Tag Archives: Vlad

Dreaming Of Summer Blog Hop

26 Nov

As an Arizonan by choice I do not dream of summer. I have it ALL year long, or at least the sunshine. But that didn’t stop me from signing up to participate in Dreaming Of Summer Blog Hop organized by Kathy @ I’m A Reader Not A Writer and helped this time by Me, My Shelf and I.

For this hop the one obligatory rule is to host a giveaway for summer/beach read. That simple. Wearing my swim suit, a ton of sunscreen and flip-flops off I went to the beach called Amazon browsing for books. And one of the first books that popped on my browser was… Vlad All Over.

It caught my attention because Vlad is a famous Romanian name (Vlad the Impaler) but also because, in reading its blurb it says the main heroine (an American schoolteacher) goes on a trip to… Romania, the land of Dracula. Wait a minute! I was born and raised in the land of Dracula (and no, I haven’t seen vampires growing up, in case you wondered…). Now with all these tidbits, I had to know more about the book and started reading it through the look inside feature (love Amazon for this!). Needless to say it’s on my TBR list and decided to assign it as the prize for this giveaway.

Based on Amazon Best Seller Rank this book lands at # 11 in Books which means it’s a winner. And the plot happens during summer vacation, which complies with the hop’s rule.

So, for your chance to win an electronic version of Vlad All Over all you have to do is FOLLOW THIS BLOG BY EMAIL by clicking on the button to the right called “Sign me up!” (atop all images) AND leave your answer to the question:

What was your favorite summer read this year?

Mine was The American Sniper by Chris Kyle.

Good luck! 

 

 

 

Growing up in the land of Dracula

17 Oct

As my biography states I was born and raised in Romania, or Dracula’s birthplace. Since many of you love vampires I thought my blog should be about vampires and how I grew up with them. Literally.

I’m not going to tell you the story how I found out from my cousin what vampires are (“They come at night and suck your blood,” he’d say), where they live (“I see them all the time. Didn’t you see them near grandpa’s house, in the cemetery?” he’d add), or how can you fight them (“Just carry this garlic clove in your pocket, and this stick—you should be fine. If you see a vampire, try to aim at his head with the clove and if that doesn’t work make a cross on the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue and duel him with this stick. Now, you’re ready to go to the outhouse.”). Oh, wait… I said I’m not going to tell you the story.

Needless to say every summer since (I was probably about 6years old) I dreaded, I hated visiting my grandpa, afraid at any time one of the vampires living in the cemetery will know (among their superpowers they can read minds, in case you wondered) I’m there and come to suck my blood. As soon as the night descended on the lone village I’d run inside the house, refusing to go potty since the outhouse was quite a distance away from the house. Can’t tell you how many nights I spent under the covers, holding my breath at every sound—a tree limb hitting the window, a cat scratching the door—making the cross on the roof of my mouth until my tongue hurt. Leaving grandpa’s house and the vampires was the highlight of my summer vacations.

Eventually my grandpa died, the house was sold and I never went to that village ever again. And eventually I grew up and realized my cousin was one mean lair I had the pleasure to hurt one day, kicking his shin for all the mental abuse he had caused me. And his afterward limping?—oh, so worth it!

Going back to Dracula. Never knew what prompted Bram Stoker to chose Transylvania as home for Count Dracula. But he sure directed a lot of attention toward Romania, which among other things is known for Nadia Comaneci (the first gymnast to ever receive a 10 at Olympics), Nicolae Ceausescu (the tyrant president killed during the 1989 Revolution) or its happy cemeteries. Trust me, we do have happy cemeteries.

Naturally, tourists from all over the world visit yearlong Dracula’s Castles (Poenari Castle and Bran Castle).

Poenari Castle

                                                                                                 Bran Castle

I took the liberty to add here a few photos, hope you enjoy them. But I also need to make a clarification. Dracula—our Dracula that lived for real in both castles and Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula don’t have much in common, in fact they are two distinctive creatures—one human, the other pure fiction.

I’m not going to bore you with Count Dracula’s story—we all know it from novels to movies, to historic accounts, etc. But I bet not many of you know the real Dracula.

We (Romanians) refer to Dracula as Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, Romanian Prince of Wallachia who lived around 1450s. As monarch Vlad had cleaned the country of all criminals—from simple liars to killers, even some political enemies by impaling them (ouch, it hurts only thinking of such a horrific way to die). Because of this “special treatment” Vlad was often associated with the Devil, which in Romanian is translated Dracul. He was feared not only by his own people, but by all countries around us, especially by Turks with which he had numerous clashes, trying to keep them on the other side of the Danube and so to protect our land. Eventually he was betrayed by his own allies and decapitated by Turks.

I wish I could tell you I’ve seen a vampire. Maybe if once, only once I would peak above the covers while in grandpa’s house I would’ve seen the vampires my stupid cousin had the “privilege” to see. Maybe if I’d stop crossing the roof of my mouth or not carrying the garlic clove in my pocket I would’ve seen them then. I’ll never know, but I bet the closest I’ll ever be to one—Twilight movie.