The Song of the Sea

“The Song of the Sea” Wins 2 Goldies!

I am so beyond happy to announce that, this past Saturday, “The Song of the Sea” won TWO Goldies! It won in the category of contemporary romance (mid-length) and debut novel.

I remember the first lesbian fiction novel that I read. It was “Behind the Pine Curtain” by Gerri Hill. I don’t remember how I came across that book, but I devoured it, and then read everything else Gerri Hill had written. I found Radclyffe’s books, and started working my way through all of those. Then, Georgia Beers’ novels… Soon, I had a bookshelf filled with lesbian fiction by many different authors. I was dabbling in writing lesbian romance novels, and dreaming of the day when I could be an author on such a bookshelf.

I wrote my first novel in 2006. It’s a disaster of a novel that I have no intention of ever editing for publication, but it was the first step on my journey to becoming a writer.

By the time I started writing “The Song of the Sea,” I already had a handful of finished first drafts of other practice stories. With each book, I learned a little more, but none were worth seeing through to publication. The first draft of “The Song of the Sea” was also a mess, but there was something about the characters that resonated with me, bringing me back to revisit them for a second draft, a third draft, a fourth draft…

Meanwhile, I kept reading lesbian fiction, and I studied the craft. I knew about the Golden Crown Literary Society, but I hadn’t joined yet. I wrongly thought that I needed to be an established writer in order to join GCLS. (As an aside, even if you read lesbian fiction without ever wanting to write a single word, you should join GCLS – they do an amazing job of connecting readers and writers) I hadn’t joined yet, but I knew that my favourite authors were winning Goldie awards for their novels, and I set that as my absolute dream goal.

I wrote and rewrote “The Song of the Sea.” I tried to figure out what exactly the book was about, and when I eventually figured that out, I got lost in a sea of doubts. Am I really going to write a book that deals with a character losing a child? Who am I to try to tell that story? Who is going to read that story? So many doubts that it seemed easier to set the novel aside. Start a new project. A less messy project.

And then I decided to join the Golden Crown Literary Society. I applied for the writing academy, and was thrilled to be accepted. I was encouraged to apply for the Sandra Moran Scholarship, submitted what I’d finished of “The Song of the Sea” and was surprised and elated to find out that I had won the scholarship. I attended that summer’s GCLS conference in Chicago, and I heard feedback from those who’d read those opening pages, telling me that they wanted to read more. I still had all of my doubts, but I pushed through them, and I finished the manuscript.

2 years later that book was published.

And now that book, that little project that I dabbled with when I had spare time throughout university, has won that award that I always dreamed of being able to win one day.

I consider  it such an honor to have my book recognized with the Goldie awards.

So, in celebration, I wanted to offer a signed copy of “The Song of the Sea.” All you have to do is reply to this post with a comment about what joining GCLS has meant for you or if you haven’t joined yet something you think you could gain by joining GCLS.

I will enter all the names into a draw and pick a winner on Friday, July 24th.

Books, The Song of the Sea

Cape Breton Island Adventures

When I was 11, my family took a trip to the east coast, and I fell in love. As a teenager I used to dream of moving to the coast and living by the Atlantic. This is probably why I was so drawn to writing a novel set on the coast. I had so much fun researching Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island, and immersing myself in the fictional town of Craghurst.


Writing the book also gave me the perfect excuse to travel back to the coast. During a very early draft of The Song of the SeaI decided to take a trip to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, rent a car, and drive around for 10 days of exploring and writing.

Here’s me at a lookout along the Cabot Trail.

One of the big takeaways from my trip, that made its way into the book, was how sleepy the island is in the off-season. I was working on my undergrad at the time, and I booked the trip for the end of April — after exams, but before starting full-time summer work. I had visions of the Cape Breton Island that I’d read about in guidebooks: lively and vibrant, with lush green trees lining the coast, fresh seafood, and east coast music. First of all, I’m from Canada; I should have known that April is not summer. Many of the trees still didn’t yet have their leaves, and some parts of the Cabot Trail were still lined with snow. But more notably, the island did not have tourists. It did not have traffic. At times it seemed like it did not have people.

It was as beautiful as I’d anticipated, however.

In one town, I rented a tiny cabin by a lake. I stopped at the main lodge to check in and get the keys, and was greeted with only a note that said my keys were in the door and that my credit card would be charged the following week. I didn’t see a soul. While staying in this little cabin, in the woods by the lake, completely and utterly alone, it occurred to me that this seemed like the setting of a horror novel, rather than a romance novel.


Realizing how quiet the island gets in winter, I knew I needed to readjust some of the scenes in my book. Catherine’s, the restaurant that Rachel and her father own in The Song of the Sea, wouldn’t be a bustling hot spot year round. Most of the restaurants that I tried to visit were still closed for the season, and when I found a restaurant that was open, I was almost always the only diner there.

But still, I fell further in love with the coast, the quaint buildings, and the quiet little towns. Some of the details that made it into the book that were taken from my trip to the coast include maple blueberry coffee, driving the Cabot Trail and listening to Beatles tunes, delicious clam chowder, lighthouses, rocky beaches, and gorgeous coastal views.


I tried my best to capture all of the things I loved about Cape Breton Island. Hopefully that shines through in the story.

And if you want to read a copy of The Song of the Seayou can find it at