Sunday, October 2, 2016

This Vermont Life: A Hike up Pico Peak


I can't honestly tell you how many times I have hiked Pico Peak. A lot, let's leave it that. The number isn't important, and neither is the number of steps, stories and calories taken, ascended and burned along the way, but I kept track of them anyway. What is important, after a long, hot summer, is the crispness of the air that feels great on my skin and the soft crunch of the dessicated leaves underfoot.

My constant companion Hermione, a feisty Cairn Terrier, sprints after a chipmunk and disappears into a covey of ferns. Further up the trail, Herm resurfaces from the forest and stops on the trail to lift a tiny leg in the direction of a stand of birches. A minute later a brace of grouse explodes into the air and disappears into a spruce thicket.

Two-thirds of the way up we break out of the green tunnel and merge with a ski trail (see pic above.) Herm and I sit on a rock and sort through the various sundries I have stored in my backpack. There's an apple I forgot to eat the last time, a package of neon gummy worms and the stump of pepperoni left over from the last month's poker game. I wasn't that hungry anyway.

Herm gets a dog treat.

The trail goes straight up the pitch of the mountain from here, and Pico is a true peak, which means that it's damn steep and that it's time to put my head down and just get to the top. The view from the summit is spectacular. Mount Washington--the highest mountain in the Northeast--is discernible off to the east; Killington Peak dominates the skyline to the south. But to be honest, most times I don't even look around, stop to snap a picture or take a swig from my water bottle.

Why not? Usually because I didn't take the time to fill the bottle in the first place, but it's more than that. Sometimes I think we're so focused on getting to the top we forget to enjoy the ascent, and also that we're so busy recording the process to "share' with others that we miss something--that we miss alot of things actually--like the obese porcupine gnawing on a pine branch or the murder of crows floating on a thermal above my head.

The trip down is my favorite part, and only partly because I have gravity on my side. There's a rhythm to the descent, a pattern that repeats itself again and again. I have hiked this trail so often I know where to put my feet without paying any attention at all, and my mind wanders all over the place. I think about the plot twists I need to create in the book I am editing, the main character that will make everyone forget about Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train or Razor Girl. (I make a note to write my next book about a girl of some kind.) I think about the beef short ribs simmering away in the crockpot, and what to do with the basket of plums a friend gave me (plum torte? or something a little more exotic like Plums Alexander?) and if I my daughter's soccer game is at the polo grounds by my house or the field by the school.

The trail runs out and the hike is over. I get into the car not having made a decision about the plums, but I have decided to saute some of my neighbor's Swiss Chard to go with the ribs. And I took 12,467 steps, ascended 157 floor and burned 826 calories, so it look like I will go with the Plum Torte...

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.


:)  






Sunday, July 17, 2016

This Caribbean Life: A Walk on Tortola, British Virgin Islands

 The Saturday Evening Blog Post. This Caribbean Life: A Walk on Tortola

The wind stops blowing about halfway up the ridge, and even the palm fronds have the good sense to stop moving. But not me; I am going to get to the top of that hill no matter what, because that's what I do--I walk. (How are you supposed to see anything if you just sit?)

I clear the crest of the hill and Soper's Hole reveals itself, a dazzle of blue in the bright sun. My water is gone by now, so I just pant and sweat and start down the other side of the hill, making sure to avoid the loose gravel slicking the dirt track someone had the audacity to call a road. A dozen driveways break off from the road on the way down, a dozen dirt tracks cutting across the pitch to homes obscured by the lush vegetation. A dilapidated truck comes by, kicking up dust that hangs like a cloud in the air, and I wait in the shade of a massive bread fruit tree until the light breeze disperses it. The driver stops and asks me if I want a ride, but I let him know I'm out for a walk. He acknowledges this with a crinkle of his dark brow and a moment's hesitation. "You're sure?"

I nod.

He squints at me and starts off, staring at me in the rear view mirror to make sure I don't drop on the spot. He negotiates a switchback and is lost to view, but I can hear the throaty purr of his motor complaining about the steepness of the pitch.
At the bottom the winds kicks up, blowing in from the Caribbean Sea. A smattering of catamarans are anchored in the bay, bobbing up and down in the gentle swell. Pelicans circle overhead, riding the currents of warm air swirling up to the heavens. A rooster crows, and another responds, voicing his displeasure at the others arrogance and propinquity to his turf. I turn off the main road onto the spur that runs over the isthmus of land between Tortola and Frenchman's Cay, disturbing a covey of Common Ground Doves, which explodes into the air with squeaking wings.
Soper's Hole is nestled on the only the crack of flat land on Frenchman's Cay, overlooking a shallow bay of turquoise water, upon which floats an armada of small boats in various stages of disrepair. In contrast is the marina another couple of hundred meters down the road, filled with yachts, fishing boats, and sailing vessels of every size and shape imaginable, all glistening white in the bright sunshine. The fetid odor of low tide floats on the wind, and salt coats my lips. Good thing D' Best Cup is only another couple of hundred yards away.
My shirt, hat and shorts are all dark with sweat as I walk through the pink French Doors to the cafe. There's a line, so I find a small table under a banana tree outside in the veranda, and wait for it to clear. A pair of hens passes the time with me, pecking at the dirt. When the counter has emptied I shuffle over and order the same thing I order every time, a large latte, a glass of water, and two bananas.

"A hot latte?"

I nod.

"You're sure?"

I nod again, and return to my table. A pack of Australians just off a sailing charter has claimed the table next to me, and I eavesdrop on their misadventures as I wait for my beverages. It seems that they ran out of beer somewhere between Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda, and had to make an emergency stop to refuel. (#AustralianProblems) My latte arrives amid a chorus of 'No worries' and 'Come on Mate.' It's ten o'clock in the morning and I haven't had a cup of coffee since yesterday, so nothing gets in the way of me enjoying the hell out of that latte--not the temperature, not the humidity, not even the sound of Donald Trump's voice blaring over the television set in the lobby.

In nothing flat I've finished it, drained the glass of water, and consumed the bananas. I don my hat, slip my pack over my shoulders, and head out the door, ready for the trip back and another day of... This Caribbean Life.


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.


:)  









Monday, July 4, 2016

Emerging Writers: Joe Clifford, author of DECEMBER BOYS


There's a reason Stephen King, Nora Roberts, James Patterson and Danielle Steele are best-selling authors; they write well-crafted, entertaining books. But to go to a book rack in an airport or a grocery store, you would come to the conclusion that they are the only authors who write well-crafted, entertaining books. Nothing could be further from the truth; there are thousands of authors who write great books--they are just not getting the exposure they deserve. We could debate the reasons behind this for hours (suffice it to say that the Big 5 are trying to focus on the household names they know are going to be profitable) but I would rather write about some of the emerging authors who--if given the requisite attention--may become the household names of tomorrow.

Joe Clifford is just such an emerging author. When I say emerging author, I mean just that--emerging as a name in the publishing industry. An emerging author has usually written at least three books (Clifford's fifth book comes soon, joining December Boys, Lamentation, Junkie Love and Wake the Undertaker) but it takes more than that to be emerging. The way I see it, there are three requirements for an author to be considered.



1) Body of Work, which has to include more than just a debut novel, no matter how good that debut is. (We can all name a dozen one-hit wonders.) To be emerging, three is the minimum and a half-dozen the maximum. Because really, if you haven't emerged after six novels, chances are the window has closed. And there is a progression to the work of an emerging writer; simply said, they get better with each successive work. (That is, until they get a big enough name--and lose enough sense--to be able to shake off an editor. See below.)



2)Popular Appeal and Critical Acclaim. It's difficult to win both, but an emerging writer needs to do so. It's this combination that portends a writer's emergence more than anything else. As a writer myself, I can appreciate the difficulty of doing both. In the construction of a novel, a writer has to choose scenes, narrators, tenses, points of view, language, etc., with the full knowledge that some choices will appeal to the masses and some to the critics. It is the emerging writer that chooses in such a way that the finished product appeals to both. Take Dan's Brown The Da Vinci Code. One of the most criticized books ever written--the writing is just plain sub-par--it is the 9th most read book of all-time. (See the part in #1 above about refusing to be edited.) Fortunately for Dan Brown, he had already emerged with Angels and Demons, and once you have emerged, people buy your books.

3) Bringing Something New to the Table. To emerge, a writer can't just be an also writing in the genre type author. JK Rowling, who emerged with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, completely redefined the SF/F genre, by which I mean that she expanded the Fantasy readership to include people of all ages and readers of all genres. Now, you don't have to do all that to emerge, but you do gave to add something to the genre.



So let's get back to Joe Clifford. He's got the body of work, and he's got the progression. Read Wake the Under-Taker and then read December Boys and you will see what I mean. The man has always been able to tell a story, but the prose has evolved. Like the man himself, Clifford's prose is honest and straightforward, and the pacing is electric without being rushed. Above all, however, is the genuineness of the book, it's holy shit this is so real vibe, it's everyman charm that wins December Boys its commercial appeal. It is also what Clifford adds to the genre. So many mysteries can be clever and full of intrigue, but are otherwise flat and lifeless. Clifford writes with great but not obvious passion--the reader feels the blood and sweat and tears more than sees them in the prose Clifford uses. (Not easy to do, trust me on this one.) And the characters are not embellished, not at all. Authentically flawed and truly imperfect, Jay Porter is a man you can root for, and you are going to need to, because he has a hard time doing that for himself.

As far as commercial acclaim in concerned, keep in mind that it's easy to pad stats in this digital age. What people can't do, however, is fake the sincerity of written reviews. Here's a trio of quotes from Amazon reviews. "Above all, Joe Clifford is highly readable. He writes books that are meant to be consumed like cinema, in a single sitting if you have the time (patience won't be a problem), paced accordingly." "But that's what makes the stories so true to life; they're about people in bad situations (sometimes their own doing, sometimes not) and trying to contend with them. Oddly enough, when things seem to go well for Jay, that's an ominous sign." "What stands out most is that in the pantheon of fiction featuring amateur PIs, Jay Porter is so human, and so grounded, that the emotional moments hit ten times harder." 

So, the next time you're in a bookstore or shopping on-line, give Joe Clifford a try. And don't forget about Oceanview Publishing, Joe's Publisher, an Up and Coming name in the mystery and thriller genre. I'll end with the link to December Boys on B&N (the amazon link is above) and the link to Joe's website. Enjoy.

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.


:)  






Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Movie Review: Bridge of Spies


Bridge of Spies is the 2015 full-length movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, which chronicles the capture of Soviet spy Rudolph Abel (played brilliantly by Rylance) and Abel's trial, conviction and subsequent exchange for Francis Gary Powers, the U-2 spy plane pilot shot down and captured by the Soviets. Inspired by--and holding reasonably well to--the true story, Bridge of Spies is the story of Brooklyn attorney James Donovan (played by Tom Hanks) who is tasked with the job of defending Abel, incurring as he does the wrath of just about everyone, including his fellow New Yorkers, his wife, and the members of the New York Bar Association who asked him to do it. Suspenseful, painstakingly crafted and wonderfully written, Bridge of Spies is a throwback to a time in cinema when writing, direction and acting ruled the stage. 



And let's not forget cinematography, either. The camera work in Bridge of Spies is excellent from start to finish, a collection of angles, lens and filters that transports the viewer back to the late 50's. Spielberg's direction is top notch as well; each scene works, and there is no inessential material--the bane of modern Hollywood. 



The heart of the movie, though, is the acting. As much as I loved the screenplay (which was nominated for--but did not receive--an Oscar) Bridge of Spies is what it is because of two excellent performances by veteran silver screen performers. Hanks is brilliant as Jim Donovan, a role in which he could have been guilty of over-dramatization many times but never was. It was a steady portrayal, and one that manifested great restraint--which I would like to see more of  in modern day Hollywood. Hanks should be commended, but wasn't--no nomination for the Oscar as a lead actor in this effort. His portrayal of the civic minded lawyer draws many parallels to Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch iTo Kill A Mockingbird (for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor, and which is considered by many to be one of the finest acting jobs in the history of the big screen.) 



Rylance steals the show nevertheless, and was well worthy of his Oscar as the best supporting actor. You want to talk about restraint... Rylance more or less defines it in his role as the captured spy. If it is possible to make a Soviet agent--at the height of the Cold War, no less--sympathetic, likable and at the same time realistic, then Rylance does it with panache. I have not seen that much of Rylance in the past, but rest assured I will be seeing more of him in the future. And good luck to his agent, who will likely be answering the phone night and day for the foreseeable future.

No plans tonight? You do now. Enjoy.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.


:)  






  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The 6 Habits of Highly Effective Public Speakers, on The Saturday Evening Blog Post

The Saturday Evening Blog Post, Edition #21

Let's set the scene: You've been selected to speak at a public function and you would rather have a frontal lobotomy or get a root canal instead. You tried to say no, but maybe came out, and the maybe has morphed into a firm yes. You're stuck--unless you're lucky enough to contact the Spanish flu or get the Shingles. But don't panic--there's hope.

While it is true that some people were just born good speakers, many others have learned how to do it, and so can you. Without further ado, The 6 Habits of Highly Effective Public Speakers:

1) Brevity is the soul of wit--and all other forms of communication. Keep it brief. We can all remember otherwise good speakers who lost us by droning on too long. I once went to a funeral during which one of the eulogists went on for over 50 minutes--true story--and only finally sat down when the organist struck up for the third time. The caveat of this maxim is that you had darn well have something good say in those few minutes. But for heaven's sake keep it short.

2) An ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure. Some people can speak well with minimal preparation, but most people can't. It is easy to pick out a poorly prepared speaker; look for a person who repeats himself often, jumps from one topic to the next without a thoughtful transition, speaks too quickly and without the proper enunciation, and who generally has the air of someone who wants to get the hell out of there. Good preparation breeds confidence, and confidence is the real secret of effective public speaking.


3) Remember people are listening to what you say, not reading what you wrote. You need to keep this in mind when you are speaking, but especially when you preparing the speech. Some speeches which read well don't orate well. Going back to #2 above, write a few sentences and practice orating them. See if they work on an auditory level. If you are going to write your whole speech out (I don't advise this, but it works for some people) write speeches with shorter sentences and leave natural pauses in place. When I edit speeches, the biggest thing I look to do is add pauses in the right spots, and to simplify sentence structure. As much I love to use the em-dash, parentheses, semi-colons, and colons in written prose, they rarely work for oration.

4) Speak, don't read. You can't engage an audience without looking at them. For this reason, many highly effective public speakers don't write their speeches at all. Unless there is a teleprompter (not the easiest thing to master) I prefer to keep a single sheet of paper in front of me on the lectern, on which I have written in block letters all the points I am trying to make. Underneath each heading I write my sub-points and any any phrases (in quotes) that work well toward making those sub-points. That's it. When I am done, I add any turns of phrase that worked particularly well toward getting my point across.

Keep in  mind that there is a connection between yourself--the speaker--and your audience, and this connection is one of the primary benefits of oration. The really good speakers are those who excel at making this connection. When I am writing, I can only imagine the reaction my audience is going to have; when I speak, I can feel how the audience is responding, and react accordingly. If they are responding well, I often elaborate on something; If they aren't responding, I move on to the next heading on my speech sheet. Remember, speaking is interactive in a way that writing isn't: a good speaker is sensitive to this interaction and evolves as the speech unfolds.

5) Begin well, and End Well. Toward this goal, I go ahead and write the first few sentences of my speech. Everyone gets a little nervous in these venues--some more than others--so it makes sense to commit the first 30 seconds to memory, so you can speak them to the audience and maintain eye contact and begin establishing the connection that is so important. Speaking publicly is a lot like playing a sport: start off well and things roll from there; start poorly and things go to hell in a hand-basket. If you are an inexperienced or not naturally inclined orator, a good start is an absolute must; write a good one, and practice delivering it.


6) Inflection, Inflection, Inflection. When I am trying to stress something (like just how important inflection is) I often lower my voice and speak slowly and softly. At other times I raise my voice. At no time do I speak in a quick monotone. Pausing is really a form of inflection. When I repeat something--and it better be worth repeating--I generally pause, and then repeat what I want to say in a slow whisper. The listener will get the message. This is a far better way of stressing a point than saying "This is really important" or "And I really mean this," which is amateurish, and implies that everything else you have said you didn't mean anything and isn't important.  And good oration is like good writing in that it is better to show than to tell--show them you are saying something is important by changing your inflection, as opposed to telling them it is important.

With those six points, the next time you are asked to give a presentation at work, or speak at a Rotary luncheon or commencement ceremony, you will be ready. Best of luck.


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 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, April 22, 2016

The Travelers: A Novel, on the #MINI Book Review


The Travelers, a novel by Chris Pavone, takes off on a similar course as did The Ex-Pats and The Accident, Pavone's first two efforts, which were both widely read and critically acclaimed. But this is Pavone's third novel, and the third novel can be tricky. Stay the course too much and one is accused of being formulaic; there are whispers of stagnation. Change it up too much and run the risk of losing your hard-earned readership.



No problem for Pavone. In his best work to date, the accomplished novelist takes a similar premise (a reluctant protagonist, ill-suited for spycraft by both training and inclination, thrust into the shadowy world of espionage and deceit) and travels with it, going beyond the horizons he established with his previous books, a transcendence he achieves almost wholly though his brilliant prose. The Ex-Pats and The Accident both feature outstanding settings, great pacing and superb plotting, and so does The Travelers, but this one, the critical third book, features an evolved writing style and richer, more complex characters. One is reminded of Olen Steinhauer and Robert Wilson, two of the best in the business of writing international thrillers.

If you are looking for a new name to reach for when you stand in front of the bookshelf, give Chris Pavone a try. The Travelers is smart, well written and entertaining.

As always with the #MINI, here are a few other book reviews from other--less respectable--sources:
New York Times Book Review
Washington Post Book Review
 
Cheers, peter


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing 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 novel loosely based on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of two tribes on Triberr, The Big Thrill and Fiction Writers. 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.


:)  


Monday, March 7, 2016

Donald Trump and the New Presidential Politics: The Return of the #MINI


We are all aware that the field of candidates for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination looks like a casting call for the new Three Stooges movie. The question is why. Why, in all of this land, can we not come up with something better than Donald Trump and the Three Dwarfs? (The word dwarf here alludes to size of character and scope of accomplishments only; this is not a reference to genitalia measurements, even though this has become something of a criteria on the Republican side of the race.)


After much thought--and a few dry martinis--I finally figured it out. What had perplexed me for so many weeks became readily apparent, almost obvious. Since this is the #MINI, I am going to tell you straight out, with no more beating around the bush. 


We--meaning me, you, and everybody else in this country--have created an election process that is so ridiculous that no decent person wants to run. If you don't think our process is ridiculous, let me remind you that Donald Trump is winning the Republican race. Hilarious, isn't it?


Ummmm, no. I mean, I used to think that way, but as the Republican convention draws near the humor has been lost like Mylie Cyrus' virginity. Imagine, if you will, Trump at the helm during the Cuban Missile Crisis (Mushroom clouds over the Caribbean.) Imagine Trump with the football during the Berlin Airlift (Nuclear dust clouds over most of Europe.) Think about trump leading the charge in the Cold War. (We're still shivering through a nuclear winter.)



A president needs to be calm, even-keeled, steady under pressure; Trump can't even shut his mouth when Marco Rubio insults his hand size. This country needs anything but a Trump-like buffoon in the Oval office, but the election process we have created favors one. What decent person with sound judgment wants to go through this circus? (Answer: No decent person with sound judgment.) That's why we have Ted Cruz (unimaginative, intolerant right-wing ideologue) Marco Rubio (petulant whiner who would sell his mother's soul to the devil to win the presidency) and John Kasich (the man that drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy and the country into the worst depression since the Great Depression.)


And that leaves us with Donald Trump, the man who has no:  qualifications for holding office; political experience; platform (claiming we're all going to be rich doesn't count); and issues in the penis size department--per his report, which has yet to be corroborated. Donald Trump has: the obligatory piles of cash to fund his own campaign; an ego the size of a small planet; and lots of experience making an idiot of himself on reality TV.


Maybe if we made this a shorter, less glitzy process decent candidates would consider running. The presidential race should be about qualifications, character, and issues, not bluster, false promises and braggadocio. But until we make substantiate changes in the way we choose our nominees, that's what we're going to get. 

Cheers, peter


Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing 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 novel loosely based on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen 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 The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; a frequent contributor and reviewer at ReadWave; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of two tribes on Triberr, The Big Thrill and Fiction Writers. 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.


:)