Well, I've done it. I've finished the first short story I've ever considered trying to publish (for an anthology to be printed later this year) and if I haven't quite sent it out into the world to make its fortune, I've at least sent it out to be schooled and refined and shaped. If my betas think it's worth continuing, then Contact Sport will be thrown out of the house and told to make its own way at the end of this month.
This is the first real step in getting published. Yes, I'm working on Shield, but that's still some months off being ready to be similarly thrown to the wolves. In a way, I'm testing the water here, although a small 6,500 word story doesn't compare with the half million or so that Shield will be, when it's split into its five or so novels. Still, baby steps. Baby steps.