The other day I received comments from a contest's final judge who is an editor for a large publishing house. She said, "Well-written, intriguing, a little dark, and very sexy!" And "Nice, attention grabbing opening." She had requested the first three chapters. The contest required only 15 pages to enter.
Made me feel good. I know it's sad that I still need more back-patting, but one thing about most authors, especially newbies, we're very insecure.