From the Booking Desk:

I am thrilled to welcome Jess Lourey and and Shannon Baker to BOLO Books today for a guest post.

The Five Stages of Author Grief

Jess Lourey here. Shannon Baker and I are so excited to visit Kristopher’s Raven-award-winning blog today! We’ve brought sugar cookies and lemonade (plus icy-cold gin for the realists among you), so please, sit back and let us entertain you with our shame.

Specifically, both Shannon and I were dropped by our publishers this year. Midnight Ink chose not to buy April Fools, the twelfth in my Lefty-nominated Mira James Mysteries, and Forge passed on Bitter Rain, the third in Shannon’s amazing Kate Fox mysteries (think The Good Wife meets Longmire).


How, as an author, do you survive such an ignominious fall? We know. You follow these five stages of grief (oh, and be sure to read to the end for a chance to win free copies of books no one wanted!):

Step One: Denial

Jess: Surely, they didn’t read all of my proposal for that last book. If I just show up at the acquisition editor’s house, we can straighten all this out.

Shannon: If they don’t want it, maybe another publisher will take it. It’s not dead. It’s not, it’s not! (P.S. I KNOW writers who’ve been picked up mid-series. It happens.)

Step Two: Anger

Jess: They dropped me?!? I wrote the book, I hired my own editor, I got my own blurbs, I organized my own blog tour, I created an online presence. What, was I supposed to buy all the copies, too? I drop them.

Shannon: If they would have put the resources behind me they put behind XYZ, it would have taken off. If they’d give me a chance to get established, it’d sell.

Step Three: Bargaining

Jess: Please take me back. It’s scary out here.

Shannon: They let me down the week before Bouchercon, just as book 2, Dark Signal, was released. (In fairness to them, I’d picked the timing when we submitted my book and they had a deadline to reply.) I got a chance to talk to my publisher at Bouchercon and shot them a deal to go digital. Talk about bargaining! I did not want to give up!

Step Four: Depression

Jess: I am a terrible writer. (Plan on returning to this one a bunch.)

Shannon: This is a daily thing, right? I mean, even when I had a contract I did this one.


Step Five: Acceptance

Jess: I can publish this book myself. It’s good. It’s worth it. I don’t know a whole lot about marketing, but I can learn. Mark Dawson has a well-recommended Facebook ads class, and the Kindlepreneur website plus the Kindle Boards online have a lot of great free information. Let’s see where this adventure will take me.

Shannon: Keep writing and give myself time to heal. Do some indie pubbing, venture into a different genre. Stop with the existential crisis bull hockey and keep getting better.

Bonus step: drink gin and lemonade, and keep your friends close. That includes you! Thanks for reading.


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

  • Jess Lourey newsletter sign-up (when you sign up, you’ll automatically receive a free copy of May Day, the first in Jess’ comic caper mysteries): com/KJNSXH
  • Shannon Baker newsletter sign-up (when you sign up you’ll receive a free Kate short story:

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 28: “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


Shannon 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


Jess 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