverny France, through a school called Art-Study Giverny, was realized both in 2007 and 2009 and I have also painted in many different regions of France over the years. My work is found in private collections in the U.S., France and Australia.

I still find my passion in French themes or from this inspiration at the core of each new subject I choose. Even more importantly to me, the past few years, I have been able to share my personal Christian faith in many God inspired paintings such as Rabboni and the Lion of Judah. (see faith gallery) I love to share God’s amazing provision to encourage others. I was born and raised in rural southern Minnesota, a farmers daughter and the 7th of 8 children. I am the mother of two wonderful adult children and the grandmother of six. I have a deep love for God, people and painting. I have enjoyed sharing my home with people and students from France and other countries.

I was an art teacher part time in the Minnesota school system from 1973-1988 and presently, in addition to painting, I teach private lessons and  group workshops in watercolor. I have a new desire to offer opportunities that will allow art to bring people healing and to a closer walk with God.


On Saturday I attended an Art Exhibit at The Interchange in Albert Lea, Minnesota featuring Charlotte’s work. A couple of weeks ago I took my first watercolor class with Charlotte and visiting her show I could understand better what she does to create her beautiful paintings. So I am a follower not only of her artwork but of the way she chooses to live her life inspiring others. Please take time to visit her website and support her artwork, put one of her masterpieces on your wall or attend one of her classes. I guarantee you will come away inspired.

Vicki, Charlotte, Sue and Sue.

Vicki, Charlotte, Sue and Sue.

The View from my Soapbox

I felt the same way when a writer friend was down last week. This blog by Barbara Jean expresses my feelings too. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Barbara Jean Coast

Hi there, guys and dolls! This week I heard from a talented writer friend that I highly admire who was unfortunately down in the dumps, and quite frankly it made me a little sad. They were doubting their ability as a storyteller, not basing it on a lack of creativity, ideas or responses from readers, but on sales, or the lack thereof. This terrific and prolific author feels that it must be because they are bad at the craft and they are planning to let their hard worked creations go for less than a song, all in the name of self doubt, rooted in numbers. I say, in the warmest way, fiddle faddle to that.

Yours truly (and my writer alter egos) are names and not a number. Writing is about telling a story, not adding up numbers in some skewed popularity contest. Fleeting rankings and sales figures do not…

View original post 247 more words