I don't understand why your extension is called "featured items", no one have a category where all featured items are. It doesn't make any sense at all, without choosing article id's what's the purpose ? It's obvious for everyone that when you say "featured items" it means that you SELECT the most featured articles from all categories, or just featured items from one category and not a category. I decide what articles are featured, based on my criteria so I must be able to choose different articles from different categories, else it's just like any other module. There are other modules like this but I simply cannot understand why this nonsense it's still in all this modules, featured items cannot be hold in a category or section, I must be able to choose individual articles.
If you do that then this extension will be very very useful, now it's just an extension.There is another extension called "Featured articles", it's a very popular one, you are able to choose individual articles but it lacks the features of the extension you developed, it only list articles, no preview, thumbnail..So if you add the posibility to choose individual articles from different categories this extension will be popular.
I don't want to offend you it's just that everyone seems to follow the same pattern when it comes for certain modules but it isn't the right choice.
I might add the feature you request if there is demand for it. Sorry to hear that you think it is 'nonsense' at the moment, apparently some people find it useful.