Adventures with Words, Issue 1

Adventures with Words, Issue 1


I’m going to try this newsletter thing. All the cool kids are doing it and I want to be cool.  Also, I want to build systems to connect with readers that aren’t dependent on fascist billionaires. I’m planning a monthly schedule, with occasional short announcements if they are time sensitive.

Making space for creativity is a motivating force in my life. I want this for everyone. I want everyone to have space for creation of some kind in their lives. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, you can be creative about how you approach life.

In addition to writing, I have coloring books for those days when I just need some down time without a lot of mental expenditure. I enjoy finding interesting ways to bring colors together. I’ve been listening to LPs lately, enjoying the music of my youth – the 70s and 80s. Even my day job requires creativity – either in problem solving or in staying engaged during long zoom meetings (pro tip: whatever you do, mute yourself and also, don’t miss it when someone says your name).

The gardening projects that Mol and I have worked on this year definitely engaged our creative minds as well as our researching ability. Supporting everything I am doing is the ongoing project of creating a space I want to live in and enjoy with my family and friends. I want my home to be inviting as a place to rest, to connect and to create. The colors, furnishings and decor all contribute something in pursuit of that goal.

Woven in and around all the other pursuits, there’s creativity in the kitchen. Over the past two years, I’ve grown as a cook, finding interesting and delicious ways to feed my family. Food isn’t just fuel, after all.

Food is Love

I’m a little late on the sourdough bandwagon, I didn’t get into it until this fall and now I’m hooked. I’ve made bread from a couple of different recipes, with good results. One is a crusty bread in a dutch oven style, the other gives me a denser bread that’s good for toast. I’m still working on getting a taller loaf out of that one. I also made sourdough pancakes using a recipe from Alaska Sourdough: The Real Stuff by a Real Alaskan by Ruth Allman. It’s super simple and delicious. 

All this bread baking is working out nicely with all the soup I’ve been making.  I made a cabbage soup last month – first time – and it was delicious, even my 13 y.old thought so. Last week, I pulled some tomato soup I made in late summer out of the freezer. I want to do a beef stew but haven’t settled on a recipe yet. Right now, I’m noshing on a veggie-packed chicken soup and a loaf of crusty sourdough.

Writing Project Updates

Summer and fall have been busy, busy. Gardening, harvesting, preserving and recovering – from all of that and knee surgery. What I haven’t been doing enough of is creative writing. 

Let’s rewind a bit to mid July. I submitted my YA manuscript to editor Jenny Bartoy for a manuscript evaluation. While she was doing her thing, I stopped working on the project, wanting to see what Jenny had to say before I continued. I received her 21 page response in late August, days before going in for complete knee replacement for my right knee. I read the document, then set it aside as I prepared for surgery. Post-op brain was not capable of doing a second read, or taking all of that information onboard. It wasn’t until October that I sat down with the evaluation a second time and began to take notes, envision changes and prepare for a meeting with Jenny to talk and ask questions. We met on October 17 at Bluebeard Coffee in Tacoma and had a lovely conversation. This was our first in person meeting. 

The meeting fired me up and I had a few days of writing flurry and idea generation based on her evaluation, and my thoughts on how to work with those ideas.  The next revision will be major, dropping some unnecessary scenes and building up others, working on the pace and concentrating on the mystery aspect of the story. To help me with the mystery focus, I’ve been reading YA mysteries and I’ve checked out an anthology called ‘How to Write a Mystery’, edited by Lee Child and Laurie R. King..

What I’m reading and watching

While I haven’t been writing much in the past few months, I’ve been reading like a fiend. I’ve read 68 books so far this year. Wow!  My favorites have been by women, queer, trans and BIPOC writers. Recent faves: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Plant and  A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers (anything by her, really); The Sunbearer Trials and Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas (all his stuff is really good); Just Like Home a spooky story by Sarah Gailey (love, love this queer writer); All the Murderbot books and anything else Martha Wells writes. 

I’m eagerly awaiting  Promises Stronger than Darkness, the final book in Unstoppable, the YA space opera trilogy by Charlie Jane Anders (mind-bogglingly prolific writer of excellent books)..

Lower Decks, Reservation Dogs season 2, Station Eleven and The Good Place have been filling my eyeballs with good story telling, humor and a welcome respite from the stresses of life.

What I’m Dreaming About

I’m dreaming about a time when I spend the bulk of my hours doing the work of writing, editing, creating and promoting my work and less time doing a job for the money. I’m not sure when that will happen, but I dream about it a lot.  I’m also dreaming and planning with my partner, Mol, about the land we want to buy in Eastern Washington where we’ll build a home and have a small farm using regenerative and permaculture values. 

What’s Next?

Getting back on the horse, so to speak. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, having decided I need to focus on the current WiP rather than generating a new one. That said, we’re well into November and I haven’t been working consistently. 

I’m hosting a Writers’ Chat at NW Beerwerks on December 5th starting at 5:30pm.  All writers are welcome. It’s not a workshop, it’s more of a support and social group around our mutual obsession/affliction.  If you’re interested, send me an email with subject line ‘Writers’ Chat’. 

Thank you so much for welcoming me and my rambling update into your inboxes. If you have questions about my projects, writing in general, book recommendations or anything, send me an email. I’d love to hear from you. Before I close, I want to give a shout-out to the people and organizations who have been keeping my creative candle lit over the past two plus years:

Mol Thompson, my partner, muse, and co-conspirator

The Page Turners writing group – Lisa Lewis and Burl Battersby

Creative Colloquy, led by the fabulous Jackie Fender (Casella), who have kept a lot of us afloat with online workshops, readings and a great annual anthology.

Blue Cactus Press and Mud Flat Press for supporting us creative types with resources and events, as well as for publishing local writers and writers from historically marginalized communities. 

If you’d like to get this newsletter delivered to your inbox, email me at

Thank you all, stay creative and eat well,

CK Combs

Making Contact

Here’s where you can find me online: – my blog

@CKCombs_author – Instagram and TikTok 

I still have a Twitter account, @camcombs, though I’m not sure for how long.

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