January 25, 2013

Bran Castle, Count Dracula and Money

I found myself re-reading Dracula last night, and I enjoyed it again.  I think the idea that there is such a thing as vampires, combined with good fiction, in a place like Transylvania works well.  I also think I can sit back and enjoy a good book once and a while.

I also love the characters and the places in this book.  It seems that while Stoker might not have specifically chosen Bran Castle, it still works well for this book.  The fact that much of it takes place in London, England also is great.

The one thing I was really happy with was the ending. There was no need (at least for me) to have so many other sequel books based on this one, but I do enjoy the movies which came form this novel.  Bran Castle and Dracula have done wonders for Transylvania by giving more people a reason to visit the area.  It is one great thing about writing and people... the writing, when it is well done, can make something for others.

In this case, Bran Castle, coupled with Dracula has given Transylvania a great tourism ice-breaker since there are so many other fantastic castles that tourists can go and see afterwards.

January 21, 2013

Transylvania, Book Publishing in a Niche Market, Money and Writing

Publishing is easy.  If you have written a book, and sent it off to literary agents and edited it, the process of publishing is possibly the easiest part of getting your book out to the world -- even if it is directed at a niche market of interest such as a country or a place like Transylvania, Romania.  It is out of your hands to determine what time frame a publisher will have your ready for your readers to purchase -- and when it comes to writing about Transylvania, there are readers who know about it, and will buy it.

But still it is success – you have published that book, and it is a niche market book which makes it all the more wonderful.

It's exciting, and you will make money with that book right?

You wrote it, and you should be seeing some sort of earnings for your book, and you should be happy about what you have done. You have accomplished something many want to do.

But will you call this a success? In my case Transylvania and a book means I have to write more, so is that a success?

In some ways I would call it a success, and I would be happy I have sold many copies, but I also don't see simply publishing a book as a success anymore.  My goals have changed, and now that I know I can publish something that sells.  In Search of the Lost Ones has done that, and I also know that another book and its sales will increase my total earnings.

Making money is another way I can measure my success.  Some of my writing friends will argue that I am thinking purely of profits, where I can sit down and write for a living and continue to publish, more books about Transylvania, and about the land which you can travel to.  That is the reason I look at it as one among many means to measure success.  I believe that money shouldn't matter when you write, or you will focus on that too much, but money matters when you are setting your goals for success, or when a part of you wants to travel to see and touch the places you write about one more time.

It is because I have done this process once before that I know what doesn't work, and I can try another method to see if that works.  The more books I publish about Transylvania the more likely people will know about this wonderful land, and not just about Bran Castle or Dracula.  Making money with my writing is one way I can measure how well the three pieces fit together, and how much I need to write to show how wonderful this land is.

January 16, 2013

Photos of Transylvania: Touring Transylvania is a Good Thing

Some days, all that needs to be said about Transylvania can be found in photos.   The old cliche of "a picture is worth a thousand words" is very much true.

Transylvania, Romania, is wonderful and pictures of it speak volumes to anyone who loves it. This is especially true if you have the will and the money to tour the region. Romania is a great land to see, along with most of the Central and Eastern European countries. There is so much history and culture to take in while you are there. Touring around Europe is a wonderful goal to have, but there are too many places to see. Even so, I recommend that you travel to the area.

Let's begin with a view of three cities: Bistritsa, Alba Iulia, and Brasov.  These three cities are important to both Germans and Romanians of the area.  This is what makes and creates a reason to go and see the area. It is a part of Europe one needs to see.

After all those cities, and churches, there is one castle that you will need to tour around in for a while.  That is the famous Bran Castle, which is owned by the grandchildren of Queen Marie of Romania, who after the end of World War One owned the Castle.

There are also some wonderful churches such as the ones which form the basis for the cities that surround them.

January 9, 2013

Money and Transylvania: On Economy, GDP, and Romania

Some people will say that money doesn't have anything to do with Transylvania, but it does since it accounts for a lot when it comes to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Romania.  

Without a good source of income, the country would suffer a deeper recession, and this would mean that there would be a loss of jobs... and people would leave the area in search of better ones.  This has happened before, and it is still happening in parts of Transylvania.

What does Transylvania do for Romania, in terms of making money for the country?  The GDP of the region accounts for 35% of the country's figure.  This is a large amount of money, and much of this comes from tourism and natural resources.  Transylvania has gold and copper and other natural minerals found in the mountains, and another resource this area has is gas, which is found in many places in the southern area of Transylvania. With gold, there is a long history of people wanting this land for this precious metal.  The Romans, in particular, built a famous city, Alba Iulia to help with keeping the people near a productive mining site.

The extraction and sale of these natural resources creates jobs and other sources of income for Transylvania and Romania.  However, another money-maker for the area which is more visible than underground mines are the many tourist sites that the country and area have to offer.  As an example, Bran Castle, which has over the years gained fame as the home of the fictional Count Dracula, is a well known tourist site.  Over the years it has been restored or renovated.

The Romanian economy faces challenges; after all, it is a part of the Eurozone, and relies on the sale of agricultural products and natural resources, the demand for which can change with other countries needs.  The bright point is there is a movement within Romania to build up other parts of the economy.

There is also a challenge of increasing the areas where people earn money.  In some parts of Transylvania, where it is harder to produce food, there is a divide between what people earn and what they have in disposable income, but this holds true in all countries.

Money is an issue, but it is something that all places face, and something that Transylvania and Romania will work through.

January 4, 2013

King Ferdinand of Romania and His Kingdom

Transylvania was not a part of Romania before the end of World War I, but in 1914, there was a new ruler in the Kingdom of Romania. 

King Carol I had died shortly after the outbreak of the war, and his nephew Crown Prince Ferdinand became king.  He was not seen as a powerful King and many felt that this was a bad time for him to become King of a country which was situated between many rulers who wanted the natural resources Romania had.

His wife, Queen Marie of Romania was of British and Russian descent, (although careful geneology shows she was almost entirely of German origin) and for many at the time it was no surprise that she wanted to side with the Allies; however, Ferdinand and his Uncle King Carol I were of German descent, and were of the House of Hohenzollern, and this house was also the ruling house of the German Empire.

Map of Hungary and Romania, Pre 1914
Carol I's kingdom was small, and two of the countries who were fighting against the British — The German Empire and The Dual Monarchy of Austria and Hungary— surrounded Romania.  In short order the ill equipped army was overrun.  By 1916, most of Romania was a part of Bulgarian control in the East and Austrian control in the West.

One of the generals of the Austrian Army hailed from Transylvania, which was coveted by Romania, and was one of the deciding factors in the choice of allying themselves with Britain, France and Russia (Italy would also do the same at the end of the First World War for much the same reason, they wanted land where the majority of the people were culturally Italian)

With so many things happening in this short period of time, it came as no surprise that Romania signed a separate treaty with Germany and Austria as a tactic of survival for both Romania and its king.  This, however, did not look good to the other Allies, and when the end of the war came, it was up to the queen to help her husband.

Ferdinand was a man who married a distant cousin, Marie and had difficulties in the marriage, although he and his wife would be the acknowledged parents of three sons and three daughters, there is a question as to the paternity of the last two children, Mircea and Ileana.  Hannah Packula, makes a good case as to whom the father was to these two children.

Ferdinand started out in Romania as a stranger to the land.  His uncle, Carol I was appointed first as Prince of Romania and then as King of Romania.  His own father and elder brother renouced the their succession to the Romanian throne, and Ferdinand, similar to his nature became the Crown Prince.  His future Kingdom was small and surrounded by the Austrian Empire, the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire.  Growth it seemed was impossible, and Ferdinand was simply happy to be King of a small area, and not the second son.

Queen Marie of Romania
During the First World war, it was due to the influence of both his ministers and his wife in which he made the choice to fight along side the British, French, and Russians.  It appeared for a time his kingdom would be overrun, as Russia was in no condition to aid a much smaller ally, and it seemed Romania would fall.  Romania would sue for peace, and near the end of the war would fight again alongside Britain and France.  Perception was everything and it seemed that Ferdinand was viewed as a poor leader who lost much of Romania, only to try again when it best suited his needs.

Romania Present Day
It was because of Queen Marie's influence, and not the Kings' at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Romania went from being a small country to more than double in size, and gained much territory, part of which was Transylvania, and set Romania to gain future tourist money because of Bran Castle, found in Transylvania.

King Ferdinand died in 1927, and the country would fall to the next King, King Michael of Romania who was 5 years old at the time.  In a twist of fate, his other grandson, King Peter would also become king of Yugoslavia at a young age as well. In the nearly 13 years he was King, he nearly lost his kingdom, but ended up with more land and people, due to the forceful nature of the the people surrounding the throne at the time he needed it the most.

January 1, 2013

Things About Transylvania and 2013

Have a joyful New Year, and the best in 2013.  May all your dreams come true.

Things about Transylvania is only going to get better, and we are excited about all that we have to offer.  Transylvania is at the heart of what we write about, so let's enjoy each moment.

The next book on Transylvania will be published in September of 2013, so between all of us here, we are excited about that major event.  There is more than ten things to write about when it comes to Transylvania, and that is where the fun begins.

This year there will also be some guest bloggers who have some great things to say about Transylvania, Romania and Hungary, and the people and places that we love.