Inherit The Word“Off, kitty. Tigger, off!”

How is a girl supposed to get any work done when a darling ginger cat is trying to lick the nail polish off her toes? Serves me right for preferring flip-flops to tennis shoes.

Hi, I’m Jenna Hart. I used to be an ad executive in San Francisco, but I recently moved back to Crystal Cove, a fabulous town on the coast of California, to help my aunt open and run a culinary book shop and café. We call the shop The Cookbook Nook. The café is called The Nook Café—that was a given.

Today, I’ve got so much to do. My best friend and right hand in the shop, Bailey, just told me that she put in our name to host the town’s Grill Fest competition. The restaurant that used to host the event is going out of business. So sad! But good for us. We already do cooking classes and such in the shop—which is the most darling place, if I may say so myself. We sell cookbooks, food fiction, and colorful culinary items like saltshakers and peppermills, spatulas, and adorable aprons! I had no idea there was so much fun to be had. I’m a foodie, but I’m not a cook, though I’m learning daily. My aunt and pals (one of whom is the chef for our delectable café) are teaching me. I never learned as a girl. My mother did all the cooking when I was growing up. I had no interest. Now, I do. For the meantime, I’m happy making 5-10 ingredient recipes, but I want to become a gourmet chef, though I know it could take me years. FYI, one of my favorites to make is a dump cake. Everything goes into the bowl at once. How hard is that?

kitty“Ow! Off, Tigger.”

I met my sweet kitten a day or so before we opened. He walked into the shop, did a few tricks to win my heart, and he’s been with me ever since. He loves to play!

But back to today’s events. Did I mention the Grill Fest will feature grilled cheese sandwiches? I can’t wait to see what recipes the contestants will concoct. I adore grilled cheese. Yum! We’re prepping the store by rearranging all the displays. We’ve ordered dozens of grilled cheese books and other grilling books. And we’re preparing for a bit of drama. The eight-time champion of the competition, a woman who runs a local diner called Mum’s the Word, will face off with the same woman who was runner-up last year. The two got into a spatula fight that went viral on YouTube! What will happen this year is anyone’s guess! Ah, there’s nothing like living in a small town. San Francisco was a too big for me after my husband died…that’s a story that would take too long to get into right now.

Say, have you ever watched a food competition? Do you watch cooking shows? I love those!

You can read more about Jenna and her family and friends in Inherit The Word, the second in the nationally bestselling “Cookbook Nook” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is Final Sentence. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on March 7, and you will be entered for a chance to win a choice of either Books 1-4 in the “Cheese Shop” series or Final Sentence, the first book in the “Cookbook Nook” series. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
Two names, two authors, two series, and two books coming out in the next two months. DARYL WOOD GERBER is Averyalso AVERY AAMES. As DARYL, she writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mystery series. As AVERY, she pens the Agatha Award-winning, nationally bestselling Cheese Shop Mystery series. Daryl’s short stories have been nominated for the Agatha, Anthony, and other awards. Fun tidbit: as an actress, Daryl has appeared in “Murder, She Wrote” and more. Visit Daryl and Avery at Check out recipes on her blog Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen and friend her on Facebook.

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