by Barb, loving being back in Maine
Devon Delaney’s cozy, culinary mystery Expiration Date releases on April 24, (my anniversary!). I recently met Devon at the Kensington Cozy-con here in Portland and learned about her amazing success at a fascinating hobby–cooking contesting.
Devon is giving away a copy of Expiration Date to one lucky commenter below.
Take it away, Devon!
If someone had told me my life’s journey would lead me from teaching computer education and Lego Robotics to cooking contesting, then on to writing cozy murder mysteries I would have had a much easier time convincing my father the money he invested in my liberal arts college degree was money well spent. Admittedly, cooking contesting isn’t a degree offered in any schools I’m aware of, but the highly successful twenty years I’ve been involved in the hobby is an education in of itself.
Making the leap from competing in cook-off contests to authoring a cozy murder mystery series may not make sense to most, but to me it’s a perfect evolution of my beloved hobby. In the dictionary the definition of contest is battle, contend and compete. The cooking contests I compete in have taken me from coast to coast. At each venue I meet the most wonderful home cooks. But I never mistake my fellow competitor’s outward warmth as a weakness. Each wants to crush me and every other contestant to get that grand prize. Even though I have yet to encounter a murder at one of my cook-offs, my powers of observation have tuned in to a few salty scenarios when battles got heated. The notion of how far events could escalate occurred to me one day when a friend casually remarked, “I’d kill to be able to cook like you.” A series was born.
That being said, the main character in my series, Sherry, is a compilation of myself and other cooks I know. She is flawed. She finds herself in situations she doesn’t necessarily wish to be in. She makes the most out of the unusual talents she isn’t fully aware she possesses. I might have a more comedic, and probably inappropriate, approach to life’s serious moments than Sherry, but I have hopes she’ll loosen up as she realizes she can’t control every aspect of her life despite her efforts to do just that. Like me, she has her fingers in many pies. From canning her own produce to working at her family’s hooked rug store her day is a busy one, but her favorite pursuit remains battling in cook-offs showcasing her best recipe.
In the meantime, Sherry continues to cook and compete, flourishing with each victory. Her new and unintentional hobby as amateur sleuth lands her in some very precarious situations that only her experience in the contest kitchen could have prepared her for.
I am a wife, mother of three, accomplished cooking contester and a recent empty nester. I taught computer education and Lego Robotics for over ten years prior to pursuing writing. Along the way I have been handsomely rewarded for my recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years. Among the many prizes I have won are a full kitchen of major appliances, six-figure top cash prizes and four trips to Disney World. I have also won the grand prize in a national writing contest for my ‘foodie’ poem “Ode to Pork Passion.” Combining my beloved cooking contesting with my enthusiasm for writing was inevitable. My author website can be found at: www.devonpdelaney.com
Expiration Date, A Cook-Off Mystery
Sherry Frazzelle lives a busy life in her quaint coastal Connecticut town. Her passion is competitive cooking and she has the trophies to prove how serious she is when she cooks for a prize. When her prepared pork tenderloin dish is the last food a contest judge tastes before he expires, she must put aside her spatula long enough to clear her good name and find the killer before he strikes again. The deeper her involvement in the investigation, the higher the heat soars in the contest kitchen. Will the competition become so unsavory, she isn’t able to get herself off the chopping block?
Readers: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Expiration Date. Did you know competitive cooking was a thing? (I mean aside from Top Chef and the Food Network.) Would you like to try it? Doesn’t the world of cooking contesting sound like ripe ground for a cozy mystery series? Or just say “hi” for a chance to win.
Cooking is NOT my forte. But reading (and now writing) cozy mysteries is a great past-time. I admire your multi skilled passions. I would love a copy of your new book.
Don’t give up on cooking. Its a great stress reliever if you have no time constraints and a plan in mind. I just choose to make it a competition which certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I hope you enjoy the books if you get a chance to read them.
I like watching the cooking contests on TV, but I wasn’t aware that there is a cooking contest circuit for home cooks. “Expiration Date” sounds like a great start to a new series. Looking forward to reading.
Thank you! Yes, there are a few contests that occur annually so I do see familiar faces often. Many new contests pop up while others fade away. It’s an advertisement for the sponsors product and the contestants provide them with recipes and consumer input while we go about our contesting. Hope you enjoy the books.
I didn’t really cook until my mother died about ten years ago since I lived with her. She was a wonderful cook and an even better baker. I love cooking but I’m not as good at baking. I keep trying. Congratulations on the new series.
That’s amazing because my mother was terrible cook, which is why I began experimenting in the kitchen at a very early age. I do still give a nod to the very few dishes my mother cooked but I have put the Devon spin on them. I appreciate her efforts even if it wasn’t her forte. So happy you love to cook like your mother.
I hear about quite a few cooking contests on our local tv and radio stations so I guess I knew that there are a lot of them. Thanks for your contest or a book—I’m a better reader than I am a cook.
You are welcome. Yes, there are lots of cooking contests if you look hard enough. I enter maybe 4-7 times a year now that I’m trying my hand at writing. I still love it!
Look forward to reading this new series. I know about food competitions and love watching shows about them but I’ve never competed in one.
Thank you! Try a competition one day. Who knows? It may be your thing!
I’m in Ct. also. Do you do any cooking for restaurants? I’d like to go and taste your cooking. I must be great!
Oh wow! I do not cook for restaurants. It’s really only my hobby because if you are paid to cook you lose your amateur status and can’t compete in most contests. If I’m in another cook-off I’ll try to make it public! Thank you!
I meant ‘it’ must be great. (proofread proofread) Aargh
Can’t wait to read your book. Love cooking but don’t know how you come up with unique recipes and under time constraints. Good luck with writing and look forward to being entertained!
I only know about the cooking contests that I see on tv. I know there are a lot of them for sure. I am not good enough, but would not mind eating their entries, lol. Thanks for the chance to win.
They are very exciting to watch and to participate in! And yes, I always enjoy sampling everyone’s food, which we are allowed to do with contestants leftovers.
What fun! I’ll have to pick up the book … I love the background you’ve shared here. Thanks!
Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy th book and the details of cooking competitions I tuck in the mystery.
Competitive cooking is not my thing but I’d love the book 🙂
Sounds like a great read!
I don’t think I’d win anything in a food competition. My food’s rather ordinary. But I do have a few favorites that people seem to really like. And I have to admit that I LOVE pork!!
This book sounds awesome. Thank you for the chance.
What a great sounding book! I’m not much of a cook but I love cozies that have cooking in them. Thanks for the chance to win.
Honest…I love to cook…baking, mains, sides…the works. However, I wouldn’t want to cook in a competitive arena. I just like family and guests to enjoy their food and the time we spend together. I clean up as I go but I’d compete if the prize from the contests was someone to do the clean up!
With all that said, what I’d really like to win is a copy of this book!
I love to watch competitive cooking shows, but I would never be a contestant!!
I like to watch the kids’ cooking shows.I am in awe of what they can do. I also love Worst Cooks in America. I think I fall in that category. (or close). Congrats on your book. I look forward to reading it.
lkish77123 at gmail dot com
I love to watch those cooking shows. My new favorite is Nailed It on Netflix but I would never want to be on one.
Sounds like a good book! Definitely will have to check it out!
I could never win a cooking competition, but I’d love to watch one! firstname.lastname@example.org
Devon, what a fascinating path you’ve uncovered from cooking contests to cozy murder books. I love it! Good food and good books are the stuff of a good life! Thank you for your recent comment on my parent’s wedding pic It feels great to reconnect with you 😊. Best, Jenny
I truly want to get your book as I entered MANY competitive food/cooking/baking contests years ago. I won many of them but never won anything like yours with kitchens, trips or etc. !!!! Congrats on all your wins and your book writing career as well. Sounds great.
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