WHEN A LARGE Hollywood production crew invades tiny Vireo, Florida to shoot a feature-length film in the Everglades, local sisters Myra and Emma Rosenquest get caught up in the excitement. Determined to escape the tedium of waiting tables at her stepfather’s rural diner, Emma sets her sights on breaking free from her “old world” family and learning the movie trade but, to succeed, the rebellious, unwed mother of twins must enlist her older sister’s help.
After Emma coerces Myra into accompanying her to a casting call, hearts break and emotions flare when Myra, not Emma, lands a job. Abundant reptiles, pouring rain, swarms of mosquitoes and budding romance abound as Myra, hired to “grease wheels” during the unit’s month-long romp in the swamp, artfully referees frequent collisions between Vireo’s California visitors and shocking redneck reality.
Thrilled by Myra’s skillful maneuvering, production manager, Sol Wein, finds himself falling in love; but Myra is not an attractive girl—or so thinks everyone except the famous makeup artist, Constance DeVane. Though Myra is equally attracted to Sol, his hesitation to be seen in public with her convinces Myra to keep her distance.
Romance pursues Emma too. Visiting actor, Rick Tuttle, instantly falls in love but must compete with rakish cameraman Glenn Dooley and local Commissioner Carmine Morelli for Emma’s fickle affection. Despite their best efforts, Emma’s heart may still belong to old flame, Bradley Fozo, the bad boy who stole her love years earlier then abandoned her and their kids.
After Emma jilts Morelli, the Commissioner seeks revenge by moving to condemn Emma’s family’s property. With no place to stay after Morelli succeeds (and Hollywood’s looming withdrawal), both the Rosenquest clan and Vireo’s visitors wait anxiously as the sisters are forced to make hard choices that will change their lives forever.
Sunny Side Up! is a lighthearted, retro-romance based on Warner Brothers Pictures’ actual visit to Naples, Florida in 1951 to shoot scenes for the feature-length film, Distant Drums, starring cinema legend, Gary Cooper. Reconstructed from archival news accounts of Warner Brother’s improbable, month-long stay in postwar Southwest Florida, Sunny Side Up! vividly recalls the postwar days of three-cent postage stamps and bobby socks, when Hollywood was king.
Sunny Side Up! is available at amazon.com in paperback and Kindle ePub versions
Please visit (and like!) the Sunny Side Up! Facebook Page.
Read a sample chapter.