December 27, 2012

Ten Things About Transylvania, Romania and Castles

There are many people who love the area known as Transylvania, and there is so much history with this place that it is almost impossible not to have things to write about when it comes to Romania, or Transylvania.
For those who don't know that I love top ten lists, here are a few things about Transylvania.

1) Transylvania is found in Romania.  Before 1919, it was a part of Hungary.

2) Many cities in Transylvania were built by the Romans, who invaded the Kingdom of Dacia, to expand their Empire and to gain more natural resources.

3) Some of the cities in Transylvania were founded by different cultures, and still retain that flavor.  For example, Transylvania is called Siebenburgen by the Germans of the area.

4) During the Paris Peace Conferences of 1919, the Romanians wanted Transylvania as a part of Romania.  Once this happened, the Kingdom of Romania doubled in size with the new territory.

5) Queen Marie and King Ferdinand of Romania were crowned in Alba Iulia, in 1922.  This was the city Michael the Brave entered when the three principalities of what would become Romania united for a time in 1599.

6) For much of the recent past, Transylvania has been a part of the country of Romania.  Before that time, it was a part of the Kingdom of Hungary or the Austrian Empire.

7) The most famous natural resource Transylvania has is gold.  Queen Marie's coronation crown was made of gold mined from Transylvania.

8) There is a castle in Transylvania which was made famous by Bram Stoker. Some call it Dracula's castle, but most people know it as Bran Castle.  There are many people who write about Transylvania.

9) Much of the revenue that Transylvania generates comes from its natural resources and also its tourism industry.  A popular destination is Bran Castle, but there are countless other castles and fortresses and cities to see.

10) Most of what people consider to be a part of Transylvania actually isn't; there are smaller areas, for the example the Banat, which are not a part of Transylvania proper, but some still refer to them in that way.

December 20, 2012

Just Write....About Tranyslvania

I love to write about Transylvania and the place it has in my life, and of all the things people should know about it.  It is great to publish a blog about Transylvania, and I find it even more interesting to learn about new places.

There is a bit of country that is often missed when you think about Transylvania.  Two of them, actually: Hungary and Romania.  This blog hopes to bring Transylvania and its roots to you, the reader, and expand on its history and perhaps also to touch on the origins of its myths. The area offers a writer so many sources of inspiration for his or her writing.

Transylvania is not just about people or places.  There are hundreds of castles a writer can write about.  There are history makers both modern and ancient.  There is beautiful culture and a hint of politics.  It has a a feel that people should know about.

Things About Transylvania isn't changing, it is expanding. I look forward to showing people that there is something to come and read and write more about... Transylvania.

December 16, 2012

Photos of Castles: Bran Castle, the Hunyadi and Bathory Castles

Bran Castle is sometimes known as Dracula's Castle.

It lies close to the former borders of the principality of Wallachia.  However, this was the royal residence of Queen Marie of Romania.  This was built by the Teutonic Knights during the time they were in the Transylvanian region. This was when one of the Hungarian Kings invited them to Transylvania to protect the borders.

Next, is a photo of the castle known as Hunyadi Castle. It was the main castle of the Hunyadi family in Transylvania. They were bitter rivals of the Tepes family.  Both families were nobles, although one of these families was a Prince of Wallachia- the Tepes family, of whom many were famous or, infamous in their own right.

There was also the castle of Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian noblewoman who became infamous as the "blood countess."  Only because she was an extended member of the Hungarian Royal Family, she escaped execution for her crimes.  All of these castles are found in Transylvania or regions close to them.  One assumes all of them are found in Transylvania, but this is not the case.

Bathory Castle, as it became known was a part of the Kingdom of Hungary and it is now is what is now Slovakia.

Because of its infamous resident, the 'countess of the blood' many assume that this was a part of Transylvania, but it was never that.  It is linked with Hungary in part due to the people who lived there.  The village nearby offers people the ability to go and see all three castles on day trips.

December 9, 2012

What Do Maps of Transylvania Tell You?

The best way to describe the history of Transylvania is by using a map of the area.  It can show you where the people live and also what sorts of natural resources the area has or had.

That map is older and tells you that Romania was much smaller than it is now, and Hungary was a lot larger.  It also shows that Transylvania was a part of Hungary.  This had a more Hungarian focus, but it does show Transylvania, and the surrounding area in great detail.  If the size was larger, you could see many cities listed as well.  Some maps were, like the one above, works of art and depicted history.

If you want to know about Austro-Hungary and Transylvania, a map about the people there can give you a very clear idea that many people shared a small area. Each type of map shows something different about the land, the people and the area.  

This map above shows quite clearly, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia and other provinces of the Empire.  In the bottom right hand corner, you will find Romania, and Transylvania.  In the Northern part of Transylvania, there was a strong population of Hungarians, whereas in the Southern area, it was predominately Romanian.  The red was people of German background.  Even without the date, which was about the time of World War I, you could find out why Austria was having trouble within the Empire.

Each new map that is published shows more about the land than the last ones, and some will perhaps show less, but each map tells a different part of the story of Transylvania — where it is, and who its people are.  

With this map of Romania, you can see where Transylvania is in terms of the physical place in the country of Romania, and you can find a few of the major cities listed there.

December 4, 2012

Publishing a Book on Transylvania, Romania and Promotion

I've published a book about Transylvania. 

 One of a number of Books on Amazon were about Vlad Tepes
Because I also wanted to see what else is out there, I went on to to see if there was a lot of published information about Transylvania in general, and, there are quite a number of books about Transylvania.  Many of these books are about Dracula in particular, available as Kindle books, and they are often fiction.  Many are also family histories or are self-published through Createspace whose parent company is Amazon.

There isn't as many history books which are written recently about Transylvania, but it is a niche market, and the largest of these are the books that focus on a particular culture or group.  It seems that the time period the author writes about is a big factor.

I found that the way Amazon promotes a book about Transylvania to be very interesting. Anything to do with history, especially the Second World War, are all grouped under one main heading. In the Kindle library, you must type "Transylvania" in the search box to find several of these books.  It is a lot easier to find a paperback book on the main Amazon site than it is to find a Kindle book listed under Transylvania -- even if they aren't exactly the same, but are classified under the same topic.

My own book is a good example of where Amazon puts things
This is why promoting your book about Transylvania properly is important; there are a lot of challenges out there. If your topic fills a niche within a much larger topic, you need to rise to that challenge of getting the word out.  You will need both luck and knowledge.  A good starting point is knowing who you should work with to get your book published.

In my case, it was important for me to know where Transylvania is and what would be a good way to get people to know more about your book-- social media helps but I'm also encouraging others to like my book on Facebook. The book might be brilliantly written, but without knowing how and to whom you should market it, you will face challenges selling your book.

If you wanted to publish a book about Transylvania, Romania that provides readers with correct information, you should learn and understand as much as you can about the people and the history of the area. A good example is knowing that there was not a "Romania" until the late 19th Century, and it was not a Kingdom right away. Even with more modern history, such as the book In Search of The Lost Ones only can tell part of the story since there is so much to tell and to write about when it deals with such a diverse area.

It is also important to know and understand the history and the myths of Transylvania; Dracula and Vlad Tepes are sometimes mistaken for the same person, but Dracula is a fictional character.  You also need to be aware that someone searching for "Dracula" information may unexpectedly find their way to your book, and this could open your work up to a whole new audience of readers who may not have found you otherwise.