But there's a 'but'.
I've also been blowing through new versions of The Killing Stones. TKS - in my opinion - is not only more marketable than Healing Chiron, but would be a far less palatable second act to Healing Chiron than vice-versa. So, I think I need to finish this guy up and pitch him first. The good news? I've made tremendous progress the last two months on TKS, too. The only thing remaining on this page-turner is to tighten, tighten, tighten, and check for proper comma usage. The tightening is primarily an exercise in replacing as much passive language with active. An active voice is far tighter than a passive one. If I put my mind to it, this means TKS will be ready in, oh, two weeks.
I guess if every other writer avoids querying agents in the sweltering heat of July, maybe this means my queries will stand out in the crowd.
The most frustrating part of the past couple months? Of the half dozen or so prospective beta readers, only one of them panned out. The reason for this is most of the ones not panning out are friends or relatives that simply aren't voracious readers. They read a couple books a year. Of those that were voracious readers, a couple of them had beta read both novels at least once. Asking anyone to read your novel for the third time is a lot to ask, especially when you're trying to gauge their level of surprise/suspense leading up to the twist.
So, I'm basically at the point where (aside from my friend in Florida) I need to have faith in my gut feeling that's telling me "Yep....this is good....send it out." And I do. Too bad I had the same feeling on Healing Chiron when I started marketing it for the first time three years ago. But not only am I a better story teller now, I'm far more patient and far less desperate.
I guess we'll just have to see. That's the fun part, anyway, isn't it?