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The Sirens of Suspense




Shannon Baker (McCook, NE) can often be found backpacking, skiing, kayaking, cycling, or just playing lizard in the desert. From the Colorado Rockies to the Nebraska Sandhills, the peaks of Flagstaff and the deserts of Tucson, landscapes play an important role in her books. She is a member of SinC, MWA, and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.  Baker was named the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers 2014 Writer of the Year.


Find Shannon on Facebook and Twitter.




Jessica (Jess) Lourey is best known for her critically-acclaimed Murder-by-Month mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing "a splendid mix of humor and suspense." Jessica also writes sword and sorcery fantasy as Albert Lea, edge-of-your-seat YA adventure as J.H. Lourey, and magical realism, literary fiction, and thrillers under her given name. She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft's 2014 Excellence in Teaching fellowship, and a sought-after workshop leader and keynote speaker who delivered the 2016 "Rewrite Your Life" TEDx Talk. When not teaching, reading, traveling, writing, or hanging out with her family, you can find her dreaming of her next story. SALEM'S CIPHER, the first book in her thrilling Witch Hunt Series, hits stores September 2016.


Find Jess on Facebook and Twitter.


item1 Double Booked Tour item1

Shannon: The Lourey/Baker Double Booked Tour was conceived in Phoenix last spring, whenJess Lourey and I discovered we had books launching on the same day, September 6. Jess is proudly presenting her thriller, Salem’s Cipher (Midnight Ink) and I’m kicking out Stripped Bare (Forge).

Thanks, Chantelle, for letting us barge in and hang with you for a day. In honor of you being from Phoenix, although I understand you now bounce back and forth to New York, and with me being a recent Tucsonian, I’ve mixed up a pitcher of mai tais. Jess, in the frozen prairies of Minnesota, drink in some liquid sunshine before the winter drops on you.

Jess: I brought Schlitz and cheese curds. Is that okay? I’m feeling marginalized.

Shannon: What is Schlitz?

Jess: A beer of my childhood, actually, one that it looks like they still make (http://schlitzbrewing.com/). The interesting thing about saying they’ve been around since 1849 is that their beer tastes like it’s been around since before the Civil War.

Shannon: That’s a nice segue to what I want to talk about, Jess, because between you and me, we’ve published 19 books, a barrel of short stories, a zillion articles, and we won’t even try to count blog posts. It’s safe to say that writing is a big part of our lives. So I want to talk about not-writing today. Things I love to do when not writing (supposing writing is something I love to do, which is not always the case.)

*slurping my ice cold mai tai* One version of my bio says I love the outdoors, cycling, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, skiing, and scuba. And I do love all of that. We take a scuba trip every year, two if we can swing it – always tropical. I’ve backpacked for several days in the Grand Canyon or in the Colorado Rockies and take day hikes every chance I get.

But let’s be honest, one of my favorite things is to sit by the pool and sip cerveza, or gin and tonic, or margaritas, or… you get the idea. There is nothing like a stolen afternoon in the sunshine and a pleasant buzz, talking and laughing with my favorite drinking buddy, who fortunately, is my husband.

Jess: That sounds absolutely lovely. Not drinking with your husband, necessarily (though I met him, and he’s wonderful, despite you trying to scare him off with that bear fart early in the relationship), but drinking away the afternoon in the sunshine. Who am I kidding? The sun doesn’t even need to be shining. As long as my kids are at school, I’m golden.

Shannon: That bear fart story was between you and me, Jess. I have two daughters and, sadly, they live a long way away from me, one in Omaha, the other in Portland, OR. Getting together with them whenever possible is a delight. They are so funny my sides hurt when I’m with them very long. When we can’t see each other in real life, I do love phone calls.

Jess: My daughter is going away to college in Chicago this fall. I already miss her. Speaking of funny, she’s going for a degree in comedy writing. I’ll still have my son around the house. He’s 14 and 6’2”, for the love of betsy. I also have Juni, my boxer, who we brought home in 2007. Before I met her, I specifically chose her breed because their life span was about as long as my kids would still be living at home and could walk her. Now that I know her, I can’t imagine life without her. I love that goofball.

Shannon: We have this crazy dog. Jezebel the Weimaraner. She’s just over a year old but they tell me this breed stays a puppy for five years. We wanted a high-energy dog to hike and run with, but totally overshot the mark. Jezebel gets a run on the desert every day. We log five miles but I’m sure she does ten or fifteen, and that takes her down to a livable level. Still, she makes me giggle and helps drag me out of my head, which I’m sure saves on therapy costs.

Jess: “This breed stays a puppy for five years.” That’s what they told me when we got Juni. I think it means we look gullible. I agree on dogs being sweeties, though, who pull us out of our heads and make us giggle.

Hey, we can’t leave Chantelle’s beautiful blog without discussing Sharknado specifically and SyFy channel movies in general, right? Let me be clear: I love Sharknado, and I love Chantelle. I also aspire to write a craptastic SyFy original screenplay, maybe more than one. But the one that is burning through my fingertips is called Hog! (The exclamation point is part of the title. Thanks, Simon Wood).

The logline: A chunky coed and an awkward scientist are the last line of defense against a wildly contagious factory farm-incubated virus that mutates its victims into cannibalistic human hogs.


Shannon, if you wrote a SyFy channel screenplay, what would it be called, and what would it be about?

Shannon: Jeez, Jess. Your brain goes out for recess and runs wild. Mine huddles at the teacher’s feet until we can go back inside. My SyFy movie is called DEADline. A middle-aged woman with an overdue dye job is attacked by a category 4 plot disaster, swirling with cows, upended trains, and lots and lots of manure.

Wow! It sounds like we have a lot of writing to do. We better get back to it. Thank you, Chantelle, for hosting us, and thank you, readers, for your eye time!

A bit about our books:

Salem’s Cipher: Salem Wiley is a genius cryptanalyst, courted by the world's top security agencies ever since her quantum computing breakthrough. She's also an agoraphobe shackled to a narrow routine since her father's suicide. When her intelligence work unexpectedly exposes a sinister plot to assassinate the country's first viable female presidential candidate, Salem finds herself both target and detective in a modern day witch hunt. Drawn into a labyrinth of messages encrypted by Emily Dickinson and codes tucked inside the Beale Cipher a hundred years earlier, Salem begins to uncover the truth: an ancient and ruthless group is hell-bent on ruling the world, and only a select group of women stands in its way.

Stripped Bare: Just when everything seems about perfect, someone leaves the barn door open and all hell breaks loose. At least, that’s what it feels like for Kate Fox. Born and raised in the Nebraska Sandhills, smack in the middle of eight interfering siblings, related to everyone in the county by one degree of separation or less, Kate’s managed to create a her perfect life.

A shattering phone calls hits Kate like a January blizzard. A local rancher is murdered and her husband, the sheriff, is shot. When her husband is suspected of the murder, Kate vows to find the killer.

Jess and I are both giving away a copy of our new books, Salem’s Cipher and Stripped Bare. For a chance to win, tell us what you do for fun, the name of your future SyFy original screenplay, or leave a comment.

And just in case you’re in for more giveaway fun:

If you order Salem's Cipher before September 6, 2016, you are invited to forward your receipt to salemscipher@gmail.com to receive a Salem short story and to be automatically entered in a drawing to win a 50-book gift basket mailed to the winner's home!

If you order Stripped Bare before September 6, 2016, you are invited to forward your receipt to katefoxstrippedbare@gmail.com to receive a Kate Fox short story and be entered for a book gift basket mailed to your home.

Join us Wednesday, Aug. 3, for a chat with the effervescent Pam Stack on Authors on the Air, 9 PM Eastern. On Thursday we’re off to Stiletto Gang and Friday dropping in with the Mysteristas.






WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE BAD MOVIE? TELL US or leave a comment on the blog below or on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a copy of both SALEM'S CIPHER AND STRIPPED BARE! (US entrants only, please.)



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