Crovie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

stones on a windowsill in Crovie
Crovie

Crovie History

Crovie is an 18th century fishing village in the North-East of Scotland. People first came to live there after having been cleared away from their inland homes to make way for sheep farming.

Today many of the houses are holiday lets, and it’s a scenic place to walk. And take photos.

Oh, yes.

A Crovie Walk

This post details a walk taken in 2015.

Crovie from above

See those vans below? Beside the amazing sea? That’s as far up the street as vehicles can go in Crovie:

Crovie and coast

View from the shore:

The shore at Crovie

The wee postbox:

red letter box at Crovie

The coastline is beautiful and dramatic. Light conditions change constantly.

rocks

Myself and a friend set off on what was meant to be a 1.5 mile walk.

We got lost.

There was torrential rain.

The approach of the rain:

clouds gather

We walked on and on.

We followed the arrows.

And we found ourselves in a pea field.

pea plants growing

The pea field led to a gorge. We retraced our many, many steps, eight miles of steps in the end… but then there was soup and pie and cake and all was very, very well.

pebbles spell out Crovie

Unconventional Romance

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…

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

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

Historical Fiction

Books by Ailish Sinclair

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

“Ailish Sinclair spins this Scottish tale filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Newsletter

Go here to sign up for my occasional emails. 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.

About Page

Ailish in the stones

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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.

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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.

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Working Girl: a WordPress Prompt Goes Dark

wordpress prompt

What jobs have you had?

A WordPress Prompt

Well, WordPress prompt, when I was fifteen, I took over my ballet teacher’s school for a few months before going to college.

Despite being far too young for such a responsibility, I loved it, and it paid for all the dancewear and equipment I needed for my studies.

ballet teacher: wordpress prompt

In my second year of dance school, I got a job in a shop in Covent Garden. It was a very nice shop. I had more money. No more choosing between food and decent pointe shoes.

shop assistant: wordpress prompt

But here is where things go a bit darker than the WordPress prompt probably intended. I knew really, that working both Saturday and Sunday, after a hard week of dance training, was a bit foolhardy. My sensible friend, Suzette, who would have counselled against this, had returned to Mauritius. More about Suzette and dance training here

So, I became exhausted. There was dance injury after dance injury. I developed a chest infection that lasted five months.

The shop sacked me for being ill. This left me even more vulnerable than I had already been, at seventeen, alone in London.

There was a violent predator.

There was an incident from which I was lucky to escape with my life.

Fast forward to the present, skipping several other jobs…

writer: wordpress prompt

And my writing is influenced by my past. This is most evident in my contemporary work. There is a dark event in TENDU, the first book of A Dancer’s Journey, that I knew how to write because of my own experience. Not that it’s exactly the same, of course. In fact, it’s quite different. Fiction has to be more dramatic than reality, and more interesting. Far more interesting…

And have an infinitely more exciting setting…

These books have dark moments, but they are actually quite fun, overall, I think. And naughty. Like life, if you’re lucky!

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

More on the series

Historical Fiction

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

Set in 1st century Scotland, and featuring the cliffs and caves of Cullykhan Bay, 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 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

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 rather just 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

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 rich, handsome 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

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

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