Sunday, September 22, 2019

Forget about Great: Let's Make America Decent Again


Almost 250 years into our nationhood, the United States of America is mired in a morass of massive proportions. It would be nice to say that the morass is of a strictly political nature, but it would be inaccurate. Our morass is political—let there be no doubt—but it is also physical, ethical, academic, economic, social and environmental. (Add just about any other adjective here.) As we approach our sestercentenial, our roads, bridges and cities are in an appalling state of disrepair; a significant number of our elected officials are either under investigation for ethical breaches or have already been expelled; our primary and secondary schools are failing at an unprecedented rate and our colleges and universities—although still strong—are prohibitively expensive. Worse still, the disparity between rich and poor grows daily, and our leaders (word used with great misgiving) seem more focused on the stock market than stagnant wages, gender and race inequalities, and catastrophic climate change.

My father used to say that if you want to get the mud out of the water, you need to get the hog out of the spring. Of the many hogs in our spring, the biggest and fattest hog—the one most responsible for the mud that flows thick and murky in our water—is the lack of governing taking place at the federal level. How is it possible, I ask you, for any of these problems to be fixed when our national government, paralyzed as it is by partisanship, egoism, and the complete absence of listening, does nothing but breathe hot air and vitriol?

The answer is to turn on its head the usual paradigm of leadership; instead of leading from the top down we need to lead from the bottom up. Our people remain our strength and the only path forward. We live in a democracy, albeit one gravely threatened by the influence of power and wealth, but still a democracy, in which our elected congressmen, senators and executive officers are a mere election away from irrelevancy.

Leading from the bottom up needs to involve more than just voting, however. We need to listen to one another, especially to people with views that oppose are own; we need to respect one another, and to treat every person with dignity; we need to look out for another, especially for the people at the margins of our society; and, above all, we need to shake off the complacency that has led to inaction. Acknowledgement of the problem is the necessary first step to resolving it.

If you are not ready to merely shrug your shoulders and accept the status quo, you can lead us to becoming the country in which you want your children and your children’s children to live. Open your mind to what someone else has to say and, more importantly, to what they do, ignoring his or her gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, and political persuasion. In this day and age of sound bites and social media, it is the walk we walk that defines us. That said, action begins with talk: words matter. Speak carefully and post with caution; one hateful comment, retweeted and amplified by the incredible power of social media, can be a potent and destructive force. Social media is a tool, and, like any other tool, it can be used for a variety of purposes, good or bad. You choose.

Leading from the bottom up is not going to be an easy or quick task, but many hands make light work, and the more hands we have the, the faster we'll be able to get that hog out of the spring.

Cheers, peter

:)


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include The Intern, coming in 2019 from TouchPoint Press; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series, which was a finalist for the 2019 Killer Nashville Claymore award; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets. Peter is the creator, producer and host of Your Health Matters, a health information program, which airs on cable television, streams on YouTube and sounds off on podcast. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.




Thursday, September 12, 2019

THE Dietary Approach to weight loss Your Health Matters Episode1 Sept 1 ...




Hello All:

Just a quick post to let you know I have started my own YouTube channel, entitled Your Health Matters with Dr. Peter Hogenkamp. It's a health information channel for a time in our history which is over-loaded with health information, much of it contradictory and confusing at best, and, downright misleading and erroneous at worst. I am going to try and guide you through all the info, with a goal toward a healthier, happier you.

Let me know if you have a subject you'd like to learn more about. Just e-mail me at peter@peterhogenkamp.com

Cheers, peter

:)


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include The Intern, coming in 2019 from TouchPoint Press; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series, which was a finalist for the 2019 Killer Nashville Claymore award; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets. Peter is the creator, producer and host of Your Health Matters, a health information program, which airs on cable television, streams on YouTube and sounds off on podcast. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and four children--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.


Friday, March 15, 2019

Why Getting a Novel Published is the Exact Opposite of Shaving a Corn: My Path to Becoming A Published Author, Part I


     I have this patient, let's call her Opal. That's not her name, but you get the point, she was born a long time ago. Opal is a mighty healthy lady despite her many years; she just has this one problem, a troublesome corn on the bottom of her right big toe that makes every step painful. But she's a tough lady, and she hobbles around for a few weeks until she can't stand it another minute, and comes in to see me. She's also a little forgetful, so she doesn't remember she's come in for the same problem at least two dozen times over the years. She bursts into tears when she starts explaining the problem to me, and I assure her I can fix it.
     "You can?"
     The tears slow down; her mouth curls into a hesitant smile.
     "Sure."
     The smile becomes more confident; the tears stop.
     "Ohhh, you don't know how much I would appreciate it."
     I do know, because this exact scenario has transpired so many times I feel like I'm on the set of Groundhog Day. I get her situated on the table and grab my supplies, a #11 scalpel blade and a handful of alcohol wipes, which I use to clean the bottom of her foot. Her corn comes into focus, a nasty little bugger which has grown deep into her flesh. Distracting her with a few lines of the latest song running through my head--in this case, Patsy Cline's Crazy--I wield the scalpel, using short, flat strokes to pare away the thick layers of keratin that have made Opal so unhappy. 
     "Crazy for feeling so lonely."
     In five minutes, it's done. The corn has been reduced to a pile of dead skin shavings on the floor--which reminds me I forgot to put a chuck down to catch the debris--and Opal has tolerated the procedure well, except for the singing.
     "Crazy for feeling so blue."
     She puts the foot down on the floor, tentatively at first, because the one thing she does remember is how much that usually hurts. But the corn is gone, and the pressure of her step is painless. She starts prancing around the room in unadulterated joy, which makes me so happy I don't even mind that her insurance company refuses to pay me for the procedure. I remind her she needs to see the podiatrist (she'll never go) and that's it; a beaming Opal walks out of the office telling anyone and everyone what a great doctor I am.
      "I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying."
     Do you know what goes through my head as I sit there, shaving Opal's corn for the nth time? (Besides the lyrics of Crazy?) Yup, you guessed it, that publishing a book is the exact opposite of shaving a corn. It's possible that this particular thought has never popped into your head--in fact, it's probable, if not certain--but as a physican and an author, it occurs to me every time I shave a corn, which I do two or so times a month. Here's why.

  • Fewer than 1 in every 100 manuscripts submitted to a publisher ultimately gets published, that's less than 1%. In contrast, I have attempted to shave off more than 1,000 corns, and have been successful every time.
  • I started my first manuscript more than 15 years ago (landed neither an agent nor a publisher). I finished my second manuscript 7 years ago (I signed with an agent but, despite much interest, it never sold). I signed a publishing contract in November 2018 for my third mansucript, which I had begun six years earlier. It takes me approximately 5 minutes to shave off a corn, 10 for the really stubborn ones that are as hard as iron. 
  • When a publisher requests my manuscipt (which they only do after reviewing the first one to three chapters and synopsis previously sent) I am not at all confident they are going to offer publication. Why am I so fatalistic, even though I have re-written and edited the manuscript several times? Why am I so pessimistic, even though they have already seen part of the book and clearly liked it? It's a numbers game: My agent and I have sent my three manuscripts off to more than 120 publishers; I have signed just one publishing contract. When a patient calls and asks me to shave off a corn, I am dead certain the patient will leave corn-free and happy.
  • When I get a response back from a publisher after submitting a manuscript, my stomach flip-flops like I'm on a rusty rollercoaster, sweat beads on my brow, my hands shake. When I take a razor-sharp scalpel and cut into a corn, my heart doesn't race, air doesn't stick in my throat.
  • I have been writing, as I mentioned above, for more than fifteen years. In that time, I have made a total of zero dollars (my book comes out summer/fall 2019, so that will change, but still); the insurance company reimbursed me 60$ or so for the ten minutes I spent shaving Opal's corn.
Okay, so there they are, the five reasons getting a novel published is the exact opposite of shaving a corn. I thought it would make a good introduction to my blog series, My Path to Becoming a Published Author. The premise is simple; I waged a long and ultimately successful battle to get published, and, in the process, learned a lot about the publishing industry and what it takes it get over the hump. I'm looking forward to sharing it with anyone who wants to know how a guy with no platform, no MFA, and no previous publishing credits is expecting a box of books--that he wrote--to arrive in the mail.

See you next month.
cheers, peter


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include The Intern, coming in 2019 from TouchPoint Press; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Importance of Being Persistent




My first rejection came in the mail before I turned ten. I had written a story about a police officer and his dog--from the viewpoint of the dog--and sent it to the New Yorker. The rejection came a couple of months later, along with a coupon for a free year's subscription to the magazine. I should have seen it as a harbinger of things to come, but I didn't, remaining blissfully unaware of my fate for forty-five years.

I don't mean to imply that I've had more than my fair share of rejection, but I have had my share. Every writer does. Rejection is simply part and parcel of the business; the part and parcel that every writer hates. But it's a necessary part all the same. Every rejection I've had--after the crying and the stomping of the feet--has led to improvement. There is no better incentive to get better, to hone your craft, than the soul-sucking experience of rejection and the desire not to experience it again.

The other nice part about rejection? It makes the acceptance all the sweeter when it finally comes. And mine finally came. I will take a second to tell you how sweet it was. I honestly felt like I was floating. So many feelings coursed through me--elation, relief, excitement--but the primary one was vindication. After dozens of literary agents, agency readers and interns, editors and publishers have implied that you weren't quite good enough, you get confirmation that you are. And it is confirmation, because every writer knows they can write, that all they need is a chance. They'd have to believe in themselves to keep going despite all the passes and rejections, the seemingly endless stream of bad news.

And that's my lesson to every writer who wants to be published. Keep believing, keep writing, and keep querying. Persist. I suspect this salient advice for anyone trying to do anything, but it is especially germane to the writer in 2018. Persist. Don't let rejection define you as a writer. Keep at it.

I did. Forty-five years after my first rejection at the ago of 9, I am soon to be a published author; The Intern (TouchPoint Press) comes out in 2019. I hope you don't have wait that long, but I will say one thing:

It was worth the wait.

Cheers, peter
:)


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include The Intern, coming in 2019 from TouchPoint Press; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Wisdom of Swine: The Top 10 Things Pigs Can Teach Us, on the #MINI


There's just something about pigs that makes them fodder for expressions and idioms from all over the world. My father was especially fond of porcine proverbs, and I have included several of his favorites in my top ten. Without further ado (this being the #MINI and all.) here they are:


Number 10: Happy as a pig in mud.

Where's your mud? Wallow in it.




Number 9: Even a blind pig sometimes finds a truffle.

This explains why even I have a good round of golf once in a while.





Number 8: Bring home the bacon.

Not to be confused with 'bring home the soy bacon.'

Number 7: Living High off the Hog.

Life's short, eat the bacon.

Number 6: You Can Put Lipstick on a Pig, but It's Still a Pig

Keep this in mind when you watch Fox news...




Number 5: Don't buy a pig in a poke.

I don't want to buy a pig in anything... The B-B-Q place down the street handles all that quite nicely.

Number 4: Pigs Get Fat; Hogs Get Slaughtered

Keep this in mind next year when you fill out your tax return.

Number 3: There's too many Pigs for the Tits

The last couple of piglets will end up Sucking Hind Teat.




Number 2: You Can't Make a Silk Purse Out of a Sow's Ear

You can't really make anything out of a sow's ear, they are as worthless as a sow's ear.

Number 1: If you want to get the Mud out of the Water, you got to get the Hog out of the Spring.

Or out of the White House... #justsaying


Cheers, peter
:)


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include THE INTERN, a novel based loosely on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Don't Look Back by Gregg Hurwitz: A Book Review on the Thursday Afternoon #MINI



If you have read a lot of thrillers, you will be familiar with the premise of Gregg Hurwitz's Don't Look Back: Eve Hardaway, every day woman, having lost her husband, her career, and her inner self to the tedium of every day life, goes on a vacation to the jungles of Mexico to find herself, only to become the target of a deranged terrorist determined to kill her. Sound familiar? It does, and that's because it's a working formula for thrillers; ordinary people with ordinary problems put into extraordinary circumstances. Who couldn't relate to that?

The extraordinary circumstances? Here's where the problems begin. It just so happens that one of the world's most wanted terrorists lives right next to the Eco-lodge that Eve and her fellow adventurers are staying in. When Eve happens to glimpse the man--an Islamic extremist--as she uses the toilet, he goes on a mission to kill every man, woman and child at the lodge in order to protect his identity. Every thriller has to have a turbine to drive the action, a reason for the protagonist and the antagonist to do what they do, and this unlucky event is it. A not overly-complex plot such as this needs superior prose and characterization to make it work, and Hurwitz certainly delivers with his outstanding prose, which is flowing and descriptive, if sometimes over-descriptive to the point of distraction. The characters aren't there, however: the MC falls flat, and her recurrent flashbacks about promising her young son she will always be there for him make her seem whiny rather than provoking sympathy; and the antagonist is improbable (a jihadist in the jungles of Mexico?) and cliched to the point that I had to skim over paragraphs on a repeated basis.

I did enjoy the story, however, reservations aside, and it moves along quite nicely, thank you, albeit within the parameters of its limited structure.  Hurwitz is a talented writer, and you will enjoy this quick read depsite its flaws. (I can also highly recommend his Ophan X series.)

As always with the #MINI, I include a few reviews from other sources (as if the Washington Times can be trusted!), and the link to the amazon site in case you want to buy the book:

Washington Times Book Review

Kirkus Reviews

Amazon Page: Don't Look Back

Cheers, peter
:)


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include THE INTERN, a novel based loosely on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Millers All Day: A Dining Review on the #MINI


Millers All Day is the kind of restaraunt that makes you want to be hungry. My wife, daughter and I were strolling down King Street in Historic Downtown Charleston and we just kinda ran into the place at a time when my wife was hungry (and therefore everyone was hungry, if you get my meaning.) So we went in.



The first good sign was that queue was good and long. As I tell my patients when I'm running late: When you're going out to eat, you pull over when you see the line of people spilling out the door, and you get in the back of the line. <Patient gives confused look as to why I am telling this story> The moral of the story is that people will wait for good food. We waited.

When I go out to eat, I like a place with a good vibe. Millers All Day has a real good vibe; there's a good buzz of conversation, but it isn't too loud, and people were having a good time. I like good food as much as the next guy, but I don't like places that are so reverent about their food that they don't allow laughter. (Also, I can't afford those places.) Millers All Day hits the sweet spot between spirited atmosphere and mosh pit loud. And the waitress was perfect; friendly and hip without being too chummy or demanding you eat something you don't want to, like grits.

In the end, though, a place to eat lives and dies but the food it serves. I sampled several different offerings (I had to get a feel for the place, right?). The BLT salad was perfect: perfectly cooked (meaning crisp and not overdone) shrimp and warm bacon over a bed of butter lettuce and heirloom tomatoes, with sunflower seeds and a vinagarette that had just enough (but not too much) vinegar. For a guy that had just had a gelatto in the Farmer's marker, I ate every but of it. The quiche my wife ordered was also excellent (she didn't intend to give me any but she excused herself to go to the Ladies Room and didn't take her dish with her) in particular the side salad of fresh asparagus and portabellos topped with a citrus dressing and goat cheese.

I could go on, but (you don't want me to) and the rules of the #MINI are clear: Short and Sweet, Mister. The bottom line is: If you are hungry (or your wife is hungry) and you are in Downtown Charleston, Millers All Day is offering great food and convivial atmosphere All Week.

 Cheers, peter
:)


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include THE INTERN, a novel based loosely on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at peter@peterhogenkamp.com or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at liz@kimberleycameron.com.