Boredom

I can’t remember ever being bored. When I was a child, I must have been bored at least once. Maybe I said the word but didn’t mean it. After all, a lot of people talk about being bored, especially children.

In an interview, the teenage pop-singer songwriter I admire the most even mentioned being bored. I was surprised. How could anyone as talented as her be bored?

Looking for a reason why people get bored, I looked up the definition and the first one I found offered no help. The first definition was “The state of feeling bored.”

Huh?

I wondered if the person that came up with that one was bored when they wrote it, so I found another one, and Merriam-Webster at least tried to come up with a more interesting one.

“The state of being weary and restless through lack of interest – the boredom of a long car trip.”

I can’t remember ever being bored on a long car trip. My legs and back get stiff. I might get sleepy, but never bored. The scenery grabs my attention. It doesn’t matter if it is in the mountains, desert, farmland, a forest, there is so much to see that I’d rather let someone else drive so I’m free to explore with my eyes, and I always take audiobooks on long car trips and the stories keep me focused and awake because I want to find out what’s happening to the characters in the stories.

The video above mentions one writer who said, “Boredom has historically been an important source of creativity, well-being and our very sense of self.”

After hearing that I thought, maybe I’ve been bored but didn’t know it.

That’s where my overactive imagination comes in. When there is nothing else to do, my imagination fills the empty time with amazing or frightening stuff. Then I have my woodshop with all those tools and the house I’m renovating.

As a child, when I had nothing else to do, instead of sitting around complaining about being bored, I went outside and let my imagination carry me away to other places and times. I literally became a time machine where I could become anyone I wanted to be at any time in history, even the future.

Scientific American says, “There is no universally accepted definition of boredom. But whatever it is, researchers argue, it is not simply another name for depression or apathy. It seems to be a specific mental state that people find unpleasant—a lack of stimulation that leaves them craving relief, with a host of behavioural, medical and social consequences.”

The narrator in the video with this post also said, “People who are often bored are at greater risk of developing anxiety, depression, and drug or alcohol addiction; displaying anger, aggressive behavior and lack of interpersonal skills …”

After reading the last two paragraphs, I was glad I never feel bored.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam combat veteran with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

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When the Muse Strikes and A-Cappella Hijacked the Next Novel

What does it mean to be first and last at the same time?

The four books I’ve published so far were not published in the order they were written. My first published novel was “My Splendid Concubine,” and about 100,000 readers have read this book since January 2008 when the first copy sold, but this book was not my first novel. The concubine was the last one I wrote. I started researching and writing this one in 1999.

“Running with the Enemy” and “The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova” were both written and finished out of UCLA’s extension writing program back in the 1980s, and “Running” started out as a memoir with a working title that I can’t remember. The professor convinced me to turn “Running” into fiction and ditch the memoir idea, and for two of the seven years I was in her workshop, I wrote and repeatedly revised that book.

The professor’s name at UCLA was Marjorie Miller. She’s gone now. Cancer got her. When any of the writers in her workshop was ready, according to Marjorie, she found agents for them, and she found one for “Running”.  That agent managed to get the interest of a senior editor at Random House who eventually rejected the novel but said he’d enjoyed reading it.  The reason for the rejection was readers were not buying books about the Vietnam War and the market was glutted with titles that were not selling.

That manuscript ended up on a shelf in my garage, and I went on to write the next one that turned out to be “The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova”. That novel also started out with a different title, one that Marjorie and the rest of the writers in that workshop didn’t like.

The teacher’s memoir I wrote, “Crazy is Normal, a classroom expose,” started life in the 1995 – 96 school year as a daily journal that turned into a book almost two decades later. The journal was not the memoir. It was the source of the memoir that I wrote after I published “Concubine”.

I see it as ironic that one Amazon reviewer accused me of being too “Rambo-ish” in “Running with the Enemy” and rated the book with a 2-star review. Rich T. wrote, “It started out OK, then became a bit to much unbelievable. The hero is to (Rambo-ish). Nothing can stop him. Jumping out of a plane at night with a bum leg. Sorry … Not my cup of tea.”


“It’s what Recon is all about – Pain! … Semper Fi, Do or Die!

Jumping out of a plane with a bum leg is not Rambo-ish. This is what Marines do if the situation called for it. I should know, I am a former Marine.

When I was still in boot camp at MCRD, voices and a clattering noise woke me once at three in the morning. I left my bunk and looked outside the Quonset hut to discover a squad of Marines with white-plaster casts on arms and legs. Those Marines were playing football on a rack of pipes about twelve feet off the ground.  As I recall, each pipe looked like it had a four-inch diameter. The polls that held them up were thicker.

I found out later that those crazy Marines were all from Force Recon and were back from Vietnam recuperating at the base hospital before they returned to combat. They weren’t supposed to be out of their beds. They weren’t supposed to be playing football twelve feet off the ground balanced precariously on a set of pipes.

A few weeks later, when my right leg was broken during hand-to-hand combat practice, I was offered the choice to heal at the base hospital when I’d be allowed to join another platoon to finish boot camp.

The DI made it clear that if I stayed with the platoon, I had to do almost everything the rest of the recruits were doing in training, and I did. The bone had a vertical fracture running its length and a cast wouldn’t help it heal or protect it. The doctor’s advice was to stay off the leg as much as possible. I didn’t. The pain was intense but I hid the pain out of fear that I might end up in that hospital bed. I wanted to graduate from boot camp with my platoon. That was 1965; I was 20.

I turned 21 in Vietnam where I’d hold a grenade with the pin pulled to make sure if I fell asleep while on watch, the blast would wake the others. The idea of me falling asleep and the Vietcong getting into the bunker and killing my fellow Marines wasn’t something I was willing to risk. Whenever I was that tired, I’d slip out of the bunker to a nearby foxhole and then pull the pin on that grenade that was meant to become an alarm clock if I fell asleep and my hand relaxed. I kept the pin in a top pocket so I could reinsert it at the end of my watch.

The first Rambo film came out in 1982 and was set in the United States after Vietnam Vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) returned to the states. Rambo was having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. The first film in the series did not take place in Vietnam or Southeast Asia.

Rambo: First Blood Part II came out in 1985. By then I’d finished writing the novel that was alleged to be too “Rambo-ish”.  The 3rd Rambo film was released in 1988, and the 4th film came out in 2008. The plot of the novel that I published decades after I wrote it wasn’t changed from the original.

My next novel is one I’ve been thinking about since I was in grade school.

By the age of 10, I was an avid reader obsessed with the King Arthur Merlin myth. I read science fiction and fantasy novels sometimes two a day. I’d daydream stories of who Merlin was. Almost sixty years later, I started writing “Becoming Merlin”, and the paperback ARC copies are with my BETA readers now.

The real Merlin from the myth was a sorcerer; an immortal shapeshifter and no one knew where he came from or where he went after Arthur died.  In the ancient myths, Arthur lived around the 6th century, and at the end of the TV series Merlin broadcast by the BBC starting in 2009, in the last scene for the last season, we see Merlin walking beside a highway about fourteen hundred years later in the United States with his thumb out hitchhiking long after Arthur’s time.

My Merlin has little to nothing in common with the Merlin of the myth or the BBC TV series, but I wonder if some reviewer that doesn’t like the story I wrote will find a way to make a connection.

The Merlin in my novel is an alien and he has been around for a long time. He is lonely and wants someone to love. His only friend has been his artificially intelligent spaceship that he calls A-Cappella, and they are hiding on an Earth threatened by climate change. My Merlin has the magical powers of a god, but he can’t use most of those powers because he’s being hunted by a brutal team of AI killing machines. Using his powers to heal Earth might reveal where he is hiding and end up causing the total destruction of Earth and all life on the planet.

Here’s the first paragraph to “Becoming Merlin”, my next novel.

Chapter One

I regretted my part in one of the greatest tragic love stories in human history. It was that look in her eyes that did it, and I felt no guilt when I let myself be seduced by my friend’s future wife. She was fourteen the day Artur and I first saw her. That is when I knew that Guinevere was going to be trouble.  She had enchanting eyes, and men of all ages fell under their spell. She hypnotized me too, and I’m not even human.

###

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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A preview of what will happen if the GOP controls all three branches of the federal government

To find out, start by looking at North Carolina. Diane Ravitch reports, “In 2010, Republicans swept control of the Legislature in North Carolina for the first time in a century. Two years later, a Republican governor was elected. Since then, the Republicans have sought to shred any safety net for anyone who needed it.” Click the link in this paragraph to read the rest. It’s much worse than you might think.

What is happening in North Carolina is the perfect far-right conservative storm to destroy the United State if the GOP continues to add states to its list and seats in both Houses of the U.S. Congress. If the GOP wins the presidential election in 2016 and keeps both Houses of Congress along with its current five seat conservative majority in the Supreme Court, what is happening in North Carolina will repeat across the country in every state. America will become the House of Punishment and prison populations will soar along with more laws designed to send people to those prisons for longer sentences. If you think America is a free country, then why are so many Americans in prison—the U.S. is ranked number one? Guess who is #2 and #3. Click the link in this paragraph to find out.

For instance, who started the war on drugs? A GOP president. His name was Richard Nixon, the only president of the United States to resign from office to avoid facing impeachment. In the late 1970s, under President Carter, a Democrat, drug arrests fell. But the overall trend starting in the 1980s was upward with increased arrests. Who was the GOP president during the 1980s—one guess?

Under GOP President George H. W. Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, drug arrests climbed again, and then under Clinton they fluctuated, but under President G. W. Bush, arrests started to climb again. Drug arrests in 2006, were 3.25 times what they were in 1980.

Imagine, ending up in prison because of an addiction that is a disease.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted person’s self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs. – Drug Abuse.gov

This is a preview of our world if the GOP rules the United States without the possibility of compromise—a world where women can go to prison for taking pain killers when they are pregnant, and that is already happening in some states dominated by the GOP.

Take a Valium, Lose Your Kids, Go to Jailpropublica.org

In Alabama—a state dominated by the GOP—anti-drug fervor and abortion politics have turned a meth-lab law into the country’s harsher weapons against pregnant women.

Other States that Take a Hard Line:

  • South Carolina – 100% GOP dominated
  • Tennessee – 100% GOP dominated
  • Wisconsin – 100% GOP dominated

The GOP will win if too many registered Democrats and independent voters do NOT vote, because that is the reason the GOP has been winning elections in recent years—not because the majority of Americans are voting for far-right conservatives. Voters also have to be aware of fake Democrats running for election. Some of them are neo-liberals, and it is arguable that only fools and ignorant people vote for neo-liberals.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Where to Buy

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy followed by his award winning memoir Crazy is Normal.

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Giving away a Concubine 38,892 times in 16 days—Was it worth it?

UPDATE on July 25, 2015

It’s been more than a month since the BookBub ad ran on June 11th when “My Splendid Concubine” had only 117 reader reviews. This morning there were 204 reader reviews on Amazon.com, and all but one of them was a verified purchase. Most of the new reviews have been 5-stars. The 1-star that was not a verified purchase alleged the book was kiddie porn after most of the review praised the writing and the story. Regardless of the alleged opinion of that one review that was not a verified purchase, the book is not kiddie porn. The reviewer based her claim on the fact that in 1855, Robert Hart, who was still 19 had sex with a concubine who was age 14—in a country with no laws that restricted sex with an adolescent female who had reached puberty under the age of 18. In fact, in the 19th century women in China (and even in the United States) of almost any age were considered the property of men to be bought and sold.That practice didn’t end until 1949 in China, but by then Robert Hart would have been dead for almost fifty years.

Do we condemn a man and the book that is based on his life in the mid 19th century for doing something every man could do legally based on today’s laws in the United States?

Paid purchases are up slightly compared to where they are on those months when I am not promoting the book running ads. Before the ad ran and the giveaway ended, the book was getting about one or two reviews a month. In July there have been days when eight reviews appeared in one day. Paid sales are not dramatic but they have increased and sales are up from almost nothing for my other three titles.

— Original Post —

This is about the almost 8-year long journey before I offered my Concubine FREE for 16 days in the United States, Canada, Australia, India and the United Kingdom (free copies were downloaded in all five countries) between May 29 – June 13, 2015, and it wasn’t an easy decision to make—to give away a novel that took more than a decade to research (with an emphasis on research), write, revise, edit, revise and edit again several times. A lot of time and work went into writing Robert Hart’s story set in 19th century China.

To be clear, My Splendid Concubine is not a woman, and this post is about what happened when the novel was offered for free for the first time in tandem with a BookBub advertisement. Concubine is a historical fiction novel based on the real life of an Irishman who went to China in 1854 when he was age 19.

I started writing this novel in 1999 when I was dating Anchee. We dated for several months and were married December 1999. When we were dating, before we got married, she was working on her fifth novel, “Empress Orchid”, and she mentioned an Irishman named Robert Hart, who had worked for the Qing Dynasty until 1908—for about 50 years.

The first edition of “My Splendid Concubine” (December 2007) was followed by the sequel, “Our Hart”, in 2010.  Then in April 2013, I combined the prequel and sequel in the 3rd edition of “My Splendid Concubine” and stopped publishing the first two. By then, all of the editions had sold a combined 12,000 copies.

  • 221 in 2008
  • 341 in 2009
  • 2,375 in 2010
  • 4,641 in 2011
  • 4,158 in 2012
  • 5,044 in 2013
  • 4,192 in 2014, and about 300 copies sold over the first five months of 2015

In early 2013, sales started to slip after the 3rd edition came out, so I submitted My Splendid Concubine to BookBub, and the historical fiction novel was accepted for a $0.99 sale that ran on June 16, 2013. By the time that first ever $0.99 sale came to an end, about 2,900 copies had been sold—at the time that represented 22% of total sales since the 1st edition had been published in 12-2007.

Concubine was submitted to Book Bub again in 2014 and was accepted for another $0.99 sale in June of that year. This time, Concubine sold more than 3,000 copies at the reduced price, and the novel picked up a review from:

251 Positive Reviews on Amazon

In 2015, I submitted Concubine to BookBub for another $0.99 sale, and they rejected it. I submitted another one of my books for a $0.99 sale, and they rejected that one too.

In April, I ran the $0.99 sale for Concubine anyway and advertised through several sites instead of BookBub: The Fussy Librarian, The Choosy Bookworm, and eReaderNewsToday — 177 copies sold, and that represented about 46% of the total sales of all four of my titles for the first five months of 2015.

Then I resubmitted Concubine a 2nd time to BookBub in early May, but set the offer for FREE, and BookBub said yes and scheduled the date for their ad to run on June 11.

This was the first time I’d offer one of my books FREE, and it isn’t as if I didn’t know that this was a viable method to market books and reach more readers.  I’ve read about the success other authors have had offering at least one of their titles for free, and I understand that it works best for the first book in a series, but I didn’t have a series (I #AmWriting a five-book series now, and I plan to publish the first one in about a year and maybe sooner).

The idea behind offering a book for free is to generate word-of-mouth for an author’s work, but, as long as my work was selling several thousand copies annually, I was reluctant to make that decision—until the sales fell off a cliff from a four-year (2011-2014) monthly average of 385 copies a month to an average of 81 a month for the first half of 2015.

When I heard back from BookBub that Concubine had been accepted for a free ad, I let a group of authors that I belong to at Historical Fiction eBooks know—we share information and support each other—and I was advised to start lowering the price immediately, because Amazon doesn’t make it easy to set a price to FREE. I was told that Concubine would have to appear FREE on Barnes & Noble and iTunes before Amazon would match the price.

I logged on to my Draft2Digital account and submitted the price changes the same day, and Draft2Digital submitted the changes to: B&N, iTunes, Kobo, Scribd, and inktera, and it took about three days for all the prices to change.  That was when I logged in to my Amazon kdp account, scrolled down to Contact and left a request for a price match with links to B&N and iTunes.

Once Amazon dropped the price to free on 5-30, I attached the following image to a Tweet and penned it to the top of my Twitter page. During the next 16 days, I swapped that Tweet out and penned a fresh one several times a day for my more than 12k Twitter followers to Retweet. I have no idea how many times that Tweet appeared on Twitter, but I think it was probably hundreds and maybe even thousands of times.

251 Hall of Fame Positive Reviews on Amazon.jpg

I also paid eBookBooster $35 to submit Concubine to 45+ sites that advertised free books for free. I only know of five that announced the free offer: FreeBooksAndMore.com on June 5; bestebooksfree.com on June 7; Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books on June 9; Booklover’s Heaven on June 10; and eBookDaily on June 12.

On May 30, the first day after Concubine was listed free on Amazon and the other virtual retail book stores, 1,038 copies were downloaded. Another 1,151 were downloaded on May 31 followed by 291 on June 1st. Then the number of downloads started to drop—77 on June 3 – fifty-nine on June 4 – forty-three on June 5 – thirty-four on June 6 – thirty-two on June 7 – twenty-six on June 8 – Forty-Five on June 9 ( the day Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books ran its free ad), and nineteen on June 10.

Amazon Sales Chart on June 11

Then on June 11th, the BookBub ad appeared early in the morning, and 21,791 copies were downloaded for free on Amazon that day. On June 12, another 3,813 were downloaded followed by 1,412 on June 13.  An additional 7,573 copies were downloaded through Draft2Digital, but there may be more to come (D2D has to wait on the retailers to report sales. For instance, 4,730 free downloads were not reported until June 18 and those were only from iTunes and Barnes & Noble so there may be more to come when the remaining retailers report in.).

Draft2Digital Sales Chart

By the time I submitted the price change for “My Splendid Concubine” from FREE back to $3.99 early in the morning on June 14, 33,703 copies had been downloaded for free for a book that in almost 8 years had only sold 20,895 copies. Concubine also made it to #5 free in the Kindle store for the Top 100 List.

Number 5 in Top 100

Since June 11—the day the BookBub ad ran early in the morning—to June 18th, Concubine picked up 8 new Amazon reviews marked as a Verified Purchase: seven 5-stars and one 4-star. Before the sale, Concubine was picking up about 1 or 2 reviews a month.

What about sales after the price returned to $3.99? Concubine has sold 22 copies, Crazy is Normal sold one, Running with the Enemy sold four, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova sold two. In May, all four books only sold 30 copies, but so far for June, forty-four have been sold with twelve days left before the end of the month.

Do you think giving away almost 40,000 FREE copies and paying more than $300 for the BookBub ad was worth it?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

What happens when the GOP Profit Politics of Jeb Bush and the Authoritarian CCSS testing regime come together in Florida

First, I want to tell you about an 8th grade student I home taught back in the early 1980s. I was teaching English full time at an intermediate school and was asked if I would home teach one of my students who was being treated for a brain tumor that would include surgery. Even at her young age of 13, she was already a top-ranked figure skater and had a chance to compete in the Olympics. The brain tumor ended all that.

About thirty years later, I heard back from her when I received an e-mail, and she let me know that she had survived the surgery, recovered, graduated from college, married and was living a full life. Because of the tumor, she never did get her chance to compete in the Olympics.

Now this comment arrives from Cathy Bacot, who I think lives in Florida.

Cathy says, My daughter is in 10th grade this year she has brain cancer; she is missing 80% of her cerebellum from surgery to remove a 5cm tumor when she was 4 years old; she cannot write or type proficiently because of her brain injury; she uses a gait trainer or wheelchair to ambulate; she has epilepsy; she has damage to her grey matter from 12 years of different chemotherapy treatments; she has expressive aphasia; ataxia; apraxia.

She is in school full time, she took the FCAT in 5th grade and scored a 4, she is very intelligent. She has a one on one para at school to assist her with physical as well as academic tasks. It took her 9 days to complete the FCAT reading test when she was in 5th grade. It was exhausting for her and she cried every morning before going to school to take the test because she did not want to sit alone in that class room another day and read and answer questions.

It takes her a very long time to read even though she knows all the words because she processes much more slowly than the average person. In the classroom she is allowed to use books on tape or have her para read long passages to her, but this accommodation is not allowed on statewide standardized tests. This year she is required to take the new ELA in order to qualify for a standard diploma.

She is a straight A student, she works extremely hard to maintain her good grades and deserves a standard diploma. We were told that even with all her disabilities she is required to take the test.

This year there is a writing segment included in the test which was not included in past years. She is expected to type out essays when they know that she is physically unable to do this. They said they would work on getting her a designated person that she can dictate to in order to complete this part of the test.

Can you imagine how that will go? Most people have a hard time understanding my daughter because of her apraxia, that paired with her aphasia and just being a kid who is probably not too comfortable with sharing her ideas out loud with a complete stranger is a recipe for disaster. And this is just the ELA.

I haven’t even gotten started with the Algebra EOC. These tests are going to require hours upon hours of testing for her, days of doing nothing but sitting in a classroom taking a test that most kids finish in just a couple of hours.

I am going to try and get the new exemption under the Child With Medical Complexity subsection for her, but I’m not sure if she qualifies. It seems like they are limiting the exemption to kids who have no motor or language function, but I am going to give it a shot. I will keep you posted on what happens. If anyone has any advice for me regarding this, I welcome it.

Conclusion from Blog Host: It’s time to fight back. It’s time to stand up and stop this insanity. I didn’t join the U.S. Marines and end up fighting in Vietnam to support a government like this anywhere in the United States. Elected representatives like these in Florida do not represent what the Founding Father’s created for this republic.

If anyone has any advice for Cathy Bacot regarding what is happening to her daughter and other children in Florida, she will welcome it. 

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

The Pre-Election, Next-Door Homestead – Marshall Tuck versus Tom Torlakson – Debate

Close to the run up to the November 4, 2014 elections, Tuck was leading in the polls for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in California by a small margin—enough to look ominous considering the platform he was running on that would lead to the further destruction of California’s public schools in favor of private-sector, for profit—anyway you look at it—corporate Charters that mostly perform worse or the same as the public schools they replace.

I belong to Nextdoor.com in my community. Nextdoor is a social networking service for neighborhoods in the United States. It allows users to connect with people who live in their neighborhood.

The community debate I became embroiled in started when another member left a long rambling comment—long on claims and without  supporting data—calling on everyone in our neighborhood to vote for Marshall Tuck, because the public schools were failing our children.

When I checked this neighbor out, I discovered he was a Venture Capitalist, and  during our debate he mentioned that he knew Marshall Tuck, who, according to the Venture Capitalist, is a great guy who will save our children from horrible and incompetent public schools teachers.

Instead of sharing the entire debate—that ran long and rambled with the Venture Capitalist repeating his claims and offering no data to support them—I will share only the last two  comments here.

The Venture Capitalist said, “whether it is Tuck or not (and it will be, either for this office, or another statewide office within 10 years), the changes all of us with young kids want to see, will be implemented.”

My reply and last comment: When you say “all of us”, who are you talking about—after all, there are 316-million Americans and about 240-million are old enough to vote and make up their own minds? Do you claim to speak for those 240-million Americans?

As for your (earlier) claim that it is a flawed ploy that “wealthy oligarchs are funding the war on public education”, the evidence is there for anyone to read, and I already mentioned the book and provided the link earlier in this debate. How did you get a copy of Schneider’s book and read it so fast and then decide there is nothing valid to support the premise and evidence she presents?

Here’s the book again—all anyone has to do, who has an open mind, is follow the money to the source to see the obvious, because Mercedes Schneider has already done the investigative reporting and followed the money to its source, but if you think she’s wrong, then go ahead and prove her wrong. (Note: I never heard back from the Venture Capitalist who lives in my neighborhood).

“A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education” by Mercedes K. Schenider

Anyone interested to discover more about Schneider, here’s the link to her about page on her blog:

http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/about/

In addition, Mercedes has written posts about all or most of the major players who are funding the corporate war on public education. She doesn’t just spout opinions. She provides the evidence (the data) to support what she says.

In addition, maybe anyone reading this thread—other than a Venture Capitalist—would be interested in what The Washington Post had to say about Bill Gates, and how he is the money man behind the implementation of the Common Core agenda to rank and yank teachers then close public schools turning our children over to corporate Charters that profit off taxpayers at our children’s expense.

How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

Answer Sheet: Gates Foundation pours millions into Common Core in 2014

Then there is this quote from one of the Koch brothers, who admits what they are doing that was published in The New Yorker Magazine.

‘Charles Koch seems to have approached both business and politics with the deliberation of an engineer. “To bring about social change,” he told Doherty, requires “a strategy” that is “vertically and horizontally integrated,” spanning “from idea creation to policy development to education to grassroots organizations to lobbying to litigation to political action.” The project, he admitted, was extremely ambitious. “We have a radical philosophy,” he said.’

Or this one: “Broad school bully?”

“Today, the 79-year-old Broad (it rhymes with “road”), who lives in Los Angeles, is spending a good chunk of his fortune on education reform – steadfast in his belief that applying the same data-driven, free-market principles that made him so wealthy can also make U.S. schools great again. … Critics insist that the unseen hand of the Broad Foundation played a role on this winter’s dramatic move to close 23 public schools across Philadelphia – noting that the foundation in 2009 published an 83-page School Closure Guide, now no longer on its website, for large urban districts.”

Did you know that there are only 442 billionaires in the United States, but the United States has a population of 316 million people, in a country that is supposed to be a democracy where the people also have a right to what they think as individuals?

Does anyone want to know what the people think about the public schools?

The answer to that question may be found in the September and October 2014 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools:

  1. 64% of Americans have trust and confidence in teachers compared to 35% who do not.
  2. 61% of Americans are against using student test results to evaluate teachers compared to 38% who favor using VAM.
  3. 77% of Americans felt it was important to help teachers improve their ability to teach
  4. Only 24% of Americans felt that performing well on a standardized test such as ACT or SAT would help students get good jobs while 86% felt learning skills like dependability, persistence and teamwork was more important.
  5. When asked what grade respondents would give the public schools in their own community, 12% gave their schools an A, 38% a B and 31% a C. Only 6% failed their community’s schools.
  6. When asked who should have the greatest influence on what public school teach, 56% said school boards and 28% state governments.
  7. 63% oppose vouchers

In addition to the debate, in conclusion, Tom Torlakson won the election by a wider margin—52% to 48%—than the lead Tuck had in the polls running-up to the election. The margin of difference came down to about 180,000 votes.

Torlakson—early in his adult working life—was a teacher who taught in the public schools for several years before he was first elected to the California State Legislature in 1996. Then in 2011, he was elected as the 27th State Superintendent of Public Instruction of California.

Tuck never taught a day in his life, and he has a history of being part of the corporate Charter school reform movement that is closing public schools and turning our children over to corporations that do not answer to the voter and/or the public.

The race between these two Democrats became a proxy war between two differing views on education overhaul. Mr. Torlakson relied on heavy support from teachers unions, while Mr. Tuck depended on a few independent supporters who Mercedes K. Schenider has linked to the corporate war on the public schools in the United States. In total, about $30 million was spent on this race this year, more than three times the amount spent for the last race in 2010, and Tuck, who lost, raised about $3 more than Torlakson.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Crazy-is-Normal-a-classroom-expose-200x300

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Comparing a virtual book tour to the traditional, and why go on a book tour in the first place?

Crazy is Normal: a classroom exposé started its virtual book tour journey on October 1 to November 15, 2014, and I do not expect to make a profit.

A profit would be nice, but as you read this post, you will discover that traditional publishers usually don’t expect a profit—if there is any—until long after the book tour—if there is one—because old fashioned book tours are rare and expensive.

Just in case you think every traditionally published author gets a book tour from a publisher, think again.

In March 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported, as the business of publishing changes, book tours increasingly look like bad risks. “In 99.9% of cases,” says Peter Miller, director of publicity at Bloomsbury USA, “you can’t justify the costs through regular book sales.”

Traditional book tours are expensive, because authors usually fly from city to city between states or countries and the cost can runs into the thousands.

For instance, Brian Jud explored the Cost of a Traditional Tour, by car, and concluded that the direct cost of a six month book tour would run $12,345, and he would have to sell 2,465 books to break even.

In addition, Publishers Weekly—in 2006—said, “There are 5,500 adult trade fiction titles published every year, and a tiny percentage of those books’ authors get sent on tour… Assuming that an average 10-city tour costs, say $25,000 (toting up airfare, hotels, escorts and co-op advertising), most book tours are far from cost-effective in terms of the number of copies sold at signings.”

How is a virtual book tour different and why is that important?

I’m inviting you to read on and discover how much this virtual tour has cost me in dollars and time, and we will start with the publicist, who arranged the 20+, Book Blog tour and charged $534.35.

You might think that’s expensive, but consider the $12,345 and/or $25,000+ mentioned above for the cost of a traditional book tour.

Next, there’s the cost of the complementary books sent to the book bloggers who agreed to be the hosts of Crazy is Normal’s virtual book tour.

This is where I stop to deal with potential critics who will claim sending out free books is like buying a review, but that kind of thinking is wrong because the traditional book publishing industry has done it for decades—long before POD, e-books and Amazon came alone.  Traditional Publishers have always sent out hundreds of free copies of new books, for instance, to book stores, magazines, newspapers, and other authors hoping that this would result in positive reviews and media attention.

To send out complimentary copies for this virtual tour cost $28.93 for eight e-books and $103.69 for fourteen paperbacks for a total of $132.62, and that included the postage for the paperbacks that I ordered directly from Amazon for the e-books and Create Space for the paperbacks. Create Space allows authors to mail directly from the printing plant and placing the order was easy.

Then there was $180 to promote Crazy is Normal during the virtual tour with e-mail blasts from Bargain Booksy (Oct. 5), The Fussy Librarian (Oct. 7), eReaderNews Today (Oct. 17), Book Gorilla (Oct. 20), Kboards (Oct. 25), and Indie Book Promo (starting Nov. 8). I might add more before the tour ends. If so, I’ll update.

The great thing about a virtual tour (I’ve been on several and one local-traditional tour in 2008), the author doesn’t have to leave home and that saves a lot of time and money.

In addition, I also supplied nine excerpts for the book, wrote four guest posts and answered questions for five interviews that will appear during the tour. I didn’t keep track of the time, but if each one took an hour, on average, that’s 17-hours, well spent.

I’m also using Twitter during the Tour to announce each stop, and here are the Tweets I’m using several times a day. I’ll be back to add new ones as they appear.

The publicist I use to organize and arrange a book blog tour is Teddy Rose and Bill Pope, Virtual Author Book Tours.com
http://www.virtualauthorbooktours.com/category/about-us/

Day 1 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st Review
@ SoManyPreciousBookSoLittleTime
tinyurl.com/mswrq9a
pic.twitter.com/91ek9zmYgz

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #46 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 2 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st Guest Post
@ InspireToRead
I worked with 6,000+ students
http://bit.ly/1vAHVru

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #73 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 3 of Bk-Blog Tour
2nd Guest Post
@ TheWormhole
http://bit.ly/ZBJ5Z0

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #85 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 5 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st e-mail blast
@ BargainBooksy
http://bit.ly/1Erdyca

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #8 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 6 of Bk-Blog Tour
2nd Review
Welcome to #CassandraMsPlace
http://bit.ly/10FddD6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-C4X6f0B5g

Day 6 of Bk-Blog Tour
1st interview
@ PinkysFavorteReads
http://bit.ly/1CP2q79

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #13 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day-7 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ FussyLibrarian
2nd e-mail blast
60,919 readers interested in Memoirs
http://bit.ly/1lvZaI5

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day-8 of Bk-Blog Tour
@DrBillsBookBazaar
Says “this fabulous memoir”
3rd Review
http://bit.ly/1pQEiJj
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-C4X6f0B5g

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #16 on Memoir-Educator genre<<<

Day 9 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BeingTillysMummy
3rd Guest Post
http://bit.ly/1yQGTw7

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #30 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 10 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BeingTillysMummy
An excerpt from Crazy is Normal
http://bit.ly/1w07KlM

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #41 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 13 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ Unselfish
4th Review
http://bit.ly/ZXfdGS

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #49 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day14 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BackPorchervations
5th Review
Interview
Excerpt
http://bit.ly/1qRb51l

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #58 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day15 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ SincerelyStacie
6th Review
http://bit.ly/1umMBOx

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #19 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 17 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ HeckOfABunch
7th Review and Giveaway
http://bit.ly/1zgn6GG

Day 17 of Bk-Blog Tour
3rd e-mail blast
@ eRederNewsToday
http://bit.ly/1vu2DdV

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #3 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Number 3 Memoir Crazy is Normal Day 18

Woke up this morning to this and 8-hours later Crazy is Normal was still ranked at #3 on Amazon.

Day 20 of Bk-Blog Tour
4th e-mail blast
@ BookGorilla.com
http://www.bookgorilla.com/deals

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #2 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 21 of Bk-Blog Tour
@ BooksBooksandMoreBooks
8th Review
http://bit.ly/1pC3nYA

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 22 of Bk-Blog Tour
Lu Ann Worley
@ RockinBookReviews
9th Review
Interview
& Excerpt
http://bit.ly/1tgWmBj

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 23 of Bk-Blog Tour
With Melissa Beck
@ TheBookBinder’sDaughter
10th Review
With Interview
bit.ly/ZP0Ovt

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #4 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Between Book Blog visits—10-24 to 10-28—promotional ads ran on:
http://www.ebooklister.net/
http://www.sweetiespicks.com/
http://digitalbooktoday.com/
and
http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/

Day 29 of Bk-Blog Tour

With Lisa @ The News in Books

11th Review

With Guest Post

http://www.thenewsinbooks.com/crazy-is-normal-a-review/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #8 on Amazon’s Memoir-Educator genre<<<

Day 30 of Bk-Blog Tour

Hosted by M. Denise Costello

12th Review

With Excerpt

http://www.mdenisecostello.com/2014/10/30/crazy-is-normal-by-lloyd-lofthouse/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #5 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 31 of Bk-Blog Tour

13th Review
@ DWD’s Reviews of Books, Audibooks, Music and Video
http://dwdsreviews.blogspot.ca/2014/10/crazy-is-normal-classroom-expose-memoir.html

Day 33 of Bk-Blog Tour
November 2, 2014

http://www.southerncaliforniabookfestival.com/

LOW RES Biographies and Autobiographies for the 2014 Southern California Book Festival

Day 34 of Bk-Blog Tour
14th Review
@ She Treads Softly
http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/2014/11/crazy-is-normal.html

Day 34 of Bk-Blog Tour
People Reads Weekly Feature Promotion from November 3 – 9
http://www.peoplereads.com/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #14 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 35 of Bk-Blog Tour
15th review
@ Celtic Lady’s Reviews
http://www.celticladysreviews.blogspot.ca/2014/11/crazy-normal-by-lloyd-lofthouse-review.html

Day 35 of Bk-Blog Tour
November 4
Choosy Bookworm Promotion
http://choosybookworm.com/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #5 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 39 of Bk-Blog Tour
Indie Book Promo.com will run from November 8 to December 8
http://indiebookpromo.com/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #44 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 41 of Bk-Blog Tour
The Fussy Librarian Promotion
http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/about

Day 41 of Bk-Blog Tour
16th Review
@ What U Talking ‘Bout Willis?
http://www.whatutalkingboutwillis.info/crazy-normal-book-review/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #15 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 42 of Bk-Blog Tour
17th Review
@ From Isi – Come. Read. Enjoy
http://fromisi.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/crazy-is-normal-by-lloyd-lofthouse/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

 

Day 43 of Bk-Blog Tour
18th Review
@ Reading to Distraction
http://www.readingtodistraction.com/book-reviews/2014/10/13/crazy-is-normal

Day 43 of Bk-Blog Tour
19th Review & Excerpt
@ Manic Mama of 3
http://manicmamaof3.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/crazy-is-normal-book-review-excerp/

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #9 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 47 of Bk-Blog Tour
Author event in Oakland, California at the main library with the California Writers  Club’s Berkeley Branch followed by Howard Allen VanEs who talked about book marketing
http://cwc-berkeley.org/
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152817792969144

 >>>Amazon Sales Rank #41 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 48 of Bk-Blog Tour
21st Review
Interview & Excerpt
@ Deal Sharing Aunt
http://www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.ca/2014/11/crazy-is-normal-by-lloyd-lofthouse.html

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #10 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

Day 49, November 18, 2014
This is the Last day of this Bk-Blog Tour
22nd Review
@ Feminist Reflections
http://www.feministreflections.com/2014/11/book-tour-crazy-is-normal-by-lloyd.html

>>>Amazon Sales Rank #15 on Memoir-Educator genre list<<<

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”