Welcome! Indie Author Excerpts is a feature allowing indie authors the chance to showcase one of their books and allows readers to find their next favorite story. Each week, an indie author gets to promote a 1-2 page excerpt of their book here at The Bawdy Book Blog. This is a win-win for everyone! This feature was inspired in part by Indie Author Spotlight, a meme hosted by Beckie @ Bittersweet Enchantment and CYP @ A Bookalicious Story.
This Week’s Excerpt: Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon!
Genre: Paranormal Fiction Publish Date: July 2012 Like this excerpt? Buy it: Kindle
“I sense it even now. People thirst for it; the entire country is mad with desire for it. And now we are going to war with our brothers because they look like us, and because we can smell our blood coursing through their veins…” A dying man’s cryptic letter to an enigmatic professor launches student Steven Roberts on an unwitting quest, shrouded in mystery, into the war-torn labyrinth of a disintegrating Eastern European country. Steven plunges into the maelstrom to unearth long-forgotten documents holding clues to an ancient Emperor’s deeply buried secret, an inconceivable and long-forgotten evil that has slumbered for centuries. Steven’s perilous journey stretches from Southern California’s sunny beaches, to the exotically dystopian city-scapes of Budapest, Belgrade, and Bosnia, as it plays out against a backdrop of events that occurred centuries before in the Balkans.
Kirkus Reviews wrote: “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…”
Meticulously researched and set against the background of collapsing Yugoslavia, “Kiss of the Butterfly” weaves Balkan folklore together with intricate historical threads from the 15th, 18th and 20th centuries to create a rich phantasmagorical tapestry of allegory and reality. It is about passion and betrayal, obsession and desire, the thirst for life and the hunger for death. And vampires – which have formed an integral part of Balkan folklore for over a thousand years – are portrayed in their original folkloric form, which differs dramatically from today’s pop culture creations.
Kirkus – “Lyon executes it perfectly.” Read their entire review here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/unknown/kiss-of-the-butterfly/
‘So you’re a draft dodger,’ smiled Steven.
‘Yeah, it’s an old Serbian tradition. Everyone makes a big deal about how we’re such warriors, but nobody wants to fight, just a few crazies,’ Bear answered.
‘How’s your research?’ Tamara asked. ‘Anything new?’
‘Well, I finished with vampires and moved on to fairies…’
‘That’s good, fairies,’ interrupted Vesna. ‘They’re common in our folklore, and they aren’t as horrible as vampires.’
‘I started on fairies, but everything led back to vampires. Then I collected material about witches, but once again, vampires kept popping up. I’m surprised there’s so little mention of vampires in Yugoslavia, because they’re really prevalent in folklore. No one would ever know there’d been vampires in the Balkans. It’s like they’ve been erased from public discourse,’ Steven said.
‘The communists did a good job erasing superstitions,’ Bear remarked. ‘In fact, they did better than the Church.’
‘Stefan, Professor Ljubovic told us you’ll present more of your findings at a round table next week,’ Tamara said, eagerly. ‘Will it be about vampires again?’
‘Yes, but this time I’ll talk about their characteristics.’
Vesna’s face registered her displeasure.
‘Don’t make faces, Vesna,’ Steven smiled. ‘It’ll be fun. If you come you’ll learn something.’
‘Oh come on Vesna, don’t be superstitious,’ Bear said. ‘No one’s going to bite you. After all, vampires don’t exist, isn’t that right Stefan?’
‘Of course not, they’re just folk tales.’
‘It’ll be fun,’ Tamara said, smiling. ‘Your last presentation really had people talking.’
‘Will you come?’ Steven asked Vesna, cocking his head playfully. ‘I promise I’ll keep it safe for families and small children.’ He winked at Tamara.
‘Well, okay, but promise you’ll not be scary.’
‘Well, I can’t promise it won’t be scary, but I promise that if a vampire appears I’ll come to your rescue.’
‘Great. Just what I need, my own personal vampire-slayer. Okay, if you insist. But I’m doing it only for you.’
‘Great. And bring rotten tomatoes to throw in case you don’t like it. I’m definitely going to write my dissertation on this.’
‘Don’t even think about that!’ Vesna said bluntly.
‘I really mean it. Don’t think about it. There are so many dark and evil things in this part of the world and you really should stay away from them,’ Vesna’s voice rose. ‘Evil is all around us, waiting to attack us. The last thing you need to do is invite it into your life. Why can’t you find a topic that’s uplifting, that will bring light into the world?’ She was attracting attention from nearby tables.
‘Oh, please, Vesna, don’t exaggerate,’ said Tamara.
‘Exaggerate? Vesna continued. ‘What about Milosevic? What about the horrible things in Croatia and Bosnia and here in Serbia that everyone accepts as normal? The Devil has a vacation home here, and he won’t leave until we toss him out. Some things are meant to remain hidden in dark places and never see the light of day. Stefan should just leave it alone. It’ll only bring trouble.’ Vesna stood up, grabbed her backpack and stalked off.
Steven stood up to go after her, but Bear reached out a large paw-like hand and stopped him. ‘Let her go. She has her own problems. She’s made up her mind and there’s nothing you can do about it.’
‘She’s touchy. All I did was talk about my research,’ Steven said.
‘It’s okay. Sit down and tell us about where you come from in America and what it’s like in countries where Slobodan Milosevic isn’t running things and where the only vampires are in Hollywood movies,’ Bear said.
About the Author
James Lyon is an accidental Balkanologist, having spent the better part of 32 years studying and working with the lands of the former Yugoslavia. He has a Ph.D. in Modern Balkan History from UCLA and a B.A. in Russian from BYU. He has lived in Germany, Russia, England, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Utah, and California, and spent the better part of 18 years living in the lands of the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia, and has worked in Macedonia and Kosovo. He has traveled widely, from Africa to Latin America to the Middle East, and all over Europe. He currently works in Sarajevo and bounces back and forth to Belgrade. In his spare time he likes sailing through the Dalmatian islands and eating Sachertorte in Vienna at the old Habsburg Imperial Court’s Confectionary Bakery, Demel. He lost his cat in the forests of Bosnia and can’t find it. If you see a black and white cat that ignores you when you call the name “Cile II”, a reward is being offered…provided the cat hasn’t turned into a vampire.
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