House of the Hanging Jade by Amy M. Reade – Guest Post + Giveaway

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House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA TodayHouse of the Hanging Jade by Amy M. Reade
A dark presence had invaded the Jorgensens’ house. On a spectacular bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, something evil is watching and waiting . . .

Tired of the cold winters in Washington, D.C. and disturbed by her increasingly obsessive boyfriend, Kailani Kanaka savors her move back to her native Big Island of Hawaii. She also finds a new job as personal chef for the Jorgensen family. The gentle caress of the Hawaiian trade winds, the soft sigh of the swaying palm trees, and the stunning blue waters of the Pacific lull her into a sense of calm at the House of Hanging Jade–an idyll that quickly fades as it becomes apparent that dark secrets lurk within her new home. Furtive whispers in the night, a terrifying shark attack, and the discovery of a dead body leave Kailani shaken and afraid. But it’s the unexpected appearance of her ex-boyfriend, tracking her every move and demanding she return to him, that has her fearing for her life . . .

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Part of the fun of doing a blog tour is coming up with different topics to write about at many of the stops on the tour. So far I’ve done a virtual drive around the Island of Hawaii, Ten Things You Might Not Know About Hawaii (which may or may not be from personal experience), Tips for Travelers in Hawaii: What to Avoid, the best advice I ever received about book marketing, a Hawaiian Culture Quiz, three Hawaiian recipes, what inspires me to write, A Day in the Life of Justine Jorgensen, and Fun Facts from Hawaii. So far.

So I needed to come up with another guest post topic for Brooke Blogs and I think I’ve hit on a good one: photography tips.

Is there any better souvenir to bring home from vacation than a camera full of photos of all the things you’ve seen and done? And I’m thinking specifically about vacations I’ve taken, especially to Hawaii, where my new book, House of the Hanging Jade, is set.

1) As I learned on my last vacation, taking photos through the windshield from the front seat of the car as it whizzes past beautiful places and breathtaking vistas is not the best way to snap an award-winning photograph. Getting that perfect shot will require you to get out of your car and into the cold, into the humidity, into the rain, into the scorching heat, into whatever awaits you. But you’ll be rewarded with a picture that is defined by authenticity and care.

But what if you can’t get out of the car, you ask? What if you’re on a busy road and it’s just not safe to pull over? That’s okay- just do me a favor and roll down the window. Maybe even slow the car down a bit.

And (this should go without saying) don’t take pictures while you’re trying to drive.

2) When taking a photo of two or more people, focus on the one closest to the camera.

3) Another group photo tip: make sure people’s heads are on different levels. It’s distracting when there’s just a row of heads across a picture. Mix it up a little and have some people sitting and some standing, or have everyone sitting or standing on different levels (a staircase comes to mind). One useful hint is called the Triangle Rule: when you’re looking through your camera lens, imagine a triangle around your subjects. There should be more people across the broader base of the triangle, and maybe one or two people (perhaps the taller ones) at the top of the triangle.

4) When you’re composing a scene, there’s something called the Rule of Thirds. It basically means that your photos will look more balanced if the subject is just a little bit off-center. If you’re taking a photo of your child, for instance, photograph him or her on the left side or the right side of the shot.

5) Don’t forget that sometimes the best shot isn’t going to be head-on. You might want to move
around a bit and take the picture from above or below your subject.

6) Keep your camera with you all the time.

7) Make a list of the shots you’d love to get and make opportunities to find those shots.

8) Increase your shutter speed (there should be a setting for it on your camera) to get action shots.

9) If you have a favorite landscape view, try going back at different times of day to photograph it, just to see how the light changes the scene. An evening scene almost always looks better at dusk than in the dark.

10) Try to put the sun behind you. This can make it hard when you’re photographing people and they’re being blinded, but here’s a tip: have them close their eyes or look down. Tell them to look up and say “cheese” or your phrase of choice on the count of three. When you get to “three,” they look up, say the word, and you snap the photo. Try to get two or three shots quickly in case someone is blinking.

11) Do you still have photos developed instead of leaving them online? I do, and I’ve found that having them developed where you’re on vacation is better than waiting to have them developed when you get home. There are two reasons for this: first, the people who work for the photo shop will have a good idea of what the local colors are supposed to look like; and second, you may find that one or two photos didn’t turn out the way you hoped or expected. If that happens, you might have time to go back and try another shot before heading for home.

12) Take lots and lots of photos! As they say, practice makes better!

About the Author

2013 1548Amy 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.

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16 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great advice Amy, I took a photography class many years ago, and since the age of digital photography a lot has changed. I have my camera set so that it takes 3 shots with one click. That is especially helpful when taking shots of children who don’t necessarily hold still… 🙂


    1. I need to take more of my own advice, and that’s a good tip- taking more than one shot with each click. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I am always interested in reading books set in a place with which I am familiar. I have made Hawaii a frequent destination visiting many of the islands and enjoying the culture and the people. I love Spam, pineapple, IZ music, tropical breezes, and even poi. Hawaii is a very special place…the perfect place for…muurrrder!

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