My initial idea for The Ghost Rider was, what if a ghost was trapped by it’s past and it’s death, to travel the same path for eternity. This ghost became the ghost rider himself. I also wanted a second more malevolent ghost in the story.

Charlbury is a fictitious village in Wiltshire in the Cotswolds and is inspired by Castle Coombe.

I love flowers. I’d read about a few wildflower meadow projects that have been undertaken in the UK, and decided I wanted to bring one into the story. It became the Damselfly Meadow. I tend to bring things I love into my stories. So there is also Lady, the golden retriever, and Heru, a Peregrine Falcon. Birds of prey aren’t my favourite but I respect their power and there’s something majestic about them. When you see a wedge-tailed eagle fly, you have to admire and respect them.The peregrine falcon is an excellent falconry bird due to its strong hunting ability and it is easily trained. Their name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means “to wander.” Peregrine falcons are the fastest-flying birds in the world and are able to dive at 200 miles per hour. I named my falcon Heru after the Egyptian god Horus, often known as Heru. The god had the head of a falcon.

Music is another great love of mine and usually at least one character plays an instrument.

I hope you enjoy The Ghost Rider

Buy link to AMAZON

DIE FOR LOVE – Amazon TOP 100


DIE FOR LOVE will be 99c in US and UK 4th-6th August

Read my first ghost story before the second one is released on 7th August. (They are standalone books)

What happened to Edward Wallingford? His great-great nephew William is determined to find out.

England 1935.
Edward Wallingford, an artist, is on a solitary walking tour of the West Country. To recuperate from pneumonia, he wants to walk, paint and enjoy the countryside. When he stops at Claeg, a village in Dorset, he visits Marston Castle on the outskirts of the town. He becomes fascinated by Rose Marston who, with her two sisters, owns and lives in their family’s castle.

England Present Day.
William Wallingford has always heard tales of his great-great uncle Edward who disappeared on his walking tour in 1935. When Will’s mother discovers a letter written in Edward’s hand telling his family that he was in Claeg and intended staying at the castle, both Will and his mother are intrigued.

William, a professional photographer, has some free time between assignments, and determines to discover what happened to Uncle Edward. Why, when he went missing, could no one find any trace of him?

Will travels to Claeg and stays at the Clay Cutters Arms where he meets the owners, Natalie Pickering and her father.

Will soon hears local rumours that young men visiting Claeg disappear from time to time.

With Natalie’s help, Will meets a local witch, uncovers an unbelievable truth and nearly dies for love.


I was thrilled to receive a Gold Book Award from Literary Titan for The Feathered Nest.

When I received a 5 Star review, I was so happy but I had forgotten my book was entered into the Book Awards. So it came as a surprise to be told I’d been awarded the Gold Book Award.

Literary Titan’s 5 STAR review is below:

Alexandra Thornton goes on an expedition with her family to Norfolk Island to research the island’s birds with a particular focus on the green parrot. Little does she know what she has walked into, a web of a puzzling mystery that has to be unraveled before it threatens her.

The Feathered Nest by Ellen Read gives readers a captivating look into the mystery of Norfolk Island and its inhabitants. The story gains momentum as an intriguing chain of events unfold which endangers members of the expedition. As the story progresses readers get to unveil the motive behind the multitudes of murders.

Ellen Read is the quintessential historical mystery romance author who effortlessly blends elements of novelistic fiction with curious bits of history. The author creates characters with surprising depth and realistic emotions, which reminds me of how Agatha Christie creates her characters. Moreover, Ellen has strategically placed humor, wit, and alluring intimacy to mitigate the simmering tension of the reader. Readers will find themselves yearning to turn the page to decipher the fate of the characters. By the end of the novel, all the dilemmas that pique the reader are seamlessly resolved.

The Feathered Nest by Ellen Read is a cozy mystery novel that has a similar atmosphere as one of a period drama. With its descriptive prose, it delivers outstanding soulfulness with unmatched intricacy. Holistically, this mystery thriller prescribes hints throughout but is better comprehended as all the elements gradually fit into place. Overall, this book would appeal to readers that seek a compelling mystery with a touch of tender romance.

DIE FOR LOVE – Readers’ Favourite 5 Stars

Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite

“Tis said, that some have died for love.” – William Wordsworth. Die for Love: A Ghost Story is a mystery by Ellen Read. In England in 1935, while recuperating, artist Edward Wallingford feels inspired to sketch Marston Castle despite warnings about its haunting history. He meets the beguiling Rose Marston who coaxes him to stay at the castle because they were meant to be together. England, presentday, William is curious to learn the circumstances surrounding his great-great-uncle Edward’s disappearance. He travels to Claeg, Dorset, where his uncle was last seen. Natalie, the innkeeper, also warns William not to go to Marston Castle, which he ignores. While touring the castle, William meets a lovely woman named Rose who invites him to stay with her. Natalie has her suspicions when William behaves oddly and takes him to see a witch.

“His love was such a grievous pain.” – William Wordsworth. Edward and his great-great-nephew William were befuddled after being smitten by the beauty of a Marston woman. William Wordsworth’s poetry is a significant feature throughout this story. If you’re a fan of Edgar Allen Poe like myself, you will be thrilled with the engrossing dark mystery theme of Die for Love. It’s a suspenseful, touching story with a lovely setting in the rural English countryside. Ellen Read has also included excerpts from her other books at the back of Die for Love: A Ghost Story and the information on how this story originated. I really like the book’s cover illustration and highly recommend the novel for your reading pleasure.

THE FEATHERED NEST – Book 4 in The Thornton Mysteries – Food

I’m so pleased that my new book is out in the world!


Published by Crimson Cloak Publishing


Food plays a big part in my story as the Thorntons and friends (and enemies) so often discuss matters over a meal or afternoon tea.

Thornton Park – The story starts at Thornton Park and as such Mrs Preston works her magic with various dishes.

The Byrd brother and sister visit Thornton Park before they all depart on their expedition.

Since Thomas Thornton upgraded the kitchen by installing the new refrigeration, Mrs P has delighted in serving Vichyssoise – cold soup made of leeks, onions, potatoes and cream. It can be warmed but Mrs P wouldn’t serve it any other way but cold.

Poached Salmon with a mousseline sauce followed. – On April 12, 1912 R.M.S. Titanic, the “unsinkable ship,” ended her doomed voyage across the Atlantic. Salmon Mousseline was on the Titanic’s menu, and served during the very last dinner on board the ill-fated ship.

Sauted Chicken Lyonnaise followed at Thornton Park as the main course. Alexandra loved this French dish of sauted chicken with onions and sauce. It was also served in First Class on the Titanic.

In fact, the entire menu had been designed by Mrs Preston especially for Alexandra’s birthday. Yet another of Alexandra’s favourites—Chocolate Charlotte Russe, another French dish—was served for dessert.

Preston, the Thornton butler, poured wines suitable to each course, some of which had come from Archer’s Vineyard, others from Brown Brothers, and other Australian wineries.

Food on Norfolk Island

One meal consisted of an entrée of avocado with a squeeze of lemon, served on lettuce leaves, followed by roast beef and baked potatoes, kumaras and beans.

Kumaras or kumeras are also know as sweet potato. A dessert followed of baked china pears with cinnamon. China pears taste like they’re a cross between apples and pears, also known as Nashi pears.

For a light lunch, Pumpkin the cook at Norfolk Island, served banana fritters, with fried cheese balls, on a garden salad. For dessert, Pumpkin prepared fresh fruit – banana, paw paw, pineapple with passionfruit in orange juice.

This particular fruit salad recipe is one my mother used to make. Bananas Fritters is another my mother and I used to make.

Another lunch comprised baked fish in banana leaves – Trumpeter fish or Coral Trout is a well-loved fish on the island – accompanied by kumara and beans, and for dessert pink guava jelly and custard.

Chocoes is a vegetable that is less commonly used today but in the 1920s and, in fact, the Great Depression and during World War II, chocoes were easy to grow and a cheap vegetable to buy.

Flummery for dessert was another favourite years ago. It makes a light ending to a meal. In The Feathered Nest, Pumpkin makes a Lemon, Orange and Passionfruit Flummery.

I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed this brief culinary tour. I’ve added links below to various recipes you might like to try.

Sauté Chicken Lyonnaise

Others links follow to my website and social media sites.

THE FEATHERED NEST – Book 4 in The Thornton Mysteries – Norfolk Island Birds



Published by Crimson Cloak Publishing


Set in the 1920s, the Thornton family are antiques dealers. Thomas Thornton is also president of the Royal Society of Victoria, and in The Feathered Nest, he leads a group that includes his family to Norfolk Island to study the Green Parrot.

Green Parrot – Red-fronted Parakeet – Excerpt from Norfolk Island … the birds by Margaret Christian.

Unique to Norfolk Island.

“In 1789 Philip Gidley King R.N made mention repeatedly in his journal of the destructive plagues of ‘parroquets’ which were ‘in Very large flocks’…’having made great havock in one acre’ ruining the precious crops of wheat and Indian corn. This once common endemic parrot was reduced to an estimated fewer than 15 pairs in the early 1980s.”

Identification – Adult birds are a rich forest green, lighter green below, with a red crown, a red dot behind the eye and a blue leading edge to the wings. The beak is light blue, gradually darkening towards the tip which is blue-black. The eye is orange/red. Juveniles are similar to adults, but their beak is pinkish and their eyes are brown. Sexes are alike, but the male is slightly larger. Length: 30 cm

Excerpt from Norfolk Island … the birds by Margaret Christian.

Photo: Luis Ortiz Catedral

Norfolk Island has many other varieties of land birds. Some of the birds I mention in The Feathered Nest are: The Pacific Robin, the Golden Whistler otherwise known as Tamey, the White-breasted White-eye ‘Grinnell’, Emerald Doves, Crimson Rosellas, Masked Wood Swallows.

Some of the sea birds include the Providence Petrel and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters (Ghost birds)

Wedge-tailed Shearwaters’ (Ghost birds) mournful cries can be heard at nightfall.

Photo by Duncan Wright

The Thorntons enjoyed watching the small Masked Wood Swallows

Photo credit:


THE FEATHERED NEST – Book 4 in The Thornton Mysteries



Published by Crimson Cloak Publishing


Before Alexandra could sit down, the boat and the yacht too, lurched on the swell of a wave. It threw her off balance and against the man’s chest. His arms went around her to steady her. He smelled of the sea. It made Alexandra think of their days on the Endless Summer when the warm sea breeze found them on deck and soothed their spirits. Then Alexandra looked up and he grinned at her. She pushed back from him.  “Get your hands off me,” Alexandra demanded, and frowned at him. “I’m a married woman.”  “Lucky bloke.” He grinned again. His laughing eyes sparked something in Alexandra. Anger coursed through her blood. When the boat lurched again, and he put out a helping hand, she slapped it away. “Just trying to help, princess.” “Don’t call me that. I’m not a princess.” “My mistake.” He grinned again as she flopped onto the bench seat.

THE FEATHERED NEST – Book 4 in The Thornton Mysteries – NORFOLK ISLAND



Published by Crimson Cloak Publishing


Captain James Cook was the first known European to discover Norfolk Island in 1774 during his second voyage around the world aboard HMS Resolution. He named the island Norfolk after the Duchess of Norfolk. Captain Cook was amazed by the island’s rugged beauty and reported that flax and giant pines grew in abundance.

After the First Fleet of ships arrived in Australia, in January 1788, Lieutenant King was ordered to lead a party comprising convicts,  males and females, and free men, to take control of Norfolk Island so it didn’t fall into the hands of the French who were also interested in the south pacific.

Lieutenant King considered the island pines the most beautiful and finest in the world. He thought they’d be suitable for masts, yards and spars. This proved not to be the case as, although the pines had straight trunks, the wood was too soft for masts. However, the biggest problem was the lack of a natural safe harbour.

Even with these initial setbacks, Norfolk Island soon became a farm to provide food for Sydney. Kingston was established as a township and the convicts cultivated the ground and planted crops of vegetables.

Norfolk Island’s history can be divided into three sections. The First Settlement started in January 1788. The Second Settlement was a colonial convict settlement that began in 1825, when it was decided that a final place of punishment was needed for reoffenders and other antisocial British subjects, such as Irish political prisoners.

These were the dark days of the island in terms of human cruelty and misery. This period also marked the beginning of the destruction of the island’s natural biology, as clearing for large-scale agriculture and ambitious building works began. This cruel era ended in 1855 with the removal of the last of the convicts to Tasmania.

The Third Settlement began when on the 8th June 1856, 194 people, including descendants from the Bounty, arrived on Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island aboard the Morayshire.

Norfolk Island still celebrates the 8th of June as an Anniversary day on the Island  called Bounty Day.

When researching my book, I was astounded to discover that Norfolk Island has this vast and rich history, especially for such a small island. It’s a jewel in the South Pacific.


THE FEATHERED NEST – Book 4 in The Thornton Mysteries




Published by Crimson Cloak Publishing


Murder comes to Norfolk Island, but is the killer after Alexandra Archer’s Tahitian black pearl or a lost illustration of the rare Green Parrot?

The Thorntons, along with a small team of people, mount an expedition to Norfolk Island, a small island in the South Pacific, to study the Green Parrot and set up research programmes to help protect it and other endangered birds.

As a birthday surprise, Alexandra’s father tells her she is to be the official photographer for the expedition. Her father gives her a black pearl brooch that Alexandra’s great-grandfather had bought off a merchant in Hong Kong in the 1850s. The pearls are Tahitian black pearls.

Before they depart Melbourne, they learn that Norfolk Island has had its first murder. It sends ripples of unease through Alexandra. She hoped she could escape murder on this small island paradise.

Alexandra is astonished to learn that the main inhabitants of Norfolk Island are descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives. Once on the island, she wonders if this is why her Tahitian black pearl brooch causes such interest.

A chain of events is set in motion, commencing with a threat on the life of one of their expedition members, followed by intrigue surrounding bird smuggling and a lost illustration of the Green Parrot. Then two of their team are murdered.

 Alexandra is determined to find the answers and nearly loses her life in the process.