Welcome Author Devon Delaney and a bonus recipe

A Wicked welcome to author Devon Delaney. She’s here with her book Murder for Good Measure, the seventh book in her Cook-Off Mystery series. The book was released in paperback and ebook formats on September 13.

Devon, who participates in cooking contests in real life, has included a bonus recipe for Bon Vivant Mushroom and Chicken Crepes with her post below.

Take it away, Devon!

A New Audience

(plus – bonus winning recipe!)

There are many tasks that go along with being the author of published books. Most are associated with promoting your book to the demographic most likely to read it. Recently my ability to stretch my audience reach was tested when I was invited to speak to seventh and eighth graders at the grade school I attended from kindergarten through ninth. Their book fair week hosted authors with school connections. The school librarian who arranged the talk was very interested in having me to share the role recipe contests played in inspiring my plots. I eagerly accepted the invitation.

As I prepared my talk, though, I realized these young adults may have no interest at all in the story of a woman, a bit younger than their own mothers, with a passion for cooking, who solves a murder. Pre-teens weren’t my books’ intended audience and I began to worry I had signed up for a talk doomed to failure. I had to find an angle that would capture my unlikely audience’s attention and hold it for forty-five minutes. I had to establish a connection.

This age group loves jolts of immediate gratification, so I focused on my cooking win highlights. I wanted to get my main point across how writing winning recipes, something I’d done successfully for years, is a lot like writing a book, while keeping the entertainment factor steady. I hit my young audience with points to ponder. A book with a catchy title is like a well-named recipe. A winning recipe that catches the judge’s eye must have a tasty title to peak initial interest. For example, I won $40,000 with a recipe titled Ranch Steak Bruschetta Salad. Four words that gave the judges a very good idea what my recipe was about, how it was going to taste and why it was different and more interesting than all the other recipes in the contest. Timing photos of the cookoff action, cover of my latest book, and winning cookoff recipe overhead on a huge seen punctuated my words.

Devon Delaney displays her winnings

The kids liked photos of me with various celebrities during cookoffs, such as Guy Fieri and Kelly Ripa, a lot. Maybe I was a little cool in their eyes. Relieved the faces in the audience were beaming with curiosity, I tiptoed into the teaching zone, as I was one by profession for many years. I shared insight into what it took to acquire an agent and a publishing contract which may have glazed over a few eyes. To draw the lost back in, I emphasized my love of writing picked up in first grade at the very same school they were attending, when each student was asked to put together a captioned picture book of our families. Many nodding heads let me know the same assignment was still a requirement. Connections made!

 I wrapped up my talk by sharing my cooking competition series hook which they thought was amusing. Cooking competitions can bring out the best and worst in their participants. If the components get too heated, too spicy or too overdone, bad behavior may be the only thing served up and that is never an easy thing to swallow.  

Success! I had more to share so I hope I’m invited back next year. Share your wisdom, authors. Turns out the nex-gen are an eager audience!

Readers: Have you ever been challenged with a task you were certain you’d fail at and, low and behold, you slayed it? If so, would you like to briefly share?

Bonus recipe:

I won the National Mushroom Cookoff with this recipe:

Bon Vivant Mushroom and Chicken Crepes

Serves 4-6


2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons, divided use, more if needed for making crepes

1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut in thin strips

2 teaspoons sea salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, divided use

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus 1 tablespoon, divided use

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

16 oz. Crimini mushrooms, sliced thin

1 tablespoon apricot preserves

1 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped or 3/4 teaspoon, dried

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 whole large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

5 ounce garlic and herb spreadable cheese, such as Boursin


Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with 2 teaspoons sea salt. Add the chicken and 2-tablespoons lemon juice cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken to a plate. Maintaining heat add 2-tablespoons butter,  Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon sea salt and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for 8 minutes, stirring often. Reserve 1/2 cup of mushrooms in the skillet and combine remaining mushrooms with the chicken on the plate.

Maintaining skillet heat, add the apricot preserves to the skillet with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and tarragon. Stir until preserves are melted and coat the mushrooms. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in milk, eggs and 1-tablespoon butter until well combined. Let batter rest for 5 -10 minutes.

Prepare crepes by melting 1/2-tablespoon butter in a 9-in. heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir crepe batter; pour 3 tablespoons into center of skillet. Lift and tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook until top appears dry. Dot 2 tablespoons Boursin down one-third of crepe and top with a layer of chicken and mushroom blend and fold in each side to cover filling. Remove each crepe to a serving plate as its prepared.  Add butter to skillet for each crepe preparation, as needed.

Prepare 4-6 crepes and top each with apricot-tarragon glazed mushrooms.

Serve warm. Enjoy!

About the book

When successful cooking contester, Sherry Oliveri’s, neighbor’s Irish nanny is found dead and the last person to see her alive was Sherry’s brother’s food truck cook, what is a girl to do but solve the murder. With the help of an Irish myth and great cooking Sherry sorts out clues while navigating twists and turns to reveal not only the murderer but an incredible happenstance she never saw coming.

Books available at:




About Devon

Author Devon Delaney

Devon Delaney has been handsomely rewarded for her recipe innovation over the last twenty-plus years at cookoffs and in recipe contests. Among the many prizes she has won are a full kitchen of major appliances, five-figure top cash prizes, and four trips to Disney World. She is a wife, mother of three, and grandmother of two. She’s a lifelong resident of the Northeast and currently resides in coastal Connecticut.

You can learn more about Devon at www.devonpdelaney.com.

26 Thoughts

  1. Wow, congratulations on your cook off win. I entered my small towns bake off years ago. I made death by chocolate brownie bars and came in second place. I was shocked I made it that far, LOL.

  2. Mmm, I love crepes! I tiled a hearth for a wood stove as well as a kitchen backsplash. I always thought it looked so hard – but it wasn’t.

  3. Welcome back and congratulations on the new book. I did a talk pre-zoom over some system with fifth graders in four different classes in Florida. I was terrified but it was a delight. The teacher had them write out questions before the sessions and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

    1. Thanks, Sherry. Good to be back. It was fun and I did sweat. Seeing each face was scary but I survived and I’d like to do it again.

  4. Congrats on your win, Devon! The Bon Vivant Mushroom and Chicken Crepes sound scrumptious 🙂

  5. I can definitely see why that would be a challenge, but it sounds like you rose to the occasion quite successfully.

  6. Congratulations! I remember doing a presentation at a conference for the first time. I was very nervous but received very positive feedback afterwards.

  7. Excellent thoughts on connecting with younger readers and writers. I’m impressed! It’s not the easiest thing in the world for those of us who don’t teach in an elementary school. Your approach makes sense, and I’m happy for you that it worked out so well. Also…that crepe recipe. Yum!

  8. When I was teaching in Brownsville, Texas to mostly Hispanic students, several of us English teachers were invited to do a presentation on getting students to write science fiction fantasy short stories. I had never done a presentation in front of anyone but my students and it is really hard to face your peers and try to keep them interested and get them to be involved. Somehow, we did it and my part went over well.

  9. This was many years ago now, but having traveled to Peru 27 times, I felt I was knowledgeable enough to do slide shows/lectures. And I did loads of them over several years. I got invited to speak to the World Affairs Council in Boston. Most of the participants that day where from Latin or South America, many from Peru. It’s the only time I ever got nervous. How was I supposed to talk to people who were from the place I was supposedly the “expert” on? What if I got a fact wrong, or innocently said something insensitive? However, it all worked very well and the people were very happy with what I had to say. It turns out that most of them hadn’t seen a fraction of their country that I had and that I truly did know a lot more about it than they did.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing. Congratulations on your win. We picked up a mouse puppet. As my husband started working with the puppet, he wanted to name the puppet. He came up with Moose the Church Mouse. He brought the puppet to church. The kids loved him. We ended up doing a puppet ministry where I would write the skits for he and the Moose to perform. It would be based on Bible stories after his introduction. The kids and the adults loved him. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

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