My life is overflowing with busy-ness. I work full time for a government agency and give them forty hours a week. In addition, I am raising my teenage grandson who just started high school. While I admit, my daily duties with him have diminished, I still rise early weekday mornings, roust him out of a deep slumber, get him breakfast, find him an elusive pair of matching socks, and finally get him out the door before the school bus comes rumbling up the street. In my SPARE moments, I write. It’s my favorite thing to do, but as you can see, I have little time to spend on my avocation.

Every month for the past eight years, my writing critique group has met at a local  Starbucks to critique each other’s work. That’s a valuable editing tool for all of us, and we garner much-needed support from each other. Amazon alone publishes thousands of books a day. In a highly competitive arena like that, it’s easy to get discouraged. We share our victories and our disappointments. When we can get together on a working vacation and are able to pound out a few thousand words a day in a beautiful location, well, that simply is nirvana. I was elated to discover that our group was returning this year to Black Diamond Camp at Mt. Rainier.


This is Creekside at Black Diamond. Our spacious cabin can hold minimally fifteen people, and if you don’t mind sleeping two to a bed, you could add another six to that total.



There was only four of us and we had substantial space to find solitude to write.img_17911buck-creek-31


I must give credit to our wonderful hosts. Retreat Coordinator Katy and Chef Amanda, along with their spouses A.J. and Josh, waited on us hand and foot and served luscious meals that were simply perfection. If we had questions, they had answers. They even initiated a rescue operation when we failed to return timely from our hike in the woods. More about that in a moment.

After hours of staring at a computer screen and stopping only long enough to eat yet another scrumptious meal, we decided to work off some of those rich calories with a hike in the woods. The woods were right out our back door and we donned our walking shoes and headed out on an adventure.

Our hosts had told us the round trip hike would take about forty-five minutes. It was marvelous to breathe fresh air, spot unusual mushrooms, and watch chipmunks scurry into the underbrush. My weary brain revitalized and I was already plotting the next chapter  of my book. Two hours into the walk, we all became a bit worried. The end of the trail didn’t appear anywhere in sight and dusk was gathering. None of us had thought to bring a flashlight or a whistle. We had cell phones, of course, but try getting one bar of service deep in the woods. Wasn’t happening. Pam and Kathy ran ahead to find the end of the trail but came jogging back out of breath to report that there was no end to the trail in sight.

Being a writer, drama rolls through my head twenty-four seven. I had images of bold, black headlines in the area newspaper reading Local Writers Still Missing on Hike at Mt. Rainier. Relief came in the form of two seasoned hikers who met us on the trail and pointed us in the right direction. When we finally reached the main road, a pickup roared to our rescue. One of the camp staff asked if we wanted a ride. After three hours and four miles, I was ready for a seat in a warm truck back to camp.


Kathy Guimond, Sandra Nachlinger, Grace Kelly Marshall, Pam Johnson

The working weekend had been productive. Without texts, phone calls, TV, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I wrote a few thousand words and am close to completing my next novel, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die. What a way to work!  Thanks to our wonderful hosts: Katy, Amanda, A.J. and Josh for pampering us and making us feel like royalty. If you are interested in vacationing at Black Diamond Camp, here’s their website:blackdiamond.org and phone number:(253) 939-0488.


         My stay at Black Diamond Camp at Mt Rainier was truly a breath of fresh air.

10 thoughts on “A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

  1. What a fun adventure! Kelly, I had no idea you worked full time AND published all those books AND raise your grandson. Wow. I am exhausted just hearing about it. You are amazing! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m never bored, that’s for sure. Life is rich and full and that’s a good thing. As I get older, I realize how much more I want to do before I cross over. Remember Robert Frost? “I have miles to go before I sleep.”


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