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

The Midnight Marauder

Midnight marauder - badger!
The Midnight Marauder

Every night, without fail, a badger visits the garden to eat scraps and leftovers that we leave out for him.

Midnight marauder - badger!

He’s been coming for years. Though, realistically, of course, it’s not only one badger. But we always speak about him or her as if it is.

Sometimes two come together. After eating, they run about in a frenzy before disappearing into the woods.

Midnight marauder - badger!

The lighter nights made these photos of the earlier-than-usual visit possible.

I swayed there at the back door in my floaty, shaky, just-home-from-hospital state and basically revelled in the badger’s joy and exuberance.

Feels like my song just now…

Health Update

I injected myself with my new medication yesterday. Another intervention to stop my body attacking itself. We’ll see if this one works. I have hope 🙂

Daffodils
Daffodils beside a battered birch tree

My Books – a Mix of Light and Dark

A Dancer's Journey by Ailish Sinclair

Read the contemporary series that’s shocking people! It’s available in paperback, kindle and on kindle unlimited.

Amazon

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…

Review snippets:

Deanne Patterson on Tendu: It broke my heart and then healed it and made it sing. Full review here.

Molly H on Cabriole: It’s truly one of the best books I’ve ever read and made me feel SO MANY FEELINGS. Full review here – some spoilers.

Tom Williams on Fouetté: I galloped through it, loving every moment. Full review here – some spoilers, especially if you haven’t read Cabriole.

Cabriole by Ailish Sinclair

Historical Titles

My historical novels combine little-known dark events with love stories and a hint of magic.

The historical novels of Ailish Sinclair

Amazon

About Page

Ailish Sinclair

See the page here

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

Writer’s Tip Jar

Cannula Days Are Here Again

Cannula days
Cannula Days; Hospital Windows

A small update. About why I’ve been quiet. Things got darker fast, and I’m back in hospital.

Ten days in so far. No answers as to quite what my autoimmune body is doing yet. Hoping for success in suppressing it, though.

So, cannula in. Audiobooks on.

Normal service will be resumed at some point. But I don’t know when…

Another window

BINGE THE SERIES that’s shocking people

Cannula days: a dancer’s journey

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

Series on Amazon worldwide

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…

Historical Dark and Romantic Books 

My historical novels combine little-known dark events with love stories and a hint of magic.

The historical novels of Ailish Sinclair

Amazon Worldwide

About Page

Ailish Sinclair

See the page here

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

Writer’s Tip Jar

The Lost City of Lenabo Woods

Demolished building in Lenabo Woods

Just like everyone else at the moment (originally posted 2020 during lockdown), I am not able to gallivant around filling my phone with pictures of interesting places. However, during my daily scroll to find #goodthings to post on Instagram and Twitter, I found photos of Lenabo Woods taken in 2017. I had meant to blog about the site back then, but didn’t get round to it.

So, take my hand, virtually, and we’ll walk through what was once the setting of Britain’s most northerly airship base.

Lenabo Woods

Lenabo woods near Longside

The Lost City

RNAS Longside was active from 1916 to 1920. 1500 personnel were based at the station and the site boasted a swimming pool, a theatre, shops, a church and gas works. All of those buildings are long gone, but some things remain.

Officers' Mess in Lenabo Woods

The above wall is thought to have been part of the officers’ mess.

Memorial plaque below:

Memorial plaque in Lenabo Woods

The fireplace within:

fireplace at Lenabo

Throughout the woods, remnants of various structures are to be seen, such as these airship moorings:

airship moorings at Lenabo

Buildings swept away:

remains of a WW1 building at Lenabo

Lenabo Soo

The site was known locally as RNAS Lenabo and the ships referred to as ‘Lenabo Soo’, soo being the local name for female pigs!

It’s fun to imagine the bustling community that lived at Lenabo for those four years, swimming in the pool, attending the theatre, and, of course, maintaining and operating the airships.

Well, this has been a pleasant virtual walk today (I’ll let your hand go now) and Lenabo will be a good place to explore in person again once things have calmed down.

Building remains on Lenabo Woods

Pinterest

I forgot to mention in my last post that I’ve made a Pinterest board for FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE, my second historical novel – see info page on it here.

Review

Thanks to Reading is my Yoga for this beautiful #bookstagram picture and review of THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR: “While the first part put an almost constant smile on my face, the second part made me cry ugly tears.”

See the whole review here and the book is now free on Kindle Unlimited.

The Mermaid and the Bear, bookstagram photo

Naughty Contemporary Fiction

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

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 heady 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

My Latest Historical Novel

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.

About Page

Ailish Sinclair in a stone circle

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 rather just hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Is the Real Stone of Scone Hidden at Finlaggan?

Stone, though not the real Stone of Scone, at Finlaggan

That’s definitely not the real Stone of Scone above. It’s an ancient standing stone at Finlaggan on the Isle of Islay.

But is the official stone, the one pictured below, the real stone? See BBC article about this stone as it heads south to be used in the latest coronation.

Official, maybe not real stone of scone

History of the Real Stone of Scone

The Stone of Scone, or Stone of Destiny, was used in the inauguration of Scottish Kings for centuries. In 1296 the English King, Edward I, took the stone from Scotland and incorporated it as part of his new ‘Coronation Chair’. Or did he?

Fobbed Off and Spirited Off?

Early mentions of the stone describe it as black and shiny, polished and beautiful. It’s rumoured that Edward was fobbed off with a worthless rock that was actually a drain cover, while the real stone was spirited off and hidden safely away.

One legend states that the original stone was buried at Finlaggan, the medieval Seat of the Lordship of the Isles, by Angus Og of Clan Donald.

Finlaggan is a quiet and remote place. It’s easy to believe that it might hide secrets.

grave at finlaggan. Is the real stone of scone hidden here?

An archaeological dig there was abandoned when money ran out.

Finlaggan, the site of the real stone of scone?

If the stone is at Finlaggan, I suspect it might be on the Council Island, the place of important discussions and decisions. Maybe the island was also the site of a few laughs about kingly bottoms sitting over what was actually a drain plug?

The Council Island at Finlaggan.

More articles and posts

Older article about the stone from the Herald, referencing Finlaggan: So which is fake, and which the genuine article?

See my earlier post about visiting Islay

Historical Novel Society Review of Sisters

“In the vein of Lucy Holland’s Sistersong with the narrative style of Rena Rossner’s The Sisters of the Winter Wood, Sinclair’s novel centers on two sisters and is told from Morragh’s point of view. The prose is deeply personal to Morragh’s struggles.”

See the whole review here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide/Barnes & Noble

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

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.

My About Page

Ailish Sinclair stares out to sea

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

Writer’s Tip Jar

Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

hello, darkness - loch

Hello, Darkness. Hello, Flare. I’ve been struck down by autoimmunity again, but it’s been worse. Many times. I’m trying to do everything right and hope I’ll be better soon.

I searched my phone photos for ‘dark,’ and here are some of the results. I like that they all have light in them too, as if we’re heading that way, as if it’s inevitable.

Above is the loch. Below, the interior of Peathill Kirk.

Hello, Darkness. Peathill Kirk

This humorous wee video came up too, and it made me smile with its accuracy. I’m still working on that next series. I’ve slowed down a bit, but the pain actually seems to be less when I am writing.

Diabolical was there… Of course it was.

Hello, Darkness - diabolical

There were dark castles

Hello, Darkness, dark castles

And moonlit skies…

Hello, Darkness, trees

The photos don’t lie. The light will come.

My Books – a Mix of Light and Dark

A Dancer's Journey by Ailish Sinclair

Read the contemporary series that’s shocking people! It’s available in paperback, kindle and on kindle unlimited.

Amazon

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…

Review snippets:

Deanne Patterson on Tendu: It broke my heart and then healed it and made it sing. Full review here.

Molly H on Cabriole: It’s truly one of the best books I’ve ever read and made me feel SO MANY FEELINGS. Full review here – some spoilers.

Tom Williams on Fouetté: I galloped through it, loving every moment. Full review here – some spoilers, especially if you haven’t read Cabriole.

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair

Historical Titles

My historical novels combine little-known dark events with love stories and a hint of magic.

The historical novels of Ailish Sinclair

Amazon

About Page

Ailish Sinclair

See the page here

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

Writer’s Tip Jar

Loch Morlich: big blog, little blog

The Cairngorm mountains beyond Loch Morlich

Beautiful Loch Morlich, Cairngorms beyond, still with patches of snow in June.

Little Blog Written by Loch Morlich

This blog was originally sent from holiday in June 2019. I was completely depleted by my autoimmune conditions, at that point undiagnosed, and spent most of the holiday lying in bed reading books.

books in bed

Honesty in Writing

It seems strange, looking back on it now, that I tried to keep my health problems a secret. Only happy pictures got posted on socials, such as ones of Aviemore Stone Circle and Reindeer in the Cairngorms. The gargantuan effort it took to get to these places, or how I hardly left the car, did not get mentioned.

I didn’t want it to be true. I wanted to ‘snap out of it’. Because I didn’t want that to be the way of me.

I still don’t, of course, and it is generally better now, flare ups aside. I guess I’m becoming more open and accepting of the situation, and I like to write honestly everywhere, not just in my books.

Big Blog

From bed I shared the news of my guest post on the official tourism site for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire: 10 Mystical and Magical Places in Aberdeenshire. Below is Pitsligo Castle, one of the sites featured in that post.

Castle door

Ducks by Loch Morlich

On the pictured morning I walked very slowly from the car to the loch, and it was wonderful to be out among such beauty. I was on the banks of Loch Morlich before the ducks were up! And probably back in bed before they were too…

Ducks by Loch Morlich

My Latest Historical Novel

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.

About Page

Ailish Sinclair in a stone circle

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 rather just hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Writer’s Tip Jar

The Dule Tree of Leith Hall

The Dule Tree

History of the Dule Tree

The Dule Tree at Leith Hall is one of the best known examples of this type of historical tree. It is said to have been used as both a gallows and a gibbet in the past. The house dates from the 17th century, so the macabre use of the tree probably does too.

The Dule tree - informational plaque

Another Dule Tree Tradition

There is a gentler tradition associated with dule trees. They were possibly used as places of mourning. The word ‘dule’ derives from Gaelic, and means grief.

Me, actually in the tree, trying to take a photo from an interesting angle:

Ailish Sinclair in the dule tree at Leith Hall.

Leith Hall through the trees:

Leith Hall through the trees. Dule Tree post.

One of the hall’s beautiful windows:

Roses and a window at Leith Hall in Aberdeenshire. Dule Tree post.

There’s more Leith Hall to be found here

Meanwhile, back at the desk…

The editing of A Dancer’s Journey series continues apace…

And in the garden…

Spring in Scotland is also going well.

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

Sisters at the Edge of the World by Ailish Sinclair. "Ethereal and spellbinding..." says The Historical Novel Society

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 chosen sisters, fierce warriors, a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

See the press release here

Read the article New Novel Highlights Roman History in North East from Grampian Online.

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair

Taking place mainly in a fictional 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. There’s 6 chapters of medieval Christmas too.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

See the press release here

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

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 600 children and young people who were kidnapped from Aberdeen during the 1740s and sold into indentured servitude in the American Colonies. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s proper derring-dos on the high seas… and there’s chocolate!

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

See the publisher’s Press Release here

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

My About Page

Ailish's feet

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

Writer’s Tip Jar

Diabolical and Deranged: Writing and Blood

Diabolical and deranged. These are words that have been said about me, or aspects of me, in the last few days. I like diabolical the best. My editor said it about the plot twists in CABRIOLE (book 2 of A Dancer’s Journey series). And she’s right. They are diabolical. And now they’re making other people cry too, not just me. It feels a little wrong to be delighted about such a thing, but it shows that the book is ticking the proper emotional boxes. So, I’m pleased. And diabolical.

Update: the whole series is out now!

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

Series on Goodreads

Page with blurbs and quotes

Dance and Despair: Writing What You Know on Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books.

Diabolical reading

And Deranged?

It’s not my mind that’s deranged, but my blood. So I was told by a specialist nurse this week. And that’s not so much fun. There are to be more tests. And treatment. And, hopefully, my blood will arrange itself in a more pleasing manner soon.

Some Diabolical and Deranged Street Art

diabolical street art in Fraserburgh

I rather like the side of this wee cottage in Fraserburgh. Great movement and verve there from the artist.

Sisters at the Edge of the World

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

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

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

Newsletter

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

My About Page

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

Writer’s Tip Jar

A Small Blue Ball of Pain

sisters
oorange tulip behind barbed wire
Tulip behind barbed wire

Originally posted May 2022 in the midst of an autoimmune flare-up.

Small Blue Ball

I am a small blue ball of pain.

Curled up.

Can’t eat. Can’t sleep. Can’t write.

Life on hold.

Wondering what went wrong. Why I am here again.

bluebells, small blue ball

A pause by the bluebell woods on the way back from hospital. A biopsy may provide answers to the mystery of me and my strange body, who knows?

The flowers smell sweet. I breathe them in.

lilac. small blue ball.

Pink

An easing comes. A moving on from the small blue ball. A sort of ‘pinkening’. Lilac flowers are taken in from the garden, and I sit in a delicately scented cloud of beauty.

Then, a few steps, and I am outside.

Camelia. Small blue ball.

It is glorious. Painful still, but better. I can envision being well again.

The sunshine. The breeze. I love it all.

pink bench and blossom
Blossom caught in the pink bench.

Writing

Thoughts of writing come. I left my poor characters in the middle of the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. War. A situation far worse than my own. I must release them from it soon.

Cover Reveal

Before all this, before I became ill again, a cover was designed. My own photos of stones from Aikey Brae Stone Circle were used.

SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD cover

The main character in the book is neurodivergent.

As am I.

Illness makes me open, bared and true. Pain peels back layers of politeness and hesitancy and doubt. I just say things. And, I just am.

I still hope for a summer release, a later one obviously, maybe early autumn. My body will have its say in the matter. But it will come…

Update: Sisters at the Edge of the World came out in September 2022

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/Barnes & Noble

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

Newsletter and Updates

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.

My About Page

Ailish's feet

Read about little old me here!

Writer’s Tip Jar