Hotel Beringia

Tidewater Press, Spring 2024

“The YTG are lined up like irritable cattle, waiting for their first drink of the day. The joke is on them. I am no Klondike geisha and I pity the YTG worker who raises his mug today. I don’t even try to force a robotic smile. They don’t tip and no one looks beyond the rim of their coffee mug except Tom and his pervy eyes that follow Charlotte’s every move. I ignore him, and him and him—make that the entire table except for Ilya. My eyes take a long rest on his face and the morning feels a little more tolerable.”

Disillusioned with their university studies, Rumer and Charlotte take summer jobs as live-in waitresses on the edge of the Arctic Circle. The big-city sisters soon learn that the Klondike still exists, and that everyone at the Hotel Beringia seems to have a hidden agenda. An outpost on the remote Dempster Highway, Hotel Beringia is the only stop for truckers, highway workers, adventurous tourists and scientists, serviced by staff who are all trying to get away from something. The story takes place in the 80s and everyone wants a piece of the Arctic whether or not it’s theirs to take. The sisters each find romance in the midst of intrigue, but when Charlotte vanishes with her unsuitable lover, Rumer is the only “Klondike geisha” left at the hotel and begins to wonder whether an attractive scientist is as honourable as he appears. This is at once mystery and comedy, set during a pivotal time for women in the north and the drive to exploit the riches of the Arctic and its peoples.

Queen of the Godforsaken

Thistledown Press, 2015

“I grab a beer and climb the oak staircase to my room, pausing to look out the landing window at the giant orange beach ball rising above the poplars. The dingy staircase is painted warm amber in its light. It’s too beautiful. I know what it is: the harvest moon. Prairie summers don’t last forever.”

Lydia Buckingham is an ice queen, as cold as the frost that covers the farmhouse windows. She wasn’t always that way. She adopted the personality after her parents uproot the family to move to an isolated and rundown acreage in the middle of nowhere, in rural Saskatchewan. Her curiosity about the dark history of her family’s land distracts Lydia, though she’s finds herself unable to relate to her peers at school or to her surroundings. Her parents experience crises of their own which results in their constant fighting and abandoning Lydia and her younger sister Victoria for days on end. The sisters grow weary of navigating the constant familial dramas and the social isolation of not fitting-in at the small-town high school, and they decide to set out alone into the brutal Saskatchewan winter.