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News & Updates

Announcing the winner of our first book giveaway…Congratulations to Jacqueline Plested !!

We have already begun to collect entries for our next giveaway….to enter for a chance to win….just CLICK HERE to enter your name and email for your chance to win a sci-fi book bundle. Winners announced monthly. No purchase necessary. Standard rules apply.

Winners will receive physical copies of the following books:

Uncle Herbert by Philip C Elrod (that’s me!)
It by Stephen King (one of my personal favorites)
The Journey Begins, Book 1 of the Mylea Series, by Philip C Elrod (me again)
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (another of my favorites)

All entrants will also receive a special surprise gift, just for entering the giveaway! You’ll also be added to my reading recommendations list (no spam ever, unsubscribe anytime). Winners will be announced monthly, and entrants have multiple chances to win!

Check out our new short stories section !! We currently have our newest short story for you to download for free. A wonderful coming of age story with a surprise twist. Join our mailing list to stay updated on when we add more stories to this newest feature.

Set in the small Texas town of Bug Tussle, a young girl comes face to face with a budding icon and the choice of a future she expected and the future she wants.

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO
JULY 4, PRESENT DAY

Grant Lawrence sat next to his grandmother as the last echoes of a spectacular sunset
faded into the peaceful calm of the desert evening. Lights from Santa Fe began to
twinkle in the distance, and then Roman candles and rockets flashed brilliantly across
the dark sky like angry fingers of the gods.
“Grandmother, it’s beautiful. I love the desert. It’s mysterious and magical at the same
time. It never seems to change, yet, it’s always changing. The desert makes me feel both
energized and relaxed. Its colors are subtle yet brilliant. This land is full of amazing
contrasts and enigmas. I guess that I’m trying to say that I respect it yet fear the desert
at the same time.”
She set martini glass down and gave him a withering glare, “Lovely sentiment. Well
spoken, but, young man, you know better than to call me the G-word.”
He nodded and sipped his beer, “Yes, ma’am.”
“Ma’am? What the hell are you doing? You know I hate that word.”
A coyote howled somewhere nearby, probably disturbed by the sounds and flashes of
light from the fireworks display in the distance.
Harper Noelle took a puff of her Panetela, the thin cigar she loved to smoke; then
grabbed the revolver that lay on the table between them. Bang! The shot echoed across
the high desert. Grant jumped even though he had become accustomed to her unique
ways of changing the subject.
“Damn mangy coyote! Scared him into the next county. Now, what’s that you said?”
“Um, nothing. I was just enjoying the fireworks.”
Grant loved his grandmother even though he couldn’t call her by that name. Her short,
spiky hair was some combination of fire-engine red and platinum blonde. She never
allowed anyone to see her without full makeup including an impressive set of false
eyelashes that could probably stir up a dust storm when she got mad.
Yes, she was one of a kind. Smart, talented, and wealthy. Harper Noelle had led a life
that had embarrassed many, terrified some, and turned others green with envy. Grant
only hoped that he could follow in her impressive footsteps…well, not precisely, but
close.
Harper took another sip of her martini and put her feet on the wooden railing that
edged the cantilevered deck.
As usual, she wore her signature, hand-tooled cowboy boots that were custom-made by
Willie Lusk over in Lubbock. Grant loved them for their classic Western design and
impeccable craftsmanship, but he could only dream of owning a pair.
She noticed his glance, “Boy, I see that you like my boots. They’re perfection in leather.
Work hard and maybe, just maybe, I’ll buy you a pair one day. Like after you make
your first million.
“Me, I plan to be buried in mine unless I decide to get cremated. I wouldn’t want these
beauties reduced to cinders. Ah, cremation, I like that idea. In fact, I just made a
momentous decision. When I bite the New Mexico dust, you get me cremated, and then
scatter my ashes over Badass Burt’s ranch.”
“You mean the spread next door? Do you mean Burt Bianchi and his Lucky Lover
Ranch?”
“Damn right. That Yankee SOB came down here from some Sicilian mob family in New
York. Claims that he was a Capo, but he was just some low-level enforcer who stole a
bunch of money. That fool tries to act like a cowboy, but he winds up looking like a
jackass dude in a shiny shirt with embroidered roses all over it.”
“I take it that you don’t care for him?”
“Ha. Understatement of the year. We hate each other. We’d kill each other if we had a
chance, but I’ll get the ultimate revenge. You just sprinkle my ashes over his ranch, and
he’ll be stuck with me forever! Use a helicopter with a Texas flag flying from it. Buzz his
ranch house. With any luck at all, he’ll have a heart attack.”
She waved her empty glass in the air, “Constanza, be a dear and make us another round
of those delightful martinis.”
Constanza, silent as the night, appeared before them with fresh martinis and settled
down in a lounge chair a few feet away.
Grant had known Constanza Mendoza for ages. She had worked for Harper long before
she bought this ranch. Over the years, the two had become close friends, and Constanza
served as a confidante, an advisor in complex divorces, and private pilot.
Harper tipped her glass to Constanza, “You’re a Goddess in disguise. Queen of the
perfect martini but followed closely by your secret ingredient margaritas.”
As Harper raised her glass in a toasting gesture, Grant noticed the tiny letter E
surrounded by a heart tattooed on her left wrist. He’d always wondered about that
tattoo but never dared to ask. Tonight, he felt brave. Well, maybe the beer helped. He
mused to himself, After all, she wouldn’t throw me off the deck with a witness present. Well,
perhaps she would.
Grant braved her wrath, “I’ve always been curious about two things, but I’ve never
dared to ask about them.”
“Well, speak up! Don’t mumble and don’t stutter. I’m not stupid, and I’m not deaf.”
“Okay, why did you change your name? Mom says it’s just because you’re an
iconoclast. She says that your eccentric habits and peculiar ways embarrass her.”
“Darlin’, your mother is an over-educated, prissy, pea-brained smartass. I should never
have sent her to that damn college back East. Ruined her! Those sorry liberal professors
have their heads up their collective asses. Don’t know a thing about the real world.“
She warmed up to one of her favorite rants, “Those fools couldn’t earn a living
spreading mustard on burgers at a fast food restaurant. They’ve got all the common
sense of a senile cockroach.
“You know what Ph.D. stands for? Well let me tell you; it stands for; Positively Helpless
Dumbass!”
Grant couldn’t suppress a laugh, “Okay, I get it that you don’t have much regard for
those dwelling in ivory towers, but what does that have to do with changing your
name?”
She chose to ignore his laughter.
“Sorry for the digression. You just happened to mention one of my pet peeves. I still
have some hope for your mother coming to her senses, but that little light dims a bit
more every day.
“Yes, as you know, I was born Noelle Harper. The Harper part was okay, but I hated
Noelle. My mother cursed me forever by giving birth to me on Christmas Day. How
could she do that to me? Unbelievable. She could have made a tiny, little effort to get
me into the world a week or two early. Oh, well, I guess that turn about’s fair play
because I must have messed up her holiday just as much as she messed up mine.
“Everybody started getting whipped up about Christmas on the day after
Thanksgiving. I lived through parties, caroling, Christmas plays, and all the rest of that
blather. Then, we come to the Big Day. Presents for everyone, then roast turkey with all
the trimmings, and fourteen kinds of dessert. “
Grant interjected, “Harper, may I call you that? What did you get for your birthday?
Your special day?”
“Special day? What a joke. They sang happy birthday to me as we ate leftovers at the
end of the day. I can’t tell you how many times that someone told me how special it
must be to have a birthday on the holiest day of the year. Bullshit! My so-called special
day didn’t even warrant a holiday footnote.”
“When I left, well…make that escaped, Bug Tussle, I reinvented myself. I changed from
a self-centered, bratty teenager into a feisty, ambitious, fabulous young woman. I
decided what I wanted from life, and I went after it.
“I’d always hated that stupid name, Noelle, so I just switched it to my last name. I
became Harper Noelle. Had a nice ring to it if I do say so myself.”
“Well, I agree that you’re feisty and ambitious, but you’ve also got a reputation for
being ruthless, relentless, and obsessed.”
“Bah! Any fool saying that is just jealous. After all, I’ve got beauty, brains, and money.
“Now, my favorite you-know-what, what is the second thing that you want to ask me?”
“You mean grandson? The word that you won’t say?”
Harper ignored the remark.
“Okay, the other thing that I want to know about is that tattoo on your wrist. Tattoos
and you just don’t seem to cohabitate on any planet in the solar system.”
Harper wrapped a warm blanket around her shoulders and seemed lost in thought for
several moments. Finally, she spoke, “Well, kiddies, it’s going to be a long night. Let’s
break out the Don Julio 1942. I think it’s time we switched to a fine tequila.”
She lit another Panetela and leaned back, gazing at the millions of stars overhead. The
sweet smell of piñon smoke drifted gently from the chiminea. The quiet desert night
gave a sense of peace and calm, but Grant knew the truth. The still silence merely
obscures secrets and dangers that can bring terror to the bravest of souls.
Harper sighed, and turned toward Grant, “Ah, yes, that little tattoo; it goes all the way
back to the ranch where I grew up in Bug Tussle, Texas. That little inking represents the
strange day when two worlds collided, and I changed…forever.”

Finally, the long anticipated second installment in my Sand Mountain Tales series is hitting the virtual shelves. Currently, it is available at Amazon, soon to be followed by the paperback version as well. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Read below for a sneak peek !!

“Andrew Benson is a young man who has little hope for a future outside his small southern town. He is bright and ambitious but, without funds, he will never attend a university.

Enter his black sheep uncle, Herbert Benson, who provides him with the resources he needs for his education, but unfortunately he later finds that there are some strings attached…..Deadly strings.

Uncle Herbert calls in the favor and Andrew finds himself drawn into a dangerous situation with no way out. He must surmount incredible obstacles finding the means to solve the horrific problem his uncle has set before him, one that could condemn life on earth. For unbeknownst to the rest of the world, his genius uncle has managed to bring back a deadly virus from the future, which Andrew is given the task of destroying before it begins on its relentless march across the planet.

In a race against the clock, Andy will embark on a mission that leads him to many destinations around the world. Along the way he encounters danger, deceit, betrayal and romance, with an unlikely cast of characters who come together and combine their talents to prevent a global disaster.”

After more than twenty thousand years of travel across the vastness of space Mylea has finally arrived at its new home – in an outer band of the great spiral galaxy, our Milky Way. Mylea: Rebirth is the next exciting chapter in the Mylean Chronicles and it is our hope that it will be published before the end of the year.

Maxx, the computer colossus that has been in command of the relocation is busy cloning the next generation of Myleans, but in his spare time he has made a monumental discovery. Scientifically, it is still impossible for physical matter to travel faster than the speed of light. But Maxx has found a unique way to accomplish the impossible under certain circumstances. He can hardly wait to tell John Scott about his new discovery.

Many families have at least one member that is considered to be a little off. Some families have one that is widely known to be strange. But once in awhile along comes a family that has a member that is undeniably, no bones about it, downright weird.

My name is Andrew Benson, but most folks around Campbell Crossing just call me Andy. I belong to the extended Campbell Clan that pretty much founded our little town. We are a close knit bunch when it comes to outsiders, but think of ourselves as independent in dealing with locals. .

My Uncle Herbert is our family’s weird one. I did not have the money to go to college after high school and my weird Uncle Herbert promised to pay for my education. Not even my father, his brother, and the only one in the family that really would have anything to do with him, believed that Uncle Herbert could – or would come through with the money.

Well, they were wrong – he did come through after all. And I got a great education in Computer Science at the University of Alabama.

Then Uncle Herbert asked a favor of me. Sort of a payback, I guess. That is when I found out how really weird my Uncle Herbert actually was.

Writing is easy compared to selling!

Indie authors must learn to market and sell their books. It is apparently much easier to write a good book than to sell it. My personal experience so far is that I have a lot to learn about book selling books (and yes, I am still learning the craft of writing).

Advertising with Amazon has been successful, but unfortunately it is costly and to date the money spent on advertising hasn’t produced the net sales sufficient to cover the costs. Perhaps the residuals over time will pay off, but the idea that I am losing a little money on every book I sell is not appealing. I do not subscribe to the theory. “lose a little on each sale but make it up in volume.”

We are currently turning our attention to Books go Social and experimenting with a bricks and mortar store that caters to indie authors. If you are not familiar with Books go Social you can check them out at www.Booksgosocial.com. You can check out the bookstore by visiting www.PJboox.com. I like the concept and hope that it spreads around the country.

We are using our website www.pcelrod.com as much as possible and also have a Twitter and Facebook presence – links to those are on our website.

We have gotten above ten reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for most of our books, so far, and are actively seeking other reviews all the time. If you would like to review one of my books, and don’t have the three bucks to spare, just email me and I will send you your preferred eBook format.

A new novel is in the works, and will be available in a few weeks. It is the second in our Sand Mountain Series and be titled Uncle Herbert. Many families have a weird member, but Uncle Herbert may just be the weirdest of them all.  Not long after that we will publish the third on our Mylean Chronicles series, Mylea:Rebirth. I hope you get the chance to read both.

I would love to hear from any indie authors out there that have other unique ideas about marketing their books.

World War II was a dark and chaotic period of history that has always fascinated me. That is why I have truly loved Ellie Midwood’s novels about the period. The three Girl From Berlin novels and the first book of the sequel, The Austrian. I am anxiously awaiting the second book of the Austrian series.

If you are a fan of World War II, or just curious, I highly recommend you read Ellie’s series. She really nails the struggles facing those involved with the horror that was Nazi Germany. Each book is more or less self contained, but read sequentially adds to the continuity of the story.  You can get the first book in the series by clicking the following link: The Girl from Berlin: Standartenfuror’s Wife.

How utterly delightful that a technology I outlined in my Mylea series book one, based on gravitational waves may actually be somewhere in our future here as well.  Especially now that they have actually been discovered by our own scientists !!

According to numerous news outlets “It lasted just tenths of a second, a ‘blip’ sound from far, far out in the universe. It took more than a billion years to get here.

It was the sound of two black holes colliding at close to light speed, 1.3 billion light years from Earth. It confirmed the last piece of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity — that something called gravitational waves exist and can be detected.

Who knows?  Perhaps within the next century, maybe even sooner, our technology will be equal to that of Myleans, but what will be really interesting to see, is if we evolve as humans into a more harmonious people as well.

Thirty POW camps were built in 1942 to house the onslaught of captured enemy soldiers. McClellan’s POW camp was completed in 1943. By mid-1944, German POWs had become a significant part of the labor pool at Fort McClellan. In their off hours and in jobs assigned to them on post, POWs created a substantial legacy at Fort McClellan in masonry and art as well as more invisible improvements. Two hundred prisoners were detailed daily for excavation, drainage, and clearing operations on the main post; 170 were involved with food preparation; and others worked on vehicles on post. POW labor is responsible for numerous examples of stonework on Fort McClellan, including stone walls, chimneys, a patio built behind the old Recreation Center, drainage ditches, and landscaping. The carved bar at the Officer’s Club (Remington Hall) and the exceptional murals which dress the club’s wall are also credited to POWs. The camp at Fort McClellan not only acted as the processing center for all prisoners interned in the Alabama camps, but was the last camp to be deactivated on April 10, 1946.

In my novel “Secrets of Sand Mountain”, there was an escaped German POW as one of my characters. But did you know that there really were German POW’s being interred here in the United States during the War?

In the United States, at the end of World War II, there were 175 Branch Camps serving 511 Area Camps containing over 425,000 prisoners of war (mostly German). The camps were located all over the US but were mostly in the South because of the higher expense of heating the barracks in other areas. Eventually, every state (with the exceptions of Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, North Dakota, and Vermont) had POW camps. Some of the camps had to be designated “segregation camps” and used to separate the Nazi “true believers” from the rest of the prisoners, whom they terrorized and even killed for being friendly with their American captors.