Sunshine DeCastro

This will not be a long post, but I am a writer. I deal with grief by writing about it. I’m pretty certain this will not be the last time I write about it.

A couple of weeks ago we were informed that the family dog Sunshine (Sunny for short) had terminal cancer, and that we would sometime in the near future be faced with making the humane decision. We concentrated these last couple of weeks on making Sunny’s remainder of life as joyful as possible. We learned that she really liked donuts. It has been difficult, of course, but it has been special, too. Love for the family pet can run deep, and so it was with Sunny.

Sunny had been pretty good these last weeks. She has been on some medication to ease her discomfort. For the most part, she had just acted like a nearly 12 year old large dog. But yesterday I had her out on her evening walk, and she was attacked by three large unleashed dogs. Sunny stepped in front of me…obviously to defend ME. It was a horrific experience to see your sick dog attacked. I was able to get her safely removed without taking any wounds.

Unfortunately, she had a very bad night. Would not eat. Would not drink. Did not really walk. Same this morning. These were all the things the vet had told us to look for in knowing it was time. We took her in. Dylan, Jill, and I. There was more discussion about the right thing to do.

We did the right thing.

And it hurts like hell.

Rest in Peace, Sweet Girl.


My Challenge – 2022 (NaNoWriMo all year)

I’ve been reading a lot about Dean Wesley Smith’s (Insane) Challenge. Mostly interested in how he looks at a challenge, and his thoughts on making it a “challenge” as in pushing himself to go beyond what he has done before. Obviously, it got me thinking about my own journey, and deciding on a challenge for myself.

Many writers have heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Everyone has an opinion on it. Haha. I first participated in 2003. I cannot remember which November I first succeeded, but it was sometime way back yonder. I don’t often officially participate now, but I don’t have anything bad to say about it. (I could air some grievances, but that is in my opinion the nature of the beast with such successful endeavors…baggage comes along with the success).

For the purpose of my challenge, I got to thinking about the fact that I have completed that challenge a few times. I’ve had a year, maybe two, where I’ve written the 50 thousand words in a month multiple times. But I’ve never really sustained it. So, here is the deal. My challenge for 2022.

I will write 50,000 words (intended for commercial publication) every month of the year.

Where I stray from the NaNoWrimo rules

  1. 1. I won’t limit myself to novels. I will produce the words. However, they fall is fine by me. Short stories, Novels, Novellas, Poems (wouldn’t that be a surprise), even Essays or other non-fiction. What I won’t count is the nonsense I write on here or emails or mailing list stuff. I know many writers count pretty much anything they write in their production goals. And that’s fine for them, this is just my rule. (Note: I have no intention of collecting blog posts into a book or anything like that)
  2. 2. The monthly framework has nothing to do with the end result. It just sets and re-sets my monthly word quota. 50k that’s it. If the story I’m writing on Jan 31 leaks into February. Great. No big deal.
  3. 3. Everything I write must be put on the market. One way or the other. Or it doesn’t count. This doesn’t mean I can’t publish or submit late 2022 work in 2023. It just means for the work to count I can’t write it with the sole purpose of tossing it in a drawer and forgetting about it.

A couple of things about what all this means. The math, if you will.

In general, my particular writing “process” allows me to write about 750 – 1200 words per hour. That process consists of a lot of cycling back and writing as clean a first draft as possible. Most months, I’ll have to write between 1600-1700 words per day. February’s stupid 28 days being the exception. So, I need to find two hours per day. Every day. All year.

The challenge for me will really come down to sticking to it when the work schedule gets hairy. I write first thing in the a.m. before the rest of the house wakes up and before the workday can dig into my writing time… but, what scares me are those days when I need some early hours at work.

That fear (a silly word really, it’s not like I’m swimming in a pool of sharks) had me think about a fall back position. Dean has this in his challenge. I decided against it.

So, this is it. NaNoWriMo all year round. If I succeed, I have 600,000+ more words of commercial fiction (or some non-fiction) in my stable.

Wish me luck!


Merry Christmas – A Gift

Fellow Earthlings,

My first novel Everything is Broken is available free as a Kindle book on Amazon today and for four more days. (Apologies, I’m too lazy to figure out what date the free gift giveaway ends). Some things of note:

  1. This is truly a gift, and it is for a limited time. This book will not be listed permanently free.
  2. I would love to be able to give free paperbacks of my books away for readers who do not “do” eBooks. Sadly, I cannot go into debt to do this. BUT, if you are one of those readers, Contact Me, and I’ll be happy to provide the book at my cost (i.e. Author Copy rate).
  3. If you are a Kindle Unlimited reader you will see this book is available in KU. If you are really interested in reading my book but think you can get around to downloading it later because it’s in KU anyway. Forewarning, I am ending my KU experiment, and my book will no longer be available on KU on or after January 3rd. I’m costing myself money here, but my recommendation is to go ahead and download the Free copy.

I guess that’s about it. Have a joyous Holiday season and see you in the New Year. I will come bearing new stories. More on that in the coming weeks.

Happy Holidays,