Thursday, June 23, 2016

This Madness of the Heart by Blair Yeatts FREE BOOK, Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway


This Madness of the Heart
by Blair Yeatts

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GENRE: gothic mystery/thriller

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BLURB:

Bad religion can be deadly. So Miranda Lamden, small-town religion professor, discovers in This Madness of the Heart. The dark hollers of Eastern Kentucky offer fertile soil for shady evangelist Jasper Jarboe, new president of Grace and Glory Bible College, as he beguiles the small mining town of Canaan Wells with his snake-oil charm.

When Miranda isn’t teaching at Obadiah Durham College, she’s investigating paranormal phenomena—or enjoying a turbulent romantic relationship with backwoods artist Jack Crispen. JJ’s inquisition-style gospel has alienated her long since, but when he announces his plan to transform her forest home into an evangelical Mecca, complete with neon cross and 40-foot Jesus, Miranda girds her loins for war. But JJ isn’t finished: he goes on to launch an attack on her friend and fellow professor Djinn Baude with an avalanche of vicious rumors. Not only does he accuse Djinn of demonic communion with the old Voudon witch whose curse killed the college’s founding family, but he also smears her with insinuations of lechery and vice.

With JJ’s urging, hate boils over into violence and tragedy, sweeping Miranda up in its flood. One death follows another as a miasma of evil overwhelms the tiny community, and only Miranda can see clearly enough to halt its spread.

This Madness of the Heart is the first in a new series of Gothic mystery-thrillers featuring Professor Miranda Lamden, whose spiritual gifts have drawn her beyond university walls to explore the mysteries of other world beliefs. Her unique vision brings her into repeated confrontations with evil, where too often she finds herself standing alone between oblivious onlookers and impending disaster.

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Excerpt One:
The large woman beside me slid to the plank floor with surprising grace, twitching and jerking on her back, eyes glittering sightlessly under half-closed lids. Worshippers stepped around her with hardly a thought. Her lips fluttered in prayer, inaudible amidst the tumbling chaos of sound rolling through the tiny church.

“Hallelujer! Hallelujer! Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Jesus! Praise-a the Lord!

Oooooooohhh, glory be to God, honey! Praise-a his holy name!” The preacher’s voice roared over the babble.

I rocked contentedly in the midst of a storm of joy. Ecstasy beat against me like a rising spring tide. I loved my work. No matter how many hours I spent observing people celebrating their faith, their joy always lifted me up—perhaps bearing me on the wings of their prayers. And Appalachian Holiness congregations had to be among my favorites. I loved their lack of pretense, their tolerance of diversity, their unselfconscious enthusiasm. I envied how easily they gave themselves up to spiritual ecstasy. Comparatively, I was a clam, tightly sealed in a riotous bed of wave-swept anemones.

Several white-shirted men carried cardboard boxes into the center of the floor while the worshippers danced close around. One by one, two by two, three by three, coiling copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes were scooped from the boxes and passed from dancer to dancer, man or woman, whoever held out a willing hand.

Panic knocked the breath from my body like an adder’s sudden strike. My gut clenched, writhing with the coiling snakes. Tremors shook my hands. Shadow threatened to overwhelm my sight. I’d forgotten myself, relaxed my guard, let slip the rigorous discipline I wore like a second skin in my field studies.



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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Blair Yeatts grew up in the midst of a large, old southern Virginia family, much like the family of her main character. She followed her parents into a career in academia and taught religion at the college level in Kentucky for many years. Her special areas of expertise are psychology and Earth-based religions, in which she has done considerable research.

From childhood, Ms. Yeatts has been a fan of mystery fiction, starting with Nancy Drew and moving through Agatha Christie to twentieth century giants like Dorothy L. Sayers, P.D. James, and Nevada Barr. She is fulfilling a life’s dream in writing her own mysteries.

Ms. Yeatts shares her home with her photographer husband, two cats, and a dog. She has a lifelong love of wild nature, and prefers to set her stories in rural areas, where threads of old spiritual realities still make themselves felt. Her first three books take place in different parts of Kentucky and Tennessee.

Interview

Where are you from?
I was born and bred in Kentucky, which is where the Miranda Lamden Mysteries are based. Some people manage to grow up in Kentucky without seeing themselves as Southerners, but my parents (who were from southern Virginia) worked hard at making sure I knew where my roots lay. Years of moving around have chipped away the Southern veneer, but some of the great necessities still lurk in the shadows: like cooking vegetables with bacon drippings . . . and sprinkling fresh tomatoes with sugar.

Tell us your latest news?
I’m in the midst of editing the second book in the Miranda Lamden series, Blood on Holy Ground, and hoping to release it before Christmas. As a self-published author, I do all the editing and illustrating myself, so it’s a hectic time. It’s so hard getting enough distance from my own work to do the edits well! I’ve settled on reading the whole book aloud as the best way to do the final edits. Reading aloud is incredibly time consuming, but I find that my mind doesn’t wander, and there’s something about actually hearing the words in my ears and not just in my mind. The cover is almost done, too. I use my own photos for the covers, manipulated and layered in Photoshop over many, many hours.

When and why did you begin writing?
Every stop on the blog tour seems to have a variation on this question, so I’ll try a different tack with this answer. I’ve been writing ever since early childhood, but I remember one period in my early and middle teens when I wrote really seriously for months on end. My family had moved away from the South (that didn’t last long), and I was feeling lonely and displaced. I remember a kind of fantasy serial starting in my imagination, with heroines, villains, and romantic heroes, caught up in suspense, desperate love, violence, and high drama. Definitely what came to be known as romance literature! Every night I’d lie in my bed and live the next chapter, and sometime during the next day I’d type it out. I have no idea what happened to all those reams of purple prose! Maybe my mother discovered them and threw them out. Probably I turned some adolescent corner and suddenly found them excruciatingly embarrassing. Anyway, they were lost to my future readers.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
If I don’t count my dissertation, then the first book I wrote was an autobiography—which I am grateful to say I never managed to publish. I tried the traditional publishing route, and no one even looked at it. But I had poured heart and soul into that book, and something in the process of writing it had touched me in a way I’d never felt before. I couldn’t bear the thought that I wasn’t a writer. I remember being convinced that if I didn’t get that book published, I’d never write again. I ended up going out into the hills and stomping around the forest for a whole day (poison ivy and all), railing at the universe for the unfairness of it all. I even demanded a sign one way or another! Well, the odd thing was, I got that sign. Right at the last possible point I had specified as the end of my sign-search, I found a beautiful and perfect spearhead lying in full view on a small sandbar in a creek. I accepted it with amazement, and took it as a promise—which eventually came true, although not with that book. I have published books, and I am a writer.

What inspired you to write your first book?
(I’m not counting Madness here, although it was actually my first completed book after the autobiography, since I set it aside for several years after writing it.) Stress and tragedy were my motivators, I think. There were sudden deaths in my family, and financial catastrophes as well, and suddenly, in the midst of it there was a voice rising in my mind, demanding to be heard, insisting that I make sense of my life with words. So I started to write . . . and write and write, a novel I never knew I had in me.

What would you like my readers to know?
This is where I need to explain that “Blair Yeatts” is a pen name. That first novel and two others (with a fourth in process) were written under my birth name. But they were written in entirely different genres, and it seemed good to me not to confuse my readers by jumping into mystery-thrillers. So Blair Yeatts was born. Everything I have said about her is true of my own life, but the details are often a bit vague. I hope you’ll enjoy my excursion into mystery!






Buy Links:

This Madness of the Heart e-book will be free during the 

tour.



(CreateSpace will be up on May 1)


Author/Book Links

blog/website:  http://blair-yeatts.com


Twitter:  @blair-yeatts





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GIVEAWAY

Blair Yeatts will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

36 comments:

  1. A Gothic mystery, sounds great.

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  2. Thank you for the excerpt and interview! :)

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    1. You're welcome! Good to see you again.

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  3. Great post, I loved the excerpt. This sounds like a wonderful book - thanks for sharing :)

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  4. Thank you for informing me about this book.

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    1. Thanks, Becky, I hope you'll give it a try!

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  6. Thank you for the excerpt.

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    1. You're very welcome, Rita. I hope you'll try the whole book!

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  7. I'm running late today but still wanting to stop by to thank you for the chance to win

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  8. You are too sweet, James! Good luck!

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  9. This sounds like a great read.

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  10. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

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  11. Thanks for sharing this giveaway with us.

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  12. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

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    1. Thanks, Ally! I appreciate your comments!

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  13. Love the excerpt. Sounds like an awesome read.

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  14. Hi,
    So I love the sounds of the book, I love a good thriller, I was curious what makes you want to use a pen name? I always have a hard time getting this with authors, I like to read a authors books if I find one I like, makes it harder to find them. So just wondering what makes you decide to do this, have always wondered. thank you and I look forward to your book. and thank you for the giveaway

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    1. It was a hard decision about the pen name, Cyndi. I've written books in an entirely different genre, and have an established readership there. Unfortunately, the two genres are pretty much incompatible, although my personal interests span both. I was concerned that fans of my earlier books would be offended by this change--and I don't want to lose my voice there.

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    2. That makes it understandable, however I would think most readers would not care what you wrote, and may even like it. but I do understand that. Thank you for sharing.

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  15. Thank you for offering your book for free right now, I am so going to get it, i just noticed this!! I almost missed it, thank you so much

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. Late is fine, Cyndi! I'm glad you noticed the book! I write because it seems to be in my blood. It's what I think of when I get up in the morning, and what I think about doing when I've burnt myself out! I suppose it's a kind of vocation.

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    1. It is a good thing you enjoy it, what a great passion to have.

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  17. What is the best book that you have read recently? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

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    1. The most recent book I read that had me saying, "Wow!" was "Deerskin," by Robin McKinley. It's a very insightful retelling of the fairy tale "Donkeyskin," about a king who tried to marry his daughter . . . And you're welcome. Good luck!

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  18. I was wondering why you choose to use a pen name? Is it only because of the different genres? Or another reason. What are your future writing plans?

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    1. (See my reply above for the genres). I have two more volumes in the Miranda Lamden mystery series already completed, except for final edits. I hope to have "Blood on Holy Ground" out in the fall.

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  19. I have added this book to my TBR list and look forward to reading this book!

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