Thursday, July 12, 2012

Taking Vamps Back to the Old School: 'In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide' by Steven P. Unger

Remember when vampires were cool?  Menacing?  Legitimately sexy to anyone other than a 14 year old girl?

I don't really either.  The long, proud, once horrifying legacy of accursed bloodsuckery has been sadly tainted nearly beyond repair by CGI glitter and slouching faux teenagers.  What a thousand years made, three sequels have almost surely destroyed.
The 21st Century:  Wussing up horror for twelve years and running
I used "nearly" and "almost," as vampires are indeed immortal, and will live on, one way or another, until the end of time.  And while their street cred has been damaged, the root of the vampire remains unchanged, as long as there are those who recall and champion what made vampires the terror of the Eastern Hemispehere for centuries, chilling blood at the very mention of these monstrous creatures who are more apt to suck you dry and/or rend you in two than take you shopping at the local teen mall.  Although manually rending asunder a cow eyed fanperson at the local teen mall does sound quite wonderful...
Ah, to be wizened enough to remember when vampires were scary as shit and wanted to eat you, not mope you to death
So, if you're like me, and a fan of the Old School (and often Old World) when it comes to creatures of the night - or creatures of any time of the day, really - as well as a geography dork/history buff, do yourself a goddamn favor and check out In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide, written by Steven P. Unger, which is a fascinating, exhaustive exploration of the real roots of Count Dracula and the overarching vampire mystique.  This is history told on the ground, through travel, research, and first hand exploration.  Living, breathing history of those that no longer do, nor never did.  This is the past told the right way.
Bran Castle - The Carpathians ain't no Disneyland, son.
The official press release - which does a much better job than I ever could explaining the book's attributes and accolades - is provided below:

My book, In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journey and Travel Guide, is published and distributed by World Audience Publishers. (

Photoarticles describing my book have been published in the online magazine Romar Traveler at; Patricia's Vampire Notes at; and in The Copperfield Review at, among many other sites.  In September 2011, In the Footsteps of Dracula was ranked 5th in a survey of the World's Best Romania & Moldova Travel Guides (, ahead of Lonely Planet Romania (ranked 7th) and National Geographic Traveler: Romania (ranked 12th).

Comprising approximately 30,000 words and 185 photographs, In the Footsteps of Dracula is the first and only book to include:

*   For the armchair traveler, pictures and descriptions, in memoir form, of every site in England and Romania that is closely related to either Bram Stoker's fictional Count Dracula or his historical counterpart, Prince Vlad Dracula the Impaler.

* A thorough history based on original research and face-to-face interviews with experts—such as the Man in Black of Whitby, England—of how the novel Dracula came into being, and almost never happened.

* The true life story of Vlad the Impaler, connecting his lineage for the first time in print to the Brotherhood of the Wolf, which had already survived for two thousand years when Prince Vlad was born in 1431.

*  For the independent traveler who would leave his armchair for the Great Unknown, a Practical Guide to the Dracula Trail, including a complete Sample Itinerary with recommendations for lodging and detailed instructions on traveling to each British or Romanian Dracula-related town or site—at a small fraction of the cost of Western European-only travel.  Also in the Practical Guide are sections on money; recommended reading; modes of transportation; security and health; internet access, shopping, and cable TV; and alternatives to independent travel.

Between January 2010, when the 1st Edition of In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journey and Travel Guide was published, and December of that year, almost 100 related reviews and articles appeared in print and online.

Ranging from horror fanzines to scholarly journals, and originating from locations throughout the United States to countries as disparate as England, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa, the reviews of In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journey and Travel Guide were not only overwhelmingly positive, but cried out for more back-story, travel guide updates, and even deeper insight into the mind of Bram Stoker and the influences and inspirations that drove him to write his undying Gothic novel, Dracula.

In response, the 2nd Edition of In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journey and Travel Guide was released on December 21, 2010.  The 2nd Edition, available now as a paperback and e-book from its dedicated World Audience Web page well as from,,,,, and, includes:

     -- References, Web Links, and Costs Updated to December 2010;
     -- The First Review of Dracula Ever Written, Published in the Manchester Guardian on June 15, 1897;
     -- A New Section on Bram Stoker's Dublin;
     -- A Rare Photo of a Wolf-Dragon, the Original Source of the Name "Dracula," Carved Within the Ruins of a Prehistoric Dacian Temple in Transylvania; and much, much more!

In Flames Rising Dot Com (, reviewer Jason Thorson wrote:

In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journal and Travel Guide (Second Edition) is exactly what the title implies it is.  But what the title doesn't imply is how rich this book is with information.  It really is stunning.  Steven P. Unger deserves high praise for the mere existence of his opus; but moreover, the book is well written and provides the ultimate tome of Dracula data for classic horror fans.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a more entertaining nonfiction read.

Book Title:  In the Footsteps of Dracula:  A Personal Journey and Travel Guide
Author:  Steven P. Unger
Publisher:  World Audience, Inc.
ISBN:  978-1-935444-53-4
Publication Date:  December 2010
Price:  $20.00; 258 pages with 185 black-and-white photos

Distributors:  US: Ingram (, (, Baker & Taylor (, Barnes & Noble (, NACSCORP (; UK: (retailer,, Bertrams (wholesaler,, Blackwell (library supplier,, Book Depository (Amazon Marketplace,, Coutts (library supplier,, Dawson (library supplier,, Gardners (wholesaler,, Mallory International (wholesaler,, Paperback Bookshop (Amazon Marketplace,

For those of you in the New Orleans area this weekend, or keen for some last minute travel to one of America's truly great Gothic outposts, Steven will be signing In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide Sunday, July 15 at the Boutique du Vampyre (the "original New Orleans Vampires Store" - ain't competition a bitch?) at 3:00 pm, as part of the A Midsummer Nightmare Festival, which kicks off today in one of my favorite cities in this world or any other.


  1. Ted--I just saw this and can't thank you enough for helping me to share my vision of the real story of Dracula.

    We're just back from NoLa and I'd forgotten what a great place it is all year round.

    Steve Unger

    1. You're quite welcome, Steve. Thanks for gifting the rest of us with the book, and for helping to bring the full flavor back to vampires in an age of Vamp Lite.

      Glad you enjoyed your trip to NoLa. It's a fantastic city. Truly one of a kind in the States.