A Celebratory Dance in a Stone Circle

a celebratory dance

Did I take a pair of old pointe shoes and perform a celebratory dance in a stone circle? Yes. Yes, I did.

The reason for the celebration? Well, there’s more than one. Firstly, I’m well enough to dance around a bit. I am enduring one or two monstrous autoimmunity symptoms, but they don’t stop me dancing. And secondly, all three books of A Dancer’s Journey are now ready to dance out into the world!

Book covers of A Dancer's Journey series by Ailish Sinclair: celebratory dance.
Look at the pretty covers! And the less bashed pointe shoes…

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.

ballet feet in a celebratory dance
Dancing on the stones worsened the frayed situation somewhat.

There’s a page with full blurbs and some quotes, but here’s part of Tendu’s description:

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.

Dark, witty, sexy and fun, Tendu is a compelling and seductive story of love, dance and obsession. 

The books do include a little dancing in a stone circle. It’s fun, and I highly recommend it. I hope you can all enjoy a celebratory dance too.

Featured circle: Aikey Brae.

Diabolical reading

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Ailish's feet

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Writer’s Tip Jar

Autumn in Scotland

Autumn in Scotland - apples

Autumn in Scotland is brief. One day you’re in the midst of the wild and overgrown end of summer, and then – it always feels sudden and surprising – the trees are full of brilliant and bright colours.

There’s also berries. And misty mornings. And apples.

It’s all so beautiful.

I love it.

Autumn in Scotland

And this year I’m not missing it due to illness (see the article Doctors and Deadlines: writing with chronic illness).

I’m walking through that hot afternoon sunshine, between the trees and the toadstools. There’s so many of those this year.

fly agaric toadstool: autumn in Scotland

The end of autumn in Scotland

It all feels rather magical. But it could be over at any moment. When the first frost comes, which could happen any time in the next month, the leaves will turn brown and fall off. The dragonflies and butterflies will disappear. And it will be winter. Like the onset of autumn, this always feels sudden, but at the same time sneaky. Like, when did this cold, cold change occur?

So, I treasure sweet autumnal moments for as long as I can. Look at the sunshine shining through those red leaves. Glorious, isn’t it?

autumn in scotland

A Dancer’s Journey is here!

TENDU is making me think of Covent Garden. And cake.

Tendu by Ailish Sinclair

Series on Amazon UK

Series on Amazon worldwide

Page with blurbs and quotes

More on the series:

Sisters Review

This is from the long and thoughtful review of SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD from Olga Núñez Miret:

“Those who are looking for a strong female protagonist, love lyrical and expressive writing styles, and favour stories with a touch of magic and ancient mythology, particularly set in Scotland, should put it on their list. They are bound to discover a new author to follow, and a protagonist they’ll never forget.”

See the whole review here.

Share Your Books

Don’t forget you can share your own books and writing on this post. I always love to see it.

My Historical Fiction

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 press release here

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

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

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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. 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.

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

About Page

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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

The Glass Floor of Provost Skene’s House

Provost Skene's House in Aberdeen

Provost Skene’s House nestles between the new buildings and giant plant pots of Aberdeen.

It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the 16th century townhouse. In fact, it’s been a very long time since I’ve been in the city centre. In recent years trips to Aberdeen have been illness or hospital related.

There have been a few changes.

Marischal College

The fountains in front of Marischal College are new:

Fountains in front of Marischal College, Aberdeen

My father worked in the building when I was a child, and there were regular family trips to the Anthropological Museum there. This was later called the Marischal Museum, and it’s no longer open to the public. You can, however, browse online exhibitions.

Provost Skene’s House

Provost Skene’s House door

History

Dating from 1545, the house has been lived in by a variety of people over the centuries. Provost Skene owned it in the 17th century, and Hanoverian troops used it during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. The Duke of Cumberland stayed there on his way to Culloden. It’s been a museum since 1953. See a more thorough history of the house here.

Museum

The museum used to be set up with rooms furnished in different eras: Edwardian bedrooms and Victorian sitting rooms, that sort of thing. It now houses an exhibition of noteworthy people from Aberdeen, and many of the displays are digitised. I rather miss the harpsichords and harps of the previous arrangement.

The Glass Floor

The glass floor in the cellar is still there, and I’m glad about that. The room was previously a coffee shop, and walking over the floor was a highlight for me as a child. I may not have been frightened when locked in a witch’s hoosie, but this floor scared me in an exhilarating sort of way.

I put the scary floor into the castle of my books. The quote below is from Fouetté, the third and final title of the forthcoming series, A Dancer’s Journey, and it describes how the glass used to look in Provost Skene’s House.

Eerie green light still shone up from below the glass, showcasing the museum pieces in the floor: barrels, bottles, various metal implements, a cauldron. The glass had been replaced, of course, and part of it given proper hinges, not like back then when…

I had to cut the quote short there, because: spoilers. The floor is no longer lit up.

Glass floor in Provost Skene's House

The Painted Gallery

The highlight of the house for me now is the Painted Gallery. It has not changed, apart from the removal of the Mouseman benches.

Like the Wine Tower in Fraserburgh, this is a place that may have been used as a post-Reformation Catholic chapel.

Provost Skene's House Chapel

The ceiling depicts the life of Christ. Below is the Entombment, with a kilted gentleman standing to the right.

The Entombment of Christ, Provost Skene's House

Something else that has not changed is the smell of Provost Skene’s House. It’s quite strong and distinctive. I think it might be caused by the use of some sort of speciality wood preserver or furniture polish.

door in Provost Skene's House

I walk across the flagstone floor of Provost Skene’s.

flagstone floor

And then stroll between the old and the new.

old and new

I prefer the old.

Old and new: Provost Skene's House

The Angry Man

Let’s finish with an angry man. He was originally situated on the wall of a 19th century bakery in the city. It was shut down due to its close proximity to a sewer; the baker blamed his neighbours for the closure, and pointed his angry face at them. He now glares at everyone as they walk past Provost Skene’s House.

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.

About Page

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See my About Page here

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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.

Writer’s Tip Jar

The Ancient Sound of the Carnyx at Midsummer

misty morning at Midsummer
A misty Midsummer morning.

It’s Midsummer, and I’m in celebratory mode and sounding my (imaginary) carnyx, a wind instrument of the Iron Age Celts.

Writing Update

All major edits have been completed on all three books of A Dancer’s Journey. There’s still a couple of smaller edits and proofing to be done, but great progress has been made. I’m not announcing publication dates just yet, in case autoimmunity causes delays, but I am delighted to have come so far with what is really rather a personal magnum opus! Edit: Amazon!

Sound of the Carnyx

In the video below, a musician plays a reconstruction of the Deskford Carnyx. The original was discovered in this area of Scotland and dates from the time of my Iron Age novel, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD.

SISTERS

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…

Midsummer, or High Summer, is important to the people of the book. There’s dancing, singing, storytelling and other, naughtier, activities in the stone circle. There’s also feasting and fighting, and the sound of a newly constructed carnyx.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

“Ethereal and spellbinding…” Historical Novel Society

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

SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, featuring a carnyx.

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 rather just hear about new books and offers, you can follow my Amazon author page.

Writer’s Tip Jar

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

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.

Writer’s Tip Jar

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

Newsletter and Updates

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.

My About Page

Ailish's feet

Read about little old me 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

Light at the End of the Year

light at the end of the year

It’s getting brighter. I feel it already. Or maybe I only think I can. For how much lighter can it really be, so few days after the Solstice?

It’s quiet too, in this between time, during this lull of activity in the world.

I notice things that I wouldn’t normally notice. Below is the part of SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD that has been most highlighted by kindle readers.

We are all that big. And we all change the world every day as we go about making choices, taking action, sitting still and most of all: by adding more love into the places around us.

That’s what I want in 2023. More love in the world. More happiness. More peace.

A Happy New Year to you all, when it comes!

Happy New Year!