Emerald in the Eye of the Skull

February 20th, 2014 by roberthartley

emerald monster

 

READ SAMPLE CHAPTER!

Chapter 11

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EMERALD IN THE EYE OF THE SKULL

January 23rd, 2014 by roberthartley

emerald monster

 

 

Told is a tale of horror, passionate love, and death in the lust for ancient emeralds!

Jeb, a lecturer at Harvard, is sent on a mission to plumb the mystery of these emeralds. He and his strangely aloof housekeeper, Lucy, enter a rainforest where Indians have been tortured for centuries, a place called the Devil’s Paradise. A Monster guards these emeralds for which the eyes of humans are sacrificed.

Only after a cruel twist of fate is the shocking truth of this green horror revealed!

…for Amazon see
mossbackdragon.com

 

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The Royal Road to Thebes

September 11th, 2013 by roberthartley

The Royal Road to Thebes

 

 

To lovers of the crafted word! The Royal Road to Thebes is published.
It is my expectation that everyone will go to Amazon, buy the book, and write a six star review.
What! only five stars?
Well, then, five stars will just have to do.
Anything else?
Oh yeah…we’re gonna move out of the way quick—so as to avoid the stampede!

Amazon.com

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back cover of The Royal Road to Thebes

September 11th, 2013 by roberthartley

back cover of...The Royal Road to Thebes

 

And this is the back cover.

The Royal Road to Thebes is available at Amazon.com
and in your favorite bookstore.

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REFLECTIONS UPON DEATH

August 7th, 2013 by roberthartley

reflections upon death

 

 

Like a snake, death coiled itself around me, suffocating me in its grip.

The dreaded symptoms began with the summer. I experienced a debilitation that defied conventional treatment, winding up in the emergency room. Though the doctors and nurses were angels, my stay in the hospital during July was a nightmare from hell. Does it matter what this calamitous condition was? No; for everyone has faced similar challenges, or will, when life becomes fragile, and elusive. And you ask yourself: How unjust can my death be?

Four weeks remained for the publication of a memoir upon which I’d been working five years. Last fall I wrote a thriller to publish after the memoir. And I’d begun a second romantic thriller, half way completed, that had claimed my heart, for this writer falls in love with his characters and lives to tell their story. More vivid than life are these people who do the dance between horror and love, totally consumed by their passions. I live to tell their story—to breathe life into them.

Life.

And death. I speak of a time when life is unbearable, when death offers the silken hand of comfort, the cool fingers stroking the fevered brow, whispering in your ear—PERMANENT relief—to a willing heart caught in the agony of the moment, without a past, without a future, only the agony of the moment, and you know the sudden devastating pain of leaving someone you love, as your chances of survival are dwindling.

And your work is for nothing. My bitterness is without bottom; the sense of injustice too profound: the world has no symmetry. My work is for nothing.

But I survived. Dazed, vaguely disoriented, facing what seems a towering responsibility of work, I am here. My spirit lives. So, I shall:
…1] Publish the memoir and then the thriller;
…2] Complete my Romance; and
…3] Be happy.

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OBSESSION

June 10th, 2013 by roberthartley

golden eye of the green frog

 

 

Down to the black drooped willow leaves. The pool was black. Orange flowers stood in a row, their yellow-striped petals, curving backward. The orange was yellow-striped. Around the orange petals rose narrow leaves.

It had dragon eyes. The blue stick hung bluely. With dragon eyes the stick stared. It didn’t move. I didn’t move. It didn’t move. I didn’t move—then—gone.

I crept behind the drooping leaves, watched now from the drooping leaves. There. Close. A frog. Green with dark spots. The blue swung low, facing me from the side and turned and backed slowly away. The frog sat green and still: an eyelid. Blinked. Slowly. Unblinked. I waited. Holding a bucket I waited: eye black. Gold circled—then

I leapt from the leaves with the bucket big bucket high swinging over and down—heavy down down down in the water deep—

And I had him!

I had him.

[I was four years old when this story occurred. If you gaze into the blackness of the EYE, you can see me leaning over the lily pool.]

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OBSESSION [long version]

May 24th, 2013 by roberthartley

the lily pool

 

The yard rose deep with green blades of grass, green and warm-smelling. Close to cool earth I buried my cheek, feeling the blades long, and flat, and rough. Yellow grew: tiny yellow petals in tight hard bunches. Jagged green leaves smelled bitter and tasted even bitter-er. I crawled from knee to knee.
…Grass: up one blade a bee climbed…a water drop hung on the blade. A hopper went by and went by and went by and stopped. Then another came hopping over the grass and hopped again before I could reach him.

The shade behind the old build-ing where Daddy put the car felt cool. I was looking for nuts. Green clusters hung in the tree: black nuts lay on the ground. The shade broke into yellow pieces…yellow…yellow floating down and turning away. Wide spread the yellow, opening and closing, yellow-and-black, winging off to the shade near the kennel. It winged away just enough each time. I stood looking at that shade. Why are things so hard to catch? I wish some time I could catch some thing.

Every day was hot.
…Green plants covered the field, spreading low with round green leaves and pink clusters, sweet with hot scent. Bumblebees crawled the pink, bending them down, buzzing, crawling. A little mmm sound was all that came from me, thinking, There must be…some way, some way to catch one. There just must be.

Down to the black drooped willow leaves. The pool was black. Orange flowers stood in a row, their yellow-striped petals, curving backward. The orange was yellow-striped. Around the orange petals rose narrow leaves.
…It had dragon eyes. The blue stick hung bluely. With dragon eyes the stick stared. It didn’t move. I didn’t move. It didn’t move. I didn’t move—then—gone.
…I crept behind the drooping leaves, watched now from the drooping leaves. There. Close. A frog. Green with dark spots. The blue swung low, facing me from the side and turned and backed slowly away. The frog sat green and still: an eyelid. Blinked. Slowly. Unblinked. I waited. Holding a bucket I waited: eye black. Gold circled—then
…I leapt from the leaves with the bucket big bucket high swinging over and down—heavy down down down in the water deep—
…And I had him!
…I had him.

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DON’T FRIGHTEN THE HORSES

May 8th, 2013 by roberthartley

frightened horses

 

 

 

For well over a century women have suffered under the burden of penis envy, one of many suppositions upon which Sigmund Freud built a career. Does anyone know the size of Sigmund? is a question many have asked. Was it small? did he suffer from penis envy?

Fortunately, an old colleague of mine from years past, offered the following:

It has been reported that in Vienna in 1895, Sigmund Freud led a gathering of prominent physicians, mesmerists and psychologists, many of them women, and, to lend emphasis to his theory, disrobed. The size of him could not be reported in standard units. However, several women fainted. Smelling salts were administered to a number of servants, one of whom, a Belgium lass, ultimately ran screaming from the building. The men sat in stunned silence. How filled with envy they were one can only imagine.

A warning was issued on the sidewalks and streets, for to scare the horses and frighten the children was considered the gravest of errors.

Tranquility returned to Vienna, eventually, no one daring to contemplate the
size of Sigmund again.

–Dr. Hartleystein, Memoirs of Vienna

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LETICIA

April 24th, 2013 by roberthartley

Amazonas shore, Leticia

 

 

One of the most unusual places on earth is Leticia, Colombia, a port on the Amazon River.

It is located at the very bottom of a narrow strip of land hanging down from Colombia into Peru. Brazil borders the east. Meandering through the heart of the rainforest, the Amazon River forms the southern border.

The population is only 33,000, but Leticia is a major port, and the center from which are shipped tropical fishes for aquariums. Huge homes have been built here by wealthy Colombians. Each day three major airlines fly from Bogotá as Leticia is a favorite destination of foreign visitors. Roads lead nowhere: local traffic goes by river.

Legend informs us that a Portuguese explorer lost on the Amazon died of starvation at the present site. The port was named in 1867 in honor of a young lady living in the Peruvian city of Iquitos named Leticia Smith.

Leticia is derived from the Latin greeting laetitia, meaning joy and delight. Laetitia is also the Roman goddess of fertility. Laetitia, the saint, is venerated as a virgin martyr. In mediæval England, she is Saint Letycie or Saint Lititia.

One day I want to write about the great English beauty of Iquitos, Peru, with her flaming red hair and flashing eyes, who bedazzled the daring explorers of the Amazon during the 1800s—a siren who drew these men to their deaths in the green gloom of the rainforest, dismal and impenetrable, their cries of despair unanswered in the horror of death. Maybe her hair wasn’t red, and she may not have been English, but I want to tell her story; how the heart of the Amazon rainforest came to be named for her. Oh, Leticia, Leticia.
…Oh, Leticia.
…My Leticia…

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THE SAGA OF THE SNAIL AND I

April 11th, 2013 by roberthartley

a speckled snail

 

One day I ate a mushroom
And traveled with a snail,
Who led me down some sort of path,
A crazy winding trail.

The locomotion of the snail
Would lose him any race:
He stops and starts, goes inch by inch,
In silent, solemn grace.

Why are snails so slow? I thought,
Moving with their shells?
But on his back, he has to pack
The home in which he dwells.

We follow high, we follow low,
Beside a mossy rill;
Through buttercups and dandelions,
Around a daffodil.

Profoundly simple is his way,
How does he navigate?
He doesn’t have a home or place,
Nor does he have a mate.
…“A mate!
….A mate!
….A mate!”
Cried he—
“I haven’t time to wait!”

Then stopped somewhere, along a glen,
Beneath a trumpet vine;
And dipped into its scarlet cup,
And took a sip of wine.

Hurry on! I said to him,
Or I’ll leave you on your way!
But locked I am in fantasy,
So here I am to stay.

A crazy winding trail, it was,
A crazy winding trail.

With eyes that looked like rubber knobs
He fixed upon my size;
Then he focused on my face
And peered into my eyes.

Undulating, wiggly snakes,
The stalks above his head:
A roving pair of periscopes
That sometimes droop’d instead.

Read more STORY

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