Okay, so I got the two books Kindle-ready and--I changed my mind. I might still publish the story collection on its own. "Otherwise" is a great story (I know, I'm not supposed to say that, but if you want to argue: follow the link on the right labeled "Otherwise," and then post your opinions) that got published in a low-circulation magazine nearly twenty years ago and vanished. I've been told repeatedly that the premise has been done before, but I found no truth to that. Yes, many SF writers have posited a FTL or hyperspace or time-travel system that causes madness, but I don't remember any that posited schizophrenia as a prerequisite to piloting.
Anyway, back on topic, I read a bunch of instructions on writing query letters (garbled, confused, often contradictory) and trie to write a query letter for the book I was then calling Boys Will Be Girls.Well, the writers (mostly semi-pro) on one of the major writers' forums ripped my query to shreds. What's worse, they tried to shred the premise. I won't share all that garbage here, but the problem, essentiallly, was my fault for giving the wrong impression of the book in the query.
One helpful writer of YA fantasy novels pointed out that my query and the title of the novel were misleadingly cheery and playful for a story about a curse placed upon a serial rapist and murderer. With that in mind, I'm rewriting my query letter and tentatively renaming the novel Gifts. Sounds a bit generic, I know but the tone and topic are a better fit.
I'm also querying agents for a near-future SF novel, Ain't No Grave, which I finished this past month. I'm working on a third novel, have a fourth started, and I'm punching out short stories and trying to get these query letters polished during lulls.
So, this is why I haven't gone back to work on Celeste (sorry, Crystal). I could also claim that working on Celeste gave me a lot of ideas about how I wanted to build my characters (thanks, Crystal).