Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Judging People of the Past by Modern Morals

I have read many judgemental criticisms of people of the past, including writers and their characters, such as fantasy writers Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and Jack Vance. If we judge people (and characters) of the past from our self-righteous 21st Century moral stance, we have to give up just about all heroes, including Gilgamesh, Lancelot, most of Shakespeare's heroes, Buddha (who left his wife and responsibilities), and even Jesus (who left is responsibilities and hung out with whores and traitors). No one can stand up to those standards if a light is shined upon every aspect of our lives. A hero is not someone who is flawless. A hero is someone who does great, courageous, or honorable things despite their flaws.

Judging people from the past (or even in the present) is a false way to make ourselves feel superior to others. A more honest action would be to ask ourselves: what have WE done, and what are WE doing with our lives?

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Fate of a Princess

When I began the Princess of Mars project,
I was under the impression that Edgar Rice
Burroughs' A Princess of Mars was in public domain, and could therefore be published by anyone. This assertion has recently been questioned. I have contacted Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. in order to find out more information on this matter, and hopefully to get not only their permission, but their endorsement of Dream Tower Media's Illustrated version of the novel.
Until I receive word back, the project will be on hold. If the work is still under copyright and I am unable to get the permission of ERB Inc. to do the project, I am afraid it will not be brought to completion and published. Dream Tower Media will then move forward instead with the other books planned for its publishing line. I will keep you all up to date on any news I receive.
Until then, I am releasing another one of my illustrations for A Princess of Mars, still in process of editing, but nearly finished as a piece. This is the scene where Dejah Thoris looks in wonder at the fresco of an ancient lost people. The fresco is a tribute to my favorite artist, Gustave Klimt.

Thanks to everyone who has been patient and supportive.

Best Wishes,

Robert Zoltan
October 6th, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Robert Zoltan and Edgar the Raven Visit With Fritz Leiber

Literary Wonder & Adventure Show Photo Spotlight: Robert Zoltan and Edgar the Raven Visit With Fritz Leiber, August 2nd, 2017

Host and Co-Host of Literary Wonder & Adventure Show, Robert Zoltan and Edgar the Raven, recently took a trip to San Francisco to visit the home of the late great Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Author, Fritz Leiber.

According to Robert, the ghost of Fritz Leiber visited him immediately after this photo was taken, and told him, “I’m really jazzed about the show and wish I was still around to be interviewed, but I’m here in The Big Time now.” Leiber was obviously referring to some type of afterlife, and not the “big time” that Robert and Edgar have recently hit with their show. Leiber supposedly also told Robert that he considered Robert’s Rogues of Merth: The Adventures of Dareon and Blue stories to be a worthy successor to his own Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser series.

These quotes attributed to the late Mr. Leiber have not been confirmed by professional mediums, and furthermore, according to trustworthy sources close to Robert Zoltan (though obviously not trustworthy to him), Robert had recently switched medications, and was also seen discussing physics with an invisible Albert Einstein, and arguing with an invisible David Bowie about the relative strengths of his later music compared with his earlier work.

For more gossip, scandal, offensive news, and the latest about the show, sign up for the Dream Tower Media newsletter and listen to Literary Wonder & Adventure Show at http://www.dreamtowermedia.com/podcast.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Robert Zoltan and Edgar the Raven Hit the Big Time

PRESS RELEASE: Robert Zoltan and Edgar the Raven Hit the Big Time! July, 26, 2017

According to Dream Tower Media’s publicist, the star host and star co-host of Literary Wonder & Adventure Show have “hit the big time.” Supposedly, the show’s popularity is “raging like a Southern California wildfire.” Thanks to several corporate sponsorship deals, merchandising, and numerous lawsuits, Robert and Edgar are reported to have “bought a villa overlooking the Hollywood Hills.” Pictured here on the terrace in a photograph by famed photographer, Lannie Eibowitz, Robert and Edgar relax in their pool (an unidentified famous associate lounges on the authentic leopard skin chaise lounge), drinking Martini’s, and eliminating potential guests from their list for upcoming episodes.

Robert and Edgar both have book deals in the making and the publicist claims that a movie deal is “ludicrously inevitable.” Robert’s book is a biography entitled, “All You Need Is Love (and Talent, and Sex, and Money), while Edgar’s book is a how-to for other avian sidekick hopefuls called “How to Fly to the Top Without Losing Your Tail Feathers.”

Rumors of friction over money and creative differences (but mostly money) are dismissed by the publicist, who claims, “Robert and Edgar are a dynamic duo like Batman and Robin, but without the costumes, the crime-fighting, or the homosexual undertones.” Despite this assurance, an inside source claims that Robert and Edgar now record their audio parts for the show at separate times in the studio. As for Robert’s purported drinking and depression problems, the humble host addressed this directly in a recent Facebook post. “Gin is nothing more than a drink to me. And how could I be anything but happy? I’m living a life that common people can only dream of.”

For more gossip, scandal, offensive news, and the latest about the show, sign up for the Dream Tower Media newsletter and listen to Literary Wonder & Adventure Show at http://www.dreamtowermedia.com/podcast.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Artistic Striptease

My daily work on A Princess of Mars is yielding great results. I am now up to about sixteen compositions that will probably work out for inside illustrations. So why have I been remiss on keeping up with the blog, and even more, why am I not showing you the work?
I am facing the dilemma of the classic striptease artist: What to show, what not to show? If I show too much, I risk lowering the value of the book for those who will purchase it when it’s released, and also for those who will support the upcoming Kickstarter for the project and get behind-the-scenes extras. Additionally, I am still developing the style of the illustrations, so I don’t have too much that I feel is surely representative of the final look.
Of course, if I show nothing, I risk losing people’s interest. Oy!
I promise I will reveal more as I am able, and if I am not revealing much, it is in the interests of the book itself and those who will be fans of this book. I can only ask for your faith and patience, and for this post at least, leave you with a little “glimpse of leg” that promises to make it into the final edit of the book.
Sign up for the Dream Tower Media newsletter to get the latest updates.

Robert Zoltan
July 9th, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Golden Age of Science Fiction, Part 1

TONIGHT!! 6 pm (PST), on a brand new episode of Literary Wonder & Adventure Show! The Golden Age of Science Fiction, Part 1, with Award-Winning Author Allen Steele (Avengers of the Moon)! www.dreamtowermedia.com/podcast

Tell your friends! And please go to our Patreon page to join the Dream Tower Crew:

Robert and Edgar

Monday, June 19, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Show Upcoming Schedule

Some exciting things happening in the coming months in the Dream Tower!

June: The Golden Age of Science Fiction, Part 1
Guest: Award-Winning Author Allen Steele (Avengers of the Moon)

July: The Golden Age of Science Fiction, Part 2
Guest: Editor Rich Horton (The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy)

August: Spaceships and Aliens and AI, Oh My!
Guest: Award-Winning Author Becky Chambers (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet)

September: Lest Darkness Wreck the Stars
Poet Swordsman Dareon Vin and his Indari Warrior comrade Blue return in another Fantastic Full Audio Fantasy Adventure!
From the Rogues of Merth series by Robert Zoltan.

Subscribe to the Dream Tower Media newsletter for further exciting announcements!
www.dreamtowermedia.com. And please join the Dream Tower Team and keep the show going monthly by pledging on our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/LiteraryWonderAndAdventure

Robert and Edgar

Shooting Myself (The Making of a Princess of Mars, Week 8)

That’s what I feel like doing sometimes during this project. But this morning I did it in a less destructive way—with a camera. I shot 125 photos of myself for illustration photo reference (behold the glamour of illustration modeling!). Tiring not only because action scenes are difficult, but also because I have to set timer, pose, shoot, then go and check the shot to see how it looks, adjust my pose to the drawing, shoot again, repeat. 125 times. Regarding my process, I don’t usually come up with ideas, shoot reference and then illustrate that. I do drawings and then shoot reference afterward to improve detail and work out difficult anatomical problems. I shot some good stuff, mostly for A Princess of Mars, but also for the cover of Lest Darkness Wreck the Stars, the new Rogues of Merth: The Adventures of Dareon and Blue story. Coming soon from Dream Tower Media!
The first session with the Dejah Thoris model was postponed due to my cold, but I will be rescheduling that very soon. And if you’re really good, I might even show you a photo or two from that…nahhhhh!
Robert Zoltan
June 19th, 2017

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Finally...Green Martians! (The Making of a Princess of Mars, Week 7)

The abstract drawing approach continues to yield results, and moves me ever closer to the specific feeling and style I desire for the book.
I was recently hit with a cold, and was unable to draw yesterday, but felt well enough this morning to pick up the pencil again. I worked in a smaller format frame, about nine by twelve inches, and this is what happened.
After five or six attempts at drawing the Green Martians in the last few weeks, I finally nailed the essence of what I was trying to capture. The Green Martians are difficult to draw because, being true to Burroughs’ description, they can easily appear cartoonish or puppet-like. This time I was able to portray them as if they are actual living beings with distinct character and personalities, caught in a moment during a rest on a march across the desert. I also brought a rather slinking, animated feeling to the creatures, and the scene helped enhance this sensual, lazy, dreamlike vibe.
I hope you enjoy previewing this preliminary sketch. And I hope you like my portrayal of the Green Martians.

Robert Zoltan

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Emperor’s No Clothes (The Making of a Princess of Mars, Week 6)

Of my many artistic decisions for this project, the subject of clothes and ornamentation remains a primary detail. In my ongoing study of Burroughs’ text for A Princess of Mars, I find that the idea of the Red Martians not wearing any clothes is not as straightforward as it may seem, though it seems to be one believed my many readers. My fellow Burroughs’ fans, I refer you to three excerpts from the manuscript:
“She was as destitute of clothes as the green Martians who accompanied her; indeed, save for her highly wrought ornaments she was entirely naked, nor could any apparel have enhanced the beauty of her perfect and symmetrical figure.” (Dejah Thoris, Chapter 8)
Perhaps Burroughs was referring to only Green Martians and Dejah Thoris at the time of her capture when he stated that they were without clothes. He evidently was not referring to all Red Martians, for later, we read:
“Again no Martian interfered with me, and tearing a piece of silk from my cape I endeavored to staunch the flow of blood from her nostrils.” (John tending to Dejah, Chapter 10)
“The chill of the Martian night was upon us, and removing my silks I threw them across the shoulders of Dejah Thoris.” (John caring for Dejah, Chapter 13)
So, in effect, some Red Martians did wear clothes at times. Perhaps they did at night when the temperature dropped, and surely in the regions nearer the Poles. Or, Burroughs did not consider the word apparel to cover capes or what seems to possibly be a silk wrapping of some type, perhaps similar to a toga. Or perhaps he simply loosened the idea of clothing as the novel went on. Who can say?
Fortunately, this ambiguity serves me as an artist, allowing me to stay true to the novel while granting me license to do what will best serve the visual images!
Sign up for the Dream Tower Media mailing list to make sure you don’t miss a single entry of this ongoing story.

Robert Zoltan
June 2nd, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Little Breakthroughs and Big Green Martians (Making of A Princess of Mars, WEEK 5)

Little Breakthroughs
Good news! Working on the project every day, and trying the abstract approach I described in the WEEK 4 entry (The Place of Unknowing) is starting to yield wonderful results. The image you see was started as a complete abstract drawing. Then I began to see forms and pulled them out. Dejah Thoris in front, Woola behind her on a step of the rock, John Carter looking to the right and hand on sword, and Sola at top right. Now the challenge is to keep the spontaneous feel as I continue to refine the drawing, ink it, and move on to a color peace if it goes well.

Big Green Martians
I have done three drawings of Green Martians thus far, and the last is probably the most accurate, though the first one is very weird, which is kind of cool. The second looks a bit like a mix between a Green Martian and a Klingon. What's probably giving me the most trouble is Burroughs description that their eyes sit at the extreme sides of their heads. That's all well and good if you're a grasshopper (which is what I'm starting to think they should look like), but when you put eyes on the very sides of the head, the viewer of a picture will really only see one eye at a time unless the Green Martian is facing forward. And how does one draw eye sockets and brow ridges on the side of the head? Also, not having eyes affects the whole facial structure—bones, muscles, skin, everything. And, having only slits for a nose means no frown lines, for the most part. I don't want to overthink this, but I do want to understand the structure since I am drawing a Green Martian more than once. And I don't want the Green Martian to look like a
puppet, which is how Frazetta's do sometime on the paintings (especially A Princess of Mars), but his inkings of Green Martians for some reason look better. But hey, maybe they should look like puppets. Huge, malevolent grasshopper puppets! I don't know. Still trying to work it out.

Go to the Dream Tower Media page and sign up for the mailing list to make sure you don't miss a single entry of this ongoing story.

More next week!

Robert Zoltan

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Become a Patron of Literary Wonder & Adventure Show!

Become a PATRON of the critically-acclaimed LITERARY WONDER & ADVENTURE SHOW!
We've just premiered our Patreon Page! We give you everything we can in each episode at no charge to you, and with no advertisements. When you pledge as an ongoing patron on Patreon, you give a little back and even get some WONDERFUL GIFTS! Join me and Edgar the Raven now and keep wonder and adventure alive! Due to the enormous amount of work and time involved in each production, without YOU, the show literally cannot go on. Help us reach our goal of $100 in monthly pledges within 24 hours so we can produce a new episode! We're already close! And PLEASE SHARE. Thanks!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Trouble With Nipples

Last week I reached that moment of facing the dilemma all commercial artists must face (or even fine artists if they wish to market their work). How to deal with female nipples in our Neo-Puritanical culture?
This is a real problem for me, as I have already had my artwork censored by a certain social media website for showing “excessive skin.” Nipples? Not a chance.

It's easy to say “don't compromise,” but the realities of living in a commercial culture are very real if one wishes to take part in it. So, when it came to dealing visually with Dejah Thoris, whom Edgar Rice Burroughs describes as being unclothing except for ornamentation, I had a big decision to make.
Other artists in the past created nipple or breast ornaments, some quite elaborate, and some seemingly held up with nothing but the anti-gravity technology used for the Martian airships! Others have that area strategically covered by hair, others have simply thrown in the towel (or more accurately, used them to cover nipples), been inaccurate and given her clothing. For this early sketch shown at right, I created concentric cups reminiscent of belly dancer ornaments.
After a rather prurient picture of Dejah Thoris appeared on the excellent For the Love of All Things Edgar Rice Burroughs Facebook page, a lively debate ensued regarding how Dejah Thoris should be accoutered, and how an artist can deal with this very real problem. My thanks to all the ERB fans on that page. I found their feedback on this issue and the first couple of Dejah Thoris drawings that I have revealed for the upcoming book, to be invaluable.
From the research done by the fine folks on that site, it seems that Burroughs envisaged Dejah Thoris to be wearing some kind of jeweled harness that would drape down and cover part of breasts. So, that will be one of my solutions. The other is too have her very long hair covering her nipple area when she is not dressed in the harness.
And that is another decision I have made. I plan on showing her in variations of outfits. After all, she is a princess and I'm sure she had more than one costume! And my approach to having Dejah Thoris be the focus of this edition means that you may even see pictures of her that go beyond the scenes in the book. I don't mean that I will show her doing things she wouldn't do. I simply mean, I might show her bathing or sleeping or doing any number of things that would be a good opportunity to portray her incomparable beauty.
And along those lines, I have made great progress by discovering a beautiful model to use as my visual inspiration for Dejah Thoris. She's young, gorgeous, built, with strong features but a playful, almost slightly elfin, girlish look to her. With the adjustments of my artistic imagination, she will be perfect for the part. And trust me, I have quite an artistic imagination. After all, I will probably be posing as John Carter!

Robert Zoltan

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Strand: Full Dramatization Audio Scifi Thriller Coming April 30th

Episode 5 of Literary Wonder & Adventure Show returns on Sunday, April 30th, with a Special Presentation: The Gripping Romantic Retro-Science Fiction Audio Thriller...THE STRAND!
Teaser Trailer: https://vimeo.com/214105477
Show Link: http://www.dreamtowermedia.com/podcast

And don't forget to sign up for the Dream Tower Media newsletter to stay informed of all the fantastic stuff and receive inside news and special free content!


Robert Zoltan
(And Edgar the Raven)

Monday, April 17, 2017

Why A Princess of Mars? (Making of A Princess of Mars, WEEK 1)

Why A Princess of Mars?

Why create a uniquely designed, fully illustrated version of Edgar Rice Burroughs' famous classic? Because it has never been done before! In the 1970’s, Frank Frazetta’s masterful cover work, accompanied by a handful of small ink illustrations, brought the Martian series to life for a new generation of Bookclub readers. Many artists—before and after Frazetta—have created their own version of Burroughs' Mars, including recent comic book adaptations, but no one has created a total vision for the book, A Princess of Mars, itself. That is exactly what I am doing.
I wish I could claim that the idea came to me while standing outside at night on my terrace, looking up at the starry sky with my arms outstretched to the red planet. But in reality, I was distractedly watching a soccer game while trying to come up with a major project that would represent the standards of excellence for which Dream Tower Media stands. I had loved the Mars novels since first reading them about twenty years ago, and illustrating scenes or characters from the book had crossed my mind. But that night, three reasons inspired me to move forward. Firstly, A Princess of Mars is a fantastic fantasy adventure with a strange picturesque setting and a beautiful exotic princess, ideal subject matter for an illustrator. Secondly, the book is in public domain, which removes a number of obvious obstacles. Thirdly, Edgar Rice Burroughs authority, Ryan Harvey, had recently been a guest on my Literary Wonder & Adventure Show. Our discussion had further fanned the flame of my love for those books.
Despite the work that would be involved in such an undertaking, it was an easy decision to make. Soon after, I contacted Ryan about doing an extended introduction to the book. He was excited about the idea, and I’m very excited to read what he’ll have to say.
So what can you expect from Zoltan's Dream Tower Media edition of A Princess of Mars?
Exotic lush romance, mystery, and playful humor.
When I re-read A Princess of Mars as research for the creation of this new edition, what struck me most was how incredibly romantic it was. It was romantic, not only in a big sense of the word, Romance, as in sweeping poetic atmosphere and scope, but also romantic in the more common usage of a powerful attraction turning to devotion turning to deep love, between John Carter and Dejah Thoris. I'm not ashamed to say that I actually found myself getting choked up during a scene between the two lovers. If one can’t get choked up about true love, what can one get choked up about?
The mystery of the ancient ruins on Mars, and the wonderful strangeness of everything in John Carter's eyes also seemed an essential part of the book. Finally, I was rather surprised at the moments of humor and tenderness that I had forgotten, such as John's relationship with Woola, his unorthodox approach to thoat training, and the little misunderstandings that happen between John and Dejah. I remember no artist representing these delightful moments.
So, The Princess of Mars you will be seeing from me will emphasize the romance, the exotic setting, the wonder, the mystery, some heart-warming humor, and most of all, Dejah Thoris, the way Burroughs really described her. Dejah Thoris, not John Carter, will be the main focus of this book, because that is the book's title, A Princess of Mars. And, Dejah Thoris is also the focus of John Carter! Would John Carter want to see page after page of himself in battle scenes? Not the humble gentleman from Virginia! He would want to see his princess, and so he shall, and so you shall!
I believe the sensual style of my work lends itself especially well to A Princess of Mars. And my dislike of gratuitous violence and gore (and Burroughs never distracts the reader with unnecessary descriptions of gore, which in truth, few people would even notice while fighting for their life), whether in literature, art or cinema, matches perfectly the aesthetic, and one could say even the mission of Dream Tower Media. For I believe there is too much that is grim and nihilistic, in our culture, and specifically in our literature. I long for a renaissance of storytelling, where wonder, adventure, mystery, and romance are the focus. I long for more stories that celebrate the mystery and wonder of existence, and the joy of life, stories that may present dangerous or even dire situations, but inspire in the end. For that is what the golden age of fantasy and science fiction created. Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser saga, Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, Bester’s The Stars My Destination, Frank Herbert’s Dune, Cordwainer Smith’s tales of The Instrumentality, the work of C. L. Moore, even many of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories (which had a lust for life and a noble virtue, and which seem like PG-13 movies compared to some of what I read now) inspired with a sense of wonder and heroics that made one glad to be alive. A Princess of Mars is one of the early prototypes of that grand era.
And so, I hope when you eventually read this new edition, and enjoy the seamless blending of wonderful story, elegant design, and beautiful illustrations, you will escape to a place that is real in the heart of every human being who has the commitment and courage to make that journey. In this case, it is Burroughs' Mars. And whether you are visiting Barsoom (the Martian word for Mars) for the first time, or going back to a favorite place that will appear new and fresh to you, I hope this new edition will open for you a literary pathway to bliss. For beyond fear and despair, the ineffable mystery and joy of life is waiting for each of us. Come this December, may you find it amplified by your visit to Barsoom through Dream Tower Media and Zoltan's special edition of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars.

Robert Zoltan
April 17, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dream Tower Press Creates New Deluxe Edition of The Princess of Mars

Dream Tower Press Announces the Upcoming Release of a Uniquely Designed, Fully Illustrated Book Edition of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Classic

Dream Tower Media, creator of the critically-acclaimed Literary Wonder & Adventure Show, announces a Fantastic Publishing Event:
The First Novel-Length Book Release from Dream Tower Press!

Coming December of 2017, Dream Tower Press will unveil
a Unique Vision of the Classic, Groundbreaking, Interplanetary Romance
by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Deluxe, Elegantly Designed, Lavishly Illustrated…


Beautifully Designed and Illustrated by Zoltan.

With a Special Introduction by Edgar Rice Burroughs Authority,
Writers of the Future Award Winner and Black Gate Magazine Contributor,
Ryan Harvey.

View the Announcement Trailer here: https://vimeo.com/213285534

President and Owner of Dream Tower Media, Robert Szeles, says:
“This edition, fully illustrated and created with a cohesive sense of
design and imagery, will be unlike any version of A Princess of Mars
previously published. For those who have read the novel before, this will
be a highly desired collector’s edition and a new way to once again visit the Red Planet.
For those reading the book for the first time, this will be a unique
and wonderful introduction to this fantastic science fantasy adventure.”

Available December 2017 from Dream Tower Press. For more information,
sign up for the Dream Tower Media mailing list at www.dreamtowermedia.com, follow the creation of the book at http://dreamtowermedia.com/dream-tower-press/ or email info(at)dreamtowermedia.com. To hear the critically-acclaimed Literary Wonder & Adventure Show, Episode 2, about Edgar Rice Burroughs and featuring Ryan Harvey, go to www.dreamtowermedia.com/podcast.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beyond Our Control

Writer Aliette de Bodard recently posted on Uncanny Magazine about stories focusing too much on characters having or gaining agency (control). I believe strongly in what she's saying. In my stories, the characters seldom achieve their goals because they are in control or because they learn to gain control. In fact, it's often the opposite: they learn to relinquish control to something beyond them, such as chance, synchronicity, often a mysterious power about which they have little understanding. Aliette mentions that there are some things we don't have control of in life. That's very understated. We are in control of very little, apart from our perceptions and reactions and small actions. Aikido and surfing are two great examples of human skills that work with power that is far greater than us and would otherwise defeat us.

If you're interested in a story where the characters face powers beyond them and still somehow come out of it with a whole skin (and sometimes a bit more), try The Blue Lamp from Rogues of Merth: The Adventures of Dareon and Blue. I have many more stories—heroic fantasy, contemporary fantasy and literary—that have the same theme. They will all be published in due time. For now, enjoy The Blue Lamp!

The Blue Lamp Audio Adventure: http://www.dreamtowermedia.com/productions

The Blue Lamp Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MXRV9M5


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Show 4: Robert E. Howard, Master of Sword & Sorcery: A Conversation with Author Howard Andrew Jones

Episode 4 is now available!

It's spring cleaning time in the Dream Tower as Robert and Edgar travel to the Hyborian Age for a lively chat with author Howard Andrew Jones! Robert and Howard discuss Robert E. Howard, Conan, childhood, heroes, cynicism, creativity and the lure of lost civilizations. Plus, Robert and Edgar get a couple of vaguely familiar visitors. WARNING: Nihilists will hate this one. Pour a goblet of your favorite libation, sharpen your sword, and sit back for another rousing, amusing, and inspiring hour (or more) of Literary Wonder & Adventure! Oh, I almost forgot: the world premiere of "On the Battlefield" (the Robert E. Howard Rap) by the Beastmaster Boys! SHEESH, what more could you want?!
Teaser Trailer: https://vimeo.com/210313759
Show Link: http://www.dreamtowermedia.com/podcast

And don't forget to sign up for the Dream Tower Media newsletter to stay informed of all the fantastic stuff and receive inside news and special free content!


Robert Zoltan
(And Edgar the Raven)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Show #4 Trailer: Robert E. Howard, Master of Sword & Sorcery: A Conversation with Author Howard Andrew Jones

It's spring cleaning time in the Dream Tower as Robert and Edgar travel to the Hyborian Age for a lively chat with author Howard Andrew Jones! Robert and Howard discuss Robert E. Howard, Conan, childhood, heroes, cynicism, creativity and the lure of lost civilizations. Plus, Robert and Edgar get a couple of vaguely familiar visitors. WARNING: Nihilists will hate this one. Pour a goblet of your favorite libation, sharpen your sword, and sit back for another rousing, amusing, and inspiring hour (or more) of Literary Wonder & Adventure!


Also, come to the Dream Tower Media Facebook page for lively discussion on the podcast and more!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Show Episode 3 Rave Review!

Once again, the World Fantasy Award winning Black Gate Magazine chimes in with their opinion of Literary Wonder & Adventure Show, Episode 3 (J.R.R. Tolkien, Master of Modern Mythology: A Conversation with Author Scott Oden), and the verdict is fantastic! Here's the review by John O'Neill:
Click below to enjoy the show. Edgar the Raven will thank you!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Advance Copies of Scott Oden's "A Gathering of Ravens"

Get your advanced copy of Scott Oden's Historical Fantasy Epic, "A Gathering Ravens" now folks, at Net Galley! Then, hear his fascinating personal story about this book, and how writing saved his life on the latest episode of the Literary Wonder & Adventure Show:



Monday, March 6, 2017

Character Motivation in Sword & Sorcery Literature

Below is an excerpt from Rick Stump's blog concerning Conan the Barbarian and Sword & Sorcery stories. His blog post is here: http://harbingergames.blogspot.com/2017/02/conan-barbarian-review-analysis-and.html

"But in Howard's tales, why did Conan leave home? What drove him to be a mercenary in the frozen North, a thief in the desert metropolis, a pirate, a nomadic horseman, a soldier, a general, and a king? What great event forced him to leave his home village and put him on the path of the hero? Was it murder? Death? A lost love?
  According to Howard, Conan walked the world because... he was bored at home. Conan wandered the land and sea, fought monsters and wizards, and became a mighty king all because he was restless and easily bored."

This is the comment I left:

This, and the emphasis on materialism in modern fantasy, are great observations. The character who is motivated by a simple need to survive or out of curiosity for the unknown is at the heart of Sword & Sorcery. Conan, Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser, and Jack Vance's characters in the Dying Earth series are all examples of those kinds of characters. Judging by comments I have seen by magazine editors, it is not only Hollywood that is guilty of needing some huge, contrived, soap-operaesque motivation to believe characters would ever leave their house.

Thanks for the great blog. BTW, the next Literary Wonder & Adventure Show (by Dream Tower Media) is Robert E. Howard, Master of Sword & Sorcery: A Conversation with Howard Andrew Jones. It will appear later this month on www.dreamtowermedia.com/podcast.

Robert Zoltan

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Show 3: J.R.R. Tolkien, Master of Modern Mythology: A Conversation with Author Scott Oden

Now available for listeners on iTunes or the Dream Tower Media site.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a review on iTunes, and visit us
and leave comment on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dreamtowermedia/

iTunes Show Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/literary-wonder-adventure/id1202515406

Dream Tower Media Website Link: http://dreamtowermedia.com/podcast/

The Dream Tower travels to Middle-Earth for Episode 3 of The Literary Wonder & Adventure Show, J.R.R. Tolkien, Master of Modern Mythology! Join Robert and Edgar the Raven as they welcome special guest author Scott Oden for a discussion on Tolkien, orcs, creativity, bliss, childhood, and the occult dangers of advanced math. Plus, the Dream Tower gets a couple of unexpected visitors, and Robert and Edgar sing a short but sweet duet. All on the February podcast of Literary Wonder & Adventure!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Show #3: J.R.R. Tolkien, Master of Middle Earth: A Conversation with Author Scott Oden

Join Robert and Edgar the Raven in the Dream Tower as they’re transported to…well, that would be telling! Wonder, intrigue, fascination, hilarity and just good plain fun ensue as our guest star, St. Martin’s Press author Scott Oden, discusses his upcoming novel A Gathering of Ravens, orcs, and most of all, J.R.R. TOLKIEN, MASTER OF MIDDLE-EARTH! Plus, Robert and Edgar receive a couple of unwanted visitors. This February, all on Episode 3 of the next critically acclaimed LITERARY WONDER & ADVENTURE SHOW! (sign up for the newsletter at www.dreamtowermedia.com, kids, so you don’t miss a thing!)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Show is now on iTunes!

The critically acclaimed Literary Wonder & Adventure Show is now on iTunes!! If you haven't enjoyed The Blue Lamp audio drama or the first interview episode about Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan with guest Ryan Harvey in the Dream Tower, now is your chance!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Literary Wonder & Adventure Podcast 2: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Master of Adventure; A Conversation with Ryan Harvey

Literary Wonder & Adventure Podcast #2 premieres tonight at 7 pm!

Welcome to the Dream Tower! Join Robert Zoltan in a conversation with special guest Ryan Harvey about Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars! Meanwhile, Edgar the Raven throws in his acerbic quips, and Robert deals with possible Pteranodon infestation in the Dream Tower. All this and more!

Catch it at www.dreamtowermedia.com/podcast or on the Dream Tower Media Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/dreamtowermedia/.

Robert, Edgar the Raven, and author Ryan Harvey will be on the Dream Tower Media
Facebook page from 7 - 9 pm for conversation and questions. Join us!!

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Blue Lamp: Book Review by Michael W. Cho

Another rave review of The Blue Lamp. This review by Michael W. Cho, who wins the award for unique phrasing this month. I've never been called "sickeningly talented" before! :D

"It’s a rousing tale, fun and colorful, with magic, exotic setting, thrills, and good buddy chemistry between the two leads. I get a strong sense that I’m reading a classic story while immersed in this one. I think it’s because it really brings me back to the characteristics that made the best S&S stories fun, and eschews the grimdark ethic that is more common today."

You can purchase the Blue Lamp audio book here: http://www.dreamtowermedia.com/productions

Black Gate Magazine Review of The Blue Lamp Audio Adventure

Fletcher Vredenburgh gave the Blue Lamp Audio Adventure a rave review for the incomparable Hugo Award winning magazine, Black Gate!

Read it here: https://www.blackgate.com/2016/12/20/the-blue-lamp-by-robert-zoltan/


"Zoltan has done a marvelous job with “The Blue Lamp.” It is not a straight reading of the story, but a full sound production, like a radio show. First, there’s the music. At times ominous and others majestic, it gives the story a terrific aural background against which to unfold. The mysterious moments have a little more mystery and the action scenes a dash more vim. The same goes for the sound effects. Never overwhelming, they bring the production more to life.

The characters are acted out with great liveliness. It never sounds corny, a problem fantasy can have when it’s read out loud..."

“The Blue Lamp” is good fun. My experience with S&S transferred off the page has not been positive. Most S&S movies suffer from cheapness, or only focus on the most basic surface elements of the genre. That doesn’t happen here. Cheapness isn’t an issue, and Zoltan knows that S&S is more than just swords and sorcery. Without negelecting those titular elements, he brings some depth of character, nice inventiveness to his worldbuilding and scene setting, and good basic storytelling."

You can learn more about The Blue Lamp and purchase your own copy here:

Irrational Hope

In the most dire times of human history, hope and love have not only
survived, they have thrived. Like a forest cleansed by fire, like a seed
planted in winter ground. It is a hope that is both irrational and invulnerable.
It is a wisdom that appears as foolishness to the world: the foolishness
of gods and heroes. The foolishness of a one who loses the ability to walk
to become a marathon champion; of one with a degenerative disease
who becomes the world’s greatest physicist; of one who must borrow
money out of poverty in order to paint Starry Night.

It is the foolishness of a god that plucks out his eye in order to see; of a queen of heaven descending to the land of the dead to Editbring forth life; of a god that mysteriously belly-laughs in the midst of suffering and delusion; of a god that chooses suffering and death over glory to save the world.

It is this foolishness we choose over the false wisdom of the world. It is this irrational hope and courage we choose over rationalized fear. It is this love we choose over the easy road of hate that only leads to hell.

It is the most difficult road to take. But it is the only one that cannot fail to save us and the world.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Super Role Models

A recent video decried the fact that only two of the thirty super hero movies that will be released in
the next five years feature female super heroes (Black Widow and Wonder Woman). The video went on to show the lack of female super hero dolls on the market. It then implied that Disney princesses seemed to be the main role model that was being pushed on girls.
Although I agree there is an inequity happening, the whole video began to strike me as rather strange. And the character of Black Widow is one of the things that made me question the video’s entire premise.
Perhaps there is a deeper question we need to ask. Are super heroes the best role models for girls, or for any children? Super heroes are physically perfect specimens that never grow old, and whatever anyone says, in the end they usually solve problems by violent means.
Are the only choices of role models for girls spoiled Disney princesses who are waiting for the right man to come along, or, a deceptive sociopathic killer for hire (Black Widow) or a woman that dresses like a stripper and comes from an island of women that hate men, and think them all evil or irrelevant (Wonder Woman)?
Perhaps there are other role models from literature, and yes, perhaps even real life, to which girls can turn. Following is a list of a just a few actual people, whom you can look up and read about if you are unfamiliar with their resplendent lives.
Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Hedy Lamarr, Malala Yousifazi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hypatia, Aung San Suu Kyi, Audrey Hepburn, Serena Williams, Margaret Cavendish, Mae Jemison, Michelle Bachelet, Elizabeth Garret Anderson, Elizabeth Warren...
I also feel that despite what I will assume is the video maker’s good intent, the video strikes me as wonderful propaganda for a consumer culture. If I were an advertising company, I could not imagine a better marketing ploy in preparation for the release of a huge line of female super hero dolls.
If we really want to empower girls (and boys) to become great human beings that contribute something meaningful to the world, don’t give them more choices for plastic dolls. Give them a telescope, a drawing pad and pencil and paint, a starter chemistry set, some dancing shoes, a musical instrument, a nice journal in which to write, some challenging board games, building blocks, help them plant their own garden, etc. Heck, just going into the backyard to play they will discover incredible worlds of wonder more fabulous than anything on a video screen or created by the writers of comic books.
Although, as a former comic book fan and collector, I can see the appeal in some of the characters as positive images or archetypes, it is far more likely that children who look to super heroes as their heroes will simply grow up as very good consumers, buying books, movies, comic books, games, and all related media connected to that character.
Growing up, The X-Men and Spider-Man were my favorite comic books. And I admired the way The X-Men were people who had difficulty getting along and all came from different countries and ethnicities. And I related to Spider-Man as the outsider who did not fit in at school. Certainly, there were times when I related to these characters. But becoming a quality human being happens mostly from interacting with the natural world, reading books containing true wisdom and knowledge, and especially by modeling ourselves from real people who accomplish things as humans do, without flying or punching through walls or shooting beams from their eyes. They show us how to make a difference in the world, even with all of the mortal human weaknesses we all have, weaknesses that we must learn to cope with and integrate every day to give our lives meaning for ourselves and those around us. They teach us how, without super powers or eternal youth or fancy costumes, we can still be real super heroes.