Brightness in the Gloaming

bright yellow leaves in the gloaming.

The gloaming. Twilight. The sun is currently setting early here in Scotland. People are saying: “Aye, the nights are fairly drawing in…”

There’s been no frost yet, so brightness still exists within the gloom, or the gloaming.

autumn leaves in the gloaming

How it feels when I stagger out into the forest after several hours of writing in front of a screen:

But, for now, this morning, I’m off back into the manuscript of the moment. I’m working on the first title in the next book series, Castle Dancers. It begins ten years after TENDU – each book has a different main character – and the story starts like this:

Fun times!

TENDU: Dancing in the Castle

TENDU: Dancing in the Castle by Ailish Sinclair

Dance, danger and desire collide in TENDU, a seductive tale set in the mystical landscape of Scotland. Will love conquer all?

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

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

“You will cry, you will laugh, at one point you may even clutch your pearls…” Goodreads review

About Page

ballet shoes on a standing stone

See my About Page here

Newsletter

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.

Writer’s Tip Jar

A Map of Witches and the Beauty of Autumn

Map of Witches

Map of Witches

The Map of Witches is a wonderful resource from the University of Edinburgh, utilising the extensive data collected in their Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Database. See it here.

It’s a visual and clickable map of over 3000 people accused of witchcraft in Scotland. It’s both fascinating and terrible as this subject always is. My three quines from THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR are included (see Isobell’s entry above) as are a disturbing Witch Pricker’s Journey and various other stories. You can choose to view a modern map or a historical one, the latter suiting it better, I think.

The Beauty of Autumn

After peering into the dark, I need to look at beauty, so here’s some golden blue autumnal goodness:

Blue and gold after the map of witches

The gold of the harvest.

rockpool

Pink shimmering rockpools at New Aberdour beach.

New Aberdour Beach and a map of witches

A dark cave, blue reflected within.

a dark cave and a map of witches

And the path up to St Drostan’s well, shining in the sunlight:

St Drostan's well and a map of witches

Newsletter

Keep up to date with all my news, witchy 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.

Contemporary Fiction

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.

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Writer’s Tip Jar

Autumn Leaves and a Lack of Words

autumn leaves
River Ugie and autumn leaves

I took a quiet walk through autumn leaves at Aden Park.

autumns leaves on the path

Peering through an old tree:

autumn leaves through a split trunk

Up by the Mansion House:

autumn leaves

Blue and green should most definitely be seen…

blue sky and green grass through the old Mansion House at Aden Park

Some of the newer plantings have not survived:

a yellow tree

But many have:

big tree, little tree
red and orange autumn leaves

I love the Maples.

Autumn leaves: Maple
red maple autumn leaves

I feel like I don’t have many words left in me. They’ve been used up. They’re coming very soon in book form.

Newsletter

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.

About Page

Ailish Sinclair goes into the woods

Read all about little old me here!

Writer’s Tip Jar

Duff House Mausoleum, Banff, Aberdeenshire

steps of Duff House Mausoleum

I wandered through the woods to the 18th century Duff House Mausoleum.

It’s about a mile away from the majestic Duff House, now an art gallery, and about two miles from the Bridge of Alvah. When I was a child the house was in quite a rough state but still open to the public. A lot of the furniture was covered in sheets, paint peeled off the walls and spooky music floated up from the lower levels.

I loved it.

I still do.

Duff House

The front of Duff House Mausoleum:

Duff House mausoleum

And round the back…

knight at Duff House Mausoleum

To an effigy of a knight. Sadly it is not Robert the Bruce as once purported by the Earl who built the mausoleum. The skulls, crossbones and wheat are quite common on older graves in Aberdeenshire.

Below: the interior of the mausoleum taken through the metal door.

inside Duff House Mausoleum

During autumn in Scotland the days seem to be either golden or grey, sunny or dreich. It didn’t get properly light at all on this day, but autumn added its gold regardless.

The River Deveron:

River Deveron

I came upon an old dog grave in the lower parts of Wrack Wood. The dogs had lovely Dickensian sounding names.

dog grave

Grey and golden, the colours of the day:

grey and golden leaf

Chosen Sisters, Romans and Romance

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.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

See the press release here

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 exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. They’re a more intimate space than the blog.

Writer’s Tip Jar

A Swashbuckling Adventure Through Hospital Windows

St Nicolas Kirk through a hospital window

This hospital windows post was written in 2020. I’m doing a bit better now.

Diagnosis and Drugs

The start of the post title is a bit of a lie. In fact it’s a total fabrication. There’s no derring-dos on the high seas recounted here. I do have crutches, so am a bit peg-legged and I like to think there’s an (imaginary) parrot on my shoulder. I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, so my body has basically been trying to kill me. I’m now on medication to stop those efforts, but I have to be checked once a week in case the drug makes its own attempts to kill me. So there are elements of the thriller genre at work in my life.

Finding Beauty through Hospital Windows

During my month of cannulas, needles, tests and scary procedures, I sought beauty where I could find it. Through the hospital windows. I woke the first morning to a beautiful pink sunrise and a rather wonderful view of St Nicholas Kirk steeple, the church that features in THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. Despite the fact that I wrote of truly terrible events involving that steeple, I found it somewhat comforting to see it there. I felt a connection to the place. It lit up in the evening sun too.

hospital windows

Strange Covid Times

But I was soon moved. This was something that was being done due to Covid. Constant rearranging of patients between wards. Decisions made by ‘bed managers’, not medics. It didn’t make any sense to me, and the medical staff were pretty unimpressed by it too.

However, it meant that I got to see through many different windows. This next ward – oncology – had the worst view, just a small box of buildings, but the best bed. Air mattresses are magical things. Lying in them is a little bit like being hugged as they inflate and deflate to maximise your comfort.

hospital windows 2

I was soon off to sparkling chimney sunrises and sunsets.

shiny chimneys through the hospital windows
chimneys

The Party Room

Then, finally, the last of the hospital windows. At first I was quite annoyed about this move. Diagnosed and treated, just awaiting final tests, I was shunted away to what felt like a far-flung area of the hospital, and I no longer had my own room. I posted a somewhat morose quote from Lord of the Rings about the sunrise that morning on Instagram.

red sky

But it really worked out very well. The other three ladies I was with were lovely. There was kindness and understanding between us all, and we shared frequent laughing conversations, our room being referred to as the party room by the nurses.

And it had a swashbuckling sea view… just.

sea view from the hospital window

Review

While I was in hospital, a rather wonderful review went up on The Rose and the Thistle blog. Reading the opening line cheered me up instantly. “Before I go any further, I just have to say, this is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Yes, it is written in one of my favorite time periods, and yes it takes place in one of my favorite places in all the world, but when you combine that with the almost poetic style of Sinclair’s writing—sigh!” See the whole review here.

Mermaid on Amazon

I later wrote an article on living with chronic illness

Doctors and Deadlines: Writing with Chronic Illness on Women Writers, Women’s Books. 

My Latest Historical

From the provocative opening scene to the later dramatic and devastating events of the story, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a book that will continually surprise, delight, and sometimes shock the reader. The novel features the beautiful hill of Bennachie, and the stone circles of Aberdeenshire, along with the cliffs and caves of Cullykhan Bay.

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Read the article Aberdeenshire in Roman times takes centre stage in author’s latest book from AberdeenLive.

My Contemporary Books

A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair

My dance background and love of history and steamy stories are what inspired this 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.

A Dancer’s Journey is available in paperback, Kindle and on Kindle Unlimited.

A Dancer's Journey Series by Ailish Sinclair

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

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

Series on Goodreads

Review for TENDU: “This book has so much representation in its characters with autism, dyslexia, medical issues and LGBTQ+ characters… Emma-Louise on Goodreads and TikTok

About Page

ballet novel, TENDU, by Ailish Sinclair

See my About Page here

Newsletter

Come through the castle door to sign up to my occasional emails for exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. It’s a more intimate space than the blog. If you would like to hear about new books and special offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

castle door

Writer’s Tip Jar

Autumn in Scotland

Autumn in Scotland - apples

Autumn in Scotland is brief. One day you’re in the midst of the wild and overgrown end of summer, and then – it always feels sudden and surprising – the trees are full of brilliant and bright colours.

There’s also berries. And misty mornings. And apples.

It’s all so beautiful.

I love it.

Autumn in Scotland

And this year I’m not missing it due to illness (see the article Doctors and Deadlines: writing with chronic illness).

I’m walking through that hot afternoon sunshine, between the trees and the toadstools. There’s so many of those this year.

fly agaric toadstool: autumn in Scotland

The end of autumn in Scotland

It all feels rather magical. But it could be over at any moment. When the first frost comes, which could happen any time in the next month, the leaves will turn brown and fall off. The dragonflies and butterflies will disappear. And it will be winter. Like the onset of autumn, this always feels sudden, but at the same time sneaky. Like, when did this cold, cold change occur?

So, I treasure sweet autumnal moments for as long as I can. Look at the sunshine shining through those red leaves. Glorious, isn’t it?

autumn in scotland

A Dancer’s Journey is here!

TENDU is making me think of Covent Garden. And cake.

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

Page with blurbs and quotes

More on the series:

Sisters Review

This is from the long and thoughtful review of SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD from Olga Núñez Miret:

“Those who are looking for a strong female protagonist, love lyrical and expressive writing styles, and favour stories with a touch of magic and ancient mythology, particularly set in Scotland, should put it on their list. They are bound to discover a new author to follow, and a protagonist they’ll never forget.”

See the whole review here.

Share Your Books

Don’t forget you can share your own books and writing on this post. I always love to see it.

My Historical Fiction

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.

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 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

Fit Like? Aberdeen in the Rain

The Chanonry. Aberdeen in the rain.

I skirted round the edges Aberdeen in the rain, in search of bright spots and green corners. Above is The Chanonry, a cobbled street in Old Aberdeen. Cobbles are called ‘cassies’ up here, a word I had long forgotten until I was reminded of it on Twitter.

Aberdeen in the Rain

I ran the grass maze in the Cruickshank botanic garden:

Aberdeen in the rain: grass maze

Then I caught sight of the Duncan Rice library – ooh, research! – where I found a dolphin (others previously blogged here):

Aberdeen in the rain

He’s a Doric dolphin that one, Doric being the dialect spoken in these parts. We do have some great words and phrases, such as:

Doric dolphin

Quine ~ girl. Loon ~ boy.

Flycup ~ a quick cup of tea, often served with a ‘piece’ (biscuit) or if you’re very lucky, a ‘funcy piece’ which might involve chocolate, cream or jam.

Fit like? ~ How are you doing? The accepted answer is ‘Nae bad, fit like yersel?’

The Winter Gardens at Duthie Park are an excellent place to visit when the weather is damp. I remember going there as a child with my Grandmother. She would have loved these colours:

archway at Duthie Park
14829367500_63b880f5ff_z
the Victorian corridor

Dancing Round Aberdeen in the Rain

A group of people huddled in the entrance hall, clinging to a vain hope that the rain might go off. I ran across the grass to the bandstand and was immediately reminded of a scene in The Sound of Music (16 going on 17) and indulged in some similar dancing. I am fortunate to have such open, non-judgemental people in my life. They joined in. We had all forgotten about the audience at the door who had quite a good view of the bandstand:

The Duthie Park bandstand. Aberdeen in the rain.

Having provided enough entertainment for one day, we headed home for a chocolate based fly cup and funcy piece.

Chosen Sisters, Romans and Romance

Sisters at the Edge of the World cover

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

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Review from Terry Tyler: “It’s a fabulous story, a real page-turner and so well written. It made me think about the passage and circle of time, of the constancy of the land on which we live and the transient nature of human life. Loved it.

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

Witchcraft and a Handsome Laird

The Mermaid and the Bear cover

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

Review from Tonya Ulynn Brown: “Before I go any further, I just have to say, this is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read…

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

Kidnapping, Slavery and Friendship

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

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

Newsletter

Go here to sign up for occasional emails that always include exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. They’re a more intimate space than the blog.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Short Post: Early Morning Walk Before Writing

I am now well enough to start the day with an early morning walk, just like I always used to. And today, it really feels like autumn. I made a wee video:

I walked all the way up to the Witch Stone.

early morning walk to the witch stone

But now it’s back to making SISTERS happen soon.

And, it’s out now!

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Walking with the Quines

Haddo House

Quine is the Doric word for girl. The Quines (or Super Quines as we have become recently) are a group of women that met on Twitter. I can’t recall the exact ways in which we all first started chatting, though these has been much hilarity from the start. I follow many local people as well as those who share various interests, and there’s a mix of that among The Quines. Last year some of us met up in person, out in the wider world, and we hope to meet our more distant living Quine one day too.

Continue reading “Walking with the Quines”

A Little Autumn Love

witches stone

Buchan pano

Golden mornings follow bright sunrises and the low sun does things to the sky:

Continue reading “A Little Autumn Love”