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Faith

The 'new' Me at the end of summer (that's a herd of guinea pigs in the background)

 

There’s an old saying, ‘write about what you know’ but a much more useful saying for me has turned out to be, ‘first figure out who you are and make peace with all of it’.

A little background would be useful here. I’ve been writing professionally for almost 25 years, at the dawn of the internet. I’ve been very successful at writing and have been published traditionally three times, written extensively for the Washington Post and had a syndicated national weekly column.

However, I never felt successful and instead ran around confused, trying to figure out where I fit in the profession. The confusion showed in the different genres I tried and eventually wore me out.

I knew all along that I was getting in my own way and costing myself sales but I had no idea how I was doing it or what to change.

Then, I learned the rule of the truest intention. The rule is, no matter what I claim I want to do or believe, whatever is my strongest underlying intention will rule. Mine turned out to be that I wanted to stay hidden and fade into the background. Too many questions might lead to too much exposure. That can make it difficult to become a well-known, and bestselling author.

Someone even recently pointed out to me that I do a good job of hiding in plain sight.

The result was that I had no practice at saying much about myself but I could give a pretty good description of everyone who was in my immediate orbit at any given time.

Is it any wonder that I was drawn to thrillers? Layer upon layer of misdirection that moves at lightning speed with a lot of fun thrown in on the journey.

However, the smoke has started to clear and instead of wanting to make sure that people know only the surface layer, I’ve learned how to open up and talk about myself.

The result is The Wallis Jones series and the first two books, The List and The Keeper, and an understanding that my books fall into inspirational romantic suspense and not political thriller. It’s a much better fit.

Another big revelation is that even though I’ve been writing for well over two decades, I’ve only been writing this series for a year and a half. That shift means, I’ve started over as an author, and need to view everything from that angle.

A lot of this self-awareness has felt very painful but those feelings pass and what’s left behind is clarity and a more-defined sense of self. It’s a view that I’m really learning to appreciate, even if I still like writing twisted stories of suspense that inspire and bring people together. More will be revealed.

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Potluck CelebrationThere was a time when I thought, once I have this lesson, I won’t have to learn it again. Didn’t matter what the fear was about – financial, relationship, career. There’s something here to learn and once I have it, I can move on and be happy.

That was only partially true. In order to really get at this truth, I was going to have to pull apart the layers of thinking I had about happiness and start from scratch.

First thing I realized was, I was trying to micromanage happiness into a box that I could control and pull out whenever I needed an extra dose. My underlying belief was that happiness was elusive and based on events. If the things that were going on in my life were hard or altogether missing, then I couldn’t be happy.

It also meant that if the people around me showed signs of unhappiness I needed to figure out how to change that for them and the sooner the better. Imagine how much fun that was for all of us.

It was also disrespectful. Instead of letting people choose for themselves how they felt about any given day, I was outright telling them that there was only going to be one mood when you’re around me. Happy. Or really, false happy.

So much low-level tension when I was in the room.

Second layer that had to go was that feeling anxious or even miserable was not necessarily a sign of anything and frankly, probably wasn’t and didn’t matter. It was okay to feel that way, just don’t act on the feelings.

In the past, if I was unhappy at a job for a long enough string of days, it must mean that I wasn’t meant to be there. Time to go. Now, I know to go and reason out what’s really bothering me with only one or two people I trust to help me look for a solution. The answers tend to be a lot less drastic or dramatic. Imagine that.

Sometimes, it has even meant that it’s past time to go but maybe there’s a more constructive, compassionate and better way to go.

Third big layer turned out to be that my faith was going to have to grow to a point where I could trust that God actually does love me, as is and not because of what I do. The labels I hang all over myself like a Christmas tree like writer, mother, runner don’t matter to God and there aren’t better ones, by the way, that do matter.

I’m here for awhile, He made me, He loves me, end of that plot line.

One more big layer is when I don’t say my truth, I dishonor myself and that newly found faith. I do this usually to not upset someone else who I think won’t like what I believe. I don’t actually know that it will but don’t want to find out.

Geez, that first layer bites me again, trying to get everyone to just be false happy.

It doesn’t come naturally just yet, and I realize there’s a certain amount of discernment that’s needed but at least there’s a pause now where I hear this voice within that say, tell the truth here. Let others do with it whatever they choose. Respect them enough to let them be, however they choose to be.

Let it go, again and again.

Underneath all of those layers it turns out that happy is a choice not tied to anything. The way I choose to look at life and believe keeps leading me back to happy.

The Circle, 3rd in The Wallis Jones series, will be out in March 2015. The List and The Keeper are on sale now. If you’re a filmmaker looking for good thriller material, click here.

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Martha pic blue sweater 030313

Come see what it’s all about at www.WallisJones.com

The Circle, 3rd book in the Wallis Jones series, due out in early 2015.

It seems like a human being is a deep, narrow pool of water that is so dense, it’s impossible to see to the very bottom. But there at the bottom is where all the origins of the story of my life are swimming and playing, and teeming with energy.

Every thought, idea and most of all, belief that we’ve taken in as truth and then forgotten that there was ever a time when we didn’t know it, is buried down there in the bottom of that dark pool. At some point, our behavior starts to seem like a part of us. We must have come into the world like this.

It’s an argument to give in to the fears or limitations and work with what we are, who we are and settle. We have completely forgotten that each of those beliefs is just a layer sitting on top of all of our potential.

If only we had the insight to see past it and keep trying.

I spent so much time being afraid of what I might lose and where I might end up that just seeing past all of those layers seemed like a monumental task. I had no idea where to begin and I was positive that I would not only fail, I’d die trying. It was a truth to me and my shrinking life was proof of that belief.

Fortunately, I discovered writing thrillers and through twisted plots and well-meaning characters trying to do their best, I found a voice. For me, it was as if the depths of my soul were tired of waiting for me to come to life and had found a way to be heard.

But I still pulled my punches, trying to write in a way that wouldn’t be found offensive. I’m not sure who I thought I’d offend or what I would say that would do that but I was cautious and careful and busy trying not to look like it. Even with all of that, readers wrote me saying they identified with the characters and felt like someone was finally speaking for them.

We were all speaking to each other on some level I was still not really perceiving but some amount of a message was getting through. Still, I wondered if I had enough, deep at the bottom of the well to sustain me through an entire life. I really wasn’t sure.

My answer was to create a character, Wallis Jones, who is sure of herself and her loving husband Norman, her funny, smart son, Ned, and the life she’s created. She believes everything exists in her life because of the part she played, and the hard work she devoted to all of it. Of course she is succeeding, until she finds out none of it is really true.

What if you found out that your entire family history was a lie the older generation came up with just to keep their own ambitions alive? What if you couldn’t stop the machinery that had been in power for generations and at best, could only hope to escape it or at best, learn to live peacefully within it?

Everyone in The Wallis Jones series is trying to figure out how to be happy in a complicated world, even the characters that have less than admirable traits. Everyone has the same goal but different beliefs in how the universe works and their actions bubble up from that dark place, deep down inside and guide them to think of others, or think of no one but themselves.

Wallis watched all of this unfold in a leafy suburb of Richmond, Virginia among friends who like to play Bunko, and clients at her law firm that keep making the same mistakes, asking for her help. She’s one of us, except for that big conspiracy.

That’s exactly how I walked around for years. I’m okay, I think, except for this big conspiracy that starts from within me and says, you may not be up to the task.

I’ve started to find the beginning of a solution that involves faith and courage and a willingness to keep moving forward. I’m just going to let my story unfold in the series, which seems somehow right at home in a thriller. The first two books are out now, The List and The Keeper, and The Circle will be out early next year. More will be revealed.

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If you’ve ever wondered whether a small gesture can make a difference, read on. Twin preemie sisters, separated into different incubators. One of them was failing until a nurse broke hospital rules and put them together. The healthier one threw her arm over her sister and the failing baby’s heart immediately stabilized and she grew stronger. The healing touch…

This was 1995 and changed the way all hospitals treat infants. One small girl reaching out from her new, little heart, transformed a lot of big adults.

Even when I’m trying to tell a fun story, even a thriller, I’m hoping there’s a little bit of this magic in the mix. We all share our own version every time we share our particular gifts.

http://consciouslifenews.com/the-rescuing-hug-and-power-of-emotions/

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Martha Carr: Here’s a Secret About Books

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  • Martha Carr and Tym Moss smallerI’m on Artists Exposed with Tym Moss this Saturday talking about The List, thrillers and how to be happy without needing to be right. Fun times! Join us:
  • www.BearRadio.net, www.TalkRadioX.com
  • MARTHA CARR… Author of The List: 1st in the Wallis Jones Series…

    Martha Carr is my wonderful guest this week. This nationally syndicated writer, cancer survivor and author talks about life, spiritual understanding, her books and so much more…

    I adore this woman…

    ARTISTS EXPOSED WITH TYM MOSS SCHEDULE

    SATURDAY
    10pm www.BearRadio.net (Click on icon under Player in ‘Bear Radio Network Tuner’)

    SUNDAY
    6pm www.TalkRadioX.com (Click on HD Radio.com)

    MONDAY
    2pm www.BearRadio.net (Click on icon under Player in ‘Bear Radio Network Tuner’)

    All times are Eastern Time (New York City time!)

    Thanks for all your support…..

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batgirls2My big summer project has turned out to be redecorating my Chicago apartment. It all started because I told my landlord I was moving in order to gain a dishwasher and a vent above the stove. He countered with an offer to put both of them in and then some. That has created an interesting discussion among my friends about women and comic books that has been more disturbing than you might have thought possible.

By the time the renovations were done the kitchen was taken back to its foundation and that made my old furniture suddenly seem a little shabby. Before I knew it, I was updating everything else. What emerged was a more accurate picture of me that as it turns out is a cross between a little science, a lot of DC comics and some sci-fi for good measure. I already knew that but apparently most of my friends were caught off guard.

bat ironThere’s a few classic DC comic posters, an amazing bat signal an artist cousin of mine cut out of iron and a few insects suspended in glass that are hanging in the kitchen. There’s more but you get the idea.

Any nerd girl would feel right at home.

Several friends have commented that I had created every ten-year-old boy’s dream home but they missed the point. This place was a celebration of the nerd girl.

The nerd world at large is just starting to catch up with the women’s movement from forty years ago. All of a sudden, women who are into gaming, science, sci-fi and graphic novels are speaking up about being ignored or even put down by their male counterparts.

I’m one of those nerd women and it’s about time we defined ourselves instead of always standing in the background. It’s about time because frankly we’ve been here all along. I not only watched the original Star Trek series in its first run, I dreamed of being Captain Kirk, not Lieutenant Uhura. Gene Rodenberry felt he was being ground-breaking by having a multi-cultural cast and including women in bigger roles, and he was but that doesn’t mean that his female audience in the 1960’s wasn’t dreaming about leading the charge.

We aren’t a new creation just catching up with all of the guys. Think Marie Curie, the pioneer in physics and radiology or even Sally Ride, the youngest and first woman astronaut in space. We’ve been around for awhile and we’ve been making contributions in environmental science, biology and even comic books, although that’s been an even harder glass ceiling for us to break.

Gail Simone, former lead writer for DC Comics’ Batgirl was fired last December and many believe it was because of her outspoken comments about the disproportionate number of women who are maimed, raped, beaten and murdered in comic books and movies. She called it ‘women in refrigerators’ and was even roundly chastised in social media, which is a disheartening comment about how male readers may see women in general. Largely disposable accessories.

A population that was most likely bullied during their formative years ought to have a little more compassion for a similar group. Nerd-boys ought to stick up for us more but if they continue not to, we can become our own super heroes more and keep speaking up for ourselves, and use our purses to get our point across in a way that has proven to be effective.

Comic Con was this past weekend in Chicago and my entire family was there, as usual. There was artwork I would have liked to buy but the ridiculous portrayal of the women isn’t something I want to display in my home. It’s been reported that Simone will soon be the lead writer for a new Tomb Raider series, which is good news for not only my older generation but little girls who can grow up with a better idea of what’s possible that goes beyond the label survivor. Maybe we can start to look for the super heroes we admire and support them by buying their stories and artwork and just rescue ourselves. More adventures to follow. Tweet me @MarthaRandolph and tell me your own super heroine story.

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