I am a very boring guy

Recently I was asked this question: “Do you take weekends off to do some fun things? I hope you take a break once in a while.”

Here’s my rambling reply (with a few revisions):

Do I take weekends off to do some fun things?

No. Everything I do is fun to me. I enjoy building things. I enjoy exercise. I enjoy reading books, and I enjoy writing them. I enjoy going out to see a movie at the theater (mostly alone). I don’t pay for cable TV, because I can’t stand all the advertisements and news that is almost always depressing especially with Donald Trump as the President of the United States. Trump is nothing but a pile of vile orange turkey crap. Why let him ruin my day? If I watch anything on a TV, it is after 8 PM and it is always from a DVD.

In short, I enjoy life, because every day is a holiday to me and has been since I retired more than twelve years ago. Sometimes I go out to eat alone and sometimes with a friend or friends. I enjoy eating alone or with friends as long as the food is healthy and my definition of healthy food doesn’t match most people, because I’m a vegan and have been for thirty-five years. Most American’s would not go one day without meat, sugar, sodas, sugar, dairy products, or sugar.

Going out to dance would not be fun for me so I don’t do that. Going out to party is not fun to me, and I don’t go to bars because drinking booze or beer is not fun to me. Paying to go and watch a football game or any sports would not be fun to me.

Celebrating my birthday is not fun to me. Celebrating any holiday is not fun to me, because every day is a holiday to me. If I get through a day without pain, loss or an injury that is a good day and most of my days are good ones.  And even when I injure myself, I do what I have to do to treat the wound, and return to what I was doing when I injured myself. Since I’m a woodworker and have a lot of dangerous power tools, I do cut myself and all I do is clean the wound, pack it with cayenne pepper, bandage the wound, and get back to work. The cayenne pepper stops the bleeding, protects the cut from infection and blocks the pain from the cut so I don’t feel it. It also speeds up the healing process.

If I had to go back to work to a job with a boss, that probably would not be fun because during the 45-years I worked and had bosses most of them were tyrants and/or were incompetent, and I even hated a few of them. But since I retired, every day is a fun day just because I’m alive and healthy to enjoy it. I have no desire to spend money just to have fun. For instance, I have no desire to visit theme parks like Disneyland. To me, that is an expensive waste of time. In addition, even though I was once a gambler and card counter, I don’t gamble today. Even though it isn’t illegal, there is too much stress counting cards in a casino and avoiding getting caught. I did that for several years and always won more than I lost, but the stress wasn’t worth it.

I take and enjoy life one day at a time no matter what I’m doing. I see no difference between any official holiday and all the other days of the year. They are all equal to me. I think most people have been programed to spend too much money on official holidays, but spending money to make someone else wealthier, isn’t fun to me.

I enjoy listening to music and right now that music is from Grace VanderWaal or Angelina Jordan, the eleven-year-old Norwegian jazz singer. For instance, this video of Angelina singing is incredible and I never get tired of watching it.


Every time I watch this video, I have fun because of Angelina’s amazing voice. Wow!

And I’ve watched Grace VanderWaal’s first concert for her first concert tour so many times, that I have lost count. Every time I watch her first Austin City Limits Music Festival concert for her own fans, I enjoyed stopping the replay to scan the crowd looking for expressions of joy and there was a lot to enjoy. For me, that is fun. And Grace’s expressions of joy are fun to watch too. It’s obvious that she is having fun providing music for her fans.

I have a vast choice of things to do every day that I enjoy doing. The list is so long that I have to manage it so I don’t spend too much time doing one thing. For instance, I just got in from doing two hours of yard work and I enjoyed the results and the fact that it was also free exercise. Now I’m writing this post and when I’m done, I’ll work on a chapter for my next book.

Why pay someone to mow my lawn while my body rots? It is a fact that if we don’t use our bodies, our bones will become brittle and we will lose muscle mass. Why should I pay someone to do the yard work for me and then pay to join a gym and exercise when I can do it for free?

For those two hours mowing, trimming and cleaning the yard, I was constantly on the move and I think that counts the same as a two-hour walk. I know going out to drink and dance is fun to many people, but I don’t pay to go out and drink booze and beer and dance. That is not fun to me. I will probably never pay to go on a cruise and eat too much bad food and gain ten or twenty pounds because that is not fun to me. The only winery I want to visit is a castle in the Napa Valley called Castello di Amorosa. I wouldn’t visit it to sample the wine or buy any wine. I’d visit it to see the castle. I like castles, and that is one trip I wouldn’t mind taking.  I’m even willing to travel to Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Germany, and Portugal to visit their castles. I wouldn’t go for the food or the alcohol. Why is eating unhealthy food and drinking alcohol considered fun to so many people?

Yep, I’m a really boring guy because I don’t do what many people think is fun.

_______________________

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.

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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.

Where to Buy

Subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases and get a free copy of my award-winning, historical fiction short story “A Night at the Well of Purity”.

Was Sun Tzu writing about the Deplorable Donald Trump and his Followers when he wrote the “Art of War”?

Sun Tzu wrote, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” – written and published about 512 B.C.

Now it is time for us to learn who our enemy is so we can win this war.

I recently read a rant that alleged that half the country voted for Donald Trump, and those voters were the deplorables.  But the claim that half the country was deplorable is wrong unless we expand the definition of who those deplorables are beyond who just voted for Donald Trump.  Half is 109.5 million if we only look at eligible voters.

I also read “Essay: Fake news, faith and reason,” and it provided a good definition of exactly who those deplorables are, how they think, and/or their empty-headed lack of thinking.

Here’s what I think is deplorable.

As I write this post, we learn from US Election Atlas.org that Trump has 45.99 percent of the popular vote with 62,916,237 votes (that is not half). Hillary Clinton has 48.07 percent of the vote for 65,758,070, and it’s deplorable that she lost.

It’s deplorable that only 132.9 million Americans voted. There are almost 219 million eligible voters, and 86.1 million didn’t vote.

It’s deplorable that the @realDonaldTrump on Twitter has 17.2 million followers, but he only has 45 likes (when I checked today). How does anyone have that many followers and only 45 likes?

It also helps to define how deplorable Trump’s thinking is by just looking at the 40 Twitter pages he follows.  Click the link and discover how many times he follows himself and far-right hate media sites and/or talking heads.

It’s deplorable that according to the Pew Research Center, 33-percent of the people that voted for Trump did it because “He is not Clinton,” 27 percent voted for him because “He will bring change (does that mean burning the U.S. Constitution),” 26 percent voted because of “His policy positions (does he really have any),” 19 percent voted for him because “He tells it like it is/His personality (like his locker room talk),” and 10 percent voted for him because “He is for American people and values (Huh!).”

It’s deplorable that Trump claimed he’ll bring back manufacturing jobs that were lost to China, because how can Trump bring back jobs from China that never left?

Quickly, China doesn’t just trade with the United States. It trades with the world. The OEC reports China exported $2.37 trillion to the world in 2014, but only $432 billion of that went to the U.S, and the U.S. exported $134 billion in goods back to China, goods produced by American workers and/or automation in American factories. Discover what Forbes says China buys from the U.S. Automation took away 88 percent of the 7 million lost jobs in U.S. manufacture since 1979. Who became president in 1980?

So let’s discover how many deplorables there are.

First, the 16 – 17 million that follow Donald Trump on Twitter and on Facebook (probably the same people) on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst deplorables, this group earns a 9.

After we subtract the 16 – 17 million that follow Trump on Twitter and Facebook, that leaves about 47 million voters that earned an 8 on that scale of 1 to 10.  Arguably the ones that voted for Trump because he wasn’t Clinton should earn a 7, but Essay: Fake news, faith and reason explains why they should be ranked higher so maybe I’m wrong and that group should be a 9 too.

Who earned a 10 on the deplorable scale?  The 86.1 million that didn’t vote, and the answer is more than 68 percent of Americans eligible to vote are deplorable. More than 50 percent.

One thing we can look forward to from a Trump Presidency is all the new Star Wars films with him as the Emperor while he’s still the president of the U.S. I heard that Disney is already in negotiations with Donald Trump. If the deal goes through, he’ll be the first sitting United States President to star as an emperor in a series of films wearing pink cotton candy on his head instead of a crown or a hoodie.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, with a BA in journalism and an MFA in writing, 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.

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

Seeing “The Martian” Two Times in Three Days

The title of this post could have been “Self-published author hits it big thanks to Mars.”

I have seen this film twice and plan to see it again soon a third time, and when the DVD comes out, I’ll buy the film and also watch it at home. The first time I saw the film was on Friday, October 2, and the second time was Sunday, October 4, and I enjoyed it even more the second time around.

Next, I plan to buy the book and read it. Hopefully, I’ll find it on CDs and listen to the audio version instead.

This is the first time in my 70 years of life that I’ve seen the same film twice at a theater. I have seen “The Lord of the Rings” three times but only once in a theater. The other two times, I watched it at home. I’ve also watched “Avatar” once in a theater and then again at home after I bought the DVD.

I’m an avid reader, who has read “The Lord of the Rings” three times and the entire Horatio Hornblower Series by C. S. Forester two times, and I am also a film addict who is easily entertained, but this is the first film that I want to watch repeatedly.

“The Martian” started out as a 2011 science fiction novel and the first published novel by American author Andy Weir. It was originally self-published in 2011. In March 2013, Twentieth Century Fox optioned the film rights.

Then in 2014, Crown Publishing purchased the rights to the novel and re-released it the same year. The story follows an American astronaut, Mark Watney, as he becomes stranded alone on Mars and must improvise in order to survive.  The Martian, a film adaptation, was directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain.

Since I’ve seen the film and haven’t read the book—YET—I’m going to copy a few pull quotes from reviews that I agree with.

“A great movie! It’s exciting, emotional, it has great storytelling and most of all, it’s surprising!” –Edgardo Resendiz, Reforma

“This is science fiction for sophisticated audiences and, as such, a fulfilling and satisfying experience.” – James Berardinelli, Reel Views

“What’s so stirring about the film is that, before and after everything else, it truly is about being human” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“The Martian is fueled by charm, curiosity and the scientific method.” – Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

The Martian should do far more than just make Fox a ton of money; it could conceivably rekindle interest in the space program and inspire a new generation of future astronauts.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“Superior to both Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and (by a smaller margin) Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity,” – Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing

“Easily one of the most engrossing, enthralling and entertaining films of the year … In essence, The Martian is the antithesis of a superhero movie; instead of one man trying to save the world, it’s about the world trying to save one man.” – Jim Schembri, 3AW

I’d share my favorite scenes but there were too many and that would more than double the word count of this post. It is often rare for media critics and the audience to agree on anything, but on Rotten Tomatoes, “The Martian” has an approval rating of 93% for all of the critics and 94% for the audience. Heck, even a New York Times critic liked the film, and that’s a rare event for any film or book.

Manohla Dargis, the NY Times critic, starts out with, “A space western and a blissed-out cosmic high, ‘The Martian’ stars Matt Damon as an American astronaut who, like a latter-day Robinson Crusoe, learns to survive on his own island of despair. At once epic and intimate, it involves a dual journey into outer and inner space, a trip that takes you into that immensity called the universe and deep into the equally vast landscape of a single consciousness.”

_______________________

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

Promotion Graphic OCT 2015

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.

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

The Complexity of Belief vs the Reality of Racism – a review of “Go Set A Watchman”

Do you know what a devil’s advocate is? If you don’t, here it is: One who argues against a cause or position, not as a committed opponent but simply for the sake of argument or to determine the validity of the cause or position.

That’s what I think Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman” was, a devil’s advocate written to add some reality to the complexity of racism in the United States that has become too much of a black and white issue when in reality there are many shades of color at work.

When the sequel of “To Kill A Mockingbird” came out, the first thing I read was one or more of the politically correct mobs lashing out when they condemned the book because of an early scene in the novel that depicts Atticus Finch as a racist, but I didn’t let that stop me from buying an audio version of the book on six CDs at Costco, and I’m glad I did because the story in this novel offers a brutal reminder that hot-button issues like abortion, school reform and racism can’t be dealt with in a 14-second politically correct sound bite by one side or the other. Reality is more complex then simple and often ignorant thinking.

After listening to the novel, Atticus Finch turns out to be a complex individual and I don’t think he was the kind of racist that fits the stereotype that so many love to hate. He didn’t belong to the KKK. He was not a white supremacist. In fact, Atticus didn’t even own one of those white cloaks with hoods that have holes cut out for the eyes and mouth.

Instead, before the end of the novel, we learn that Atticus might believe in separate but equal, but he would also be the first one to put his body between a fire-breathing racist lynch mob and an African American the mob wants to hang from the nearest tree, because it’s obvious Atticus still believes in justice and equality for every person but maybe not everyone’s definition of what that means. Right or wrong, I don’t think Atticus deserves to be condemned. Reserve that anger for those who bomb black churches, murder minorities for just having a different shade of skin and/or block the right of minorities to vote.

I taught “To Kill a Mockingbird” in high school, and I’ve seen the film a number of times, so I was ready to read about the characters who were 20+ years older, and I was not disappointed. The audio book is read by Reese Witherspoon, and Jean Louise Finch—Scout—reminds us that she was a child once when she takes readers on journeys back in time to when she was a child and then an adolescent becoming a young woman. I think Witherspoon’s voice is exactly what we would want Scout to sound like as a young woman in her twenties.

Instead of jumping blindly on the politically correct bandwagon that defines what racism is, read this book and do what it was designed for: weigh all the factors and think for yourself. Then judge individuals like Atticus on an individual basis and not a blanket indictment written by an often angry and mindless mob.

_______________________

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

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 . His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

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

Forty-Five thousand U.S. Businesses are Built on a Foundation of Legal Seduction and Sex

The legal seduction and sex industry in the United States is built on a foundation of alcohol, food, music and consensual sex, and it earns more than the $14.6 billion that goes to illegal prostitution or the $10 – $12 billion spent annually on pornography – NBC News; Business Pundit.com

For a comparison, McDonald’s is the second largest fast food chain in the U.S. and it only has 14,267 outlets. Number one, Subway, has 24,722, and Starbucks 10,821. And the largest retail chain in the U.S. is Wal-Mart with 4,177 stores.

But the $20 billion annual legal seduction and sex industry beats them all with 45,000 locations. Even box office revenue in North America is less than $11 billion annually. – Statista.com

The legal seduction and sex industry in the U.S. is also an industry where global corporations seem to keep their distance even if their CEO’s, board members, managers and employees are patrons. Instead, it is mostly operated by individual entrepreneurs.

What’s interesting is that we seldom if ever hear about the legal seduction and sex industry in the US media.

Why is that—maybe because most Americans only want to think of the U.S. as a pure, righteous Christian country—a fake role model for the world? After all, the Pew Forum.org reports that almost 80% of adults in the United States are Christians. In addition, the Hartford Institute estimates there are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in the United States. This estimate relies on the RCMS 2010 religious congregations’ census. Of those, about 314,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 24,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches.  Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000. There are about 56 million weekly worshipers who go to church—less than 18% of the total population..

Does this make the United States a Jekyll and Hyde culture—on one side we have religion and on the opposite side legal seduction and sex that’s mostly ignored by the media to satisfy what devout (the less than 18%) religious Americans don’t want to hear?

In the early 1980’s I was the maître d’ for a few years for a nightclub, restaurant combination that was part of a small chain in Southern California called The Red Onion. The Red Onion where I worked had three bars on one side of the building and three dining rooms on the other side—one with a glass ceiling with full-sized palm trees inside. The lobby joined the two but the kitchen served both.

The nightclub was capable of holding several hundred lusty dancers and drinkers, and it had a DJ’s booth along with a large stage for live entertainment. The dance floor was between the DJ and the stage.

“While the dance floor in a nightclub of this size is the central arena of seduction, actual sex usually takes place in bathroom stalls, exit stairwells, and so on. In other cases the disco became a kind of ‘main course’ in a hedonist’s menu for a night out.” – Disco American Heritage Magazine by Peter Braunstein, Vol, 50, No. 7, November 1999

This world where I worked nights and weekends for several years was the inspiration for my next novel, a lusty murder mystery, The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova—that mixes seduction, sex and religion.

_______________________

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

His fourth novel is The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

Book Cover and Blurb to use in promotions

Lloyd Lofthouse also worked as a maître d’ in a nightclub called the Red Onion for a few years. A romantic at heart, in his award winning novels, he tests true love in difficult situations and the challenges of keeping that love alive. My Splendid Concubine, his first novel, is an epic love story that teaches acceptance and respect for other people and their cultures. Running with the Enemy, his second novel is a love story that will either cost the characters their lives or will complete each other’s hearts. Lloyd Lofthouse lives with his family in California’s San Francisco Bay area.

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Predicting our Future from current Science Fiction

PC Magazine reported on 10 Sci-Fi predictions that came true. For instance, when Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963) wrote Brave New World in 1921, he was reacting to the novels of H.G. Wells (1866 – 1946), and Huxley predicted hallucinogens and psychoactive drugs—years before LSD was synthesized by Albert Hoffman.

In addition, famed sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – 2008) predicted communications satellites in 1945. In 1965, twenty years later, that prediction became a reality.

George Orwell (1903 – 1950) in his novel 1984 (published in 1949) predicted government surveillance—then in 2013, sixty-four years later, there was the NSA spying scandal when we learned that the US government was spying on millions of American citizens without their knowledge.

What are science fiction authors writing about today that might come true in the near future?

In The Passage, a novel by Justin Cronin, manipulating the DNA of humans almost destroys mankind when U.S. government scientists secretly create a strain of human vampires.  Does this mean that one day, it might be required that children arrive with tattooed labels that indicate that are GMO free, and how close are we to children who are Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)? I think the answers may shock you. In May 2000, the Center for Genetics and Society said scientists were on the verge of manipulating human DNA.

Then in February 2014, The New York Times reported on Genetically Modified Babies and said, “The F.D.A. calls them mitochondrial manipulation technologies. The procedures involve removing the nuclear material either from the egg or embryo of a woman with inheritable mitochondrial disease and inserting it into a healthy egg or embryo of a donor whose own nuclear material has been discarded. Any offspring would carry genetic material from three people — the nuclear DNA of the mother and father, and the mitochondrial DNA of the donor.”

And the Daily Mail reported that “The world’s first (30) genetically modified humans have been created … Writing in the journal Human Reproduction, the researchers, led by fertility pioneer Professor Jacques Cohen, say that this ‘is the first case of human germline genetic modification resulting in normal healthy children’.”

It doesn’t take much of a leap to imagine the CIA or NSA creating human vampires as weapons that are GMO’s and can only survive on non-GMO human blood.

The same time that I was reading The Passage by Justin Cronin, I also watched Snowpiercer, a film directed by Joon-ho Bong. Snowpiercer is set in a future where a failed climate-change experiment kills all life on the planet except for a lucky few who boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe and never stops.

In the real world, the BBC reported recently on the results of a climate change experiment. Fortunately the quarter-of-a-million people who took part in this Oxford University study only did it through computers compiling the most comprehensive prediction yet for the Earth’s climate up to 2080.

But in July 2013, ABC News revealed that the CIA spent $630,000 on a climate control experiment. ABC said, “The project, which is being run by the National Academy of Sciences, will spend just short of two years looking into how much humans can control weather patterns and seeing how much manipulating the atmosphere impacts climate change … scientists involved in the project will look into different types of geoengineering and weigh the risks and advantages of executing them.”

In addition, The Forbidden Knowledge.com reported that United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen apparently stated in a press briefing, while commenting on new technological threats possibly held by terrorist organizations: “Others are engaging in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, (and) volcanoes remotely, using the use of electromagnetic waves.”

Are today’s science fiction authors the canaries in the coal mine, and should we pay closer attention to what they are writing about the future—or is it already too late?

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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

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Honorable Mention in Biography/Autobiography at 2014 Southern California Book Festival

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).

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