Saturday, 21 July 2018 22:28

Gray Basnight, left, author of three novels, turned to fiction after almost three decades as a broadcast news writer, editor, producer, and reporter. His books and writing cross several genres.

He lives in New York with his wife, Lisa, and their golden retriever, Tinta.

His latest novel is Flight of the Fox (Down & Out Books), in which an innocent math professor runs for his life as teams of hit men try to prevent publication of their government’s dark history.

In this essay, he discusses some of the “fictional forecasting” he created as a writer of futuristic thrillers.

Sci-Fi/Not Sci-Fi
By Gray Basnight

One of the fun things about writing a story set in the future is that I get to predict stuff.

In my new novel, the run-for-your-life thriller Flight of the Fox, the principal technological forecast centers on drones. That doesn’t exactly make me Nostradamus, because drones are the here and now (duh!).

But what’s new in the story is their pervasive influence in our everyday lives, particularly where they provide backup support, and in some cases, totally replace police presence.

But my fictional forecasting it not limited to the coming of these unmanned aerial devices. As my university math professor flees down the East Coast while dodging mysterious drones and black-ops hit men, he encounters a number of other innovations that are probably under development right now.

And if they’re not, they should be.

Here’s a rundown of my effort to channel Jules Verne:

Lens-to-Lens Networking:
An enhancement where the single user of a cellphone video camera can dial in another user who can then remotely view the image being filmed on the camera at the scene. The problem is that the images are really fuzzy.

PC Packets:
Marketed as “Flexi Flats,” these are personal computers that are the same basic dimension as a paper towel. And they’re magnetic, so each one will adhere to the refrigerator. You can also roll it up and tuck it into your pocket when you go to the office, car, or airport. They conveniently come in packs of at least half a dozen. As for problems, web reviews will advise there are two: they’re very expensive, and each one has only a short lifespan. But hey, as with everything, Flexi Flats are new and the kinks still need to be worked out.

SCD, Stroke Counter Device:
This may already exist, or I may have invented it. I know that’s odd, but I’m uncertain. In any case, it’s a device that your boss puts on your PC to record every keystroke you type and save the data forever in a separate file.

GSP, Geo-Spatial Profiling:
A future technology that forecasts where a fugitive is hiding or running at any given moment based on individual personality, intelligence, physical health, lifestyle, etc. (You may be thinking at this point that the author of Flight of the Fox is a little paranoid. Well, yeah, I am.)

Navy acronym for Fighter Drone Program, a fictional team that designs, tests, and deploys aircraft that can do everything a fighter jet can do, but without a pilot. The X-47 fighter jet, however, is authentic. Looking like a true spaceship, it does play a role in my novel. It’s an actual unmanned fighter jet developed at a cost of $800 million dollars that successfully passed all remote landing tests on aircraft carriers. The X-47 has since been mothballed as too costly. FIDROPRO, however, continues, even if only in my fictional world.
A website used by my math professor Sam Teagarden to help him decode a mysterious file discovered in his inbox. Successful decryption of that file may alter knowledge of US history as we know it. That could make him a new American Prometheus. It could also get him killed.

I can’t actually say the website is fiction because I bought the domain rights. So, keep watching for more scintillating details.

Author Predicts the Future, Maybe
Oline H. Cogdill
Tuesday, 17 July 2018 21:05

The International Thriller Writers (ITW) has announced the most thrilling authors of 2018. The winners of this year’s ITW Thriller Awards were recognized at ThrillerFest XIII on July 14, 2018, at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.

Final Girls, by Riley Sager (Dutton)

The Freedom Broker, by K.J. Howe (Quercus)

Grievance, by Christine Bell (Lake Union)

"Charcoal and Cherry," by Zoe Z. Dean (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

The Rains, by Gregg Hurwitz (TOR Teen)

Second Chance, by Sean Black (Sean Black)

George R.R. Martin

James Rollins

Robert and Patricia Gussin (Oceanview Publishing)

Congratulations to all of this year's winners!

2018 Thriller Award Winners Announced
Mystery Scene
Saturday, 14 July 2018 22:17

I don’t where I got my love of perfume from.

My mother never wore fragrance, though she had a little cart with mini perfumes that my father brought back from the war. She never opened one of the bottles, ever. That little cart is now on my dresser, still unopened.

But I always loved fragrance. I remember one of my grandmothers occasionally wore it, as did one of my aunts. But I am from a farming background, and perfume wasn’t high on the list.

But in high school I started wearing it, spurred on by the teen fashion magazines I read. I doubt I would ever wear those fragrances now that the teenage me loved.

And many thanks to author Denise Hamilton for re-triggering my love of perfume in her books.

Fragrances can mean many things to the wearer—a memory of an evening, a historical note, a feeling.

Kelli Stanley uses fragrances to establish a mood or a character’s personality in her Miranda Corbie novels, which are set in San Francisco during 1940, the time when war was raging in Europe but the US had yet to enter the battle.

In City of Sharks, private detective Miranda is interviewing potential client Louise Crowley, who is the assistant to ruthless publisher Niles Alexander. One of the first things Miranda asks is if Louise wears perfume.

Louise answers, “Mr. Alexander prefers me not to. He said—he said it distracts him when I take dictation.”

Miranda: “What about when you’re not taking dictation? Shalimar? Joy? Shocking, perhaps?”

Louise: “I wear Fleurs de Rocaille.”

So based on that short exchange, I had to know more about Fleurs de Rocaille.

According to Lucky Scent (my go-to site for all things perfume), Fleurs de Rocaille de Caron was created in 1933. It is a “a joyful, floral, impulsive perfume, which remains one of High Perfumery's great successes.”

Its notes, Lucky Scent states, are rose, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, Aldehyde, musk, cedar, sandalwood, oak moss.

Later in City of Sharks, Miranda attends a party where “her nose wrinkled at the unholy amalgamation of Shalimar, Joy, and Tabu.”

This isn’t the first time Stanley has used fragrance in the Miranda Corbie novels.

In City of Ghosts, Miranda worries that she is down to her last bottle of Vol de Nuit, and she knows that there will be no more shipments of the perfume until the war is over.

Vol de Nuit is an apt perfume for WWII. Produced by the house Guerlain, Vol de Nuit was created in 1933 as a tribute to flight, celebrating the novel of the same name by pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Air France. The fragrance Vol de Nuit celebrated courage, according to Guerlain.

Perfume by Kelli Stanley
Oline H. Cogdill