Updated: October 19, 2021.
The Chrysalis Timeline
It All Began With A Painting
One day, an old master painting surfaced at Sotheby's in New York, USA. Everything changed. The portrait is dated 1580 and was one of several masterpieces to be auctioned off that June. An old, dear friend in America purchased it. He insisted I come and see it when it arrived.
Could it be? The Sotheby's portrait resembled a painting in the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest, of the seventeenth-century Countess Elizabeth Bathory. The museum piece in Hungary is an original seventeenth-century work but a fictional one. Still, it was the only portrait which, up to that time, was known to exist of the famous woman - a historical personage I am very familiar with, growing up as a boy. My father had written about her, and I have heard the stories more times than I remember. And so, one night in August, as we marvelled at his latest acquisition, pouring over his research, he proposed a website, and since I was in the technology business, he asked me to set it up and write a short piece about the portrait. I agreed.
A website was built, Elizabethbathory.Org, dedicated to this exciting find -
I wrote three articles: One about the painting; one about various other portraits, which are either forgeries or fantasy portraits; and another about her literary myth -
The original Elizabethbathory.Org website Redesigned in 2019. and three articles generated much interest.
The Book Idea
A new draft article for elizabethbathory.org evolved into an idea for a book. My very close friend - a proud and noble Slovak - urged me to write a book about Elizabeth. I’m a better English speaker and writer, he said. We would collaborate. It would not be just another Elizabeth Bathory book of myth and legend as the standard norm. The next few months produce several short, draft manuscripts. How hard could it possibly be? Again, I agreed to create something in my spare time. It would be a hobby, I thought. Plus, I’d learn something about the publishing business.
Then the proverbial brick wall - a dead end. Writing stopped! Extremely little is known about the woman in real terms. Worse still, European history is replete with myths and legends about her country. There’s very little information about the Bathorys - absolutely nothing about Elizabeth. Something terrible happened here. Why is nothing written of them? Why are there so many gaps in historical events? Why is the history of Hungary, Transylvania, Poland and Slovakia - all of Europe for that matter, uniformly one-sided and so perfectly murky? What was it we are not supposed to know? So many questions. That’s when I realised why my friend truly needed me. He was banking on my father’s old research! He insisted these existed. I was under the impression they were destroyed long ago. It was back to the drawing board. A simple project suddenly grew into a titanic undertaking. Research would need to go back as far as necessary in time to expose obscured histories. This context would enable me to know what she knew and explain what most likely happened to her world and her.
My research notes astounded me. The more I dug into old manuscripts, the more I needed to go back in time to understand, and in the process, discovered deliberately hidden truths. An obscure mediaeval Slavic-Turkic Carpathian peoples began to emerge, and their history started to be illuminated. This was a history of a people who are not written about in any history book - not openly, and certainly not honestly. This was a history of a people and place who simply refused to surrender their liberty to an empire founded on extremist hatred. Historical bread crumbs yielded a picture of classic European colonialism. Because the Bathorys refused to be colonised, they evaporated from cultural memory, as did the person I set out to write about – Elizabeth Bathory – the lady in my friend’s portrait! It was beginning to make sense. The task of retracing the history of the missing Bathorys was possible.
The First Draft!
In April 2018, I began writing full-time. Now, old medieval codexes finally made sense, and historical lies became easy to identify and avoid. By August, the first draft was complete. This was the historical context I was looking for and Elizabeth Bathory's unfinished story - a tremendous amount of writing. And so, I decided to split the work into two volumes - the historical context and the Elizabeth story. I needed to convert notes into something that resembled a book. Another re-write! The first draft was finished in August.
The second draft - the historical mediaeval context - was complete.
The manuscript's title was
Chrysalis: Metamorphosis of Odium
The third draft was shorter now. The title
Chrysalis: Metamorphosis of Odium and Carpathian Liberty
Finally! A fourth draft and, although unlikely, maybe a finished product.
The manuscript with a brand new title -
Chrysalis: Metamorphosis of Odium and Carpathian Liberty, copyrighted
as two-volume book -
Chrysalis I: Metamorphosis of Odium and
Chrysalis II: Carpathian Liberty, and
submitted to the publisher.
The word comes back from the editor. To paraphrase, “good work, but the text is too long, please consider
splitting the book into two books... and consider fixing the grammar and typo mistakes.” Yet another rewrite,
this time as two books. Not only that, but the copy-editing began. The first manuscript received the title,
“Chrysalis I: Metamorphosis of Odium.” The second manuscript received the title, “Chrysalis II: Carpathian Liberty.”
I used an AI grammar editor to help with the editing. Um, despite the marketing hype, even if these things say
everything is checked and it’s fixed, believe me, it’s not. Not with long text! I learned the hard way.
Nevertheless, the two fifth drafts were re-submitted, convinced the typos
and grammar were fixed. Three new book cover designs were also proposed. Two were for
Chrysalis I and
Chrysalis II; another for a third,
Chrysalis III. The third book would be the actual
Elizabeth Bathory book.
Four years after writing began, five manuscript drafts and eleven manuscript edits later, the books were with the publisher for the last time. Meanwhile, Chrysalis Books was born and a new website was developed, including some promotional items.
I intended to leave the project there, leaving it to someone else to pick up where I left off to write
Chrysalis III, the history of the enigmatic countess.
Chrysalis I and
Chrysalis II are not the most exciting read, nor well-written books...
But they hold a wealth of information! Thanks for nothing, my Artificial Intelligence (AI) editor! It would
have been nice if someone said something, but nobody did when I thought I corrected everything during the
publishing process. It's a fault with us Canadians, you see. We're too polite. So, I began editing the two
published books to produce more reader-friendly second editions, and once they were published, I had planned,
I'd get back to work in my profession. Meanwhile, a coronavirus epidemic in China began spreading, going
international like a slow-moving steamroller.
Not to worry, the man at the World Health Organization
everything is under control.
My New Book
Then, yes, the pandemic hit. For the first time in human history, countries shut their economies down,
including here in Canada. And that was it for getting back into my career. So, as the
world fell apart
according to governments and the mass media, I finally turned to my father’s files. These inspired a third
Chrysalis III draft manuscript. It was written, riding out the pandemic. This, I
thought, would be the end of my project. However, my father’s files were revelatory. I began writing full time,
piecing a broken history of this Elizabeth back together again, just as my father did as a young man and in the
final years of his life. His later work was resurrected from memory, based on my paternal grandfather’s archival
material long since vanished. Even after my research and writing, I was happy to discover my father’s materials
when I did, not in 2015. I realised, deliberate historical mediocrity is the reason for Elizabeth Bathory’s
enigma. Historians that created Elizabeth's mythology were the same mediocrity class that shut the world economies
down due to the pandemic and are now desperate to resurrect. Contemporary history is just a repetition of old
repetitive historical cycles. Sadly, my father did not finish what he began. So, I chose to complete what he
started. Thus, the “Chrysalis I/II” second edition revision manuscripts were put aside to work on his unfinished
work, my draft manuscript of
Chrysalis III. But this manuscript trurned out to be far too long. Thus,