Monday, August 8, 2016

Blog Tour Stop: Dawn to Dusk

Title: Dawn to Dusk
Series: Lover’s Journey, Book One
Author: Alina Popescu
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary
Length: Novel (over 50000 words)


That first encounter with Robert in rural Romania at eleven. A summer spent together in the same setting a year later. Their first text exchange in high school. The first sexual experience. The first heartbreak—the second and third and fourth chance. The point of total breakdown and the despair of failing. More love than anyone could have warned him about.

No matter how much time passes, no matter how different their paths, every meeting brings Edi and Robert closer together. Those stolen moments shine brighter than any. Yet loving Robert is not easy, not when Edi wants to be true to himself and is met with dishonesty. Or when Robert keeps parading new conquests and ignores Edi more often than not.

Edi has always loved Robert, but he must decide if his journey leads to or away from his childhood friend. Is it true love or is Edi just unable to let go?


“What’s that?” Robert asked, pointing to an open door on the side of the former Cultural Center of the village. It was a non-descript door on a decrepit building that used to be the village cinema, the place where everything that could pass as a show happened, where celebrations took place, and where the occasional meetings were organized. When I was much younger, four or five, I’d come here with my aunt. The only movies they’d show were Indian ones, but it was a movie, not an hour of botched up news followed by communist propaganda, so I went every time.

Right now, the Cultural Center was rented out for the occasional wedding. They’d also started to host a poetry contest, as, long before World War II and the Communists, the local boyar had had a poet son who’d given the name to the village. He’d died young, so there wasn’t much of his poetry left, but because one of the country’s most famous poets had called him the “Silver Lyre,” everyone knew him. The other awe-inspiring wonder the Cultural Center was home to was the village library. Small, crowded, smelling of old, dusty books, you could easily overlook it. Most kids didn’t even know it existed, because it wasn’t really advertised during the summer.

“Library. It’s not very large,” I explained quickly, not wanting him to be disappointed. A few years back I went there with the same aunt who took me to Indian movies. She’d borrowed a couple of books through her own subscription, so I’d seen the inside of the library. From the outside, it seemed to not have changed much at all.

“Can we get books?” Robert asked, pulling me out of my memory tour.

“Sure, but we need to get a subscription. I think we need ID for it.”

I wasn’t fourteen yet, so I had no ID card. Robert had it, but he’d left it home. We went inside though to find out exactly what we need and then ran home to get the papers and the meager payment the librarian required. I came back with my grandma’s ID and that was it.

Buy Links

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon DE:
Amazon AU:


Prizes: 1 x $10 WIP Gift Card, 1 x $5 WIP Gift Card, 1 x ecopy of Br0th3rly (Famous on the Inernet, Book One).
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post

Rural Romania in Dawn to Dusk

Romanian writers have a thing for exploring rural Romania through the rainbow-colored lens of childhood memories. Poets and children’s authors alike have dabbed into this, creating works of art that inspired countless generations of young readers. They are also responsible for serious cases of melancholy reported by adult readers. Even my all-time favorite Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu, has a poem about how he roamed the woods as a young boy, sleeping by the creek. I know, if you’ve read Dawn to Dusk, this bit sounds familiar :D

A lot of my childhood memories involve two Romanian villages, about twenty kilometers apart from each other. My maternal grandparents lived in one, and my paternal grandparents lived in the other. I chose the one where I had the most fun as one of the main settings in this novel: Sihlea, Vrancea County. It’s where my maternal grandmother (my only surviving grandparent) still lives.

In the first part of the story, main character Edi spends a lot of time in this village. He does everything I did as a child: climbing trees, playing with kids gathered there from all over the country for summer holidays, playing at the creek, going all the way to the forest and picking up corn to boil or grill on the way back, looking for hidden gems in the village library, and generally not sitting still for too long.

As he grows up, I tried to explore everything I felt: that the village got smaller; that the creek wasn’t the most exciting place in the world; that the village was suddenly filled with bars and people waiting aimlessly for their lives to pass them by.

At one point, they closed down the village library. The remaining books were transferred to the local school, making them available to students only. That was a big hit for me, and I tried to explore it through Edi. After that summer, I had Edi spend less and less time in the countryside. The truth is the village would be extremely boring after the age of sixteen. As kids grew up, camps, trips to the seaside, staying home and hanging out with friends became more enticing.

As you read Edi’s adventures, you’ll be able to piece out the history of this little village from before the Communist Regime, through its evil snatching of all lands from peasants, and later through all the changes that followed the Revolution of ’89. You’ll see the village turning from the best place in the world, a paradise of sorts, into a small, dusty old place where the character rarely wants to go.

Unfortunately, this was the fate of a lot of Romanian villages. We won’t count the highly touristy ones here, or those close to larger cities or the mountains where vacation homes were built. The average village, even those like Sihlea, where an important piece of Romanian literature history came from, where a poetry contest was held every year, lost their shine.

In the end, it’s a bittersweet ride down memory lane. But I do feel extremely fortunate to have experienced the freedom and fun of spending my summers in such a place. What about you? Where did you spend your summers as a kid? And which are your fondest memories? I’d love to hear all about them :D

About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

Social Links
Site & Blog:


  1. Thanks so much for having me over, Layla! Always a pleasure to visit your blog!

  2. My favorite way to spend the summer was at JROTC summer camp at Fort Devan’s Massachusetts. Over the course of three weeks we learned repelling ropes course, obstacle course, land navigation, water navigation and survival, jump tower, we fired m-16s and learned how to assemble and disassemble them, including how to do it by feel while blindfolded. I got to meet a lot of amazing people from different high schools that were also part of the JROTC program, some army, some air force, some navy, some marines and even some coast guard. Each morning we got up early for PT, showered, ate in the mess hall, and started whatever training session they had in store for us that day. I’ve learned how to get a team through water obstacles as well as land ones, ate MRE’s (meals ready to eat) under a tree for lunch trading chicken a la king for Spaghetti with meat sauce. Learned real fast never to try to eat the reconstituted hamburger, though how anyone could think soaking it for 30 minutes in water was going to make it palatable is beyond me. We had courses in first aid, including field training and how to turn parts of the uniforms and belts into a litter, we learned how to navigate in the dark. I have so many fond memories of being at camp and the one thing it taught me was that every problem had a solution if you were willing to work hard enough to find it.

    1. Oh, wow, that sounds like something I would have gotten addicted to. But I guess it's called survival if all you eat all day is fruit you pick and grilled corn that you "borrowed" from the fields you passed by! LOL. I picked up important life skills like milking a cow, finding all the chicken eggs, and... climbing trees.