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Monday, August 8, 2022
Prodigal Lives Kick-Off Package
About the Book
Book: Prodigal Lives
Author: Carol McClain
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release date: April 1, 2022
Life keeps piling problems on Meredith Jaynes. She loses her second foster child—one she was scheduled to adopt. Then Parker Snow refuses to marry her. With only her goats and artisan soap to support her, life will get no better.
If she is honest, though, she still has Crystal. Her funny, happy, loveable toddler makes the sun shine and reminds her of the never-failing love of God.
Pearl Solomon loves her life with her grandfather Guy, but every one of her triumphs is overshadowed by her sisters’ lives. With Mama Meredith, they live a life she envies. Because of her jealousy, she refuses to contact them.
Years later, life for both families twist down paths they do not wish to travel. Pearl knows she’s lost what was most precious in life but has no means of fixing things. Left to her own devices, she spirals out of control.
Meredith finds it harder to mask the despair infertility has brought to her life.
Both families believe they must reconcile themselves to their fates as reality shatters their dreams unless they dig deep for the promise of love.
Carol McClain is the award-winning author of four novels dealing with real problems. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.
Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, a budding potter and photographer. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and growing farm. Inspired by Meredith Jaynes, she owns two goats. One will kid soon.
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/author.Carol.McClain
More from Carol
Have you ever thought you’ve seen yourself in a novel?
If you know an author, you probably have.
For years I worked with recovering addicts and those helping them in organizations like Celebrate Recovery, a Christian-styled support group like AA. If I read the events of these people’s lives in a novel, I would say, “Too fake to believe.”
Their lives are tragic, funny, heartbreaking, heartwarming.
Many of their stories made it into my latest novel Prodigal Lives (modified, disguised, and novelized).
I not only incorporate others into my work, but I live through my characters’ lives (Please don’t suggest a sky diving protagonist).
In Prodigal Lives one of my main characters owns goats. For years, I begged my husband too let me have a goat or two. He promised. Then, he wimped out, so I created Meredith Jaynes a successful artisan specializing in goat soap and raising Nubians.
Prodigal Lives is a sequel but can stand alone (reading both books amplifies your enjoyment, of course). This book follows the loss Pearl and Meredith feel as Pearl is adopted by her grandfather. Pearl becomes jealous of her sisters who stay with Mama Meredith, and they lose touch. Although they hear nothing from each other, neither is forgotten.
I believe in redemption. All my work illustrates that no matter how far you fall, a loving Father is going to make a way to redeem you. He’s done it for me, and I was an impossibly problematic child of the King.
I hope you enjoy Prodigal Lives. Sign up for my newsletter and blog and never miss a new release, my Biblical thoughts or an appearance I’m making. Believe me, I wouldn’t live, my blog and newsletter are fascinating.
The story does delve into some sensitive subjects which may be hard for sone readers. I will say the author does an excellent job of allowing readers to discover the turmoil Meredith goes thru. Being a foster parent has many ups and downs. The children feel unloved and unwanted. Their normal lives have been uprooted and are placed with strangers. How do you reach a child who has gone through so much in their young lives?
I loved the wedding of Meredith and Parker. There were quite a few people wanting to give their opinions about how the ceremony should be. It did make for some funny moments. In the end all went well and they could start their lives together. It was nice to see how the family’s joined together to celebrate the happy couple.
The adoption of Crystal and Roxie is looming and poor little Roxie is having a hard time being patient. She needs to have this adoption so she can feel secure. The child is desperate to have a family and finds it hard to be patient. Parker does a good job of calming Roxie down where there is a delay and reassures her that everything will be fine.
The story also follows Pearl and her grandpa. It was hard for Pearl at times not to be with Meredith but since her grandpa showed up, she had to go with him. The author does a good job of showing how Pearl feels left out from the home she used to live at. She misses Roxie so much and at times is a bit jealous of her. When her dad finds out where she is, the mood changes in the story. Larry has been in jail with a drug problem but is trying to make amends. For a child it must be hard to understand why she should be cautious trying to reunite with her dad. Her granddad has warned her not to trust her dad but she wants to be loved and wanted by him so bad she lets her feelings overtake her doubts.
Pearl’s life takes a horrible turn when a tragedy occurs. Now her father has taken over everything and slowly Pearl finds herself doing drugs. The atmosphere she lives in is dangerous and she needs to escape from her dad. Her granddad always told her to never trust her dad but she wanted so bad to believe he had changed. Her road is filled with disappointment, broken trust , a father who has not changed and a life that is spiraling out of control.
The author shows what happens when drugs take over your life and the pain of trying to find your way back to a better life. Pearl has moments when she wants to give up, but then a small bar of soap gives her hope. I can’t wait for readers to find out how the story ends. It is an emotional time where unconditional love and forgiveness takes place. Acceptance and finding a home will bring happiness to those who want a real family. God in His infinite wisdom leads Pearl back to where she will find what she needs most.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
Cassidy Edgemont has been dead for four years. At least, that is what the world has been led to believe. After becoming unwittingly entangled in a group called the Coalition, known for using fake news to generate political unrest in the United States, Cas was offered a devastating choice: stage her own death and join her rescuers, the guardians, or risk the wrath of the organization she betrayed. She chose death.
As an invisible government operative, Cas has been living in Paris with no complications—until her family pays an unexpected visit to the European city, changing everything. They think Cas is dead, and she has to keep it that way. But when a bomb is detonated nearby and fake news incites riots in the city, Cas recognizes the mark of the Coalition.
Donovan, a fellow guardian, is summoned to join her in Paris to attempt to untangle the intricate web linking Cas’s past with the recent bombings. But as the threat level escalates, Cas must again make an impossible decision: face possible exposure to her family in her race to uncover the truth or risk the loss of innocent lives.
Traci Hunter Abramson was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for several years, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas for suspense novels as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She has gone on to write a number of bestselling suspense novels that have consistently been nominated as Whitney Award finalists. She considers shoes an optionalaccessory which became evident when she won her first three Whitney Awards in 2013 (Code Word), 2014 (Deep Cover), and 2016 (Failsafe.) Safe House won Whitney Awards for both the mystery/suspense category as well as 2017 Adult Novel of the Year. She added two additional awards in 2019 (Mistaken Reality – best mystery/suspense and Sanctuary – Adult Novel of the Year.) She currently lives in Virginia with her family where she enjoys sports, travel, writing, and coaching high school swimming.
More from Traci
Paris anyone? After years of restricted travel and various COVID-related challenges, I needed to spend some time back in a city I love, even if it was only as part of my fictional world. Add in my years working with the CIA, and Not Dead Yet was born.
While Not Dead Yet is technically the sixth book in the guardian series, all of these books are written as stand-alone novels, which simply visit some characters from previous novels and sometimes introduce characters that will be featured in the stories to come.
Not Dead Yet was particularly enjoyable to write, not only because it gave me an excuse to revisit my photos and memories from my most recent trips to Paris, but also because of the parallels that naturally occurred with my own life.
Cas, the main character, is the first female guardian in my fictional top-secret program of government operatives who strive to serve and protect U.S. intelligence and military personnel. When I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, I often attended meetings in which I was the only woman in the room. Respect and loyalty had to be earned regardless of gender, and I was fortunate to work with some amazing individuals over the years. Some of those treasured work relationships come through within the pages of this book.
Another similarity to my own background is Cas’s family dynamics. She has her parents and a younger sister, which mirrors my own early childhood. Her family is often in the public eye because of their association with the media industry. While I didn’t come from the extreme wealth and fame as my character did, I do remember well what it was like to have a mom on television (The Home Hunter in Phoenix, AZ) and to have a sister working in the entertainment industry. While my sister (Tiffany Hunter) has taken over The Home Hunter in recent years, a few of her earlier positions included serving as the backstage coordinator for the Grammys as well as working as Bill Murray’s personal assistant.
Not Dead Yet blends many experiences from my past with the events of the present and the ever-present question of What if? I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I loved how the story opens up and gave me hints that this would be an action packed adrenaline rush filled book. I could sense that Cas has been very careful since she “died” and was always aware of her surroundings. Trying to make everyone believe that she had died in a car accident is what has kept her alive. Her involvement in the Coalition has caused her to stay hidden. When she is discovered alive, the author heightens the intensity . We are witnesses to how surveillance works, the inner workings of government agencies and the secrets that are hidden on the internet.
I did enjoy the backdrop of Paris and the numerous mouth watering food that was mentioned. I would love to travel to Paris and sample their cuisine. Cas has mastered the French cuisine and has a gift for cooking delicious meals. That certainly comes in handy when she is sent to a safe house. Having Donovan join her is welcoming as his skills will come in handy as they try to stay undetected. I kept wondering why after four years someone would still think Cas is a threat? What information does she have that threatens someone?
The story is very intriguing as it delves into a group responsible for putting out fake news. Cas and Donovan have to find out who is behind this while also stopping bomb threats. I loved how they work together and just seem to clique with each other. I held my breath at times because danger was so close to them. I wasn’t sure if they would survive. The author is very good at giving details that include readers in the investigation. I felt like I was sitting beside them as they scoured video footage and the training they both have been through to be a Guardian.
There were many twists in the story which gave me a list of suspects. I tried to follow along as Cas and Donovan tracked down sources and followed leads. It all comes to one moment in time when Cas’s family become targets as well. I loved how the author had me so involved in the story that I couldn’t put it down. The ending is powerful and filled with danger as the truth is finally revealed. My question throughout the story was would Cas and Donovan be able to share their feelings for each other? Would they be able to work together and find happiness with each other? Is the threat on Cas’s life over? Grab a copy of this book and find out the answers.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
When those experiencing the same fate she endured show up at her doorstep…
Katie determines to be their champion, no matter the fallout.
Will the man who fought for the other side also fight for her?
Unconventional Katie empathizes with the widows and orphans of the Civil War, searching for a place to call home in Shumard Oak Bend. But with no one to help her, she’ll need to do it secretly, a challenge she readily accepts. She’s taken charge before, and she’ll do it again, no matter who she has to outwit to get the job done.
He vowed to be his own man and stop doing everyone else’s bidding. But he follows orders when a pair of emerald green eyes, blazing red hair, and freckles that dance on the bridge of a pert nose conscript him to duty. Be his own man. Who is he kidding? Skunks don’t change their stripes. They leave disasters in their wake wherever they go, just like him.
Overcoming personal obstacles and finding your true self doesn’t mean going it alone. Yet the answer isn’t always in the one you seek.
Heidi is an optimist who chooses to find the silver lining in life’s clouds of doubt. This plays out in her writing. Her ability to weave scripture seamlessly into the lives of her characters will uplift and encourage you, while her masterful storytelling will keep you turning page after page and wishing for more.
Heidi lives with her husband of thirty years near Charlotte, NC. When she isn’t writing, you will find her outside playing with her two grandsons, walking, scrapbooking, reading, cooking, traveling, or finding an excuse to have an outing with a girlfriend.
Fusing Faith and Fiction™
True Christian Fiction. Relatable Characters. Life-changing stories.
More from Heidi
Where did the idea for Matters of the Heart originate?
Before I was an author, I was the founder and director of an English as a Second Language ministry. The program touched the lives of students from 35 different countries. Regardless of culture, religion, language, or age, I found a substantial similarity in these students—they all wanted to improve their lot in life and that of their children.
Stories abounded of walks across deserts, financial hardships, desperate attempts to explain emergencies to medical professionals or law enforcement, failed verbal connections with schoolteachers, and an inability to obtain work because of their lack of language skills. Prejudice and distrust blocked them, culture shock took them outside their comfort zones, and the urgent need to survive made them scramble to dig deep inside and find creative ways to secure shelter and put food on their tables.
It wasn’t that these immigrants weren’t capable of achieving success. In their home countries, vocations varied from chemist and biologist with PhDs, to teachers, lawyers, and medical professionals. Others came from poverty and had little education but were not afraid of hard work, long hours, and low pay. They were tenacious, and they worked with relentless determination and a bullheaded resolve to achieve their goals. They relied on each other and soaked in everything around them in their desire to assimilate into the American culture and find a new place to belong.
Immigrants in the late 1800s were not much different. Individuals came to improve their lot in life and be a part of the greatest country in the world. In Matters of the Heart, Hans Korhonen left Finland with his brothers to take advantage of the land grants. Together, they worked to establish a farm large enough to sustain four families and support troops during the Civil War. Yet, in their desire to belong and give back to our great nation, Hans’s idyllic life changed through his service as a Union soldier.
Kathleen Murphy, or Katie, came to the United States to escape a life of extreme poverty and abuse in Ireland. Working in her aunt and uncle’s boarding offered more than a job. It provided the love and support of a family. Katie rose from her previous station and started fresh with hope on the horizon. She found a source of ministry that gave her life a purpose she’d not had before.
My association with my former ESL students helped me develop the characters in this book into individuals with which readers can identify.
Join Katie and Hans as they establish themselves in their new home of Shumard Oak Bend.
This story has so much emotions running throughout that I devoured every word. From the beginning we can see how faith holds this story together and how it affects our two main characters. I loved the historical facts scattered within the scenes which made them come to life. The author captures the time period with depth and shows how hard it was to survive everyday. Food was scarce and at times there was little to share with others.
Katie is someone who is fiery, determined and outspoken. She has this dream to open a place where widows and orphans can go for shelter and help in getting their lives back in order. Her soft heart for this dream makes her sometimes try to get ahead of God’s plan. Have you ever stepped out ahead of God’s timing? I know I have. It didn’t turn out well but it was a lesson I needed to learn about patience.
Hans is very unsettled in his life. He has taken orders from others for so long that he has to get out on his own. The things he witnessed in the war has left scars on his emotions. We can also see that the unkind words he has heard growing up has made him feel like a failure. His heart has turned away from God yet he knows that he needs to find his way back to him.
My favorite character is the sweet woman who Katie calls Aunt Aideen. She has this gift of hospitality and makes everyone feel welcome at her boarding house. I could smell the fresh bread baking and the aroma of meals that made me feel content. She has a special relationship with her niece. I love how she always has a warm smile for everyone and tells Katie, “ we chose to have joy in our present circumstances rather than dwell on all that were wrong around us.” Oh my were those such profound words. We do have a choice to either be happy where we are or be miserable and continue to try to do things on your own.
There is much wisdom spoken from people who try to guide Katie and Hans. They both seem a little unsure of themselves. As they search for where they belong, the author delivers a strong message. “ when our identity comes from anything or anyone other than God, we will fail.”
Both Katie and Hans take a journey to overcome their past, learn to trust God and use their servant’s heart to help others. It is a beautiful story that reminds us that,” Every step forward changes the view, it never remains the same.” As we focus on what is in front of us, we can let go of the past. Once we let go of the feeling that we will fail, we can walk in freedom and follow God’s direction.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.