It's been one whole year since I released my first book forever today and what a year it's been for me. I continue to be overwhelmed with the support I've received from family, friends, and even strangers. I wanted to share something special for the one year anniversary but this will only be something for people who have read my second book, Snowfall, as well.
My third book, somewhere in time, has been the most challenging to write for some reason. I've been writing it for almost a year now without an end in sight. with our current situation, I might be able to finish it within the month though. This book, like the other two, has a lot of my heart in it and I can't wait to share it with all of you. Charlotte started off book one, Wyatt started off book two, it was only fitting that I let Rose start off book 3. here is the very first small chapter of somewhere in time.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Rose sat with her back leaned against the wooden pew looking up at the ceiling of the San Xavier Mission. It had been years since she’d been there, and years since she’d sat in that place where she’d come so often when she lived in Arizona. It had always been her refuge and the place she’d come to when she needed the most help. Somehow, she felt more at home there than she did anywhere else.
The saguaro bones on the ceiling stretched to the walls around her, splintering but still holding steady after all of this time. There was something comforting about the place remaining so unchanged. Rose knew that no matter the amount of time that passed, the mission would be the same. The building would be firmly rooted to the Arizona earth, the hallways would be swept, and the trees trimmed, but that place itself, its pure white-light energy, would not change. Nova, too, sat like a fixture, looking up at Rose when she walked toward her like no time had passed between them. Her hair was grayer and her eyes even wiser than the last time Rose had seen her. She lifted her arms to Rose, pulling her tightly against her.
“Sister,” she cooed in her ear as Rose cried on her shoulder. She pulled Rose’s tear streaked face out in front of her, smiling with her eyes as she looked her over. “This where you belong,” she said succinctly, before embracing her again.
And she was right, Rose knew. She knew it the second she came back there. A week ago she’d driven into Patagonia and stopped the car just on the outskirts of town. With tears in her eyes she kicked off her shoes and walked way out into the desert, oblivious to anything that could harm her. She knew her body could find the way as she moved her toes around, feeling the Arizona dirt beneath her feet. The grit and the dryness like a salve to a wound, she couldn’t stop feeling it. She’d laughed, throwing her head back on her shoulders and holding her arms out to the wind, cackling with tears streaking down the side of her face. She felt it then, that tie she had to that place. She belonged there more than anywhere else in the world and she knew. She knew she couldn’t go back to Savannah. Not now. No matter what happened, she couldn’t bring herself to be somewhere she didn’t belong. Not anymore. She just had no idea how she would tell Charlotte.
A slight winter breeze blew outside but there was silence in the chapel. It was still early, just after daybreak, but Rose knew that soon the tourists would come in and ruin the tranquility. Cameras slung around their necks, they’d point out details of that place to their spouses, shaking their heads at the many colors of the stained glass window, marveling at the strange Spanish and Native cultures splashed over every surface of the mission. But for now, it was quiet. The place was hers the way it always had been.
Rose took a deep breath, the air shaking its way into her lungs on the way in. She’d have to tell Charlotte that day. Rose was, at that very moment, supposed to be back in Savannah working in the beautiful shop they’d created together. Well, that Charlotte had mostly created. Charlotte was so proud, so successful, so confident, that sometimes Rose couldn’t believe she was the same little girl who had shown up on her doorstep all of those years ago. Rose smiled to think of her niece. Her spirit baby. She knew the girl was special, not of this world, more powerful than she could ever come to understand. Which was why, Rose reminded herself, she would be ok. No matter what happened, she would be ok.
Rose looked around the chapel to the statue of St. Francis in the corner, candles reflecting off of the wall behind it. She sighed heavily and looked up to the cross in front of her.
“Well?” she said to the inside of the empty chapel. “I could use some help.”
Her voice echoed slightly off of the old plastered walls and she couldn’t help but giggle back. This, she knew, was something she would have to do herself. Not even her spirit guides had to tell her that.
“Alright, then,” she sighed, closing her eyes.
Rose put her face in her hands, covering her eyes with her petite hands. She thought of Charlotte and all the girl had been through. She thought of everything she knew was to come and she held Charlotte there in her mind and heart, praying hard for her like she’d done all of those times before.
With her Arizona desert outside the door to the chapel, Rose sat there trying hard to find the words. When the prayer came to her, she whispered it out loud, willing it to be heard. Again.
Please, God, let me help her. Please, God, allow her to thrive. Please, God, keep her safe. Please, God, make her strong.
I finished writing my first book about a year ago now. I didn’t even tell anyone I was writing. Only my husband and a couple of very close friends knew that I was doing it. Too many times before, I had tried and failed so I knew better than to make a big deal out of it. But something was different this time. Something happened that changed the way I wrote forever. I stopped thinking about what people might think if they saw my work. I stopped going back over what I had written and editing myself to a standstill. Mostly, I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t.
Most writers will tell you that an important part of being a great writer is reading non-stop and I certainly think that’s true. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without all of the books I’ve read over the years. Reading makes you a better writer, period. Something that is seldom discussed, though, is the fact that when you read great writing, you compare yourself to it relentlessly. You read greatness and want to embody that so much that your work changes from what is really authentically you, to what you think others want to hear. At least, that was the way for me. There are a lot of reasons I stopped doing this. I can attribute it to being a little older and wiser, or the fact that I learned to push through without editing, and lastly, to meditation, which has become a huge part of my writing process (I could write a separate blog or book on that topic alone!).
This book was different because I did something very simple: I just wrote. I wrote until the pages were riddled with underlined red words, bleeding through the screen and then, instead of fixing them, I wrote some more. Daily I had to fight that inner voice inside of me that said I should be doing other things. That nasty voice that said I was wasting my time. Imposter syndrome is real, ladies, and if you haven‘t heard about it, google it now. It’s probably the reason you don’t think you belong where you are. The reason why you think you’re fooling everyone into thinking you have your life together. I shouldn’t just single out women, though; I know for a fact that men often feel this way as well. Maybe we all do. Maybe it’s part of being human that we all think someone else has all of this shit figured out more than we do. But here’s what, they actually don’t.
I struggle to write blogs because I really hate to give advice, at least in this capacity, even though I know that’s really what most blogs are about. The older I get the more I realize that we all have such vastly different circumstances, so many different variables in our lives that it’s not really fair for me to tell anyone what do. Not to mention the fact that today I might feel on top of my shit, but tomorrow it could be completely different. My point, though, is this: I failed over and over again and no one knew about it. I failed not because I didn’t have the support or the talent, but because of my own inner voice which told me I couldn’t do it.
The most successful people I know have these same doubts about themselves. They second guess, they worry, and they feel inferior. But yet they persist. They find a way through, even though most people never understand what actually goes on in their heads. Just the other day my friend, a wildly confident and successful nurse of almost 15 years, was telling me how she felt this way in her newest job as a flight nurse. You would never think it to look at her. She’s a gorgeous, articulate, tattooed, badass mother and wife who radiates confidence. But yet here she is, doubting herself, having to psyche herself up each day to push through and conquer that inner voice that’s telling her she can’t.
I find comfort in this not because she’s struggling, because I hate that for her. I hate to think of someone like her not knowing what they have to offer the world. I find comfort in it because it reminds me that we all go through times of doubt. Times where we don’t feel like the best versions of ourselves. But what I know is this: everything in life is fleeting. Nothing stays very long and realizing that, adapting to that, is often what saves us. This, too, shall pass for her, for me, and for all of us.
The truth is that I might still fail. The probability of my book being a smashing success is a long shot, to say the least, but I finished it. I finished it and it’s moving forward to publication. For that, I’ve promised myself that I will be proud, and I am. I’m proud that I had the guts to try, regardless of the outcome.
I went from writing in quiet moments that no one knew about to letting a few people read my work, to releasing it to anyone who wants to read it. It’s terrifying, exciting, and is taking every bit of courage I have. Like I said, I don’t like to give advice, but I will say this: conquering your inner bitch who says you can't is intoxicating, exhilarating, and frightening. I highly recommend it. I might have to remind myself to do it again many times after this and that’s ok, too. I don’t have my life all figured out, but I know that no one else really does either, so I’ll be fine.
I'm going to keep it real. Like, really real. I don't care for blogging or reading blogs. Sometimes I read them if the content interests me but between reading actual books, articles, and anything on social media, I find myself scrolling through every blog post on Pinterest just to get to the damn recipe. But, as it is, every author has a blog so here's mine. I plan on updating it when I have something important to say and when I'm releasing new material.
I'll introduce myself for those who don't know me, I'm Katie J Douglas and yes, that's my penname. I'm a wife, mother, writer, entrepreneur, avid reader, and meditating enthusiast. I live in Arizona and always will since I love the desert more than I can even explain. I attended Northern Arizona University for my undergrad and graduate degrees and I'm also a former high school English teacher. I've been writing in private for years and have been quietly trying to finish a novel for as long as I can remember. Last year I finally succeeded in doing so and this will be my first time sharing my work on this large of a scale which is exciting and also scares the hell out of me.
If you're reading this, it means you're supporting me in one way or another, so THANK YOU! I've been blessed with a lot of support and it's not something I take for granted. Right now I'm finalizing edits on "Forever Today- Book One". Between that, the launch, promoting the book, and still working through edits on Book Two, I'm keeping super busy so again, I probably won't be blogging much (don't be too heartbroken).
If you're local to Arizona and would like to come to my book launch, please do! This will be a public event with food, booze, and live music! Drew Cooper, an amazing local country artist, will be there singing.