Back to the Good Fortune Diner

Back to the Good Fortune Diner
Back to the Good Fortune Diner

It's always nice to hear good things about your book a year after it's been published. I love Sarah for talking about BTTGFD so much, and selling it to New York Times bestselling author and X-Men and Marvel universe writer Marjorie M. Liu, an author I've admired for a long time.

Marjorie and Sarah talk about some awesome stuff, including what it's like to be a woman of color writer. I fully agree with what she has to say. You can read the transcript here. You can also listen to the podcast here.

An excerpt:

Marjorie: You’re killing me. The description of it, like, the way you describe this book sounds amazing.

Sarah: I thought it was so great.

Marjorie: That is a total must-read.

ENDORSEMENT FROM MARJORIE M. LIU, YOU GUYS. And she hasn't even read it!

And further:

Sarah: ....The thing about Superromance is that often I think they, the writers are encouraged to pack as much as humanly possible into these little tiny books, and so sometimes there’s so many big issues that they can’t reconcile all of them, but the fact that they brought them up in the first place, I’m just like, this is great! Please feel free to rip my heart out and hand it to me –

Marjorie: See, I –

Sarah: - it’s totally fine!

Marjorie: I have to tell you, like, just your base description of this book sounds like it would be, like, if, if it was published outside Harlequin, like in some quote-unquote, like, highbrow, literary press –

Sarah: I know!

Marjorie: - people would be talking about it, like, across the nation.

Just in case...If there are any "highbrow literary presses" out there interested in a new adult fantasy set in the final days of the Wild West, you should contact my agent. 8 )

Round 1 voting started yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, I was at home with the plague and I was all

and as the day wore on I was all

Even so, in between the bouts of extreme fever, chills and aches, I was all

So I rallied the troops, spamming friends and family far and wide. And while I was all

and hoped people would be all

I was pretty sure a lot of my Twitter followers were like

As the day wore on, I stayed just behind Abby Green, with a slowly growing gap between us. By the evening, it was like

with an 11% gap between us. So I started bribing as much as I could and was all

by offering up yummy men like



And it was all Abby could do to stay awake to watch me empty my guns because she was all

and I was all

In the end, though, no amount of sexy, shirtless men could close that gap, and my illness had defeated me. I was so sick, I was pretty much all

While Abby was all

So while I was defeated, I believe, if Abby is sleep deprived today, that maybe it was a Pyrrhic victory.

Being a part of DABWAHA has been awesome, and I'm really happy to have been nominated. Thanks to everyone who voted for me and filled out a bracket. Good luck to the next round entries!

Back to the Good Fortune Diner selected as a 2014 DABWAHA finalist!

Friends, family, fans, I NEED YOUR HELP!

My 2013 book, BACK TO THE GOOD FORTUNE DINER, was nominated as a finalist for the DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors) tournament and I need your votes to help me get to the next tier of competition!

Basically, it's March Madness for romance books. I'm up against 7 other titles vying for top spot in the category romance division, with 64 titles in all. There are all kinds of prizes up for grabs, including Amazon gift cards and Kindles, so sign up and you could WIN!

DEADLINE to vote is MARCH 17, 11:59 p.m.

Follow the instructions here:

Very simply...

1. Go to THIS PAGE: 

2. Fill out your nickname, first name, last name and email address on the upper right hand corner of the chart.

3. Click on "(12) Back to the Good Fo" (right side, sixth from top in Region 3) until it fills every column up to Round 6 (it should appear in the Round 6 column twice.)

4. Fill in the rest of the chart by clicking on the titles you think will win in each round, making sure Back to the Good Fortune Diner remains in the final spot in Round 6.

5. Click on the Submit Picks button below the chart. Then tell your friends to do this, too. Because I love you all, and you are awesome.

dabwaha screen cap

If I win,

I will shower you all with gifs and smother you with eternal gratitude. It's a huge honor to be selected by these two very well-known blogs, but my goal is to CRUSH THE COMPETITION. (Smack talk is a traditional part of this tourney.)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, go to the site

Here are a few endorsement/bribes, meanwhile:

Captain Hook encourages you to vote for Back to the Good Fortune Diner and get your friends and family to vote, too!
Stephen Amell of Arrow is pumped to vote for Back to the Good Fortune Diner in DABWAHA.
Jeremy Renner will be disappointed if you don't vote for Back to the Good Fortune Diner at DABWAHA.
Benedict Cumberbatch is on his way to vote for Back tot he Good Fortune Diner on DABWAHA.


Loki Hiddleston learned the meaning of love from Back to the Good Fortune Diner. He's voting for it, too.
Idris Elba loved Back to the Good Fortune Diner and will be voting for it. That's not poor phrasing, folks.





Back to the Good Fortune Diner, Jan. 2013
Back to the Good Fortune Diner

I am so excited to be on the DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors) Category list for 2013! For those of you not familiar with the event, the posses at Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books select finalists to faceoff with each other in a tourney-style reader-selected death match. Meaning from all the category romance books published last year, mine was picked to be one of 8!

Stay tuned for tourney instructions!

Back to the Good Fortune Diner selected as a 2014 DABWAHA finalist!
Back to the Good Fortune Diner selected as a 2014 DABWAHA finalist!


Chicken balls, sans sweet and sour sauce.

So, I made a little boo-boo.

I learned during the Smart Bitches Sizzling Book Club chat that chicken balls, featured in Back to the Good Fortune Diner as a uniquely North American-style Chinese food product, are NOT, in fact, available in the U.S.

According to Wikipedia, this is the dish I refer to as sweet and sour chicken balls:

Chicken balls (Chinese: ??; pinyinj? qiúCantonese Yale: gai1kau4) are a type of modern Chinese food served in Canada,[1][2][3] and the United Kingdom[4] as a staple of Chinesetake-out. The dish consists of small chunks of fried chicken breast meat covered in a crispy batter coating. They are often served with sweet and sour sauce or plum sauce. These are largely unheard of in China, depending on the recipe and referred name.[5]

They're so ubiquitous in Canada, I didn't even think for a minute they wouldn't have them in the States. This is why fact checking is important....

Okay, so how to explain away the Good Fortune Diner's specialty menu item? Well...

1) Only available at the Good Fortune Diner in Everville! Exotic Canadian Chicken Balls with Sweet and Sour Sauce! No need to drive across the border for delicious golden spheres of deep fried goodness!

2) Since the Cheungs are from Hong Kong, which was a part of the British Empire before the handover to the Chinese in 1997, maybe it was something Tony and Rose knew was popular with non-Chinese diners so had them sourced and imported...

3) There is a secret black market in Manhattan where the Cheungs get their illicit supply of Canadian chicken balls. Studies suggest the underground economy for chicken ball smuggling is worth over $10 billion....

4) Magic.

1 Comment

SBTB book club ad Jan 2013The story goes thusly:

On New Year's Day, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a Twitter follow from @SmartBitches, aka Sarah Wendell. I was confused and happy that such an illustrious name in the romance book reviewing community would bother to follow me and read my tweets about writing, proofreading, romance, crocheting, stomach troubles, E.R. visits, #notpregnant, #rennerection and various other tomfoolery.

It wasn't until I opened my Spam box (*shakes fist in the air*) that I found Sarah's email, informing me she'd chosen Back to the Good Fortune Diner as the January read for the Smart Bitches Trashy Books Sizzling Book Club.

For those unfamiliar with Smart Bitches Trashy Books, they are like the Oprah picks of romance...but with snark, wit and hilarity all rolled together. And they have a massive following.

This book club pick means Back to the Good Fortune Diner will be offered from Jan. 7-21 at 50% off the ebook on the Allromance Books website. It also means readers will buy it, read it and discuss it on Jan. 31 in their book club chat, which I will join for a Q&A at the end of the night.

So first I was like:

Then I was like:

And then I was all like:

After all, this is Smart Bitches. The big leagues, as far as I'm concerned. What if they don't like my book? What if other people don't like my book? What if my book becomes the object of widespread ridicule?

And then I was all like:


But then I remembered: the book is published. Whether people like it or not, I can't change the book or their opinions. Besides, Sarah said this:

It's very thought provoking, beautiful, and very, very well written.

And coming for THE Sarah Wendel, that's, like, crazy high praise in my estimation.

So I went back to being like this:

Also like this:


I hope you'll pick up a copy of the book and join in the discussion on Jan. 31! More details to come!



Back to the Good Fortune Diner, coming January 2013!

It’s the official release day for Back to the Good Fortune Diner! I’m super excited to bring this story featuring a Chinese American heroine moving back to her small hometown after being laid off from her job in Manhattan.

One of my favorite things about this story was that I got to share my cultural heritage. My parents came to Canada from Hong Kong and Malaysia, and I was born in Canada. I've lived all of my life in Toronto’s downtown Chinatown, and many of my cultural traditions were preserved because of the large Chinese community I was exposed to. My heroine, Tiffany Cheung, didn’t have the same upbringing. Most of her childhood was in Everville, a small (fictional) town in upstate New York.

One of the things that’s always struck me as interesting is that in every small town I’ve ever visited, there’s always a Chinese restaurant run by a Chinese family. No matter how far flung you are, Chinese food is usually the one ethnic meal you can get. In Back to the Good Fortune Diner, Tiffany’s family runs the eponymous Good Fortune Diner, an old greasy spoon they converted into a chop suey house when they first moved to the town.

I thought a lot about how the place would be decorated and outfitted. Tiffany’s family is fairly traditional, so in my mind, I had to ensure there was authenticity to the place. They wouldn’t have been able to get many of the traditional items you’d see in a more metropolitan Chinese business, but I think they would have driven to the city to get these decorations.

I hope that by writing about it here, I’ll be welcoming some good luck of my own for book sales!

Lucky cat statue: You’ll see this “beckoning cat” statue frequently in many Asian restaurants. It was actually adopted from the Japanese tradition.  A maneki-neko is thought to beckon wealth, health and prosperity through the door. You can read more about it here.


Wind chimes hung indoors: Hanging wind chimes indoors is related to feng shui practices to bring protection. Read more about it here:


Guan Yu statue: This Chinese general, also known as Guan Gong with various spellings, was a military figure whose deeds were legendary. He’s sometimes referred to as the god of war and represents brotherhood, honor on the battlefield and righteousness. He is worshipped by Confucians, Taoists and Buddhists, but is also more generally revered in the southern parts of China, as well as Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and other Chinese-influenced nations. The statue is easily recognized by the long beard and red face, and he’s usually carrying a halberd. He is frequently displayed in small shrines in many Chinese restaurants and businesses. Read more about him here:

Fu--it's upside down.

Fu—the Chinese symbol for luck: This is frequently displayed year round, and is one of the only Chinese characters that is intentionally displayed upside down, like a horseshoe. I have them pasted up on my front door and inside my house. Because, why not?



Ever see anything in a Chinese restaurant that you've always wondered about? Does something on the menu make you scratch your head? Ask me about it in the comments!

1 Comment

Fellow Superromance author Mary Sullivan asked me to be a part of this chain blog event entitled THE NEXT BIG THING—a series of questions and answers about what's happening next in my writing life.

Sadly, I couldn’t find anyone to chain after me! So, if you’re an author and would like to take part, email me and I’ll set you up!

Back to the Good Fortune Diner, coming January 2013!
Back to the Good Fortune Diner, coming January 2013!

1. What is the title of your book? Back to the Good Fortune Diner.

2. How did you come by the idea?

Pulling from my own personal experiences, I wondered how different my life would have been if I’d grown up in a small town instead of a big city.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary category romance. (Harlequin Superromance)

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?

Ellen Wong (known for her role as Knives Chau in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) would play Tiffany Cheung.

Chris Hemsworth would play the hero, Chris Jamieson.


5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Big-city prodigal daughter returns to her sweet and sour small-town roots and reunites with her old high school crush.

6. Will your book be self-published or traditional?

Traditional—with Harlequin Superromance, in stores and online January 2, 2013.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Four months, plus one month to edit, before I sent it to my editor.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Sarah M. Anderson’s A Man of His Word, which is a great Harlequin Desire about a white high-powered executive and a Native American attorney. Anderson deftly handles the racial issues and prejudice the heroine faces without shying away from the real awfulness.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Being Chinese Canadian myself, I’ve always wanted to write a contemporary Chinese heroine and see more diversity in romance.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

The book does deal with issues of racism and interracial relationships, but more broadly, it is about coming to grips with your personal and cultural identity.


Hey authors! Wanna continue the chain? Email me at and you can be a part of this chain of awesomeness!

So the blog tour begins for the release of Back to the Good Fortune Diner! I'll be talking about all kinds of things regarding the book, writing interracial romances, and more. Come and see me at these awesome websites—I'll be giving away copies of BTTGFD to commenters!

You can also find this list on the Events page.

Back to the Good Fortune Diner, in stores January 2013!

Dec. 10, 2012 Madison J. Edwards
Dec. 12, 2012 Superromance Authors
Dec. 19, 2012 Sherry Isaac
Dec. 21, 2012 Romance and Beyond
Dec. 29,2012 Pink Heart Society 
Jan. 2, 2013 Superromance Authors
Jan. 4, 2013 Get Lost in a Story (GLIAS)
Jan. 8, 2013 Drunk Writer Talk
Jan. 16, 2013 Cristal Ryder
Jan. 22, 2013 Lindsay Hautenen/Layna Pimentel