How My PTSD Wrote an Accidental Novel

Mental Health America says, “Writing down your thoughts can be a great way to work through issues. Researchers have found that writing about painful events can reduce stress and improve health.”

That is why I belong to two groups of combat vets that meet each week for an hour and a half. We share our writing as a form of therapy to deal with the PTSD that followed us home from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. The Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Special Forces, and the Airforce are all represented at these two tables located in two different locations on different days. One is located at a VA facility and the other group meets at a Vet Center.

“Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families.”

When we meet, there is no pressure to write and share. It is okay to just listen. We can write just about anything we want in any form and each week at the end of each session, there is a prompt to help any of us that are blocked. What we share through our writing often results in healing conversations. Poetry, non-fiction, and fiction are all acceptable. Through fiction, we can deal with our personal issues through our characters.

One of those prompts gave birth to The Patriot Oath.” At the time, I didn’t know the prompt “heads or tails” would end up becoming a novel. It wasn’t until the second prompt, “If I could go back and do it all over again (must be a military theme),” that I decided to challenge myself and keep the same characters and story going from prompt-to-prompt.

The title for this novel wasn’t born until much later. Even the characters names went through changes. I never planned to write this book. It came about organically one week and prompt, at a time, but somewhere along the way, the story stopped being driven by the weekly prompts and the characters took over and made the prompts fit their story.

Thirty-five weeks after the first prompt, I had a novel that I named “The Patriot Oath”, and here is the first chapter that was written for the prompt “heads or tails”.

The Patriot Oath
Chapter One (written from the prompt “head or tails”)

Josh Keagan was on his way home for the first time in twenty-three years, because his younger sister had been raped.

When Josh joined the United States Marines at eighteen after graduating from high school, he didn’t plan on returning home to Montana. Growing up on a ranch had been a hard life, and he’d resented it. It didn’t take long to discover the Marine Corps was tougher, but he excelled at it. When he retired a few weeks earlier, he’d just been promoted to O-5. His first year out, he was going to earn more than $5,000 a month, and every year he’d get a pay raise of about two percent. And then there was the contracting business he’d started with his mentor and old friend LG. That venture was bringing in good money, too.

Josh was the oldest of four siblings, and the youngest, Susan was his only sister. She’d been three when he’d left for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. Knowing his father’s stubbornness and temper, Josh suspected his name had been banished from the dinner table and he would not be surprised if Susan didn’t know she had an older brother.

Without a car, he’d spent hours sprawled on the back seat of a Greyhound Bus from Denver, Colorado to Billings, Montana where he’d hitched a ride with an eighteen-wheeler that dropped him at Great Falls. With his duffle bag slung over his shoulder, he’d hitch-hiked along route 87 and caught rides that carried him to Stanford where his brother Samuel, five years younger than him, was supposed to be waiting.

When he climbed down from the eighteen wheeler’s cab, he spotted a familiar 1942 blue Chevy pickup parked on the far side of the gravel lot. It was the same one his grandfather had cherished, and Josh was willing to bet it still ran like a Swiss watch.

“How is she, Sammy?” Josh asked his smiling brother, who was leaning on the pickup’s hood watching him approach. As kids, Samuel had always preferred to be called Sam or Sammy.

Sammy was all smiles as he tapped the hood with the tip of an index finger. “This old dependable sexy Chevy keeps on running.  I’ve been rebuilding it, and it’s better than the Energizer Bunny. Grandpa would be proud.”

“Good to know, but I’m not talking about the fucking truck,” Josh said. He tossed his hundred-pound duffel bag in the open bed of the truck and slid onto the cab’s worn passenger seat. “I’m hungry. Let’s have lunch first. We’ll talk after we eat.”

They ate in silence at a local spot. After lunch, when Sammy climbed in behind the steering wheel, his expression had sobered. He said, “We never leave her alone. Today, my wife is with her. Wednesday, Cousin Betty will come from Eddies Corner and stay for a few days.”

“You know who did it, right?” Josh asked.

“Yea, it was an asshole whose dad is a billionaire. It’s the same old shit. His dad brought in a hot-shot lawyer that made her look like a whore.”

“How are the small farmers doing locally?”

“Not so good. We’ve been lucky because of what Mom earns from her books and because the ranch is nestled in a small valley surrounded by hills, but too many of the local farmers have lost everything because they were talked into planting and growing Frankenstein Food and when the monster seed blew onto the land of farmers that refused to grow that shit and sprouted, the corporation took them to court and screwed them bankrupt with court costs. Then to keep their farms, they agreed to become paid corporate slaves. Once a farmer signs, it’s impossible to get out of it, and most of the consumers don’t want to eat that poison.”

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Josh said.

Sammy glanced at his brother’s craggy features. “You look older than forty-one,” he said. “You never wrote about what you did in the military. What happened to you in there?”

“Nothing I did is worth talking about and most of it’s classified,” Josh replied.

“What do you mean, it ain’t worth talking about? Everyone knows about your Purple Hearts, the Navy Cross, the three Silver Stars, and the Bronze Star. What we don’t know is what you did to earn it all?”

“Like I said, most of it is classified.” Josh was chewing on a wooden toothpick he’d picked up at Dauna’s Deli in Stanford where he’d had his favorite French Dip Sandwich for lunch. Every bite had come with a flood of memories from his youth. He’d been so bitter when he’d left home, he’d forgotten that there had been good times, too.

“Can you at least tell me what you did in the Marines?”

“Once I graduated from boot camp, I became a Scout Sniper. A few years later I left the Marines to become a Navy Seal.” He stopped talking and a moment of silence slipped by.

“That’s all?”

“That’s all I’m willing to talk about. That life is behind me now. What happened to Susan is more important then what I did for the last twenty-three years.”

Sammy’s eyes widened. “Jesus,” he said. “You don’t like talking about what you did in the military, do you?”

Josh grunted. “I got better things to do then jaw about old news.”

“You were a blabbermouth when we were kids. What changed?”

Josh switched the toothpick to the other side of his mouth and said, “You’re kidding, right?”

It was quiet for the next few miles before Sammy asked, “What are you planning to do now that you’re back?” He was keeping his eyes on the road and worry lines had appeared around his eyes. “Dad and mom don’t want any trouble with Charles Tweet and his youngest son Darwin. We talked it over and it has been decided that we want to put this behind us and forget about what happened to Suki.”

“Suki?” Josh asked.

“That’s the name she prefers. Don’t call her Susan.”

“I’m not going to forget about what happened to Suki.” Josh dragged out her name longer than necessary. “You do not have a need to know the details of this operation, baby brother.”

“Operation?” Sammy said with a shaky voice. “You can’t leave me out of this. They crippled Mel and gang-raped Suki. After the way that fancy, fast-talking corporate-bought lawyer trashed her in court, she’s almost a basket case.”

Mel was the youngest brother who had been ten when Josh left. “So you do not agree with mom and dad that we should put what happened to Suki behind us and pretend it never happened?” he asked.

“If you are going to get revenge, I want in on it.”

“You don’t have the training or experience for what’s coming,” Josh said.

“Fuck that!” Sammy slammed on the brakes and brought the Chevy to a screeching halt by the side of the narrow, worn, two-lane road. He face was blooming with anger.

Josh sighed. “We are not going to argue.”

“You can’t do this alone.”

“I’m not alone.” His voice was crisp. “My Semper Fi brothers are already in the hills above the ranch waiting for me. We’ve done this type of shit dozens of times in too many countries to count. When we’re done, this billionaire and his family will leave Montana and never return. I plan on teaching them a lesson they will never forget, and you don’t want that crap in your head when you try to sleep at night.”

“How is this going to help Mel or Suki? You are underestimating Charles Tweet. He is a fucking brutal monster that thrives on getting even with anyone that crosses him. What if you make things worse for her?”

“I’ve got a counselor friend from a vet center in California that has agreed to use some of her vacation time to come to Montana and work with Suki and Mel and help them rebuild their lives. Dr. Tate is an expert in dealing with this kind of trauma.” Josh took the toothpick out of his mouth and faced his brother. “As for Charles Tweet and his evil heart, he has no idea what’s coming. As for his son the rapist, I have something special planned for him.”

“What do you mean by something special?” Sammy asked.

“No more details,” Josh said as his eyes bored into his brother’s face. “I’ve already told you too much. It’s been a long trip and I want to see the ranch before the sun goes down. I’m back to stay. Our family and neighbors need me more than the US of A does, and I’m not in this alone. Some of my Semper Fi friends grew up on small farms, too. In fact, I convinced a few of the retired ones to buy some of the local farms that went bankrupt because of the Frankenstein Food thing.”

Josh smiled for the first time as he shifted his gaze back to the view in front of the windshield. “Tell me, baby brother, is it true that my high school sweetheart hasn’t changed and she divorced that asshole she married?”

“The night she kicked him out,” Sammy replied, “she had the locks changed and her dad and brother were there when he came home drunk, as usual. That was seven months ago. A week later, he kicked in the door and attacked her, but she was ready and broke his right shoulder and a couple of ribs with a baseball bat. The next day Rachel took out a restraining order on Luke.”

Josh pressed his lips together and twerked them back and forth as he thought. “What she did was pure her,” he said. “She would have made a great Marine, and when we were kids, she was a better shot than me.” Then he lifted his butt off the seat and stretched his torso. With two fingers, he fished a quarter out of the tight watch pocket of his faded denim jeans. “Heads, I take the cowards way out, write a letter, and mail it.  Tales, I show up at her place unannounced and knock on the door and hope she blows her lid.”

Sammy glanced at him like he was nuts. “What are you talking about?”

Josh flipped the coin and grinned when he saw the results.

“What is it?” Sammy asked.

“Tales,” Josh replied. “I’m going to enjoy getting my ass kicked.” He closed his eyes and rubbed his face with the fingers of both hands. “At least I hope she does.”

“What did the Marines do to you?” Sammy asked. “Who in their right mind wants to get their ass kicked?”

Josh’s eyes sparkled. He pinched a thumb and index finger together and pretended to zip his mouth shut.

“Damn it,” Sammy said. “Tell me what the Marines did to you.”

“It wasn’t just the Marines,” Josh said. “I served in the Marines, then the Navy, and then the Army and I returned to the Marines to finish up.”

“Why?”

“It felt like the right thing to do at the time.”

“Was it?”

Josh nodded. “Yea, I got exactly what I wanted.”

“And what was that?”

“Enough talk. Just drive.”


“Try everything because something will click with you.”

My goal is to publish “The Patriot Oath” before the end of this year or early in 2020. The finished novel is now going through revisions and editing. In the meantime, the story of the characters that were born in the first novel continues with the sequel, “Never for Glory”, and I am still fitting the weekly prompts in chapter-by-chapter. The prompts for this week (August 4 -10) were: “horse” and “I’m a believer”. I haven’t started writing that chapter yet but plan to have it done before the first meeting next week so I can share it with both groups.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, retired public school teacher, journalist, and award-winning author.

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To Blindly Obey … or Not

The fictional Ohio class nuclear-powered U.S. ballistic missile submarine Colorado picks up a Seal Team leaving Pakistan after a secret mission there. One of the Seals has been shot. Then the sub receives questionable orders through an old cold war network out of Alaska to nuke Pakistan. During the cold war, this backup was there in case Washington DC was hit and the federal government wiped out.

A quick check by the sub reveals that Washington DC is okay, and there is no sign that the United States is under attack, so the Captain and his XO ask for confirmation through the proper Strategic Command network based in Nebraska. The reply is an immediate attack on their sub by another U.S. Navy ship that received orders from the president of the United States to destroy the Colorado.

The Colorado did not refuse to fire and kill almost 5 million people in two Pakistani cities. All they did was ask for confirmation through the proper network.

The fictional Colorado survives the first attempt to destroy it, but all kinds of challenges and problems beset Captain Marcus Chaplin and his XO Sam Kendal as they struggle to make it out of this mess alive.

This TV series begs a question. How obedient should our military forces be to the President of the United States when he gives them an order?

Because Captain Marcus and his XO refused to blindly follow a presidential order, they are labeled traitors by the U.S. government and the president sends a kill order to destroy the sub and its entire crew, and there is no shortage of other U.S. Navy ships and their captains that are willing to follow that order without question.

During the series, an ignorant crew member accuses the Captain to his face that he is a traitor because he didn’t blindly obey the president. The captain tells the sailor, and everyone else listening to this confrontation, that the oath for U.S. Military officers says nothing about blindly obeying an order from the president.

To make his point, Marcus recites the oath he took when he became a midshipmen: “Having been appointed a midshipman in the United States navy, do you solemnly swear (or affirm that you will support and defend the  Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you God.”

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) also makes it clear that military personnel need to obey the “lawful command of his superior officer,” In each case, military personnel have an obligation and a duty to only obey Lawful orders and indeed have an obligation to disobey Unlawful orders, including orders by the president that do not comply with the UCMJ. The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders, especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ.

In fact, President Donald Trump took a similar oath before he officially became president and he has already broken that oath repeatedly.  For instance, instead of defending the 1st Amendment, he attacks the credibility of the free press every chance he gets.

It’s also obvious that there are too many real-life American citizens that do not know about these oaths and laws that exist to protect our country and its citizens from corrupt leaders.

We now live in dangerous times with a real president that has more than once demonstrated that he wants total obedience and loyalty from everyone in his administration, but Donald Trump is having a hard time getting what he wants and this helps explain why he keeps firing people.

Last Resort is worth watching to understand what is at stake in the world we currently live in. How can anyone be a traitor to the United States by questioning and then disobeying what was an allegedly unlawful order? The worst that should have happened was a court-martial to determine if the order that was not carried out was in fact, unlawful.

And Captain Marcus does demand a court-martial several times, but the fictional U.S. President in this TV series doesn’t want that. Instead, that fictional president and his administration only wants to destroy the sub and its crew.

This is eerily similar to what our current President Donald Trump wants to do with the investigation that special counsel Robert Mueller is conducting over the 2016 election interference by Russia, as Trump repeatedly attacks Mueller’s investigation.

In these dangerous times, we can only hope that our military will refuse any allegedly unlawful orders that Donald Trump gives them or any future U.S. President if there is a future.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran, retired public school teacher, journalist, and award-winning author.

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

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.

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Saving Art Treasures from the Nasty Nazis

I listened to the abridged audio version of The Monuments Men and learned something I didn’t know about World War II—something that has only happened once in history where a dedicated military team was organized [thanks to President F. D. Roosevelt] by the allies in World War II to save as much of the art looted by the Nazis as possible.

I first heard of The Monuments Men at the theater during all those [soon-to-appear] movie trailers before you get to watch the film you paid to see. Because I usually see a film at the local theater at least once a week, I’ve seen The Monuments Men trailer a number of times, and I admit that I’m eager to see the film.

Overview lifted from Barnes and Noble

“At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: ‘degenerate’ works he despised.

“In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis.” (Barnes and Noble: Overview)

The film is scheduled to release February 7, 2014. Thanks to Costco—where I bought the audio book—I ended up listening to the book first. As I was listening, I thought I’d be ready to recognize when Hollywood’s version drifted from the facts—but maybe not. In case you didn’t know, Hollywood’s famous for revising history and true stories.

When I bought the CD’s at Costco, I had no idea it was an abridged version only 7.5 hours long. I usually avoid abridged versions but the fact that it was abridged wasn’t printed anywhere I could easily find. Publishers must know this and they are getting tricky just like Monsanto wants to hide the fact that the food we eat might be genetically modified by them. (Truth-Out.org)

I wanted to know how much I may have missed and discovered that audiobooks usually run 150-160 words per minute, the range people comfortably hear and vocalize words. I then dragged a few hardcover books off the bookshelf and came up with about 400 words a page. That means the 512 page Monuments Men hardcover probably has at least 205,000 words—equal to about 21 hours for an audio book.

Wow, that was a lot of story to miss out on, and I was disappointed.

But I did listen to the 7.5 hours and still enjoyed the story. The only full length audio version I found was sold by Barnes & Noble.

I guess it depends on what you want. If you’re willing to settle for the abridged audio version and miss two-thirds of the story, it’s probably worth the cost.

The full-length audio version at Barnes & Noble.com was listed at $19.08 when I checked (with a 17% price reduction from the original $22.99). I checked Amazon and they’re asking $6.89 for the Kindle; $22.37 for the Hardcover and $9.85 for the paperback.

_______________________

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.

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!”

 

Rewriting history, literature and film to fit Popular Political Correctness

In the early 1980s, I was working toward an MFA and one of my courses was a self-directed project monitored by a faculty adviser. The project was my memoir of fighting in the Vietnam War. A few years after completing the memoir, I took it to UCLA Extension’s Writers’ Program where the professor convinced me to convert it into fiction—a suspense thriller. The professor was a woman, who later helped find a literary agent to represent my novel.

I spent several years in the program with her as my advisor, and the final product after endless revisions and feedback from the professor and other authors in the program was “Running with the Enemy”. It was fiction but true to my experience of war and its horror.

Fast forward to publication and then June 11, 2013 when a reviewer by the name of “S” posted a 2-star review on Amazon—a review I’m actually proud of.

S concluded her review with:  “I was sucked in by the nitty gritty feng shui of the book, then repelled by the over use of sexual violence and testosterone dousing. Even though the ending was predictable, I still liked that the good guys won and the bad guys lost. However, the limited roles by the female characters left me feeling that half the story still lies buried and voiceless.”

I’m proud of that 2-star review because the book I wrote was about the war I fought in—not the story S wanted me to write that would have been a lie. In the 1960s, the only American women who served in Vietnam that I knew of were nurses and they did not serve in combat units. There were no women in my battalion.  Not one.

What I think S wanted was to see women kicking the shit out of men and beating the men at war. But that wasn’t my Vietnam. Tuyen, the only major woman character in the novel—the others were minor characters—was a half breed, a Eurasian, who had been sexually and physically abused by her half-brother since she had been a young girl.

If you have ever seen the film or the stage play of “Miss Saigon”, you might understand how women are still treated today in Southeast Asia and when that woman was a Eurasian like Tuyen, the treatment was worse, and the term for her was Bụi đời, the “dust of life”.

In fact, “Life was frequently difficult for such Amerasians [and Eurasians]; they existed as pariahs in Vietnamese society. Often, they would be persecuted by the communist government and sometimes even sold into prostitution as children.” [Benge, Michael (22 November 2005). “The Living Hell of Amerasians”. Front Page Magazine]

I think what “S” wanted from me as an author was to write a story that would fit a world she wanted—one that didn’t exist in my world.  She wanted a kick-ass female character.

The latest example of this popular political correctness demanding that history and literature be rewritten may be found in the film “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”. Tauriel is a female elf who is a kick ass super warrior. The problem is that in the original Hobbit written by J. R. R. Tolkien, there are no major women characters and another fire-breathing modern day feminist—another S—also wanted the plot of this novel rewritten when made into film.

This revisionist was Nicole Lyn Pesce writing for the New York Daily News who said, “The women’s rights movement has made it to Middle-earth. The first ‘Hobbit’ film was criticized by some—like me—for its testosterone-heavy cast, so director Peter Jackson has brought in a kick-ass chick for the sequel.”

Does this mean we should rewrite history due to a modern, popular, political-correct movement? I don’t think so.

My novel was a man’s story just like “The Hobbit” was written by a man. In fact, you may want to read an essay about how J.R.R. Tolkien’s service in the British Army during World War I may have influenced his fiction. [JRR Tolkien and World War I by Nancy Marie Ott]

If Tolkien were alive today, would modern feminists be criticizing him for not including kick-ass women warriors in his novels, who didn’t exist in his day as they didn’t exist in mine?

I have news for “S”. If she had read my novel to the end, she would have discovered Tuyen kicking some serious male ass in the Golden Triangle near the conclusion of the novel. In that scene, Tuyen is so violent she even shocks the kick-ass recon Marine who loves her. Maybe Tuyen just didn’t kick enough male asses to satisfy S or someone like Nicole Lyn Pesce.

Here’s a bit of advice for today’s modern day feminists. Don’t wish for something you know little to nothing about. Take it from someone who has seen war up close and personal, you really don’t want to go there. If men are willing to go to war and die to protect women from that horror, let them.

_______________________

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.

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!”

 

The Fussy Librarian

My novel, “Running with the Enemy”, is being featured Sunday, November 10, at The Fussy Librarian, a new website that offers personalized e-book recommendations. Readers choose from 32 genres and indicate preferences about content and then the computers work their magic. It’s pretty cool — check it out! @ www.TheFussyLibrarian.com

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00034]

Literary Awards for this novel:

Runner Up in General Fiction
2013 Beach Book Festival

Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2013 San Francisco Book Festival
2013 Hollywood Book Festival
2013 New York Book Festival

Praise for “Running with the Enemy”

“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

“The author definitely has inlcuded vivid, entrancing descriptions of the country, the people and the military who served there. … It is an action-filled, intriguing story I will not forget soon.”
– 5-star review from KMT through a Library Thing Giveaway

“From the first chapter to the end, it kept me going. Lofthouse writes from his heart and that always makes for a good story.”
– 4-star review from Mahree through a Library Thing Giveaway

“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.”
–  4-star review from Harvee L.   [an Amazon Vine Voice]

“The fight/combat scenes are stunning, very realistic. … Betrayal, revenge, murder, and desperation make this a must read! … Very highly recommended.”
– 5-star review from Great Historicals

“This was quite a riveting but cruel story, not for the faint of heart. Well written with very graphic language and violent scenes but all-over, a very good suspense book.”
– 4.5-star review from Lynelle of (South Africa)

A Review of “World War Z”

If you are into violent stories about war and destruction—suspense-thrillers/horror—and you haven’t read World War Z, you may want to think about it.

I saw the film before I listened to the book and the two are as different as night is to day. The only thing in common is the struggle between humans and zombies that hunger for human flesh due to a virus worse than EBOLA, MARBURG, HANTAVIRUS, LASSA, RABIES, SMALLPOX, DENGUE, SARS or HIV will ever be. A few always survive exposure to these viruses but no one survives exposure to the Zombie Virus. Once bit, you are doomed.

The Zombie Virus is our worst nightmare.

I enjoyed the film but reading the book left me admiring the author’s creative and vividly detailed imagination as the main character moves around the world interviewing survivors of the global war against the infected, hunger driven zombies.

Although the story is told through these interviews, the individual stories are attention grabbing—some more than others.

A number of themes run through the novel: one points out how governments are often incompetent; corrupt and how many of the people panic and make disastrous mistakes as a mob. Another theme focuses on survivalist and disaster preparation.

I bought and listened to the audio book and the cast of characters is incredible. I found the listening experience to be more powerful than watching the film and possibly more powerful than reading the book on paper. The cast of characters is long and their talent adds to the novel.

If you have a fascination with war, I don’t see how you can resist this novel.  The stories shared in this oral history of World War Z are as violent as they get.  World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan cannot compete with the combat that you will witness as a reader/listener of this novel.  Imagine an enemy that can’t die unless you cut off its head or blow apart its brain.  And all it wants to do is chew on living humans infecting them. Viruses find ways to spread and replicate just as the Zombie Virus does in this novel.

I awarded this novel 5-stars on Amazon because of the amazing imagination of the author that never failed to impress me. If there were awards for imagination, Max Brooks deserves one. In fact, the audio book—that I highly recommend—won an Audie Award in 2007 for the performance of a cast of more than forty that includes, for example, Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Carl Reiner, Bruce Boxleitner,  Rob Reiner, Jon Turturro, Masayori Oka [NBC’s Heroes], and Martin Scorsese [the award-winning film director].

I couldn’t find the complete edition Audio Book I bought of World War Z on Amazon. My copy had 10 compact discs running 12 hours, and I bought it at Costco.

Discover “The Hurt Locker” and IEDs in Vietnam

_______________________

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.

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

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