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

Culloden Moor and the Clava Cairns

Fraser Clan Stone on Culloden Moor

This post details a 2014 trip to Culloden Battlefield and the nearby Clava Cairns.

Off We Go

A bright blue sky day. Good for a journey up the coast and into the past. I stopped to take a picture of the anchor on the hill in Macduff.

Macduff, anchor and church

A couple of hours and many miles later, the skies had clouded.

Culloden Moor

Culloden Battlefield

The visitor centre at Culloden is high-tech, swish, clean and pristine, all the things the bloody battle of the past was not. The contrast always gets me. I sit on a soft red sofa looking out at the battlefield, eating my delicious lentil soup and enjoying decadent chocolate cake in comfort and warmth.

Compare that to being one of the Jacobite clansmen, having marched across boggy rough terrain in the dark all night, exhausted, starving, about to be slaughtered in a fight so unfairly matched that it was all over in one hour. What would he think of Culloden Moor today and the nice day out it provides for families and tourists?

Out on the battlefield, things feel more authentic, more memorial. Red flags mark the government line:

flag on Culloden Moor

Clan stones over mass graves:

clans stone
field of the English

Old Leanach Cottage is dated about 1760, several years after the battle, but is said to stand on the site of an earlier cottage that was used as a field hospital for government troops:

cottage at Culloden

People leave offerings:

tartan offering at Culloden

After a little look at the peaceful, cud-chewing, Highland cattle, it’s time to visit some ancient standing stones.

The Clava Cairns

Victorian Grove

Here ancient burial cairns (estimated at about 4000 years old) are surrounded by circles of stone and trees. It’s the perfect peaceful place to visit after Culloden.

Clava Cairns

You can walk right into two of the three cairns, though the entrance tunnel would have been covered in the past: you would have had to crawl.

into the cairn

Some of the standing stones are high and shaped, rather like enormous graves:

standing stone rectangular, at Clava

Let’s finish with one of the aforementioned Highland Coos. There’s four of them in a field next to Culloden.

Highland Cow

Also see the post about the Cumberland Stone.

Cumberland Stone, by Culloden in the Scottish Highlands

Historical Fiction

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

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.

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, out April 1st, is set at the time of Culloden and 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

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
feet

See my About Page here

Newsletter sign-up

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 like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Scottish Castles: here we go a-castle-ing!

Scottish castles: Delgatie

Delgatie

Yes, it’s another post about Scottish castles! I do seem to find it difficult to write anything without one, or three, as in this case. The first, above, is Delgatie Castle, near Turriff in Aberdeenshire. I met one of the quines there last week (post originally from 2016) and we walked the woods and gardens and encountered these little Shetland ponies looking as if they were waiting for the tearoom to open.

From there, we went on to the Auld Kirk-yard in Turriff to see the grave of the late owner of the castle, Captain John Hay:

grave stone

And then, on the other side of Turriff, the beautiful River Deveron:

River Deveron

Let us pass through a door to another day and another castle…

door at Craigievar

Craigievar:

One of the most famous Scottish castles: Craigievar Castle

Near Alford, this beauty is rumoured to be the source for Walt Disney’s fairy-tale castle. It is wonderfully pink and turreted and full of colourful ghost stories. Red John Forbes is supposed to have forced his daughter’s lover, a Gordon and hence an enemy, to jump to his death from The Blue Room window. The window is now hidden behind a headboard but you can make out light through a pinhole. Both Red John and the Gordon boy are said to haunt the castle.

Photos were allowed up on the roof!

the roof of Scottish castle Craigievar

But it’s time to skip across the stone mushrooms…

Scottish castle: stone mushrooms at Craigievar

and on to Corgarff, the last of the Scottish castles today…

A Scottish castle: Corgarff

A bit more out of the way, near Tarland, but still in Aberdeenshire, is the fortress that is Corgarff Castle. Originally home to the Forbes, it was then burnt by the Gordons and left derelict. After the battle of Culloden the tower house was gutted and rebuilt as barracks for government soldiers (Redcoats).

Corgarff, a Scottish castle

Inside the star-shaped perimeter:

coutryard of Corgarff

This is how the soldiers’ barracks room would have looked in 1750:

18th century barracks room

And that’s it. Off out the door you go, but do come back soon!

door to a Scottish castle...

Newsletter

Keep up to date with all my news, from visits to Scottish castles and stone circles, to books and writing and life, by signing up to the mailing list! If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

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

Historical Fiction

Sisters at the Edge of the World cover

Set in 1st century Scotland, my latest novel, 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.

Cover of Ailish Sinclair's 'The Mermaid and the Bear'

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.

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, out 2021

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

Review from the Historical Novel Society

Writer’s Tip Jar

Spoonie Days, a Pink Sunrise and Snowy Spring

sunrise on a spoonie day

That was a beautiful pink sunrise a few weeks ago over a local doocot. Before I got ill. And spoonie time started. Again. Sigh.

Having revelled my way through the beauty of winter, celebrating the fact I was staying so well, I have been struck down once more. But I’ve been a lot worse. And I’m not in hospital, so that’s good. And, as my appearance here today shows, the medication is starting to kick in.

Spoonie Days

I have managed to keep up my writing schedule. My first spoon of the day goes on that. There’s quite a good explanation of the term spoonie here. Basically, spoons represent the energy you have for tasks and activities each day. And with chronic illness, the spoons can be very limited.

A Dancer’s Journey Series

Quote from TENDU by Ailish Sinclair

These books are long, and involved. They’re rather a Magnum Opus at over 100,000 words each. They’re all at different stages of the editing/proofing process. I’m so enjoying working with all the editing feedback and bringing them together into something strange, intense and, hopefully, beautiful. So they will still be out this year. I will not stop till they’re done. Update: Amazon!

But that’s my blogging spoon spent. For today. I’ll leave you with the scene that greets me most mornings at the moment… I’m not sure what happened to spring!

My Books

Historical Fiction from Ailish Sinclair. Witches, kidnapping, Romans and romance.
  • SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD opens on a snowy winter solstice in 1st century Scotland. The main character is neurodivergent, and has been non-verbal until that first scene of the book.
  • If you like castles, Scotland, history, witches, stone circles and Christmas done medieval-style, you might like THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. There’s also a love story.
  • FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children of 18th century Aberdeen, and is set in both Scotland and Colonial Pennsylvania.

They’re all available in paperback, kindle and on kindle unlimited.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Newsletter and Updates

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.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Eilean Donan Castle – Writing Sad Stories

The Sea Gate at Eilean Dinan Castle. Writing sad stories.

That’s the Sea Gate at Eilean Donan Castle, in the Highlands of Scotland, above. It’s two things at once. In the present day, it’s beautiful. But it’s said that people used to be thrown out of it, in acts of punishment or coercion. So, it’s terrible too. Sad, even.

And it’s the same with writing stories. Yes, they can be sad, and dark, and terrible. But they’re not only that. Or they don’t have to be. As with many things, in writing or life, it’s all about how it’s done.

A view from Eilean Donan Castle

view from Eilean Donan Castle

Writing Sad Stories

It was a recent review of FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE that got me thinking about this. Here’s the pertinent part of what the reviewer said:

I was somewhat hesitant to read this novel as I thought it would be too sad, but was glad to have chosen to read it as Sinclair did not disappoint with the telling of an exceptionally satisfying tale.

I felt the exact same hesitancy about writing the book. It was while researching local history for THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR that I stumbled across the information that 600 children and young people had been kidnapped from Aberdeen during the 1740s. They’d then been transported to the American colonies where they were sold into indentured servitude. It was terrible. It was sad. And, almost totally, overlooked. It wasn’t history that got talked about much. In fact, most people knew nothing about it. So, it was precisely the sort of story, sad or otherwise, that I liked to tell.

scenery on the way to Eilean Donan Castle
A photo taken somewhere between Glen Shiel and Eilean Donan Castle

Making Historical Characters Relatable

I wanted to bring those people from the past to life, to make them human and relatable. But, wouldn’t it be too depressing to open the door to those particular historical events?

Eilean Donan Castle door
The castle door…

The answer is: no. I don’t think so, anyway. I found the book great fun to write. In fact, I think it’s the least dark of my novels. The main character, Elizabeth, is so determined, and so easily enraged. She kicks sadness to the side. Mostly. She does have some despairing moments. I wrote about one of those times in response to a question on the Wee Writing Lassie Blog (see the whole interview here):

A young girl was found dead in First Mate Alexander Young’s bunk during the voyage from Aberdeen to America. History has not recorded her name so I called her Maggie, and her death has a deep impact on Elizabeth in several ways. It causes her terrible grief, informs her opinions of what ‘fine gentlemen’ can actually be, and provides a specific awareness of how much danger she and other women and girls are in at times.

The publisher had this to say about Elizabeth, or Beth as she becomes, in their press release:

Fiery and forthright, Elizabeth isn’t someone to be argued with. She knows her own mind, and isn’t afraid to speak it. Through her experiences, the reader sees her grow from a girl, into a woman with a powerful voice… a woman of her time, but very much of ours too.

The sun comes out over Eilean Donan Castle
The sun comes out over Eilean Donan Castle

Learn More

You can learn more about Eilean Donan Castle on the offical website here.

And more about FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE on the book info page here or on the links below:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Review from the Historical Novel Society

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!

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

A FIREFLIES flip-through and quote:

@ailishsinclair8

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! Paperback and kindle on Amazon. “Filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society Editor’s Pick #HistoricalFiction #romance #KindleUnlimited #booktok #kidnapstory

♬ 24/7, 365 – elijah woods

A Dancer’s Journey Series: unconventional romance

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 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

Go here to sign up for my (roughly monthly) newsletter. It’s a more intimate space than the blog and always includes some exclusive photos. If you would rather just hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Eilean Donan Castle
A final, more iconic, image of the castle

Writer’s Tip Jar

New Book: Sisters at the Edge of the World

Sisters at the Edge of the World by Ailish Sinclair
Aesthetic for the new book from Ailish Sinclair: Sisters at the Edge of the World.
Aesthetic for the book

Work on the new book is forging ahead nicely. The aim is for it to be released this summer, but that may be subject to change.

Update

The book released on the 21st of September 2022.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

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

Sisters at the Edge of the World by Ailish Sinclair

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts on publishing options. My publisher, too, gave me lots of wonderful advice and information, and while they would have been willing to look at the manuscript, despite its shortness and strangeness, I am choosing to self-publish this novel.

Thanks also to everyone who has donated through Kofi. With traditional publishing there is no cost to the author (remember that, don’t be taken in by vanity presses posing as traditional pubs; there’s a lot of them about), but this time I’ll be paying for everything myself, so thank you so much!

Being ill, having chronic conditions and facing my own mortality have made me want to experience things while I can. And if those things can be accomplished sitting at my desk, all the easier. So, it’ll be an adventure! That’s how I’m thinking of it anyway…

Aspects of the book

  • The main characters are fiercely bonded chosen sisters. Can their bond survive betrayal and perhaps even death? (Already attempting to write the blurb here).
  • The story is set in the 1st century CE and features the battle of Mons Graupius between the Roman invaders and the Caledonian tribes.
  • There’s romance, but it’s rather complicated romance this time.
  • The stone circle is still there in all its glory.
  • The castle is not, obviously, but there is a great round house where it will be one day. And a wee hoosie in the woods.
sunshine and frost in the woods
Sunshine and frost in the woods

Edit in: and now it has a cover!

SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD cover

Do sign up to my occasional mailing list to be kept abreast of developments and also for exclusive photos…

The traditionally published books

Ailish's books

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen.

Set in an Aberdeenshire castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the Scottish witchcraft accusations and a love story.

Paperbacks and kindle: Amazon UK or Amazon Worldwide

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

When I’m Away From the Keyboard…

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

Every so often I step away from the keyboard and take a day off. Not because I want to. I resist and avoid and cling to my desk in a desperate fashion. Friends persuade and entice me outside. And it is always good, always nourishing and refreshing. There’s a planned outing later this week, and I can just picture my characters’ reactions when they realise I’m not there…

Sharp-witted Justin notices first. He looks up, listens and checks again. “She’s gone out!”

Every character sags with relief. They go back to bed and sleep in till lunchtime. Later, they shuffle downstairs to get tea and food, and they sit in silence in the great hall of the castle.

People who usually snipe and gripe at each other, pass the sugar without word. Two of them exchange a wry smile, for without my omniscient presence to keep them busy, they can sense what’s coming; not the details, but the shadow of something bad ahead, something they would avoid if they could. But like my day out, it cannot be avoided. It has to happen.

A Dancer's Journey

They head to bed early, exhausted by the hours of doing nothing, tired from the rest and relaxation.

No arguments. No sex. No laughter.

How boring! These people need me. Maybe I shouldn’t step away from the keyboard after all…

The desk of Scottish author Ailish Sinclair when she's not stepping away from the keyboard (so, most days)...

They didn’t get left alone for long, those poor characters. I soon pulled them all back into the drama and the story.

And that story will be out later in 2023, in the form of a contemporary three-book series called A Dancer’s Journey. As you can see from my editor’s comment below, Justin and the others were completely justified in being relieved that I was gone.

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.

More on the series:

My Historical Novels

I put the characters through the proverbial wringer in these too!

Historical Fiction from Ailish Sinclair. Witches, kidnapping, Romans and romance.
  • SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD opens on a snowy winter solstice in 1st century Scotland. The main character is neurodivergent, and has been non-verbal until that first scene of the book.
  • If you like castles, Scotland, history, witches, stone circles and Christmas done medieval-style, you might like THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. There’s also a love story.
  • FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children of 18th century Aberdeen, and is set in both Scotland and Colonial Pennsylvania.

All novels are available in paperback, kindle and on kindle unlimited.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

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Turn Left for Tyrebagger Stone Circle

Tyrebagger Stone Circle in the distance, misty trees beyond

Tyrebagger Recumbent Stone Circle is near Aberdeen, situated on the hill behind the airport and overlooking the Kirkhill Industrial Estate.

The search for Tyrebagger

So, when my family and I went seeking this circle we thought it would be easy to find. Yes. Well. Google maps took us close. Very close in fact. But there’s nowhere to stop a car and get out on the dual carriageway, so no possibility of taking the app’s advice to ‘walk the rest of the way to your destination.’

We turned to directions found on the internet which took us up the side of the industrial estate and into the woods. But the last instruction, to turn right along the line of trees… there was no right there. We ended up lost and peering over gates and up tracks and across fields. But then, Google maps pinpointed the exact location of the stones and we retraced our steps.

‘”It’s somewhere in that direction…”

“Just the other side of those trees…”

“But how can we get through there?”

Until:

pathe to Tyrebagger Stone Circle

A circle, found!

A pathway was spotted – it had been there after all, but on the LEFT – and it had a certain look and feel about it. It reminded me of the path into the often elusive Loudon Wood circle. Sure enough, moments later the stones came into view over a gate and field, silhouetted against a misty looking forest.

Tyrebagger Stone Circle across the field

Tyrebagger Stone Circle proved well worth the search.

Tyrebagger Stone Circle

It’s a beautiful circle, with unusually tall stones.

Leaning stones at Tyrebagger

Outlander

Sometimes when I post stone circle photos on social media, people ask if they are the stones from Outlander, and I explain that those are fictional stones. But these do look a little like the ones used in the TV show. (Inverness Outlanders found another site that may be even more like it and have photographed it in all seasons here.)

Tall stones at Tyrebagger

I had heard that, due to its close proximity to Aberdeen, Tyrebagger sometimes has a graffiti problem. This was not the case on the day we visited. The stones stood tall and unblemished against the blue sky.

The recumbent of Tyrebagger Stone Circle

I liked the trees too, grey and tall like the stones.

Stones and trees

Mermaid Review

The book has had its first ever review here on the Lost in a Good Book blog.

This carefully researched story is based on true events in Aberdeen when cruel men gained power over innocent women by accusing them of witchcraft.  It is a horrifying story from our history, mirrored in other parts of the United Kingdom.  Thankfully in The Mermaid and the Bear the sadness is tempered by love and kinship in a believable and satisfying conclusion.  An enchanting novel.

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair

Let’s finish with one last look at Tyrebagger…

Tyrebagger Stone Circle

A Dancer’s Journey – a contemporary series

A Dancer's Journey, a 3 book series by Ailish Sinclair. Dark and romantic books.

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

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

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 UK

Amazon Worldwide

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Keep up to date with all my news, leafy and otherwise, by signing up to the mailing list. It’s a more intimate space than the blog and always contains some exclusive photos. If you would like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

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