THE AMBER TRAP QUOTE

“Murder on the High Seas.” Thomas Thornton lowered his newspaper to glance at his daughter. “That’s what it says here in the newspaper,” he told her, before he read the article aloud. “The SS Strathnaver out of London via Bombay and Colombo docked in Melbourne yesterday.”

P&O Strathnver

Image from the Internet

Gross Registered Tonnage 22,547 tons

Length x Width 664 feet x 80 feet

Builder and Year of Build Vickers-Armstrongs of Barrow – 1932

First Class + Tourist Accommodation 498 + 670 persons : Total 1,168 passengers

Ultimate Fate Broken up at Hong Kong in 1962

As you can see, the Stathnaver was built in 1932. I moved it forward a few years for the sake of my story to 1929.

The Amber Trap – Book 3 in The Thornton Mysteries

I’m happy to announce that the next book in The Thornton Mysteries series will be released on 21st March.

Murder on the High Seas. Thomas Thornton reads the newspaper article.

Can the murder of a young German man, fatally stabbed during a voyage out of London to Melbourne, have anything to do with the Thorntons? Alexandra’s curiosity is piqued when a Prussian Count, who travelled on the same ship, shows up at Thornton Antiques in search of a rare amber postage stamp.

Alexandra Thornton and Benedict Archer have been married for one year. Benedict is estranged from his family, who own a vineyard in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Alexandra urges him to try to heal the breach. 

Murder. A strange count searching for a rare stamp. A missing opal. A family in turmoil. How are they all connected? 

When a dark secret of betrayal and loss is exposed, Alexandra finds her world shattered.

I enjoyed writing this book. I visited the Barossa Valley in South Australia where the book is set to do research. An area of beautiful landscapes and delicious wines.

The story, in a way, is Benedict’s story. Alexandra persuades him, as only Alexandra could do, to visit his family who own a vineyard. Alexandra can’t believe how his mother has cast him aside. When she meets Joyce Archer, she begins to understand but there is still so much that is hidden.

Then there are murders, a strange count who seems to follow them, pieces of amber from the Baltic, and a missing opal.

While the Thorntons are coping with all of this, South Australia starts it bush fire season earlier than usual. Tragedy soon strikes.

When a dark secret of betrayal and loss is exposed, Alexandra finds her world shattered.

WHEN JACARANDAS BLOOM

Jacaranda trees bloom in October and November in Australia. The trees become laden with purple blossom. It is a sight to behold.

I love the small towns of Maleny and Montville and have often visited. They are set in beautiful countryside in South East Queensland surrounded by farms, rainforest, and waterfalls. A place where flowers thrive and people can relax and unwind.

When I first had the idea for this story, I immediately thought this would be the ideal place for a story about new beginnings.

Although Stephanie is escaping an abusive relationship, and the story is about healing and finding a new path, and not just for Stephanie.

I hope you enjoy When Jacarandas Bloom.

WHEN JACARANDAS BLOOM

WHEN JACARANDAS BLOOM

My new Novella will be Released on 1st November.

Set in the picturesque, idyllic villages of Maleny and Montville in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Stephanie Page has one chance to escape her abusive partner and she takes it. By the end of the day, she finds herself on the top of a mountain range. Is it far enough away? Can she be safe here?

She’s drawn to a rundown tearoom, although she’s not sure why. The owner, Lynette, is cheerful and friendly, and Stephanie finds herself calling in most days. Lynette never has any other customers, so this allows them time to chat.

Lynette encourages Stephanie to visit an antiques and craft place owned and run by Andrew, the son of a friend of Lynette’s. Stephanie calls in. The place is a treasure trove of wonderful antiques and books, but she finds Andrew to be rude and unfriendly. She tells Lynette so. Lynette urges her to go another day and make the effort to befriend him.

Stephanie has just run away from one bad relationship. She doesn’t want another, and she doesn’t want to befriend a rude man. 

From what Lynette says one day over a Devonshire tea, it sounds as if she and Andrew have had a relationship. Then Lynette disappears. When Stephanie mentions this to Andrew, he orders her out of his antiques place.

Things are not what they seem.

Hurt and confused, Stephanie comes to the conclusion that she won’t find happiness here. Is it time to move on again?

MRS PRESTON’s KITCHEN and ANZAC BISCUITS

MRS PRESTON’S KITCHEN (The Thornton Mysteries)

Morning Tea

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Miss Alexandra said to me, Mrs P … Miss Alexandra calls me Mrs P. Such a lovely young woman. I’ve seen her grow from a beautiful baby … wait, I’m getting off track. Edward, that’s my husband, Mr Preston, he tells me I waffle too much. Dear Edward, he only teases me. So, Miss Alexandra said why don’t you tell everyone about what you have for morning tea … especially this time, because of Anzac Day. Mr Benedict fought in the Great War. He was only a boy. So many boys killed. I think it upsets Miss Alexandra too much to talk about it.

I had to get my head on straight though to talk to you about it, too. I had to think when it all started. 1916 – that was the first Anzac Day. One year after all those poor boys and men died on Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25th April 1915. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Well, we had to commemorate the tragic loss of life. I remember that first Anzac Day. We held a Dawn Service here at Thornton Park, and in the afternoon, Mr Thornton opened the polo field up to the locals for a football match. Some people played tennis. Mr Preston told me later that services were held across Australia and our boys in Egypt had a sports day. To us Aussies, it’s the mateship that’s important.

Such a terrible time. The things I read in the newspaper about our poor boys. They landed at Gallipoli to knock Turkey out of the war but everything … now what’s that word …stalemated, that’s it. Eight months and over eight thousand soldiers killed.

I remember on other Anzac Days, the 25th April became the day we remember the sacrifice of all those who had died in war. Ooh I can’t think of it without crying. Miss Alexandra always gives me a kiss on the cheek when I get upset. Edward tells me to pull myself together … but it upsets him to remember, too. Those Anzac boys were courageous and have left a strong legacy.

By now, you’re probably wondering about morning tea. At Thornton Park, we have Anzac biscuits. Like the poor boys in the trenches ate. They weren’t called Anzac biscuits then. The boys called them the Soldiers Biscuits. Food took a long time to reach the boys and there wasn’t any refrigeration then. Not like I have here now. Mr Thornton bought me one of those new ice boxes. So, food had to last. Like hard tack, bully beef – tinned corned beef, rice and tea. That’s what fed the army.

I always make Anzac Biscuits. It’s so easy – rolled oats, plain flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup or treacle, coconut, bi-carbonate of soda, and boiling water. I like to make the original recipe. I’ll let you have a copy of it. I had it from a friend of a friend.

I hope you’ll enjoy a cuppa and an Anzac biscuit now with me. Mr Preston and Harry just served the family. I made some jam tarts to go with the biscuits.

I’ll see you next time. After I’ve finished my cuppa, I have to think what to prepare for lunch.

 

ANZAC BISCUITS

Ingredients

1 cup each of plain flour, rolled oats, coconut and sugar

4 ounces butter

1tablespoon treacle or golden syrup

2 tablespoons boiling water. (Add a little more if the mixture is dry)

1 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda

Method

1 Grease tray and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 Combine the dry ingredients.

3 Melt together butter and golden syrup. Combine water and bi-carbonate-soda – add to butter mixture

4 Mix butter and dry ingredients.

5 Drop teaspoons of mixture onto tray.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring onto cooling racks.

Makes approximately 35 biscuits.

(This is from an original recipe by Mr Bob Lawson, an ANZAC present at the Gallipoli landing.)

MRS PRESTON’S KITCHEN

BREAKFAST

The Thornton Mysteries

When writing a book set in the 1920s, the first thing you realise is there is a lot of research to do. The Dragon Sleeps is a murder mystery, the first in The Thornton Mysteries.

The family home, Thornton Park, is a lavish mansion. There are servants and a definite upstairs downstairs scenario. Fashions, music and cars aside, I found the need to research food. What would the family eat in 1927? What did the servants eat?

Mrs Preston is the cook at Thornton Park. Not a chef, but she’s as meticulous and proud of her culinary achievements, as any chef in a restaurant would be. She manages the menus and the kitchen staff to perfection. She does discuss the family menus with Alexandra Thornton, who is mistress of the house.

Kedgeree - photo credit

On an average day, the family is served breakfast in the morning room. This usually entails dishes such as Kedgeree served with softly scrambled eggs. This is a British recipe, as much of Australian food was at that time. Kedgeree originated in India, during the British Colonial days. At a time before refrigeration, it allowed cooks to use leftovers from the night before to make into appetising breakfast dishes.  Essentially the ingredients are boiled rice, chopped hard-boiled egg, cold minced fish, fried in one pan and flavoured with herbs.

Strawberry jam on English muffins w Credit

Sausages are also a much-loved breakfast fare, along with English muffins and toast, served with marmalade and strawberry jam. All served with tea or coffee.

Royal Albert tea set 02a

 

For the servants of Thornton Park, Mrs Preston always cooks a whole grain oatmeal or porridge, whether it be summer or winter. The servants need a hearty breakfast to sustain them for the long hours ahead.

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Now, there’s morning tea to think of. What will Mrs Preston serve?

 

 

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You can purchase The Dragon Sleeps from the following:

Amazon    http://myBook.to/DragonSleeps

Book Depository

Barnes and Noble

Waterstones

Booktopia.

Wordery

Better World Books

Chapters Indigo

You can follow Ellen on the following

 

The year is almost over…

This year has been an exciting one for me with the release of The Dragon Sleeps in November. It’s the first book in The Thornton Mysteries. A cosy mystery series with a tender love story.

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Book 2 is with my publisher, with book 3 soon to follow. I’ve finished it except for a last read through.

In January, I’m starting book 4. The research is done. I’m looking forward to writing it.

Book 1 is set at Thornton Park, the family home in Victoria.

Book 2 is principally set in Daylesford, a small town in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria. Dayleford is a beautiful place, and today is known for its spas and for its natural mineral springs.

Book 3 is set at Thornton Park and the Barossa Valley in South Australia. The Barossa is prime wine country.

Book 4 will take us to Norfolk Island, a beautiful island in the South Pacific not far from Australia. I went there last year to do some research. I’m going back in 2020.

I hope you’ll come on this journey with me.

This year also saw the release of Broken, a story that is free on my website.

After the tragic death of her parents, Rachael Watson ran away, leaving her sister to manage the family lavender farm and shop. Three years later, crushed by her unrelenting grief, workplace bullying, and guilt and shame for letting her sister down, Rachael decides to return home.

There, Rachael meets Ebony, a black mare who has been mistreated and beaten. Rachael realises she is not the only one who has been broken.

The Treasure is also free on my website. It’s a novelette – short than a novella but longer than a short story. YA/NA Fantasy.

Cover 1600x2400 - THE TREASURE

Lastly, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas – or Happy Holidays if you don’t celebrate Christmas – and a Happy, Healthy New Year.

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The Dragon Sleep – Book of the Day

BOOK OF THE DAY

My publisher Crimson Cloak Publishing is holding a
‘Book of the Day’ promotion.


For Friday 29th November it is my book,
The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. A body in the orchard.

What secret has remained hidden at Thornton Park for the last eighty years?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A time after the Great War when women have more options opened to them.

At a weekend house party at Thornton Park, Alexandra Thornton decides to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like her father, grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Guests include Zhang Huo, the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton, Alexandra’s father.

Benedict Archer, manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne, is also invited.

When Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, points out to Alexandra that Benedict is attracted to her, Alexandra can’t believe it.

Then a body found in the orchard, and before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen.

Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What treasure is worth killing to possess?

The link to purchase is below:
http://myBook.to/DragonSleeps

 

The Dragon Sleeps is released and available on Amazon

I’m very happy to announce that

The Dragon Sleeps

is released and available on Amazon

http://mybook.to/DragonSleeps

Available now - Cover mockup Composite w roses

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. A body in the orchard. 

What secret has remained hidden at Thornton Park for the last eighty years? 

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A time after the Great War when women have more options opened to them. 

At a weekend house party at Thornton Park, Alexandra Thornton decides to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like her father, grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Guests include Zhang Huo, the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton, Alexandra’s father. 

Benedict Archer, manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne, is also invited.

When Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, points out to Alexandra that Benedict is attracted to her, Alexandra can’t believe it. 

Then a body found in the orchard, and before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. 

Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago. 

What treasure is worth killing to possess?

 

You can follow me on:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Pinterest

ellenread.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK OF THE DAY – this Friday 1 November

Crimson Cloak Publishing is holding a promotion for BOOK OF THE DAY this Friday 1 November. 

Reel Love by Elizabeth Hartey

 

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Sometimes you land a great job, meet your soul mate and live happily ever after – nothing else required.  This isn’t one of those times.

Annie Caslo is a successful young doctor, but when she begins rethinking the career choices she’s made, she makes a decision to find a way to stay focused and achieve her true ambitions – that is, until fate steps in and she is thunderstruck by Colt Ballard. He’s six foot three inches of heart-stopping hotness, an adept, roguish soccer star and one of her interns.  But he’s a player – on and off the field – and Annie has better things to do.  Still, the combustible chemistry between them is impossible to resist – Colt brings out feelings she never knew existed and Annie’s swept off her reluctant feet.

When she continues to second-guess her life choices, opportunitites and obstacles begin piling up higher than the greasy Mexican food stacks she hates to admit loving.  While in a state of emotional turmoil, she gets a celestial visit from a hunky, Hollywood heartthrob lookalike, who claims to be her guardian angel.  He takes her on a magical road trip to self-discovery with the help of several dearly departed film icons.

Drawn into the excitement of a life she’s always dreamed of, this new life threatens to shatter the life and love she already has – unless her quirky angel can help her find a way to have it all.

 

You can buy Reel Love by clicking the link below.

http://myBook.to/reellove

 

About Elizabeth Hartey:

Elizabeth lives and writes in Pennsylvania.

As a lover of the northeast USA, Elizabeth and her husband moved to the Poconos several years ago to open a Chiropractic Clinic. Four children and a menagerie of animals later, she has finally found time to fulfill her lifelong dream of writing novels. A dreamer at heart, romance is, of course, the genre she spends most of her time writing and reading into the wee hours of the morning. When she’s not juggling work responsibilities and writing, she enjoys swimming, knitting, hiking the beautiful hills and woods around her home, and spending time with her family.

 

https://www.elizabethhartey.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Reel-Love-1826632230886768

https://www.facebook.com/EHarteyauthor

Twitter: @drliz5

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100014957197382

https://drlizblog.wordpress.com