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Kiss of the Butterfly
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message 1: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Kirkus Reviews wrote of my new novel, “Kiss of the Butterfly”: "In the glut of vampire-themed novels now on the market, Lyon’s debut stands out… skillful… authentic… fascinating… inspired… Lyon executes it perfectly... vivid... engaging... highly promising... sophisticated..."
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-re...

Meticulously researched and written, “Kiss of the Butterfly” is set against the backdrop of Yugoslavia's breakup. It weaves together intricate threads from the 15th, 18th and 20th centuries to create a rich phantasmagorical tapestry of allegory and reality about divided loyalties, friendship and betrayal, virtue and innocence lost, obsession and devotion, desire and denial, lust and rejection. It is about the thirst for life and the hunger for death, rebirth and salvation. And vampires.

Vampires have formed an integral part of Balkan folklore for over a thousand years. "Kiss" represents a radical departure from popular vampire legend, based as it is on genuine Balkan folklore from as far back as the 14th century, not on fantasy. "Kiss of the Butterfly" offers up the real, horrible creatures that existed long before Dracula and places them within a modern spectrum.

Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon James Lyon


message 2: by Francis (last edited Sep 15, 2012 04:05PM) (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments Tasty... Something to get my teeth into :-)


message 3: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Francis wrote: "Tasty... Something to get my teeth into :-)"

Hahahaha.... exactly. Hope you enjoy it.


message 4: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments James wrote: "Kirkus Reviews wrote of my new novel, “Kiss of the Butterfly”:

Sounds very interesting! Do you realise, that In Romania, Vad the Impaler, castle is still there? People in that region, say, strange things still happen there. Saw that on The History channel 1 day.Its very hard to get to though.Have to climb the mountain.



message 5: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments I was in Romania last year but didn't get a chance to go there. I was in Bucharest for a couple of days, however, and it's interesting now watching Blood and Chocolate which was filmed there in part.


message 6: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon There are many myths about Dracula. One of those is that he was from Transylvania, which is located in the central part of Romania. He was actually from Wallachia, which is in the south and borders on the Danube River. His official title was Vojvoda of Wallachia. How Bram Stoker placed him in Transylvania is anyone's guess. There is a very high probability that the real Dracula never set foot in that castle.

If you want to find Vlad's true stomping grounds, you need to look further south. For example, last Sunday I drove along the route of Vlad's 1476 military campaign -- Sabac (Serbia), Loznica (Serbia), Zvornik (Bosnia), Kuslat (Bosnia), Srebrenica (Bosnia).


message 7: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments I'd like to do that one day. Especially since my wife is Serbian...


message 8: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments I thought he was From Romania? Thats what the tv program was about. It really doesnt matter though. Vlad The Impaler really did live.Just don't remember my world history very well. It's been way to long ago. That would be a fun trip though, but I've traveled so much in my life, don't want to do it anymore. Never was good at it anyway.I've lived in Venzulea Been to every island, between Houston to Ven. You can smell them long before you can see them, & it's awfull.


message 9: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Francis wrote: "I'd like to do that one day. Especially since my wife is Serbian..."

Francis....your wife is Serbian? Mine is too. Small world. Your wife might like "Kiss". One Serbian woman who lived in Belgrade during the 1990s told me it was the best explanation of Balkan history and the breakup of Yugoslavia she'd read -- blaming it on vampires. :-)


message 10: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments James wrote: "There are many myths about Dracula. One of those is that he was from Transylvania, which is located in the central part of Romania. He was actually from Wallachia, which is in the south and borders..."
where do you live?


message 11: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Rita wrote: "I thought he was From Romania? Thats what the tv program was about. It really doesnt matter though. Vlad The Impaler really did live.Just don't remember my world history very well. It's been way t..."

Rita,

Dracula was from what is today Romania. Just as the US has Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, etc., Romania has its own regions. Those include Transylvania, Wallachia, Bukovina, Bessarabia, and Moldavia. Saying Vlad was from Transylvania was like saying that a Texan is from Florida. Bram Stoker got things really mixed up in his novel. Although Dracula was Romanian (Wallachian), the vampire legends that Bram Stoker based his story on came from Serbia, not Romania.

"Kiss of the Butterfly" deals with all of this, as it redefines the vampire story by taking it back to its original roots in Balkan folklore and mythology.

And I know what you mean about being able to smell an island almost before you see it... I sail a lot.

Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon James Lyon


message 12: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments You have to remember that five centuries ago Romania was torn between the Austrian and Ottoman empires. Transylvania is more closely associated with the Bathory family who were Hungarian aristocracy, and while they were fighting against the Ottoman Empire in Vlad's time, they were allied with the Ottoman Empire later when Hungary was split. (Countess Elizabeth Bathory's husband was the great hero of the other part of Hungary, allied with the Austrian Empire.)


message 13: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Rita wrote: "James wrote: "There are many myths about Dracula. One of those is that he was from Transylvania, which is located in the central part of Romania. He was actually from Wallachia, which is in the sou..."

I am an American, but I live in Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. My wife is from Serbia, and I usually spend weekends in Belgrade...and Thanksgiving in the US.

If you look at my profile on Goodreads, you'll see that I studied Balkan History...even got a Ph.D. in it, so I had to use all that education for something, like writing a good vampire story. :-)

Where do you live?


message 14: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments My wife's immediate family lives in Belgrade, but mostly originate at Veliko Gradishte (lovely view across the Danube to Romania).

We have friends from Valjevo. :-)


message 15: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments Well, I was born in Dallas, Texas,& proud to be a Texan. We lived in Mississippi for almost 7 yrs. so my accent is really messed up.My husband worked at the Mississippi test site for all of the Apolo mission's. So had a hand in the first moon walk. Boy, when they tested those rockets, the whole town shook,& loud.Life is just so funny sometimes.


message 16: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Francis wrote: "My wife's immediate family lives in Belgrade, but mostly originate at Veliko Gradishte (lovely view across the Danube to Romania).

We have friends from Valjevo. :-)"


Veliko Gradiste... well, then you know where Ram is. There is a part of the book that takes place there. If you've ever visited the villages around Ram then you've probably noticed the gravestones built into the house walls. They figure in the book. That part of Serbia saw some of the first reports of vampireism in the Habsburg empire in the 1720s and contributed to Europe's first vampire frenzy.

Friends from Valjevo... hmmmm... French perhaps?


message 17: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments James wrote: "Kirkus Reviews wrote of my new novel, “Kiss of the Butterfly”: "In the glut of vampire-themed novels now on the market, Lyon’s debut stands out… skillful… authentic… fascinating… inspired… Lyon exe..."

That, is a great review. Must be a great read. Will ck. it out, when I go back to the book store,& there are several other authors, I what to read as well. Good for You. Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


message 18: by Sandrine (last edited Sep 21, 2012 10:26PM) (new)

Sandrine Genier | 133 comments Rita wrote: "James wrote: "Kirkus Reviews wrote of my new novel, “Kiss of the Butterfly”:

Sounds very interesting! Do you realise, that In Romania, Vad the Impaler, castle is still there? People in that regio..."


I too have been to Romania twice, in search of the real Dracula. The castle you might be referring to is actually just total ruins, hardly anything of a building left to speak of. It is in Poenari, and yet it is one hell of a climb. !350 steps I believe. I have climbed it twice. But the view and the eerie stillness, or just the sound of the wind up there, is amazing.


message 19: by Sandrine (last edited Sep 21, 2012 10:31PM) (new)

Sandrine Genier | 133 comments Francis wrote: "I was in Romania last year but didn't get a chance to go there. I was in Bucharest for a couple of days, however, and it's interesting now watching Blood and Chocolate which was filmed there in part."

I shall have to watch Blood and Chocolate. Although one of my favorite vampire films is Blood and Donuts. An excellent vampire film. Actually Elvira's Haunted Hills was filmed in Romania also.


message 20: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Sandrine wrote: "Rita wrote: "James wrote: "Kirkus Reviews wrote of my new novel, “Kiss of the Butterfly”:

Sounds very interesting! Do you realise, that In Romania, Vad the Impaler, castle is still there? People ..."


The areas where the real Dracula lived were south of Transylvania in Wallachia, which is the part of Romania directly across the Danube River from Bulgaria and Serbia. The Poenari castle is indeed probably the one that was most closely associated with Vlad. Sadly, parts of it fell victim to a landslide, and it has been only partially repaired.


message 21: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Sandrine wrote: "Francis wrote: "I was in Romania last year but didn't get a chance to go there. I was in Bucharest for a couple of days, however, and it's interesting now watching Blood and Chocolate which was fil..."

"Blood and Chocolate" is a good film. The most important part is that it doesn't exaggerate, and that it gets the atmosphere right without going overboard into colorless cardboard caricatures. The dialogue and actors are good, and it is a fun flick all around.


message 22: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments How close to the truth, do you think Interview With A Vampire, came. I know there are no real vampires, but the mith is so much fun?


message 23: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments How close does the Interstate 90 get to Miami?


message 24: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments I have no idea. I've been to Florida once, & it was a hard & fast trip. Didn't help that I was pregnant at the time, either. We left from Columbia, Miss. & drove straight through to Daytona. The next day, we started back to Miss. Story is to long, as to why, so won't go there.


message 25: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Rita wrote: "How close to the truth, do you think Interview With A Vampire, came. I know there are no real vampires, but the mith is so much fun?"

Rita,

Francis does have a point, tongue in cheek. Although Anne Rice is a gifted and imaginative writer, her "vampires" were actually quite far removed from the reality of vampires as found in folklore.

The word "vampire" first entered the Western languages in the late 1720s as a result of the Austrian Army having occupied what is today northern and central Serbia, having taken it from the Turks. Once they arrived they began encountering numerous vampire-related tales and phenomenon. Keep in mind that the Hapsburg empire at that point already included large portions of today's Romania, and that they hadn't come across these legends there.

At this time the Austrian Emperor, Charles VI, was a bit of a vampire fan-boy. He ordered that all accounts of vampire-related phenomena be sent directly to the imperial court in Vienna. This led to quite a few army officers and civilian administrators writing up their experiences. At one point the Austrian Army even sent out a military surgeon to perform autopsies on suspected vampires. When word of this got out, it created a vampire craze in Austria that spread to Paris, Berlin, London and Rome.

To make a long story short, we have extensive collections of vampire-related folklore in the South Slavic languages (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian), and these "original" vampires bear only scant resemblance to the pop culture vampires of True Blood, Twilight, Underworld, Anne Rice, and the flood of vampire-themed romance novels.

In Kiss of the Butterfly, I take the vampire legend back to its roots. Thus the butterfly... :-)


Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon


message 26: by Sandrine (new)

Sandrine Genier | 133 comments Francis wrote: "How close does the Interstate 90 get to Miami?"

Concrete. LOL.


message 27: by Sandrine (last edited Sep 23, 2012 12:39AM) (new)

Sandrine Genier | 133 comments When I read Interview, the vampires came alive to me in ways that they really never had before, no matter what the true origins/beliefs might have been. They were as real as anything could be. When I visited New Orleans, I could "see" them being there. When I toured the Gallier House I thought to myself--here, they could have lived right here. This would have been their house. Years later, I read an interview with Anne Rice in which she said she had the Gallier House in mind for her vampires. That totally validated my experience. Stoker, and a few others (Polidori) brought the vampire into the modern world. Rice took us into their hearts and minds. That's pretty real.


message 28: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments I agree about Interview With A Vampire. I loved that, and the way vampires were very human. The later books I enjoyed, but as the vampires grew more and more powerful it didn't have the same charm.


message 29: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Interview with a Vampire was good because it did an excellent job of recreating the atmosphere of the period and place, which is essential to any good novel. The exploration of the vampire's psychology was also very creative and imaginative. Who ever would have thought to do a psychological portrait of a vampire. Vampires have to have human elements -- after all, they were once human. So the question arises: precisely what are those human elements?


message 30: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments A general belief in the cuteness of kittens?


message 31: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon ABC News mentioned Kiss of the Butterfly and quoted the author, James Lyon in a story about a village in Serbia that was in fear of the vampire Sava Savanovic.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/v...

Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon


message 32: by K.V. (new)

K.V. Witten | 40 comments James wrote: "There are many myths about Dracula. One of those is that he was from Transylvania, which is located in the central part of Romania. He was actually from Wallachia, which is in the south and borders on the Danube River. His official title was Vojvoda of Wallachia. How Bram Stoker placed him in Transylvania is anyone's guess. There is a very high probability that the real Dracula never set foot in that castle..."

Bram Stoker had Jonathan Harker travel to Transylvania to meet Count Dracula in 1890 (roughly, you can argue about the exact year). If you like to believe that Mr. Stoker's 'Count Dracula' is really 'Vlad the Impaler', there's nothing to preclude him being in Wallachia four centuries earlier.

(Actually, there's no evidence anywhere that Mr. Stoker ever heard of 'Vlad Tepes', aka 'Vlad the Impaler' nor that he knew anything about the historical Dracula's habit of impaling his enemies. In other words, he did not base his fictional 'Dracula' off the real-life 'Vlad Tepes'. But that's a different subject.)


message 33: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments LEARN something new, everyday. Someone out there, likes to go threw the facts,in a lot of libraries, thats for sure. Thanks, for the new information.


message 34: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon There's been quite a bit written by various historians and literary scholars about how Stoker ended up finally settling on the name "Dracula" for the Count. I deliberately didn't read "Dracula" until after I published Kiss of the Butterfly, because I didn't want his descriptions of vampires to interfere with the folklore-based vampires I was trying to depict.

When I did finally read it, I liked the concept, but couldn't figure out why it was that Dracula decided to travel back to Transylvania by boat, when it would have been much quicker by train, the way Van Helsing and Harker did, which permitted them to catch up to the Count.


message 35: by K.V. (last edited Dec 01, 2012 07:12AM) (new)

K.V. Witten | 40 comments James wrote: "When I did finally read it, I liked the concept, but couldn't figure out why it was that Dracula decided to travel back to Transylvania by boat, when it would have been much quicker by train, the way Van Helsing and Harker did, which permitted them to catch up to the Count. ..."

Mr. Stoker's 'Dracula' could control the winds and could therefore control the ship. Also, a ship is a relatively small, self-contained unit (maybe half-a-dozen crewmen) that he could control. On a train, he would have been much more vulnerable and not in control.

On a side note, one of the big problems I have with all the movies that try to shoe-horn a romance between 'Dracula' and 'Mina' is why he left her behind when he fled back to Transylvania. (She's the 'love of his life' yet he just deserts her??) The only 'romantic' Dracula movie I've seen that addresses that is the Frank Langella version (he brings her with him).


message 36: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon K.V. wrote: "James wrote: "When I did finally read it, I liked the concept, but couldn't figure out why it was that Dracula decided to travel back to Transylvania by boat, when it would have been much quicker b..."

Excellent point about Mina, who I felt was probably the best-developed character in the book. She was certainly the strongest. Were it not written in the Victorian period, I suspect she would have emerged as a sort of Lora Croft character.

As for the boat vs. train controversy: Yes, he could control the winds, but a sailing ship of that size would have had a crew of well over a dozen (I speak as a weekend sailor). Dracula also couldn't couldn't prevent an inquisitive seaman from looking into the boxes below decks. Had he taken the train, he would have arrived safely home well before Harker and Van Helsing intercepted him, and would have had to deal only with the small crew of a freight train, which would have had probably three to four people attending the engine, then a couple more attending to the freight wagons. But then again, a freight train would have moved far more slowly than a passenger train, and there would have been interminable waits in the train yards as engines were switched, etc. With all that wealth, one would think that he would have simply rented a private luxury train car for himself and attached it to a passenger train. Isn't it wonderful second-guessing long-dead authors? :-)


message 37: by K.V. (last edited Dec 01, 2012 09:37PM) (new)

K.V. Witten | 40 comments James wrote: "As for the boat vs. train controversy: Yes, he could control the winds, but a sailing ship of that size would have had a crew of well over a dozen (I speak as a weekend sailor). Dracula also couldn't couldn't prevent an inquisitive seaman from looking into the boxes below decks. Had he taken the train, he would have arrived safely home well before Harker and Van Helsing intercepted him, and would have had to deal only with the small crew of a freight train, which would have had probably three to four people attending the engine, then a couple more attending to the freight wagons. ..."

I know the boat that brought him to England had a crew of nine, don't know about the return ship but I'm guessing it had about the same.

But the main reason he took a ship instead of a train is because the intrepid band of vampire hunters could have telegraphed ahead and gotten in contact with the train, had it stopped, whatever. Not so with the ship - once at sea, a ship would be out of communication until it reached a port.

And the winds (that Dracula commanded) kept the ship offshore the entire way back through the Mediterranean and Black Sea and then forced it past Varna (where the group was waiting for him) and on to Galantz where his gypsy servants were waiting for him.


message 38: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Now, for the final theoretical Dracula question: why did Stoker have Dracula killed while on the wagon? Wouldn't it have been more exciting if he'd made it back to the castle and they had to have a big chase scene (Steven Spielberg style) through the castle, with Dracula climbing up and down walls, changing into a bat, etc?


message 39: by K.V. (new)

K.V. Witten | 40 comments James wrote: "Now, for the final theoretical Dracula question: why did Stoker have Dracula killed while on the wagon? Wouldn't it have been more exciting if he'd made it back to the castle and they had to have a big chase scene..."

Haha - I have to laugh. We're debating plot points of a 100+ year old book. Heck, Mr. Stoker probably had Dracula take the boat just to give the others a chance to catch up (since there wouldn't be much of a story if he escaped).

I have to agree about the big chase scene at the end - that would have been fun.


message 40: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments He probably thought the whole castle chase sequence had been done to death by the Pink Panther and Scooby Doo and wanted to do something original.


message 41: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Scooby-Doo meets Dracula?

-Fred: "Let's see who it is under that cape."
-Velma: "Why it was old man Vlad Tsepes all along. I should've known."
-Vlad: "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!"


message 42: by Rita (new)

Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments HA! HA! That is cute.


message 43: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon

Vampire Alert!! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...

Over the weekend, the author visited the Serbian vampire villages of Zarožje and Kisiljevo. Zarožje is home to the watermill of the vampire Sava Savanović. Kisiljevo is the home to the vampire Peter Plogojowitz and the first recorded mention of the word "vampire" in history. During the course of the next weeks, the author will share photos, video, and excerpts from his interviews with the villagers in a series entitle "The Vampire Hunter".

Make certain to add the "Kiss of the Butterfly" page to your "interests" list on Facebook to receive all the latest information.


message 44: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Vampire Hunting, Part I

-The vampire Sava Savanović comes from a remote area called Zarožje, high in the forested mountains of western Serbia. Zarožje isn't really a village, but a series of isolated homes scattered across steep mountainsides. The first road to the area was built in 1977, and electricity arrived one year later. As I prepared to leave the main road and trek through the snow to find Sava’s infamous haunted watermill, a stinging wind blew icy snow crystals directly into my face and reduced visibility to less than a few hundred meters, while heavy mists hovered around the sharp crags rising from the steep slopes. Vapors crept in and out of the tree-tops and my eyes watered from the sharp cold and sleet.

Photo at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...

Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon


message 45: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments (Is there a reason why you're posting the same stuff in two topics in the same group?)


message 46: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Francis wrote: "(Is there a reason why you're posting the same stuff in two topics in the same group?)"

Doh!! Thanks for letting me know. These Goodreads groups sometimes confuse me a bit.


message 47: by Francis (new) - added it

Francis Franklin (francisjamesfranklin) | 542 comments I'm forever losing things... Now where on Earth was I talking about ...


message 48: by James (new) - added it

James Lyon Francis wrote: "I'm forever losing things... Now where on Earth was I talking about ..."

:-)


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