A spec script written by Sarah J. Clifford
When a financially strapped, middle-aged woman takes a third job as a holiday coordinator at a children's camp, she must hide her own disdain for the holidays from the gorgeous widower who owns the camp. Things get complicated when both women discover they have unexpected romantic feelings towards each other and sparks begin to fly.
This narrative is a heartwarming Christmas romance drama, featuring Joss Dawson, a 40-year-old former model, and Jules Leroux, a 48-year-old Children’s Camp Director. The story unfolds in a camp nestled in Carmel Valley. As Christmas approaches, Joss, a single woman juggling two jobs, and a failed love life, is not looking forward to the festive season. Living with type one diabetes is challenging, and her service dog, Walter Lee, though a faithful companion, cannot fill the void of loneliness.
Joss is wary of future romantic entanglements after her ex-boyfriend Steve swindled her savings, leaving her in a precarious financial situation. The tragic demise of her parents in a plane crash, 2 years prior, adds to her melancholy during the holidays. Persuaded by her best friend Mina Jung, Joss takes up a temp job as a holiday coordinator at Camp Carmel Valley.
The camp director, Jules Leroux, is a charismatic, yet no-nonsense widow with a painful past. Despite a shaky start, Joss and Jules bond over their shared love for their two dogs and undeniable attraction towards each other. However, Joss's irregular schedule at the camp leads to a frightening episode of low blood sugar. Fortunately, Walter Lee, trained to fetch her insulin, comes to her aid.
Joss's life takes a turn when she finds out that her ex-boyfriend Steve has traced her to the camp and is stalking her. This not only heightens her anxiety but also hampers her ability to trust and connect with Jules. When Steve attempts to coerce Joss into lying to the authorities about the stolen money, he attacks Jules in a fit of jealousy. Joss manages to knock him out, saving Jules but ends up being arrested for assault as the knife is missing.
Jules and her colleague, Luis, are determined to prove Joss's innocence. They find video evidence of Steve wielding the knife and locate it under Joss's car. Upon reaching the police station, they find Joss unconscious due to a lack of insulin. Jules anxiously waits for news at the hospital, haunted by the memory of her wife's death in a similar setting.
Fortunately, Joss recovers and is discharged on Christmas morning. Jules stays by her side throughout. The arresting officer informs them that the knife bore Steve's fingerprints, leading to all charges against Joss being dropped. Moreover, the authorities have recovered some of her stolen money. Jules and Joss celebrate with pies from the Village Market and a deep heart-to-heart about their troubled pasts.
Jules confesses to Joss that she sometimes imagines seeing her late wife, Liz. Joss comforts her, saying that deep love often leads to deep grief. Back at the camp, Joss is pleasantly surprised to find Mina's entire family there to celebrate Christmas. The festive spirit is rekindled in Joss.
Jules finally expresses her feelings to Joss, but fearing a repeat of past mistakes, Joss pulls away. Just when it seems like Joss has left the camp, breaking Jules's heart, she returns, and they share a passionate kiss, revealing their mutual affection. This tale is a touching journey of love, healing, and forgiveness. Two scarred hearts find solace in the spirit of Christmas. This festive season, hearts will mend.
About the Writer
I've been a dreamer and an artist since I left the womb! As the only one in my family with an artistic calling, I've always felt I was the family outcast. I started writing and saving my stories when I was only six years old. I have always loved creating characters in fictional worlds.
Instead of pursuing a paid career as a screenwriter, I've always done it as a hobby. Writing became a way for me to manage my stress and escapism from the harshness of growing up with many life struggles such as complex trauma, PCOS (endocrine disorder), and struggling with neurodivergent challenges.
I've written countless shorts, commercials, and screenplays but that little voice inside made me believe I wasn't good enough to get paid to write, so, instead, I worked with animals. Fortunately, I was very successful with the alternative career choice. I've been training animal actors for twenty-one years. Many of my animals have appeared in Oscar-winning films and high-profile projects.
As I approach my mid-forties, I am circling back to my first love and greatest passion, which is writing. I've been enjoying screenwriting classes and reading screenwriting books to improve my skills to see if I have what it takes. Only time will tell! If not, I have had a blast writing all my stories so either way, it's a win-win situation!!
If you're curious about my career as an animal trainer, please check out my IMDB profile to see the majority of my credits: IMDB link. Or if you'd like to see my team of animal actors, please click here: Animal Savvy
That's me and Wiley!
The primary part of this story takes place in beautiful Northern, California in Monterey County. Carmel Valley is known for its many attractions, perhaps none more so than its incomparable white-sand, dog-friendly beach. Visitors to this sleepy coastal town come for the fresh sea air, charming English-style architecture, cozy inns, and great food. Whether it's the picturesque scenic valleys or feeling the sand beneath your feet, Carmel is a favorite of both visitors and locals!
When Joss Dawson gets hired at Camp Carmel Valley (real name, The Camp at Carmel Valley), it doesn't take long for her to fall in love with the breathtaking property. In reality, this beautiful 115-acre ranch is surrounded by rolling hills and forests and it's available as both a camp and a retreat. The camp owner has expressed interest that she would love to have her camp featured in a movie and she noted she would offer a private rental for this purpose.
Beyond the beauty of the camp, it offers ample parking, a commercial kitchen, Wi-fi throughout the camp, and cabins on site for the cast and crew. And just like in our fictional story, dogs are welcome! To visit the official camp website, go to www.CampCarmelValley.com
The camp entrance
lower parking lot
Meet Tinsel and Walter Lee (played by Rhino and Wiley).
The camp entrance
KEYWORDS: DOGS, WIDOWER, LESBIANS, GAY ROMANCE, LGBTQIA, DESTINED ROMANCE, CHRISTMAS.