Writing what readers want

Writing what readers want
The incredible adventure of meeting Karen Marie Moning

by Pauly Hart
Where Truth Matters.

I would like to share with you the story of taking my wife to see Karen Marie Moning and JR Ward in Kentucky yesterday. These women both write Supernatural Fantasy Urban Paranormal Romance Thrillers... Which is a weird thing to write but they are both on the New York Times #1 best seller list, make a lot of money so shut up about how weird that is already and read my story.

Moning's newest book, released 1/20/15
The main reason to go was to see Karen. My wife has been a follower/reader of her for ten years, so this predates our relationship by four years so I believed that since she has captured my wife's attention for this long, I had better see what it was all about.

We awoke at four in the morning, threw our stuff together and were out the door. We drove for several hours, stood outside in twenty degree weather for several hours stood in line inside of a bookstore for several hours, stood in line in a mall for several hours and finally got to see the authors. They walked the crowd, answering questions of their books, their personal lives and their paths of creativity. I asked a question of Karen about an "evil book" in the book series that she wrote and how it evolved from a plot, to a plot device to a contagonist into a very enfleshed antagonist and she answered it very well to my satisfaction. I learned more, however, by watching the crowd around her.

I was among maybe five other men in a group of five hundred women... It was a strange but a wonderful experience to feel the estrogen in the room pulse and seethe like it's own living entity. Three times during the question and answer time Karen laughed at the crowd and told them that they were a schizophrenic and fickle people because they couldn't decide what they wanted her to write about. And that's true. Different opinions are shaped not only by the genetic makeup of a person, but by their experiences that they grow up around. No author can please a crowd in it's entirety.

Karen Marie Moning - answering questions yesterday.
But what I learned from this trip was not about the authors at all. I learned about audiences and how to amuse them. First of all, your setting does not matter. I recall little Pauly, scrunched under the covers, age ten reading Frodo and Sam, or The Stainless Steel Rat, or Skeeve and Aahz and thinking how different these universes were, but because they enveloped my entire brain, I was loathe to stop reading about what would happen to them next. I was invested. It didn't matter what the adventure was, I wanted to read more. They had created in me, a return audience. I was theirs to lose really. I am not happy that any of the Twilight series was written by Stephanie Meyer, but I am happy that she at least did not write MORE of them. The last one was done so poorly that she probably would have lost a large portion of her audience with child-raping werewolves now a part of the lore. Even if the movie does well, I declare shenanigans on her entire universe.

But enough Stephanie Myer bashing. I was first talking about Tolkien and Harrison and Asprin. Reading really got my goat as a kid, not that my name was Billy, but it did help me ram home some terrible puns. What I learned from these women in the audience yesterday is that people want to read, just as I did and still do but they don't want to read boring dried up crap! They want to read:

JR Ward - prowling the audience
1) Things that are relevant
2) Things that are exciting
3) Things that are emotional
4) Things that are intimate
5) When needed, paranormal

I've asked my wife about this list and she agrees that these are the things that move her to want to read. She loves it when she can emotionally invest in a character and have her faith rest in the idea that he or she can go farther, pursue longer, save better, think quicker, overcome and achieve whatever the plot goal is using whatever plot devices are necessary. It helped me to understand this about the audience and I needed to understand that the writers actually "GET" what their readers want.

Not what they "WANT" want out of this character to fall in love with this one, or that character to not have died... But things that are in the list to continue pulling and teasing and stretching their needs, wants, and desires. When a reader picks up your book or story or essay or poem, they are hoping that the "This better be good" feeling envelops them from the very onset, grips them (or hugs them) throughout the entirety, and then gently places them back into reality when the reading is over, like a lover would place a kiss on the cheek.
My wife, meeting her writing hero.

And this is what I want to provide as a writer. Relevant. Exciting. Stuff. That just sneezes all over you with awesomeness. Like this story for example. You think it's pretty great. It's a really powerful story about how I, as a fledgling writer, went and experienced two well known and popular writers and had my world shaken and tossed upside down and I cracked open my insides and a lot of preconceptions came oozing out, but I scooped myself up, ran home and now am finding out that what was on the inside of my belief system as a writer was nothing but crap.

And so I heal and will begin to write better.

Harvest Christian Camp, Lewisville, Indiana

Harvest Christian Camp, Lewisville, Indiana
by Pauly Hart
Where Truth Matters.

When Omega Ranch closed down in Scott City, Kansas, Harvest Ranch was there to help me transition into a brighter environment. On arriving, it was Pastor Janette McBride that had me climb up on her horse-drawn buggy and I was given my interview right then and there. I was there for five weeks my first year, One week in the kitchen, one week cutting lawns, one week as a councilor, one week as ministry staff, and my last week they let me be a rancher myself.

Here's me and some of the boys.
I worked for the camp for two additional seasons in high school and college and have to say that it was probably one of the largest reasons that I am a strong Christian today. I did so many things with young people that moved and changed how I view our inter-connectivity with one another as well as our role as the Body of Christ on this earth. I witnessed four medical miracles (acts of spontaneous remission) underneath the move of the late Reverend Johnny Beard as well as others. I witness an "Outpouring" of Gods precious Holy Spirit over twenty times and I witnessed children forgiving their fathers for their wrongdoing underneath the song "Daddy's Song" performed via tape by Dennis Jernigan of Oklahoma City.

I met many beautiful people who I am still in contact today as an adult, Amber, Nealy and many others helped me to grow strong as a Christian and to have as positive role models for me as a young adult in my quest for a great wife. Marc and Christine Hynds encouraged me, loved me, had faith in me, where no one else did. I taught a "Creative Writing" class and wrote the opening night play called "The Gospel According To Granny" for my last visit there in 1994 and that served as a springboard to help me write over 1500 poems, several children's books as well as my first novel.

Myself and two of my adopted sisters.

I would recommend that you send your child to Harvest Christian Camp. I would recommend that you work as much as you can, live as a pauper, save all your money, and help out our future by bringing every child you've ever met, every year to Harvest Christian Camp. It's just that good. God has done many beautiful things thru that camp and will continue to do many things there. You don't want your kid to miss this opportunity.

Oklahoma says "No" to history

Oklahoma says "No" to history
by Pauly Hart
Where Truth Matters.

Oklahoma now available with White People*
(*White people shown to scale)

Oklahoma feels that history should be viewed from a distance... At least that's what the White House says it should teach. Yes. The White House is telling your school in your state what to teach and what not to teach. In this case, The Oklahoma Land Rush.

This all started last year with a program called: "My Brother's Keeper." The newest wave of Federal Programs to help out school children to find their way into a brighter tomorrow. Every administration has one, and this is President Obama's, and it's massive to say the least. There are six basic concerns, one of them is "Ensuring all youth out of school are employed" which is just nuts if you ask me, but no one has so, ok. I was fine when I was in third grade not having a job, but Obama doesn't think so. But I digress.

Evidently the President decided that "White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education (WHIAIANE)" needed a larger push to lead it into battle. This action group hasn't really been much more than a think tank since it formed back in 2011, and My Brother's Keeper is fresher and edgier and evidently (from photo and video stock) primarily aimed at african heritage teenage boys. So lets throw WHIAIANE on the bandwagon and see if we can push it farther. Maybe these Native Americans are just like Blacks!

"Now you boys run along and play with guns."
And they did. They even went on tour. The first tour ever. A "Listening" tour to determine how we are treating young Native Americans since we sailed over here, raped their sister, stole their land, shot their dad and told them to move to land that no one wanted to live on anyway. Or something along those lines. At least move to Oklahoma. Cause we totally want to give you... "That place"... Like FOREVER. Seriously, we're never going to let anyone ever take it fr... Mmmmm. Well nevermind. We're going to take that too and give it away free to white people.

The first tour ever. Hey, how's it going? Remember that one time we took your land, raped your sister and killed your dad? Well, we were wondering how it's going for your great grandchildren and if they've forgotten about all that? Ooooooh. They have? Great! How can we better help you to forget? I know! Let's go ahead and take away the painful reminder of the "Land Rush".

I wonder if the "Trail of Tears Reeinactment" would make soccer moms cry?
So Wisconsin, Michigan, Oklahoma, New York, California, Alaska and Washington are all getting these guys coming around and "listening" to their problems. Things are great thanks. Here's some free tokens to our casino and some cigarettes. “Indian students have unique education challenges as they strive to preserve their native cultures and languages, while ensuring that they are college and career ready.” says William Mendoza, executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. Sure. THEY STRIVE... Cause the government sure didn't help much, now did they?

Now, come on... Progress is a good thing. There were some good things done. One of the better, more recent acts to be done was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and this whole push towards "Educatin' the Injun" is a branch from the Office of Civil Rights, and specifically Title Six of the act, passed in the fall of 2000, and just now rearing it's head in the form of WHIAIANE. Now they have videos and posters and pamphlets and probably a droid app (for all I know) written in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and even Korean! "Progress as promised" to quote a roadwork sign. Yet I wonder why they haven't translated it into any of the Algic languages like Ojibwe, or are they just leaving that problem to the Kanuks? If they live on a "Reservation" then it's a big deal, but not on a "Reserve" eh? But again, I digress.

"Where are all the Indians?"
"They're far and away."
Dear Native Aboriginals, WHIAIANE promises to listen to you and hear your concerns and to "serve as a meaningful resource" (William Mendoza again). But at what cost, if they take away MORE OF YOUR HERITAGE? And here is where you might think that I'm being absurd, but let me give you a real quick background of what I do for a living and where I work.

I work at a very illustrious camp in the middle of the United States, named after a FIERCE Native who was against the movements and settling of those who came. I put on a "Settler" outfit and talk to grade-school children and we discuss how it was to live in the late 1700's. I teach them how to make a sod house, how to cook a stew (even how to trap and kill the animal), and I teach them how to live peaceably with the Natives around them. I even teach them some of the "Five Civilized Tribes" Sign Language signs to better communicate how to trade tobacco, sugar, fur or whatever. Reenactment is the key to learning history.

And The White House is taking away the Reenactment of the Oklahoma Land Rush from Oklahoma.

Of course they want our children to forget. And they dressed it up very well. They even have pamphlets in Korean!

Here's a picture.

the catholic church vs. the ymca.

the catholic church vs. the ymca.
by Pauly Hart
Where Truth Matters.

till not sure whether i stand with the ymca or the catholic church on the whole $60,000 coalition for refugee thing... but if i were to guess, i would probably say i would stand with the ymca.

as many of you know, the ymca helps an illinois organization that empowers the indigent in body and mind to rise up and achieve equality within the system here in the united states of america. sometimes they help those who are homosexuals. but that's ok. Jesus told us to love every one no matter what sin they are involved in, whether homosexuality, murder or even gluttony. the catholic church, however, has a huge problem with this and recently told the ymca to either stop helping them or they would pull their funding. the ymca refused, and the catholic church stopped giving them money.

so... on one hand i agree with the ymca and i tell myself that: "sure, you can help people as an organization, and that help can cross all sorts of barriers and it's good to help people." on the other hand i can see the catholic church and it's position. "alright, they are giving money into an organization that empowers the glbt movements and that should stop."

going backwards to the foundations of both parties should prove useful if i want to solve this argument. the ymca does not have a stance on gay marriage. just like Jesus didn't really have a stance on hanging out with hookers and the mafia. he was there to help people. the catholic church was founded by former priests who converted to christianity but didn't want to lose their position so they invented an intermediary between God and man... something Christ warned about as an antichrist spirit.

so i have to side with the ymca on the subject. even though the catholic church refuses to give a grant for sixty thousand bucks to a really cool organization. the mission statement for the y?

"The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all."

i think it's ok to help gay people... why doesn't the catholic church?

Notes on: "The Third Way"

Notes on: "The Third Way"
by Pauly Hart
Where Truth Matters.

Just watched "The Third Way" - Pretty logical. Pretty sound. On track and in line with every part of the Bible that I know. It deals mainly with the fight against homosexuality in the hearts and minds of people and how to overcome your negative action by positive action: Love. It also deals with the way of love being the "Third Way" to reconcile a lot of hurt and pain that homosexuals and heterosexuals feel on a day to day basis.

Although Paul the Apostle told us that all of us are called to a full life and if you can live a chaste life, it's better for you, but that if you really burn with passion, go ahead and get married (heterosexually) and have fun. I led a chaste life for the first twenty four years of my life and I was fine with it. I gave my virginity to my wife. I could have made it all the way, but I like sex too much.

As a young man, I thought about homosexuality for a while, but didn't act on it. I experimented with cross-dressing for a minute, and decided that it wasn't for me. My father took me to a seminar once, and the preacher talked about "waiting for the right one to come along." So I did that. I waited. And the right one was a woman. Once I figured out that holistic prosperity of spirit came from two opposite parts of the human species dedicating their lives to one another for life, I was sold on the idea of me, a man, marrying a woman to spend the rest of my life with.

Although I think that the Catholic belief in a pope is flawed and that the movie presses the belief that the only true Church is the Catholic one, I profess that I still like the fact that they point to the actual arbiter for our sins, and that is Jesus Christ. I do appreciate the people for making this movie, and I can for the most part, condone every part of it.

It's a good thing to watch and a good thing to think about: Could I be chaste if I really wanted to? I know I was for twenty four years. It was tough but I made it. Can you?

The Third Way from Blackstone Films on Vimeo.

How to get them to come to your camp

How to get them to come to your camp
by Pauly Hart
Where Truth Matters.

I think the biggest way to draw groups in is connecting to the energies they have already spent in their own families, churches and extended social groups. Such groups are mostly: Independent Home School Groups, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls, Frontier Girls, Spiralscouts, 4H and Church youth groups and children's groups. To grab a hold of these already built youth club organizations is key to a vital Camp growth experience.

A synergy is formed when the entire club is united in an experience that fits their curriculum at a place they feel is committed to their cause. When the Troop leader or Parent leader becomes sold then you are seen as a venue for an activity and not just a stand alone outdoor activity camp. By creating a place for their thing you intertwine the idea in the minds of the children.

"Look dad, they have a SUMMER CAMP TOO!" and suddenly Mister Smith is filling out your forms online.

I believe the key to selling yourself and your camp to one of these groups is personal involvement. Offer to go into a meeting and so a presentation about constellations or basket weaving or whatever it is you and your camp do best to help them obtain badges, medals, or the like. Become the expert on that subject in their eyes and then offer to let them come to your camp for free in two weeks on Saturday and you will teach them another merit badge (the idea here being the open house without that name attached to it). Feed everyone a free lunch. Run it from 9AM - 4PM and invite several groups at once. Have several clinics going on at the same time, schedules posted everywhere, games ready and staff on hand to help with direction for non-staff led activities.

By selling your Camp as a "Venue for Entertainment and Growth" to fit their programs you are opening yourself up to a whole other level of new camper-ship. Again, creating the dynamic synergy between yourself as a place and the groups as the people and You Will Help Them Achieve Their Goals is 8 or 9 months of preparation and foundation laying for the cash cow that a full Summer Camp calendar can bring you.

Finally, parents are begging for a place to take their kids. Why would you want them anywhere else but at your camp? They may have heard about your camp or know of it through a friend, or luckely have a child that has gone there in the past... SELL IT. There are public and state parks and lakes galore! Why should they come to your camp to do their activities? Because you are designed to do it. You work at a location on this small planet that is close to where they live that offers everything they need that has a well organized staff, well tended trails, an ACA rating, obeys OSHA, with plenty of parking, free food and good heaters! GO GET 'EM!