Simple Things, Happy Things

Simple things: white pointe shoes and a prayer plant.

This is a post from 2023. It’s about simple things that make me happy. Today I’m adding new white pointe shoes. And a prayer plant.

Original Simple Things Post

Recently, I’ve been sharing little bits of my life that relate to the series A Dancer’s Journey. Writing the last post of that type brought me out in a cold sweat. Literally. So today, it’s just happy, shiny things!

beach: simple things
A walk on the beach

First up is a walk on the beach. Illness often prevents such activities, so I really appreciate them when they’re possible, and they are just now.

Next: flowers.

simple things: pink purslane
Pink Purslane in the woods
simple things: a tall peony
A tall and pollen-heavy Peony
simple things: apple blossom
apple blossom

The last of the simple things is a newly tidied drawer. Actually still a messy drawer under the shoes. But I can get to my shoes easily. And I can dance.

Ballet shoes

A Dancer’s Journey: complete, shocking, unique

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair
  • Angsty romance
  • Lots of naughtiness!
  • A neurodivergent heroine and a Byronic hero
  • Set in London and Scotland
  • Unconventional love and a secret relationship
  • A castle, a dungeon and a stone circle

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…

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

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

In the Press

New novel from Aberdeenshire author combines passions from Grampian Online.

Cabriole by Ailish Sinclair

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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

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.

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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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Bluebells by the Barley

bluebells and barley in the Aberdeenshire countryside
Barley and bluebells

Just bluebells. Just barley. Just beauty.

About

Books

Newsletter

Bluebells, just Bluebells

pink bluebelles
Pink bluebells
Bluebells in the garden

Bluebells. They seem to be everywhere this year.

In the unmowed grass:

Wild bluebells
Bells of the wild lawn

In the woods. They make blue carpets of themselves there…

Bluebells in the woods
In the woods

And, along with pink and white purslane, they line the pathways and fill the air with intoxicating sweetness.

A path of bluebells
Bluebells and pink purslane

THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair, and a harp

My debut novel, The Mermaid and the Bear, was published by GWL Publishing in 2019.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Waterstones

Aspects of the book:

  • It’s mainly set in a fictional castle in Aberdeenshire.
  • It incorporates the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic.
  • There’s a stone circle.
  • There’s 16th century Christmas.
  • And there’s a love story.
The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair

Further insight:

Aesthetic for The Mermaid and the Bear, Ailish Sinclair's debut novel
Mermaid aesthetic

About Page

Ailish in the stones

Bio, socials, articles and interviews.

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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.

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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.

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Home

Just that. Nothing else. All that’s needed 🙂

home

Snowdrops in the Garden

snowdrops

The snowdrops have arrived, and with them the knowledge that spring is on the horizon.

snowdrops by a tree

They can be found nestling by old trees.

snowdrops in January

Small clumps of beauty abound in the garden. There are carpets of them in the woods, but I don’t have a recent picture. I will endeavour to take one before their short season is done.

snowdrops from above

I love the blue-grey of their stems and their perfect white blooms. Snowdrops rule the land at the moment, being the only flower, the only brightness, on the ground.

snowdrops in the woods

SO MANY FEELINGS

Cabriole received a beautiful review from Molly on Amazon and Goodreads. She does warn of spoilers at the start, so I’ll just quote a couple of her more general comments here:

I couldn’t put this book down. It was so good I didn’t even stop reading while brushing my teeth… I laughed out loud many times! I cackled twice. I cursed at characters in my head a few times. It’s truly one of the best books I’ve ever read and made me feel SO MANY FEELINGS.

Cabriole by Ailish Sinclair

Read the series that’s been 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…

On the flat stone of Aikey Brae Stone Circle

About Page

Ailish among the stones

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

Apology for Scotland’s Witchcraft Trials and an Anniversary

Apology for Scotland's Witchcraft Trials - sunrise
sunrise

Apology

On International Women’s Day, 2022, the Scottish Government issued a formal apology for Scotland’s witchcraft trials. You can read more about it and watch the First Minister’s address to parliament here.

Apology for Scotland's Witchcraft Trials - chasing the sunrise
Chasing the sunrise…

Anniversary

On this day in 1597, Bessie Thom and Christen Michell were executed in Aberdeen, having been found guilty of witchcraft. I wrote about both women in THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, and remembered them today as I chased the sunrise round Strichen Lake.

The apology for Scotland's witchcraft trials - sunrise.

Maria Robertson reviewed the performance ‘Witch Hunt’ here, which took place in St Nicolas Kirk in Aberdeen. “It made me think of Ailish Sinclair’s first novel The Mermaid And The Bear as there are a couple of chapters in that based around the treatment of witches in the Mither Kirk back in the days of yore.”

Witch Hunt

And Nelliphant wrote about some Scottish books here, saying this of FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE: “The main character, a many-times-great-granddaughter of the Mermaid and the Bear, is an extremely feisty Doric-speaking young woman whom I liked very much…”

In other news (less dramatic and much less historic than an apology for Scotland’s Witchcraft Trials) the new book is now with the editor. So, progress towards publication is being made. And, apparently, I can now chase sunrises round lakes so health progress is happening too.

There were some lovely spring flowers planted along the path through the woods. They seemed like wreaths to me, today. Purple and white. Beautiful and sombre.

Apology for Scotland's Witchcraft Trials - flowers
For Bessie, Christen and Isobell, and all those persecuted as witches.

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My Books

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!

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

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

Strained Eyes, Social Media and Summer

looking at the daisies with my strained eyes
Looking at Ox-eye daisies in the meadow, squinting against the sun with my strained eyes…

Strained Eyes

I have strained eyes. I’ve been writing, writing, writing. Or actually, editing, editing, editing. A Dancer’s Journey is progressing. It feels slow, but these books are long, long, long. And emotional. And diabolical and barbarous and sexy and witty and fun. Working on them is actually immense fun. I will miss it when they’re done.

And they will be soon. They are coming, I promise 🙂 Edit: Amazon!

looking at roses with strained eyes
Rose and Buddleia in the garden

Threads

I’m on there. Just. Here I am. It will be part of the fediverse, like Mastodon (there too, sometimes).

Mither Tap on Bennachie
First post on Threads is the sign for the Mither Tap on Bennachie (the hill features in SISTERS).

But for today…

I’m closing my strained eyes and putting my feet in the pool in my, very slanting, summer garden.

strained eyes resting by the pool

Historical Fiction

These novels feature little-known dark events, romance and a hint of magic.

The historical novels of Ailish Sinclair
  • MERMAID: witchcraft, a stone circle, a castle and a love story.
  • FIREFLIES: kidnapping, friendship and chocolate.
  • SISTERS: ancient battle, neurodiversity and forbidden romance.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Ailish's feet

See my About Page here

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.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Crying While Writing: anyone else do this?

Crying while writing: Star of Bethlehem flowers
Star of Bethlehem in the meadow

Crying while writing. Crying while editing. And even crying while thinking about writing, as the scenes, both happy and sad, play out in my mind. It’s no wonder I’m sometimes dehydrated!

So, am I the only one?

Tell me I’m not.

I can’t be.

Emotive writing is, just that. Springing from emotion. Causing of emotions. If the writer isn’t fully immersed, how can the reader ever be?

crying while writing: Rhododendron flowers on the pink bench
Rhododendron flowers on the pink bench

Marketing

But then, I read other things, sensible things really. Like, when we market our books, they should be regarded as ‘products’ and we should not be emotionally attached to them. This is meant to work well. It makes better ‘business’ sense. And we should write to a ‘market’ and design covers to a genre stereotype. The first one I can maybe manage, at least while marketing, but certainly not while writing. The rest, no. It all flows fast and organically out of me and I have no choice but to go where my heart takes me.

ox eye daisy
Ox Eye Daisy

So. I sob on. The latest line, from SISTERS, to set me off was: In the midst of great loss, the newness of a baby helps.

Floods.

Breathlessness.

I’m welling up just looking at the line now, overcome by all that it references.

Rhoddies. Crying while writing

Editing

This emotional aspect of writing is one of the many reasons good, thorough, even brutal, editing is so important. We, or at least I, need someone less attached, someone who did not write the words and scenes, to look at the work objectively and say: this could be better, this is not clear, were you under the influence of one of your stronger prescription drugs when you wrote this? Because in our, or my, invested blubbering state, we might not see it. We might not know.

The book is on its way back for edit three soon (GWL did spoil me with their three editing process, and I won’t do less now), so all is well there.

It is possible that illness is making me worse, crying-wise. I feel a bit pathetic and vulnerable. But that will pass. I will get stronger again. And you’ll get nice sensible and scenic posts about castles and standing stones 🙂

But for now, I recover – from both medical conditions and writing – in the garden. Among the flowers. With a candle.

crying while writing, a candle outside
Lovely soothing candle from Tilly’s Candle Shop… sniff…

Giveaway

On a happier note, one that doesn’t make me cry anyway: I’m doing a signed book giveaway over on Instagram. See it here. It runs all week (June 19th- 26th 2022) with one of each book up for grabs and it’s a worldwide competition.

book giveaway

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

feet

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