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Have you ever have a movie crew come to your town? It happened to me as a teenager when they filmed at an old train station not far from my house. I was so excited to see everything, the extras, the makeup tables, and the stars. The local car club lined up vintage autos for the filming and we were transformed into the Great Depression. Not wanting to miss anything, I rode my bike over to the filming site early in the morning. I quietly observed it all, like writers tend to do, even ones who don’t yet know they will become one. We have a visit from Hollywood today in Heather Weidner’s second book in the Jules Keene Glamping Mystery Series, Film Crews and Rendezvous. Lets make a visit to Fern Valley and do a little glamping.
About the Book
Hollywood has come to Fern Valley, and the one stoplight town may never be the same. Everyone wants to get in on the act.
The crew from the wildly popular, fan favorite, Fatal Impressions, takes over Jules Keene’s glamping resort, and they bring a lot of offscreen drama and baggage that doesn’t include the scads of costumes, props, and crowds that descend on the bucolic resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Added security, hundreds of calls from hopeful extras, and some demanding divas keep Jules’s team hopping.
When the show’s prickly head writer ends up dead under the L. Frank Baum tiny house in what looks like a staged murder scene with a kitschy homage to the Wizard of Oz, Jules has to figure out who would want the writer dead. Then while they are still reeling from the first murder, the popular publicist gets lost after a long night at the local honky-tonk and winds up strangled. Jules needs to solve both crimes before filming is canceled, and her business is ruined.
Read an Excerpt
Jules Keene’s phone buzzed as she clipped the leash on Bijou, her Jack Russell Terrier. Another text from someone in town who just had to be an extra for the filming at her resort. Ignoring the latest request, she headed across the grassy area to the office.
Hollywood had arrived in Fern Valley, and Jules wasn’t sure the one-stoplight town would be the same. She had had to keep all the location scouting a secret, and that was difficult with the town’s active gossip grapevine. Now, everyone seemed to be plotting ways to get close to the action.
Jules enjoyed the calm walk across the resort before her day started. With all the arrivals this week, the peacefulness would not last long. Normally, the Fern Valley Luxury Camping Resort was a place for visitors looking for solitude in refurbished, vintage trailers stocked with posh amenities. Recently, the resort had been a hive of activity as crews turned it into ground zero for the on-location filming in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Bijou took off after a butterfly, and when she got bored with the insect, she checked out all the new smells since the day before. The terrier bounded up the wooden steps, where she waited patiently for Jules to open the screen door to the resort’s office and store.
The summer season had ended Labor Day weekend, but this year, the film crew for Fatal Impressions, a cult classic for streaming TV fans, had rented the resort for two months to do location shots in a small town. Jules, excited to have the opportunity to extend the season, had been inundated daily with requests from friends and townsfolk who knew they had talents that the casting director had to see.
A screeching voice echoed through the resort’s store, interrupting Jules’s quiet morning. “I thought I told you I didn’t want to be disturbed before ten. What kind of place is this?” Sorbonne, the show’s head writer, pounded her fist on the counter and shook her head.
Bijou hurdled into the store with an overabundance of energy.
Sorbonne, an overly thin woman with a jet-black bob, whipped around. The jagged points of hair on each side of her face sprang forward. She pointed her blood-red fingernail at Bijou and screamed, “What is that?” When Bijou darted forward for a pat, Sorbonne’s face turned the same color as her nails, and the vein on the side of her sinewy neck bulged. Jules tugged lightly on the leash, and Bijou sat. Neither were sure what to make of the woman who waved her arms and ranted.
“Who allows animals in a place of business?” Sorbonne pointed at the dog and then at Jules’s aunt, Roxanne Mallory, who leaned one elbow on the front counter.
Surprised that her aunt had not responded with her usual sassiness, Jules said, “That’s Bijou. She works here.” She led the Jack Russell Terrier to her office, unclicked her leash, and closed the bottom portion of the Dutch door to keep Bijou out of the fray.
“First all the noise and now this. I’m going to have to be moved to other accommodations if this keeps up. Rod is going to hear about this. I have to be able to work. I am critical to this production.” She spun on her four-inch stilettos and stomped toward the door.
“Ms., uh,” Jules said to her back.
“It’s Sorbonne. Just Sorbonne. And I want this rectified now. I want quiet or new accommodations. And I’m still going to let Rod, the producer, know. He’ll be interested in how I was treated at this place.” She looked down her pointed nose and made a face like she had licked a lemon.
“What disturbed you? Our goal is for you to enjoy your stay in Fern Valley,” Jules said.
“She’ll tell you.” Sorbonne wagged her daggered fingernail at Roxanne. “And it better not happen again.” The show’s writer stormed out the door, slamming it hard enough to make it rattle for several seconds in her wake. A pained look crossed Roxanne’s face. “Sorbet blew in here complaining of excessive noise in the early hours of the morning. She’s in the Beatrix Potter tiny house. It seems Jake stopped by to do some work on the new house going up next to it, and it woke her up. At ten-thirty.”
Last summer, Jules added tiny houses to the resort’s offering with the help of her maintenance/security guy, Jake Evans. Each tiny space was themed for a different author and came with a cozy reading nook. The houses ranged from about four hundred square feet to larger, modular models with lofts and upstairs. These let guests try out tiny house living and also served as model homes for Jake’s side business.
Roxanne rolled her eyes. “I thought these movie folks started work early. I saw a lot of activity when I got here at eight.”
Jules tried to stifle a grin. “She must keep different hours than the crew. I’ll talk to Jake.”
“About what?” Jake Evans asked as he came in through the back door. He picked up Bijou, carried her into the store, and kissed her on the head.
“It seems you woke up one of our fussy guests.” Roxanne added an extended pause between each word and returned to straightening the flyers on the front counter.
“I waited until ten. It just needed a few touch-ups. My buddies helped me move the Baum tiny house in place yesterday at dinner time.” Jake made a beeline for the coffee maker.
“I love the ruby red door on that one,” Roxanne yelled behind him.
“All I have left to do is the hookups and install the lattice work around the bottom to cover up the crawlspace and the cement trailer pad. I didn’t think I made any noise. I was trying to get it ready in case you needed the extra space,” Jake said from the back room.
“It wasn’t you, Jake. She’s a temperamental writer if you ask me,” Roxanne said. “That’s the third time she’s been in here since she checked in. The first time she was appalled that we didn’t have room-darkening shades in the Potter house. Then she wanted to know where she could get a case of her designer mineral water since no stores in town stocked it. Oh, and I forgot her request for lightbulbs that give off Vitamin D. It seems our regular bulbs are substandard.”
“We need to be patient. They’re bringing a lot of business to the valley and lots of media attention. Let’s be as helpful as we can,” Jules added.
Roxanne put on a half-smile and did a fake clutch of her pearl necklace in her best southern drawl. “Customer service is my middle name.” She winked at her niece and busied herself at the reservation desk.
“I’m going to check on things and leave Bijou in the back if you’re going to be here for a little while,” Jules said. “She’ll be fine. I’ll sic her on Ms. Sauvignon if she comes back. Some people.” Roxanne shrugged her shoulder and flipped through a magazine at the front counter. “And don’t forget to wear your lanyard with your credentials. I hear their security teams are working hard to keep the riffraff off the property. Lester got stopped over near the barn this morning.”
Jules held up her lanyard with the show’s logo on it. She cut through her office and headed to the golf cart parked under the carport at the back of the store. Hopefully, Lester and the rest of her team could do their work without bumping into the film crew.
Jake followed his boss. He shut the door and touched her shoulder as she descended the steps.
“I’ll figure out a way to finish the Baum house during daylight hours. It shouldn’t take me that long.” Jules turned and faced him. “I appreciate it. Sorbonne seems to be easily disturbed.” “It must be a Left Coast thing,” he said, drawing her closer and kissing her. He folded her in his arms. She returned the kiss and pulled away, staring into his jade-green eyes. “I thought we agreed to keep this under the radar,” she whispered.
“Embarrassed?” Jake pushed his longish brown bangs out of his face.
“You know that’s not it, but I’m a little concerned about how an employer-employee relationship looks.”
“Then I quit. Problem solved.”
Jules’s jaw dropped. She could feel the flush cross her cheeks.
“I know. You need me. I wouldn’t let you down.” Jake grinned.
“Dinner tonight?” she asked, smiling back and giving him a quick peck on his lightly stubbled cheek.
“Spaghetti okay? I need to catch up on the earlier seasons of Fatal Impressions. I think I’m the only one in Fern Valley who hasn’t seen all of the first three seasons.”
Jake rushed down the steps. “See you around six.”
You can find Film Crews and Rendezvous at these online retailers:
Barnes and Noble: Film Crews and Rendezvous: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery by Heather Weidner, Paperback | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)
BookBub: Film Crews and Rendezvous: A Jules Keene Glamping Mystery by Heather Weidner – BookBub
Books a Million: film crews and rendezvous : : Booksamillion.com
Fantastic Fiction: Film Crews and Rendezvous (Jules Keene Glamping Mystery, book 2) by Heather Weidner (fantasticfiction.com)
Goodreads: Film Crews and Rendezvous by Heather Weidner | Goodreads
Kobo: Film Crews and Rendezvous eBook by Heather Weidner – EPUB | Rakuten Kobo United States
Scribd: Film Crews and Rendezvous by Heather Weidner – Ebook | Scribd
About the Author
Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers is the first in her cozy mystery series, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries. She also writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia. Her Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries debut in 2023.
Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series.
Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.
Where to Catch Up With Heather Weidner
Website and Blog: http://www.heatherweidner.com
Amazon Authors: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HOYR0MQ