Beloved Betty and Heavenly Hillary,
Thanks for the comments. I'd actually come to a place where I was feeling pretty discouraged, mostly because I had no feedback (aside from rejection slips), not positive or negative -- just nothing, so it was hard to know what I was doing either well or poorly. That's the thing that kills me about writing. I've learned from reading some authors, including the Author Guy, and a few books on the subject, but it's not the same as feedback.
I just finished the rough copy to my second novel -- got over the hump, thanks to you! -- and will start revision in a week or two, hopefully with a fresh head.
Again thanks. Criticism is also more than welcome. I need to improve, too.
(hope I've posted this correctly)