Please join me in welcoming author Heather Weidner to the blog to share about her new cozy mystery Christmas Lights and Cat Fights – and she pays homage to the original girl sleuth!
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND CAT FIGHTS by Heather Weidner
SERIES: Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries #3
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Level Best Books
RELEASE DATE: October 17, 2023
Christmas has come to Fern Valley, and the town’s decked out with enough glitter and sparkle for a month’s worth of celebrations, each more over-the-top than the previous one. The idyllic setting, filled with laughter, carols, and sweet treats, is shattered, along with some of the decorations, when the current wife and the ex-wife of a big-cat showman have a knock-down, drag-out fight in the center of town. Jules Keene, owner of the Fern Valley Glamping Resort, tries to keep peace among her guests and with the town council, but it turns into a catastrophe when Tabbi Morris, winds up dead in one of her ex-husband’s tiger cages.
And if the murder wasn’t enough, Jules discovers that some of the big cats are missing, but the owner and his family insists that nothing is wrong.
Curiosity gets the best of her, and she has to solve the murder and figure out if the owner of Cal’s Cats is pussy-footing around or whether it’s something more sinister before it ruins the holiday season and her business.
Other Books in This Series
My Homage to Nancy Drew – Girl Sleuth
by Heather Weidner, author of Christmas Lights & Cat Fights
Thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog.
I have loved mysteries since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. I was over the moon in 1977 when the “Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys” TV show debuted. (And it didn’t hurt that Shaun Cassidy played Joe Hardy.) My friends and I raced through all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys collections at the Kempsville Public Library in Virginia Beach. My favorite is still The Crooked Bannister (1971) with its hot pink cover. I loved the plot twists and the double meanings. I was hooked on mysteries. From there, I moved on to Alfred Hitchcock, Agatha Christie, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But Nancy Drew is still one of my favorite sleuths.
In the late 1980s, I had a double major in English and secondary education. My research project in “Adolescent Literature” was a comparative study of the original Nancy Drew mysteries from the 1930s with the updated ones in the 1980s and their influence on generations readers.
As a young reader, I adored Nancy’s freedom. She had a car. She did things that other girls didn’t, and she solved crimes that adults couldn’t. She influenced generations of women from the 1930s to the present with her spunk and enduring appeal.
The Nancy Drew mysteries were written by several ghost-writers under one pseudonym, Carolyn Keene. The series has undergone several revisions and updates over the years, but Nancy’s spirit and pluck prevail. The famous yellow spines were added to the books in 1962. That was the set that I remember reading. And her stories have been translated into over twenty different languages.
The girl detective appeared in several movies from the 1930s to the 2000s and TV shows through the years. Her face and logo have graced all kinds of merchandising from jewelry, lunch boxes, and clothing to board and video games. She has appeared in novels, coloring books, and graphic novels. Nancy has been a role-model for lots of young girls for over eighty years.
There are some similarities between the iconic Nancy Drew and my sleuths, Delanie Fitzgerald, Jules Keene, and Jade Hicks. I didn’t intentionally mean to create the parallels, but subconsciously, her character influenced my mystery writing. In the 1930s, Nancy started out as a blonde, but artists later depicted her as a redhead in the 1940s and 1950s. Nancy also drove a sporty roadster. (It was upgraded to a Mustang in the mysteries from the 1980s.) Nancy’s girlfriends (Bess and George) were important in her life and to the stories. And she was fearless, smart, and feisty. I was so impressed that she was able to solve crimes before the professionals did.
I like to think of my private eye and amateur detectives as following in the footprints and traditions of the original girl sleuth. And I’m so excited to share more glamping adventures in Deadlines and Valentines (2024), Teddy Bears and Ghostly Lairs (2025), and Hazardous Links and Hijinks (2026).
Through the years, Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She writes the Pearly Girls Mysteries, the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, The Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, and The Mermaid Bay Christmas Shoppe Mysteries.
Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and she has non-fiction pieces in Promophobia and The Secret Ingredient: A Mystery Writers’ Cookbook.
She is a member of Sisters in Crime: National, Central Virginia, Chessie, Guppies, and Grand Canyon Writers, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers, and she blogs regularly with the Writers Who Kill.
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. Connect with Heather at her website.
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What about you? What makes you want to read Christmas Lights and Cat Fights by Heather Weidner?