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

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Writer’s Tip Jar

Music and Words on the Making of Meaning

music and words on the making of meaning

Music and Words

The composer Rhodri Williams-Wandoch has created an amazing blend of music and words on the making of meaning. He describes the piece as an intricate and profound improvised invention on a chromatic theme. I’m the second author, a little after 2.20 minutes in, reading an excerpt from SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD entitled On War.

Listen to my dulcet tones (I think I was putting on my ‘posh’ voice) below:

The Garden

I wish I could share the sweet scent of the honeysuckle and lavender. The garden has reached its overgrown summer phase. The poor pink bench looks like it’s about to be reclaimed by nature.

music and words: scent of the garden

SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

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

“Ethereal and spellbinding…” Historical Novel Society

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

Meanwhile…

I return to editing. Down the dungeon steps I go

A Dancer's Journey, a three-book series by Ailish Sinclair

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feet

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Some Depressing Time Travel

time travel with a book

That’s what my son said of my little video attempt below. “Wow, that’s some depressing time travel.”

Romantic Time Travel

I do like those sad stories, though. Not that they’re sad, beginning to end, these books. There’s romance in them all, happy romance, sometimes a little bit naughty too. And one of them has chocolate… No actual time travel, though. None at all.

You can be depressed by them all here in the UK, or for worldwide depression, go here.

Writing with no time travel

I’ve been writing, writing, writing, living in the intense and sexy atmosphere of A Dancer’s Journey. I love it. I don’t want to leave it. It’s fun and romantic, if a little devastating and dramatic in places. But leave it, I will, later this year, when all three books finally get released.

More on the series:

Pink Things

I’ve been enjoying the pink phase of the garden…

pink bench in a time travel post
Pink bench and cherry blossom

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Ailish's feet

Read about little old me here!

Writer’s Tip Jar

Dunnideer Vitrified Hillfort and Leith Hall Garden

tree at the base of Dunnideer vitrified hill fort

This beautiful tree sits at the foot of Dunnideer Vitrified Hillfort near Insch in Aberdeenshire. It’s a short but steep climb to the top of the hill. When you see the remains of the medieval castle and prehistoric fort, you know you’re nearly there.

Dunnideer Hillfort

The vitrified forts of Northern Scotland are a bit of a mystery. About 2000 years ago the stones of many of these defensive buildings reached a high enough temperature to melt. Theories as to how this happened are varied. Battles? Ancient building techniques? Aliens? I’ve written a dramatic stone-melting event into SISTERS (no aliens involved) but don’t pretend to have the answer to this piece of prehistory.

vitrified hillfort rock and medieval castle

The views from the hill make all exertion of the climb worthwhile. Click the pano for a larger version:

panorama of view from Dunideer vitrified hillfort

View from the other side:

Dunnideer vitrified hillfort

Dunnideer Stone Circle

Nestled, and almost completely hidden, under a tree at the bottom of the hill are the remains of Dunnideer Recumbent Stone Circle.

recumbent and flankers of Dunnideer stone circle at the base of the vitrified hill fort
stone under tree
split flanker of Dunnideer stone circle

Leith Hall

A few miles further west is Leith Hall with its wonderful walled garden.

colourful borders of Leith Hall garden

Stone guardian at the gate:

lion at Leith Hall

I love the Moon Gate and, in retrospect, wish I had gone through it and taken a photo from the other side too. Passing through moon gates is meant to bring good luck. Oh well, next time…

moongate at Leith Hall

My Latest Novel

Sisters at the Edge of the World

Set in 1st century Northern Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a story of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and, ultimately, love. It features a neurodivergent main character, the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes, and some rather complicated romance!

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

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

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

Fairy-Tale Fun in Gardens

Fairytale fun: there be gragons
The two-tonne dragon head in Castle Fraser’s secret garden

In between dark and romantic writing sessions, I’ve been taking little breaks of fairy-tale fun, in memory, and in the garden which is just entering its pink phase.

fairytale fun in the pink garden

The dragon pictured at the top of this post is located in Castle Fraser’s secret garden, which also contains this rather lovely little castle:

Fairytale fun: a wooden castle

And a hobbit-style door…

Fairytale fun: hobbit door in Castle Fraser's secret garden

Castle Fraser itself:

Castle Fraser
Castle Fraser

Then, of course, there’s the playful garden at Brodie Castle.

Brodie Castle
Brodie Castle

It features a huge white rabbit. I used lots of pictures of this garden for the cover reveal of THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, here in this Alice in Wonderland themed post, almost four years ago now. There’s unicorns to be found there too.

huge white rabbit: fairytale fun

But it’s time for me to head back down to my own darker fairy tale again. I pass the knight in the medieval hall at Drum Castle as I leave bright places behind.

a knight gets dressed

Down the secret stairway I go…

the secret stairway in a castle - Ailish Sinclair, author

The candles snuff out as I enter the dungeon. Yes, it’s the same one that features in Mermaid. It’s still there in the modern day, in my contemporary work.

castle dungeon quote: not quite so much fairytale fun

So, I type away at my desk, lost in the dramatic events of the story once more.

Meanwhile, back out in the garden, where lighter fairy-tale fun still exists, Frogbert waits patiently to be kissed.

Fairytale fun with a frog prince.

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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 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.

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

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!

See the publisher’s Press Release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

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

My About Page

ballet novel, TENDU, by Ailish Sinclair

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

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

About page updated

Holiday in a Day: Coast, Garden, Well, Forest

a holiday in a day: dolphin sculpture
holiday in a day: window by Portsoy Harbour
Window by Portsoy Harbour

Originally posted August 2022. I went out for the day. I ended up visiting so many places that it felt like having a whole holiday in a day. It’s been a really long time since I did this. There’s been wee local trips here and there since this latest bout of illness. But it’s been years, literally, since I’ve been out in this way. Other ill times and lockdowns all stopped play for me in this regard.

I didn’t know how far I’d get, so just took one small step of the journey at a time, sharing on Twitter and Instagram as I went.

Holiday in a Day: the Red Well

the Red Well

First was the Red Well by Whitehills. I won’t write about it now as it features in SISTERS and deserves its own post (see that post here). It was beautiful, though, and provided a gentle start to the outing.

Portsoy Harbour

A little further up the coast, I came to the wonderfully scenic Portsoy Harbour, its window and dolphin sculpture also pictured above.

Holiday in a day: Portsoy Harbour

Speymouth Forest

The trip was going well, so on I went, and soon reached deep and dark Speymouth Forest.

Trees at Speymouth Forest

I didn’t walk far, but there was so much beauty to be seen everywhere in the old woodland.

holiday in a day: canopy of trees

Lots of little pathways.

pathway in the forest

Biblical Garden

On and on I travelled, still feeling good. I took a walk in the Biblical Garden at Elgin. This garden contains 110 plants that are mentioned in the bible. It’s an interesting and peaceful place to visit, maintained by the horticultural students of Moray College.

Samson:

Samson in the biblical garden

A rainbow:

Holiday in a Day: rainbow of flowers

Then the fear kicked in. Two competing fears actually. One that I might exhaust myself back into being ill, and the other that I might become ill again so should do as much as possible in one day.

I compromised by sitting quietly by the sea at Sandend for a while before heading home.

Holiday in a Day: Sandend
Note the jumping and boating people in the background!

TikTok

I made a short TikTok video of the day. I am new on there and really don’t know what I’m doing yet. Any advice welcome!

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…

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

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

sisters at the edge of the world

More Books

books on pink

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

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen and is set in both Scotland and Colonial Pennsylvania.

Paperbacks and kindle: Amazon UK or Amazon Worldwide

“Filled with excitement and suspense…” Historical Novel Society

ballet novel, TENDU, by Ailish Sinclair

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.

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