He served with love, courage and honor – a review of “He Wrote Her Every Day”

•May 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

He Wrote Her Every Day by Gail Lindenberg is a true story that warms the heart. Barely married a year, Jim leaves his young wife, the love of his life, and ends up fighting in Europe during the final months of World War II. He experiences a lot of combat and is awarded a Silver Star when he risks his life leading a charge against a Nazi machine gun position.

jwh-staff-sargeant-1945James (Jim) William Hendrickson, Jr.

His brother Bill is in a prisoner of war camp somewhere in Germany, and Jim dreams of being the one who liberates him. You will need to read the book to find out what happened to Bill.

Jim also seldom missed a day to write a letter or add to one he was working on. Between being in the field chasing the enemy, on guard duty and/or in combat, he always finds time to write even when everyone else is trying to sleep—even when he is in a filthy, cramped foxhole in freezing winter weather.

pix-in-germany-eating-ks

somewhere in Germany 1944

I’ve never read a seamless story that grounded me in both the home front and a combat zone like this one did—especially after the war and the long months of waiting in Germany when Jim is anxious to return home but there is one delay after another. I kept turning the pages waiting for that moment when Jim finally made it back home to Arizona, and the conclusion brought a big smile to my face as I remembered the moment when I arrived home from another war.

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Irene (Butch) – Jim’s wife and the love of his life

The author sent me a copy of the paperback for my honest review, and don’t miss the rest of the photos you will discover at He Wroter Her Every Day.com. This is a story that was lovingly researched and written by one of his daughters—a wonderful story that immortalizes a father who served his country with courage and honor.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

Promo Image with Cover Awards

This is a love story that might cost the lovers everything—even their lives.

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Comparing Cultural Wars: the U.S. versus China

•April 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Lloyd Lofthouse:

Another form of warfare is one waged against a country’s own people by its most powerful leaders, and it can be economic in nature.

Originally posted on iLook China:

In 1965, China’s Mao Zedong launched a cultural war against the excesses of capitalism, and this was led by the people, the workers and their children, and the capitalists in China and anyone who was accused of supporting the lifestyle of the rich and famous was targeted leading to millions of suicides.

For the last few decades, millions of people in the United States have been victims of its own cultural war, but this one is the reverse of the one that was led by Mao in China. America’s cultural war is being led by a handful of billionaire oligarchs who are transforming American into a money making paradise for those who have the most wealth and power.

This morning I read a piece in the Huffington Post that reported Kansas welfare recipients will be unable to get more than $25 per day in benefits under a new law sent…

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Discovering Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs with my ears

•March 27, 2015 • 1 Comment

I can’t remember when I paid $3 at Half Price Books for an audio book of Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear. You see, I enjoy reading. That’s why I buy books—audio and the old fashioned kind on paper—and DVD’s of films and TV series faster than I watch or read/listen to them, and they are all around me in the study where I write.  They are also books in storage under the house. I think I’ll have to live another thousand years to read them all—as long as I don’t buy more.

In an attempt to read faster, I started reading with my ears when I’m in the car on the way to the farmer’s market, Costco, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. And I drive in the slow lane to gain more listening time.

The reason I am now a fan of Winspear’s work, and specifically Maisie Dobbs, the main character in eleven of the author’s twelve novels, is because Maisie has a serious and convincing case of PTSD, and I came home in 1966 from Vietnam with PTSD.

As I wrote this post, I visited the author’s website, and saw that Pardonable Lies is the 3rd novel in the Maisie Dobbs series, and I smiled, because that means I have ten more to read—hopefully with my ears since I’m reading about four or five audio books to every tree book.

This is where I copy and paste from Winspear’s page on The World of Maisie Dobbs: “The period of time from the mid-1900’s until the 1930’s was a time of unprecedented change in Britain. The devastation of The Great War, mass emigration to America and Canada, rapid social changes—not least votes for women—to be followed by the Roaring Twenties, the General Strike and the Depression. It was a time of burgeoning artistic expression, with the movements that we now know as Art Nouveau and Art Deco demonstrating a dramatic departure from the Victorian age.

“The Great War demanded that there was hardly a field of endeavor left untouched by a woman’s hand, so that men could be released for the battlefield. The first women joined the police force, they worked in construction, on the trains and buses, on the land and in all manner of military support roles. The made munitions and they worked close to the front lines as nurses, ambulance drivers; as intelligence agents and code-breakers. And after the war, it was these same remarkable women who, more often than not, faced a life alone, for the men they might have married had been lost to war.

“It was also during these first decades of the century that scientific methods of detection were being rapidly developed. From medicine to international travel to the study of the human mind, all benefited from a time that was both terrifyingly painful in terms of the cost to human life, and yet demonstrated a hunger for innovation and a fascination with the avant-garde.

“It is in this world that Maisie Dobbs came of age.”

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His second novel is the award winning love story and suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he didn’t do while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

Low Def Cover 8 on January 20

This is a love story that might cost the lovers everything—even their lives.

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

Two former Marines take a hike on Old Baldy that wasn’t as Lethal as Leukemia

•March 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Originally posted on Lloyd Lofthouse:

We were about to discover that you don’t have to climb Mount Everest to face danger in mountains.

Near the end of the 20th century, two former U.S. Marines, Lloyd (me) and Marshall, decided to climb a mountain they’d conquered many times, but this climb was different, because they had no idea when they started up Mount San Antonio in Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Mountains that they’d almost freeze, and the harsh wind would work hard to rip them from the mountainside, and Marshal would lose his footing on black ice and slide down a steep slope toward a two-thousand foot vertical drop and almost certain death.

Our goal that Saturday had been to climb to the top of the highest mountain in the San Gabriel Mountains that soared above Los Angeles to a dizzy height of 10,069’. As we climbed, the sky above the mountain was capped with…

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Capturing the pulse of a nation at the end of an unjust war

•February 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

While reading Last Plane Out of Saigon, an opinionated but accurate memoir by Richard Pena and John Hagan, I did a lot of reflection and here are some of my thoughts.

During a war, the U.S. government has the power to draft—against their will—recruits who might end up fighting in a just or unjust war. Then there are those Americans who join voluntarily to serve in the military. It’s been 49 years since I served as a volunteer in the U.S. Marine and fought in Vietnam, and for the last several decades, after a lot of research to understand what happened and why the U.S. started that war, I have concluded that the war in Vietnam was wrong and it was based on lies. I think the same about the Iraq War.

There is a big difference between volunteering versus being drafted and forced to serve, and two-thirds of the U.S. troops who served in Vietnam were volunteers and about 70% of those who were killed were also volunteers and 62% of the troops killed were age 21 or younger.

For me, a few weeks before I graduated from High school, I voluntarily surrendered the freedom most Americans take for granted and joined the U.S. Marines on a delayed deferment. In fact, once you join any of the branches of the U.S. military, you leave your free choice behind, and you don’t get it back until after you are honorably discharged. The military is another world with its own courts, hospitals and prisons, and the troops are trained to serve and obey without question. Disobey and a recruit might end up in prison or even executed for the crime of treason.

In the summer of 1965, I was in boot camp at MCRD in San Diego when we heard that the U.S. war in Vietnam was escalating and once we left boot camp every recruit was going to be on his way to fight. That scuttlebutt turned out to be true, and I arrived in Chu Lai, Vietnam, about 90 miles south of Da Nang on March 28, 1966.

About halfway through my combat tour, the first draftees started to arrive, and one was assigned to the communications platoon where I was a field radio operator. To me, and the other Marines in that platoon, it was considered wrong that anyone should be forced to serve in the U.S. Marines and fight in one of America’s wars, and we went out of our way to shelter that draftee.

In Richard Pena and John Hagan’s “Last Plane out of Saigon,” on page 100, Pena wrote something that I agree with: “I submit that the true American patriots are those who see the faults of our country and do not hide from them but instead attempt to rectify them.”

I didn’t always think that way. As a child, I grew up in a totally non-political family, and at the same time I was also being brainwashed by patriotic films disguised as adventures, thrillers and suspense out of Hollywood—for instance, most John Wayne movies. My parents never voted and the one time I asked my father why, he said all politicians were crooks, and it was a waste of time to vote because it wasn’t going to change anything. When I was in college on the GI Bill 1968 – 1973, I would become more aware and today I disagree with my father, because I think that when we don’t vote, the criminals in the White House and Congress get away with their crimes, but active, knowledgeable voters can change that.

To understand the dramatic attitude shift of the Vietnam War in the United States, in August 1965, when I reported to boot camp at MCRD, 62% of Americans agreed with the war. By the time I flew home from Vietnam near the end of December 1966, that number was down to about 52% and dropping. In 1968 when I was honorably discharged from active duty, support for the war was down to 37%, and by 1971, during my third year of college on the GI Bill, support was down to 28%.

“Last Plane Out of Saigon” is Richard Pena’s story, and it roughly captures the nation’s mood at the end of the war. Pena was drafted—forced to fight in a war that was clearly wrong. His book is a journal of what he felt, thought and did in Vietnam where he witnessed the horrors of war working in the operating room of Vietnam’s largest military hospital in Saigon.

I served in Vietnam in 1966 during the buildup. Soon after I left, U.S. troop strength reached about a half-million. But by the time Richard Pena arrived near the end of the war as a draftee in the fall of 1972, U.S. troop strength in Vietnam was down to about 100,000 and dropping.

I think many of American’s troops—both volunteers and draftees—served honorably for mostly honorable reasons, but many of the leaders of the United States who supported the war and sent the troops to fight justified their criminal actions based on lies and deceit.

That leads to a question I have no answer for. How does one serve honorably in a dishonorable war? As for the 5-stars I gave this book, how can I justify loving a book about a dishonorable war? I awarded the 5-stars based on the honesty of the book that revealed the reason why more than 70% of Americans were not allowing themselves to be fooled by the liars who started the war.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

 Low Def Cover 8 on January 20

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

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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

•January 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Lloyd Lofthouse:

The drawing for the winner will be held on February 1, 2015.

The reason this post about book covers has been Reblogged to this Blog about the Vietnam War, PTSD and combat veterans is because I’m redesigning the cover of “Running with the Enemy”. The main character of this thriller—that is also a love story—is a U.S. Marine and the story that takes place during the Vietnam War where I fought as a U.S. Marine in 1966.

These were the first four covers that I asked  readers to vote/comment on.

Low Res Four Covers for Voting on January 15 2015

After comments came in (mostly on my other Blog, Lloyd Lofthouse.org), those four covers were revised down to two choices (see below).

http://lloydlofthouse.org/2015/01/15/a-book-cover-must-make-a-promise-and-the-story-must-deliver-it/

Low Res January 22 - two choices

One of these covers will probably replace the current second e-book cover of “Running with the Enemy” (the paperback still has the original cover), and anyone who leaves a comment/suggestion and helps me select the best cover will be entered in a drawing for a free e-book copy of this novel (or a paperback with the original cover if the winner prefers one and lives in the United States).

If the winner has already read “Running with the Enemy”, 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”, a murder thriller and a lusty love story  that has been with the copy editor with a cover that 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 that will be set at $3.99.

Here’s the working cover of “The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova”.

LowiDef Dec 19 Book Cover for Redemption With Title Flattened

Originally posted on Lloyd Lofthouse:

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%…

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Killing Season was obviously too brutal for many Americans—even the critics

•December 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

According to Box Office Mojo, Killing Season’s widest release was to 12 theaters for seven days and then it went to DVD. I think this decision was made because most film audiences in American prefer romance and fantasies—not the brutal, bloody reality of gory, brutal up close and personal hand-to-hand combat.

The film was released on July 11, 2013, and it was a flop at the box office earning a total of $39,881 in theaters. Peter Sobczynski reviewed the film and gave it less than one star. Sobczynski says, “The film is quite awful—badly written, ineptly staged, horribly acted, historically suspect and boring beyond belief—and fully deserving of its ignominious fate.”

Here’s the thing, I don’t agree with Sobczynski. I didn’t think it was a bad film—and was that because I have no taste, or because I’m a former U.S. Marine who fought in Vietnam?

To me, this film reveals rather brutally what combat does to two men, and how war might leave mental scars that run deep. In fact, similar brutality appears in my novel, “Running with the Enemy”. If you have a weak stomach and lose sleep easily over reading about or watching extreme violence, this film and my novel are not for you.

Here’s a brief plot summary without spoilers: In Belgrade, Serbia, former Scorpions soldier Emil Kovač (Travolta) meets an informant to retrieve a file on American military veteran and former NATO operative Colonel Benjamin Ford (De Niro). Ford has fled to a cabin retreat somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, to forget the war. Now a recluse, he meets Kovač, posing as a European tourist, during a hunting trip. The two men become friendly, until Kovač reveals his true identity. Intent on revenge for something Ford allegedly did in Serbia, he initiates a gory game of cat-and-mouse with Ford. The latter is badly injured but is quick to rebound.

I find it interesting that the film had 257 customer reviews on Amazon, and 132 were 4-and-5 star reviews—that’s 51%.  Only 62 were 1-and-2 stars—that’s 24%. More than twice as many reviewers enjoyed the film, and I was one of them.

The Most Helpful Review said, “Killing Season is a movie that thrills and leaves you thinking. It is timely because the tension echoes many of the current situations going on in society. In their own right each of the two in the movie have their reasons (and justifications) for their points and places. In the end (sorry, no spoiler here) the stark realization of the view from the other side really brings home the powerful moral of this movie. De Niro is his usual amazing self and Travolta delivers a nearly convincing eastern bloc persona. Well worth seeing.”

I also scanned the 1-star reviews and the most detailed one I read ended with: “If you’ve ever wanted to see De Niro piss on his own leg to heal a gaping wound this is your chance. You won’t get another.”

I asked Google why it might have been a good idea for De Nrio to piss on his wound, and Wise Geek.org says, “As difficult as it might be for some to comprehend, the medical benefits of urine have been widely studied in many areas including, but not limited to, the effect of pee on wounds. Normal urine is not only pH balanced, it is non-toxic and is believed to contain many nutrients and healing compounds. Normal urine is both anti-viral and anti-bacterial, making it a potentially ideal treatment for cuts, abrasions, wounds, and skin infections of any kind.”

>>>Focus on the key word there: “normal” urine.<<<

I don’t know about you, but don’t expect me to pee on my wound if I was in the same situation. I’d rather use powdered cayenne. I keep some in the car, bathroom, kitchen and my wood shop. In fact, Earth Clinic.com says, “For stopping profuse bleeding, we eagerly recommend using powdered cayenne to speed up the coagulation process and close the wound.”

I learned about using powdered cayenne on wounds when I belonged to a wood-carving club. Every veteran wood carver in that club had some fine ground pepper/powdered cayenne stored in their tool box with their super-sharp carving knives—just don’t put powdered cayenne or black pepper in your eyes, mouth or nose. It burns really bad, but surprisingly doesn’t burn when sprinkled on cuts and gashes—at least that has been my experience.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

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

Low-Def Kindle Cover December 11

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

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

 
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