Tag Archive for: #thrillers

Evacuating from a Wildfire

By Kathryn Lane

I love the mountains in northern New Mexico. Nature in this
area constantly surprises me with beautiful vistas, wildflowers, and above all,
the wild animals. We have elk, deer, coyotes, wild turkeys, several varieties
of birds, Cooper hawks, and bears. Occasional wild cats and mountain lions also
roam the area. I’m mesmerized by the herds of elk and their calves. 

For some writers, the beach inspires them. For me, the
mountains clear my brain and let my creativity flow. This year our normally
peaceful mountain hideaway proved that nature can also be terrifying. A
horrific wildfire started when controlled burns in the Gallinas Canyon in the
Santa Fe National Forest near Las Vegas, NM, got out of hand and turned into
the most destructive wildfire in the state’s recorded history.

In May, evacuations began very close to where we live. We
could see the flames beyond the mountains in front of our cabin and the smoke
was so thick, we decided to pack up and leave. What to take with us became an
issue. Essential articles that we need for any trip is a given. Emergency items
came next. After that, it’s a conflict between sentimental items, such as
paintings, and what we could fit into our vehicle.

Two years ago, I’d given my husband, Bob, a bathrobe for the
cabin. He lost it after forgetting it on a trip last year. He’d spent at least
two months searching online for a replacement. For two months he grumbled about
the bad selection, grim colors, wrong fabric, incorrect length, and lack of
styling.  He finally ordered one and it
arrived two days before we evacuated. A thick, heavy terrycloth robe, I put it
in the car.

He immediately asked why we needed to take it.

“We’ll survive the evacuation,” I said, “but I can’t get
through two more months of you hunting for another bathrobe.”

Thankfully, we are back in our beloved mountains and our
cabin survived just fine.

I’d decided, before the wildfire started, to place my next
Nikki Garcia mystery in New Mexico.

Now I’m wondering if I should include a wildfire in the mix to
complicate the plot. One thing is for sure, Bob’s bathrobe will not be a
part of the story! Or maybe a bear will eat the robe!


Postscript: The fire is no longer a threat, but for many
families who lost their homes, their struggle is far from over.


Kathryn’s Nikki Garcia Mystery
– on Amazon

Amazon Paperback – https://www.amazon.com/dp/173328270X/

eBook –


Kathryn Lane started out as a painter in oils and quickly became a starving artist. To earn a living, she became a certified public accountant and embarked on a career in international finance with a major multinational corporation. After two decades, she left the corporate world to plunge into writing mystery and suspense thrillers. In her stories, Kathryn draws deeply from her Mexican background as well as her travels in over ninety countries.

Visit my website at https://www.Kathryn-Lane.com

Sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website

Photo credits:

All photographs are used in an editorial and/or
educational manner

Elk and their Calves by Kathryn Lane

Firefighter – Taos News

Brown Bear by Kathryn Lane

Covers for the Nikki Garcia Mystery Series –
Heidi Dorey designs for Tortuga Publishing, LLC

Photo of Kathryn Lane by Bob Hurt

Writing and Selling Fiction in the Metaverse

 By Kathryn

In the near future, when a reader purchases a book, that reader can also receive additional
3-D experiences depicting the author’s world, how the author researched,
created, and wrote that particular book.

Interacting with the metaverse.

readers, we will be able to interact through virtual reality (VR) with our
favorite authors. Though I don’t write in his genre, I can imagine a VR encounter
with JRR Tolkien where I’d walk beside him in the scenes while he described his
imaginative process in writing Lord of the Rings. Music, as in the films,
should run too. But then I’d turn it off to better understand Tolkien’s
creativity before the scenes were set to music. Tolkien is no longer living, but artists, writers, historians, script writers, photographers, and
cinematographers would create the immersive where I’d be in the middle of the

Distortion in the metaverse.

Writers will
have a variety of options for selling their works in the Metaverse. Unique codes,
think of ISBNs 
currently used, will identify the digital asset that is linked
to blockchain to secure its authenticity and uniqueness. This process creates a
non-fungible token (NFT). For example, limited editions of digital works can then
be sold as NFTs. Book covers and draft manuscripts also offer the possibility
of NFT sales.

provides a secure means for storing intellectual property like copyrights and
patents, and includes smart contracts where author royalties can be collected every
time an NFT book cover, limited edition, or a first draft manuscript is

Visual representation of blockchain.

Big name
authors with staff to do research, design, and marketing will have the
advantage over lesser-known authors. They might turn their books into complete immersive
experiences where readers don’t read but merely step into the story.

VR and
the Metaverse will be used extensively in other areas, especially education. By
combining topics such as math and science; language, geography, and history,
among other subjects, learning can become more integrated. 

Student using the metaverse.

it’s not all panacea here either. Richer countries will have the advantage over
poorer ones.

If you feel
concerned about the Metaverse, you are not alone. If we think of it as the next
level of the Internet, it becomes less intimidating. Though I remember how reluctant
people felt in the early to mid-nineteen-nineties about using the Internet.

Are you
ready to enter the brave new world of NTF books?


Kathryn’s latest Nikki Garcia Mystery Thriller: Missing in Miami (available on Amazon)


Lane started out painting in oils and quickly became a starving artist. To earn a living, she became a certified
public accountant and embarked on a career in international finance with a
major multinational corporation. After two decades, she left the corporate
world to plunge into writing mystery and suspense thrillers. In her stories,
Kathryn draws deeply from her Mexican background as well
as her travels in over ninety countries.

Visit my
website at https://www.Kathryn-Lane.com

Photo credits:

All photographs are used in an editorial and/or educational manner

Augmented reality from Pinterest

Dreaming of distortion in the metaverse by Dean Terry is licensed under CC

Photo by Terry on Unsplash

AugustMan – Malaysia

The Thrill that Inspires

by Barbara Kyle

As the author of historical thrillers and contemporary thrillers, I’ve enjoyed pushing the boundaries of the genre.

It’s often said that a good thriller is like a roller-coaster ride. That’s true enough. The genre is about high stakes, countdowns, and suspense, and
every compelling thriller delivers this kind of excitement.

But the most satisfying thrillers deliver more: an exciting story that also
explores complex issues and has something important to say about our world. This
kind of story takes the reader away from the amusement park and sends them on a
voyage: an exhilarating journey into a different way of thinking.

I call it the Inspiring Thriller.

An inspiring thriller takes readers beyond their expectations and gives them
an insight they never saw coming. “Insight” literally means seeing the truth
through and under the surface of things. It’s the inspiring thriller’s job to
challenge readers’ acceptance of society’s status quo.

At its heart, an inspiring thriller is always about confronting power.


Charles Dickens knew this when he used his immensely popular novels to hold
a mirror up to the horrors that working-class people suffered under unfettered
capitalism in nineteenth-century England.

In our time, bestselling author John Grisham has often done the same with
his thrillers about the “little guy” up against some form of corporate bully. 

John le Carré’s thrillers train his unflinching focus on the controlling corporate
and political powers that corrode our lives.

Denise Mina, a master of crime fiction, reveals the raw wounds that
Glasgow’s poor and powerless suffer, while featuring female central characters
who are resilient and resourceful.

 Grisham, Le Carré, and Mina use the thriller genre to say what needs to be

 What’s It All For?

Christopher Vogler, in his book The Writer’s Journey, says the final step of
any hero’s journey is bringing back an “elixir” to heal the rupture that
incited the main character’s risky quest. The elixir might be literal: food for
the starving tribe. Or it might be abstract: a hard-won wisdom that heals a
shattered family. In a big techno-thriller, it might even heal the world.

Whatever it is, if the hero does not bring back something to share, they
remain unenlightened, adolescent. They haven’t grown. And therefore, neither
can the reader.

In other words, the roller-coaster ride is all you get.

An inspiring thriller may end in tragedy, or it may end with justice
prevailing, or maybe a bittersweet blend of both. Whatever the outcome, readers
welcome the experience. We need it.

Because it’s not the roller-coaster ride that satisfies the soul. It’s the



Barbara Kyle is the author of the bestselling
Thornleigh Saga series of historical novels and of
acclaimed thrillers. Her latest novel of suspense is The Man from Spirit Creek. Over half a million
copies of her books have been sold. Barbara has taught
hundreds of writers in her online Masterclasses and many have become
award-winning authors.
Visit Barbara at https://www.barbarakyle.com/ 

Looking Forward to Mystery Short Story Award Season

by Paula
Gail Benson
The time
is quickly approaching for recognizing short story excellence in the mystery
field. The following authors have been nominated for Agathas for their short
stories, an award presented at the Malice Domestic conference at the end of

Short Story
Double Deck the Halls by Gretchen Archer (Henery
Whose Wine is it Anyway
by Barb Goffman in 50 Shades of Cabernet (Koehler Books)
The Night They Burned Miss Dixie’s
by Debra Goldstein in Alfred Hitchcock’s
Mystery Magazine (May/June 2017)
The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Inn
by Gigi Pandian (Henery Press)
A Necessary Ingredient
by Art Taylor in Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Seat
(Down & Out Books)

notice that each of the nominated stories has a link that will allow you to
read it. Let me assure you that you’ll enjoy each one. Next month, we’ll have
an interview with the authors.

2013, I surveyed the awards given to mystery short stories in a post for
Writers Who Kill. Here’s a link to that post: http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2013/08/awards-for-writing-mystery-short-stories.html

a comprehensive list of crime fiction awards given internationally, please
click on this link.

an update of national awards given to mystery short stories:


Agatha Awards have been presented since 1988 by Malice Domestic at its annual
conference. The awards recognize the traditional mystery written in the style
of Agatha Christie, having no explicit sex, excessive gore, or gratuitous

are selected by ballot from persons registered for the conference by December
forms are tallied by the Agatha Committee. The top five choices in each
category are placed on the ballot. Attendees vote by secret ballot at the
conference and the awards are presented at the banquet. The awards are
porcelain tea pots.

Anthony awards, named for Anthony Boucher (writer, critic, and a founder of the
Mystery Writers of America) have been presented since 1986 at the annual
Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. The Anthonys feature a Best Anthology
category as well as best short story. In Toronto, the Anthonys included a
category for Best Novella for a work of
. B.J. Stevens posthumously won the inaugural award for
“The Last Blue Glass.”

ballots are emailed to the registered attendees. Awards are determined by the
persons attending Bouchercon.
Black Orchid Novella

of 15,000 to 20,000 words submitted by May 31 are eligible for the Black Orchid
Novella Award. The winner is announced at the The Wolfe Pack’s (a society
devoted to Nero Wolfe) Annual Banquet. The award winning story has often been
published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.


Derringer Awards, named after the palm-sized handgun, have been presented since
1997 by the Short Mystery Fiction Society (SMFS). Presentations are made in
March. Members and editors may submit stories for an initial blind
consideration by volunteer judges who select five nominees in each category. To
be eligible to vote for the awards, a person must join the SMFS by December 31.

awards are presented by category: (1) best story of 1000 words or less; (2)
best story of 1001 to 4000 words; (3) best story of 4001 to 8000 words; and (4)
best story of 8001 to 17,500 words. 

Best Flash Story (Up to 1,000

Best Short Story (1,001 to 4,000

Best Long Story (4,001 to 8,000

Best Novelette (8,001 to 20,000

the following web page for the complete selection procedure:

Edgar Allan Poe Awards have been presented annually since 1946 by the Mystery
Writers of America. Authors who submit their stories for consideration must
meet the requirements for active status in the MWA whether or not they are
members of MWA. For more information, see:

Short stories
are considered works up to 22,000 words from approved magazines, periodicals,
anthologies, and websites. Submissions meeting the requirements may be made
online at:

The Robert L. Fish
Memorial Award is presented for the best first published mystery short story by
a previously unpublished author.


Each year since 1987, members of the Mystery Readers International organization
vote and present the Macavity awards in four categories. The Macavity award is
named for T.S. Eliot’s  “mystery
cat” in the Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. For more information,
see: http://mysteryreaders.org/macavity-awards/


publications since 1981, the Shamus awards, created by Robert J. Randisi, have
been presented by the Private Eye Writers of America. PWA committee members
select the nominees and winners in a manner similar to the Edgar selections. A
“private eye” is considered the protagonist of a mystery who is a professional
investigator, but not a police officer or government agent. For more
information, see: http://www.privateeyewriters.com/shamus_awards.html

Silver Falchion

the last two years, an award for the best anthology or collection has been
presented at Killer Nashville, which honors recipients with the Silver
Falchion. For more information, see: https://killernashville.com/awards/silver-falchion-award/


Presented since 2006 by the
International Thriller Writers, the Thrillers are announced at the annual
Thrillerfest conference. Short stories of up to 35,000 words are considered so
that novellas qualify for submission. An entry must be published in print or
e-zine format during the previous year. For more information, see: