My writing group, Wordhawkers, is done critiquing HOUND IN BLACK AND BLOOD. I have to say it went well. I got a number of helpful suggestions. I was concerned with not having enough information about a certain "thing" (so to be vague, but it is a very important plot point I don't want to spoil) and my guess was correct. Hopefully, it's an easy fix. I think it will be.
I sent off the first half of my payment for the editor this week. My manuscript will be returned to me by the middle of April. And I really, really, hope that the editor can find my typos for me and send them to the fiery belly of hell. Also, I'll be getting a critique from this editor as part of the service.
So by the end of April, I plan to be querying. Can't come soon enough. I keep getting this feeling of dread that the entire world is going to end, and I'll never have published a book. You know, all the layoffs at publishing houses, closure of imprints, agents changing polices to "if you don't hear from us in 60 days, you won't" instead of sending even a form rejection because queries are at an all time high, and the growth of the Kindle - which, while remarkable, makes me depressed. I want a tangible book to hold in my hands that has my name on it. I can look at a computer screen with my name on it any time. And then there's the general suck of the economy resulting in people buying, oh, food instead of books.
I wish I would have been ready a year ago. At least then I'd only have to deal with the normal difficulties of seeking an agent and a publisher, and not all this other crap because banks are jerks and give people loans they can't afford, and people are dumb and take the loans they can't afford.
Don't worry though, I'm not giving up!