Sea Rocket at the Beach

sea rocket

Purple sea rocket on an overcast day. The air was warm. And still. And the flowers smelled sweet.

sea rocket

Sea rocket is edible, but I have not tried it. The leaves do look a little like regular rocket.

ocean

The sea was cold, but it was so good to be out in nature, to feel the sand sinking away beneath my feet as the waves splashed my legs.

sea and sky

And the light was beautiful.

Writing Update

Everything is going well with the next series. All major edits have been done on the first two books and I’m now working on the third, Alexander’s book, and he’s giving me some trouble. If you’ve read Fouetté, you will have met Alexander and may not be surprised by this. Poor boy. He does have rather a bizarre backstory and a lot to cope with.

Molly reviewed Fouetté recently: Throughout reading the book, I exclaimed aloud in disbelief, I laughed, I whooped, I shook with consternation, I held my breathe in anticipation, my pulse raced in excitement, I nearly wept! I felt ALL of the feelings.

See the whole review here

Fouetté, out now

About the new series

Each book follows a different student at the castle school as they go through various adventures and appear on different television shows. The main characters of A Dancer’s Journey feature in the background. In many ways this is a much gentler series of stories, though the characters are all dealing with dark issues from their pasts.

When will it be out? Time and health will tell!

A little more sea rocket:

sea rocket

About Page

feet

See the About Page here

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Gentle Summer Moments

gentle summer moments

Gentle summer moments among the daisies…

gentle summer moments

Expansive skies over Aikey Brae stone circle.

gentle summer moments

Roses and buddleia growing together.

gentle summer moments

An old carving on display in Chalmers Hospital in Banff, spied during a short and gentle medical appointment.

wych elm

Finding a wych elm, and new writing inspiration, in the woods. Two gentle summer moments at once 🙂

Complete Series: A Dancer’s Journey

A Dancer's Journey

When dance student Amalphia Treadwell embarks on a secret relationship with her rich, handsome new teacher, she has no idea of the danger that lurks in his school in Scotland…

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

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

New novel from Aberdeenshire author combines passions from Grampian Online.

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

About Page

feet

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 like to hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

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The Red Well by Whitehills in Aberdeenshire

the red well and the sea
the red well near Whitehills in Aberdeenshire, Scotland

The Red Well

The Red Well by Whitehills is protected by an unusual building. On the autumn equinox, at sunrise, a beam of light shines through the doorway of this beehive-shaped shelter and illuminates the well within. This happens on the spring equinox too. The well, and the building, are said to date from Roman times.

the red well by whitehills

A Witch’s Hoosie

the red well by Whitehills

When I was a small child, I lived with my grandparents in Whitehills for a while. One day, playing with my cousins, I was locked in that building to see if the witch would get me. The place was referred to as the ‘witch’s hoosie’ back then, by children at least. There were scary stories of an old lady witch ghost. I was quite interested to see if she would show up. She didn’t, and I was eventually freed, my lack of fear having disappointed my companions somewhat.

The door is kept locked now.

Since then, I’ve always viewed the well as rather a magical place, and keenly look out for the quick glimpse of it in the landscape that you get when driving along the main Banff to Portsoy road.

thistles by the well
Thistles by the well

It’s in a particularly beautiful spot, the Red Well. The town of Banff can just be seen in the distance below.

the red well by the sea

A Book Set in Roman Times

I included the Red Well in SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD.

Sisters at the Edge of the World by Ailish Sinclair

It was seven years in the making, this book. Both the novel and I went through a lot as the story developed: severe editing, hospitalisations, deleting, pain, rewriting, crying and being monstrous.

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

Paperback and Kindle:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

It’s on Kindle Unlimited too so can be read for free (there’s a 30 day free trial).

sisters at the edge of the world

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

Down by the field…

pink flowers by the field
Cranesbill growing by the field

Writing is flowing and fierce. Walks are gentle. By the field. In the woods. I haven’t ventured far from home yet.

Trees are gnarly, and blog posts are short 🙂

gnarley tree by the field

The Manteith Collection

The Manteith Collection, Ailish Sinclair

The Manteith Collection comprises THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR and FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE. The books do not have to be read in order.

Book 1 (mermaid, 16th century) is set mainly in a castle belonging to the Manteith family and involves witchcraft accusations and romance.

In Fireflies (18th century) Elizabeth Manteith is kidnapped and transported to the American colonies as an indentured servant.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

About Page

Ailish Sinclair romps in the loch

Bio, socials, articles and interviews.

Newsletter

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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Working Girl: a WordPress Prompt Goes Dark

wordpress prompt

What jobs have you had?

A WordPress Prompt

Well, WordPress prompt, when I was fifteen, I took over my ballet teacher’s school for a few months before going to college.

Despite being far too young for such a responsibility, I loved it, and it paid for all the dancewear and equipment I needed for my studies.

ballet teacher: wordpress prompt

In my second year of dance school, I got a job in a shop in Covent Garden. It was a very nice shop. I had more money. No more choosing between food and decent pointe shoes.

shop assistant: wordpress prompt

But here is where things go a bit darker than the WordPress prompt probably intended. I knew really, that working both Saturday and Sunday, after a hard week of dance training, was a bit foolhardy. My sensible friend, Suzette, who would have counselled against this, had returned to Mauritius. More about Suzette and dance training here

So, I became exhausted. There was dance injury after dance injury. I developed a chest infection that lasted five months.

The shop sacked me for being ill. This left me even more vulnerable than I had already been, at seventeen, alone in London.

There was a violent predator.

There was an incident from which I was lucky to escape with my life.

Fast forward to the present, skipping several other jobs…

writer: wordpress prompt

And my writing is influenced by my past. This is most evident in my contemporary work. There is a dark event in TENDU, the first book of A Dancer’s Journey, that I knew how to write because of my own experience. Not that it’s exactly the same, of course. In fact, it’s quite different. Fiction has to be more dramatic than reality, and more interesting. Far more interesting…

And have an infinitely more exciting setting…

These books have dark moments, but they are actually quite fun, overall, I think. And naughty. Like life, if you’re lucky!

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.

Diabolical reading

More on the series

Historical Fiction

Ethereal and spellbinding... says the Historical Novel Society of SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Set in 1st century Scotland, and featuring the cliffs and caves of Cullykhan Bay, 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.

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.

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

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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.

Newsletter

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.

Writer’s Tip Jar

Unconventional Romance and Historical Fiction

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair - unconventional romance

I write unconventional romance and historical fiction, often set in Aberdeenshire, the area of Scotland where I live. My historical novels combine little-known dark events with love stories. There are witches, bears and Romans to be found in them, detailed here. My contemporary work is much, much naughtier, though still dark, and available now.

I take a LOT of photos as is evidenced throughout the site.

Here on the blog, I write about castleshistorystone circlesdance, living with chronic illness, and writing. See my about page here.

A Dancer’s Journey – unconventional romance

A Dancer's Journey, a 3 book series by Ailish Sinclair. Unconventional romance.

My dance background and love of history and spicy stories are what inspired this wild mix of romance and ballet set between a Scottish castle and London.

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

When dance student Amalphia Treadwell embarks on a secret relationship with her rich, handsome new teacher, she has no idea of the danger that lurks in his school in Scotland…

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

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

Posts on the inspiration behind these stories:

A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair

Historical Fiction

The historical novels of Ailish Sinclair

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

The Romans called it the edge of the world

Further Insight

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.

Ballet feet en pointe, legs in jeans

Pointe Work and a Daring Leotard

pointe work and a red leotard
Ready for pointe work. Photographer: Darian Volkova

Reflections

Looking back on this post from a year ago. Reflecting on the past twelve months. Determining to stay well now. To not burn myself out again. In a year’s time I want to be writing about dancing around doing pointe work and getting books out and visiting castles and other lovely places. Maybe I’ll even wear a red leotard. Probably not to visit a castle. But, you never know… 😀

Back to the original post:

Would a strappy red leotard distract the eye from my puffer-fish face or accentuate it? The many thin straps of the garment crisscrossed my back in a pleasing design. It was different. It was daring. I wore it.

The above quote is from TENDU, the first book of A Dancer’s Journey, a romantic-suspense series. The main character, Amalphia, has just been through some relationship turmoil, again, and is returning to class after injury caused by an inappropriate level of pointe work. The red leotard gets her into a surprising amount of trouble.

Her injury came from being asked to perform every exercise in class en pointe. This is something that I took from my own life.

pointe work

Memories of Pointe Work

One week at college, our usual morning-class teacher – the late great Imogen Claire – was absent and a substitute put in place. This new teacher decided I needed to be stretched and pushed and had me do everything en pointe. Just me. Nobody else. This singling-out drew a few nasty looks from the other dancers. But really, there was nothing to be jealous about.

Because it really was everything. Every bend. Every jump. I love jumping en pointe. I still do it sometimes. But as a training method in morning class, this excessive pointe work made no sense. It removed the benefit of many of the exercises, and I limped off to the other lessons of the day improperly warmed-up.

After two days of this, my feet were sore. After a week, they were a mess. But then Imogen returned with her no-nonsense approach to teaching and ballet, and I healed.

Imogen Claire and Christopher Biggins in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Imogen looks through her glasses in disapproval (Rocky Horror Picture Show 1975). Christopher Biggins, to the left there, once said very insightful things to me while judging my annual assessment at college.

There was no need for extra pointe work as we were blessed with a specialist teacher for that. At first I was surprised to learn that the class was taught by a man, but Gary Harris was a true expert on the subject, performing all the steps en pointe himself in his soft trainers at the front of the studio.

So, dance-school memories indulged, it’s time to head back into the next manuscripts. There’s a connected series coming…

A Dancer’s Journey Series

Pointe work: 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 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

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.

More Posts with Dance Content

Newsletter

Sign up to the mailing list for news about my life and writing, and some exclusive photos. If you would rather just hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

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

My About Page

Ailish's feet

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

Writer’s Tip Jar

Cannula Days Are Here Again

Cannula days
Cannula Days; Hospital Windows

A small update. About why I’ve been quiet. Things got darker fast, and I’m back in hospital.

Ten days in so far. No answers as to quite what my autoimmune body is doing yet. Hoping for success in suppressing it, though.

So, cannula in. Audiobooks on.

Normal service will be resumed at some point. But I don’t know when…

Another window

BINGE THE SERIES that’s shocking people

Cannula days: a dancer’s journey

Scotland’s all misty lochs and magical forests and perfect boyfriends, right?

Series on Amazon worldwide

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…

Historical Dark and Romantic Books 

My historical novels combine little-known dark events with love stories and a hint of magic.

The historical novels of Ailish Sinclair

Amazon Worldwide

About Page

Ailish Sinclair

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

Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

hello, darkness - loch

Hello, Darkness. Hello, Flare. I’ve been struck down by autoimmunity again, but it’s been worse. Many times. I’m trying to do everything right and hope I’ll be better soon.

I searched my phone photos for ‘dark,’ and here are some of the results. I like that they all have light in them too, as if we’re heading that way, as if it’s inevitable.

Above is the loch. Below, the interior of Peathill Kirk.

Hello, Darkness. Peathill Kirk

This humorous wee video came up too, and it made me smile with its accuracy. I’m still working on that next series. I’ve slowed down a bit, but the pain actually seems to be less when I am writing.

Diabolical was there… Of course it was.

Hello, Darkness - diabolical

There were dark castles

Hello, Darkness, dark castles

And moonlit skies…

Hello, Darkness, trees

The photos don’t lie. The light will come.

My Books – a Mix of Light and Dark

A Dancer's Journey by Ailish Sinclair

Read the contemporary series that’s 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…

Review snippets:

Deanne Patterson on Tendu: It broke my heart and then healed it and made it sing. Full review here.

Molly H on Cabriole: It’s truly one of the best books I’ve ever read and made me feel SO MANY FEELINGS. Full review here – some spoilers.

Tom Williams on Fouetté: I galloped through it, loving every moment. Full review here – some spoilers, especially if you haven’t read Cabriole.

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair

Historical Titles

My historical novels combine little-known dark events with love stories and a hint of magic.

The historical novels of Ailish Sinclair

Amazon

About Page

Ailish Sinclair

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