The Next Best Thing, an authors’ Blog Hop

Joan Szechtman, the author of This Time (2009), and Loyalty Binds Me (2011), tagged me for The Next Big Thing, an authors’ Blog Hop, and I accepted. Of course, she was tagged by C. L. R. Dougherty, the author of six novels, who was tagged by Elizabeth Amisu, and Amisu was tagged by E. J. Swift

The Midwest Book Review, established in 1976, says of Szechtman’s work: “Immortality plays into our hands strangely.  Loyalty Binds Me  is a unique novel that spins into a Richard the III alive in the twenty-first century. Wrapped into a centuries old problem and facing what he’s been running from for centuries. With a five hundred year old murder mystery turning hot again, ‘Loyalty Binds Me’ is a highly unique twist on historical fiction and mystery, recommended.”

All I knew about authors Blog Hopping is that it’s sort of like a chain letter where participants answer questions and/or write posts on his or her Blog linked to other authors taking part, and I learned from Joan that I had to ask five other authors to do the same thing a week after The Next Big Thing post appeared on my Blog.

Wanting to learn more, I Googled “Blog Hopping definition” and discovered: “A blog hop is a great networking tool to gain more friends/visitors to your site/blog/etc as followers. Blog hop, also known as blog hopping is to move from one blog after another to read the entries or to leave comments. *When someone follows you, you should return the follow.”

I also searched You Tube for info or a tutorial on Blog Hopping but didn’t find anything worth sharing.

How The Next Best Thing Blog hop works: an author answers ten questions and then tags five authors to do the same thing the following week on the same day, which in this case is a Wednesday. This assumes that each author that agrees to continue the Blog Hop knows five other authors and so on.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

My next best thing will be Running with the Enemy

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came from the Vietnam War where I served as field radio operator in the US Marines in 1966. In the 1980s, I started writing a memoir about my experience in the war and then that manuscript morphed into a novel while I was attending writing workshops for several years out of the UCLA Extension writing program. However, back then the working title was “Better a Dead Hero”.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

drama, suspense, adventure, war and romance

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

  • Channing Tatum as Ethan Card, the male protagonist
  • Kristin Kreuk or Maggie Denise Quigley as Tuyen, Ethan Card’s lover and the female protagonist
  • Michelle Yeoh as Danh Ly Nonh, Tuyen’s mother
  • Daniel Dae Kim as Giap, Tuyen’s abusive half brother and one of the antagonists
  • Danny Trejo or Emile Hirsh as Victor Ortega, the sociopathic drug lord, rogue CIA agent who is one of the antagonists
  • Keith David or Joe Morton as Colonel Edward Price, CO of Ethan Card’s Marine recon battalion who believes that Card is innocent and is willing to put his career on the line to prove it
  • Ken Leung or Chow Yun Fat as Colonel Nguyen, CO of South Vietnamese ranger battalion and a loyal friend and ally of Colonel Price
  • Charles Durning or Pat Hingle as General La Bourne, an army general, a racist, and one of the antagonists who sends Victor Ortega after Ethan Card
  • James Hong as Luu, Tuyen’s guardian and a close friend of her dead father
  • Michael Cera as Micky, a Marine who is a rapist and murderer
  • Masi Oka as Kiet Wongmontha, the reluctant hero, a Thai national and UC Berkeley student home during a school break who ends up alongside Ethan Card in Burma’s Golden Triangle fighting drug lords to save Tuyen
  • Jamie Chung as Kama, a young Thai woman who loses her family to brutal smugglers and then falls in love with Ethan Card who almost dies saving her life

5) What is the book’s elevator pitch?

Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. In Running with the Enemy, Ethan Card is a loyal US Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again, and the women he loves and wants to save from two sociopaths was trained to kill Americans.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Indie published through Three Clover Press and no literary agency. This is the same publisher that released my other work: My Splendid Concubine (2009), Our Hart (2010), and The Concubine Saga (2012).

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Six or seven years back in the 1980s and 90s and that isn’t counting the revisions and editing once I decided to dust off a manuscript that once had an agent and interest from Random House that led to a rejection saying they enjoyed the story but no one was publishing stories about the Vietnam War.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

  • Chickenhawk by Robert Mason
  • The Killing Zone: My Life in the Vietnam War by Frederick Down Jr.
  • A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
  • Fields of Fire by James Webb
  • Hamburger Hill by Samuel Zaffiri
  • We were Soldiers Once…and Young: la Drang – The Battle That Changed the War In Vietnam by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The Vietnam War and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the demon I carried back from the war that refused to stop haunting me until I gave up the booze, faced it and stood my ground. The struggle with PTSD never ends.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

a bitter-sweet love story born of war


It’s my pleasure to tag the following five talented authors (more to come – I discovered that many authors seem unwilling to spend the time promoting his or her work as if once you are published, along with the millions of other titles out there, readers will appear, as if by magic, and fight to buy and read a copy), in the order that they joined The Next Best Thing, to carry this forward:

Loretta Proctor

  • Proctor was born in Cairo, Egypt to an English father and Greek mother. She won prizes in the 1970’s for essays and plays, wrote specialized articles, studied psychology and worked as a counselor. Now retired to Malvern, Worcestershire, she delights in storytelling and is pleased to be a distant relation of Elizabeth Barrett-Browning. Proctor Blogs at Books and Other Things and is the author of The Long Shadow, Middle Watch and The Crimson Bed.

Janet Elaine Smith

  • Janet Elaine Smith is the author of 23 published books, including the Women of the Week series, based on the poem “Monday’s child is fair of face…” Monday Knight is the first book and she is working on Tuesday Nolan. She has also had more than 5,000 magazine articles published in her 30+ year writing career. She guarantees a happy-ever-after ending and says she is living her dream through her books.

Blog link:
Website for Women of the Week:
Website for her books (including 1st chapter excerpt of each one):


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of The Concubine Saga.

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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2 responses to “The Next Best Thing, an authors’ Blog Hop”

  1. Thanks for the mention, Lloyd. The Next Best Thing is a great idea and I hope other authors join in and keep it going. I’m off to buy one of your books on China as my son is mad about the place! Nearly brought home a Chinese wife!

    1. You are welcome.

      My wife is Chinese and I suspect she would offer a word of caution to look out for Chinese women that may only be interested in marriage to a US citizen as a way to reach the US. First, I suggest he have a long-term relationship for at least a year or two while living in China to make sure the lady is interested more in him then a green card to the US. If he still wants to get married, do it in China and stay there for a few more years to see how it works out.

      China may have a growing middle class close to 300 million but that leaves more than one billion people that are still poor and poverty gives rise to desperation of all types. Cannot blame those who try, and I imagine it would be worse in India where the poverty is much worse.

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