Yeah...that's right, I have news!
Since yesterday, I have found several blogs with lots of help, and encouraging, ideas on where to go with my writing (thanks Sarah!! :D)
As I look at the process as described by these people, the end-of-December deadline should DEFINITELY be reached, no problem! But...here's the cool part... I might, MIGHT, be able to start querying agents as soon as....wait for it.........NOVEMBER!
Anyway, once I finish this round of edits, I'll do a read-through to look for any more changes that need to be made, and then the next difficult step begins; finding a test audience. I've had a couple of people read through the book, and they've given me great feedback, but I need four or five people who can blast through the book in a week or two, and then get back to me with ideas for improvement. I don't know where to find writer's groups (and I tried googling it, it's all a bunch of ads for guaranteed ways to sell your book), so I'm hoping for more suggestions.
My lunch break is over, so I'm getting back to work, but I'll post more of what I need (if any of you are willing and able to help) at a later date.