Just over a month ago, Greg made a comment on the plugin page for the free WordPress plugin BNS Featured Category. He suggested adding a word limiting option on the excerpt and it has now been implemented. Thanks, again, for the idea!
Here is the recent changelog:
== Changelog == = 1.5 = * added option to set the quantity of the first words of the post to display instead of the default excerpt. * modified description to reflect new functionality * slightly increased the size of option panel to better display controls = 1.4 = * added version control compared against $wp_version * added horizontal rule to option panel for clarity