Yes, I can identitify with that. Check out this website www.critters.org I'm not as active on the site as I used to be, but I learned SOO much from the people there. You critique one story a week, and in turn you can turn your work into the slush pile to be critiqued. It's a great place to start out. Then you can check out www.duotrope.com. It has endless listings for ezines and mags that you can submit to. :)
I was in your shoes about a year ago when I began to get serious about writing. Everyone has a starting point, be happy about where you are, keep writing, and you'll climb that staircase one step at time. lol, hopefully, you'll be able to climb faster than I have (and won't take as many tumbles back!). Thanks for making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself out there. :)
Hope you're enjoying this great day in history making.
I think the thing that made the first piece so interesting was the sense of being taken on a lovely journey with this person, finding out just enough about her to assume she was a normal mom to be, then being hit with the - oh, wow, something weird is going on here. If you keep with that, use the descriptive language to lead the reader onward through the action, and tease out the character's strangeness - rather than stating she's a villain - I think the second piece said killing the husband had been the plan all along? If that's true, show it somehow rather than saying it outright. It's good stuff, you should be able to tell from the amount of comments that people liked it. Keep at it.