women's fiction novel

Ovidia Yu's 5 Loves and a Dud

Aunty Lee's Delights book coverToday's guest: Ovidia Yu Why we love her: Love her witty writing!

Her latest: Aunty Lee's Delights (Out September 17th!)

The scoop: This delectable and witty mystery introduces Rosie "Aunty" Lee, feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of Singapore's best-loved home-cooking restaurant

After losing her husband, Rosie Lee could have become one of Singapore's "tai tai," an idle rich lady. Instead she is building a culinary empire from her restaurant, Aunty Lee's Delights, where spicy Singaporean meals are graciously served to locals and tourists alike. But when a body is found in one of Singapore's tourist havens and one of her guests fails to show at a dinner party, Aunty Lee knows that the two events are likely connected.

The murder and disappearance throws together Aunty Lee's henpecked stepson, Mark, his social-climbing wife, Selina, a gay couple whose love is still illegal in Singapore, and an elderly Australian tourist couple whose visit may mask a deeper purpose. Investigating the murder are Police Commissioner Raja and Senior Staff Sergeant Salim, who quickly discover that Aunty Lee's sharp nose for intrigue can sniff out clues that elude law enforcers.

Wise, witty, and charming, Aunty Lee's Delights is a spicy mystery about love, friendship, and food in Singapore, where money flows freely and people of many religions and ethnicities coexist peacefully, but where tensions lurk just below the surface, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Our thoughts: We're loving mysteries lately! And Ovidia's latest is fun, funny and intriguing--leaving you guessing until the very end!

Giveaway: ONE copy. Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winner on Sunday, September 15th after 3pm PST.

Where you can read more about Ovidia: Her website, TwitterFacebook


Ovidia Yu author photoLoves

1. I love hot dessert soups. Most of them are supposed to be ‘healthy’, bringing the body’s hot and cool levels back in balance, so they come with less food-guilt than cake or ice cream. One of my favourites is barley soup simmered with gingko nuts and bean curd skin. This is the taste of my childhood memories. Little girls were told it would give us beautiful complexions. I don’t know if that’s true but it can’t hurt!

2. I love Durian. If you didn’t grow up with durian culture the smell can initially be off putting. But I really love the bitter sweet taste and the soft golden custard pillows encased in slightly stretchy golden skin. In fact some people here say that a good way to test whether a foreigner really loves you is to see how willing he or she is to taste durian!

3. I love my dogs of course. Princess and Hermione were SPCA rescue dogs. When they first came to me all they wanted to do was huddle together under the table. Now they are loving company, exercise prompts and morale boosters. It’s good to know that no matter how badly the writing is going I can make two doglets blissfully happy with a little walk—and that usually clears up my head too.

4. I love reading children’s and YA books as well as cozy mysteries and chick lit. I think that’s because they are what I encountered when I first fell in love with reading. I do read other stuff too (like I try to eat from all the major food groups I read poetry and I buy Man Booker winners with good intentions and sometimes even enjoy them)

5. And I love iPad Games like Plants vs Zombies and Castle Rush. I realise admitting this probably means I’ve lost all credibility as a mature adult but I find they work as stress therapy for me. When I’m bogged down in middle-of-plot tangles it’s very relaxing to focus on the simple task of killing zombies or yetis. I think of it as Massacre Meditation.


Shoes that look great and fit perfectly in the store but turn into cramping, blister causing monsters on my feet. (I have very broad and flat feet so maybe finding shoes that look and feel great is wishful thinking). Recently a friend who knows me well got me a lovely traditional embroidered ‘nonya kebaya’ top (which I really love) and her instructions for wearing it included, ‘not with Doc Martens’!


Thanks, Ovidia!


Every writing retreat needs a one-man band by Liz & Lisa

Our second writing retreat was last weekend in Huntington Beach, CA!

You might be wondering...why do we call it a retreat if we're holed up in a hotel room for 48 hours, ahem, working.

(Or maybe that's just our husbands!)

(And maybe we shouldn't have tweeted so many pictures of the sunset from our ocean front balcony.)

Maybe the word retreat makes us feel better because it sounds like a place you go where the words flow freely, the ideas come full force and the characters rise off the page.

(And you won't get in a knock-out-drag-out with your writing partner over a plot point.)

Here's what we do know.

50,000 words are now written for our third MS. And we're excited. Details to come soon, we promise...

And because you're always so supportive, we're giving away a $20 iTunes gift card. Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winner on Monday, February 6 after 6pm PST.

So here's what we learned. (Cause y'all know we always learn quite a bit- at these things. Most of which has very little to do with writing!)

1. You can listen to the same song on replay for forty-eight hours straight. Lisa would like to personally thank Debbie Gibson for the role she played. Who knew Lost in Your Eyes could be so inspiring! And Liz would like to thank Sarah Bareilles' for her live rendition of Gravity. (Liz's is so much cooler!)

(In Lisa's defense, Debbie was bringing her back to that mind space she needed to be in- that high-waisted jeans and Strawberry Boons mind space. We'll fill you in soon. Promise.)

2. You can survive on beef jerky for two days.

(And cheese and crackers.)

(And supermarket sushi.)

(But not rice chips- gag.)

And Lisa would just like to take this moment to thank gawd that Slim Jims were not involved this time. (See last retreat.)

3. A one-man band (with a mustache) can sound (and look) really good after a long day of writing

Fire pit. Check.

Glass of wine. Check.

One dude with a harmonica wedged between his lips, a guitar strapped across his body and a keyboard not far away- who can, and we repeat can channel Elton John-if you really listen. Check.

4. There is such a thing as service that is too good

Ring, ring. The light outside your hotel room door is flickering. Someone will be right up.

Ring, ring. We'd like to bring up two bite sized chocolates to put on your pillow.

Ring, ring. There's a guy with a mustache singing tunes down by the fire. We'll pay you to come down here.

Maybe we should've stayed at the Hampton Inn...

5. Everyone in California is gorgeous (When you live elsewhere.) Lisa had forgotten how good looking everyone is in SoCal. (Or the cold has frozen her brain and her judgement.) Either way, from the guys who parked the car to man at the front desk, every male looked like he stepped out of Surfer magazine and every woman like she just walked off a photo shoot. She especially wanted to explain to the incredibly hot and far too young for her-Abercrombie & Fitch model look-a-like- (a.k.a, the bell hop), I like men. I do, as he eyed her and Liz suspiciously as they rode up the elevator to their shared room.


Liz & Lisa