Friday, November 16, 2012

Welcome Lionel Snodgrass


I’d like to welcome to my blog Paul Hewlett, a self-published children’s author.  Lionel Snodgrass is the main character in his newest release Lionel's Christmas Adventure: Lionel Learns the True Meaning of Christmas. 


Paul, tell us what inspired you to become an author.
I've always had a vivid imagination and I love to people watch. I may see someone in a crowd dressed in something outlandish and in my mind, I create a background or story explaining it. That kind of morphed into putting things down on paper. At that point no matter what I wrote it came out best suited as a children's book.

You self-publish your books, which to me has SCARY written all over it. Why did you self-publish. and tell us a little bit about the process?
Ha, I decided to self-publish in large part to the ever growing mountain of rejection letters I was accumulating. I began to look into it and decided it was indeed a viable option. Well, the process is very daunting. I owe a great deal of thanks to Melissa Foster and her WLC website. She is certainly there for the aspiring or even established author. In self-publishing there is so much to learn and it changes all the time. I owe so much to all the wonderful folks that I have come in contact with and who have helped me. 
There's so much to self-publishing that I'll just sum up the essentials. First, have a great story. You can ensure that it is up to par by having beta readers and critique groups read it. Second, have a professional cover. Third, professional editing. Those are key, don't skip any of those, or the other things you don won't matter.

What was the hardest part of self-publishing?
To me, it's reaching my target audience. That is a constant challenge. There is a lot to be said for the exposure one gets via social media, but for me, are children looking at that? Probably not. You have to research and identify your target audience and then find ways to reach them. 

What’s the most fun in self-publishing?
I think it's the fact that you are promoting and marketing your product. The return is all yours. You're not out trying to sell shower curtain rings (my apologies to all the shower curtain ring salesman out there, I know you  have a difficult job). It's your product, your baby, and that makes it all the more motivating and fun to work to put it in people's hands. 

I love your covers, who did the artwork and how did you find them?
Pat Sauber illustrated Lionel and did the first two covers. For Lionel's Christmas Adventure, Pat illustrated Lionel and I had LLPix Photography do the cover itself. Pat is an friend of a co-worker of mine and Laura, I found through my social media connections. 

Tell us about Lionel, your main character. He has some quirks which make him instantly relatable and likable.
I love Lionel. He is a lot of fun to write. Everyone has known a Lionel at some point in their life. He is the underdog and no matter how hard one may try it is very difficult not to root for him. 

How did you pick your setting?
I set the books in the late 1960's. I wanted to focus on the characters and their interactions. I felt by using that era that I could realistically strip away a good number of distractions that kids have today. Some of the things that Lionel does, he may not be doing if the books were set in modern day. He might be busy playing xbox or something. 

Tell us a little about writing a series?  The ups and downs?
The up is the fact that you don't have to spend a lot of time coming up with the characters and background for each book. Those are established. The down is trying to keep each book interesting and not just like the previous ones.  Each book is written to be able to stand on its own. That is also a major challenge. You don't want to bore returning readers with all the same background information, but you have to make sure that the first time reader understands what is going on and why. 

Does Lionel have another adventure coming up?
I have an idea for another book, but I might try something that I did with Lionel's Christmas Adventure. I asked my fans on Lionel's Grand Adventure Facebook page for some ideas for the Christmas book and they responded with some terrific ideas.  

I’ve been following the discussions on book trailers, and by the way I love the trailer you created for Lionel’s Christmas Adventure.  I’m not sure if it the snappy Christmas music you used but it is one of my FAVORITE BOOK TRAILERS. Have you found them to be beneficial to your sales?
The book trailer for Lionel's Christmas Adventure is the first one that I have done. I had mixed feelings about them, but had some very specific ideas for this one. I also felt that if I could keep it under one minute long it would be better (it's about 1:20). I've seen some that are 2:30-3:00 minutes long and I think that's too long to keep people's attention. I just released it Wednesday & the book isn't available yet, so I really don't have any data to support it one way or the other. I will be tracking it though.

video

Because I’m always curious about writers’ process tell me are you a plotter or pantster?
I've tried both. Up until Lionel's Christmas Adventure I had been a pantster. For the new book I tried a different approach. I outlined each chapter prior to writing it. I did find outlining the chapters beneficial. It gave me a little more guidance as to where I wanted to go with the story and kept me focused. I'm still a bit of a pantster though, since I do not sit down and plot the whole story through and through prior to writing.  

What is the most difficult part of the writing process?  How do you prevail?
For me, it's getting the whole story down on paper. I don't have much trouble coming up with ideas, but filling in the blanks between the ideas and making it a book is the toughest part. I prevail by writing, and I mean writing--longhand. I write the rough draft on paper. It enables me to keep my mind flowing, no distractions. 

What comes easiest?
Rewriting or revising. That's my favorite part. Once I have written the rough draft, I turn it over to my critique group and beta readers and let them pick it apart. I love taking that feedback and revising. That, to me is not only the easiest part, but also the most enjoyable. 

Any advise for aspiring authors?
Once you decide that it's what you want to do. Write, write, and write some more. It is the very best way to improve your craft. And remember, you have only failed if you give up. 

I read you are a dog lover.  So here’s a photo of Paul’s dog JoJo.
Yes, I am a huge dog lover. We adopted him from the local shelter a couple of years ago and he is the best dog. I am a firm believer in adopting pets, but that is for another interview.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.  Be sure to check out any of Lionel’s Adventures on 
Amazon or on Facebook



As always feel free to comment or ask questions of Paul.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Halfway Point - NaNoWriMo


I hope your NaNoWriMo words are spilling forth.




Mine are not spilling, they’re dribbling. I’m not quite at the word count I should be. Halfway today I should be at 25,000 words, but I’m not too far off just over 22,000. I blame football, my craft shows, and not enough coffee, not necessarily in that order.
And now I’ve been tagged by my good friend and multi-published author Jillian Chantal in a game called Zig-zag you can read about it here
I’m supposed to find in my WIP the word look and post the surrounding text. Pretty scary stuff, since this is a fast first draft, without revision - think vomiting on the page. But I’ve always been a good sport, so I’ll play along and tag five more writers.
Here’s a peek into my vomit on the page middle grade contemporary with a working title that's supposed to keep me focused on the main character's goal--Can Hertz Survive a Screenless Summer?
Pops sits and whacks my back so hard I almost fall off the stool. “I had to bring Hert in to try your pancake sundae. First day of his summer vacation.”  He points at a framed certificate to the right of the chalkboard. “Look up there. What did I tell you. Best Pancake Sundae in Arizona.” 

Pete steps in with a pot of coffee. “You probably figured out this is the only place in the state you can get a pancake sundae.” He edges closer to me and lowers his voice. “Word of advise. Never teach your mom photoshop. The first certificate she printed up had a life-sized photo of my face on it.”
Pops chuckles and turns over a cup resting upside down in a saucer in front of him. “You never showed me that certificate.”
“I didn’t show it to anyone.”

Five of you’ve been tagged

For all of you participating in NaNoWriMo
May your words flow steadily for the rest of the month and provide an endless lake of possibility at the end.



As always feel free to comment.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NaNoMo - Trading Blood for Callouses


I have never been able to do the official National Novel Writing Month as I have a seasonal business that keeps me busy through the fall months of October, November and December.

My business--OneWiredWoman makes the rounds of local craft fairs. With the help of copious amounts of caffeine and artistic wire, I will literally wire until my fingers bleed during the fall months.





But this year I am trimming my wiring timetable and I am committing to doing NaNoMo. I expect to still use copious amounts of caffeine, and although my fingers might not bleed, I'm expecting some callouses.


I have done a Fast Draft Class with Candace Havens which is a two week, write until you drop class.
(I highly recommend it and her Revision Hell Class too.)

I have done Savvy Authors Bootcamp in May. But I am excited to be participating in a worldwide event for authors. I have even talked a couple friends into joining me.

And I'm plotting! Yes!  As a confirmed panster I signed up for Todd Stone's Prepping for NaNoMo class with Savvy Authors this month and I have been reading blogs, listening to webinars and chats while walking the fine line of plotting.  You see if I plot too much I don't want to write the story.  My subconscious says "Why write it?  You know what happens."  But I know I won't have time to mull around what happens next so I'm working on figuring out some of the major plot points while not going too deep with the plotting.

Another tool I plan to use.  Free writes.  Remember those? Old-fashioned pen to paper, a timer, and a prompt. They are very freeing, very creative and words fly!  So if I get stuck I plan on free writing, using prompts applicable to what comes next or character interviews, dialogue between characters, etc.  I don't expect all of the free writes to make it into the manuscript. Maybe a few tidbits, nuggets of gold will end up on the page, but you never know.  At least, it may keep me from staring at a blank screen and/or running to the fridge or wine cabinet. LOL.

I'm looking forward to the camaraderie, the pep talks, the challenge and the creativity of NaNoMo. Maybe you'll join me, spwriter500 on the NaNoMo website.

As always feel free to comment and share.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Submit, Submit, Submit.


No, I’m not talking about my new philosophy after reading 50 Shades of Gray, LOL.
I am talking about my latest mantra on the road to publication.
I frequently spout to my fellow author friends (usually when they are feeling beat down from another rejection) that it took 60 submissions for Kathryn Stockett author of The Help to get accepted.  And I recently read of a published author whose magic number was 81.
So submit, submit, submit.
Then I found this quote:
You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. (Isaac Asimov)



So I keep on keeping on. And submitting.

My wonderful instructor/author/cyber-friend Devon Ellington gave me the “Seven Things About Me Award” thank you Devon and here are my seven things...

  1. I’ve concocted by own alcoholic beverage I call Naked Jose - 1.5oz tequila (gold Jose Cuervo preferred), 1oz triple sec, splash of lime juice, dash salt and 4 - 8oz of Naked Green Machine - boosted fruit smoothie.  
  2. I love to read middle grade novels where I often laugh out loud - right now I’m reading “How Lamar’s Bad Prank won a Bubba-Sized Trophy” by Crystal Allen - hilarious
  3. I hate gardening even though I come from a long line of gardeners - might be the snakes.
  4. I don’t text - maybe the last person in the US.
  5. I might be a math geek, I do Sudukos everyday, for fun.
  6. I love libraries but hate used book stores.
  7. Visiting California is still on my bucket list. 

A bend in the road is not the end of the road... unless you fail to make the turn.  ~Author Unknown
As always... feel free to comment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Peek at a Published Author's Process


My good friend and fellow author Jillian Chantal is back. This time we’re talking about the process of getting a book written, edited and published with an e-press.

She has two new releases this month: 



SURF BREAK a short story, her seventh published short published under her pen name of Jillian Chantal and HOT PURSUIT her 6th full length novel.
How about walking us through your process.  

I usually get an idea for a story from the hero. I don't know why that is, but a hero comes to me with his name and a bit of back story first. I then have to struggle to find the right heroine for him. In two books in particular, I had to rename the heroine because she didn't work with the name she had and her personality came to me when I changed her name.  I find that names are very important if the story is going to flow right.

Once I know a little about the characters, I start the first paragraph. My writing process is organic and I merely roll with the flow and let my characters take the lead. I have one story (that's not been shopped around) that I started with only the man's name, his occupation, and the fact that a murder occurs on his property. Less than 30 days later, I had a 60,000 word story. 

When I first heard about this I found it fascinating, are you willing to share your process of building a music collage before you start?

It's odd how music speaks to me. I listen to Sirius radio (which I adore since I can get tons of choices) I jot down songs and who sings them and the year of production. I keep a running list of these and they may not even seem to have anything in common. When I’m ready to start work on the next book, I download the songs and burn a playlist or CD. I then immerse myself in the songs while I work the day job, in the car, in the living room, etc. After about two days of that, ideas start to come for the story. It seems as if my subconscious was already at work as the songs were chosen. 

Sometimes, it's completely weird such as for HOT PURSUIT. I had the playlist and couldn't resist adding a song by a band called Interpol. It had nothing to do with, at the time I picked it, the hero being an Interpol agent as I didn't even know what the story was. I picked the song because I wanted to have my lawyer's firm in New York City and the song is called New York. I downloaded it to the playlist. As I started writing, the story was going to be about a lawyer whose associates kept leaving to marry the clients. The story took a wild turn that consciously I wasn't aware of until it happened. I'll never forget, when the scene landed on the keyboard, how I said to the heroine (out loud, mind you) "Who are you and what are we doing?" There's a line in the song that talks about having seven faces and knowing which one to wear. CRAZY! It fit so well, it was insane.

Do you do a fast draft? About how long does that take you?

I do draft pretty quickly. It depends on the story itself as to how fast that goes. A slow one is about 35-50 days for a first draft. I have done a 60,000 word one in 21 days – that was my first NaNoWriMo novel which was Redemption for the Devil which is published by Desert Breeze Publishing. The story I'm working on right now that doesn't have a name as yet but is being called "The Venice Story" is rocking along at a fast clip. In 8 days, I've written close to 29,000 words. It's one of those that I love to write. One that seems almost to be like taking dictation from the characters. 

When you edit do you print?  Use colored markers, highlighters, a flame thrower? When do you decide it’s ready to go out?

 I usually do two rounds of edits on the computer separated by a print edit. In other words, I do a draft, print it and mark it up and then go back and add the changes, I do a final read through and then let that puppy out into the world. I've found if I keep it around much longer, I start tinkering too much and make a mess. A flame thrower is an interesting concept but I don't think I could destroy any of my babies that way, but maybe I could find some use for it. S'mores, anyone?

Publishers? Query? How do you decide? 

I have three publishers I'm currently working with. They all offer something a little different so it's easy to choose where I want to send the story. I sometimes don't know until about 10,000 words in on the longer works where I'm going to send them. That's kind of a barometer to me – a turning point if you will – to make it racier or not. Desert Breeze Publishing has a policy of allowing open-door sexual experiences but even their most intense (which is my level there) stories are milder than lots of other publishers and there are some stories that organically call for that. I've only done historical for Desert Breeze as of this date, but they have recently accepted a contemporary that will come out in 2013.

Between my other two publishers, the line is a little more blurred. Ellora's Cave and Secret (Or Sweet- they have both) Cravings Publishing allows me to use stronger language that sometimes the characters and story call for. So far, I've sent shorter stories to Cravings because they accept shorter works than Ellora's Cave. I plan to send them longer works but right now the story I'm working on is going to be sent to EC for the first right of refusal.

Can you tell us a bit about the edits you get back from your various editors and how you go about working those?

I get them back and glance through the comments first, then I do the easy stuff, like accepting the punctuation, etc changes (one at a time so I can learn). After that, I tackle the hard stuff. 

Titles?  How is that decided?  Has a title you’ve used as a working title ever been the selected title from the publisher? 

Titles are my bug-a-boo. They kick my butt every time. I've only ever had to change two- both because the editors thought they needed to sound more romantic. One of them was the Ellora's Cave one. The new name is soooo much better than the previous three it had been known by before my editor got hold of it. She actually gave me the suggestion for the name HOT PURSUIT and it is absolutely perfect. It fits the story so well, it's crazy. As soon as she said it, the light bulb went off.


And you make book trailers.  Can you tell us about that?

There's a program I use that's called Photo-Story 3. It actually came with my PC that I use for my legal work. It's simple and I'm quite proud of myself for mastering that (we'll ignore the crash that lost one last week that I had to re-do) There are two difficulties I have in doing trailers. One is finding the right pictures for the hero and heroine- ones that match my idea of the characters. The second is doing the script. You want it to be intriguing without giving too much away, so I'm thinking that crash the other day where I lost the first draft of SURF BREAK'S trailer was divine intervention since I may have given away too much there.

What’s next for you?  

My next release is October 21, 2012. It's the second story in a series. The name of it is The Gambler's Brother and it's from Desert Breeze Publishing. It's a post WWII story with a few murders, a former RAF pilot, a French Resistance Fighter and, oh yeah, a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. 

Thanks for stopping by Jillian and giving us a peek into what the writing, editing and publishing process is like for you. Good luck with your new releases and we will be looking forward to many more.

As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to post.


Visit Jillian on the web: www.Jillianchantal.com

As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to post them here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Get Yourself Some Cheerleaders (you can never have too many)


“The people who are lifting the world onward and upward are those who encourage more than they criticize.” Elizabeth Harrison  

I was recently in France (and no, I am not a world traveler) but while in Paris, the trip down the Seine on top of a double decker river boat was one of the highlights.  And we did this the first thing when we arrive (read - no sleep, no shower, big-time jet lag) but I will never forget it. The views of the monuments from below are spectacular - Notre Dame, The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, 
The Museum D’Orsay.




But what struck me the most passing under each uniquely detailed bridge (sure, the architecture of the bridges is amazing), 




but it was the people on the bridges that astonished me most.  
They all waved and cheered as we passed under. 


Now there are many, many of these boats cruising the Seine.  And many, many bridges. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy and welcomed (might’ve been the cappuccino LOL).

So I thought about my winding journey to book publication and how having cheering and support for each little step has made all the difference for me this time around.
I embarked on this path ten years ago, but without the internet, living in a small, somewhat isolated town, and I gave up too soon.  

But this time, thanks to the internet and writers associations like RWA, SCBWI, Savvy Authors and others, I have found ongoing support, encouragement and cheerleaders with writer’s loops, workshops, workshop teachers and their loops, critique groups and writing friends that I have found through the above.

So if you have less than supportive people around you on this sometimes lonely journey, go out and find yourself some cheerleaders. They are out there. 

And remember giving support feels just as good as getting support. 

Feel free to comment on who, and what builds you up, cheers you on or anything else.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Love's A Beach


That's the title of a new anthology by Still Moments Publishing that features 
Deep Blue Escape by my good friend and fellow author Sandra Tilley.  




I've invited Sandra here today to tell us a little about how she writes and the difference between writing shorts and novel length.

Tell us a little of your writing history. Which came first the novel or the short?

Sandra:  After teaching middle school English for a hundred years, I retired and spent a year writing a novel.  The shorts came three years later.

So tell us about the different genres you write and one you prefer one?

Sandra:  One of my short stories Dead Man Floating, is a romantic suspense and Deep Blue Escape is a women’s fiction/romance.  I love writing women’s fiction, but writing romantic suspense was big fun. I’ll let you know which genre I prefer after I try my hand at YA.

Wow.  You like to keep things fresh.  But do you have a preference between novel length and shorter?

Sandra:  Writing a short story is definitely easier; however, sometimes you can’t take a story where it needs to go in less than 10,000 words. But writing shorts provides opportunities to experiment with different genres.  And in my case, to get published.  

So how do you decide on your stories’ length.

Sandra: When all the balls I’ve been juggling land snuggly into the plot, it’s done.  For some stories it's 7000 words, others it's more like 90,000.

Sounds like a panster to me but I know for a fact you like to plot.

Sandra: I’m a big-time plotter but (with much gnashing of teeth) I have been trying to be more of a panster and let my story flow. Because when the characters take over, it is so much fun!  

How do you decide on a time frame for a short?
Sandra:  It’s all about pacing. With a short, you have little time for dessert.  So it’s basically meat and potatoes.

Tell us a little about your settings? Both are set locally aren’t they? Here on the Northwest Florida Coast.

Sandra: Both shorts are set on Pensacola Beach. Right in my backyard.  My novel Someone Like You is set in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama close to where I grew up.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Sandra: Blocking out distractions and keeping those toxic negative thoughts out of my head. 

What are you working on now?
Sandra: While I am revising my novel Someone Like You ONE  LAST TIME before submitting queries (again), I’ve plotted and begun writing a full-length sequel to my short story “Dead Man Floating.” 

We'll look forward to that.  You left us with such a hook at the end of the story that even as your critique partner I've been begging to see the sequel.

Do you have a favorite craft book or writer’s resource?

Sandra: I think we’re students for life, and there are no restrictions when it comes to learning and honing our craft.  RWA offers many options.  Savvy Authors and Writer’s Digest offer info and opportunities.  And I follow a number of great blogs—like this one!  Personally, the greatest resource I’ve found has been finding the right critique partner. Thanks, Suzanne!

What a great friend!

If you have any comments or questions for Sandra feel free.  And be sure to check out her new releases with the these links on the titles.

Dead Man Floating a sailboat crashes into the fishing pier on Pensacola Beach, Florida, where Sydney Harrell and Gena Sandlin have their chairs and cooler planted in the white, powdery sand. Sydney, a registered nurse, swims against the current and hauls herself aboard and finds an injured man floating face up. While administering first aid, Sydney feels the boat shift and is relieved that help has arrived. Her relief quickly turns to angst when she is joined by her ex-husband—Mark Penrose, FBI agent. A recent divorce fails to extinguish the flames between Sydney and Mark, and their close encounter fans the smoldering embers. When the injured man dies at the hospital where Sydney works, she and Mark find themselves in the middle of a federal investigation and international intrigue.

 Deep Blue Escape in Love's a Beach

A summer at the beach can cure most things, maybe even a broken heart. Julie Ross is ready to give up on love until she gets stopped for speeding by Officer Jackson Palmer. He lets her off with a warning, but who’s going to warn Officer Palmer that his own heart is at risk?


Monday, July 30, 2012

The Story is in the Grit


I am taking this wise information from a blog post by Bassam Tarazi on PositivelyPositive.com and relating it to the writing journey, both for the writer and her story. 
Few people, or agents, or editors want to read a story about someone who has everything handed to them, who never struggles, who doesn’t evolve, and who when they touch something it turns to gold? (Yes, there is that story and it was very successful, but it wasn’t until the King suffered that the reader began to care.) 

The reason we aren’t as interested in these my life-is-so-good stories is because we all want our own reassurances that we are not failures because we don’t know all the answers and we struggle to find them.
We want to be inspired by someone who has overcome the obstacles, leapt over hurdles or straddled the abyss, gone through the wrong door. Because without struggle, wrong choices, mistakes where do the lessons learned come from?  Where does growth, change and a new perspective come from?
So don’t be kind to your characters. Don’t make it too easy for them. We’ve all heard make your character suffer. Make them take a step forward and then be pushed back two. 

Because when your character is wrestling with life that’s when they need others(characters), to lean on, to vent to, to regroup with, to reset, and then get ready to fight all over again.
We know in life that character and wisdom are sculpted by loss, lessons and triumphs, but this usually comes after doubt, second guessing and facing the unknowns.


This is not only true for our characters but for us as writers.  
Bassam says that “eating a face full of grit every now and then keeps us level and we learn that no honest endeavor is ever a wasted one.” 
He says, “progress in life is directly proportional to the dirt (grit) under our fingernails.” 
Here is a comment that as a writer, I found fascinating and possibly the secret to why I persist in the pursuit of writing as a career. “It has been said that we are at our happiest when we are attempting something difficult but attainable. It is the unknown, yet reachable territory that excites us. It’s a magical place.” 
And here is another gem of wisdom:
(Usefulness of your idea + Luck + Connections) X Grit = Success
Doesn’t that look a lot like the formula to publication?
Our drive to get down the story is our story, and the story is in the grit.
So for both your characters and yourself as a writer, enjoy the grit, use the grit, it will make us better.
As always feel free to comment.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Slow But Sure...




Wins the race. Tortoise (steadily plodding along) versus the Hare (quick out of the gate and then loses interest). We’ve all heard it. We all know it.  But if you’re like me it’s hard to embody the principle in today's fast-paced world.  
I want things now!  Right away!  Instantaneously!  
Waiting is so hard. 

So what am I doing in the writing, trying to get a book published arena?  The land of wait and see.  

The only place in our email, tweeting, cell phone society where 3 - 4 months is still a valid timeline?
I’ve managed to make it work by submitting shorts. I write mostly short children’s fiction, but flash fiction, novellas, and short stories are my next endeavor.
I’ve blogged previously about the baby steps I’ve taken on my road to publication.  And most recently on how small victories can lead to validation for the longer more arduous process. This month it has once again proved true for me.
In June I finished the revisions and submissions process of an 80,000 word novel. After a short break, I had plans to revise a second novel that sat on my desk top, first draft complete. Now, I know most writers recommend after you submit you should just jump into the next novel. And that was my plan.  Forget the first, work on the second. But then...  the big doubts float in. You know the ones. “But what if the first is no good. Why am I going to waste another two months revising. Maybe I don’t know the market. Maybe the genre is wrong. Etc. Etc. Etc.”

But then I got good news.  Not on the novel.  It’s way too early for that.  
Three pieces I submitted in children’s fiction would be published and a fourth sold (and paid). 
Now that’s motivation.  Even though it’s not novel length (and maybe I’m not destined to be published in novel length) it at least let’s me know my writing doesn’t suck.  I've made it to the surf.  And my head's still above water.


So if you haven’t considered writing short, maybe you should. Just for the motivation factor. Plus the checks I’m accumulating allow me to continue taking classes, workshops and even attend a convention or two.
So although you may feel you’re taking time away from your novel in progress, writing a shorter piece and submitting it, before, during or after,  can be time well spent and prove extremely valuable on the longer journey.
Feel free to comment on shorts or how you stay motivated through the long haul.
You can find links to two of my three published pieces this month on the side of this blog.  
"The Duck Family Reunion" and "My Fear Wears A Bow."