Lourey/Baker Double Booked Tour
Howdy and thanks for letting us crash at your place today. I’m Shannon Baker and this is my good friend and partner in blogging crime, Jess Lourey. Jess and I discovered we had books launching the same day (September 6 and both available for preorder) and since we were both going out on the virtual road, thought it might be fun to go together. Ergo, the Lourey/Baker Double Booked Tour.
Jess’s thriller, Salem’s Cipher (Midnight Ink) features agoraphobic cryptanalyst Salem Wiley, who finds herself both target and detective in a modern day witch hunt.
Shannon’s debut in the Kate Fox mystery series is Stripped Bare (Forge). It’s been called Longmire meets The Good Wife.
We’re coming to the end of this month-long prelaunch blog tour that seemed like a really good idea when we hatched it. It has been lots of fun getting around to blogs, meeting readers, and especially hanging out with Jess. We’ve talked a lot about books and writing craft and revealed way more about ourselves than is prudent. So today, even though we don’t write cozies, I thought we’d talk cooking and what our characters would or wouldn’t create in their kitchens.
Shannon here: Kate is the queen of the crock pot. She’s good with sandwiches and not too bad at canned soup. It isn’t that she can’t cook, it’s that she’s always been too darned busy to bother.
She grew up in the smallest of small towns in the Nebraska Sandhills, smack in the middle of nine kids. Her older sister, Louise, is the ultimate caretaker and she loves to cook. She’s a lot like my ex mother-in-law. She pages through magazines and newspapers and is always tearing out recipes. But because she lives in a town with a grocery store the size of a phone booth, she can’t always get the ingredients called for. She’s forever substituting. Beef for veal. Chili powder for paprika. Makes for interesting meals.
Kate went from there to managing a ranch without a ranch hand. A package of Lipton onion soup and a chuck roast into the crock pot before heading out for chores, turns into a hearty dinner at noon. Yes, noon. That’s when ranchers eat their big meal.
Kate often spends her evenings alone, since her not-so-devoted husband gets home late more often than not. Usually, he’s got a good excuse, though Kate avoids checking up on him. So in honor of our feisty heroine for whom cooking is an afterthought at best, here is chocolate microwave mug cake.
Jess: what would agoraphobic Salem cook?
Jess here, and crap! Can you believe I never even thought about what Salem Wiley would cook? It’s funny because I am passionate about gardening, and growing my own veggies and herbs leads naturally to baking fresh rosemary bread and cooking bubbling minestrones and grilling marinated vegetables. Mira James, the protagonist of my humorous Murder by Month mysteries, got all my gardening and culinary talents. I’ve apparently left my agoraphobic cryptanalyst to starve in her apartment.
Wait, she does get donuts delivered, and she most definitely appreciates good food. Here’s a peek of when she first tastes savory quail egg soup in San Francisco’s Chinatown after days on the run:
She carried the steaming pot from the stove and poured savory broth and plump shrimp into each of their bowls. Moving to the fridge, she took out a tray of tiny blue quail eggs and cracked two in each of their soups. The hot broth poached the whites immediately, turning them milky. Finally, she drizzled lime juice over the top and stood back.
Salem wasn’t sure whether to dig in. She didn’t want to get swatted again.
“Eat!” Lu yelled. She settled into a chair across from them, smiling like a proud mother as the two women slurped the soup. “Good, eh? Real food here.”
It was better than good. It was heaven. The broth flowed into Salem’s depths, filling her with warmth, the citrus-scented chicken broth as sweet and glowing as the sun. When Salem bit into one of one of quail eggs, the rich, creamy yolk added an impossibly lush layer to the already complex flavors. She could tell the way that Bel was chewing, her eyes closed in ecstasy, that she had just tried one of the eggs in her own soup.
In case that soup sounds as good to you as it does to me, I’ve included the recipe below. Thank you for hanging out with us today!
A bit about the 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 your favorite recipe (a link or title, not the whole thing), or leave a comment.
And to add a little sweetener to the recipe:
If you order Salem’s Cipher before September 6, 2016, you are invited to forward your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com to receive a Kate Fox short story and be entered for a book gift basket mailed to your home.
Chocolate Mug Cake
3 T milk
3 T oil
1/4 C flour
1/3 C sugar
2 T cocoa
Spray large mug with oil, and pour in batter
top with 3 T Chocolate chips
Microwave on high for 3 to 3.5 min
Enjoy late at night in your PJs
Savory Quail Egg Soup
8 cups chicken broth
2 T sesame oil
1 small onion, diced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 T minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of three limes
12 fresh quail eggs
Fresh cilantro and a fourth lime for garnish
Crack all 12 quail eggs into a separate bowl. Heat sesame oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Sautee onion until soft. Add garlic and ginger and sauté one more minute, stirring constantly so it doesn’t brown. Add shrimp and salt and pepper to taste, stirring occasionally, until shrimp is pink, about 2-3 minutes. In a separate stock pot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Stir in the juice of three limes and the fish sauce and salt to taste. Stir in shrimp, onion, garlic, and ginger mixture. Scoop into bowls, dropping two quail eggs (yolk and white) into each of six bowls, covering the egg with hot broth so it cooks. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
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.” She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft’s 2014 Excellence in Teaching fellowship, and leads interactive writing workshops all over the world. Salem’s Cipher, the first in her thrilling Witch Hunt Series, hits stores September 2016. Visit Jess at http://jessicalourey.com/
Shannon Baker writes the Kate Fox mystery series (Tor/Forge). Stripped Bare, the first in the series, features a sheriff in rural Nebraska and has been called Longmire meets The Good Wife. Baker also writes the Nora Abbott Mystery Series (Midnight Ink), a fast-paced mix of murder, environmental issues and Hopi Indians published by Midnight Ink. Baker was voted Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2104 Writer of the Year. She writes from the Colorado Rockies to the Nebraska Sandhills, the peaks of Flagstaff and the deserts of Tucson. Visit Shannon at Shannon-Baker.com