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.


 
   



Sunday, November 30, 2014

10 best reasons to enter the #NaNoWriMo2014 #bestfirstparagraph contest on Google+

Editor's Note: For those of you who don't know what #NaNoWriMo is, it is the quest to write an entire novel (50,000 words or more) during the month of November. As to why anyone would want to do this, I have no idea, but I suspect deep seated pathology is at play. Having said that, the editorial staff at PeterHogenkampWrites feels like this type of Herculean effort needs to be celebrated, and we have decided to sponsor, along with our friends at Prose&Cons and the Fiction Writers Anonymous community on Google+, a #bestfirstparagraph contest for #NaNoWriMo2014 participants. Click on the link to Fiction Writers Anonymous for contest specs. Contest begins now (12/1/14 and runs through December 31, 2014.

So, now that you know what we are talking about, here are the top 10 reasons to enter the #bestfirstparagraph contest:

10)  You spent the last 30 days ignoring your family, your work, and even your personal hygiene, why not ignore them all for 30 more seconds and enter the contest. (Then shower immediately.)

9)   Who knows, it might be the very first step of your career as a full-time novelist. Failing that, at least one paragraph of your work will be read by someone other than your mother. 

8)   JK Rowling got rejected by 12 publishing houses before getting a publishing contract; surely that means you should enter the contest.

7)   You wrote 50,000 words--at least half of which weren't misspelled--you owe it to yourself to see the first paragraph in print.  

6)   Finishing #NaNoWriMo is a tremendous accomplishment; don't let the next Great American novel gather dust on the shelf: Enter the contest. (Come on, we need something to judge.)

5)   It's only a paragraph. Post the damn thing already.

4)   The grand prize is a gallon of pure #Vemont Maple Syrup. How else would you be able to get something as sweet as that--unless of course you live near a grocery store.

3)   If you are committed to being published, you are going to get hundreds of rejections along the road--Why not start now?

2)   All twelve semi-finalists will get--in addition to national exposure on the Prose&Cons blog--a signed copy of Hermione's professional headshot:
(Ok, so she's not that happy about doing it.)

1)   Finishing #NaNoWriMO is an amazing accomplishment! Now sign up for the contest.

I'll end by offering my sincere congratulations to thousands of #WriMos who made the goal: Job well done. Best of luck with your future writing endeavors. (And enter the #bestfirstparagraph contest). 



http://www.wattpad.com/83488679-the-intern-chapter-9-the-girl-in-room-12#

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#NaNoWriMo2014 #bestfirstparagraph contest (The #MINI is back!)

The Thursday Afternoon #MINI is back--even if a little late.

Good afternoon #MINI fans, sorry about the recent absence of the #MINI, but I have been busy (naps, Canasta, walking the dog, etc.) Today's #MINI is dedicated to two items; one concerning #nanowrimo2014; the other, #wattpad.


#nanowrimo peeps: Great news. Fiction Writers Anonymous, a community on Google+, is sponsoring a #bestfirstparagraph contest for #nanowrimo2014 participants. The contest is free, and the only entrance criteria is to join the Fiction Writers Anonymous (FWA) community. Entrees open December 1, 2014 and close December 31, 2014. Winners will be announced January 25, 2015. To enter, simply paste your first paragraph onto the FWA feed along with your e-mail address. You may include a one sentence pitch if you want. Please do not submit any links: the judges will determine the winners from the first paragraph only. Make it count. The top twelve writers will be featured on the Prose&Cons blog, one winner every month for all of 2015. Judging will be done by the staff of the Prose&Cons blog, a group of published authors, editors, writing coaches, literary agents, and book reviewers. (http://www.auniqueandportablemagic.blogspot.com).


Please share this with any  peeps, and on social media sites devoted to writing and reading. And keep on writing, November is slipping away. Good luck.

I am very pleased to announce that The Intern, the serialized novel I am writing on #wattpad, has been selected to be on the Featured list. What pleases me so much is that this happened as a consequence of something Woody Allen said: "80% of success is just showing up." What am I talking about? I have said, many--many--times before, keep writing, put yourself out there, and sooner or later good things start happening. And that's what happened here. I just kept pecking away, publishing a chapter every 3 weeks or so, and Bam (Emeril LaGasse reference) got an e-mail from the editorial staff that The Intern was being placed on the Featured list. Is it the NYTimes Bestseller list? No. Is it a 6 figure publishing contract? No. But it is still a cool development, made even cooler by the fact that one of my readers was inspired enough to make a great cover for the book. (Below.) If you have a second, click on The Intern, take 30 seconds to sign up for Wattpad, and see what all the buzz is about.





Speaking of book contracts, many people (my mother and her Canasta group) have asked me about when Absolution will be available. I am still not sure, but I do hope to have a book contract by spring. Stay tuned to the #MINI for further details as they happen.

And thanks again for your encouragement and support. I appreciate it.

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 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.


 
   





Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The #MINI post is back! #asortofbookreview #TheIntern

Welcome back, All. We have not had a MINI post for a while--and it just so happens that Chapter 7 of #TheIntern was published today on #Wattpad. (What a coincidence.) For those of you who are interested, a brief intro to The Intern. Why am I writing it? Three reasons: 1) I have always wanted to write a novel loosely based on my internship (stress loosely) 2) My literary agent, the wonderful Liz Kracht, suggested I publish a story on #wattpad to get some exposure. It was a great idea, thanks Liz. (pictured below.)



3) The prospect of writing serialized fiction appealed to me as a challenge: The difference between serialized fiction and the regular variety of fiction is that once you publish an episode (chapter), you are stuck with it, because your audience has already read the damn thing!!! To this point, there are a few paragraphs and characters I would delete or edit, but I am stuck with them--kind of like my family. (I tried to edit a few of my siblings, but the cut and paste feature wouldn't work.)

 The more I have written, the more I have gotten into it and the publishing of Chapter 7 represents over 70 pages of work!!!! I have even sketched out the rough outline (and when I say rough, think 36 coarse sandpaper) of the sequel, imaginatively titled The Resident.

Ok, here are the first two pages or so, followed by the link to the story on #Wattpad. Please don't let #wattpad discourage you from reading further, it is FREE and takes less than a minute to join. And don't forget to vote for the story assuming you don't hate it. (You are not going to hate it.) Thanks again.

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."

"We're not friends?"

He shook his head. "We're more than that."

She wanted to deny it, of course, but she remembered the half-dozen or so occasions on which they had been intimate. It had always amazed her that a man who could stitch closed a jagged knife wound as if it had never happened could have so much trouble with a bra clasp. Howard was more awkward at thirty than her high-school boyfriend was at half that, in the back seat of his older brother's Impala with Journey playing on the radio.

Don't stop, believing, hold on to that feeling...


 
 The Intern: A Spinal Needle in the Dark

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 LinkedIn (Tweets, Novels and Blogs); 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, September 23, 2014

There is supposed to be a WRITING PROCESS?



Before I start making fun of myself (talk about a wealth of material) I want to take a moment to thank Susan Clayton-Goldner for inviting me to follow her on this blog tour about the writing process.  For those of you who don't know about Susan, let me say that her writing speaks for itself, but consider this: there is something about the way Susan writes that slices through the facade of everyday life to expose the fragile skeleton of human existence. And who doesn't want to see what's on the inside? If you are looking for a new author or a new perspective, click on the link for Susan's Website.



What am I working on? 

I get this question all the time, usually from my patients who want to know why I'm not in my office all the time.  The answer: I am currently working on Absolution, the first book of the Jesuit thriller series. In today's crowded and competitive thriller market, a debut author has to make sure all aspects of the book--plot, pacing, dialogue, narrative and characters--are all in good form. For those of us many trying break in to the ranks of Daniel Silva, Steve Berry, Preston Child, Olen Steinhauer et al, the breakthrough novel has to have it all, and from the wonderful comments I received in my first go-round (thanks to all the editors who took the time to write them) I needed to spend some time developing two of the characters from Absolution.  So, that is what I have been doing, under the careful guidance of an editor from my literary agent's office who specializes in character development. 

This is usually where someone (again, one of my pesky patients) asks why I don't just say the hell with it and publish the damn thing myself. The truth is, Absolution was a good book when Liz Kracht, my literary agent (more on her later), sent me an offer of representation. After multiple revisions and edits and cuts and additions, however, it is a damn good book. When I get through this latest round of work, during which those two characters have already become as real and 3-dimensional as my wife sitting next to me, I see that Absolution is going to be a hot damn good book. And then, after that, when I get a book contract, there will be another round of revising (this time under the supervision of the publishing editor) and then and only then will Absolution reach its full potential, a real hot damn good book--and to me it's worth the time and energy. 


How does my work differ from others in the same genre?

I write thrillers. One of the many cool aspects of the genre is its diversity: there are international thrillers, political, medical, legal, and religious thrillers, young adult thrillers (Stalking Sapphire by Mia Thompson), ecothrillers, spy thrillers (such as The Africa Contract by Art Kerns), historical thrillers (Lincoln's Bodyguard by Tj Turner), and techno-thrillers (3 Lies by Helen Hanson), psychological and suspense thrillers (Saving Laura by Jim Satterfield). But, despite the diversity, there is a uniformity about the genre, a uniformity that stems from the frequent choice of main character. How many thrillers have you read in which the MC was a rogue MI5 operative with a license to kill, or a defrocked CIA agent hardened by years on the job and a drinking problem, or an ex-Navy Seal whose wife was killed by the terrorist he failed to track down? There is a lot of merit to these main characters, but they have been done before, and if there is one thing I learned from my first--infamously unsuccessful--attempt to garner a literary agent, it is that a debut author like myself has to to bring something new to the table. 

I wanted to create a different kind of protagonist, one who experiences more than just the usual kind of conflict. Perhaps it is because of my Jesuit education; maybe it is the strong influence Graham Greene had on me; or, quite possibly, it was just a visit from serendipity; whatever was the case (I favor the latter) I eventually stumbled upon the MC for whom I had been searching, Marco Venetti, forty-year old Jesuit priest from Monterosso, Italy. And then I thrust him into a violent and belligerent world for which he was poorly prepared, just to see what happened. The best part of it--and this goes back to the writing process which I have yet to address--is that I did not know what was going to happen. I have found through hard experience that my writing suffers when I have too tight a window to write through; I do much better when I begin with a specific character and let things develop from there. In the case of Marco Venetti and Absolution, the events surrounding the character unfolded easily, which speaks, I think, to the uniqueness and great possibility of Marco's character. (And yes, I do think about him as if he is a real person.)


Why do I write what I do?

Ten years ago, I was reading one of the many hundreds of thrillers I have read when I set the book down and picked up a pencil and pad and started writing my own. It occurred to me then that I could do a better job of writing a thriller, and so I set out to prove it. (Nothing like making a life changing decision on whim.) I learned three things in the next few years: 1) writing a good novel is a lot harder than I thought; 2) creating characters that pull the reader into the story is even harder; and 3) writing a novel is a better test of your imagination and ability to tell a story than it is your grammar and vocabulary skills--and thank heaven for that.
 
I also learned that I didn't like to write; I needed to write. I came to understand the difference in these two things after I shelved my first manuscript after 3 years of writing, revising and unsuccessful searching for a literary agent. Silly me, I thought I had escaped unscathed, free to conduct the rest of my life as I saw for. Ha! Within six months, much to my wife's dismay, I was back at it again, writing scenes about a character who would eventually become Marco Venetti, SJ.

I recently turned 50, an anniversary marking the tenth year since I picked up an old college note pad I found underneath my couch on a Saturday night (I was looking for a tennis ball my dog had failed to retrieve) and started my 2nd novel (I wrote my first one in the eight and ninth grades.) After ten years I have finally figured out (talk about a slow learner) what it is that makes a good story. It is good characters, plain and simple. Fluid prose, genuine dialogue, non-stop action, fast pacing, and a good premise all help, but without characters who make the reader care, all these things fall flat. And that is why I write what I do, because I have created a dozen or so characters who are real and interesting people, and I want to see what happens to them as the Jesuit thriller series unfolds.



What is my writing process?

There's supposed to be a process? Who knew? I would like to say that the last few lines are in jest but the simple truth is that they are not. Like most writers (Steven King and James Patterson not included) I have a regular job (my wife and I are family doctors with our own practice.) We also have four children and a Cairn Terrier named Hermione who demands four walks a day, and a pet fish named Molly. It would be great to have a week to write without interruption, but writing time does not take precedence over the patient bleeding out in room 4, or my daughter's soccer game, or taking Herm for a hike.

The good thing, though, is that writing is an emotional business. The stronger the emotion the author feels, the better the writing. So, I have learned to harness my life, to use a long day at work to flesh out a character more fully, to absorb the ups and downs of family life so as to bring conflict alive on paper.

I guess I do have a process after all: I live, observe, and then I write. When my father gave me an 'eehhhh' in regards to the book I started in the 8th grade, he gave me this advice: Go live your life, Peter, and then you'll have something to say. 

When I say observe, I don't mean making a mental note of an unusual shade of nail polish or the color of the blazer that just walked past (although you can bet I do that as well.) I am talking about the feeling in my stomach when I have to deliver bad news to a patient or the look on my daughter's face when she feels like she let me down. Those are the things that make a great manuscript, and those are the things that I like to download into my memory to slap down on the keyboard when the time is right.



Who's Next?

Sue Coletta is a crime fiction author from New Hampshire, and a proud member of Prose&Cons and Sisters in Crime. If you want to look into the mind of a crime writer, click on this link for Susan's blog, or tune in to the next post when Susan will talk about her writing process--hopefully with a lot fewer semicolons, em dashes and parentheses

:)


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 LinkedIn (Tweets, Novels and Blogs); 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, July 29, 2014

4 Books to Read this summer


Welcome back to the Tuesday Morning Book Review, Episode 3. It's been a while since I have posted, but I can explain. One or more of the following is true. Circle all that apply:

a) It's berry season, and--as many of you know--I can think of little else when the berries are a-ripening. Currently, the raspberries are not yet gone by, and my neighbors blueberries are coming in, which I will get to as soon as I see him drive past my house.

b) I am working hard on the--hopefully--last revision of ABSOLUTION before Liz the uberagent Agent shops it this fall.

c) The World Cup sidelined me for six weeks.

d) I started another blog, Prose&Cons (yes, I know, you don't have to say it--but please click on it!)

e) I went on a European vacation (no, Chevy Chase didn't come along) including a bicycling tour of the Ruhr river valley, cliff-walking in Portugal and a motorbike tour of Crete.

f) All of the above.

g) a, c, d, e and f

Answer on bottom of page.


Allrighty then, back to the main event. In descending order, here are four I recommend:

4) The Expats, by Chris Pavone. I borrowed this book from the e-book program through my local library (best program going) and bought it after reading the first two chapters. (If I don't like the book, I just stop reading and the book returns itself in two weeks.) As an ex-pat myself, I was attracted to the premise: A woman moves with her husband and family to Luxembourg, where she discovers her husband is not the boring IT guy he claims to be, their new best friends are not the people they claim to be, and she is NOT the person she thinks she is. It's a well-written book, the characters are genuine, and I loved the many European locales that comprise the setting. Here's the link to the Amazon page: The Expats

3 ) The Intern, on Wattpad. I include The Intern here because Wattpad is something that everybody should check it out. Wattpad is the world's largest community for readers and writers, and if you read or write, you should spend the 2 minutes and 0 money to set up an account. There are 40 million stories to read on Wattpad, and 25 million members who spend 6 BILLION minutes every month on Wattpad. I listed The Intern because I wrote it and I am trying to build on the not-too-shabby 4,000 readers I have garnered already, but there are many worthwhile reads, 40 million in fact. Check it out: here is the link. The Intern

2) 12.21 by Dustin Thomason. I know what you are thinking: 12. 21. 12 is long gone and it wasn't the end of the world, so why now? And yes, I realize that the whole Mayan apocalypse is a little played--but hang on for a second, this guy can write. Put down that James Patterson book that reads like every other James Patterson book, and shove that JD Robb offering under the nightstand to collect dust bunnies for all eternity. Try a different author for heaven's sake. 12.21 is a classic sci-thriller, with plenty of legit science to learn you something as you turn the pages. It's entertaining, and it keeps your mind off the fact that your neighbor thinks he is Walter White. (Not that there is anything wrong with a meth lab in your neighborhood--other than the high risk of explosion, the hordes of tweakers, and the fact that he drives a nicer car than you.) Here is the link to the Amazon page: 12.21

1) The Heist, by Daniel Silva. Gabriel Allon and Ari Shamron are back! For those of us many who have read all of the Allon series by Daniel Silva, getting the next installment of the series is a mixed blessing. Every July, I look forward to and rue the day Amazon drops off the hardcover on my porch. Yes, I have been dying to read it for a year, but, yes, it is going to be another year before the next one comes. As a consequence, I have adopted a new technique: I let the book sit on my bureau for a few weeks, allowing me to anticipate reading the book while not actually reading it. (Kind of like that conundrum with cake.) Then, after two weeks, I read the book in a blitzkrieg of shunning all other duties in my life other than ADLs, and then re-read it to enjoy Silva's brilliant prose. As you may have guessed, I am still in the anticipation stage, but I can tell you this. Daniel Silva is the closest thing to a sure-thing that there is in novels. If you haven't read any of the series yet--what are you waiting for?--get yourself a copy of The Kill Agent tout suite and cancel all your other obligations (and no, you don't really need that dental work.) Here's the link to Daniel's Amazon page: Daniel Silva

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 LinkedIn (Tweets, Novels and Blogs); 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.

(The answer was all of the above.)

 










Sunday, May 25, 2014

On #MemorialDay, 2014, Books Are More Important Than Ever,


Why Books Are More Important Than Ever 

We live in a day and age where the evolution of language and words is driven more by #SocialMedia than books and novels. As both a #Tweeter and a lover of literature old and new, I have mixed feelings about this trend. There is something about the speed of #SocialMedia which alarms me. Consider this: Edgar Poe, who created the thriller, died broke and without any acclaim, and yet his works are now considered to be masterpieces. Contrast this to the blitzkrieg world of #SocialMedia where someone who uploads a cat video can become an icon in a single day--or less.



Good or bad? Probably both, but allow me to point out the latter. Poe had substance. Sometimes it takes time for substance to be appreciated. In Poe's case, a hundred years. It takes deep substance to endure a 100 years. Do you think a glitzy cat video has that kind of staying power? Or do you--like me--think it will be forgotten in ten minutes, to be replaced by a meme featuring an aardvark?

The point I am trying to make is that there is a danger here: A very real danger. Please don't get the idea that I am one of those people, you know the kind that think #Facebook and #Twitter are the ruination of the world. Because I am not, and I believe that #Facebook, #Twitter, and #SocialMedia have many upsides and are, in general, wonderful tools of expression, language, and connectivity. But--like most things--#SocialMedia has had some unforseen side effects, side effects which are changing the way we think, the way we speak, and the way we act. 



There is a stress to Social Media, an urgency, that seeps into the language. I mean, when you are racing to be the first person to post or tweet something, you keep it short and simple. And because ur doing this again and again, you start using the same abbreviations again and again and eventually u use the abbreviation all the time and evolution has occurred. But worse than the shortened words, it's the shortened writing structure and thought process that worry me the most, the idea that if it can't be said in 140 characters it isn't worth saying.

As I have stated before, the 140 character limit teaches us to be concise and to the point (and man did I need the help) but there is still plenty of occasion: to be detailed; to expound; to have layers of meaning; to be rich and complex. And that, my friends, is why we need books and novels more than ever. #SocialMedia is not going away--nor should it--but it needs a counterbalance. #Twitter is fast and immediate; the novel is slow and inexorable. (Can you hear Liz, my literary agent yelling; Not that slow, Peter! Speed it up, Peter!) #Twitter is trendy; the novel goes against the grain. #Twitter is the preferred medium of the conformist; the contrarian favors the novel.  



As a case in point, think about the reaction to the publishing of my favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird, in Monroeville, Alabama, in 1961. Do you think #ToKillaMockingbird was #trending? How many Retweets and Favorites do you think Harper Lee would have scored? But more to the point I am making, do you think she would have cared?

I know what you are thinking; clearly, I have forgotten about the crucial role #SocialMedia played in the Arab Spring uprisings of 2010. Isn't this the same kind of social change that To Kill a Mockingbird created in the United States? But the answer to that question is more chum in the shark-infested waters of #SocialMedia (Liz would derive great pleasure from deleting that sentence if she were editing this post! But she's not, so it stays.) Yes, #Twitter in particular and #SocialMedia in general were the catalysts of the Arab Spring, but where is the Arab Spring now???? It goes back to the staying power I alluded to earlier with Poe. #Twitter helped ignite the unrest that had been building for years throughout the Arab world, but it happened too quick, before any kind of lasting democratic infrastructure could be thought of, much less built. And so a chill settled over the Arab Spring, a chill that has lasted much longer than the brief warm spell which preceded it.



Let's go back to 1966, and the reaction to #ToKillaMockingbird in Virginia.  "Believing its contents to be "immoral," the Hanover County School Board in Virginia decided to remove all copies of Harper Lee's classic novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, from the county's school libraries." I picked this one example--of many--because it makes several points for me (and isn't that why everybody loves quotes?) For one, five years after To Kill a Mockingbird was published, people were not only still talking about the novel they were filing law suits to remove it from libraries. The depth and complexity of novels lends them to slow and thoughtful digest, which in turn leads to lasting and meaningful change. Like #Twitter and the Arab Spring, To Kill a Mockingbird was a catalyst for change in the Deep South, but in this case the change--though slower in coming--was enduring. The novel, at it's best, is timeless and enduring--and we need more of that in this age of transience.

There has never been a better vehicle for the contrarian than the novel. Without doubt, the contrarian can #tweet, but what traction can be gained from a media that is based on trends and popularity? And we need the contrarian, now, more than ever. Don't think so? What about Global Warning, the rise of Jihadism, a resurgent and cantankerous Russia, our failing public schools, the healthcare crisis? (I could go on but the soapbox I am standing on is on the verge of toppling over, and I really (translate, REALLY) want you to check out the new multi-author blog that launched this week. So, to finish this post--and check out the new blog that features a new post every day written by a team of 23 authors, editors, publishers, and literary agents--please click on the following link:
Why Books Are More Important Than Ever. 




Peter Hogenkamp is a physician and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include 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 LinkedIn (Tweets, Novels and Blogs); 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.

:)