And the Civil War novel? After my agent dropped out of the hunt, I spent much of January researching small presses and submitting the novel. This entailed all sorts of hoop-jumping -- constructing a query letter, writing synopses (not easy at any time but a real bitch when your novel has one storyline and five protagonists,) producing a marketing plan (most publishers don't ask for this up front but some do,) and formatting my manuscript to various fiddly specifications -- header/no header, page numbers top right, page numbers bottom center, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
It was wearisome but I learned a lot. In the classes I teach, I've always felt inadequate when it came to answering questions about seeking publication without an agent and about self-publishing. I know more now about the former and will soon know more about the latter.
And, AND . . . I think that soon I will have good news for those of you who've been waiting patiently for my Civil War novel. I can't say more at the moment but hold that thought. . .