Unconventional Romance and Historical Fiction

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair - unconventional romance

I write unconventional romance and historical fiction, often set in Aberdeenshire, the area of Scotland where I live. My historical novels combine little-known dark events with love stories. There are witches, bears and Romans to be found in them, detailed here. My contemporary work is much, much naughtier, though still dark, and available now.

I take a LOT of photos as is evidenced throughout the site.

Here on the blog, I write about castleshistorystone circlesdance, living with chronic illness, and writing. See my about page here.

A Dancer’s Journey – unconventional romance

A Dancer's Journey, a 3 book series by Ailish Sinclair. Unconventional romance.

My dance background and love of history and spicy stories are what inspired this wild mix of romance and ballet set between a Scottish castle and London.

There are no cliffhanger endings in this series; each book completes a story, but then there is more. So much more. Read all the blurbs here

When dance student Amalphia Treadwell embarks on a secret relationship with her charismatic new teacher, she has no idea of the danger that lurks in his school in Scotland…

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

Book covers of A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair: celebratory dance.

Posts on the inspiration behind these stories:

A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair

Historical Fiction

The historical novels of Ailish Sinclair

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

The Romans called it the edge of the world

Further Insight

Newsletter, Updates and ARCs

Go here to sign up for occasional emails that always include exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. They’re a bit more intimate than the blog. If you would like to hear about new books and special offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Reviewers can apply for Advance Reader Copies of future books here.

Ballet feet en pointe, legs in jeans

Aviemore Stone Circle at the Summer Solstice

Roses bloom in Aviemore stone circle

Aviemore Stone Circle is unusual, though not unique, in that it is situated in the middle of a housing estate.

On the day I visited – Summer Solstice 2019 – roses were blooming at the edge of the circle, adding to the magical atmosphere of the place. The houses don’t detract from that; bushes and trees lend some privacy to the ancient stones.

Aviemore stone circle in the sun

Solstice Sun

The sun was newly risen and bright; patches of ground seemed almost luminescent. There’s often a special light quality at stone circles, whether they’re in an open urban setting like this, or tucked away within dark forests. Maybe the mind just tends toward mysticism among these mysterious old standing stones.

Under the rowan tree

People had left mementos or offerings in the Rowan tree, perhaps treating the site like a clootie well?

ribbons tied to a tree by the stone circle

Clouds gathered overhead as I left the circle, on my way to an utterly amazing breakfast just round the corner at the Mountain Cafe (no longer there, sadly).

Aviemore stone circle and house

If you liked this post on Aviemore Stone Circle, you might also like:

There’s a stone circle in all my books:

Sisters at the Edge of the World by Ailish Sinclair

Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance!

“Ethereal and spellbinding…” Historical Novel Society

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

See the press release here

Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair, and a harp

Taking place mainly in a castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR blends an often overlooked period of history, the Scottish witchcraft accusations, in particular the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, with a love story.

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland 

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children and young people of Aberdeen. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!

See the publisher’s Press Release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society Editor’s Pick

And A Dancer’s Journey:

A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair

These books are so naughty that I’m a little worried nobody will be able to look me in the face again after reading them. But not that worried. They’re heading out into the world anyway.

When dance student Amalphia Treadwell embarks on a secret relationship with her charismatic new teacher, she has no idea of the danger that lurks in his school in Scotland…

See the series page here on the site for full blurbs and quotes

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

New novel from Aberdeenshire author combines passions from Grampian Online.

A Dancer's Journey Series by Ailish Sinclair - dark and romantic books

About Page

feet

See my About Page here

Newsletter

Go here to sign up for my occasional emails that always include some exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Simple Things, Happy Things

Simple things: white pointe shoes and a prayer plant.

This is a post from 2023. It’s about simple things that make me happy. Today I’m adding new white pointe shoes. And a prayer plant.

Original Simple Things Post

Recently, I’ve been sharing little bits of my life that relate to the series A Dancer’s Journey. Writing the last post of that type brought me out in a cold sweat. Literally. So today, it’s just happy, shiny things!

beach: simple things
A walk on the beach

First up is a walk on the beach. Illness often prevents such activities, so I really appreciate them when they’re possible, and they are just now.

Next: flowers.

simple things: pink purslane
Pink Purslane in the woods
simple things: a tall peony
A tall and pollen-heavy Peony
simple things: apple blossom
apple blossom

The last of the simple things is a newly tidied drawer. Actually still a messy drawer under the shoes. But I can get to my shoes easily. And I can dance.

Ballet shoes

A Dancer’s Journey: complete, shocking, unique

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair
  • Angsty romance
  • Lots of naughtiness!
  • A neurodivergent heroine and a Byronic hero
  • Set in London and Scotland
  • Unconventional love and a secret relationship
  • A castle, a dungeon and a stone circle

When dance student Amalphia Treadwell embarks on a secret relationship with her charismatic new teacher, she has no idea of the danger that lurks in his school in Scotland…

There are no cliffhanger endings in this series; each book completes a story, but then there is more. So much more.

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

In the Press

New novel from Aberdeenshire author combines passions from Grampian Online.

Cabriole by Ailish Sinclair

Newsletter

Go here to sign up for my occasional emails that always include exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. They’re a more intimate space than the blog. If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

About Page

Ailish Sinclair in a tree...

Read all about little old me here

Writer’s Tip Jar

The Red Well by Whitehills in Aberdeenshire

the red well and the sea
the red well near Whitehills in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

The Red Well

The Red Well by Whitehills is protected by an unusual building. On the autumn equinox, at sunrise, a beam of light shines through the doorway of this beehive-shaped shelter and illuminates the well within. This happens on the spring equinox too. The well, and the building, are said to date from Roman times.

the red well by whitehills

A Witch’s Hoosie

the red well by Whitehills

When I was a small child, I lived with my grandparents in Whitehills for a while. One day, playing with my cousins, I was locked in that building to see if the witch would get me. The place was referred to as the ‘witch’s hoosie’ back then, by children at least. There were scary stories of an old lady witch ghost. I was quite interested to see if she would show up. She didn’t, and I was eventually freed, my lack of fear having disappointed my companions somewhat.

The door is kept locked now.

Since then, I’ve always viewed the well as rather a magical place, and keenly look out for the quick glimpse of it in the landscape that you get when driving along the main Banff to Portsoy road.

thistles by the well
Thistles by the well

It’s in a particularly beautiful spot, the Red Well. The town of Banff can just be seen in the distance below.

the red well by the sea

A Book Set in Roman Times

I included the Red Well in SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD.

Sisters at the Edge of the World by Ailish Sinclair

It was seven years in the making, this book. Both the novel and I went through a lot as the story developed: severe editing, hospitalisations, deleting, pain, rewriting, crying and being monstrous.

See the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.

Paperback and Kindle:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

It’s on Kindle Unlimited too so can be read for free (there’s a 30 day free trial).

sisters at the edge of the world

Newsletter

Go here to sign up for my occasional emails that always include exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. They’re a more intimate space than the blog. If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

About Page

Ailish Sinclair in a tree...

Read all about little old me here

Writer’s Tip Jar

Down by the field…

pink flowers by the field
Cranesbill growing by the field

Writing is flowing and fierce. Walks are gentle. By the field. In the woods. I haven’t ventured far from home yet.

Trees are gnarly, and blog posts are short 🙂

gnarley tree by the field

The Manteith Collection

The Manteith Collection, Ailish Sinclair

The Manteith Collection comprises THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR and FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE. The books do not have to be read in order.

Book 1 (mermaid, 16th century) is set mainly in a castle belonging to the Manteith family and involves witchcraft accusations and romance.

In Fireflies (18th century) Elizabeth Manteith is kidnapped and transported to the American colonies as an indentured servant.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

About Page

Ailish Sinclair romps in the loch

Bio, socials, articles and interviews.

Newsletter

Sign up to the mailing list for news about my life and writing, and some exclusive photos. It’s a more intimate space than the blog. If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Small Flowers and Writing Affirmations

Stripy Petunias
Daring little petunias – no writing affirmations needed for them!

I am writing again. Finally.

I didn’t need any encouragement – I’ve been champing at the bit waiting to be well enough – but I did feel a little nervous. What if my brain was rusty? What if this resulted in me writing bilge? Utter bilge. Bilge that my rusty brain thought was good?

So when YouTube suggested these writing affirmations to me, I listened. They were rather nice – empowering, even – so I’m sharing them.

Writing Affirmations

The affirmations start at 2.37 minutes in, if, like me, you want to skip the meditation/relaxation part. I listened while doing my morning mix of yoga and Pilates.

Small Flowers

a strawberry flower - writing affirmations
Red strawberry flower
purple flower - writing affirmations
A purple flower – I think it’s an Aster

A Writing-Related TikTok

A Dancer’s Journey Series – complete, shocking, unique

A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair

When dance student Amalphia Treadwell embarks on a secret relationship with her charismatic new teacher, she has no idea of the danger that lurks in his school in Scotland…

My dance background and love of history and spicy stories are what inspired this wild mix of unconventional romance and ballet set between a Scottish castle and London. There are no cliffhanger endings here; each book completes a story, but then there is more. So much more…

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

A Dancer's Journey Series by Ailish Sinclair

About Page

Ailish Sinclair romps in the loch

Bio, socials, articles and interviews.

Newsletter

Sign up to the mailing list for news about my life and writing, and some exclusive photos. It’s a more intimate space than the blog. If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Bluebells by the Barley

bluebells and barley in the Aberdeenshire countryside
Barley and bluebells

Just bluebells. Just barley. Just beauty.

About

Books

Newsletter

Bluebells, just Bluebells

pink bluebelles
Pink bluebells
Bluebells in the garden

Bluebells. They seem to be everywhere this year.

In the unmowed grass:

Wild bluebells
Bells of the wild lawn

In the woods. They make blue carpets of themselves there…

Bluebells in the woods
In the woods

And, along with pink and white purslane, they line the pathways and fill the air with intoxicating sweetness.

A path of bluebells
Bluebells and pink purslane

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair, and a harp

My debut novel, The Mermaid and the Bear, was published by GWL Publishing in 2019.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Waterstones

Aspects of the book:

  • It’s mainly set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire.
  • It incorporates the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic.
  • There’s a stone circle.
  • There’s 16th century Christmas.
  • And there’s a love story.
The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair

Further insight:

Aesthetic for The Mermaid and the Bear, Ailish Sinclair's debut novel
Mermaid aesthetic

About Page

Ailish in the stones

Bio, socials, articles and interviews.

Newsletter

Sign up to the mailing list for news about my life and writing, and some exclusive photos. It’s a more intimate space than the blog. If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

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Swooning Among the Flowers

swooning pot
Swooning pot on the patio

From Vocabulary.com: To swoon is to faint, due to lack of blood to the brain. Illness, fear, stress, and even happiness can cause people to swoon.

Any bit of exertion carries such a risk for me just now, or, at least, I need to lie down after it.

swooning under the cherry blossom
Cherry blossom

But I have to walk – slowly – among the flowers. They’re just so beautiful.

swooning by the pond
Marsh marigolds

Exhaustion levels are deep this time, this flare, this recovery. So are thoughts. Realisations. Illness can bring great clarity. And that’s good. It will lead to better things, better times. I think. I hope.

swoony flowers
Flowering currant

A minuscule amount of gardening has been achieved; no swooning involved!

potting plants

A Dancer’s Journey Series

Swooning books: A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair

Scotland’s all misty lochs and magical forests and perfect boyfriends, right?

When dance student Amalphia Treadwell embarks on a secret relationship with her charismatic new teacher, she has no idea of the danger that lurks in his school in Scotland…

My dance background and love of history and spicy stories are what inspired this wild mix of contemporary romance and ballet set in a castle. Readers of my historical fiction will recognise that castle and the stone circle in these books.

There are no cliffhanger endings in this series; each book completes a story, but then there is more. So much swoony more. Read all the blurbs here

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

Book covers of A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair: celebratory dance. Shoes ready for pointe work.

Sisters at the Edge of the World

Ethereal and spellbinding... says the Historical Novel Society of SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

When Morragh speaks to another person for the very first time, she has no idea that he is an invader in her land…

Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance!

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

About Page

Ailish's feet

Bio, socials, articles and interviews.

Newsletter

Sign up to the mailing list for news about my life and writing, and some exclusive photos. If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Pointe Work and a Daring Leotard

pointe work and a red leotard
Ready for pointe work. Photographer: Darian Volkova

Reflections

Looking back on this post from a year ago. Reflecting on the past twelve months. Determining to stay well now. To not burn myself out again. In a year’s time I want to be writing about dancing around doing pointe work and getting books out and visiting castles and other lovely places. Maybe I’ll even wear a red leotard. Probably not to visit a castle. But, you never know… 😀

Back to the original post:

Would a strappy red leotard distract the eye from my puffer-fish face or accentuate it? The many thin straps of the garment crisscrossed my back in a pleasing design. It was different. It was daring. I wore it.

The above quote is from TENDU, the first book of A Dancer’s Journey, a romantic-suspense series. The main character, Amalphia, has just been through some relationship turmoil, again, and is returning to class after injury caused by an inappropriate level of pointe work. The red leotard gets her into a surprising amount of trouble.

Her injury came from being asked to perform every exercise in class en pointe. This is something that I took from my own life.

pointe work

Memories of Pointe Work

One week at college, our usual morning-class teacher – the late great Imogen Claire – was absent and a substitute put in place. This new teacher decided I needed to be stretched and pushed and had me do everything en pointe. Just me. Nobody else. This singling-out drew a few nasty looks from the other dancers. But really, there was nothing to be jealous about.

Because it really was everything. Every bend. Every jump. I love jumping en pointe. I still do it sometimes. But as a training method in morning class, this excessive pointe work made no sense. It removed the benefit of many of the exercises, and I limped off to the other lessons of the day improperly warmed-up.

After two days of this, my feet were sore. After a week, they were a mess. But then Imogen returned with her no-nonsense approach to teaching and ballet, and I healed.

Imogen Claire and Christopher Biggins in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Imogen looks through her glasses in disapproval (Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975). Christopher Biggins, to the left there, once said very insightful things to me while judging my annual assessment at college.

There was no need for extra pointe work as we were blessed with a specialist teacher for that. At first I was surprised to learn that the class was taught by a man, but Gary Harris was a true expert on the subject, performing all the steps en pointe himself in his soft trainers at the front of the studio.

So, dance-school memories indulged, it’s time to head back into the next manuscripts. There’s a connected series coming…

A Dancer’s Journey Series

Pointe work: A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair

Scotland’s all misty lochs and magical forests and perfect boyfriends, right?

When dance student Amalphia Treadwell embarks on a secret relationship with her charismatic new teacher, she has no idea of the danger that lurks in his school in Scotland…

My dance background and love of history and spicy stories are what inspired this wild mix of contemporary romance and ballet set in a castle. Readers of my historical fiction will recognise the castle and stone circle that feature in these books.

There are no cliffhanger endings in this series; each book completes a story, but then there is more. So much more. Read all the blurbs here

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

Book covers of A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair: celebratory dance. Shoes ready for pointe work.

More Posts with Dance Content

Newsletter

Sign up to the mailing list for news about my life and writing, and some exclusive photos. If you would rather just hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Sisters at the Edge of the World

Ethereal and spellbinding... says the Historical Novel Society of SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

When Morragh speaks to another person for the very first time, she has no idea that he is an invader in her land…

Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance!

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

My About Page

Ailish's feet

Read my bio and see all the social links and articles here.

Writer’s Tip Jar