Shaking the Sleigh

Delancey Stewart

Book Cover

GENRE

ROMANCE COMEDY

    Core Theme

    LOVE

    TIME PERIOD

    Contemporary

    COMPARABLE TITLES

    CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY MANOR, A CHRISTMAS PRINCE

    CHARACTER LIST

    • APRIL: 30S. BEAUTIFUL, FEISTY, HOPEFUL

    • CALLAN: 30S. GORGEOUS, BITTER, UNHAPPY, APRIL’S NEW BOYFRIEND

    • CORMAC: 30S, DOWNTRODDEN, GRIEVING, DEVOTED FATHER, CALLAN’S BROTHER

    • ANNABELLE: 50S, SWEET, OBSESSED WITH CHRISTMAS, OWNER OF THE TOWN’S INN, APRIL’S NEW FRIEND

    • LYNN: 30S, UNDERSTANDING, TOLERANT, APRIL’S BEST FRIEND

    • UNCLE ROB: 60S, JUDGMENTAL, UNFORGIVING, GLIB, APRIL’S UNCLE

    • MADDIE & TAYLOR: 3 & 6, SWEET, DARLING, CALLAN’S NIECES

    • LOTTIE & HELEN: 60S & 80S, TOWNIES, BAWDY, TOWNSPEOPLE WHO BEFRIEND APRIL AND CALLA

    Logline

    To save her career, a holiday-hating TV producer agrees to go to a Christmas-crazy small town to produce Holiday Homes for her network, but to succeed, she must convince a reclusive and grumpy ex-soccer star to allow the cameras into his life once again.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 35-54,18-34

    Target Gender: Female Leaning

    Setting

    Small town Maryland

    Based on a True Story

    No

    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Publisher: Delancey Stewart / Nancy Smay

    Year Published: 2019

    Starting Description

    April's a TV producer about to be out of a job after an indiscretion filming her last gig. Her network exec uncle gives her one last chance on Holiday Homes, but Christmas is April's least favorite holiday, thanks to her dad choosing that day to abandon his wife and kid.

    Ending Description

    Ex soccer star Callan Whitewood buys a home in a small town seeking privacy, but part of the contract was that it be featured on Holiday Homes. He is reluctant, but finally agrees to let the cameras (and the pretty producer, April) into his life.

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available

    Yes

    ISBN

    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Language/Profanity

    Plot - Other Elements

    Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Internal Journey/Rebirth

    Main Character Details

    Name: April Hall

    Age: 26

    Gender: Female

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous,Charming,Confident,Insecure,Engaging,Desperate

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Callan Whitewood

    Age: 30

    Gender: Male

    Role: Antagonist

    Key Traits: Masculine,Sexy,Lone Wolf

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Additional Character Details

    The author has not yet written this

    Development Pitch

    Shaking the Sleigh is a funny, feel-good holiday story that leaves readers feeling like they just spent time with good friends. The characters, April and Callan, have both suffered losses that leave them questioning whether they'll find happiness in life. She's lost her father in the most painful way possible: he chose to start a new family. Without her. This happened at Christmas, setting April up to despise the holiday. So when she's given Holiday Homes to produce as her last chance to save her career, she's already at a disadvantage. And when she arrives on location -- a small town that takes the holiday to a whole new level -- she's forced to confront her feelings about her dad leaving and about the holiday. The pinnacle house on the show she must produce was just bought by an ex-soccer star, dealing with his own devastating loss: his career. An injury means he'll never play again, and without soccer, Callan isn't sure who he is. But having a holiday show produced in his home is not part of his plan, and he spends part of the story trying to drive April away, and the rest of it trying to figure out why he wants her to stay. With a cast of quirky and fun side characters, Shaking the Sleigh is the perfect light-hearted holiday story. Readers have loved it and so will viewers.

    Genre

    ROMANCE

    Brief

    A television producer who hates Christmas tries to save her career by producing a Christmas show in a small town obsessed with Christmas. She needs the cooperation of a reclusive former soccer star. They end up falling in love, but when a devastating misunderstanding threatens to ruin everything, the entire town comes together to help save their relationship.

    Overall Rating

    GOOD

    Point of View

    FIRST PERSON

    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: GOOD

    Characterization: GOOD

    Commerciality: EXCELLENT

    Franchise Potential: EXCELLENT

    Pace: GOOD

    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: GOOD

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    The book profile is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    The festive Christmas theme grabs the reader immediately.

    Possible Drawbacks

    It is obvious how the story will end from early on, so it is a bit tiresome to wade through the excess to reach the inevitable. Maybe focusing on softening Callan's "Jekyll and Hyde" personality swings and shoring up the very long scene of his grand gesture to win back the girl would be ways to help the pace.

    Use of Special Effects

    THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS

    Primary Hook of Story

    The romantic nature of the story set against the backdrop of Christmas splendor is a great way to hook an audience.

    Fanbase Potential

    This has broad appeal since it is a holiday themed movie. It is aimed at a largely female demographic, but would most likely be quite popular during the Christmas season.

    Awards Potential

    This would probably not be an Award winning project. It is an archetypical romance.

    Envisioned Budget

    MEDIUM BUDGET

    Similar Films/TV Series

    CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY MANOR, A CHRISTMAS PRINCE

    What’s New About the Story

    The story is a chocked full of the trappings and tropes of a basic romance. It may not need to made more unique since it has everything expected in a holiday themed narrative.

    Lead Characters

    The soccer star grows the most by the end and stands out as having the best character arc.

    Uniqueness of Story

    This is a perfectly acceptable holiday themed romance. Tightening up the plot by removing or shortening some of the more derivative elements of the story would improve the pacing and make for a more engaging account.

    Possible Formats

    TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation

    CONSIDER

    Justification

    Proceed with caution on this one since it is not really suited to become a feature film. However, it is most appropriate for a television movie that is tailor made to air on the Hallmark Channel at Christmas time.

    Brief

    A television producer who hates Christmas tries to save her career by producing a Christmas show in a small town obsessed with Christmas, but she needs the cooperation of a reclusive former soccer star. As she convinces him, they end up falling in love, but when a devastating misunderstanding threatens to ruin everything, the entire town comes together to help save their relationship.

    What We Liked

    - The Christmas theme has a lot of potential and is engaging for audiences. There is a lot of romance. The characters are young and attractive. It will most likely appeal to a largely female and older skewing audience.
    - Film: A feature adaptation of the story could be a nice holiday offering. However, since it is formulaic, overly focused on Christmas and heavy on romantic tropes, it is really more suited as a made for television movie for a network like the Hallmark Channel.
    - TV: April and Callan’s adventures in their new town could be adapted into a television movie or mini-series. It is overwhelmingly holiday focused, it would most likely be a seasonal television special or made for television movie.
    - Key points: Strong female lead; Holiday themed; Romance; Female demographic; Franchise potential

    Synopsis

    In a last ditch effort to save her career as a television producer, April takes a job working on a Christmas themed home show in Maryland. She hates the holiday, but since her Uncle Rob is allowing her a chance to prove herself, she decides to take the job.

    April arrives in the idyllic town and finds it decorated from top to bottom in festive holiday décor. Since it seems as if all the townspeople are obsessed with Christmas, she wants to do her job as quickly as possible and return to Los Angeles. However, she runs into a hiccup when Callan, the owner of the house that is supposed to be the focal point of the show, decides he doesn’t want to participate. He is a former soccer star who was forced to retire after a catastrophic ankle injury and as a result, he wants to remain out of the spotlight.

    She has her work cut out for her to convince Callan to let her film in his house. As she works on persuading him, April and Callan start to fall in love with each other. He involves her in his family activities with his brother, Cormac, and his young nieces, Maddie and Taylor. Callan starts to get a new lease on life after meeting April and he decides to allow her to film in her house.

    But a misunderstanding arises and Callan believes that April doesn’t really love him and that she was just using him to save her job. It looks as if April will have to return to Los Angeles with a broken heart. After some soul searching, Callan realizes that he can’t live without April in his life. He enlists the help of the entire town to perform a Christmas-themed grand gesture to win her back.

    All is forgiven and April decides to stay in Maryland with Callan and all her new friends. A year passes and April and Callan get engaged at a Christmas party in front of their delighted family and friends.

    About The Author

    Delancey Stewart writes romantic comedies that run the gamut of settings and setups, but they always deliver humor, heart and heat. It's a guarantee. She writes from her home in Denver, CO, but grew up in California and has had more jobs than anyone on earth (personal trainer, pharmaceutical rep, copywriter, tech writer, marketing director, wine seller, elementary school teacher... no kidding. The list goes on) But the one she loves the most is writing, mostly because she gets to meet people who love books and stories as much as she does.