Search This Blog

Friday, 15 July 2016

VBT & #GIVEAWAY - This Madness of the Heart by Blair Yeatts


Gothic Mystery/Thriller



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.

Add to Goodreads  |  BookLikes

I had to stop him! Now, before the damage was done!

I never even got to try.

Like a sullen current of arctic air pouring through a cracked door, cold snaked down over us, coiling around my senses, freezing my anger, congealing my blood: an implacable sister to the malevolence in the garden. I ground my teeth to stifle the scream begging to be born. Even so, a small voice spoke from outside my fear, detached and curious.

“This cold is not the same,” the voice observed. “There’s a difference. It’s not threatening so much as warning, ‘Keep off! Stand clear! Don’t interfere!’”

Immobilized by fear, I was incapable of interfering.

At first I thought my teeth were chattering. A split second later I realized the wind had dropped without warning, the riot of sound had ceased, and a clicking sound had filled the darkness. “Tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch,” the sound ran on and on—no more than a field of insects, of snakes, singing in the night.

The light from JJ’s lantern brightened, bloomed, and died, shooting soft rainbows into the night. Cold weighed even more cruelly upon my breast, pressing me against the rough wall at my back, blotting all light from my eyes. Then the clicking stopped, and in the utterly empty dark, I heard the sound of stone rasping on stone, of crumbling brickwork tearing loose from rotten mortar, and the hollow thunk of heavy masonry falling ponderously onto yielding clay.

A soft sigh whispered through the grove. Then there was silence.

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

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

 Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found HERE

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

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Apart from answering interview questions for blog tours (which takes an incredible amount of time!), I live with my husband, 2 cats, and dog, all of whom need care and affection from time to time, even if I am writing. We take turns cooking dinner and doing chores (the cats do Fridays), and I mow the grass, although the man of the house does the rest of the yard work. If I’m pushing a deadline, or the words are flowing like a river, I’ll write from the time I finish my morning walk and coffee until my brain is completely fried in the evening. But most days I try to take time to be, and to sit quietly and let new ideas percolate. I read for at least an hour in the evenings, and it’s always a grief to me when I can’t find something new to read that I really enjoy! After living in my head most of the day, someone else’s never-before-heard words are marvelous things!

Do you have a day job as well?
I used to teach religion at the college level, like my main character in This Madness of the Heart, Miranda Lamden. I also worked as a research consultant, but now I’ve retired from both. Having my time as my own is a wonderful thing!

What was your favourite book as a child?
It was a funny little book, called The Silver Robin, by Dean Marshall. I found it in our church library, although it wasn’t a religious book, and I think I was the only person ever to check it out. The library used cards that the borrower signed, and my name filled up card after card. I must have read it 30 times. It was a story about a young robin who wanted above all else to be wise, like the great silver thrush in the wood, who had a silver band around his leg. The young robin was eventually wounded, and rescued by humans who banded him and released him again—well on his way to attaining wisdom . . . I suspect it was also responsible for my lifelong interest in wild birds.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Maybe T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. When I read it as a teenager, it was the first time that a book actually carried me into a space out of time, where magic existed in a way that seemed real, and that I could almost understand. It was a kind of watershed in my life, an experience I found myself searching for ever after. It also inspired a deep love for all things Arthurian, which I still have today.

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I think my favorite chapter was “Between the Devil and A Black Banshee,” which described the night when Miranda and her friend Djinn went out to spy on the villainous JJ at the haunted plantation where the curse on the college founder had begun. Miranda draws on her own spiritual gifts and training received over the years to keep her balance in the midst of the flood of evil flowing through the ruins. It’s an exciting and pivotal chapter that draws on many of my own memories, as well as my imagination. Weaving them together into a chilling whole was great fun and an enjoyable challenge!

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Advice is a tricky thing. Things I need to pay close attention to in my own writing may not be issues at all for other writers. For instance, I have to be very careful to flesh out visual details in my writing, because I see what I’m writing as I write it, and I tend to follow the action without describing it thoroughly enough for readers who aren’t watching the movie in my mind! But another writer might write too many details already—this advice to her would be disastrous. Another thing I always need to do is research the practical aspects of my stories fairly deeply, because the authenticity of details is important to me. But what if heavy research buries another writer, stifling her imagination so that she can’t see beyond the details to the spirit of what she wants to write? And I dislike publicity and publishing details so intensely that my advice would probably be paralyzing! So, no advice.

Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamour to be heard over the others?
Well, JJ (the villain) certainly has the most strident voice, both in my imagination and in the book. He’s a bit like a really nasty Frankenstein’s monster, with all the worst characteristics I saw in evangelists and pastors during the years I spent close to the Church. I wish I could say such monsters don’t exist, but I fear they do. Creating JJ was rather like laying a ghost.

What sort of writing environment do you create? I.e. music or not? Pen and paper or laptop/PC?
I have my own office, inviolate, except for cats. I work at a large-screen desktop Mac that I dearly love, and block the rest of the world out with studio-quality headphones. I play music whenever anyone else is in the house or the animals are feeling unusually talkative. I can’t concentrate with rock music—and lyrics are impossibly distracting—so mainly I listen to Mozart and various Baroque classical composers like Telemann, Corelli, Handel, and Bach (not fugues).

Is there a certain type of scene that is harder to write than other? Racy? Love? Action?
The hardest scenes for me are the ordinary, nothing-much-happening bits that are essential at many points in a book. Action, violence, suspense, love—all those I really enjoy. It’s the meat-and-potatoes stuff that I have difficulty with, where nothing critical is going on.

Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?
I’m not sure. I believe that if a thing is part of human experience it’s fit to write about. And I certainly have my villain saying things that I think are appalling—but he’s cruel, and self absorbed, and such people say and do things like that. Now sports—I doubt if I’ll ever have much to say about sports. If connective writing for plot flow bores me, I’d be catatonic writing about sports!

How important are the names in your book?
I took a lot of trouble with the names. Unfortunately, my main character lost her first-choice name because it started showing up all over the internet attached to a real person, and I prefer not to have characters’ names visible in other areas.

Did you choose them based on how they sounded or looked, or was it completely random?
Each character’s name was chosen to fit that person specifically—based on my own gut reaction to the character and to the name. I would scan down my lists, holding one or more characters in mind as I did, and write down all the likely names beside the character’s description. In a couple of instances I used the name of a real person (either first or last, never both), but the character never resembled the person I’d known—the name just seemed to fit.

Do you have any name choosing resources you would recommend?
I had two major ways of finding names: walking through old cemeteries and writing the names down in lists (which is fun), and looking at online lists. Baby name lists bring up almost every first name ever imagined, and I used a search for “British surnames” to turn up British-type names. Type in any other ethnic group with “surnames” and you’ll get much the same kind of thing.

Quick Fire 

Dogs or cats? Cats
Early bird or night owl? Night owl
Winter or summer? Winter
Spring or fall? Fall
Rural or urban? Rural
PC or Mac? Mac
Cake or pie? Pie
Comedy or mystery? Mystery
Antique or brand new? Antique
Sci-Fi or fantasy? Fantasy
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset
Multiple choice questions or essay questions? Essay
Hardwood or carpet? Hardwood
Bright colours or neutral tones? Bright colors
Fiction or non-fiction?  Fiction

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.

Author/Book Links


Tour Organised by: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


  1. I enjoyed the interview, thanks for the chance :)

  2. Great interview. Thank you for this chance.

    1. You're welcome, Peggy! Glad you liked it!

  3. Great interview! I can't wait to retire and read books.. I'm not much of a writer but a reader, I'm Grade A lol. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Not a bad ambition, Victoria! And you're welcome. :-)

  4. I missed a day but catching up and thanking you once again for the chance at winning.

    1. It's hard to believe that you missed a day, James . . . but it was late posting. You have an excuse!

  5. When did you decide to become a writer?

    1. I guess it was after writing my never-to-be-published-even-after-my-death autobiography! Writing it had been such a roller-coaster ride of delight (and misery) that I knew I was hooked.

  6. Thanks for hosting "This Madness of the Heart"!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Thank you for sharing that great interview! I wish you a wonderful weekend! :)

  9. Have an awesome weekend and thanks for the opportunity to win your great giveaway

  10. Thank you for the opportunity to win and have a blessed Sunday

    1. You're welcome, James, and the same to you!

  11. I really enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

    1. You're welcome, Nikolina. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  12. Good morning and thank you once again for the chance to win