Saturday, June 29, 2013

Finding the silver lining.


Bad stuff happens to you in this life. It's inevitable. The secret to life is snatching something good away from the bad, finding the silver lining in the dark cloud. Almost thirty years ago I was sitting in the office of my pre-medical dean when he delivered the bad news: he wasn't going to write my letter of recommendation for admission to medical school. At first, I didn't think I'd heard him properly. (Of course I must have misheard him--my grades were good, my MCAT scores were even better, and the dean and I had always gotten along nicely, even when he trounced me in raquetball, which he did routinely.) But I had heard him correctly, there would be no letter forthcoming. And, at Holy Cross College, that meant you couldn't apply, because every application had to have a letter from the person in his position, and he wasn't going to write one--just then.

I naturally asked him why, and to this day I remember the gist of his response. I had potential, Dr. Mc Grath said, but it was unrefined, raw. I would make an excellent doctor some day, he said, but I would never survive medical school in my current condition, (making me wonder if I had some kind of disease he wasn't telling me about.) And then he put his long arm over my shoulders and ushered me out of the office, after extolling the virtues of making my own path. "Come back in a few years, Peter, and I will write that letter for you."

I have to be honest: I wasn't seeing a lot of sliver linings on my walk back to my dorm. I was, however, thinking about the reaction I was going to get from my parents when I told them that, after all the money they had spent on college, I wasn't going to medical school after all. Fortunately, my father answered the phone, and my father (who is dead, by the way, but I like to talk about him in the present tense, because I prefer to believe he is still with me, bringing me the guidance I sorely need) is a patient and thoughtful man. "He's right, Peter," my dad said, "you've got to grow up first."

And so, one year later, rather than truck off to medical school, I packed all my belongings into two brown LL Bean canvas duffels (I still own them!) and boarded a flight for Germany. I had landed a job as a chemistry teacher at an international high school in Salzburg, Austria, a job which--yup, you guessed it--Dr. McGrath had helped me obtain. I will never forget the feeling of landing in Frankfurt, collecting my duffels from baggage claim, and then thinking, "Ok, now what?" My first thought was to get a luggage cart, because my bags were heavy, but an old lady grabbed the last one to carry her 3 pound handbag as I trudged around with 150 pounds in two glorified grocery bags with shoulder straps that had been designed to cut as deeply as possible into your trapezius muscle. So I carried my bags to the light rail and eventually found the train station (by eventually I man after taking two consecutive wrong trains). By the time I was on the train to Salzburg I was exhausted, and so you will not be surprised to hear I slept through my stop only to be awakened by the conductor and forced off the train at Klagenfurt. (Where is that silver lining?)


You should be aware that my father had recommended I learn German that previous summer, and I had, per usual, not listened to him. (Perhaps you can see where Dr. McGrath was coming from?) My only preparation for my new life had been to listen to the first side of a Berlitz audiotape on introductory German on the flight to Frankfurt. {Alles ist gruen here!} Such was my state of mind back in those days that I thought I would be fluent in three hours of listening. I was not!

The next three years that followed are still etched into mind like commandments onto a stone tablet. I won't bore you with all the grisly details, but suffice it to say that I a) will bore you with the grisly details b) met a lot of incredible people c) enjoyed a lifetime of adventure d) drank a lot of Stiegl and e) learned a lot about myself.


When I returned to the states after three years I went back to see Dr. McGrath. And, true to his word, he wrote that letter for me, and off I went to medical school. It took about three days for me to realize he had been so right about so many things. Medical school would have chewed me up and spit me out should have I have gone straight after college--not that it didn't try those three years later. I honestly can't imagine what my life would be like had I never gone to Salzburg (my former students--you know who you are--are undoubtedly saying something similar, such as "maybe it wouldn't have taken me six years to get through college if Hogenkamp hadn't been my Chemistry teacher.") I might have turned out to be a... gasp.. surgeon or (dare I say it) a radiologist instead of a family doctor.


All kidding aside, bad stuff is in store for you and the ones you love. That's life. But I can tell you this, the bad stuff will all be lined with silver. Your task is to find the lining and decorate your life with 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 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, June 25, 2013

Do I need to write a synopsis? (Please tell me I don't have to write a synopsis!)



You've just finished your book, and your first batch of query letters has created some interest among the group of literary agents you've queried. Things are good! There is, however, one problem: a couple of the agents have a requested a synopsis, and you don't have one. Oooopppps. As you consider your options, three choices rise to the top. 1) Send in the manuscript right away, striking while the iron is hot, and let the agents ask a second time for the synopsis after they have fallen in love with the ms. 2) Send the ms along with a cover letter explaining that you are now writing the synopsis, which you will forward to them when done. 3) Hunker down, write the synopsis, and send it in with the ms as requested. 4) Never write the synopsis, burn the ms, and spend your free time playing frisbee golf.

Let's consider each choice. One looks good, doesn't it: what's the sense of writing the synopsis if the agent doesn't love your ms? Conversely, it she does love it, she'll offer to represent without the synopsis, obviating the need to slog through it! Oh, so wrong. Many agents will read a sample (always the first chapter or two) of your book to assess your writing style and voice, and then skip right to your synopsis to assess the plot. If she has already seen the first twenty pages because you sent them with the Query, she will often start with the synopsis before she even opens the ms. Sending the ms without the synopsis will end up getting you a No Response, which, as I've said before, is the worst kind of Rejection.

Let's look at choice #2. Better, eh? I mean, you're sending the ms quickly and letting them know the synopsis is in production and coming soon. No? No! Rule #1 about agents: they are professionals, and they expect you to be a professional as well.When they ask for something, they are expecting to receive it in a timely fashion. For starters, you were supposed to have written the synopsis in the first place, so as to be ready when the request came. Secondly, agents are looking for authors who are easy to work with: there's nothing like missing your first deadline to scream "I am not easy to work with!"

That leave's choice #3. And it's a beaut! Why? Well, as a general rule, you will be in the best position when you give 'em what they asked for. Assume that each agent has given careful deliberation to the submission guidelines she has posted on her website, because she has. And then follow them. Agents love authors who follow directions because in the course of an author's career, she will have many directions to follow, such as please have your ms in by this date, we need your edits by this time, and give us your book tour schedule by next week. Following simple directions is going to put you ahead of the game, because, believe it or not, many people don't. Try following an agent on twitter when she does a ten queries in ten tweets. It always amazes me to see that at least five of the queries are thrown out because the submissions guidelines weren't adhered to.



There is another reason you should write a synopsis: you will use the synopsis again once you have signed with an agent. Agents use them to craft the pitches they send to editors, and you can use them to provide content for the website that you have to build in order to promote your own work. Publishers even use them when they need concise summaries of books for such things as book jacket covers, on-line retailers, book clubs etc. The point is, a well-written and concise summary of your book is an asset, and you should write with that in mind.

Here are two great posts I used to write mine:  
1) Writers Digest
2) Jane Friedman

Ok, ok, you've reached your limit with my verbosity, and I have to mow the lawn before I can't see what my neighbor is cooking for dinner. I appreciate your patronage, and hope you will come back and visit me again at My Author Website Thanks for reading.


Cheers.
:)

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

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Always the waiting..... What to do as the wheels of the Publishing Industry grind.

The wheels of the publishing industry grind slowly—sometimes I don't think they grind at all. So, if you are going to stay sane as you try to work your way into this business, {me: Lisa, I'm still sane, right? Lisa: Sure, whatever you say, peter (as she finishes hiding the steak knives)}, you need to find constructive ways to spend your time as you wait for the responses to hit the inbox. Therefore I am dedicating this post to what to do as you wait for the Beta-readers or agents or editors or publishers to reply.

1) Read.  Number one for a reason. So often, writers forget about the thing that got them where they are to start with. You were a reader long before you started writing, and you should remain a reader. I could go on and on about the benefits of reading, but I don't want to bore you. (I haven't bored you already, have I?) As a corollary, try reading something in a different genre. If you, like me, write thrillers, read some literary fiction—it just might help you develop your next set of characters. If you write literary fiction, read a thriller; I bet your pacing improves. If you read strictly prose, try reading poetry and watch how your writing voice deepens. 

2) Write.  There is an old saying, practice makes perfect, and it applies to writing as well as any other discipline. Don't let your skills gets rusty and out-of-practice as you wait: make them better instead. The best thing to do is to work on your next book, so you will be ready when your agent inks a three-book deal for you, (Liz Kracht, I assume you read that!), but if you are not in a position to write your next book, there are many other options. 
 a) Enter the blogisphere. Blogging has many advantages besides honing your writing skills. For starters, you are creating a following, and that following is attractive to agents and editors. Secondly, when your book is published, you have an established means of promoting it, the bigger following the better. And thirdly, you can make a lot of connections through blogging. In an upcoming post (I am sure you can hardly wait) I will be discussing the writer's use of social media, and one of the aspects will be networking. In my case, I have made dozens of great connections that have helped me along the way—the method to my madness will be revealed soon.
 b) Write a short story, using the main character from your book. If people like the MC, they will be likely to buy your book. The exercise will hone your skills, help develop the MC, advertise your book, and you can publish it on your blog as well.
 c) As I alluded to above, write a poem. Think about the poems you have read and liked; why did you like them? I suspect the reason was the way the poem sounded to you. This is what I refer to as voice, and it is very important in poetry and prose as well. For instance, even this blog post has a voice—my intent was for a light, mildly humorous tone with an undertone of self-deprecation. Writing poetry is the best way to help you with your voice, make it more distinct, richer, deeper. 

3) Work.  Unless you are a lot further along in the process than I am, you are going to need to work to pay the bills. Working will push the mental image of your wonderful manuscript sitting in the slush pile out of your mind and put you in a better financial position to write your next book when the time comes.

4) Exercise.  I know, you think I have gone off my rocker (there are a lot of people that concur with you) but I maintain that exercise helps you endure just about anything, and it helps your writing as well.

5) Live.  Get away from your computer. Meet a friend for coffee, take a loved one out to dinner, take a walk with your mother, push your daughter on the swing. Please note all the previous examples involved spending time with another person. Writing is a solitary undertaking, yes, but it is hard to create meaningful, true-to-life characters when you don’t interact with people on a regular basis—and I mean non-virtual interaction. You need to watch the way your daughter’s brow furrows when you say something wrong (I have a lot of experience with this), to hear the mirth in your friend’s laugh when you are unexpectedly funny, to feel the sadness if your mother’s body when you hug her goodbye. If you don’t experience these things, you won’t be able to write about them either.

Ok, I have droned on long enough. Thanks for listening, and please visit my website/blog at http://www.peterhogenkamp.com

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Query Letter that started me on my way to getting a truly wonderful literary agent.


I was looking at my stats last night (warning: stats reviewing can be hazardous to your health) and I realized that my most popular posts were the ones talking about how to snag a literary agent. As much as I loved My Father's Day tribute to my late father, it only netted 1/3 of the views that my top-viewed post about my thoughts on snagging an agent. So, in total capitulation to the masses, I am going back to my roots. (Sorry dad!)

Liz Kracht

Below I am posting the query letter that ultimately led to the offer of representation I received (and accepted) from Liz Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. I have stripped it down a little, removing the part about why I chose to query Liz in particular--but you should always have such a part about every agent you choose to query. Usually this is something like... I query you because you represent Absolution, a thriller in a similar vein to {insert title of your book.} Ok, without further blatant word count inflation, here it is:



Father Marco Venetti is not a defrocked FBI agent with a score to settle, or an ex-Navy Seal battling an alcohol problem. He is a Jesuit priest from Monterosso al Mare, shepherding over a quiet parish overlooking the Ligurian Sea. His biggest concerns—until the evening Concetta shows up in his confessional—are the recent poor play of his beloved Red and Blacks and the way he ‘stared at her creamy olive skin, done to perfection by the Mediterranean sun.’ Concetta is a fisherman with empty nets and a conscience brimming over with guilt, who reveals she is involved in a plot to assassinate the pope and attack Vatican City. Marco urges her to go to the police, but her daughter is being held captive and she is unwilling; the seal of the confessional binds Marco and he is unable. Seeing no other way to stop the attack on Pope John Paul III, the first black pope in over two millennia, Marco steals aboard her fishing trawler toting his only weapon, a well-used spear gun. He kills the terrorists and rescues Concetta's daughter, but the violence—and Marco’s sins—is only beginning.
Marco is neither the maniacal albino priest in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, nor the Machiavellian Cardinal Valendrea in Steve Berry’s The Third Secret; he is a Jesuit priest, who would rather be ‘hearing confessions, celebrating mass and anointing the sick. These were the things a priest did.’ But Marco does share some of the traits of another clerical protagonist, the ‘whiskey priest’ in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory; he shares his moral consciousness—but not his gnawing despair—and he shares his courage. Like Greene’s iconic character, Marco yearns to escape his fate, but he doesn’t. His path leads elsewhere: to the blood-stained cobblestones of Piazza San Pedro—where he and Concetta gun down the pope’s would-be assassin—and to the craggy mountaintops of Salzburg, Austria, where an oil-soaked Saudi prince plots the annihilation of Vatican City.

The Jesuit is afflicted by multiple levels of conflict, from the ancient rivalry of Christians v. Muslims, to the internal strife—far bloodier—created by peacemaker turned assassin. Paired up with a beautiful Israeli agent to assist in the murder of the Saudi prince, Marco comes face to face with his worst enemy: himself, and the ‘longings that all men had, priests included.’

There are three principle settings in The Jesuit: the Italian Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Vatican; and Salzburg, Austria. The Jesuit relies on notes I made during the four years I lived in Salzburg and three subsequent trips to Austria and Italy. I traveled to Spain and Italy this summer to research the second book of the series, Doubt, which is already in production. I am a practicing physician living in Vermont with my wife and four children.


I hope this is of help to those of you who are writing a query letter. And remember my rule of querying: be professional, at all times. No gimmicks, jokes, predictions (such as { } is sure to be a bestseller), bad grammar or spelling errors of any kind. An agent is trying to find someone with whom she can work over a career. Be professional!

I hope you take a second to look over my new author website. Speaking of professionals, it was designed by the incomparable maddee james of xuni.com, who is, like my agent, top notch. If you are in search of an author website, visit xuni.com

Cheers.
:)

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&Consthe 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.
  







Thursday, June 6, 2013

Author Peter Hogenkamp

Author Peter Hogenkamp

PeterHogenkampWrites: Trying to get published? Enjoying the process keep...

PeterHogenkampWrites: Trying to get published? Enjoying the process keep...: I have been writing and trying to get published for nearly a decade. And the entire time I have had a mantra, which I mutter to myself over ...

Trying to get published? Enjoying the process keeps you on the track to go the distance.

I have been writing and trying to get published for nearly a decade. And the entire time I have had a mantra, which I mutter to myself over and over. (It's my wife's mantra, actually, but I am taking credit for it.) Enjoy the process. Ohhmmmm. Enjoy the process. Ohhmmmmm.

I know what you are asking yourself. How could I not enjoy the process? I love to write, therefore it is a no-brainer that I will enjoy writing a novel or a work of non-fiction. I like this answer, and it is a good thing to remind oneself of on occasion, because you do love to write, otherwise you would never find yourself in this predicament. But it is nowhere near as easy as this, something you will find out for the first time about 75-100 pages in. Right about then your writing adrenaline runs out and you get a hankering to play golf, or take a hike or plant geraniums. And writing the next chapter becomes about as much fun as cleaning a year's worth of accumulation from the grease trap on your grill (yes, there is one, and yes, it has to be cleaned--otherwise a grease fire results, and, yes, that did happen to me just the other night.)

A lot of people start writing a novel (just ask my wonderful agent, Liz Kracht) but many fewer come even close to finishing the process, by which I mean completing the first draft, editing it, sending it out to Beta-readers and editing it all over again. So who are the lucky ones that finish the process? These are the folks, like me, that were successful in enjoying the process. The intent of this post is to lend you the ideas which worked well for me.

1) Dream. 

This comes easily to me, being the son of a dreamer. But if it doesn't come easily to you, learn the skill. My dreams kept me going when a dozen rejection letters screamed I would never make it as a writer. When query letters went unanswered, my dreams responded and encouraged me to press on. What did I dream about? Little things at first, like getting my first e-mail asking me to submit my manuscript. When that happened I dreamed bigger, imagining how I would feel when I got a phone call from an agent who was excited about the manuscript. And then I dreamed about getting a contract in the mail... the feel of the stationary (was NOT disappointed Kimberley), the sound of the words proclaiming you to be a legitimate writer.

I also dream big, about getting a publishing contract, making it to the NYT Bestseller list, winning an Edgar Award--I have as much chance as I do winning the US Open, and I dream about that as well. The dreams can be realistic or far-fetched--I recommend a smattering of both--the point is to keep the fun alive and it honestly has worked for me. The best part of the process so far was going to a private cocktail party thrown by the Kensington Publishing Corporation. Being a social person, I have entertained this idea often, and the realization of this dream was fantastic, without any of the let-down you might expect.  For starters, I was accompanied by my fantastic agent and her entire agency, all charming people. Secondly, I got to meet an editor I have followed for a long time on Twitter, and he was as witty and insightful as I had suspected he would be (you know who you are Peter S). Thirdly, the view from the 21st floor was spectacular, and the Tanqueray didn't disappoint. This may not seem like a huge event to you, but try forcing yourself to write a thousand words some afternoon when you would rather put a sharp object into your eye than sit behind the keyboard.

2) Celebrate the successes along the way.    

I am a glass half full guy, it's true (I credit my mother, who can spot the silver lining in an any cloud no matter how dark). But even if you are a glass half-empty person, it is still possible to see some victories along the way. And when you see them, celebrate them. I am talking about the small victories, because the big wins are a long time in coming, and you will never get to them if you don't enjoy the little ones that precede them. Just finish a really difficult chapter? That's an achievement; open a bottle of Switchback--the best ale in Vermont, if not the world. Work out a plot line that's been nagging at you? Take your kids out for an ice cream; I recommend Ben and Jerry's Pistachio Pistachio. Think of a character you just can't wait to flesh out on paper, brew a cup of tea and sit down and do it.

The more substantial triumphs should be dealt with more substantially. Finish the first draft? Take someone special out to a nice restaurant, such as Cafe Provence in Brandon, VT. Get helpful feedback from a Beta-reader? Make some of your favorite coffee and put that good advice to use. Get your first request for a partial manuscript or even a full? Take a long hike with your dog and think about how good you are going to feel when that request for a manuscript turns into an offer of representation. I realize that the most likely outcome of that request is going to be a rejection, but if you don't take a minute to smell the roses you are never going to go the distance.

Okay, you have been very patient, and although I could certainly go on (and on and on) I am committed to make these posts short--plus I have laundry to do. My website peterhogenkamp.com should be going live today, and I would be greatly appreciative if you would check it out.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

PeterHogenkampWrites: A pre-Father's Day tribute to my dad. (because I m...

PeterHogenkampWrites: A pre-Father's Day tribute to my dad. (because I m...: Father's Day is coming up in a few weeks and, as usual, that means two things: one, I keep dropping subtle hints about a getting a new d...

A Father's Day tribute to my dad.

Father's Day is coming up in a few weeks and, as usual, that means I think about my late father, and wish he was still with me. So, this year, I have decided to put my thoughts to words and publish them in my blog. I plan to dedicate my upcoming book to him (assuming it gets published) but the the dedication will be short ( to Dad, who meant the world to me). And although that fragment probably says it best, I wanted to flesh it out a little, if for nothing else than writing about him is the best way for me to spend some time with him.

My father was a deliberate and methodical person; when he used a particular word in a certain circumstance, it was because he had thought about the context, mulled over the way the word sounded, and considered the possible interpretations of the word by his audience before uttering it. (No, he was not given over to quick responses.) And if he couldn't think of the exact word he wanted, he would ruminate about it until the perfect word became clear in his head. If rumination didn't work, he even stooped to research--his favorite book was Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (you know, that massive thing you see in libraries). And while this was especially true when he wrote letters (and he wrote many) it was even the case when he was having a conversation. The trouble with this was the converse: he also expected that you were selecting your words with the same care.

The thing I miss most about my dad is the conversations we used to have. When there was something you really wanted to discuss, there was no one better to talk to about it than him, especially if it was something to do with academics or ethics (and he could always find something academic or ethical about any issue.) I used to love the way he cocked his head to his right, often with his long fingers supporting his jaw. And he looked at you with his glacier blue eyes, and he listened, only interjecting comments when he needed you to stay on course. He was often as enthusiastic about an idea as you were, and in many cases he took notes as he listened, so that he would have everything exactly right (did I mention he was an accountant?) He used the notes too, because he almost never gave you an immediate response. You could expect a minimum of three days time to hear back from him, and it was many times in writing, with his flowing, precise script. And if the subject matter was not all that familiar to him, his full response would be even longer, because research would be involved, and often a trip to the library or bookstore. 

It was not uncommon to get a book or magazine or newspaper article from him weeks or even months after a discussion, always with a short forward alluding to the discussion which engendered the gift. He once gave me a USGA Rules of the Game book to keep with me in my golf bag, months after I had asked him a random question about a ruling during a non-competitive round with friends. It didn't matter to him that I wasn't even keeping score at the time; it did matter that I should know the proper ruling so as to be able to keep an accurate score when the time came.

My father was proper and accurate. He always used to say these things stemmed from his training as an accountant, but I think they were congenital. I can not ever remember the man breaking any rule whatsoever or even bending one a little--other than his penchant for rolling stops. He took no liberties with his tax return, insisting on paying his full share. When he had to drink a gallon of some horrible concoction in advance of a medical procedure, he set the timer on his watch and used a measuring cup to make sure he downed 8 oz every ten minutes as the instructions demanded. (I swear I am not making this up.) When he went hiking--which we did a lot--he used an altimeter so that I couldn't exaggerate the elevation gain, and a map was consulted at every intersection even if we had hiked the trail on numerous occasions.

I am almost 50 now, about the same age my dad was when I started high school. And--as Mike Golic is fond of saying--I get it. Now, anyway, I get it--but not then. Then I always underestimated driving times just to irritate him, then I took tests without studying just to get under his skin--he believed in being well-prepared, stress on well. We both lectored at our church at this time, and he would go over his reading the night before and suggest I do the same, which I naturally didn't. So, what did my wife buy for me recently? A lectoring guide, almost identical to the one dad used. And I love it! My son lectors too, and, in honor of my dad, I have suggested to him he look over his readings the night before--and, in honor of the teenage me, he didn't. But my my son's stubborn ways don't upset me--just like mine didn't bother dad--they just give me a greater appreciation for him and make me hunger for his patience and his understanding.

I have written two books now and have even roped a wonderful literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates) into signing me--rope is just a figurative term here, I actually used duct tape. The two months since I signed that contract have been among the best in my life, and I am looking forward to what comes next. But there is one thing missing and I can't help but lament it. Every day I think about how much I would enjoy talking the whole process over with my father. I can just see the bright sparkle in his eyes listening to me drone on about some aspect of the trying to get published process. He was just happy to be sharing in his child's excitement--and if that isn't good parenting, I don't know what is.

I miss you, Dad, and hope I turned out to be the son you had envisioned.

Cheers.
:)

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&Consthe 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.