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.

###

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”.

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.

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Is it wrong to pay an entry fee to a literary contest?

Back in April 2012, a critic wrote this comment for one of my blog posts: “It’s quite an accomplishment to boast of winning book contests that one pays to enter. It’s like bragging about charming a lady of the evening onto her back.”

My response—would it surprise you to discover that there is an entry fee for the two most prestigious literary awards in the United States: $50.00 for the The Pulitzer Prizes, and $135.00 for the National Book Awards? If you don’t believe that, click the links and read the evidence.

In addition, Poets & Writers Magazine lists many reputable literary contests that charge fees, and for decades I paid the fees and entered some of those contests often not placing, and the literary contests that I did place in are not listed on Winning Writers.com’s list of Contests and Services to Avoid.

2015 Promotion Image for My Splendid Concubine

I have also entered Writer’s Digest’s literary contests several times and the fee is $100 each time.  I have never placed, but with that $100 fee comes a judge’s detailed commentary and score that authors may quote for promotional purposes—that is if the judge says anything nice about the book. There is no guarantee.

What counts is not the fee but if the contest is juried. There is nothing wrong with a literary contest that charges a fee that goes toward the costs of running the contest and a cash prize for the grand prize winners.

Crazy is Normal promotional image with blurbs

Every literary contest does not have a foundation or grant to pay the costs of running a literary contest. In fact, Writer Beware says, “Is the contest free? If so, you probably have nothing to lose by entering—though be sure to read the fine print. If you’re a poet, be aware that a ‘free’ contest is one of the major warning signs of a vanity anthology scheme.”

Many legitimate contests charge a fee to cover processing expenses (which sometimes include an honorarium to readers) and to fund the prize.” Source: Writer Beware ® Blogs!

Poets and authors enter reputable contests to establish the fact that what they write might be worth reading.

For use on Twitter Created January 29 - 2015

And when poets and authors place in a reputable, unbiased literary contest, they should publicist it, because if they don’t, who will? Published authors and poets are responsible to promote their own work, and if they are traditionally published, the publisher still expects the writers to promote their own work and build an online author platform.

_______________________

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

 ON SALE - Cover with Blurbs

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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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A Book Cover Must Make a Promise, and the story must Deliver it

How important is a book’s cover? Well, for an answer, The Midwest Book Review rejects books submitted for review if the cover doesn’t measure up to traditional industry standards. Midwest reviewers do not bother to open those books. They go in the recycle bin.

On Saturday, January 10, 2015, I attended the January meeting of the Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club to hear a presentation by Jim Azevedo, the Marketing Director of Smashwords. The title of his presentation was “The Secrets to Ebook Self-Publishing Success”. With a Power Point Presentation that had 72 screen shots, he focused on ten secrets, and the one that grabbed my attention was #2, Creating a SUPBERB cover image.

It was soon obvious to me that a book’s cover was probably one of the most important steps to publishing success after writing a riveting story that is professionally edited, because more than 26% of the presentation focused on the importance of an attention grabbing book cover that makes promises about the story.

Azevedo provided a case study of one cover that went through four changes. During the metamorphosis of this book’s cover from dull to boring, then interesting to sexy and hot, it was barely selling.

It wasn’t until the sexy and hot fourth cover in the sixth month that the novel took off and became an Apple iBoostore #5 bestseller, and today the book has been a New York Times Best Seller and is still selling well on Amazon—when I checked while writing this post, it was ranked #466 in competition with more than 12-million titles on Amazon.

The book I’m talking about is Playing for Keeps by R. L. Mathewson, and on Amazon it currently has a 4.5 average from 1,128 customer reviews. If you check out the paperback, you’ll discover cover number three (there were two clovers before #3 that are not worth seeing).

What does that #466 rank mean? The one-time “My Splendid Concubine” hit #56 on Amazon, it sold more than 2,000 copies in 24 hours. On January 13, Tuesday, the same novel sold three copies and was ranked #114,722.

Anyway, Smashwords’ Jim Azevedo got me thinking. The cover of my second novel, Running with the Enemy, wasn’t promising what readers would find in the story compared to the winning book covers that I saw in the presentation.

Now I have generated several choices to replace the current second e-book cover of “Running with the Enemy” (the paperback still has the first cover), and anyone who leaves a comment and votes helping me select the best cover will be entered in a drawing for a free e-book copy of the novel (or a paperback if the winner prefers one and lives in the United States). If the winner already read it, that’s okay. I’ll send the winner of the drawing a copy of my next novel when it comes out in a few months—“The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova”. It’s with the copy editor as I’m writing this Blog post and the cover is pretty much a done deal—I hope. And if the winner doesn’t want to read these two novels because they offer the theme or genre the winner prefers to read, then I will offer an Amazon “Give as a Gift” equal to the full price of the e-book.

If you decide to take part in helping me select a better cover for “Running with the Enemy”, there are four choices. Please indicate your choice in a comment. Thank you. To help you make a choice, I’ve copied after the five new cover choices the most helpful review on Amazon in addition to what a Writer’s Digest Judge said about the novel. In addition, if none of them work better than the current e-book cover, then I will return to the Adobe Elements editor and get back to work. The drawing for the winner will be held on February 1, 2015.

FIRST ROUND OF CHOICES

Resized and Low Res 4  Covers for Voting on 1-17

“Lloyd Lofthouse describes his book Running with the Enemy as a memoir that evolved into fiction. As a Vietnam veteran who had seen and experienced enough to leave him with post-traumatic stress disorder, he wrote this book it seems to come to terms with all he experienced in Vietnam. The book became fiction, an action novel with a strong romance component.

“Overall it rings true of war and what it was like to serve in Vietnam. Much of the book details the fighting, the casualties and the heartbreak and the trauma experienced by the soldiers. The book also takes you on a dizzying journey when the lovers Tuyen and Ethan flee to other countries in Southeast Asia – Laos, Cambodia, Bangkok, Thailand ,and Burma (Myanmar).

“For those who would like to get a sense of what combat was really like, this is an excellent book, which began as a memoir of Vietnam.” – A Novel of Combat by Harvee L.

“Obviously drawn from the author’s first-hand experiences as a Marine serving in Vietnam, Running with the Enemy is a rough but occasionally heartfelt war story. … The book is sometimes too obviously drawn from his experience. But ultimately that’s a small complaint about a book that, on the whole, is quite good and has a lot to say about the nature of the conflict .”  – 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards commentary from an anonymous judge

Note: This novel—awarded Honorable Mentions in four literary contests and a genre Runner-Up in a fifth literary contest—was targeted by a flock of Goodreads trolls at the time of its publication. Here is the review from one of the Trolls, that I linked to the group of Goodreads bullies, who  never bought or read the novel and gave it one-star on Amazon in an attempt to sabotage its sales and my reputation.

“Lofthouse’s attempt at a 60’s-era thriller is cliched, trite and rather boring. If you’re looking for a good read, check out Graham Greene’s Quiet American instead.” – Miss M

SECOND ROUND OF CHOICES on 1-22-2015

Thanks to comments and suggestions the choice has narrowed down to two covers. They look similar but both have different images on the top third of each cover—which one works best?

Low Res January 22 - two choices

 THIRD ROUND OF CHOICES ON 1-24-15

These two choices are based on the majority of comments from both Twitter and this post.

Jan 24 Low Def Final two choices of New Cover

FOURTH ROUND on 1-25-15

This may be the final cover. There were two more suggestions after I posted the choices for the third round. One suggestion was for a compromise between A & B, and the second suggestion was to take the kissing couple and make them partially opaque/transparent. I used the burn tool on Adobe Elements to take away some of the brightness in the stars and scanned the couple with the Eraser set at 5% Opacity. I started at 20% Opacity and worked down to 5% in several stages, and discovered that anything more than 5% and the lovers started to vanish into the starry sky. This cover revision is still open for suggestions until February 1, 2015, and I thank everyone who is taking part in the process.

Low Res Final  Cover on Jan 25

The Winner of the Drawing for February 1, 2015 was:

Poetic Justice
@ http://poeticjusticect.com/

The details of the giveaway were:

“anyone who leaves a comment and votes helping me select the best cover will be entered in a drawing for a free e-book copy of the novel (or a paperback if the winner prefers one and lives in the United States). If the winner already read it, that’s okay. I’ll send the winner of the drawing a copy of my next novel when it comes out in a few months—“The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova”. It’s with the copy editor as I’m writing this Blog post and the cover is pretty much a done deal—I hope. And if the winner doesn’t want to read these two novels because they don’t offer the theme or genre the winner prefers to read, then I will offer an Amazon “Give as a Gift” equal to the full price of the e-book.”

_______________________

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.

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

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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