The novel is finished. I only added 1,000+ words before I was satisfied with it. The word count is iffy, though. If I use the "traditional" method of counting words--250 words/manuscript page--the novel is a few thousand words long for the intended market; if I use the word count provided by Microsoft Word, then it's almost 4,000 words short.
It's a romance novel based on a "meet-cute" provided by my second wife. (She died in 1994, less than two years after we married.) I found the first 32 pages in my files in February, 2006, and spent much of that month expanding the story. I picked it up again in February, 2008, and again spent much of that month expanding the story. I returned to in May, and by the end of that month I had much of the novel written. Unfortunately, I had a gap between the first 3/4s of the manuscript and the ending scenes. In early August, the non-writing friend I've previously referred to as my "plot monkey" read what I had written and gave me a list of suggestions that would fill in plot holes and bridge the unwritten gap. By the end of the month I had a complete draft. I spent the past couple of days proofreading, editing, and polishing, and I'm printing the final draft as I type this.
Why a romance novel? Several reasons. Although I've written short fiction in several genres, I've had my greatest success writing crime fiction and women's fiction. One of my four previous novels--and one of the two with the best critical acclaim--was a young adult romance. The "meet cute" is solid and the setting is one with which I am intimately familiar.
After I finish printing out the manuscript, I'll proofread and edit the synopsis, revise my bio to emphasize my experience writing women's fiction, and polish my cover letter.
Then I have a decision to make: Do I submit directly to the target publisher or do I seek an agent?
Maybe I'll make that decision another day.