Awakened Cover Vote

Awakened Cover Vote

Awakened Cover Vote

Where the magic is in the meeting of those who should never be friends…

I’d love for your feedback on cover style and design for the Awakened series! Your title votes helped me decide on simple 1-word titles like Awakened, Aflame, Amazed, and Alight (though those could of course change for the later books!)

Now, I’d LOVE your take on what sort of cover the series should feature! Photographic, to better match my historical romance covers? Illustrated? Vector art? Scroll down for a big view of each, and then vote!

Option 1 – Photographic

Here’s the first option, the photographic one. This is the style of cover I make most often, so obviously what I defaulted to. This design features my heroine, Arden, the tail of a diving mermaid, and a golden hawk. And, of course, a cliff with a raging ocean.

Option 1 – Photographic

Option 2 is an illustration of the Awakening ceremony that takes place multiple times in the book, the thing that brings the magic to life in a person–a drop of blood spilling into water, its flourishes as it hits telling the master of ceremonies whether there is magic present to be Awakened.

Option 1 – Photographic

And finally, option 3 is vector art, featuring the two vying forces in the world of this book–the mer kingdom, who are embroiled in civil war, and the great hawk that is aiding the heroine in her quest to find her sister.

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It’s Release Day! A Noble Scheme

It’s Release Day! A Noble Scheme

Welcome to the Launch Day Celebration
for A Noble Scheme!

I have been SO encouraged and blessed by the excitement over the Imposters series since A Beautiful Disguise released in August of 2023! And I know we have all been eager for A Noble Scheme to make its way into the world.

Because I got the question of “What is up with Gemma and Graham??” quite a bit, LOL. Did you have a guess? A theory? When I asked the question at book clubs, I got responses like this:

“I don’t know, but I bet he did something crummy.”
“Were they a couple but he cheated on her?”
“It must have been something bad, if she’s so angry with him and he’s groveling.”

To which I replied, “Mwa ha ha ha.” 😉 Because while, yes, Gemma blames Graham for something horrible…it’s not what you think. I have yet to speak to an early reader who guessed what the big mid-point reveal was before it hit them. Of course, in retrospect, all the pieces will be there.

So…are you ready? Ready to dive back into the world of the Imposters? Ready to figure out the secrets of these two investigators? To travel with Gemma in her G.M. Parker persona to a holiday house party? Ready to explore the grounds with Graham? Ready to perform some arcrobatics with Yates? To get a peek into the married life of Marigold and Merritt?

This one is different in tone from the first in some ways, and not set at the Tower, but we’ve got theater tricks, costumes, hidden identities, mistaken identities, healing hearts, and some new friends!

Scroll down to learn more about the fun I’ve plotted up for this release!

Live Event!

Join me for a Facebook Live video tonight, Tuesday March 19, at 7 pm Eastern! (You can watch it afterward too, and I’ll try to answer any questions in the comments!)

  • Behind the scenes
  • Fun facts
  • Short author reading
  • What’s coming next

A Noble Scheme focuses on Gemma and Graham, so here’s a bit more about them!

Gemma Parks is better known by her nom de plume, G. M. Parker. Thanks to her love for the written word, Gemma has made a name for herself as a columnist…and has made a name for Lady Marigold through her writing too. It’s Gemma’s columns that catapulted “Lady M” to a fashion icon, and her columns also provide alibis…just in case the Imposters ever get caught.

Graham Wharton is a distant cousin of the noble Fairfax siblings and was raised at Fairfax Tower alongside his titled cousins as a ward of their father after his parents died. He’s now an architect with a knack for historical documents and a keen eye for features that others miss–features that lead him to hidden passageways, buried-over ruins, and other secrets oh-so-handy for an investigator to know.

When a boy goes missing, kidnapped when he’s mistaken for his aristocratic cousin, Gemma and Graham are forced to work together for the first time in a year. And let’s just say the sparks fly.

Launch Team Spotlight

Rachel B.

Launch Team Spotlight

Rachel D.

Launch Team Spotlight

Paula S.

Launch Team Spotlight

Paty H.

Launch Team Spotlight

Marie E.

Launch Team Spotlight

Lucy R.

Launch Team Spotlight

Ileana V.

Launch Team Spotlight

Cathy L.

Launch Team Spotlight

Anna Kelly D.

Launch Team Spotlight

Connie S

Launch Team Spotlight

Faith M

Launch Team Spotlight

MMB

Launch Team Spotlight

Melissa

Launch Team Spotlight

Rachael F

It’s Theater Time!

While circus themes made their way into book 1, A Noble Scheme relies more on theater tricks. But what do YOU know about historical theater? Test your knowledge and learn some fun facts about the history of the theater in the new addition to my Imposters page!

More from the world of the Imposters

There’s So Much to Explore!

Learn more about the Edwardian circus that defined the Imposters’ childhood, get fashion tips from Lady M, explore the theater of the day, meet the team, pet the animals, go behind the Top Secret stamp to learn about intelligence in the early 20th century, train yourself to be a private investigator, and dive into some fun and games!

Shop the Imposters Collection

Lions, sprayed edges, handmade vintage style bags, peacock stationery, and more!
To celebrate this release specifically, Gemma–who never goes ANYWHERE without a notebook of some kind–inspired me to create a series of journals! They have lined pages, hardcover, with Edwardian era watercolors that tie in with each of the books (and cover).

Giveaway

US entrants, enter to win a copy of A Beautiful Disguise
(or another book of your choice) + a $25 gift card to my shop!

International entrants, enter to win a copy of any of my books, shipped from your usual online retailer.

Cover Reveal of Christmas at Sugar Plum Manor

Cover Reveal of Christmas at Sugar Plum Manor

It’s Time!

For Another Cover Reveal!!

Last week I revealed the cover for An Honorable Deception and also shared pre-order links for both it AND this one…which actually releases first. 😉 

I know, I know, I’m so out of order! LOL. But it made sense in my little head to first finish out the covers in the on-going series and THEN jump to the holiday book! This one is a stand-alone.

Now, I know we’re not in the Christmas season now…but we also know how eager we all are to dive back into it when it rolls around again, and wouldn’t you love to have a head start on what holiday reads to put on your list in 2024?

Let’s meet…

Lady Mariah Lyons

Mariah loves the Christmas season, when she gets to help transform her stepfather’s estate, Plumford Manor, into a winter fairyland that she has dubbed Sugar Plum Manor. This year, however, it seems like the whole world is out to steal her Christmas cheer. All she wants to do is show her family who she really is…and, hopefully, how approaching life with whimsy and imagination isn’t foolish. It is, in fact, what faith is made of.

She doesn’t know what to think about the fact that Cyril, her stepfather’s heir, will be joining them again. Once, they were friends. Once, she’d dreamed they’d be more. But anyone fool enough to pay court to the duplicitous Lady Pearl isn’t worth her consideration…and gossip says Cyril and the lady are all but engaged.

An old friend…and the heir

Cyril Lightbourne

Cyril hasn’t returned to Plumford in years, not since he was a child, brought in to be introduced to the distant cousin whose heir he apparently was. But knowing that Lord Castleton doesn’t want him for an heir has made him neglect coming back…especially after he and Mariah, who had become fast friends during that enchanted visit as children, eventually stopped writing to each other. The girl, he had adored. But her letters had changed over the years, and he’s convinced she’s no longer the bright-hearted person he’d once counted as his dearest friend. Was it any wonder, then, that he’d let himself think he could fall in love with the beautiful Lady Pearl when fate threw them together in a way that allowed him to save her life? Yet she’d scorned him and sent him packing, all because he’d shown up bruised after defending her honor.

A Cold-hearted Rival

Lord Søren Gyldenkrone

Cousin to the Danish king, Søren is in England for one purpose: to find an English bride whose family is close to the royals, thereby solidifying relations between Denmark and England. He’d at first thought Lady Pearl to be the best contendor…but her recent behavior has left him apalled. And worse, the scrum over her resulted in the upstart Lightbourne tarnishing his family name. But when he realizes that the next young lady on his list of potential brides–the pretty Lady Mariah with her head full of fluff and nonsense–is special to Lightbourne, he knows the fates are in his favor.

He can get his bride and his revenge in one fell swoop.

Inspired by

The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffman

this Edwardian-era historical romance is a tale of holiday spirit, love, and the power of family and friendship.

Ready? Here it is!
The cover of Christmas at Sugar Plum Manor!

What do you think??

I admit my first imaginings had an outdoor scene, with snow falling and beautiful plum-purples and golds…but I do admit it would have been tough to get the Nutcracker doll in that concept…and really, can you possibly go wrong with a gorgeous Edwardian ballroom, complete with Christmas tree, Nutcracker, and a stunning dress in holiday red?

Nope. You really can’t. The moment I saw this, I was over the moon. Such a perfect image of the high-society Christmas story that this is!

Now, I know Christmas and release day is still a while off, but you know me. I can’t resist putting it up for you now!

An early endorsement

From Christmas-book fanatic (and my amazing assistant) Rachel Dixon:

“This, THIS is what us Christmas book reading fanatics WANT and drool over every Christmas. You’ve fully captured the magic of Christmas and the Nutcracker, and balanced it beautifully with the hope of Jesus.” ~ Rachel Dixon, aka BookwormMama

Cover Reveal of Christmas at Sugar Plum Manor

Cover Reveal of An Honorable Deception

It’s Time!

For TWO Cover Reveals!!

Say what? Yes, that’s right, I have TWO new covers to show you.

First is the one you might be expecting…book 3 in The Imposters, An Honorable Deception. With book 2 releasing in a few short weeks, it’s no surprise that the cover for the final book in the series is ready for you!

But I also have the cover for my Christmas novel to show you, which will actually be releasing before this!

Today, though…Imposters. Unleeeesssssss you REALLY want to see the cover for Christmas at Sugar Plum Manor too. In which case, read on! 😉 There’s info at the bottom on how you can see that one a week early too!

But First…

Our Hero, Yates

First we have Yates. Technically Lord Fairfax, an earl…but if you’ve read his sister’s story in A Beautiful Disguise, you know he’s far more interested in running their P.I. firm and playing with the retired circus animals that live at their estate than attending the Sessions.

I don’t often write muscle-bound heroes, but Yates HAS to be…so that he can toss and catch his sister on the trapeze. And building ledges. And wherever else they need to get into and out of for their clandestine work. But in addition to all the muscles, Yates has a heart of gold and will do absolutely anything to protect the people he loves.

A New Acquaintance

Lady Alethia Barremore

Lady Alethia hires the Imposters to help her find her dearest friend–her Indian ayah (nanny) who has gone missing. As the daughter of a former viceroy of India, Alethia has made a splash in her first season by wearing Indian finery. But she’s also apparently made enemies, because she’s shot three times leaving her meeting with Mr. A of the Imposters. What have she and her former ayah, Samira, stumbled into?

And an old friend…

Lady Lavinia Hemming

Lavinia is still reeling from the family secrets that nearly undid them all in A Beautiful Disguise, and she’s still regaining her strength from the bout of Scarlet Fever that weakened her heart and nearly killed her. She doesn’t knew who in the world she can trust when her own family would betray her–but when she discovers her dearest friends are the Imposters, she’s relieved to find that their secrets are noble…and she promptly recruits herself, so that she can help them find Lavinia’s friend.

But…

as clues lead them deeper into the darkest of society’s secrets…

Alethia, Yates, and Lavinia soon learn anew that the gentry isn’t always noble…and truth isn’t always honorable. Amidst burgeoning love and old betrayal, scandalous secrets will test the bounds of redemption in this exhilarating series finale.

Ready? Here it is!
The cover of An Honorable Deception!

Isn’t it beautiful??

I love the autumn colors and how they work so well with the beautiful rose of the dress.

Now…you may be wondering which of the ladies this is. Alethia? Lavinia? From the character images I shared above, you may even notice that they bear a passing resemblance to each other.

That’s no accident, friends!

So to discover which one is the “heroine”…which one steals Yates’s heart…you’re just going to have to wait and read the book! 😉

Lucky for you, you can:

NOW

What about that second cover??

Well, you can come back next week and see it here on the blog or in the newsletter, no problem. There will be a post much like this one, with some character images and a bit about my Nutcracker-inspired story.

But if you want to be the FIRST to get a peek, you can do so by ORDERING either of these two books! Pre-order from my shop, and you’ll get an email within minutes with the second cover!

(Of course, you’ll still want to come back next week for the full info! LOL)

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I imagine most of you will be wrapped up in celebration rather than checking on blogs, but I wanted a short message of peace and praise and good will on here in case you happen by.

First, a quick reminder.

Christmas Day is the BEGINNING of the Christmas season, not the end! Today is the First day of the Octave (eight days of feasting), of the Twelve Days that lead us to Epiphany, and of the whole season that traditionally stretches long into January. I know that society today moves quickly on, but I hope we as believers let the beauty of Christ’s arrival linger long in our hearts.

Here’s a traditional Christmas prayer to warm you.

Lord, in this holy season of prayer and song and laughter,
we praise you for the great wonders you have sent us:
for shining star and angel’s song,
for infant’s cry in lowly manger.
We praise you for the Word made flesh in a little Child.
We behold his glory, and are bathed in its radiance.

Amen

Merry Christmas, Friends!

A Nutcracker Kind of Christmas

A Nutcracker Kind of Christmas

Time to tell you about a fun new story you can expect in time for Christmas of 2024!

I’ve hinted at it here and there, but I’ve yet to give a full peek…because, well, it seemed like a funny thing to talk about in the spring and summer when I was first signing the contract and then writing the book. But with Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas ahead, now seems like the PERFECT time to tell you about . . .

(That designed title is my own imagingings, nothing official, LOL. Just FYI.)

Christmas at Sugar Plum Manor

So here’s the story. Just about a year ago, my editor at Bethany House emailed to ask if I’d be interested in writing a short Edwardian-era Christmas novel.

Um…YES!!!!

As I drove the kids to youth group and continued to mass, I brainstormed what sort of Christmas story I could write. What would be fun? What did I love? What would bring me joy? I knew the answer within hours of asking it.

The Nutcracker.

You see, my daughter was in our local ballet studio’s annual production of The Nutcracker for a decade, from the time she was five until the studio closed its doors a few years ago. We LOVE the ballet. We know its music by heart. Xoe has danced most of the dances and gotten to wear most of the costumes. Every year, this classic Christmas production was a HUGE part of our year.

But one of my favorite memories comes from her first year performing. She was one of the Littles, who only came on stage two or three times. The rest of the time, all those primary schoolers were backstage, in a room above the theater, where somehow one parent was expected to keep a dozen hyperactive little ones who were excited and nervous about the show quiet. Um…yeah.

But I had a plan. After Simon Says lost its luster, I told them all to sit down, and I broke out a book. It was an adaptation of the original story, Nutcracker and Mouse King, that had inspired Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet. This story, written by E. T. A. Hoffman, had backstory we never get in the show, a mystical and magical and far-fetched tale of curses and magical nuts and sworn enemies and unlikely friends. It’s a truly charming tale, and it held those little girls rapt as I read it to them.

So I pitched a Nutcracker-themed romance to my editor–one with a villain more Scrooge-ish than really evil, with happily-ever-afters abounding, but with an imaginative heroine who was misunderstood by her very practical family, and yet whose belief in the power of laughter and joy and yes, even the absurd stories of a child with an overactive imagination, ends up changing them all.

Just before Christmas last year, I got the news that the committee had approved the story idea and that Christmas at Sugar Plum Manor would be slated for publication in September 2024, in time for the holiday season!

My version of the story is set in one of England’s “classic Christmas card villages,” Castleton (which was seriously on postcards and holiday greeting cards), at a fictional estate just outside of town which is officially called Plumford Manor thanks to its plum orchards, but which at Christmas the heroine always dubs Sugar Plum Manor. Each year, she helps the staff turn their dried fruit into her favorite holiday treat–sugar plums (prunes that have been rolled in sugar and baked, then rolled and baked again, and again, until they’re a crystallized delight). But she is, in fact, only the stepdaughter of the Earl of Castleton. He and her mother had no children of their own, which means an heir had to be tracked down…and Cyril Lightbourne is exactly the kind of hero she can imagine falling in love with–if only they can reclaim the joy they had together as children when he came to be introduced to the family and not let the hard realities of society…and a Danish lord set on revenge…get in the way.

I had so much fun picking out some of the key elements of the original story–Nutcracker dolls and a landscape made of sweet treats, a creative heroine whose siblings and parents are far too practical to indulge her fancies, a noble young hero who’d been spurned by a great beauty, and someone to play the part of the Mouse King, of course–and twist and turn them enough to make sense in the “real” world. And of course, a rather mad professor who created magic in his workshop. 😉

I don’t yet have an official cover to show you, but I’m so excited to see what they come up with!

AND…another fun thing. I’ll be publishing a new adaptation of that original Nutcracker and Mouse King story too! Many of us today don’t even know the original story, only the ballet, and that’s a real shame, because it’s so much fun! This companion edition will include historical sidebars, definitions, recipes, craft ideas, and more to help you bring this classic children’s Christmas story to life for a whole new generation! Stay tuned for more info on that and the novel as it all comes together in the next year!

~*~

Are you familiar with the original story about brave Nutcracker? With the ballet? Do you have other favorite classic Christmas stories?