Welcome Back Jess Lourey and Shannon Baker!

Liz here, excited to welcome Jess Lourey and Shannon Baker back to the blog today on their Double Booked Tour! Take it away, ladies! 

Another “Where Do You Get Your Ideas” Blog

1973489_10152006853224135_1230466289_oWe’re back! And so happy to be here. This is Jess and Shannon returning for the Third Annual Double Booked Blog Tour (woot!). Thanks so much to Liz Mugavero and the rest of the Wicked Cozies for having us. We love it here, especially because you let us bring the pretzels and beer.

Mercy’s Chase, the latest in Jess’ feminist thriller series that Lee Child calls “highly-Mercy's Chase hiresrecommended,” will be released in FOUR days! Shannon’s newest page-turner in the Kate Fox mysteries, Bitter Rain, is only a week old. Get it while it’s hot!

Make sure to read to the end of this blog post for a chance to win a signed copy of both.

Shannon: I loved Salem’s Cipher, the first in this series that was released in 2016. The premise of that book was, as they say, ripped from the headlines and involved a female presidential candidate. I guess it’s no secret where that inspiration came from. Tell us a little about Mercy’s Chase and how you came up with the idea for that plot.

Jess: Thanks, Shannon! I loved Salem’s Cipher, too, and so when my publisher asked for the sequel, I was thrilled to leap back into that world of intrigue, conspiracy, and puzzles. The premise of the series is that Salem Wiley, a world-famous cryptanalyst, discovers that women throughout history have been hiding secrets and treasures in coded scavenger hunts to protect them from The Order, a group of men hellbent on keeping women down.

To decide which secrets to write about in Mercy’s Chase, I looked at a globe and decided where I wanted to research. (Seriously. Sometimes this job is the best.) I decided I wanted to head to Ireland, England, and Scotland, and so I booked the trip (to coincide with my honeymoon; hello tax write-off) and began researching ancient feminine mysteries in those regions. I booked tours around them, and eventually built the book around the possibility that Stonehenge was built by women thousands of years ago to pass a message to us today, through time.

Below is a photo of my husband (he still had that fresh husband smell) inside of Stonehenge:

Jess Stonehenge

Shannon, please tell us where you got the idea for the latest Kate. I can’t wait to hang out with her again!

BitterRain_CVR (1)Shannon: (I love the pic, Jess. It’s during that bangs phase you went through!) While the Kate Fox books have a fair amount of humor (at least I hope so) the plot for Bitter Rain is, well, a little more bitter. Not far from where I lived in the Nebraska Sandhills, the Pine Ridge Reservation straddles the NE/South Dakota state line. The horrendous problems of poverty, alcoholism, and gang violence are largely ignored by the ranchers going about their daily business. I was compelled to send Kate up there. Against the wishes of the other sheriffs in her four-county co-op, Kate hires a Lakota Sioux man as their shared deputy. When his sister goes missing, Kate investigates.

I found it difficult to write about such bleak conditions and not drown the reader in sadness. I think Anne Hillerman does a deft job balancing the realities of rez life with humanity of her characters. To add a bit of levity, I added another element. About the time I started thinking of Kate’s third adventure, my husband was busy installing a 3000 gallon water storage tank and a big-ass generator in our backyard. Although he wasn’t constructing tin hats and digging a fall-out shelter, he was making preparations for an EMP. He’d just read Ted Koppel’s book, Lights Out. I have only myself to blame since I bought it for him.

Anyway, all of that gave me the idea to include end-of-world preppers in my story. The Sandhills would be the perfect place to build your safe compound. And then, of course, there’s always Kate’s family to meddle in her affairs. This time, they’re set on pairing her up and taking bets on their favorite eligible bachelor.

Jess, are you one of those writers who has so many ideas flying at you you’d never have time to write them all?

Jess: Ohmygoshyes! I once had a gentleman come up to me at a signing, not to buy a book but to tell me he had a great concept for one. He’d tell me this jewel of an idea, he said, then I’d write the book, and we’d split the profits. Once I stopped laughing, I assured him I had enough of my own ideas to last me three lifetimes. I keep them in a gorgeous, gilded accordion folder because I think they deserve to be honored, even if (especially if) I never get time to write them.

Also, when a new great idea comes to me, I put out a big glass marble in my flower garden as a thank you to the story fairies. I’m not kidding!

Shannon: I’m trying not to be bitter and jealous. I’m not an idea factory. They generally come at me one at a time and then, only when I specifically ask my recalcitrant brain. I tend to work on one project at a time, too, and only when that’s done, can my brain release itself for another idea.

My latest big idea came when I read your book, Rewrite Your Life. In that, you challenged us to write about our biggest fear. For me, that is the death of one of my children. Because I wanted to write something completely different from Kate, I wrote a disturbing and dark suspense. So far, it hasn’t found a home. But the effort was worth stretching my writing wings.

I’m actually casting about for a really great idea. I cut out an article in the paper about roaming gangs of Disney fans staking turf in Disneyland and waging wars on competing gangs. Seems perfect for a cozy, but I haven’t quite embraced it, yet. I’m biding my time by writing some quick (and dirty) romances under a pen name. But if any of you have a great idea to spare, pass it my way!

Jess: Shannon, I’m honored you read that book, and I loved your dark suspense. Really, it’s a crime it hasn’t found its home YET. I know it will. It’s powerful with ache and insight. As far as great ideas, I’ll read anything you write.

My latest project, The Devil in the Dirt Basement, is out on submission (six rejections and counting). Like you, I chose to write about my deepest fear, which is having my stories taken away from me. The main character is named Cassandra, after the tragic Greek heroine who always told the truth and was never believed. After that, it’s on to something lighter for me–the final book in the funny Mira James Mysteries! Woot!

Dear reader, what would you like to see Shannon and Jess write next? Tell us in the comments below. 




We are each giving away three signed books on the Lourey/Baker Double-Booked Tour. To enter to win, sign up for our newsletter!

For every comment you make along our tour stop, you’ll get another entry in the contest. Don’t be shy; we love talking to you.


August 23: “Two Middle-aged Introverts Write a Sex Scene” on Criminal Minds

August 26: “Write What You Fear” on Writer Unboxed

August 27: “The Five Stages of Author Grief” on BOLO Books

August 29: “Tools and Tricks that Changed the Game” on Femmes Fatales

August 31: “Write a Great Scene” on Fiction University

September 2: “Author Interview” on Jess Lourey

September 4: “The Unexpected Places Authors Get Their Ideas” on Wicked Cozy Authors

September 8: “A Day in the Life of Our Characters” on Dru’s Book Musings

September 13: “Most Embarrassing Author Moment” on Jungle Red Writers

September 26: “Create an Author Persona” on The Creative Penn

TBA: “More than the Sum of Our Parts” on Career Authors


Shannon1897-4x6-webShannon Baker is author of the Kate Fox mystery series set in rural Nebraska cattle country, and the Nora Abbott mystery series, fast-paced mix of Hopi Indian mysticism, environmental issues, and murder. Now a resident of Tucson, Baker spent 20 years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. She is proud to have been chosen Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2014 and 2017 Writer of the Year.

A lover of the outdoors, she can be found backpacking in the Rockies, traipsing to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, skiing mountains and plains, kayaking lakes, hiking, cycling, and scuba diving whenever she gets the chance. Arizona sunsets notwithstanding, Baker is, and always will be, a Nebraska Husker. Go Big Red. Visit Shannon at www.Shannon-Baker.com.

smiling close upJess Lourey (rhymes with “dowry”) is an Anthony, Lefty, and Agatha-nominated author best known for her critically-acclaimed Mira James Mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing “a splendid mix of humor and suspense.” She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a regular Psychology Today blogger, and a sought-after workshop leader and keynote speaker who delivered the 2016 “Rewrite Your Life” TEDx Talk. Mercy’s Chase, the second in the feminist thriller series Lee Child calls “highly recommended,” releases September 8. You can find out more at www.jessicalourey.com.

29 Thoughts

  1. Both of your new releases sound wonderful! I’m like Shannon in that I don’t have an overabundance of ideas. That said, sometimes I get several in a row, then promptly forget all of them when I actually need them. As far as what you both should write next, my vote is on more mystery and/or suspense novels. Sorry, Shannon. I know you’ve ventured into romance territory, but that isn’t my thing. I do think it’s great you don’t feel boxed into a certain genre though, and your dark suspense sounds intriguing!

  2. The picture of you and your new husband is missing in my issue of the Wickeds… Mercy’s Chase is on hold at my library!

    1. Thank you for (planning on) reading Mercy’s Chase, Gram! Edith will get that photo up soon. It is in my bangs phase. I do not want to go back to that phase.

  3. Congratulations to you both! The new books sound fascinating. I’m like Jess – there will never in the universe be enough time for me to write all the ideas I have. ;^) (I’ll go see if I can find that picture and stick in in for you.)

  4. Thanks so much for including The Wickeds on your tour! I sort of hemorrhage ideas too, Jess! It is a great problem to have! As to suggestions for your next project, what about a joint project? The two of you seem to work well together. It might be fun!

    1. Other Jessie, I have actually thought about writing with Shannon. Obviously we do it on blog tour, and it IS a lot of fun. Hmmmm….Shannon, let’s talk about it next fall by the pool when I’m in town for Desert Sleuths, yes? And thank you, Jessie, and all The Wickeds for letting us stop by your bang-up blog!

  5. Dear lord, you Wickeds get up early! Of course, I’m on Pacific time and most of you are Eastern or Central. It’s good to be back here. I suppose a goodly portion of you are packing for Bouchercon. I’ll be heading to Denver for Colorado Gold. Have a grand time!

  6. Welcome back! I think you two should do a book — you have great voices that feed off each other! Where can I buy a copy? Congratulations to you both and I can’t wait to read both books!

  7. Morning darlin’s. Shannon, BITTER RAIN is in my TBR pile. Jessie, MERCY’S CHASE has been ordered for eons. Both are coming to England with me next week. I hope they enjoy the flight.


  8. Welcome, Jess & Shannon. It’s so great to have you here on the Wickeds. I’m more like Shannon–not an idea factory. And I get too attached. Once an idea is there it will find expression somehow–novel, novella, short story, blog post–something.

    1. It’s kind of like selling a house. You only need one buyer to make the deal. I guess I only need one idea at a time. As long as I get at least one!

  9. I got hooked on Shannon books when she visited North Platte Nebraska Library in 2014. Jess is a new author for me. My vote would be for more mysteries.

  10. After today’s posts, what you write next has to be about husbands. Jess, believe me, after nearly 50 years of marriage that new husband smell has changed. And Shannon, there must a story there in that 3000-gallon and generator. Thanks for another fun morning.

  11. Great post you two! I ‘m looking forward to Mira’s new adventure, Jess! I get tons of half-baked ideas, then strain my brain trying to figure out how to make them work in a plot.:)

  12. You betcha, Mark! Thanks for leaving a comment. And Vickie, cheers to brain strain!

  13. Thanks for letting me know about your writing process. My friends ask me, where do I get my ideas for poetry? I tell them everywhere especially when out in nature or hearing the phrasing in nature, by water, hearing songs,reading Shakespeare. Most of the time the ideas hit whilst I driving, so I keep repeating the phrase until it’s safe to pull over or at a stoplight, if my pen’s handy.

Comments are closed.