ELITEWORD.comwords for the wise

The Grave DodgerAmazon, Inc.

  In the year 1122 AD, His Eminence Pope Calixtus II received a mysterious letter from a Christian priest who claimed to be a great king. Boasting of his dominion over seventy-two countries in the mountainous regions of northern India, he called himself Prester John. The letter made several fantastic assertions, but the one that piqued the interest of The Holy See had nothing to do with exotic animals or an abundance of treasure. Prester John claimed he had discovered a remote valley that possessed qualities capable of extending human life almost indefinitely.

  Several versions of the Prester John story spread across Europe even as Christian armies suffered serious defeats on the battlefields of the Second Crusade. Modern scholars believe the popularity of the legend may have arisen as a reaction to those losses. In the centuries that followed, the search for a universal remedy that would extend human life also influenced the organization of many journeys of exploration and discovery. Over time, the legend waxed and waned with the rise and fall of popular interest in other matters. Published in 1519 AD in the city of Constantinople, the Hebrew book of Ben-Sira featured a copy of Prester John's letter. The text of that letter appears in Appendix 1 of this book.

  In 1933, English writer James Hilton published a book loosely based on the legend of Prester John's kingdom. Hilton's tale of the lamasery of Shangri-La was titled Lost Horizon. Four years later Columbia pictures released Frank Capra's feature film production, which began with the dramatic highjacking of an airliner. Critics of the time acknowledged the imaginative scene, but stated the highjacking of a modern airliner was as implausible as the existence of Shangri-La itself.

  Prester John's legend lives again when a fortuitous encounter in the Himalaya Mountains promises recovery from the ravages of a terrible disease. The Grave Dodger is the story of a man who refuses to accept a prognosis for which there is no known cure. He plans a journey of discovery to return to the mountains and secure his hope for life, but before it can begin an organization of international criminals learn of other treasures in the Himalayas. A deadly tale of life and death unfolds as the separate interests of both expeditions collide.

  Not all find the riches they seek, while some discover treasures they did not expect.

The Shadow ZoneDonnaInk Publications, LLC

  A lot of things happened in back rooms, dark corners and shadowy places before the civil authorities became involved. Even when a young girl walked into the Department of Police to report an incident involving a corporate vehicle, it wasn't readily apparent that anything other than a routine accident investigation was necessary.

  Some say perception is reality.

  If true, then public preconceptions of the Dilmun Corporation believed it to be a private organization with squeaky clean credentials. But like city sewers most of its' real filth was unseen, hidden from the public eye in political sometimes murderous shadows.

  Out of the desert came a second shadow - its' threat more overt than the town's major employer, its' purpose linked not to a corporate director in a three piece suit, but to a young girl in ragged and dirty clothing who defended homeless children. Like a desert dust devil she appeared out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly.

  She walked in off the street one day, reported the burnt remains of a truck and its' single charred occupant to the police duty sergeant, and disappeared without a trace. A surveillance photograph taken at the time provided a crucial link to her identity and to a gigantic desert menace called The Shadow Zone.

  No one knew it at the time, but the ruined truck and its dead driver was only the newest incident in a long war between shadows.

Atlantis City In The SkyAuthorHouse, Inc.

  NASA satellites discover an ancient civilization on the Bolivian altiplano that is an exact match for Plato's lost city as well as the Incan 'Legend of The Desaguadero'.

  In a race against time, present day criminals, archaeologists and a pharmaceutical magnate sleuth the actions of its ancient inhabitants in an attempt to uncover two great mysteries; either of which could alter modern civilization as we know it.

  Attention focuses upon a city located in the Bolivian desert at an altitude of 11,000 feet, which was destroyed by earthquake and flood in a single day - and upon a mysterious artifact hidden in the mists of the Andes Mountains.


"...writing in the Michael Crichton style."
"The characters are...very well limned"
"ATLANTIS: City In The Sky is a tale set in the classic genre of Science Fiction or possibly horror."
"The setting is unique and provides a believable background..."
"Overall good job."


Adobe Acrobat Reader v6.0 or higher is required to read short story files. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, you can download it for free.


  During his six years of service in the United States military, Mr. Paracka was deployed twice to the Middle East, once to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and once to South America. In S.A., he spent time in Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and the valley of the Urubamba River. While travelling he was inspired by the history and legends of the mountains and jungles of S.A. as well as the deserts and customs of the Middle East. Many of those stories as well as his personal impressions have been written into his books.

  Mr. Paracka earned an associate's degree in Computer Science and Accounting as well as a bachelor's degree in history and public speaking from the State University of New York. His higher education continued with graduate work in theology and church history from Colgate Rochester-Bexley Hall-Crozier Theological Seminary in Rochester, New York. His current residence is in west central Florida where he is employed by Pasco-Hernando State College.

Copyright 2014 Richard J. Paracka
All Rights Reserved