The new novel that just sort of happened, which I'm calling INTERIM here (the working title isn't much better, but the story's terrific), is moving along. It's now 20% done and the prose is either in final draft form or close to it. I'm editing a bit as I go. This is another one that's just falling into place. I'm really impressed with how strongly it started. I'd have to say it's my best writing yet, in terms of those qualities I'm trying to imbue my writing with from a writerly point of view. The story concept is also intriguing. The characters have definite personalities and there are real sparks flying (ie, conflict).
The distractions have persisted but hopefully things will begin to improve now and I'll have more time and focus to get more writing/editing done.
BTW, I missed the Amazon contest this year, but now that it's on my radar I'll definitely have it in mind when it rolls around next year. I will try hard to participate then, and also to finally send something out prior to then. I've certainly grown by leaps and bounds the past few years and the quality of my writing has gotten to a point where I feel it is commercial grade, at least the stuff I'm writing most recently. Certainly the story ideas always have been, but the challenge was to improve my writing in ways that I can deliver the necessary standard of prose on a consistent basis (ie, not writing a great read followed by a total flop, but writing good prose time and time again).
Anyhoo, best wishes to all other aspiring writers in elevating their prose to the desired levels, for which I recommend Evan Marshall's THE MARSHALL PLAN as a starting point.