I’m very happy to welcome Lloyd Lofthouse, author of My Splendid Concubine to Peeking Between the Pages today. I had the pleasure of reading his novel for the Pump Up Your Book Promotion and you can see my review here. So, without further delay, here is Lloyd’s guest post. Enjoy. Make sure to check in at the end of the post for the giveaway!
I’ve been writing and struggling to get published for four decades. I’ve heard it said that ‘close’ only counts in the game of horse shoes. I don’t agree. Close also counts in the writing game. What do I mean by that?
More than a hundred thousand new books are published each year. There are millions of books in print. On top of that, the average book sells only five hundred copies. Some sell more and many sell less. Also, most brick and mortar bookstores stock twenty to fifty thousand titles. There is a lot of competition for shelf space.
With those odds, most writers can’t make a living. That ‘want-to-be a published author’ has to have a paying job to survive. Even after getting published, most have to keep working. In my case, I was an English/journalism teacher for thirty years. I’d get up at two or three in the morning after a few hours of sleep and write before driving to work in the sluggish morning traffic.
So, what is it that keeps someone like me writing? I believe the answer is knowing your work has entertained or touched someone that isn’t a member of your family or a close friend. Since I’ve attended writing workshops at Fresno State, Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, etc, for me that was usually a creative writing teacher or another workshop writer. Marjorie Miller, the teacher out of UCLA, helped me find a major West coast agent to represent my Vietnam story, Better a Dead Hero—a novel I spent six years writing. No publisher bought Better a Dead Hero. However, one editor from a small traditional publishing house wrote that everyone in the editorial office read the manuscript and loved it. They just weren’t publishing Vietnam any more. As a matter of fact, they had stopped publishing fiction. That’s what I call ‘getting close’. Another word for getting close is encouragement—proof that you can write and tell a story—that someone out there you’ve never met will enjoy what you write.
Even with the occasional encouragement, it wasn’t always easy. Depression and doubt are viruses that plagued me as a writer. After reading a hundred rejections for something I sweated years to write, there were times I didn’t write for months, but I always returned to the keyboard and those early morning writing sessions.
Now that I’ve published My Splendid Concubine, a novel I spent a decade writing, the encouragement has reached a higher level. Powerful reviews like those from City Weekend Magazine; the Midwest Book Review, or the written comment from a Writer’s Digest judge along with winning an honorable mention in fiction from the 2008 London Book Festival helps build confidence. Also, bookstore owners and readers attending author events that read My Splendid Concubine said they enjoyed the novel.
Recently, I drove to Orinda Books to pick up a check from the owner for books placed on consignment. Orinda Books sold thirteen copies at full price—five remain. The local Barnes & Noble sold twenty. Bay Books sold all sixteen in stock. Last time I was at Clayton Books, fifteen had sold and a book club expressed interest in the rest. As I’ve discovered over the years, every little bit helped keep this writer on the path toward publishing. In a few months Our Hart, the sequel to My Splendid Concubine, will be ready. After that, a memoir, and I’m already half-way through the rough draft.
About the Author:
As a field radio operator, Lloyd Lofthouse was a walking target in Vietnam in 1966. He has skied in blizzards at forty below zero and climbed mountains in hip deep snow.
Lloyd earned a BA in journalism after fighting in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. Later, while working days as an English teacher at a high school in California, he earned an MFA in writing. He enjoyed a job as a maitre d’ in a multimillion-dollar nightclub and tried his hand successfully at counting cards in Las Vegas for a few years. He now lives near San Francisco with his wife, with a second home in Shanghai, China. Lloyd says that snapshots of his life appear like multicolored ribbons flowing through many of his poems.
This link takes you to Lloyd’s ‘Vietnam Experience’ page filled with photos. He took many of them. Since Lloyd still has to edit the photos so they load faster, this page may load slow for older computers.
This link will take you to a media piece from a Southern California newspaper that Lloyd copied and posted on his Website that will give you an idea about his teaching years.
If you are interesting in learning more about Lloyd’s teaching experience, you are welcome to read about it at AuthorsDen. ‘Word Dancer’ is a memoir of the 1994-1995 school year. He kept a daily journal that year. He is using that journal to write ‘Word Dancer’. Everyday, when he arrived home, Lloyd wrote an entry in that journal. It sat on a shelf in his garage for fourteen years gathering dust. Spiders moved into the binder and built a nest. After all those years, Lloyd forgot he’d written it. When he was cleaning the garage, he found it again. Lloyd started reading, remembering and writing. Everything he writes in ‘Word Dancer’ happened. He’s using a primary source as his guide. Memory may be faulty, but a daily journal written the day an event took place is as accurate as it can get from the author’s point-of-view.
Accomplishments: Lloyd’s short story “A Night at the Well of Purity” was named a finalist for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.
As a teacher, Lloyd found satisfaction in the number of students that published nationally and internationally while attending his English and journalism classes.
Please visit Lloyd Lofthouse’s website here.
Thank you so much for joining us here at Peeking Between the Pages today Lloyd. It’s been a pleasure both reading your novel and having you guest post on my blog.
Let’s move on to the giveaway now. I’m giving away my gently read, signed copy of My Splendid Concubine by Lloyd Lofthouse to one lucky winner. The rules are simple:
- Leave me a comment here telling me you’d like to enter. Be sure to leave me an email address to contact you.
- Read my review, leave me a comment on it and get yourself another entry.
This giveaway will be open worldwide. I will draw for a winner on Monday, February 2. Good luck everyone!
carmen alexis says
Please count me in! =)
Dorothy Thompson says
Terrific post! Thank you so much, Dar! Don’t include me in the giveaway; I just wanted to thank you so much! Hey, it’s snowing on the east coast of Virginia! Wooooooooooooohoooooooooo!
Oooh, I want a copy. Please put me in the hat.
Loved the interview and would love to be entered!
Good interview. Encouragement is always important, no matter what you’re doing. Thanks for entering me. I read the review yesterday and think I’d like the book.
don’t enter me for the giveaway, Dar.. I already have this book. I just wanted to say that this was an awesome guest post. Lloyd makes it clear that surviving as an author in this world is very very tough! My best wishes to him for selling many many more copies of “My Splendid Concubine”.. I am excited that he has other books coming out soon.. I will definitely try to read them!
Great review, I read it yesterday and it made me want to read this book, please enter me in the giveaway!
Moira Keith says
I would love to be entered into this giveaway. What a great interview too! Everytime I read of an authors struggle to become published, I always find encouragement.
Jenny Girl says
I have heard and read about this book quite often. I would like to join in the fun.
Please enter me in this contest.
jennygirl73 AT gmail DOT com
Wonderful entry! I knew getting a break in writing and publishing was hard, but not this tough. What a shame. I now have a new found respect for writers.
I’ve already commented on the review. Its sad to hear that a novel he worked on for years, Better a Dead Hero, was never published. Vietnam is one of those wars that I could just keep reading about, fiction, nonfiction, political, apolitical.
I wonder if Lloyd has plans of remarketing the book to publishers.
Please enter me in this contest, my dear.
savvyverseandwit AT gmail DOT com
your review makes this book sound just so wonderful. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks, Dar.
Erika Lynn says
please enter me. this sounds like a great book
Scrap girl says
Count me please. I can’t believe it took so long for him to get published, yet he still carried on. I didn’t realise how few books were sold. Scary world.
I’ve posted this on Win A Book. No need to enter the contest.
Please enter me =)
P.S. I wrote a comment on your review as well. Wonderful review, it got me even more interested in this book (=
Oh I’ve heard great reviews on this one. And I didn’t know that much about the author. It sounds like he could definitely have his memoir published. It sounds fascinating! Thanks!
Now that is a lesson in perseverance! I’m glad he finally got published. Please enter me in the drawing!
I would love a chance to be entered. I also commented on your review. 🙂
I would love to read this. Thanks for the contest.
I’d love to win this. I did read your review… it was great. I think I left a comment there.
Give Buddy a kiss from his long distance friend, sheri!
great post! the author gives some good advice.
I’d love to be entered.
Great guest post! Please enter me too, Dar! 🙂
I’d love to have it!
I liked your review. I need to learn more about Chinese Culture.
Red lady-Bonnie says
What a fascinating guest post. I am impressed with the authors determination and writing style in this guest post. It makes me want to read the book even more! Please add my name to the drawing.
Dar, I’ve given you an award so please stop by my blog for the details.
Wow, nice post! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the giveaway!!!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com
Teddy Rose says
I want to read this book so badly! It’s on my TBR and there have been some glowing reviews.
I blogged about your giveaway here:
teddyr66 at yahoo dot com
Please enter me too. Thanks for the giveaway.
What a great guest post! I’ve seen his author tour videos for this book and he seems like an interesting person (love the outfits btw in the video!).
Sorry I wasn’t going to enter until I read your review!
DeSeRt RoSe says
Tagged you with the Happy Tag I hope you don’t mind.. 🙂
check it out here
What an interesting guest post! I’d love to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing.
Very impressive, Dar!! I already have the book, so you don’t need to enter me. However, I have tagged you for a meme on my blog.
I would love to read this book Dar. Especially after hearing about it from you and Jenn. Please enter me. 🙂 Dar your review was very thorough as usual and prompted me to want to read a book that I didn’t know about. It takes me back to the days of reading The Good Earth together.
This interview was great. I guess I never fully realized how hard it is for a writer to get published and the thought of over 100,000 books getting published each year is pretty staggering and then to have your book get attention from that massive amount…well the odds are slim!!
Please enter me for your book giveaway. Plus I left you a comment yesterday on your great review!!
Dar, I’ve tagged you with a Happy Things Meme. See my post here. 🙂
Please don’t enter me. I just wanted to stop by and say Hi and that I read this book and loved it.
I’d love to be entered! Thank you.
I just wanted to comment (no need to enter me in the give-away) that I am interested in Word Dancer! I’ve already read a bit after jumping from link to link to link. Teaching experiences are always intriguing to me and his are no exception. Thanks for sharing Mr. Lofthouse and of course, thanks to you, Dar, for allowing him to be a guest on your blog. Have a great day!
Please enter me in the giveaway.
I read the review yesterday adn this book is just my cup of tea/coffee.
Takes place in a foreign country, interesting characters and good writing.
Hi it sounds neat, Id love a copy !
steve DOT fisk AT gmail DOT com
Please enter me as well. Great job on the review, the book sound fascinating!
Gwendolyn B. says
Thank you for such an interesting post, and thanks for the chance to win a copy of MY SPLENDID CONCUBINE.
geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com
sounds like a sensational read thanks for the giveaway
Stories like this, about perserverance paying off eventually are always so very encouraging. It sounds like the author deserves every ounce of success he achieves.
Renee G says
I’d like to read this.
Excellent post, Dar! No need to enter me, just wanted to pop by!
I’ve read great things about his book. Please enter me. milou2ster(at)gmail.com
Sounds great. Count me in. Thanks.
Thank-you Dar for holding this interview. I would be interested in this book.
I love reading historical fiction set in Asia. Please enter me in the giveaway.
jesslizt (((at))) yahoo **dot** com
Please enter me – I would be thrilled to win.
I’d love to win your gently used copy! I’d read it and pass it on to someone else to enjoy!
Enter me 😀
I fell for the title of the book, and I always love new authors I haven’t read.
I would love a chance to read you book! I am an avid bookcrosser, so would love read this book and then release it for others to enjoy as well 🙂
I was so busy last week I forgot to enter, did I make the deadline?
btw thanks for the link to Lloyd Lofthouse’s website, I’ve put it in my favourites to browse later. I’d love to read his poetry…