lintang and the brightest star

New Title and Blurb!

The third book in the Lintang series has an official title and blurb!

From the Penguin website, read the blurb for Lintang and the Brightest Star below:

A prophecy has been spoken. A monster has awoken.

As the conquering hold of the United Regions continues to spread, time is running out for Lintang, Captain Shafira and the crew of the Winda to find allies in their quest for peace.

But when they arrive in the war-torn country of Kaneko Brown, the rebels who were supposed to help turn them away. The rebels are scared – the Vierzans have summoned a category ten mythie that devours the star of anyone who dares stand against them. Worse, the mythie has been prophesied to mean the end of Captain Shafira.

Lintang must find a way to stop the most dangerous mythie in the guidebook … or she’ll lose her beloved captain forever.


I have been so sick these past two weeks. It's been a long time since I've been bedridden with a cold and a sore throat. I didn't miss it!

Lintang and the Pirate Queen is well and truly out in the world. I've been doing phone interviews with various newspapers, blogs, and magazines, and I've done my first school visit. I've also been invited to some writers festivals! I'm planning on doing a lot more promotion next year, too.

I've gone through first pass pages for Lintang and the Forbidden Island, which means A4 pages have been printed up and typeset to look like how the real book pages are going to appear. The cover is absolutely gorgeous - I hope to be able to reveal it soon!

Book 3 still doesn't have a title. I received structural edits back but have decided it needs a major overhaul, plot-wise. I'm working hard to rewrite many scenes. Perks of being a writer, right? But I'm looking forward to making it the best it can be. Luckily school holidays are coming up!

As for the super secret project, I've been working on that, too. I've sent the first twenty pages to my editor for some feedback, and once she gets back to me I'll pitch it to my agent. Fingers crossed!

Working Towards Goals Without Deadlines

It's all very well and good when you have a writing deadline to meet, because you have to have your manuscript finished by a certain date.

But what happens when you don't have a publishing contract? Or any way to force yourself to be accountable for completing a first draft?

If you already understand why it's important to complete the first draft (you can't edit a blank page, people), you're a step there. The next part - the setting a self-appointed goal - can be harder. If you want to start querying by December, say, how do you make sure you've done a first draft and an editing round by that stage? It's even harder with first drafts because you have no idea how many words the manuscript will end up being.

For Lintang 3, I didn't have a deadline because at that point I didn't have a contract. I wanted to write a first draft of it just in case, though. While I was waiting on copyedits for Lintang 1 and structural edits for Lintang 2, I set myself a goal of 500 words a day. Not much, but with full-time work and other manuscripts to think about, this was the perfect amount. I could get that done if I woke up early, or churn it out after school, even if my brain was fried.

I'm not saying it was easy. That first draft was an uphill climb the whole way through. Some days the words were so difficult to get out, I had to tally each hundred words to get myself to make the target. The next few drafts were better, but that first one was awful. I'm not sure I would've made it through if I hadn't given myself such a small, achievable goal. This kind of strategy is good for when you just want a draft finished, regardless of when it's finished.

For the Super Secret Project I'm working on now, again, I don't have a deadline, but I want to submit it to my agent by the end of the month. (My agent has a book-by-book contract, rather than taking clients on for life.) Now, I won't be anywhere near finished this book by the end of the month, but I'll be a solid chunk of the way through the first act and she'll have a good idea what kind of story she's looking at. I'll also have a synopsis prepared, telling her where the plot's going.

How I've set the goal this time is based on the advice of my crit partner, who warned me to write at least 50 pages before pitching it to anyone. That way I know whether it's going to last, or whether this Shiny New Idea will fizzle out (as so many Shiny New Ideas have in the past). So I need 50 pages written by August 31st. I currently have 21. I need to think about work, bookstore tours, and Lintang edits. The way I'm writing this manuscript is slow and careful, so I need to pace myself, too.

My goals are: by the end of this weekend I'll be up to 28 pages. By the end of next weekend, I'll be at 35 pages. The weekend after that, 48 pages. By the Thursday - last day of the month - I'll have hit 50.

From there I'll see what my agent has to say, whether she has any suggestions, and whether she'll take this project on. From there I can reevaluate my goals without necessarily giving myself a word count.

Note: buying pretty, goal-orientated things from places like Kikki-K have never not helped!

Do you have your own way of getting that draft done?

My Latest Publisher Meeting

This was my second visit to Penguin Random House in Sydney. I'm trying to make it a point to see them each time I travel to the eastern states to visit family.

It's overwhelming meeting the people in charge of publishing your book. Trust me. They kept telling me all these wonderful things to do with the impending launch of Lintang and the Pirate Queen - marketing plans, festivals, school tours - and I just sat there in stunned silence. I'm sure I managed to get out an  "ugnn" at some stage. Lucky they're paying me for writing and not talking!

I also got a sneak peek at the draft cover of my second book in the series. It's not coming out until February, but all these things need to happen early on. My publisher should be sending me second-round revision notes sometime this week.

Meanwhile, I've just finished a fresh draft of the third book in the series. I'll do a revision over the school holidays before sending it to the publisher.

Sound like a lot? Because we're planning on having the books coming out every six months, we have to work extra hard. This is all as well as teaching four days a week! I have a busy life, but I'm enjoying every moment.