The Garden is Wild

overcast days in the garden

The garden is wild. It’s overgrown. But beautiful. I’m not sure why I take so many photos on overcast days. But I do. And here they are 🙂

bee on delphinium - the garden is wild
Bee on Wolf’s Bane
the garden is wild - Pyrenean lily
A Pyrenean Lily

The only Iris that will grow here is the wild one:

Iris

Some more contained plants to finish:

Perennial sweet pea
A Perennial Sweet Pea

A Dancer’s Journey: wild like the garden

A Dancer's Journey Series 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

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair

About Page

feet

See my About Page here

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When I’m Away From the Keyboard…

Book covers of A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair: celebratory dance.

Every so often I step away from the keyboard and take a day off. Not because I want to. I resist and avoid and cling to my desk in a desperate fashion. Friends persuade and entice me outside. And it is always good, always nourishing and refreshing. There’s a planned outing later this week, and I can just picture my characters’ reactions when they realise I’m not there…

Sharp-witted Justin notices first. He looks up, listens and checks again. “She’s gone out!”

Every character sags with relief. They go back to bed and sleep in till lunchtime. Later, they shuffle downstairs to get tea and food, and they sit in silence in the great hall of the castle.

People who usually snipe and gripe at each other, pass the sugar without word. Two of them exchange a wry smile, for without my omniscient presence to keep them busy, they can sense what’s coming; not the details, but the shadow of something bad ahead, something they would avoid if they could. But like my day out, it cannot be avoided. It has to happen.

A Dancer's Journey

They head to bed early, exhausted by the hours of doing nothing, tired from the rest and relaxation.

No arguments. No sex. No laughter.

How boring! These people need me. Maybe I shouldn’t step away from the keyboard after all…

The desk of Scottish author Ailish Sinclair when she's not stepping away from the keyboard (so, most days)...

They didn’t get left alone for long, those poor characters. I soon pulled them all back into the drama and the story.

And that story will be out later in 2023, in the form of a contemporary three-book series called A Dancer’s Journey. As you can see from my editor’s comment below, Justin and the others were completely justified in being relieved that I was gone.

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.

More on the series:

My Historical Novels

I put the characters through the proverbial wringer in these too!

Historical Fiction from Ailish Sinclair. Witches, kidnapping, Romans and romance.
  • SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD opens on a snowy winter solstice in 1st century Scotland. The main character is neurodivergent, and has been non-verbal until that first scene of the book.
  • If you like castles, Scotland, history, witches, stone circles and Christmas done medieval-style, you might like THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR. There’s also a love story.
  • FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children of 18th century Aberdeen, and is set in both Scotland and Colonial Pennsylvania.

All novels are available in paperback, kindle and on kindle unlimited.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

Newsletter and Updates

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.

My About Page

Ailish's feet

Read all about little old me here!

Writer’s Tip Jar

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

Snow Day in Scotland

snow days in scotland

Snow day! Up the track we trudge…

snow day: gnarly tree

Past the gnarly tree…

snow day: into the woods

Let’s follow the deer tracks into the forest.

path in woods

The sun is just over the hill.

blue skies on a snow day

It casts its light onto the track as we head home to hot chocolate and the fire.

sun on a snow day
Snow day!

Sisters at the Edge of the World

I went in to Sisters recently to update the back matter. It made me cry again

New review from Molly on Goodreads: A beautiful tale of sisterhood, family, motherhood, love, war, romance and ancient traditions. I was completely lost (in a good way!) in the world Ailish Sinclair created. Her skills with historical fiction are astounding. The story moved in a way that was reminiscent of music. There was a rhythm to it that makes sense when you learn the author was/is a dancer.

Book on Amazon

About Page

feet

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

Chasing a Cover Reveal Along Snowy Pathways

snowy path to a cover reveal

This is the cover reveal for FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE!

Other reveals can be seen here for THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR, and more recently, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD.


Last time I had a cover to reveal we journeyed down a rabbit hole to find it… but I haven’t been anywhere exciting like that lately, so we’ll have to stick closer to home, starting on the snowy track into the woods.

Reaching the end of the track, we nip up this narrow path:

narrow path to a cover reveal

Here we are on the loch-side walk now, sunshine to our left.

sunny path in the woods

Wait! What’s that? Something’s moving in the woods, running and leaping through the trees…

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair in the snow by deer tracks

No, that’s not it. That’s the first book (out now!) and some foot prints left by a deer. We need to retrace our steps, I think…

Snowy track to a cover reveal

And yes – finally we come to it – the cover reveal for FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE, out April 1st 2021!

Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair, out 2021

The cup featured on the cover is an actual chocolate cup from the 1740s when the book is set.

Inspired by the 600 children and young people who were kidnapped from Aberdeen and sold into indentured servitude in the American Colonies, the story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s proper derring-dos on the high seas (as opposed to my previous metaphorical ones)! And there’s chocolate…

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Filled with excitement and suspense…” Review from the Historical Novel Society

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My Other 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!

“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.

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 

ballet novel, TENDU, by Ailish Sinclair

See my About Page here

Writer’s Tip Jar

The Peaks and Picts of Bennachie

Bennachie in the distance

Bennachie is a large hill that can be seen from many places in Aberdeenshire. Its craggy peaks seem to loom out of nowhere as you drive round twisty corners of country roads. I once climbed it three times in one day for charity. This, and the climb detailed below, were both done some time ago, obviously.

The top of Harthill Castle, which was owned and restored by the late American writer Ann Savage, is just visible over the trees in the photo above.

Bennachie in my writing

SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD with a misty mountain view

Bennachie, and the stone circle at Daviot, both feature in my book, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, a tale of chosen sisters, fierce warriors, divided loyalties and love. 

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society

Bennachie

The start of any Bennachie climb – we took the easiest ‘Rowan Tree’ route – starts with a misleading forest stroll.

woodland walk on Bennachie

Then you’re out into the baking sun (sometimes; you are equally as likely to emerge to a dense Stephen King style mist) and the views expand.

rock face on Bennachie

Parts of the path are pure exposed rock. It feels like standing on the bare face of the planet. I like to kneel and kiss the stone. You do see some strange people on Bennachie…

getting steeper as we climb Bennachie

The ascent gradually gets steeper, the sun gets hotter, and the Mither Tap nears.

Big cairn, little cairn:

cairns on Bennachie

Picts!

There’s a Pictish hillfort near the top. You pass between its ancient walls…

hillfort on Bennachie

And then you cling, terrified, to the side of the uppermost rocks as the strong wind threatens to knock you over. That bit passes quickly. The landscape soon owns your attention.

views from Bennachie

A Pictish Beast

The Maiden Stone stands near the foot of the hill, a ninth century Pictish stone displaying a good example of the mysterious, much debated ‘Pictish beast’. Swimming elephant? Dolphin? Kelpie?

The Maiden Stone

A Stone Circle

Daviot

A few miles further on is Loanhead of Daviot Stone Circle, the first recumbent circle I ever visited.

circle

Newsletter and Updates

Go here to sign up for occasional emails that always include some exclusive photos and news of my writing and life. They’re a more intimate space than the blog. If you would rather just hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

More Historical Fiction from me

Ailish's books

Set in an Aberdeenshire castle, THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR features the 1597 Aberdeen witchcraft panic, a 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

A Dancer’s Journey – a contemporary series

A Dancer's Journey, a 3 book series by Ailish Sinclair. Dark and romantic books.

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 out in 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…

Series on Amazon

Series on Goodreads

A Dancer's Journey Series by Ailish Sinclair - dark and romantic books

Writer’s Tip Jar

Historical Hot Chocolate and 75 Words

Historical Hot Chocolate... not quite.

That’s not historical hot chocolate there; it’s totally modern and topped with ice cream, and was rather delightful on a snowy day.

To see the historical version being made we have to go to one of the YouTube channels I used during the research and immersion phase of writing FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE.

Elizabeth, the main character, uses a slightly simpler method, back in the 18th century, in this quote from the book:

“I shave slivers of chocolate from the block and stir them into hot water over the fire. I add sugar and mix until it is all well blended. Then I pour it all into the pot with the warm milk and whisk and whisk until it’s frothy and perfect.”

Whatever century you’re in… yum!

The first 75 words of the novel were up on Paragraph Planet in 2021. I took a wee screen shot:

Openeing of FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE by Ailish Sinclair
The Mermaid and the Bear cover

FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the 18th century kidnapped children of Aberdeen and is choc full of historical hot chocolate!

Not to be forgotten, my debut novel 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

Fireflies and Chocolate teaser

Dreich Days and Squelching Feet

Dreich but beautiful: trees

It’s dreich here, as we say in Scotland.

Grey. Rainy. Dull.

trees in the forest

The woods are still beautiful, though.

I like the witches’ brooms in the trees. And the wintry light.

my favourite forest path on a dreich day

The path through the forest is still a favourite place, and while the squelching of my feet is not entirely unpleasing, and I do like using the word dreich, I will welcome the brighter days when they arrive.

A New Review of Mermaid

The Mermaid and the Bear by Ailish Sinclair

I was quite touched by this insightful review on The Book Keep blog recently:

Not only a tribute to Scotland and its history, Ailish Sinclair’s debut novel, The Mermaid and the Bear, further excites, warms, and grips us with a tale about the dichotomies of human nature.

First and foremost, this is achieved by an entrancing blend of evocative literary styles. With mention of witchcraft and the imagery of misty woodlands and a gray, imposing church steeple, Mermaid’s mood is reminiscent of a classic Gothic novel; and yet, here and there, soaked in the colors of bright holiday feasts, pristine snowy landscapes, and a pink stone castle, the air of a Medieval fairytale shimmers with a dreamlike quality.

Mermaid on Amazon

My About Page

Ailish's feet

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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

The Dark of the Castle

the dark of the castle
The dark of the castle: photo taken in Corgarff Castle

The dark of the castle. That’s where we begin. In Cabriole. Which is out today.

Cabriole by Ailish Sinclair
Black coffee and dark chocolate

It’s the second title in the series, and also the notorious one.

The main character, autistic dancer Amalphia, won’t tell you that things are a bit dark in her world. She’s rather an unreliable narrator at the start of the book. But the story soon moves. In fact, it travels around quite a bit.

the dark of the castle: out the door we go!
Out the door we go! Photo taken at Fyvie Castle

From the blurb

After a traumatic year at the castle, Amalphia Treadwell travels back to London to start her professional life, putting dark and difficult things firmly behind her. Or so she believes… See full blurb here

London

I took the next photo the last time I walked through Chinatown in London. Cakes like this don’t actually feature in the novel, but I think they express lightness and fun. There is plenty of that in the tale too.

cakes in  a shop window Chinatown, London.
Cakes in Chinatown

Excerpt

Justin and Amalphia meet in Chinatown at one point. Quote slightly edited to avoid a spoiler:

“Phi, keep going,” urged Justin. “You can’t say something like that and go quiet.”

Between large mouthfuls of food, I detailed the time in New York, the following week… and the present: the horrible, sticky, itchy present.

“I’m a bit shocked,” he admitted. “It’s a lot to take in.”

There’s a few places like this in the book:

London Coliseum
The London Coliseum

And this question is explored:

Cabriole by Ailish Sincalir, starting in the dark of the castle

So, there we are. A Dancer’s Journey. It’s in paperback, Kindle and on Kindle Unlimited. Two outOne to go (December 22nd)

Series on Amazon

Series on Goodreads

From emmalolly13 on TikTok: “This series has a special place in my heart… I feel so blessed to continue reading Amalphia’s story… Her journey with love has been rough… this is such a soul-touching series.

See the Wee Writing Lassie’s new blog series about my favourite dancers here

A Dancer's Jpurney by Ailish Sinclair

There’s more about these stories in the posts below:

Diabolical reading

About Page

ballet feet of Ailish Sinclair

See my About Page

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.

Bookish people can apply for Advance Reader Copies of future books here.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Strichen Lake in Aberdeenshire

Strichen Lake

Today we have beautiful Strichen lake for my wee road to winter journey or blog series as it has become. And yes, it is called a lake, not a loch, which is a little unusual for up here.

Reflections in Strichen Lake

Reflections on the lake.

Swans on Strichen Lake

The swans make it a little balletic. For me, anyway.

The Strichen Community Park Facebook Page always has lots of seasonal photos and news about the park and lake.

Tendu is out, and Cabriole is almost here (November 24th)!

The first two titles of A Dancer's Journey

And the third title, Fouetté, releases in December. Phew! These aren’t just the naughtiest books I’ve ever written, they’re the longest, being about 50% longer than my historical titles.

I’m trying to keep up with the reviews that keep popping up in unexpected places. Mick_the_knife had this to say on Threads: “My Kindle is fully charged and waiting to welcome Cabriole with open arms. Tendu was a romp and a roller coaster and it possibly contributed to my sleep deprivation for a couple of weeks!”

A Dancer's Journey by Ailish Sinclair

They’re in paperback too. Nice big chunks of books.

Series page here on the site

On Amazon

Series on Goodreads

TENDU: 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…

And then on into CABRIOLE: After a traumatic year at the castle, Amalphia Treadwell travels back to London to start her professional life, putting dark and difficult things firmly behind her. Or so she believes…

Cabriole by Ailish Sincalir
Cabriole: Dancing in the City

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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 special offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

About Page

dancer
And that’s a tendu…

My About Page

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