Tuesday, July 12, 2016

This Madness of the Heart by by Blair Yeatts @goddessfish @blair-yeatts

What are your 10 favorite songs?
I suspect that if I tried to make this list again tomorrow, it would be different. How can anyone scroll back through a lifetime of the world’s greatest rock and folk artists and pick 10 favorite songs? But one thing I noticed as I sorted through memories, was that the songs I chose were songs that had an emotional impact on me—not necessarily musically impressive, or vocally pure, although some are. Anyway, here they are, for today, more or less in chronological order, although I often didn’t hear them until long after their release:
1. The Righteous Brothers, “Unchained Melody.”  I’d heard “Melody” and “Lovin’ Feelin’ for years before I ever saw Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey dance to it in Dirty Dancing, but that’s all I ever think of when I hear it now. Dirty Dancing was probably my all-time shamelessly romantic, feel-good movie favorite, and this song holds the memory like a snow globe.
2. Judy Collins, “Albatross.”  Perhaps my favorite song from college and early adulthood, when, like many young adults, I had almost given up ever being known—or knowing myself. The phrases I still remember most clearly are “Will there never be a prince/Who rides along the sea and the mountains/Scattering the sand and the foam into amethyst fountains . . . ” Why is the dream of a valiant rescuing prince so difficult for women to shake?
3. Jefferson Airplane, “Somebody to Love.” Gracie Slick’s wailing vocals made this classic unforgettable. “When the truth is found to be lies, and the joy within you dies, don’t you want somebody to love . . .” For a dedicated seeker after truth and meaning (almost from the cradle) life doesn’t get much lower than what she describes. For me, this song was a cry of appalling pain, with only the vaguest possibility of “love”—whatever that was—as a healing balm.
4. Joe Cocker, “Bye Bye Blackbird.” What was it about that man’s voice? It just crawled right up inside you and rasped like a huge cat purring. This is one of the most reassuring, balanced songs I’ve ever heard, a paean of joy overcoming darkness.
5. Bob Dylan, “Lay Lady Lay.” This song gave me chills when I first heard it, and still does. What can I say, it’s hardly hearts and flowers, but for me, it’s one of the most romantic songs I’ve ever heard. Maybe it’s the simplicity and directness of Dylan’s poetry.
6. Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter.”  I’m a Stones fan from way back. I even managed to get their autographs back in my rock fan days. Mick Jagger—there’s never been anyone like him! Lisa Fischer’s heart-breaking wails of “Rape! Murder!” are eerily unforgettable, a cry that has to echo in any woman’s soul. (Although the Stones also had some real low points, like “Beast of Burden” . . .)
7. Neil Diamond, “Stones.” I was never a great fan of Neil Diamond, but a few of his songs really struck home. I remember this song from a confusing period in my twenties, when it somehow held out hope for something like a happy ending . . .
8. Loreena McKennitt, “Bonny Portmore.” I have all of Loreena McKennitt’’s albums, and this is undoubtedly my favorite of all her ballads. I discovered it while doing some heavy research into ancient British myth and spirituality after I’d finished graduate school. In this song she grieves for the loss of one of the great named holy trees of Scotland that were destroyed by the English in their search for lumber to build their ships.
9. Sarah McLachlan, “In the Arms of the Angel.” Another shamelessly emotional choice . . . I went through a very dark period in the early 90’s, when I started journaling, and eventually writing books. This song was an amazingly clear description of my own sense of spiritual comfort in those days.

10. Sting, “Sacred Love.”  Probably my favorite of all his songs. The research I did into Celtic myth led by various twisted pathways to the (academic) study of the spiritual dimensions of sexuality, particularly in sacred celebration. Sting’s well-known interest in kundalini yoga made the album an immediate hit with me. This song in particular is remarkable.


This Madness of the Heart
by Blair Yeatts

GENRE: 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.


The night turned around her, until, in the darkest watches before dawn, she rose from her knees, abandoning the bloody altar with its guttering candles. A queen entranced, she paced slowly down the hill toward the sleeping house, her eyes blind with visions. Through the front door she walked, into the hall’s center, to the foot of the great staircase. There she raised her bloody hands and cried aloud in a high-pitched wail, sinking at last to a low hissing hum.

“Guede-z-araignee! Come a-hungered! Drink di lifeblood o’ dis evil man! Drink he mem’ry away! Tak he woman int’ di night, Tak’ he chillun, tak’ dem all! Tak’ dem int’ di darkness! Tak’ dem all—tak’ dey lives, tak’ dey bodies, tak’ dey souls! Gi di blood o’ di murderer no rest, not in dis life, not in di next. Spill dey blood on dis bloody land! Come, Guede-z-araignee! Come an’ drink!”

Like a snake swaying on its coils, a tendril of smoke emerged from the darkness, swelling and growing, rising and twisting toward the upper floors of the plantation house. Tiny rainbow-hued flames licked at the polished floor. Then, with a screaming roar, fire like a spider’s bloated body engulfed the great hall, swallowing the keening woman and gathering the curving staircase to its tumid breast. A billowing inferno exploded into the long upper halls, curling and crisping the fine imported wood, sealing bedroom doors with sucking flame, feeding on the agonized cries within: a holocaust offered to a vengeful deity, sated at last with the charring bodies of the landowner’s family... the whole family, save one, a tiny boychild, carried sleeping from his father’s house by an old black nurse, terrified by the fiery havoc she had witnessed in her dreams.

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.

Buy Links:

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

Author/Book Links

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

Twitter:  @blair_yeatts


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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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