A Bookish Post

2019 got off to an exciting start for me with the news that my historical novel, The Mermaid and the Bear, will be published by GWL Publishing this Autumn. It’s out in both paperback and Kindle on October 18th.

Amazon have the Kindle and Waterstones have the paperback available for pre-order now.

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.



Isobell needs to escape. She has to. Her life depends on it.

She has a plan and it’s a well thought-out, well observed plan, to flee her privileged life in London and the cruel man who would marry her, and ruin her, and make a fresh start in Scotland.

She dreams of faery castles, surrounded by ancient woodlands and misty lochs… and maybe even romance, in the dark and haunted eyes of a mysterious Laird.

Despite the superstitious nature of the time and place, her dreams seem to be coming true, as she finds friendship and warmth, love and safety. And the chance for a new beginning…

Until the past catches up with her.

Set in the late sixteenth century, at the height of the Scottish witchcraft accusations, The Mermaid and the Bear is a story of triumph over evil, hope through adversity, faith in humankind and – above all – love.


See Walking the Witchy Ways of Aberdeen, for more background and insight into the book, and also my article on Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books about the research involved in writing historical fiction.

And I made a wee aesthetic for it, because: oh the fun!

Aesthetic for The Mermaid and the Bear

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272 thoughts on “A Bookish Post

  1. Hi, Ailish! Thanks so much for following my blog. As we get closer to the release of THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, I’d love to do an interview/spotlight on my blog to help you spread the word. Just let me know if you’re interested. Years ago, I studied at the University of Aberdeen, and ancient stones and “witchy things” appear in my books, as well. Now I live in Salem, Massachusetts and when I’m not writing, I work at The Witch House (the 17th-century home of witch trials judge Jonathan Corwin). Hope to hear from you! 🙂

    • Hi Judith,
      I would love to do an interview on your blog, thank you so much! How fascinating that we have Aberdeen in common and that you now live in possibly the most famous witch-hunting place of all!

  2. Thank you for checking out my polyallsorts blog, Ailish. Your editing journey – I have found the editing of my stories a thoroughly worthwhile experience. To have an editor explain to me why, for example, the order of sentences could be improved, or why such and such an expression is ambiguous, or why a spot of filtering would help… it’s been informative and I know it has made me into a better writer. There were far fewer subjective revisions for my third story than there were for the first one! I hope your editing journey is equally useful. Best wishes

  3. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Second of all, your novel looks sooooo good! I’m always a complete sucker for historical fiction that aren’t the “norm”. WOULD LOVE TO READ THIS WHEN IT COMES OUT.

  4. Congratulations. I’m trying to get my YA urban fantasy mermaid story published. I love the mood board you’ve put together. I shall stay tuned to learn more about your book.

  5. Congrats on your news, Ailish! What a lovely name you have. Wanted to stop by and say thank you for the follow on I Write Her. I do hope you enjoy my thoughts as much as I’m enjoying your blog right now. 🙂

  6. Congratulations on your publication! Looking forward to reading it. Btw. thanks for following my blog. I am a bit shame-faced about the nomer “scottishwriter”… I have only self-published one collection of short stories. Also I am not too sure what to do with the blog. BUT I am developing “Cup of Friendship” into a time shift novel. I just posted Chapter 3 where Lord Pitsligo’s childhood is reimagined.

  7. Good luck with the editing process, which can take a lot of time! And thanks for stopping by my blog and following. I’ve taken a gander through yours and love the voice you give to places. Scotland is so beautiful. I want to get back there at some point, but in the meantime will read your blog!

      • I’ve been meandering through your blog. I like the style of it very much. Quite different to the usual.
        Am I right in thinking you were a ballet dancer, or a teacher of ballet, or both? Maybe still are? I went to my first ballet at 7 years old, never forgotten though that’s more than 7 decades ago. So far, I have not met anyone else who saw Nureyev and Fonteyn dance together, as I did.
        My short story ‘The girl in Block 18’, on my blog, is what I call ‘Faction’, ie based on a real happening – a visit to Covent Garden.
        It was also good to ‘meet’, for the first time, someone else who writes 75 word stories.

  8. Congratulations from Fife! And good luck on your editing journey, I hope you keep us all posted as I’ll be certainly wanting to support you and get the word out about your book [I mean the aesthetics alone say I’ll be reading this for sure!]

  9. Congratulations on your book and its getting published, Ailish. An exciting time to be sure and no doubt with a great deal of anticipation. I’m very excited for you. Sounds like grand storytelling with the ingredients of mystery, love, fantasy, and a touch of the mystical. :O)

  10. Congratulations on your book sale and best of luck during the editorial process. I am also beginning an “editorial journey” with my book (working title: The Man Who Loves Elephants), a biography. Thanks for stopping by my site and following my blog.

  11. Happy you enjoyed 42,000 Square Feet. I love your site. Congratulations on being published. Quite frankly, I’m not surprised due to the excellent work you do with this post. Would you be so kind as to let us know the date in August your book will be sold? I definitely will read it. Many thanks. Bob

  12. Thanks for taking time away from your writing, Ailish, to visit my blog. I share your Scottish heritage. My mother was born in Portree, Isle of Skye, and as you can see from my surname, I’ve chose her maiden name as mine: MacKenzie! Good luck with your novel.

  13. Congrats! I’m most intrigued by the 16th century Christmas, can’t wait to see the details of how it has changed over time!

    • It is a fascinating subject, a rather overlooked part of Scottish history! The book is out in the Autumn, exact date not set in stone as yet 🙂

  14. I am really into magic, love and everything you say it’s going to be in your book! The book will be available for purchase online or is there another way of buying it?

  15. Best of luck with your book Ailish, sounds fascinating, and thanks for liking some of my posts. Spookily enough, I started checking your blog whilst at the youth hostel at Loch Morlich, which I see you are fond of! All the best, Ruth

  16. Just curious about your site/journal and noticed the first post for your new book. My friend Ed has a FB page dedicated to everything mermaids, so of course, I shared this post of yours. 🙂

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