Hunkering Down in the Writing Cave

loch: a walk away from the writing cave

The Writing Cave

The loch continues to inspire awe with its reflected beauty. But the writing cave has me now. I don’t want to leave it. I want to write and write and write. Even when my brain is too tired to do it well anymore, that’s where I want to be.

It’s all the fault of TENDU. This intense and obsessive behavior always happens when I’m working on it. But I’m nearly there now. I’m on the last pages of the final edit. It’ll be off to the proofreader soon. And then I’ll be diving into the second book in the series, CABRIOLE. I suspect it’s going to have the same effect. I can already feel the emotional pull of the first chapters.

Remnants of Autumn

beech tree in its autumn garb. From the writing cave.

There are still some wonderful autumn colours around, in places that are sheltered from the frost. I stare at their brilliance before rushing back home. To the cave. That last sex scene is not going to rewrite itself… These are somewhat naughtier books than my others.

I intend getting all three titles ready and rapid releasing them next year, a month apart. So, the schedule of the writing cave is all set for winter.

Book Recommendations

Terry Tyler, a writer I really admire, has named SISTERS as one of her three book recommendations of 2022 over on the damppebbles book blog. “I loved this book because it so cleverly shows us a picture of life in the times of the Roman Conquest…” See the whole write-up and the other recommended books here.

Mastodon

I’m over on Mastodon here. So far, it seems quite nice. Rather like Twitter was years ago with people sharing interesting things and chatting. No algorithm. Less drama.

A Deer

There was a deer in the frosty field this morning. It’s to the far left of the picture and is small and blurred. You might be able to see it if you click to enlarge.

frosty field near the writing cave

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.

What she does next constitutes a huge betrayal of her people, threatening her closest relationships and even her way of life itself.

Paperback, Kindle and on Kindle Unlimited:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Set in 1st century Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a story of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and love.

SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD by Ailish Sinclair

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Blue Loch at the End of Autumn

blue loch and a book slae

We’ve reached the cusp between autumn and winter. The blue loch reflects dark skies. There’s pumpkins and wind and rain and piles of leaves everywhere. Autumn is almost over.

And yet, we still have brighter days and blue skies. Sometimes.

Sisters at the Edge of the World

Sisters at the Edge of the World cover
  • The main characters are fiercely bonded chosen sisters, one of them neurodiverse.
  • The story is set in 1st century Scotland 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.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Sally Cronin recently featured SISTERS as a new book on her shelves here.

Read the article New novel highlights Roman history in North East from Grampian Online.

Excerpt

Quote from SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

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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.

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

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Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms: big blog, little blog

The Cairngorm mountains beyond Loch Morlich

Beautiful Loch Morlich, Cairngorms beyond, still with patches of snow in June.

Little Blog

This blog was originally sent from holiday in June 2019. I was completely depleted by my autoimmune conditions, at that point undiagnosed, and spent most of the holiday lying in bed reading books.

books in bed

It seems strange, looking back on it now, that I tried to keep my health problems a secret. Only happy pictures got posted on socials, such as ones of Aviemore Stone Circle and Reindeer in the Cairngorms. The gargantuan effort it took to get to these places, or how I hardly left the car, did not get mentioned.

I didn’t want it to be true. I wanted to ‘snap out of it’. I didn’t want that to be the way of me.

I still don’t of course, and it is generally better now, flare ups aside. I guess I’m becoming more open and accepting of the situation, and I like to write honestly everywhere, not just in my books.

Big Blog

From bed I shared the news of my guest post on the official tourism site for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire: 10 Mystical and Magical Places in Aberdeenshire. Below is Pitsligo Castle, one of the sites featured in that post.

Loch Morlich

On the pictured morning I walked very slowly from the car to the loch, and it was wonderful to be out among such beauty. I was on the banks of Loch Morlich before the ducks were up! And probably back in bed before they were too…

Ducks by Loch Morlich

Keep up to date with all my news by signing up to the occasional mailing list.

The 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

And coming soon…

SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD cover

Set in 1st century Northern Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a tale of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and, ultimately, love. More…

A Loch Through the Seasons: mist, sunsets and snow

loch at sunset
misty Aberdeenshire loch

Clouds of mist swirl over the surface of the loch.

The picture above was taken after an unexpectedly hot day led to unexpectedly beautiful conditions. Well, not completely unexpected. It’s always beautiful, always different.

Summer Loch

Summer brings lush green foliage and colour to the loch*. It’s not very deep so swimming can be warm, though muddy.

summer Aberdeenshire loch

Autumn

That glassy ‘stand and stare’ stillness can happen at any time of year, but it most commonly occurs in Autumn. Sunsets are pink, silver or even purple. Whatever the sky is doing is intensified in reflection.

sunset

The Loch in Winter

Scottish winters are fierce. One year layer upon layer of ice and snow built up so thick that people and dogs ran about on top of the loch. I watched a fox run right across from one side to the other. It was at once surreal and yet so very real, unconnected from civilisation as it feels up there in the woods. No TV, no computers, just life and joy and fun on a natural huge flat screen among the trees.

snowy Aberdeenshire loch

I hope I will be well enough to walk up there soon. And what will await? A liquid mirror? Slow moving ripples? The slightest change in airflow is made visible by water. If there’s blue in the sky, there will be blue in the loch. Maybe there’ll be whooping swans with their yellow beaks, or an otter leaping about on the banks. I love the sound of otters giggling in the evening… I miss it.

whooper swans flying up from the loch
Whooper swans over the loch

* I freely admit to having overused the word ‘loch’ in this post. The word ‘lake’ is not a suitable substitute. If you don’t come from Scotland you can have no idea how very wrong that notion is. And while we’re at it, let’s make sure you’re saying/thinking the word right. The ‘ch’ sound is like a Scottish wildcat (something I once saw up by the large expanse of water, but no one believes me) hissing in the back of your throat. There you are, got it.

fun on the loch
Boating days…

The 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

And coming soon…

SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD cover

Set in 1st century Northern Scotland, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD is a tale of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and, ultimately, love. More…

Writing Update

I am back editing the manuscript now. My poor characters have moved on from the battle scene at last! Though the phrase ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ springs to mind…

My About Page

Mailing List

Sea King over Glen Affric in the Highlands

search and rescue sea king helicopter
Track leading into the Glen Affric in the Highlands of Scotland
Here we go, into Glen Affric…

A pictorial post about beautiful Glen Affric in the Scottish Highlands.

Page on it here

Loch Beinn a' Mheadhain
Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhain
The Dog Falls at Glen Affric
Beside the Dog Falls…
Loch Beinn a' Mheadhain
Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhain from another vantage point.
heather at Glen Affric
Heather.
Loch Affric
Loch Affric.
search and rescue sea king helicopter at Glen Affric
Search and rescue Sea King helicopter over Glen Affric.

Keep up with all my news by signing up to the mailing list. It’s occasional and always contains some exclusive photos.

Books!

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 neurodiverse main character and some rather complicated romance!

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

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

“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.

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Five Go on an Island Adventure: Islay

Arriving on Islay

We arrived in the dark. On a boat. It missed the pier and had to spin round and go back out to sea before trying again. It was all very exciting.

Port Askaig

ferry arrival in Islay

So, the five of us – four humans, 1 canine – went to bed in a lovely old house and awoke to sunshine and a eucalyptus tree.

window view

We ate breakfast. We unpacked. Then we ran about on Islay’s golden beaches…

Kilchoman beach on the island of  Islay

And had our cares blasted away by the wind on rocky shores.

Salago, Islay

There was much fireside sitting and eating and laughing and talk.

jam tarts

Kildalton

History was explored. The Kildalton High Cross and church:

Kildalton Cross, Islay
snowdrops

Finlaggan

The Seat of the Lordship of the Isles at Finlaggan in the soft island rain:

standing stone at Finlaggan, Islay
grave
16595908336_d7f677c656_z
Finlaggan, Islay

Leaving Islay

view of Islay

Then, refreshed and de-stressed, it was back on the ferry to the mainland, though the view there is of Jura:

We passed Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe:

16621265122_8eec0f6aba_z

And walked between weather-battered oak trees on our way home.

Strone Hill

There’s more (oh, so many more!) photos on Twitter and Instagram.

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.

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 neurodiverse main character and some rather complicated romance!

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

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

ballet novel, TENDU, by Ailish Sinclair

See my About Page here

Wintry Aberdeenshire: Sparks of Light

Buchan Ness Lighthouse

Buchan Ness Lighthouse in Boddam, Aberdeenshire, shining its light out into the sunrise.

We’ve reached the point in the year, here in Northern Scotland, where light is scarce. It arrives late in the day and leaves early, by about 4pm. But that wintry low sun does some special things, especially at the beach…

a walk on the beach

And the wintry temperatures play with ice and colours…

Tiger Hill in wintry Aberdeenshire

Above is the large sand dune on Fraserburgh beach known as Tiger Hill. Below, a puddle.

ice and leaves: wintry Aberdeenshire

Rivers and lochs reflect back more light than you can see in the sky. Morning reflections at Pitfour:

relections

The sun sets in the woods… What sparks of light have you spotted in winter?

woodland sunset

Newsletter

Keep up to date with all my news by signing up to the mailing list. It’s a more intimate space than the blog and always contains some exclusive photos.

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 neurodiverse main character and some rather complicated romance!

See the press release here

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

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

a little bit of snow

pine cones in snow - Ailish Sinclair, author

How could I have forgotten what proper cold feels like? It pulls you up short as you realise that just breathing in the sub zero air is going to chill you, no matter how well wrapped up you are. And the dark, the days that don’t begin until half way through the morning and seem to end at 3 in the afternoon. This is the truth of December in Scotland. Even when there is only a tiny amount of snow.

Scots Pine in snow - Ailish Sinclair, author

I complain (this was especially evident during the five hour power cut we had last week), but I love it. It’s a time of hibernation, of books and log fires, and writing, writing, writing; no hot sun to distract and lure, only the occasional frosty bright sunrise. And that little bit of snow.

sunrise over the loch - Ailish Sinclair, author

I’m also enjoying all the Christmas cookies and hot chocolate of the season, sparkly tree lights, nostalgia made real.

It’ll all be over soon. The Solstice will herald the lightening of the nights, that’s always noticeable quite quickly. But for now I appreciate the views of winter: the loch is frozen and my neighbour forgot to take in his boat, now also frozen.

boat om a frozen loch - Ailish Sinclair, author

And the field makes me think of chocolate cake dusted with icing sugar…

fields dusted with snow - Ailish Sinclair, author

My books:

Ailish's books

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

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

Paperbacks and kindle: http://author.to/mermaid

Go here to sign up for my occasional emails that include exclusive photos and news of my writing and life.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Snowy Scottish scenes, loch, stones, woods

Strichen lake, a snowy Scottish scene

It’s raining here in Scotland, but I’m thinking about snow. I’m still a bit monstrous, but I’m thinking about pretty things, sparkly things, Christmas baubles and frost and ice.

Snowy Scottish Scenes

That’s the loch in Strichen Community Park above, and below.

A Scottish snowy scene, Strichen Lake

And then stones. I think about them a lot. Witchy ones in the half light of approaching snow:

Snowy Scottish scenes: the witch stone

Bronze Age ones. The Memsie Burial Cairn:

Memsie Burial Cairn in the snow

And circles. Of course, those.

stone circle in the snow

My thoughts go to the woods of Delgatie Castle…

A Snowy Scottish scene in Delgatie woods

I would like to be marching along those paths.

snowy track

Just look at the fluffy trees!

snowy trees at Delgatie

Closer to home, there’s the field.

snowy Scottish scenes

Track newly cleared by the farmer:

Tractor tracks in the snow

And then there’s a fox!

fox in the snow

And deer bottoms…

deer bottoms in the snow

I mustn’t forget frost at the beach. I love the crunch of the sand.

frost at the beach

The low winter sun shines through.

Low sun in the snow: snowy Scottish scenes

Here’s hoping we get some snow soon 🙂

Interesting review of The Mermaid and the Bear, assessing it on the first five sentences alone, here from Jennifer Starks.

The Mermaid and the Bear is the perfect Christmas gift!

Read my books for free

Back in the world of books, all my novels are on Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s lending service, and that has a 30 day free trial, though some people are being offered 3 months for free just now. See all the books here. Also in paperback.

kindle unlimited

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