Last Saturday I participated in a joyous event. Four published authors wrote one short story together. It was like the game we used to play with a folded piece of paper where someone started a drawing - the next person had a few lines below the fold with which to continue the drawing - and what turned out was nothing like the original idea but was a wonderful, exciting, story that made complete sense.
Check out Blood Bond it's fun.
This opened huge doors for me. I see that I can write short stories about the characters in my upcoming books. Things I wouldn't put in the story but which create deep and rich background from which to draw as I write. Because of the new publishing model, these stories don't have to be relegated to my file drawer - they can be published and create interest in the final novel. It's thrilling what is happening to publishing and the world of writing.