Sunday, March 1, 2015

#MINI Book Review: Lincoln's Bodyguard by TJ Turner




Lincoln’s Bodyguard (Oceanview, April 2015) is historical fiction at its best: authentic, thrilling and just plain good fun. Author TJ Turner starts out with the interesting premise that Lincoln's bodyguard Joseph Foster stops John Wilkes Booth before he can kill Lincoln in Ford’s theater, and moves on from there: to a post-Civil War America that remains as divided as it was prior to the war; to a presidential administration torn by competing influences and petty jealousies (sound familiar?); to a postbellum South ripped apart by an occupying Federal Army at war with a stubborn Confederate insurgency.




Historical fiction is either made or broken by the research that went into the writing, and Turner did not disappoint: Lincoln’s Bodyguard is steeped in history—but reads like a thriller, taut and fast-paced. It is obvious that Mr. Turner knows his history, but he also knows his writing; the prose is fluid (and not overdone), the dialogue is genuine and appropriate for the setting, the characters are well-developed, and the pacing is fast, but not rushed.



Stories drive books, however, and Lincoln’s Bodyguard features a good one, a tail about a man on a journey to save his country and himself, a journey filled with pitfalls, romantic interludes and lurking enemies. Turner displays a veteran’s skill in his debut novel, which bodes well for fans of the genre: I look forward to his next offering.





Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and The Intern, a serialized novel based loosely on Peter's internship, published bi-weekly on #Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and a Beta-reader at StoryShelter. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. He can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.


 
   














Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The 5 Lessons I Learned from writing Serial Fiction: What You can pick up from #GameOfThrones #GOT


Like so many of my ideas with which I later struggled, writing a serialized novella on Wattpad seemed like a good idea at the time. What's the big deal? Write. Edit. Publish. Repeat. From the standpoint of a writer trying to remain patient as his first novel slowly makes its way to the bookshelves (getting there!) the immediacy of it was the most appealing aspect. Write. Edit. Publish. Repeat. Nothing to it, right? Not so fast. Writing serial fiction challenges you in ways you may never have expected, and, in doing so, teaches you to become a better writer. Here are the five (hard) lessons I learned:

Lesson 1) Let me ask you something: What keeps you waiting for the next episode of your favorite series? I am willing to bet it is the characters. #GOT comes out in April (and I can't wait to be reaquainted with Lord Tyrion and Daenerys Stormborn (I would have said Ned and Rob Stark but... well, you know) even though I, having read the books, know what happens. My motivation is to spend more time with the characters that have pulled me in. When you are watching/reading something over a prolonged period of time, it is your love of the characters that keeps you going. Hard-earned lesson 1? The most important aspect of any work of fiction is the characters. You can have great prose, a thrilling plot, fast pacing, and crisp dialogue, but if your characters aren't well-developed, complex, rich and interesting, you haven't accomplished anything.

Lesson 2) There are two types of writers, plotters and pantsers. The plotter plans out the entire book before it is written, outlining each chapter before striking down word one of prose. The panster begins with a general premise, and then just writes by the seat of her pants, often ending up in a place where she never expected. I am a pantser. I start with the basic plot and the main character, and go from there. When I began The Intern, all I had in mind was a faceless young woman struggling to retain her ideals amidst the chaos of her internship. The first chapter basically wrote itself (always a good sign), the second chapter went well, and then the problems began.

In my mind, a good book, as it reads out, picks up on the small details mentioned in the first few chapters and develops them. I love to mention something in passing in the first chapter and then expound upon it later, and when you are not writing serial fiction, you can go back and add these details as you edit, with the luxury of knowing what details need to be sewn in--but you can't do that when you publish each chapter as you write it. So, my second--hard--lesson learned from writing serial fiction: A small amount of structure and organization goes a long way. Create a basic outline of your next work of fiction, and leave lots of space where you can pencil in ideas as you think of them. You are going to find that every minute you spend so doing will eliminate 5 minutes of editing time later on.


Lesson 3)  Have you ever watched an episode of a series on TV (my favorites are Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Homeland) and been disappointed? One of the reasons the three series I listed are such hits is their consistency. Serialized programs live or die by consistency. When there is an entire week (or more) going by before the next episode airs, you had better fire up the viewer to suffer the wait by creating a good episode. That's why the season finale is always such a doozie--the writer knows it's another 6 to 9 months before the next episode. A mediocre episode loses viewers. Period. A good episode keeps viewers. Period.

Serial fiction presents the same dilemma. In a book, a reader can just keep reading past a mediocre chapter, and the mediocre part is soon forgotten. Not so with serial fiction, especially when there was often several weeks or more in between chapters being posted. And I could see it as I reviewed the numbers of reads (one of the informative aspects of writing on Wattpad). Good chapter, reads remain consistent: mediocre chapter, reads go down. My third--hard--lesson: Every chapter has to be well-written; every chapter has to stand alone. This applies to writing anything, really: if a word or sentence or paragraph or page or chapter can't stand on it's own two feet, get rid of it.



Lesson 4) One of the unique aspects of serialization is that many viewers or readers will jump in the middle of the series. I started watching #GOT in the middle of Season 3--and other than driving my teenage son crazy with questions--I managed just fine. People hear about something, they tell other people, and those other people check out an episode or chapter or two--often times in the middle of something. The writer has to account for this, has to make sure that the reader/viewer can follow along and get drawn in without getting confused and frustrated and tossing in the towel. It's a good skill for a writer to acquire (I haven't mastered it yet, but I'm getting better) and it will pay dividends later on.

The trick is that you have to do it without using a lot of backstory or info dumping. And that's a great thing to practice because backstory and info dumping are manuscript killers. This is especially true in serialization because the people who have already read the previous chapters don't want to go over the same stuff again, they want the story to move forward. The fourth lesson: Always write forward. Too much backstory kills. This is sometimes difficult, I know, because we are taught to start in the middle of a story, and it so tempting--so easy--to plunk down the backstory. But don't do it--agents and editors sniff out this kind of thing like sharks sniff chum. Weave tiny threads of the backstory in--only when absolutely needed--and remember, readers are smart, they can figure a lot of stuff out as well.

Lesson 5) One of the best--and worst--aspects of #GOT is the risks that the author takes. What do I mean? I loved Ned Stark, couldn't wait for Sunday night to see him again, and then he loses his head. That's a risk--when you kill off a character that popular, it's risky. Same thing again with Rob Stark, and so on... BUT there is a lot gained as well. What could be worth that price you ask? Star Trek may have been a great show, but did you ever think that Captain Kirk was going to be vaporized? No, you didn't. Let me ask you: Do you feel the same way about any character in #GOT? (You haven't been paying enough attention if you said yes.) That's my point. George RR Martin got my attention, and he's keeping it. Lesson 5: Take risks. Be innovative. Surprise people. Otherwise you are going to lose them. The same applies to writing a book; a reader can shelf you at any time. Make it so they wouldn't dare.


Ok, thanks for your attention. If you would like to see how if I listened to my own advice, here is the link to The Intern on Wattpad. Wattpad is free and easy to join, and there are over 80 million stories to choose from. March should be an exciting month for me, as my literary agent, the wonderful and talented Liz Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates, is shopping my debut novel, ABSOLUTION. I will certainly keep you all informed when I have a publisher and a publishing date. Thanks again for your support.



Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and The Intern, a serialized novel based loosely on Peter's internship, published bi-weekly on #Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and a Beta-reader at StoryShelter. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. He can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.


 
   






Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sex, Lies and #Hashtags: The Return of the #MINI

The #MINI returns--in the nick of time. Those of you who read The 7 Unbreakable Rules of #SocialMedia will know what I am talking about. Rule 7, Don't Be Inconsistent, says that I can't go long periods of time without posting. I was just about to break that rule, but the #MINI comes to the rescue. Whheewwww!

Today's #MINI will be--short, of course, as the guidelines of the #MINI are clear--and devoted to the current State of the Internet; hence the Sex, Lies and #Hashtags subtitle. In preparation for today's blog, I spent a lot of time perusing my favorite #socialmedia--actually, I was just doing that anyway, but let's say I was doing research, sounds way better. What does my research tell me? I have come to the conclusion that the Internet was invented for the sole purpose of promulgating self-published erotica, the mass distribution of photoshopped Kim Kardashian butt photos, and the privilege of watching cat videos in the privacy of your own home--or in line at the grocery store as was the case today.

I know, I know, there's more to the web than this--most people would not be wearing a single stitch of clothing if it weren't for on-line shopping, and nobody wants a world of nudists--but I just can't help thinking about where we would be without the internet. People conversing more? Staring out the window on the bus instead of checking facebook posts to see what your friends had for dinner last night? Dusting behind the cabinets? (When is the last time you did that?) Taking a walk on a nice day rather than checking Twitter to see if Myley Cyrus has made an ass of herself again?

#hashtags however, will likely remain the one true advance brought to us by the internet. In troubled times, we can all still believe in #hashtags. It's true. Love Rush Limbaugh but your Cable provider has put the kybosh on Fox News? Search #loveRushLimbaugh and see what you get. (ok, hypothetical situation, but there must be at least one person--in Arkansas or Texas or some place like that--that loves Rush Limbaugh.) Yes, #hasgtags are great, unless of course, people start overusing them--but there would never happen, would it? 


Okay, I want to venture on, but This Is The #MINI, and I must stop. (Queue clever moment for #shamelesspromotion.) If you are looking for something to read, my first book should be out Summer 2016; if you had a more immediate hankering to read, check out The Intern, the serialized novella I am writing on #wattpad (my mother says it's good.)

cheers, peter




Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and The Intern, a serialized novel based loosely on Peter's internship, published bi-weekly on #Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and a Beta-reader at StoryShelter. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. He can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.


 
   






Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Spinal Needle in the Heart: Chapter 7 of #TheIntern

 Cheers all. I haven't posted a chapter of #theintern in a while, but good things have been happening on that front and I wanted to catch you all up. First, check out the new cover, which an inspired reader created for me. The more I see it, the more I like it--hope you like it as well. Secondly, the editorial board at #Wattpad selected #theintern for the Featured titles list. Now, I realize that this honor and 5.95$ will get me a grande latte at Starbucks, but it was nice all the same. I posted the first few pages of Chapter 7 below, and here's the link to the whole thing. Thanks again for your support: A Spinal Needle in the Heart


April died a cold and dreary death, and May bloomed warm and sunny, filling the streets of Manhattan with life. Maggie dodged a gaggle of German tourists (Who else who would be wearing Birkenstocks with powder blue socks?) and mounted the steps to the library. Howard was on time--he was always on time--sitting on the top step reading his IPad. She hoped for his sake he was streaming a movie or flipping through a magazine, but she would have bet her modest paycheck he was reading the newly released edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.

She sat down next to him, confirming her suspicions, and kicked him with one of her sandals. He looked up and smiled, and stowed the tablet into the satchel which never strayed far from his side.
"Good morning Howard."

Howard nodded his greeting, and looked her over like a chest x-ray, examining every square inch for a clue to the diagnosis.

"Hello Maggie."

"How are you?"
Howard considered this like he considered everything, slowly and with ample deliberation. "Not so good."

"Not so good? You're one rotation and four weeks of vacation away from starting your plastics residency, something you have trained your whole life for. I would have thought you would be ecstatic."

"Ecstatic? Really? When you don't return my calls? When you act like a perfect stranger when we sit next to each other at a lecture? Ecstatic?"

Molly said nothing.

"Every time you ignore me it's like a spinal needle in the heart, Maggie."

"Don't be so dramatic, Howard. And don't forget you're moving in a month."

"To Boston, Maggie, not LA. It's a two-hour train ride."

"We barely see each other now, Howard. It wouldn't work."

"It would work if you want it to work."

"You do remember me telling you not to get too attached?"

Howard didn't say, but Maggie knew he had an eidetic memory and never forgot anything.
"Let's take a walk."

Howard nodded morosely and followed her around the steps and down to the green space on the other side. The pleasant weather had brought out a battalion of vendors, and Maggie strolled about, surveying the wares. She picked up a pair of earrings made from green sea glass.

"What do you think of these?"

"Since when do you ask me my opinion on jewelry?"

"I'll take that as a no."

She out them back and stopped in front of a kiosk selling hand-knit sweaters, and held a white one in front of Howard. "This would look nice on you."

"I don't need a sweater, Maggie."

She shrugged and continued her way down the row, examining sculptures made from refuse, ceramic dog bowls and vintage neck ties. Howard followed at a distance.

At the end of the line Maggie bought a pair of Carmel apples and sat down on a bench in the sunshine. Howard joined her but refused the snack, citing dental concerns.

"Maggie, we need to talk."

She didn't feel the least bit like talking but Howard didn't want to go quietly--it wasn't in his DNA.
"Ok, what do you want to talk about?"

"Us."

Maggie had always hated the us talk, and she avoided it whenever possible. Two people moving in sync never needed to talk about us, because they intuitively understood what was happening. But two people moving at loggerheads... This was a different thing altogether. She wanted to blurt out 'There is no us' and just be done with it, but she nodded instead.

"What's going on with us?"

"We're friends, Howard."

"No, we're not."


Hooked, aren't you? Fortunately, here's the link again so you don't have to scroll up. A Spinal Needle in the Heart

And some Good News to end: Absolution, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series, is just about to be shopped to editors and publishers. With luck, I should have a publication date for you before the snow melts (for those of you who don't live in Vermont, that's usually sometime in March.)


Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and The Intern, a serialized novel based loosely on Peter's internship, published bi-weekly on #Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and a Beta-reader at StoryShelter. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. He can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.


cheers

Monday, January 12, 2015

A January of Discontent: Charlie Hebdo and the Assault on Free Speech





For a week I was speechless, until I realized that was the goal.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Charlie Hebdo, not prior to the events of 7 January 2015, nor can I say that I don't find their brand of satire vulgar and in poor taste. Nothing, however, is more important than their right to be vulgar and tasteless. That's free speech, the critical element of a free society, and it's being threatened by the Jihadists.

There is so much I don't understand about the war against free speech, most importantly this: Are the beliefs which inspire the bloodshed so fragile? Can they withstand no dissent? It would appear that way.

It makes no difference, though, what motivates the extremists: Does anyone really think we can change their minds?

Free speech will live or die in the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France, in the next few days. I look forward to the next edition of the magazine, to more vulgarity, to more poor taste, to more free speech.

Je suis Charlie.




Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and The Intern, a serialized novel based loosely on Peter's internship, published bi-weekly on #Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and a Beta-reader at StoryShelter. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. He can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.




Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lost in Revsion.

https://gallery.mailchimp.com/d55ac0cd10b24b2d50def8c8a/images/Under_a_Cold_January_Sun.jpg

Happy New Year peeps; I haven't been around in a while but I swear there is a good reason. (One of the members in my mother's Canasta group came down with podagra and I was forced to sub in--cuz the Canasta must go on.) Besides that, I am--as the title of this post indicates--lost in the last revision of ABSOLUTION, the first book of the Jesuit Thriller series. Seeing as that this is the ultimate revision before Liz (ueberagent Liz Kracht) shops it sometime this winter, I am giving it my all, sparing nothing--including attention to personal hygiene. 

So, to keep you folks from getting restless, I am re-posting a blog I wrote last year. If you already read it, why not give Canasta a try--my mother is still looking for a few good players. If you somehow missed it, clear your schedule for the next ten minutes and settle in to your armchair. Happy New Year!

It was about ten years ago and we were in the middle of arctic front that lasted about eight days. From what I can remember, there were three days when the temperature never got above -10 degrees. Now, you smart people out there will realize this would be a good time to hunker down by the wood stove and settle in to a good book. But I was young (still less than 40) and foolish (those of you who know me well will have no trouble believing that.) And so I snowshoed up the second highest mountain in Vermont that day, Killington Peak, when the temperature at the base was -12 degrees Fahrenheit, and the summit was -20 and whipped by a COLD wind. 

In the following years I have thought much about that day, and when the quintessential Vermont artist Peter Huntoon asked me to write a short story for his website, that day under the cold January sun came right to mind. I have always loved paradoxes, and the idea that the sun (which is 27 million degrees F at its core--although only a cool 10 million F at the surface) could be cold appealed to me greatly. But I can assure you it was a very cold sun staring at me on that day 10 years ago. 

So, here's the story on which Peter based his painting. I have fictionalized it slightly--I don't own a truck and my snowshoes were made of plastic and aircraft-grade aluminum--but, for the most part, it's entirely accurate. Hope you enjoy it. 



Under the Cold January Sun

         The sun lifted over Killington Peak to the east, marking the start of another cold January day. The man loaded up the wood stove with the last of the apple wood he had stashed on the porch, and waded through the snow in the backyard to fetch the wheelbarrow. It was a quiet morning in the valley; all he could hear was the crunch of his boots underneath him and the rattle of the beech leaves in the hedgerow behind his house. Apple smoke wafted in the gathering breeze, mixing with the sweet odor of rotting hay from the farm next door.
         When the porch was filled again—this time with the maple he had removed from his neighbor’s roof—he passed back inside to the intoxicating warmth of his kitchen and readied his backpack, as Gracie looked on from her usual spot on the throw rug halfway between the stove and the slider that overlooked her territory. He tucked the last of the supplies into the sack, tightened the cord and headed for the door with his yellow Lab at his heels.
         His old truck complained bitterly about the cold, but turned over in the end, and forced its way through the snow that had fallen before the arrival of the arctic front. He turned onto the highway and headed up the pass, the lone vehicle foolish enough to brave the cold. The Wheelerville Road loomed ahead on his right, a single lane running next to the brook that gave it its name, and he turned on to it and stopped to lock the hubs into four-wheel before resuming his way. At the sharp turn marking the beginning of the Notch road he swung into the parking lot for the Bucklin trailhead.
         It took him two minutes to lace on his shoes—a pair of Tubbs fashioned from ash and catgut—but his fingers were frozen stiff by the end and he was happy to shove them into the welcoming warmth of his mittens. He collected Gracie and his rucksack from the cab and started off, shoeing steadily up the flat section of the trail that skirted the North Branch of the Cold River, which gurgled noisily under the ice. A mile up the trail he crossed the river on a thick floe of ice that resembled the Champlain Bridge and started up the steep shoulder that led to the mountain.
         Halfway up the ascent he stopped to pull off his wool sweater and swap his mittens for a light pair of gloves. Gracie sat in the snow as he changed, calmly surveying the nearby pines for something to chase. But the squirrels were all tucked away, the grouse were huddled together out of sight, and even the hares weren’t foolish enough to venture out on such a day.
         He reached the top of the shoulder around mid-day, arriving at Cooper’s Cabin as the cold sun arrived at its zenith in the sky. Gracie padded inside, and he followed her in and deposited his rucksack on the old picnic table. Lunch was simple—a PBJ for him and two pieces of dried venison for Gracie—and quick; not even five minutes had elapsed before they went back out, leaving his shoes and pack in the cabin to be retrieved later. But it was all he could afford; already the cold—his thermometer registered a chilly fifteen below, without the wind chill—had penetrated beneath his clothing and hooked the flesh beneath with its icy claws.
         The last half-mile of the climb was all that remained, a steep chimney of rock hewn out of the back side of Killington Peak. He had climbed it a hundred times before, and knew every stony step. It amazed him that a dog as big as Gracie could negotiate the narrow pitch, but she made easy work of it, stopping often to gaze back at him with her watchful eyes. Half-way up the birches petered out, giving way to the scrub pines that lined the trail. The problem was that he was six-feet and then some, well above the protection the shrubs provided from the bitter wind, which increased with every foot he ascended.
         He reached the top and celebrated in his normal fashion, with a piece of dark chocolate and a biscuit for Gracie. It was his wont to linger up top and appreciate the view, but the thermometer registered 20 degrees below zero, and the wind whipped the exposed peak with a hatred centuries in the making. He could feel the heat draining from his body, and knew he had to get off the peak in short order.
         A bit of panic set in and he started off too fast, loosing his footing on an ice-covered root. He slid ten feet or so, and came to an abrupt stop, bruised but not broken, inside a dense thicket of pine branches. Gracie came back right away, looking him over with her chocolate eyes to make sure he was okay.
         It was a full hour before he returned to the cabin, and he was chilled to the bone. The cost of a safe passage had been time and exposure, and the price had been as steep as the rocky chute itself. He collected his gear, donned everything he had stowed in the pack—wool sweater, Caribou-hide hat, and Gore-Tex mittens—and tied on his shoes.
         It was an easy descent down the long shoulder and that was the problem—it was too easy. He hadn’t realized he had built up a sweat on the way up, but he realized it now as the thin layer of water froze on his skin, chilling him further and stiffening his gait. Worse still, the wind had changed to the west, whistling up the slope with a ferocity that discharged the snow from the trees and warmth from his body.
         There was only one thing to do; he needed to go back up. And up he went, slowly at first, and then a little faster as the burning calories defrosted his skin and made movement a bit easier. After several hundred yards he could feel the stinging in his fingertips and his toes burned like an oil-soaked log. In another few minutes the pain resolved with the return of his circulation, and he turned around again to face the wind.
         It was dark when he arrived back at the trail head, a consequence of his pop-goes-the-weasel descent. The truck turned over first time, and he sat in the cab and warmed up before braving the road. He parked in the rickety old barn behind the house and grabbed a few sticks of firewood as he went in, dumping them onto the dying embers lining the floor of the wood stove.
         The smell of venison stew permeated the kitchen, bubbling up from the Crockpot next to the old sink. He divided it into two equal parts, put Gracie’s on the pine board floor, and sank into armchair next to the stove. His brother had given him a bottle of porter for Christmas, and he drank this in accompaniment to the stew, the warm comfort of the kitchen, and the crackling of the fire.
         Gracie finished her meal and plopped down on her rug, and they drifted off to sleep, putting a fitting end to a good day under the cold January sun.


I hope you enjoyed the story and I am sure you enjoyed the painting. For those visiting my blog, please check out My Website and sign up for my blog. I can also be found on #wattpad, where I am writing a serialized novel about the life of a medical intern (called, imaginatively, The Intern). Please click on the link and check it out. (My mother has given it a good review!) The Intern

Thanks again to Peter Huntoon. I appreciate the opportunity and I love the painting. If you want the chance to bid on the painting, or check out some of Peter's other original artwork, here is his WEBSITE.

Thanks for your support, peter



Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and The Intern, a serialized novel based loosely on Peter's internship, published bi-weekly on #Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and a Beta-reader at StoryShelter. Peter also created and judges a #bestfirstparagraph contest for #NaNoWriMo; entries may be submitted 12/1/14 - 12/31/14 on the Fiction Writers Anonymous feed. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. He can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

5 reasons readers and writers should be on #Wattpad

Wattpad is going to be the salvation of literature. What makes me say that? As of this moment, there are almost 40 million people spending 9 billion minutes per month reading the 75 million stories on Wattpad. Sounds good, doesn't it. What reader or writer doesn't like to hear about that kind of en masse participation in reading and writing, especially given the high percentage of younger people on the site. The next time some old fart says that no one reads anymore, tell him about Wattpad; the numbers are irrefutable, and they are growing, by leaps and bounds, on a daily basis.

So, here they are, the five reasons readers and writers should be on Wattpad:

5) In this day and age, writers need to work harder than ever to find an audience. What better place to look than a website that has 75 million readers looking for good writing?

4) Readers have always known that the best way to find a good book has always been word of mouth, and that's what drives Wattpad, word of (social media) mouth. My serialized novel (The Intern) was doing pretty well, about 5,000 reads, when a group of readers enthusiastic about the book started spreading the word, and I picked up 10,000 reads in a few weeks. That's word of mouth, social media style. One of my readers even made a cool cover for my book:


3) It's free. Now, I know that many writers will consider this a big issue (Who is going to buy my book when they can choose from 75 million stories for free?) but I don't agree with them. The biggest problem facing writers is a public that doesn't read; anything that gets people reading is a big bonus for writers. This is especially true when you consider that the large majority of Wattpadders are teenagers, who might otherwise never have gotten into reading. 

2) One click and the reader or writer can find out what's hot. (There is, in fact, a What's Hot tab on the Home Page.) As a writer, I started on Wattpad because I was curious about what is being written there. I had a suspicion that, given the social media nature of the site, young adult and paranormal fiction were the mainstays of the site. And I was right--there is a first time for everything--but I was pleasantly surprised to find every other genre of fiction as well. If you read, Wattpad has your genre of choice. If you write, there are millions of readers who are looking for your genre.

1) The top reason you should be on Wattpad? It's simple, really. You should be on Wattpad because that's where The Intern is. The Intern is the serialized novel I am writing on Wattpad, based loosely on my own internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Syracuse, NY (way back in the day) as well all the stories I have collected from interns the world over, shared in the dusty call rooms of a hundred faceless hospitals. It's raw, it's visceral, and it's real. Give it a look. The Intern.
 

Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; and The Intern, a serialized novel based loosely on Peter's internship, published bi-weekly on #Wattpad. Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of Prose&Cons; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and a Beta-reader at StoryShelter. Peter also created and judges a #bestfirstparagraph contest for #NaNoWriMo; entries may be submitted 12/1/14 - 12/31/14 on the Fiction Writers Anonymous feed. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. He can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.