Field Trip!

Last week I visited…wait for it…the Library of Congress! It’s been crazy around my house lately, so I didn’t get a chance to write my typical Tuesday blog. But I wrote about my field trip for another blog I contribute to, and I’m sharing the link here with my readers today. I hope you’ll visit Novel Spaces and check out how I spent last Friday.

http://novelspaces.blogspot.com/2017/03/a-writers-dream.html

Thank you!

Until next week,

Amy

Happiness is Pineapple…and a Book Birthday!

House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today (2)

Only six more weeks until the release of House of the Hanging Jade! I’ve spent a lot of my time lately writing guest posts, doing interviews, and updating my social media sites in preparation for the new book. At the bottom of this post I’ll provide you with a list of all the places you can find me online. I hope you’ll visit!

One of the many things I love about writing is the research that I get to do. Sometimes it’s online, sometimes it’s in a library, sometimes it’s on a field trip. This time it was in one of my favorite places, the kitchen. I thought this week I would share with you one of the recipes I found while I was writing House of the Hanging Jade. It comes from Betty Shimabukuro, a managing editor and writer for the Honolulu newspaper, the “Star-Advertiser.” One of her most popular columns is called By Request, and it’s where she tries to find answers for cooks looking for old recipes, ingredients, and inspiration. I have two of Shimabukuro’s books- By Request and By Request 2, both featuring reprints of some of her most popular and requested recipes.

I haven’t even made it through the entirety of Book 2 yet, because the recipe for Pineapple Nut Bread stopped me in my tracks and I can’t seem to move past it. The best way I can think of to thank Betty for printing the recipe is to share it with as many people as I can. It’s got crunch, sweetness, and a moist cakey texture that is delicious.

Pineapple Nut Bread

1 and 3/4 c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 c. chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp. butter, softened

2 eggs

1 c. crushed pineapple, undrained

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ loaf pan. Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in nuts.

Cream brown sugar, butter, and eggs. Stir in dry ingredients (mixture will be dry); fold in pineapple. Pour into loaf pan.

Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over loaf. Bake 50-60 minutes.

You’re welcome.

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Please note, I didn’t check my macadamia nuts for freshness and I made the loaf with rancid ones. Sooo gross. I had to spit out that first bite. It was actually my only bite.

I hope in these weeks leading up to the release of House of the Hanging Jade that I can provide you with a few more Hawaiian-style recipes that you’ll find delicious, too. In the meantime, here are those social media links I was telling you about:

Webiste: www.amymreade.com

Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com

Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads author page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade

Tumblr: www.amymreade.tumblr.com

And here’s one more thing I want to tell you about: it’s called Thunderclap, and it’s like an online flash mob. I’ve set one up for the release of the book. It’s easy to participate, and I hope you’ll consider supporting me. You just click on this link: http://thndr.me/RgNkzh and sign up to support House of the Hanging Jade through your Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account. It doesn’t cost you a cent and Thunderclap doesn’t share your information or do any other nasty thing. On April 26th, release day, a blurb hits your feed that says you support the House of the Hanging Jade Book Birthday.

Once you sign up, let me know in the comments below and I’ll enter you to win a paperback copy of House of the Hanging Jade. Even if you don’t win, you’ll still get my undying thanks.

Until next week,

Amy

 

 

 

The Top 10 Things I Learned Doing Research About Hawaii

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It’s on my website, the “About Me” section of my blog, and my Facebook and Twitter pages, but some of you may not know how much I love Hawaii. I first went there on my honeymoon in 1995 and it’s been an obsession ever since. My third book, which is still without an official title, comes out next April (you’re right– I said it would be March, but things change and, unfortunately, I have no control over that) and you may or may not know that it’s set on the Island of Hawaii (yes, just like the state’s name. It can be confusing, so sometimes the island is referred to as the “Big Island”). It’s the story of Kailani, a sous chef living in Washington, D.C., who moves back home to her native island of Hawaii to take on the job of personal chef to a family of four. Beyond that, I don’t want to give much away because the book is still in the edits stages.

But I did tons of research for the book, and I wanted to share with you some of my favorite fun facts.

1. There has never been a case of rabies in Hawaii.

Learned that the hard way.

My husband and I were eating dinner in a nice restaurant (open-air) when a cat wandered up to our table. He (she?) was beautiful, gray and white, and I reached down to pet him. You know what happened next. So we called the ER when we got back to our room to see if I should go in for rabies shots and we were told, to my great happiness, that Hawaii is rabies-free.

2. Many years ago, Hawaiians brought mongoose (the plural of this word is up in the air–some say mongeese, some say mongooses, neither sounds right to me) to the islands to rid the land of rats.

What they didn’t realize is that mongoose are diurnal. And since rats are nocturnal, the two species have never met.

3. The state fish is something is called the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a. Say that ten times fast, or even one time slowly.

4. The Big Island is approximately double the size of the other seven major islands combined.

5. The Big Island has eleven of the thirteen climate zones in the world. Yes, there is snow in Hawaii. People actually ski and snowboard there, but only on the mountaintops.

6. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows coffee.

7. There are only twelve letters in the Hawaiian alphabet and the words in the Hawaiian language are more fun to pronounce than any other in the world (this last part was my opinion, not actual searchable fact). See #3, above.

8. Hawaiian cowboys are called paniolos. Their culture is exciting and their history is diverse and they are responsible for some fabulous food and music that come from their mixed heritages.

9. The island of Moloka’i is where people with Hansen’s Disease, commonly known as leprosy, were sent forcibly until as recently as the 1960s. If you’re ever in search of a great read about this, pick up Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. It’s a beautifully-written, honest, and heartwrenching story about the leper colony on the island.

10. If you ever find a gecko indoors, don’t worry–they’re good luck!

Cockroaches, not so much.

11. BONUS! Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two mountains located on the Island of Hawaii, are the two largest mountains in the world when measured from the sea floor.

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Got any fun facts from somewhere you’ve been? I’d love to hear about it!

Until next week,

Amy

Blog Hopping!

This week’s blog is coming a little early. I’m participating in a blog-hop at the invitation of Joyce Ann Brown, author of some very fun cozy mystery stories. I recommend a visit to her blog at http://www.retirementchoicescozymystery.wordpress.com.

So here are my answers to the burning questions:

1. What am I working on now?

I am currently working on my second novel, with a tentative title of Low Country Twilight. It’s the story of a restoration specialist who moves from Chicago to South Carolina with her little girl to restore an old plantation manor. While there, she discovers that the members of the household have hidden vices and secrets, and she slowly gets drawn into a web of suspicion and distrust that affect her job and her future happiness. I am enjoying the story and my goal is to have it finished by Easter. It is due to the publisher on June 1st, so I will have between April 20th and June 1st to revise and rewrite.

2. How is my writing different from others of the same genre?

My books are considered women’s fiction with a strong sense of suspense and setting. I like to write about places I know well, and I hope that the love I have for the places I write about shows in my stories. Though my books are in the genre of romantic suspense, they contain light, sweet romance and suspense that is not too violent or gory. I like to write the types of books that I read.

3. Why do I write what I do?

That’s easy, and I have already given the short answer: I write what I like to read. Growing up, one of my favorite authors was Phyllis A. Whitney, author of a huge number of romantic suspense books and my personal hero. She was a prolific author who wrote past age 100, and her protagonists were always strong women who dealt with adversity head-on and came out stronger for it.

This is not to say that I don’t love other genres, too. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and biographies. I also love thrillers. If you read some of the older posts on my blog, you’ll see that I simply love books, and my favorites run the gamut from Jane Austen to Ernest Hemingway to M.C. Beaton.

4. How does your writing process work?

I have addressed this issue in past blog posts, too. I like to plot out my stories long before I start writing them. I make up my characters and their personal histories. I like to plot out the scenes before I stitch them together. I draw pictures of the places where the action occurs. I research, research, research. I get an entire story written down before I start revising. I keep a list of things that I know need extra attention on the second pass-through, but I don’t do any rewriting until the story is completed.

I love every single minute of the writing process, whether it’s research, plotting, writing the first draft, revising and editing, writing the final draft, writing any draft in between, doing copy edits, or doing page proofs.

This blog hop didn’t ask, but I figured I’d plug my first book anyways, which is coming out in July 2014 by Kensington Publishing. It’s called Secrets of Hallstead House. It is the story of a young woman who moves from Manhattan to a secluded home in the Thousand Islands to take a job as the private nurse to an elderly woman. While there, she discovers that the people who live on the island harbor dangerous secrets that she was never meant to learn. She must face those secrets if she is to stay alive and find happiness.

I invite you to visit my website at http://www.amymreade.com or to follow my blog and leave comments on the things you read. I usually post on Tuesdays on subjects ranging from writing to reading to volunteering to things to do for fun.

I also invite you to stop by again to see who I’ve tagged next in the blog hop!

Until next week,

Amy