It’s been a very fruitful couple of week

It’s been a very fruitful couple of weeks since my last post.

July 4th weekend I had a very successful and enjoyable event at the NWCWC Reenactment at the Willamette Mission State Park in Keizer, OR.

While at Willamette I met a man who’s ancestor was a slave who joined the Confederate Army as a medic. After the war he received a “Colored Man’s Pension” from his state. That’s the second instance I’ve come across where a slave received a pension for fighting for the Rebels. Before I started on this journey I’d always believed that the south wouldn’t let blacks (slave or freed men) put on a uniform). I guess if two different states saw fit to give a former slave a pension that the history books I’ve been reading were wrong on that account.

Tow other interesting facts I realized in working on the Q&A book is:

1. That the Union Army was a segregated Army. Yet the Rebel Army didn’t keep track of race on their enlistment records. So the Army that was supposedly fighting to free slaves was segregated and the Army that was fighting to keep slavery had slaves fighting to keep themselves in bondage.

2. That prior to the Civil War the supposedly evil General Robert E. Lee freed slaves that were under his control (his wife had inherited them from her father) and the supposedly righteous General Ulysses S. Grant, General Sherman, and possibly other officers as well, had slaves that served them all during their campaign to free the slaves.

Back to the Willamette Reenactment, I sold a fair amount of books, which is nice; but more importantly, talked to many people who signed up for my mailing list so I can update them on the progress of my new non-fiction book: “Questions from the North; Answers from the South.”

My plan is to release it on my website a month prior to releasing it on Amazon and Kindle. It’ll be at a discount. My purpose in doing that is to thank everyone who came by my table at several events and encouraged me in this effort.

Many have been amazed at the timing of the release of Q&A. I wish I could claim credit for the timing but I can’t. The Lord gets all the glory for that.

Last Tuesday, the night before I left on this book tour, I read most of Q&A’s conclusion to my 9 Bridges, Moonstruck Café Writer’s Group. They really liked what I had to say. The only problem is that after listening to their constructive criticism I realize I need to readjust the format before I send it to my editor. I’m planning on working on that while I’m on the east coast, I’ll keep you posted.

If you want to get more frequent and more detailed updates please e-mail me at: and I’ll put you on my mailing list.

Speaking of discounts, I’ll be at the Ft. Lee Main Exchange on 13-15 July and the 2015 SCV Reunion in Richmond on 16-18 July. Anyone who mentions this blog at either event will get a 10% discount on any book(s) they purchase.

I look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime go to my website: and check my schedule for an event near you.

Thanks for your support.


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I’ve made progress on “Questions from th

I’ve made progress on “Questions from the North; Answers from the South.” It’s going to be a shorter book than I first thought. I found so many quotes from six different southerners (over 340 quotes on 161 pages) that I thought it would be at least 300 pages. Upon studying the data I realized a lot of it is redundant and there is no benefit in stating the same point over and over.

That being said, recent events have saddened me greatly. Mostly that the politically correct “leaders” seem to believe the actions of a deranged individual prove that all southerners who support the Confederacy are evil; that the Confederate Battle Flag (which by the way never flew over a slave trading ship and was first used as a racist symbol in the movie “Birth of a Nation”) symbolizes hate.

To use that logic would be to say the cross of Christ is racist and hateful because it was used by the Crusaders centuries ago.

Why can’t we talk and listen rather than speak over our opponent and not listen to what he/she is really saying?

I’ve made progress on the “Q&A” book. I will be including a chapter or two and address some of the issues raised by Charleston, Ferguson, etc. I’m planning on a fall release date (still to be determined). Keep checking my website and blog for updates.

Thanks for your interest and support.


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This has been an interesting couple of w

This has been an interesting couple of weeks. I had a wonderful time at last weekend’s reenactment (Battle on the Metiolus) near Camp Sherman, OR (about ¾ of the way between Salem and Bend). Met a lot of new people and saw some old friends. I was able to buy a few additions to my period costume (I reenact a late 1860s farmer) that I wear during the reenactment.

Even though the foot traffic for my book signing at “El Super Burrito” in Bend wasn’t as much as I’d hoped, I still had a wonderful time. I plan to be a regular customer there anytime I’m in Bend. The food was good and I really enjoyed myself.

I’m making progress on “Questions from the North; Answers from the South” non-fiction book. I’m on the third chapter and it’s been harder to write than a fiction book. I think the issue is that when I write fiction I can let my imagination go and make the science and facts fit the storyline. In non-fiction I have to ensure that my quotes are accurate and have to make sure that everything is consistent.

At any rate, I’m having fun with it and have decided to cancel this weekend’s event in Spokane so I’ll have more time to work on the “Q&A” manuscript.

Keep checking my website, for updates and I hope to see some of you when I go to Walla Walla, WA in June.

Thanks for your support.

James R. Elstad

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My book tour was successful even though

My book tour was successful even though two of the three events didn’t occur near a military pay day. The discussions I had with readers who came up and talked about my work (some bought a copy over a year ago) more than made up for less foot traffic than I expected.

After I left the High Desert I spent three days camping near Placerville, CA. Before I came up with the idea of writing “Questions From The North; Answers From The South,” I’d scheduled time to meet with two local historians and have a delightful dinner with friends.

During those three days I found so much information that I’ll have to revise most of the chapters I’ve already written for “What Happened At Morningstar Pass.” I might even have to rename the book. The background details for the prequel will give more depth and back story for the entire story line.

Welcome to new followers of my blog. It was good to meet you on my trip. I’m home now and back to work on: “Questions From The North; Answers From The South.”

Tonight I finished the preface and started on the first question. All total I have one-hundred-sixty-one pages covering three-hundred-seventy-one quotes. It’s going to take me a while to sort through and verify each quote and eliminate duplicates.

Keep checking with my website for updates and where my next book signing.

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It’s been a productive few weeks since m

It’s been a productive few weeks since my last post. I’ve sorted through most of the 371 quotes for the “Questions from the North; Answers from the South.” This weekend I’m starting to compose the first rough draft of the entire manuscript.

I’m in the middle of my California tour. Last Monday-Wednesday I spent at an event in the Ft. Irwin Dust Bowl. It was great talking with the soldiers and meeting readers who’d purchased a book from me over a year ago.

Tomorrow I leave for the Placerville research portion of my trip. Then I’ll head for Travis AFB for a three day book signing.

Next Sunday I’ll be meeting a Placerville historian and she will give me a tour of the area where I want to place “What Happened At Morningstar Pass?” (the prequel to my first two novels). She’s going to give me all the details of Captain Ingram and his bushwhackers who pulled robbed the Bullion Bend stage in 1864.

Supposedly all 250 bags of silver bullion that Ingram and his men stole were recovered. However, there are rumors that Wells Fargo Stage and the Mine owners were under-reporting the mines production to avoid paying taxes on the entire amount.

It’ll be interesting to see how that storyline plays out.

Keep checking my website, for updates.

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The current draft for “Questions from t

The current draft for “Questions from the North; Answers from the South” is coming along well. I’ve transcribed almost 50,000 words from several Southerners. I still have a few more to go and then I’ll be ready to start getting the final manuscript ready for my editor. The Q&A book cover is on my website. Check it out and let me know what you think.

I’ll be leaving early Friday morning for my California book tour. Check my website, for details. In the middle of my trip I’ll be camping close to the site of the Bullion Bend stage robbery that occurred in 1864. The hold-up men claimed to be bushwhackers who had a commission from President Jefferson Davis to conduct “operations” in the North and bring the proceeds back to the south for use in the war effort.

That area and the surrounding countryside will be featured in the murder scene of “What Happened at Morningstar Pass.” Even though that book is currently on hold, I’ll be going by Placerville, CA and I can’t pass up the opportunity to camp out and get background for the book.

Also, I’m making an addition to my schedule. On 18-19 May I’ll be at the “El Super Burrito” shop in Bend, OR. The address is also on my website.

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22 MAR 15

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