October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween-- and Bran Castle Pictures

Since it is Halloween and we do love to write about Transylvania, here are a few pictures of Bran Castle-- also known as Dracula's Castle.

Have a safe and happy Halloween.

Bran Castle makes Halloween

Happy Halloween-- Don't Get Scared

October 25, 2012

Should Publishing a Book on Transylvania Be Hard?

Transylvania and the people living there, or who lived there, is something I've enjoyed writing about, and it was a joy to publish a book about the land and its history.  For the most part, I enjoyed the process of writing, but I found that it was hard to write.

Maybe because there is little in the way of published books on Transylvania that I needed, but it still allowed me to write.  Since this was history and in an area where much of the history is handed down orally, then there were some challenges.

The question is, should publishing a book on Transylvania be hard?

No, it shouldn't be, and with the help of many people and with the help of many photographs, it was easier to write and edit the book. It is one thing to know the details, but it is another to see the details in images.  Publishing any book does not mean that there will be times when it is not hard, but again, it is the lack of written information, beyond travel information that made it harder.

Maps, like the one below, allowed me to write a stronger book — and don't let me forget: a very wonderful editor.  The more information I found, the easier it was to write – then it was a simple matter of editing and sending it off. History is a subject that people can find both interesting and daunting all at the same time.

Publishing something like this and understanding its impact on Transylvania means that more people can come to find out more about Transylvania, and that is also a hard fact for a writer to deal with.  Putting pen to paper is one thing and having a book published is another, and yet... it was not all that hard to write a book.

This is one of the reasons why a person chooses to write; to show readers about a place or a person that they are passionate about.  When there is limited information, it makes the writer work a bit harder, but it is worth it when there is something positive coming out of writing and publishing a book.

October 14, 2012

Five Images Of Transylvania, Romania

All of these images are a part of Transylvania and offer people something to learn when they consider going to Europe, and seeing what Transylvania is really about.


Transylvania and Romania have the power to captivate.

It is a beautiful area, and these images show how wonderful this place is.  These photos are not of Bran Castle but of other areas in Transylvania.  The focus is about Transylvania, and not forgetting how much it is a part of Romania.

Romania is a more diverse cultural nation, and Transylvania which was in turn a part of Hungary and the the Austrian Empire and a principality of its own, still has some historically important cities to each culture: German, Hungarian, Jewish and Romanian.

Some like, Bietran are UNESCO heritage sites, where tourists can get a glimpse of the past, while seeing a fortress which is still in use by the local population.  This is a common occurrence in Romania, and several of these heritage sites are also still being used by local populations of either Romanians or Hungarians.
Alba Iulia

The Germans of the area were evacuated in 1944, at the end of the Second World War if they lived in the Northern part of Transylvania, or were deported to the Soviet Union in the Southern part.  Romania still has some German population but not much.


These five images show a cross section of the people and the land where East and West meet. Transylvania itself has cultures and people who have lived there for centuries. There are men and women from these cities who made their marks on world history.

Some cities would even be host to legends and a huge tourist site is near the city of Brasov, which itself is near the historical and royal landmark of Bran Castle.

 The Black Church was the centre of the Lutheran reformation in Transylvania, and it is close to Bran Castle, but it is an important city in and of itself.  It was the heart of where the Protestant reformation in Romania happened, and owed its name to a great fire.

This fire nearly destroyed the city of Brasov, but the Black Church- which stood with damages would be one of the few buildings to survive.
Black Church

Transylvania will always have a place in the hearts of Romanians, and this is most true with Alba Iulia, the place where the only coronation of a King and Queen of Romania happened in 1922. She would use gold from the mines of Transylvania to create her medieval style coronation crown.

These images only provide a small snapshot of the people, places and beauty of Transylvania, Romania.

October 7, 2012

Where is Tranyslvania? Maps and Books

Transylvania is a part of the country of Romania, which is a part of Europe.  That is the general answer a person can give to people who want to know where Transylvania is found geographically in the world.  A lot of the time this is a great answer and gives most people a reference point for the area.

There are many places to see in Transylvania, and maps are a great thing, especially if you want to write or publish a book (I have published one called In Search of The Lost Ones)  I found that I had to spend a lot of time learning not only where to find Transylvania itself, but also where to search for the more important information you will need on Transylvania and books, this was an important part of my research.  Travel books are wonderful, but they showed me only half of what I need to learn.  I had to rely on a bit of oral history, but I also needed to go back to many older sources on the history of Romania and Hungary.

One of the best ways to learn about the history of Transylvania, beyond seeing the land and the people, is to look at both old and new maps.  Transylvania changed politically many times, and using maps to find information is vital.  By using older maps, I can also learn a lot of the history in the area.

Maps and books only show a part of what a person should know about this land and the people who live in it.  Where is Transylvania?  Geographically, the answer is simple, but historically the answer is harder to define.

October 3, 2012

If Transylvania Makes a Good Book... Publish Another

People want to learn about the place and the culture and the history of Transylvania, Romania and that they can learn that the history of the land goes beyond simply Dracula and Castles (or to be more specific, Bran Castle).  There are links to the places which deal with the land of Hungary, and of the Romanian and German peoples of the area.  Transylvania came into the public consciousness because of the writings of Bram Stoker.  In a way the publishing of Dracula harmed the growth of Transylvania in terms of a different sort of tourism and many would be able to have a better future by making the land so much more.

There are plenty of cultural cities where tourists can learn about the people and the history of Transylvania.  And there are the writers who publish books about Transylvania.  Transylvania has a remarkable history and a vast cultural environment that has always been there.  It has links to countless royal families, and its place in history was powerful due to its location as a doorway to Eastern Europe.

Transylvania has so much to offer to a writer, especially one who has plans of writing several books on the history or the people.  There are already plenty to choose from on Amazon and other on-line book stores, but also many people who have a particular bais to one version of history or another.  That means that a writer must publish a interesting book, in some ways it makes it harder since one wants to be the next big thing.  The famous Bran Castle has many books written about it, so a writer needs to find a good niche and then they need to write more within that niche.

Transylvania, Romania, the people and place, is a great subject for a book because a person can write and publish many books on different facets of the subject.  The history of Transylvania goes back to before the Roman Empire and there are many people who know about Dracula and the myths surrounding Bran Castle.  Tourism is a market that is well suited for a writer since there are many places that people can go and see in the area, and still be able to travel around Europe at a reasonable cost. Because Transylvania is close to Hungary and other countries, Romania has a strong tourism branch in their government.

 It is important that a writer takes the time to learn about the land and the people in the area and also makes sure to publish a book that accurately portrays the cities of Transylvania, and of Romania as a whole.  The next step is to publish another book on Transylvania.   The fact that self-publishing makes it both a challenge and a blessing to many writers gives more options to those who want to create something different.

Self-Publishing means that the writer can expand on smaller niche markets, and can find where they work the best.  Social media is always a huge help and with practice and authentic passion you can make a good book, and then you can write and publish another.  Every step is a success, and learning and growing as a person is also a key to building a relationship with your readers so that they can see the joy and beauty of Transylvania as well.

Some topics can simply start with an idea, but that idea can grow into a published book.  the backstory for Dracula begins with just a name one Vlad Tepes, who would eventually become the immortal Count Dracula.

October 2, 2012

An Alternate History to the Writing of Dracula

Most people know about Bran Castle and the story of  Count Dracula and could probably refer to one or more of the countless Dracula movies, this is a huge money making business. 

A reader who is new to the Dracula novel, or who grew up with movies based on Dracula, might not know much about the man, and the woman, whom the character was based on.  Gothic horror and the like are very popular within the North American culture.

dracula the un-dead
Dacre Stoker
They might also not know that this man, Vlad Tepes, never made his home in Bran Castle, or that he was a Prince of Wallachia- a neighbouring principality of Transylvania, before it became a part of Romania in 1919.

He was a warlord who lived and died by the sword, and while he used wooden stakes to kill his victims, it was a relative of him would would bathe in the blood of her victims.

It is clear that most readers of the novel Dracula come to think of Bran Castle as being the main castle in Transylvania, and possibly even the only one standing.  They refer to it as "the castle which they want to see"; thus, Bran Castle has become a tourist attraction.  It helps the local economy because many entrepreneurs have built "hotel Draculas" around the area.

But, like Vlad Tepes and an alternate history of his own family, what would happen if Bram Stoker had decided to model his main character on a different personality in Transylvania?

There were many to choose from- the Bathory clan was filled with men and a woman who could have made an excellent Dracula- one who might have even had a taste for far more mayhem than Vlad ever could have done.  In fact, his grand-nephew would use one member in the 'sequel' to Dracula.

There are many interesting castles in Transylvania, from the North to the South of the area- the numbers range to about 150 castles people can go a visit and any one of them could have been associated with Dracula- except Stoker decided on Bran Castle. 

There are so many to choose from, and choosing another one might have also changed where Stoker decided to place other parts of the book- he could have also based Dracula on a member of the Bathory clan, a clan whom Vlad Tepes was a distant part of.

One such member was Elizabeth Bathory, and she was far more vicious than Vlad when it came to immortality and blood.  The fact remains that it is a "what if" since Count Dracula was the main character in this book, and someone like the "countess of the blood" was not- the name given to Transylvania's worst serial killer.