Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Spotlight: Running With the Enemy by Lloyd Lofthouse

Living with PTSD as an inspiration for writing

The best way to describe my writing process is the word eclectic which means “a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources”.
I write and/or revise almost every day working on a book length manuscript, original blog posts or tweets for my daily Twitter Feeds, and I cover a wide range of topics from PTSD, combat, teaching, education, parenting, and China to reviewing books I’ve read or listened to. In fact, I have several reviews waiting to be written.
My passion for writing started the same year I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marines in 1968 when I went to college on the GI Bill. At the time, there was no school of study in psychiatry for PTSD; that wouldn’t come about until the 1980s after Vietnam Veterans protested. In fact, I started writing my first book-length manuscript (science fiction) in 1968 after attending a lecture given by Ray Bradbury.
My writing habits then developed parallel to my writing skills as I worked through the years to earn a BA in journalism in 1973 from CSU Fresno, and then years later an MFA in writing. Between the BA and completing the MFA, I attended writing workshops for several years out of UCLA’s extension writing program.
My wife is responsible for the inspiration behind my first published novel, My Splendid Concubine (2008), when she introduced me to Robert Hart in 1999. I Googled him and bought his published journals and letters from Harvard University Press. Reading his journals introduced me to Ayaou, the concubine he bought in China; then later Hart attempted to erase her from his own history when he burned seven years of his journals that covered his first decade in China.
My next book will be a memoir called “Crazy is Normal, a classroom expose”.  To trace the inspiration for this book, we have to start in 1975 when I became a full-time, paid intern (guided by a skilled master teacher) working for an entire school year to earn my teaching credential in a fifth grade class in an elementary school located in a community dominated by a dangerous Hispanic street gang.
Then about twenty years into my teaching career, I decided to keep a journal for one year that focused on what was happening at school and in my classroom on a daily basis.
For the last sixteen of the thirty years I was a teacher, I taught English and journalism (for seven of those years) to high school students in the same district where I interned in 1975-76. Eventually, I ended up teaching kids whose parents I’d taught years earlier from the same street gang infested community that was ironically called Happy Homes due to the street gang that dominated the area. (Street
Each day as I arrived home, I’d sit down and write that daily entry from fresh memories unsullied by sleep and reinforced with notes, memos and referrals. Eighteen years later, I slipped that daily journal—with several hundred typed pages—off the garage shelf where it had sat for so long, dusted it off and used it as my primary source for the memoir that I plan to publish later this year—hopefully before the end of April.
Starting in the early 1980s, while I was working toward an MFA in writing, I stopped drinking at the same time that I started writing a memoir about my experiences in Vietnam in a self-directed graduate course at Cal Poly, Pomona.
After leaving the graduate program at Cal Poly, Pomona, I went to the UCLA extension writing program where the professor suggested I take those Vietnam experiences in the memoir that was never published and turn them into the fiction.

The inspiration for Running with the Enemy (2013) was my 1966 combat tour in Vietnam as a field radio operator in the US Marines and many of the scenes in the novel were borrowed from real life experiences in combat.

Publisher: Three Clover Press (February 1, 2013)
Category: Vietnam War, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
Tour Dates: March 2014
Available in: Print and ebook 384 Pages
Awarded Runner Up in General Fiction at the 2013 Beach Book Festival. Awarded honorable mention general fiction 2013 New York Book Festival!
In this suspense thriller set during the Vietnam War, Victor Ortega is a rogue CIA agent, and he needs someone to blame for his crimes. Recon Marine Ethan Card is the perfect patsy. As a teen, Ethan ran with a Chicago street gang, and he has a criminal record. He also has a secret lover, Tuyen, who is half Vietnamese and half French.
Tuyen is a stunning, beautiful Viet Cong resistance fighter.
Since she was a young child, Tuyen has lived under the control of her brutal, older, sexually abusive half-brother, Giap, a ruthless and powerful Viet Cong leader, who has forced her to kill Americans in battle or die if she refuses.
When Ethan discovers he is going to be court marshaled for weapons he did not sell to the Viet Cong and Tuyen will be arrested and end up in an infamous South Vietnamese prison, where she will be tortured and raped, he hijacks a U.S. Army helicopter and flees with Tuyen across Southeast Asia while struggling to prove his innocence.
Victor Ortega and Giap—working together with the support of an unwitting American general—will stop at nothing to catch the two, and the hunt is on.
The star-crossed lovers travel across Laos to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat; to Bangkok, Thailand, and then to Burma’s Golden Triangle where Ethan and Tuyen face a ruthless drug lord and his gang.
In the rainforests of Burma, Ethan also discovers Ortega and Giap have set in motion a massive assault on his Marine unit’s remote base in South Vietnam with the goal of killing the man he admires most, Colonel Edward Price, who is the only one who believes Ethan is innocent.
Ethan must risk everything to save Price and his fellow Marines. Will he succeed?
Read Chapter One.
Praise for Running With the Enemy:
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.“- Book Dilettante
“I found Running with the Enemy captivating and well worth reading and enjoyed such a different type of historical novel from Mr. Lofthouse than his previous. Since Mr. Lofthouse is a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, I am sure he drew from some of his personal experiences and I shudder to think of some of these experiences.”- M. Denise C.
 ”Running With the Enemy is a gut-wrenching page-turner at once a historical rendering of the Vietnam-American war, a suspense-thriller involving the framing of an innocent man forced to go on the run, and a passionate love story.  As an historical novel, it renders an intricate tapestry of the era, the geography, and the several cultures in confrontation at that time. As a suspense-thriller it grips on page one and keeps your heart racing page after page with hardly a paragraph of relief. As a war story, it depicts war as the bloody, hell that it is–a place in which the mettle of the honorable is tested and honed in the same landscape where sociopaths thrive and reach the heights of power and influence.   As a love story, it portrays the way a bond between two hearts can transcend race, religion, politics, national identity and family loyalty, defying all convention, tradition, prejudice and law to claim their right to have each other.
The characters are all deftly drawn and believable and if they exist beyond a page or two they will leave their mark on the reader who has come to care about them whether it is to love them, admire them, hate them or simply be amused by them.  I can wholeheartedly recommend Running With the Enemy as a story that rewards the time and effort invested. Its impact will linger long after the last page is turned.”-Joystory
“Running with the Enemy was everything and more than I was expecting. First off, the way Lloyd had everything under control from the plot and setting to the character developments and the historical elements that were added. Everything was extremely vivid, as if I was experiencing it first-hand.
Now talking about the extremely sexual love affair between Ethan and Tuyen felt so real that I actually cried at times throughout reading Lloyd’s Running with the Enemy. Speaking of crazy relationships, that Victor Ortega man. I really didn’t like him from the start, but who likes bad guys?
Running with the Enemy is an adventure that definitely isn’t suitable for younger children, but mainly for adults due to the extreme sex and violence. With that being said, I absolutely LOVED Lloyd’s novel and I honestly can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.”-A Book and Latte

About Lloyd Lofthouse:
Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran, served in Vietnam as a field radio operator in 1966. Back home, Lloyd was a heavy drinker until 1981, never talked about the war and suffered from PTSD. In the early 1980s, he confronted his demons by writing about his war experiences in an MFA program.
Running with the Enemy started as a memoir and then evolved into fiction.
His short story, A Night at the “Well of Purity”, named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards, was based on an event Lloyd experienced in Vietnam.
His novel My Splendid Concubine has earned ten honorable mentions in general fiction—a few examples: the 2008 London Book Festival; 2009 San Francisco Book Festival; 2009 Los Angeles Book Festival, and the 2012 New York Book Festival, etc.
In 1999, his wife, Anchee Min, the author of the memoir Red Azalea, a book that was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1994, introduced Lloyd to Robert Hart, the real-life character of My Splendid Concubine.
After an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marines in 1968, Lloyd went to college on the GI Bill to earn a BA in journalism, and then worked days as a public school teacher for thirty years (1975 – 2005) in addition to nights and weekends as a maître d’ in a Southern California nightclub called the Red Onion (1980-1982).
Loyd’s Website:
Lloyd on Twitter: of Facebook:
Follow the Tour:
So Many Precious Books Feb 27 Spotlight & Giveaway
Deal Sharing Aunt Mar 4 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt Mar 5 Guest Post
The New In Books Mar 5 Review
Margay Leah Justice Mar 10 Guest Post
Reader’s Muse Mar 10 Review
Reader’s Muse Mar 11 Interview & Giveaway
The New In Books Mar 12 Interview
Ordinary Girls Mar 13 Review
Identity Discovery Mar 14 Guest Post & Giveaway
Cheryl’s Book Nook Mar 17 Review & Giveaway
Every Free Chance Mar 20 Spotlight
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Mar 21 Guest Post & Giveaway
Sir Read-A-Lot Mar 24 Review & Guest Post
Cassandra M’s Place Mar 25 Review & Giveaway


  1. Thanks for taking part in the tour and hosting Lloyd!

  2. Thank you for having me as a guest on your Blog.