December 19, 2011

Christmas Giveaways!

As a Christmas present, I'm giving away 10 free copies of Insight via Goodreads. Hurry and enter! The giveaway ends at the end of the day on Tuesday!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Insight by Terron James


by Terron James

Giveaway ends December 21, 2011.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

December 15, 2011

Success At Its Finest!

I just received this message from the parent of a student who participated in one of my workshops in the Cedar City area last month. It was just about the best Christmas present ever!

"My son's teacher has been reading this book at Enoch Elementary. It is the only thing he has asked for, for Christmas. I just ordered it. I hope it makes it in time."

Did I mention that her son is in 4th or 5th grade? Talk about a major payoff for me, hearing that a boy that age only asked for a book for Christmas! Success!!!

Terron James - Inspiring an unwavering passion for reading across the globe, one community at a time.

December 1, 2011

Stansbury High School Writing Contest - Short Stories

I had the privilege of doing multiple writing workshops in November at Stansbury High School. Mrs. Langlie and Mr. Heiner were gracious hosts. As part of my visit, I introduced a writing competition among the students in the categories of Poetry and Short Stories. This contest ends at the end of the day on Saturday, December 10. Winners of each category will win a free Beholders t-shirt and a permanent link to their story/poem on the website.

How can you help? It is your opportunity to play jury! Please read through the following Short Story entries and leave a comment below nominating your favorite.

Entry #1 (untitled)
    "But you can't leave," the little girl bawled. "You haven't even been here that long!"
    "I have accomplished all I can do here," the man said, kneeling down and offering the little girl his handkerchief. "There is nothing left for me here."
    With one more quick embrace, the man stood up and dusted his ragged pants off with his hand. He looked down at the brown eyed girl, smiled, and turned back down the road that he had walked in on.
    There was no sorrow in his gait. Not a hint of regret, or a hesitance suggesting that he didn't want to leave. He had nothing tying him to the small town. With the almost cheerful skip in his step that he had entered the town with only a week ago, the bard was gone.

Entry #2 - "Magic Mayhem"
    I ran as fast as I could while keeping quiet. I was late for class and I didn’t want to get caught. I puffed, knowing I was out of shape. Flicking my long blond hair out of the way, I silently wished I had payed closer attention in magic class to the invisibility spell. As soon as I thought that I dismissed it. I would need a crystal to cast that, and being a poor student I obviously didn’t have one.
    I screeched to a halt. People were coming down the next hall, which my class just happened to be in. My only hope was the transforming spell that I had memorized.
    “wen ydob fo tac,” I mumbled.
    My backpack disappeared and I became a small cat in the middle of the hall. I padded to the edge and squeezed against the cold brick, hoping I wouldn’t be seen.
    The people walked casually along. It was the headmaster and a teacher. My ears perked at their conversation.
    “Everything is going as planned. The brainwashing spell will be ready by tonight, and then the children will be in our power,” the teacher said.
    Ah yes, then we can use them to attack the nearby villages without complaint,” the headmaster added.
    They continued down the hall. I padded down to my class. Thoughts jumbled around in my head. The main question that surfaced was: had this been their plan all along? I also knew I had to do something. The door was cracked open and I slipped through. I leapt on my chair.
    Dlo ydob fo lirg I thought, (because it’s impossible to say it aloud with a cat mouth). I appeared with my bag next to me. I picked up my quill and began taking notes.
    Mrs. Tilet turned from the chalk board, “… And so, oh, Sailee, when did you get here?”
    “I’ve been here the whole time,” I replied sincerely.
    “I’m always missing you in the roll, aren’t I?” she moved to her desk to change the roll.
    “Yes ma’am.” I twirled one of my matching braids around my finger. If I did this cat thing too often she would catch me eventually.
    At lunch I told Brent what I heard.
    “You’re kidding!” he said while dropping his chicken drumstick, which was amazing because he loved food.
    “Would I kid about this?”
    “No…” He picked up his drumstick and began devouring it.
    “I already searched the spell archives for a counter spell, and here’s what I found.” I pulled a piece of paper from my pocket and laid it in front of him.
    “Sai, how did you even get to the archives? They’re password protected.” He didn’t even glance at the paper.
    I rolled my eyes. “The password is ‘password’ in spell language. In my opinion it is the dumbest password ever.”
    “I could never figure out spell language.” Brent gnawed on the bone of his drumstick, which no longer had any meat on it.
    “Now you’re kidding. Spell language is each word spelt backwards.”
    Brent moved his plate over and started banging his head on the table. “I’m so stupid. No wonder everyone kept telling me it was so easy and I should figure it out myself.” He stopped hitting his head and rested his chin on the table, and looked at the paper still resting there. “Dude, that’s long.”
    “No it’s not. I already memorized it. Anyway, the spell has to be chanted, then the user is safe from any brainwash spell.” I took a bite of my chicken wing.
    “Okay, so the plan is to follow the brain washed people, then run?” Brent asked.
    “Basically,” I smiled.
    When it was time for bed, I went to the dorm and when the others weren’t watching I quietly chanted:
    “Peek em efas thginot morf esoht ohw hsiw ot esu em rof rieht gniddib.”
    It didn’t take long for the girls to get out of bed. They seemed to be in a trance.
    I had a mission. I hadn’t told Brent because I knew he would stop me. I was sure that this spell had some sort of potion or doohickey that made it work. After all, they had said it was finally ready, so it needed something made in advance. If that was eliminated, then the spell would be rendered useless.
    I separated from the group and found a secluded window. I watched as students poured out of the school. I spotted Brent in a throng of boys. He kept looking back at the school. He carried my cat carrier. I had made some excuse for him to have her with him instead of me. I had left a note in the carrier for him in case my mission went sour.
    When everyone was out I rushed to the center of the school.
    “onrefne!” I shouted the spell at the top of my lungs. Fire spewed from me. It raced down the halls and into every nook and cranny. I ran, coughing, down the hall toward the outer door.
    A teacher found me.
    Paz fo htead,” she said and pointed her finger at me.
    A lightning bolt shot from her finger and hit me square in the chest and I rammed into the wall. My nightgown caught on fire. I rolled from the wall, putting the fire out on my nightgown.
    The teacher ran to the door, shouting back, “You’ve ruined everything!”
    I smiled. I had no energy left. I had saved the students, but all I could think about was Brent. As my vision darkened, I realized that not every story has a happy ending.

Entry #3 - "Battle Cry for Freedom"
    The paddle came down hard on Peace’s rear. She clenched her teeth as her mistress kept hitting trying to make her squeal. She had refused to clean up the bedroom for Jamal and Jamee, the “precious” twins. They purposefully made the biggest mess possible so that Peace would have to take forever cleaning it, and get a whack for taking so long. Today she had decided that was enough of that. She was constantly refusing to do stuff and her mistress seemed overly annoyed. The whacking stopped. Peace waited for the next whack, but it didn’t come. She looked over her shoulder to see that the mistress was catching her breath for a final huge swing.
    “Ya ain’t even gonna get a wince out a me lady.” Peace said.
    “You can’t talk to me ever!” The mistress shrieked and smacked as hard as she could. Peace was thrown to the other end of the log cabin’s living room with impact. No hurt or emotion went across Peaces face. Inside she was ready to scream.
    “That is the final straw! You are going away tomorrow!” Peace shrugged her shoulders at the mistress and skipped out into the night sky. Her short thin black braids bounced as she skipped right over to the tumble down shack of her place. She waved a Grace, 14 like her, and picked up her piece of cloth which served as a pillow. She screamed into it. Grace looked at her.
    “Ya whacked again?” She asked raising an eyebrow.
    “Yeah, ya know I hate ta clean that room a there’s. That last one really hurt though.” She looked at her rear and winced. “Anyways I ganna get sold tomorrow.”
    Graces heart dropped. That would mean she would have to clean the bedroom, eew! The only reason she liked her was because Peace was so busy getting in trouble she never got whacked. “Then ya might as well have a good nights rest.” She said trying to sound nice.
    “You right, like always Grace.” Peace slipped over to the bedroll and was fast asleep. Grace looked over and scrunched up her nose. That meant she would have to take over Peace’s chores after all. She sighed.


    The mistress was guiding peace through the crowd over to the selling block. Peace just gazed at all the funny white people with fancy hats and expensive pets, gathered around to purchase more slaves. There was a family of 4 up on the stand at the moment.
“Sold, to the man with the carpet bag!” The auctioneer shouted.
    “I just want the adults” The man replied.
    “Sure, why not.” The auctioneer replied. The scene that played up on the podium was an all too familiar one to Peace. It reminded her of when big sis, Mama, and Papa where bought, but they didn’t want her. As She had been pulled from her mama’s grasp she had said a few words to her. “Be tough and do what you think is best”. She had nodded her head and that was the last she had seen of any of her family. Peace shook her head to shake the memory and brought what was happening now. She yanked her hand away from her mistress and ran up to the podium. She kicked the man in the shin that was trying to separate the children from the parents. She sang loudly something she had made up that wasn’t quite in tune.

“Down with the shackle,
up with the star!”
For all!
For all!
For all!”

    She continued to chant. The family joined in. The slaves in the corral waiting to be auctioned off joined in too. Soon all the slaves present where chanting with Peace. Eventually the police showed up and beat Peace till she passed out. The rest of the slaves were warned and then she was taken to jail with out trial. Eventually she died at 16 of malnutrition, but what she had started continued on. Slaves fought against their owners and many ran away. Peace lived on in the souls of many.

Entry #4 - "Ultimate Prank"
    Isaac yawned. It was so hard to wake up in the morning.
He stood staring into the mirror of the Inn bathroom. A few of his hairs were standing straight up, but that was normal. Isaac grabbed his toothbrush. Whoosh. Bang.
    Isaac whirled around and found Mia storming in, dripping wet. She looked like she was about to explode.
    “Isaac! Are you the cause for this?” she said, gesturing at herself.
    “No,” Isaac said while handing her a towel. “What exactly happened?”
    Mia took it thankfully and began drying off.
    “I was leaving for some breakfast. When I opened the door to our room a bucket fell down and drenched me.”
    Isaac chortled, “It sounds like you’ve been the victim of a prank.” He turned back to the sink and mirror and put toothpaste on his brush.
    “I don’t see what’s so funny about it,” Mia huffed.
    Isaac went to brushing his teeth. He choked and coughed into the sink. Bubbles poured out of his nose.
    Mia started giggling. “Now I get it.”
    Isaac looked at his tube of toothpaste, “shaving cream, I knew it.” He turned to Mia.
    “We better warn the other two.”
    Mia nodded.
    They rushed out of the bathroom into the room. Ivan was opening the wardrobe.
    He was smacked in the face with a banana cream pie.
    Malicious laughter filled the room as Garet fell out of the wardrobe.
    The pie tin slipped from Ivan’s face. Even covered in yellow and white froth Isaac could tell his face wore a scowl.
    Garet surveyed his victims after pulling himself from the floor. He began laughing again as he stared at dripping Mia, Ivan, and Isaac, whose mouth was circled by white bubbles. He continued laughing as he walked out the door.
    Isaac looked at Ivan.
    “We need to get him back.”
    “Leave me out of it,” Mia said as she, too, left the room.
    “You know, he is a deep sleeper…” I van said.
    They both left smiling.

    The next morning at a different inn…
    Garet smiled while he went toward the bathroom to admire his hair. He was still very amused by his pranks of last morn.
    He gaped at the mirror. His beautiful, amazing, hair was gone!
    Through the mirror he could see Ivan and Isaac at the door laughing their guts out.

That's all of the entries in Short Stories. Don't forget to leave a comment nominating your favorite, and be sure to check out the Poetry entries as well!

Stansbury High School Writing Contest - Poetry

I had the privilege of doing multiple writing workshops in November at Stansbury High School. Mrs. Langlie and Mr. Heiner were gracious hosts. As part of my visit, I introduced a writing competition among the students in the categories of Poetry and Short Stories. This contest ends at the end of the day on Saturday, December 10. Winners of each category will win a free Beholders t-shirt and a permanent link to their story/poem on the website.

How can you help? It is your opportunity to play jury! Please read through the following Poetry entries and leave a comment below nominating your favorite.

Entry #1 - "After You Passed"
I thought i knew it all, had everything to show, knew how to live, didn't think it was necessary to give.
Then your life passed away and i didn't know what else to say, I turned away and found drugs as my passage way.
You were my all and now your gone. I wish there was something that could of been done.
I'm over obsessed and stressed, I look at your picture through the day and night knowing that maybe, just maybe you'll be in my sight in the after life.
Pill after pill helps the time kill, one too many and the colors appear, my vision is blurred, my mind is slowed now there is only one place to go.

Entry #2 - "Apocalypse"
The flames have begun.
Within a topaz blaze,
Our world is destroyed.

From the ashes of the end,
Arises the phoenix.
Her tail of scarlet and beak of gold,
Ignite forgiveness.
Landing gracefully on the Tree of Life,
Her ebony eyes reveal the truth.

Reflections of humanity creating a disastrous masterpiece flair in her irises,
Our paintbrushes of destruction dripping with hatred as we paint a picture of evil.

Smudges of love and honesty play cat and mouse with deception and cruelty,
As vibrant swirls of chaos intertwine with the rich crimsons of war.

Identical charcoal faces hide beneath masks of ignorance and pride,
Our beautiful originality committing suicide.

The pastel wings of the aborted angels sweep across the canvas in sparkling sorrow,
Never endowed with the gift of life.

Black and white tragedies, splattered with violet, sing a song of abuse.
Their everlasting lullabies simply forgotten.

Sage paper falls like rain into the hands of the wealthy,
Their egotistical smiles haunting the unfortunate.

Ineffable words scar the skin of the judged,
Discrimination melting their iridescent glow.

Toxicity flows from the lips of the addicted,
Clouding the world in a cancerous fog.
Their eager fingers devour the kaleidoscope of dependence that lies in their palms.
And through their sinister grins;
Absent, decaying teeth reveal their battle,
As the methamphetamine monster rips from beneath their ribcage and drags them to hell.

Enchanting hurricanes of rebellion swim in the eyes of the bold,
Forbidden words burning symphonies in the back of their throats;
Aching to be released,
Aching to take a stand.

With disgusted glares we watch the hungry scour the streets of starvation.
Our laughter torturing them as they give every last shard of energy to attain nourishment.

The canvas of the world,
Dripping with mayhem.
The fragile paper tearing under the weight of our actions.

What have we done?

One by one,
We fall to the ground.
Our rainbow eyes stinging with shameful sorrow.
Our ears burning with every terse word we've spoken,
The blood of karma drips to the earth,
From the charred soil emerge the ghosts of reality.
Eager to consume our last thread of sanity.

Whimpers escape our lips as we suffer for our destruction.

The most beautiful lullaby echoes throughout the destroyed earth,
The haunting song of the apocalypse.

A chorus of screams rises in the air,
Our terror,
Our fear,
Our regret.

The phoenix soars through the harsh winds,
Her alluring melody seizing our blood-curdling cries.
As she sings,
The world is reborn.

Thunder claps in the distance as flashes of gold illuminate the sky.
From the pregnant storm clouds,
Drops of sacred rain;

The teardrops sprinkle our faces,
Washing away all the hate,
All the pain,
All of the destruction.

The shadowed earth then sprouts new life.
Lush emerald grass runs for miles,
Dancing with technicolor flowers.
Elegant trees emerge from the ground,
As cool sapphire water fills the thirsty soil.
As the rain ceases,
The glorious sun floods us with light,
Chasing the darkness away from the land.

And like the bird of the apocalypse,
Our world died.
And from the ashes,
We were reborn.

Entry #3 - "Success in Life"
Life... What is it about life that causes some to strive to be noticed and succeed and others to just blend in with  the furniture? Well, if the ones that are in the couch are waiting for a perfect world where nothing bad, wrong, hard, or unhappy happens... Then they are waiting for death. Life is hard, tuff, difficult, sad and full of bad things so that in Hopes of us pushing through all of it and surviving it so that when we leave this world behind, we are stronger and better for surviving life's twists. Those who strive for success and to be recognized realized that if your going to make it in life you need others to help you along the way and also that in every attempt at something, there is the choice of either falling down and getting back up and there is success and also the benefits that come with it. Many people now a days wish to blend in so they can watch greatness and success fall into hands of others and hope that it shall happen to them too. But greatness and success is all around us just waiting to be earned. So my question to you is this. Which path are you on?

Entry #4 - "Where Am I?"
Dwelling upon the past.

Recollecting the memories.

His smile, his laugh, his warmth.

Where had the time gone?

It used to be so effortless to talk.

Now when we get the chance, we talk with much hesitation.

I’m a mere stranger. An intruder in his life.

Never did I think it’d happen to us.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

He promised me, he’d visit when he dropped me off.

Never did he look back, nor regret.

Now, I’m left abandoned, alone, detached from the world.

I was left in an assisted living facility.

I look back, back to reality.

I look around in confusion, where am I?

That's all of the entries in Poetry. Don't forget to leave a comment nominating your favorite, and be sure to check out the Short Stories entries as well!

November 21, 2011

Updates on Multiple Contests

There are some fantastic things going on behind the scenes right now, so here's a quick update.

First, I need to announce the winner of October's giveaway. Congratulations to Diana, who has won a free Nook 1st Edition Wi-fi! Sorry it took so long to make this announcement, but things have been crazy around here the past few weeks.

As many of you know, I've been really busy this month visiting schools. Right now, several competitions are underway.

At Stansbury High School, I've initiated at least 6 classes in a writing contest of poetry and short stories. The submissions have already been rolling in and the final deadline is November 30.

At Canyon View Middle School, students are competing in an illustration contest. As of right now, entries for this contest are also due by November 30. Students in grades 6-8 will be illustrating a high-tension scene from my novel, Insight. For those of you who are dying to know which scene, it involves a kidnapping. :)

For the competitions at Stansbury and CVMS, I will post their submissions here for you to read, so look forward to a lot of fantastic material in the near future. All competitors understand that my website viewers will be voting on their favorites. That's right, you get to be the jury! The winner of each competition will receive a free Beholders t-shirt and a permanent link to their work on my website.

Blog posts about the workshops at Stansbury High and CVMS are also forthcoming, so keep checking back!

November 3, 2011

Orchard Elementary School Workshop - Take 2

Today was a FABULOUS day! Terron and I were able to host another workshop at Orchard Elementary with Mrs. Johnson's 6th grade class. This was my first workshop and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The kids eyes lit up seeing Terron dressed in his Beholders' gear. They also thought it was so cool they were meeting THE author of their recent book addiction. I sat back and enjoyed the questions/comments for a large majority of the time, taking the entire experience in and snapping lots of photos, adding a few silly comments every now and then too. GO TEAM MELLAI!! During the Q&A session, the kids were pretty upset with Terron when he would give them his "poker face" in response to a question he couldn't answer about the future books. All together, they would sigh loudly and add snark remarks "ugh, come on, really, ahhh, NO"... very funny.

It was really cool to see how much these kids loved Insight! I caught a few of them drawing the Beholder's "eye" on a scrap piece of paper during breaks. My favorite moment actually happened when I was leaving. Terron had just passed out the books to the kids who had brought money to buy them, and one boy
completely lucked out by bringing a $20 so he was the only one able to get a Beholder's t-shirt. So many of the others were really bummed they didn't have one so he was on cloud 9! But as I was leaving I was walking to my car outside and 2 boys were sitting next to the building during recess looking at the maps in the back of the book. One said, "OH LOOK, there's Itorea!" and his friend responded, "YEA, that's awesome!". It was liberating knowing how much this book brought joy to these kids, that they would take time during their recess to look at their NEW book!!

In every workshop Terron asks the kids to write a mini story in 15 minutes using one part of a "day" listed on the board. Two of the kids were having a hard time getting started, deciding which part of their day they wanted to expand on. I helped them get their imagination going and watched them run wild after that! After the time was up we read a few of the stories out-loud, here's a quick overview.
One was about a boy who woke up ready to play Xbox Live with his friend he met on vacation and lives out of state. The second was about a boy who was buying his lunch when aliens abducted him and when they finally brought him back they had stolen his lunch (how rude!). The third was about a girl who went to dinner with her mom to Applebees and towards the end of their dinner a man named Bob sat down at their table and he smelled like rotten fish. And the final, fourth story, was about a girl who was deciding what to buy for lunch, bought her lunch, she lost her money and ended up getting stuck with her friend's tuna sandwich. There was A LOT more detail to all of these stories, but how creative these four stories were (along with the ones we didn't read).. and all within 15 minutes. Imagine what they could come up with given more time!

All in all it was a very rewarding 4 hours and I am very excited to hopefully be able to work out helping Terron with more in the future. What an awesome thing he's doing for all of these kids and bring a new love for reading/writing into their lives! AWESOME!
Q & A session

* * * * * * * * * * * * 
While Terron was arranging a presentation I took photos of every one in the class (I don't have all of their names, sorry!)... that was a lot of fun! Such a big personality class! 

In the middle is Mrs. Johnson who hosted the workshop... HUGE THANKS!

This guy was the poor soul who was stuck doing a self portrait with me, he seems to be ok with it!
Showing us how to salute, Rayder style!
ok, from now on they just start to get silly, love it!

PS.. Did I mention that this class and I were able to hear TWO samples from Book Two: True Sight?!?!?  Oh yea, you all should be very, VERY jealous!! : )

October 27, 2011

World of Appernysia Survey

I need everyone's help!

On my "World of Appernysia" page, I have most of the images formatted as virtual puzzles. I originally did this to appeal to youth readers. I thought it might be entertaining for them to put the puzzles together (and I've heard many adults have been sucked into the fun, too).

However, now the "World of Appernysia" is being used by e-readers, since Kindles and Nooks don't handle large images very well. Also, the virtual puzzles take a lot more time to load, which will bog down wi-fi users.

So the big question is, what should I do?
  1. Keep the pictures as virtual puzzles
  2. Change them to solid pictures
  3. Do both

Please use the survey on the right sidebar to answer this question. Don't forget to click the Vote button after you make your selection. Feel free to leave a comment here if you want to explain your answer. Thanks!


Thanks to everyone for their feedback! I have replaced the puzzles with pictures, then add another tab called "Just for Fun" with the virtual puzzles. This should keep everyone happy.

October 25, 2011

Paradigm High School Workshop

I just finished hanging with Ms. Hanson's novel writing class at Paradigm High School this afternoon. It was two of the best hours of my writing career! What a FANTASTIC class! As always, we started off with a Mad-Lib to emphasize the importance of every word in a story. Here's the end result:

Every noon, I wake up and get off my desk. I don't always have time to crawl a shower, but I always make sure to flap my hair. Once that's done I get some electric pens, and then it's off to my first taco. I often get caught walking in class. No one likes it when the nuclear physicist gives a surprise scar. My second class is Bazooka Theory. Dr. Gambit is incredibly pink, but I never destroy him because of his thick international space station. His kittens, however, are really killer. After lunch, I have no more whales and I'm free to kick behind my friends. Before I go to bed I scuff a little bit.

After the Mad-Lib, we discussed the components of a good story, then the students spent 15 minutes free-writing.

To give you an idea of the utter awesomeness of the students in this class, here are some of their requirements. They must complete these in 2 quarters (half a school year):
  • 130 pages of their own novel written
  • 8 peer reviews
  • 3 research papers
  • 3 published novels read
  • 2 novel plot maps - one for their own book and one for another published book
  • 1 geography map for their own novel
  • 4 oral presentations to the class
These students are serious about their writing--and they LOVE it! We spent half of my time talking about publishing. Many of the students are ready to jump head first into the professional writing world, and rightly so. I wish I had made a copy of their free-writings so I could share them with you. Absolutely amazing!

I've said it many times, but there's nothing as satisfying as seeing our youth's creative minds at work. I hope to continue working with Ms. Hanson's class in the future.

As always, if you would like my free assistance with your own classroom, please contact me! My services are listed under the "Services" tab at the top of this page.

Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 2

Time for another share from my first writing portfolio -- 7th grade Honors English class at Jefferson Jr. High School (in Kearns, UT). Today I'll be sharing a bit of poetry. Make sure to grab a box of tissues because I'm almost certain you'll cry from laughter, agony, or perhaps pity for the sorry life I must have been living. Whatever the reason is, I hope you enjoy them as much as did! :)

Limerick Poem #1

Limerick Poem #2

Limerick Poem #3

Limerick Poem #4

Limerick Poem #5

See also:
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 1
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 3
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 4 (Final)

October 24, 2011

Book Review - Annexed by Rebecca McKinnon

AnnexedAnnexed by Rebecca McKinnon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of the better edited self-published novels I've ever read. McKinnon's style of writing is light and refreshing. When I finished reading the 1st chapter of Annexed, I was bouncing up and down in my seat, excited to see what would happen.

So why only 3 stars? I should mention up front that I only made it to page 50 before I stopped reading. Half was the believability... or the lack thereof. The protagonist was WAY too accepting of HUGE changes in her lifestyle. Actually, accepting probably isn't the right word. It's almost as if she was oblivious to the fact. Her desire to escape was severely lacking. The other half of my 3-star rating was the lack of tension. There was nothing in the story that kept me wanting to read. I just couldn't immerse myself into a world that didn't seem "real."

After reading many other reviews, I realize that the story might pick up later in the book, but I don't have the time or desire to push through and find out. I figure a 3-star rating is fair middle ground.

View all my reviews

October 20, 2011

Salt Lake Law Enforcement Journal

I was featured in this quarterly journal. It's rather self-explanatory, so help yourself to a lovely promo by the chief editor, Peggy Simmons.

(click picture to enlarge)
(click picture to enlarge)

The Purple Cow Book-Signing

I will be at The Purple Cow Bookstore in Tooele, UT this Saturday from 2-4 p.m. Here is the advertisement the bookstore has set up outside their door.  They did a masterful job with it!

October 19, 2011

Giveaway Comments Fixed!

Thanks again to everyone who has patiently endured the inability to comment on October's Giveaway. Blogger has fixed the problem, so you can now leave your info to qualify for the FREE 1st Edition Nook Wi-Fi! Just click on the Giveaways tab at the top of the page and follow the instructions.

Best of luck to you all!

October 17, 2011

8/11/2011 Tooele Transcript

An article about myself and two other local authors, Nicole Grane and Scott Bryan. Obviously, this is a little late, but here it is anyway. Click on the image to view it at a readable size.

October Giveaway Malfunction

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for the commenting option to reappear on my giveaways tab, I'm really sorry! In the middle of last week, Blogger's setup of "pages" malfunctioned. There are over four pages of complaints in the help forum, but no one has heard any updates on when the problem might be fixed.

So... rather than waiting for Blogger to fix my Giveaways tab, please leave your comment under this post with the information required to enter the Nook giveaway. You can review the comment requirements here:

To those of you who have already left a comment on the Giveaways tab, or who have commented under a different post, fret not. I still have your information. I promise you will be entered into the drawing at the end of the month.

Sorry about the big headache this has become! You're all wonderful!

October 13, 2011

FCCLA Key Note Speaker

I hope many of you know about FCCLA. It's a phenomenal national organization that focuses on helping our youth become the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America. The Tooele Chapter of FCCLA has an Area competition coming up at BYU this February where the students compete in different events to qualify to go to State. They usually have a key note speaker address the students that day.

Last week, I received a kind email from an Adviser of FCCLA. She graciously acknowledged my efforts to publish my own novel and complimented me on how much I'm doing for the community. In the email, she asked me to be their key note speaker this February, focusing on following your dreams, motivation, becoming a leader and giving back to the community. I was honored to receive the invitation and welcomed it without reservation.

I'm SO glad to see my efforts making a difference, enough that this invitation pushed me to the edge of tears. Thank you to everyone who has allowed me to work with your students, along with those who have spread the word about me.

My mission is to inspire an unwavering passion for reading across the globe, one community at a time. Onward and upward!

October 12, 2011

Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 1

I was recently rummaging through a dusty keepsakes box and happened upon what I consider to be a invaluable treasure. It was my first writing portfolio from my 7th grade Honors English class at Jefferson Jr. High School (in Kearns, UT). There are tons of fantastic goodies in the portfolio, all of which I plan on sharing with you over the course of the next few weeks.

Today, I'll start with the prized gem of my portfolio, a short story entitled The Amazing Stunt. It was my very first written story. I still vividly remember the emotions that stirred inside of me as I created it. I hope you enjoy reading the unedited version as much as I did!

by Terron James
(Copyright May 1994 - as if any of you would want to steal it *snicker*)

Up in Provo there was talk going all over town about a circus that was going to show the most vicious, strongest, smartest, bravest, sneakiest Cheetah in the whole world. They were going to show it was so brave that it would attempt to jump over 20 feet of razor sharp razor blades just to get the fresh meat of an Elk. Almost everybody in Provo was planning to go to this amazing stunt. It was to take place right in the middle of Seven Peaks Resort Water Park. So not only will the circus get a lot of money off of this, but Seven Peaks would get tons of money, too, because people would pay to get into Seven Peaks so they can see the stupendous circus.

There was a line about a half a mile long of people waiting to get into the park. Even though kids were whining, people were falling asleep, and cops were harassing anybody who did so, they all knew it would be well worth it to see the Cheetah pull an amazing trick.

When everyone finally got inside, they started the circus show. They started out with a parade, then a clown show. People hardly ever said anything during these performances, but finally the Cheetah display began.

All the lights turned off in the circus and hundreds of colors started flashing all over inside the Cheetah’s den. Everyone in the crowd gave all kinds of cheers over the beautiful colors. Every once in a while, they could see a glance off the razor blades.

The Cheetah’s instructor stepped into the den and started talking. “I know mostly all of you came to see this seven foot long Cheetah jump over 20 feet of razor sharp razor blades.” The crowd cheered with roars of excitement. The man continued. “This huge animal can be frightened very easily and I would ask you all to be as quiet as you can. If this creature gets too scared it probably would pay even more attention to the noise than to the tender meat of the Elk. It also would probably start going hyper and run all over the cage like a bat out of hell. It might even attack me and injure me very badly. So as a favor to the circus and as a favor to me, I would ask you all to be quiet from now until I say you can talk again.” The crowd became so quiet that everyone could hear a mouse squeaking.

Suddenly the lights stopped flashing and a huge red spotlight covered the entire cage of the sly animal. The master cracked his whip AND OUT CAME THE CHEETAH! The crowd held in their excitement with all their might. The master cracked his whip again and the Cheetah climbed up a huge platform for which he would run down to get his speed for the amazing stunt jump. The crowd became even more still than they had been before. The Cheetah stood on it’s hind legs examining the stunned audience.

Suddenly, everyone heard trumpets sounding an announcing call. With a huge leap, the Cheetah started at full speed down the platform. The audiences’ stomachs jumped with excitement. With a flash of speed, the Cheetah zoomed down the platform and jumped! The crowd was awed with admiration. The Cheetah flew through the air soaring like an eagle. Suddenly, the Cheetah started dropping like a hawk speeding down to catch his prey. The children screamed with excitement.

Just as the Cheetah was about to land in the blades, it stretched out and grabbed onto the edge of the ground and pulled itself to safety. Then it went over to the elk and feasted.

The crowd cheered and applauded. HE MADE THE JUMP!

(extension written after portfolio was turned in) Suddenly, the Cheetah went nuts. He lifted up the elk in his jaws and threw the chewed up carcass onto the blades. Then he ran over to the protective fencing and started thrashing at it as if he was trying to get at something. Just then, someone in the crowed saw a blinding light shining in the Cheetah’s eye. He turned around and saw an irritating kid shining a mirror reflection at the Cheetah. A crowed of people started running at the kid to stop him, which made the Cheetah even worse. Suddenly the Cheetah broke through the cage and ran straight at the swarm of people trying to stop the kid with the mirror. Nobody noticed the Cheetah in the big clump until it was too late. With a 60 mile per hour jump the Cheetah landed right in the middle of the crowd, which happened to be on top of the boy. The boy scrame with a shriek of terror but the sound stopped right after it started People through up all over the ground at the grotesque sight of the poor child.

With blood running out of the corner of the Cheetah’s mouth, it took off after its instructor, which had been tormenting it through all the days of preparation for this assembly. The instructor tried to run, but when he noticed that the Cheetah was right on his tail, he turned around and whipped the Cheetah right in the nose with his whip. The Cheetah stopped with a screech of pain but that didn’t stop it. It pounced onto the instructor and before he could yell, he too was stopped in his tracks.

Now the Cheetah wanted out. It ran straight for the door, taking out anyone who got in its way. The Cheetah got outside, but only to find that tons of policemen were aiming guns at it. The Cheetah decided it wouldn’t go down without a fight, so it found the closest officer to him and pounced. While it was in the air, it got a bullet right in the heart by the patrolman it had leaped at. Still, the Cheetah landed right on top of the officer and got one more kill before he went.

See also:
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 2
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 3
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 4 (Final)

October 11, 2011

October Giveaway - Free Nook!

Have you heard about October's giveaway??

Everyone who enters will be part of a drawing for a FREE First Edition Nook Wi-fi ($89 value)!

Details can be found on the "Giveaways" tab at the top of this page. Best of luck to you all!

October 4, 2011

Orchard Elementry School Workshop - Take 1

On Friday, September 30, 2011, I had the honor of visiting with Mrs. Rawlins' 6th grade class at Orchard Elementary School in West Valley City, UT. The class has been reading my book, INSIGHT, together. They finished it the day before, so my dad and I stopped by to give them a 2-hour writing workshop.

What a wonderful group of students and a fabulous teacher. The class was well-structured and knew what was expected of them. They gave great answers during our writing workshop and came up with one of the funniest mad lib I've ever read. Unfortunately, I left the paper behind and it was thrown away, so I can't pass it along to the rest of you.

We spend 30 minutes discussing the components of a good story--how every word plays an invaluable role in a sentence--then everybody took 15 minutes to write their own story. My dad and I wandered around to offer support, then a few students were brave enough to share their stories with the rest of the class.

The stories were fabulous! One specific example that stands out in my mind was about 12-year-old boy who was brave enough to ride the merry-go-round two times in a row. He was so brave that he only screamed for 19 minutes the second time (cutting a whole 60 seconds off the 20-minute wailing during the first ride).

Of course, after the workshop was over, we had to spend some time talking about Beholders. Once again, I got the students debating with each other over who was the "good guys" of the story. The poor Appernysian fans were heavily outnumbered and sat passively with their chins tucked against their chest.

Here's where the rest of you get really jealous. At the end of the workshop, I was so pleased with the students' behavior that I gave them big sneak preview into book 2, TRUE SIGHT. They were so attentive and respectful that I could have heard a pin drop while I read them the majority of chapter 1. They weren't happy when I stopped, but it's probably a good thing I didn't get to the end of the chapter or else they would have been REALLY mad! :)

The best part is that two other 6th grade teachers at Orchard Elementary are reading INSIGHT to their students, which means I get to go back two more times! Can't wait!

September 28, 2011

Beholders T-shirts

This post is quick and simple.

Would you purchase this Beholders t-shirt for $11 (+ shipping when necessary)?

Please take a moment to vote on the right panel.


September 26, 2011

School Integration Update!

A lot has been happening behind the scenes lately, so I wanted to take a moment to post this update.

Although there is plenty of content in INSIGHT to make adults think (so says my overly-critical, double Master of Psychology father), I didn't write my book to shout a message to the world. I don't have a hidden agenda. My goal was to create an engaging and entertaining story--one that would capture the attention of as many people as possible (boys, girls, young and old).

Did I write my book for the money? No. I wrote INSIGHT with the intention to inspire the world to love literature, especially our youth.

So far, so good!

As many of you know, I gave a free writing workshop at Rose Springs Elementary School in Stansbury Park, UT, in May 2011. You can read about it here:

I have been actively marketing my free school services over the summer. Here is what I'm doing!

Rose Springs Elementary School (North Salt Lake, UT)
Mrs. Nielsen (6th grade) and Mr. Nielson (5th grade) will be reading INSIGHT to their classes this year, then I'll be hosting another writing workshop for them once they're done.

Foxboro Elementary School (North Salt Lake, UT)
I donated 3 copies of INSIGHT to the school's library, then sat in a booth last Friday during their annual carnival. I spoke with one 6th grade teacher during the carnival and she sounded very interested in having me do a writing workshop with her students.

Orchard Elementary School (West Valley City, UT)
Three 6th grade classes, Ms. Rawlins, Ms. Johnson, and Ms. Smith, are currently reading INSIGHT. Ms. Rawlins' class will be finishing this week, so I'm visiting them this Friday to host a 2-hour writing workshop with the students. More Q&A sessions and writing workshops are planned for the other 2 classes, Ms. Johnson and Ms. Smith.

Silver Hills Elementary School (Kearns, UT)
Two 5th grade classes, Ms. England and Mr. Johnson, are currently reading INSIGHT. Once they're finished, I'll be hosting a writing workshop for them.

Eagle Valley Elementary (Eagle Mountain, UT)
Per her request, I sent media specialist, Ms. Hale, a copy of INSIGHT to include in her school library. I am also waiting for a response from 6th grade teacher, Mr. Orr, about working with his students.

Enoch Elementary, Three Peaks Elementary, and Canyon View Middle School (Cedar City, UT area)
All 7 classrooms in 4th and 5th grade at Enoch Elementary have obtained copies of INSIGHT and are reading together. Once they're finished, I am going to travel down to do writing workshops with the students. While I'm down there, I have been invited to give assemblies and writing workshops to grades K-5 at Three Peaks Elementary, as well as the 300 6th grade students at Canyon View Middle School. I have high hopes that grades 7 and 8 at Canyon View will also get involved.

Churchill Junior High School (SLC, UT)
All 3 English teachers (grades 7-9) are coordinating a time for me to visit with their students. It sounds like they are planning on November.

Stansbury High School (Stansbury Park, UT)
English teacher, Ms. Langlie, has invited me to spend 2 days giving writing workshops to all of her classes this November.

Copper Hills High School (West Jordan, UT)
English teacher, Ms. Shields, has invited me to spend 2 days giving writing workshops to all of her classes. She also hosts 2 after-school book groups, which might read INSIGHT together. I am also scheduled to give a writing workshop on a Saturday in January, open to all students at CHHS.

Paradigm High School (South Jordan, UT)
English teacher, Ms. Hanson, is coordinating a time for me to visit with her students.

Well, there you have it! It's been a tricky business trying to balance writing time with marketing. I could easily spend every minute of every day contacting teachers, but my goal is to finish book 2 of BEHOLDERS by the end of the year. That being said, if any of you know people you want me to contact (educators, librarians, etc.), please give me their name and email and I'll gladly send them a message.
I'll most definitely take pictures and post updates for every workshop I perform, then make them easily accessible on my Services tab.

If you ask me, I'm well on my way to achieve my business vision: "Inspire an unwavering passion for reading across the globe, one community at a time."

Let's keep this ball rolling!

Book Review: Tangled Hearts by Roseanne Wilkins

Tangled Hearts: An LDS NovelTangled Hearts: An LDS Novel by Roseanne Evans Wilkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was refreshing to read a self-published title that was grammatically polished! THANK YOU!

The descriptions of the food were amazing! It's obvious the author had a strong affinity for the culinary arts. I found myself salivating during their Christmas dinner preparation. Now I can't wait for the holidays!

Some parts of the plot were a bit slow (a typical trait of any well-written novel), but I was pulled through them solely by the tension of the book's synopsis. I've never seen a writing sample work so effectively!

I've never read a romance before, but I expect many of them are full of steamy encounters that would make a mother squirm if she knew her daughter (or son) was reading them. Although there is plenty of passion in Tangled Hearts, rest assured that it is quite appropriate.

View all my reviews

September 21, 2011

Dear Reader

Dear Reader,

Hi. I'm an author of fiction literature. I have a very active imagination. My favorite pastimes include filling in blanks, speaking for other people, and thinking for other people. I like doing these things. In fact, I get paid to do these things. If you have read my book, you probably paid me to do these things, too.

Do you know what your silence is doing to me?

As much as I enjoy doing my job, please don't make me fill in the blanks for you. The result will almost always be something negative. Like I said, I'm an author. I'm always thinking about the worst things people can do and say to each other, including myself. That's how I think. I can't help it.

I don't know if you knew this, but I'm trying really hard to break outside of marketing to my family, friends, and acquaintances. The problem is, nobody will believe me when I tell them my book is worth reading. I can't really blame them. After all, I'm a fictional author. I lie for a living. That's another reason why your reviews are so helpful. They don't know you, so they trust you. Makes perfect sense, right?

There are many places where you can leave a review of my novel. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, my blog... please take 2 minutes and leave a review on one of them (or all of them if you're feeling especially generous).

Thanks again for putting my mind at ease.

Your Author

September 17, 2011

Ebook sale - 67% Off!

After weeks of research and soul searching, I have put INSIGHT on sale. It is now $2.99 for kindle and nook. It was a hard decision, but market trends demand the change. I hope more of you are able to purchase it now that its price has significantly lowered.

You can find links to both kindle and nook on the Store tab at the top of this website.

September 16, 2011

Book Review: Search for Yesterday by Quinn Heder

Search for YesterdaySearch for Yesterday by Quinn O. Heder

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Search for Yesterday started with a lot of tension, but then I have to admit that the tension disappeared until about halfway through the novel. So why did I keep reading? Because Quinn captured my attention with his writing alone. The characters' voices were unique and applicable, and I had a very strong visual of every place they traveled. Very well done!

View all my reviews

September 2, 2011

What It Really Takes

I have been thinking a lot the past couple weeks about the trials that authors endure on a regular basis, so I've decided to organize my thoughts into this post. Raise your glasses to the authors you know (and don't know) because they deserve a HUGE toast! Hats off to you all!

I think one common attribute that all writers share (well, at least at the beginning of their writing process) is a desire to write. We all start with that desire, but from there, many different challenges like to thwart our ambitions. Even before the daunting process of plot creation, a huge roadblock emerges.

"What if I'm no good?"

I call this the George McFly Syndrome. If you recall the movie Back to the Future, the young version of George McFly had major ambitions to create sci-fi stories, enough that he spent most of his free time scribbling feverishly in his notepads. However, the initial roadblock still hung over his head. When Marty reached across the table with no other intention than to relish in what his dad had been writing, George threw his arms around his hoard of paper and voiced this resonating dialogue.

"I never let anybody read my stories... What if they don't like them? What if they say I'm no good? I just don't think I can handle that kind of rejection."

This problem is very real for all writers. We spend years pouring our hearts and souls into our creation. Fragments of the most sensitive parts of our lives inevitably force their way into our literature, making them very personal. Let's not kid ourselves. We all have a little George McFly sitting on our shoulder, and rightly so. It hurts to have something so personal get rejected. That's why we need each other. No one truly understands what we give and sacrifice to write unless they've done it themselves. We have an unspoken understanding of each other.

Everyone has a different solution to overcoming this roadblock, but the fact is, we all need to overcome it at some point. This is where I believe the transition lies between writers and authors. It's not when our name appears on the cover of a book, or when we win a prestigious award. When we finally force ourselves to release our white-knuckled grip on our prized creations and purposefully give others the opportunity to tell us how much it sucks, that's when we truly "grow up." I raise my glass again to all who have endured this transition. You have more courage than Evel Knievel, more strength than Lou Ferrigno, more endurance than Lance Armstrong, more passion than William Wallace, and more faith than Gandhi.

Sometimes we write a keeper and sometimes we might as well burn the whole thing in a fire, but what really impresses me about authors is that we subject ourselves to this inexplicable torture over and over again. Why? Because writing is what defines us. We just can't help ourselves. More passion than William Wallace and more courage than Evel Knievel.

This is only the beginning for an author. Most of us want to be published and, therefore, start the daunting task of querying literary agents and publishers. If an author somehow makes it to this point without anyone telling them their literature needs improvement, they are in for a rude awakening. Doors will be slammed in our faces... over and over again. So what do we do? We send out more queries! More endurance than Lance Armstrong.

For those authors who choose to self-publish, there is still no escape from this painful criticism. Reviews will come in and some people will inevitably hate everything about what we've written. Or, what I believe to be even more painful, is silence. No reviews come. No one says anything. Thoughts start creeping into our heads, filling the void with negative criticism, yet we move on. More faith than Gandhi.

We can't do this by ourselves. We need each other. Writing leagues and online communities are valuable links to our sanity. We overcome our own pain by lifting each other. More strength than Lou Ferrigno.

You have believed. You have pursued. You have endured. You have overcome. You have conquered.

You are an Author.

September 1, 2011

Another Goodreads Giveaway

This giveaway ends September 8, 2011, for 1 signed, paperback copy of my book.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Insight by Terron James


by Terron James

Giveaway ends September 08, 2011.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

August 31, 2011

Beginning, Middle, and End Blogfest!

As with J. A. Bennett, I couldn't resist and had to join in the fun of this blogfest by Kate Larkindale. In this exercise, you post the opening, middle and ending paragraph of your novel. Here are those paragraphs in INSIGHT. Enjoy! (Don't worry... no spoilers here)

The Beginning
Gil wiped the blood from his dagger, then joined his four comrades around their small fire. “Keep your voices down, Rayders. Have you forgotten why we have traveled so far?”

The Middle
A sharp pain in his ribs startled Lon out of sleep. It was still dark, but enough light crept through the stable doorway to reveal a man standing over him with a staff pointed at his chest. Surprised, Lon swept his leg under the intruder’s, knocking him to the ground with a thud. Lon grabbed the staff, jumped on top of his attacker, and pressed the staff against the man’s throat.

The End
“The balance of the world’s energy has shifted, Mellai,” Llen replied. “Appernysia needs you.”

August 26, 2011

UK Interview

If you're looking for a bit of light reading, take a moment to read through my interview with Sandra "Jeanz", a very proactive interviewer/reviewer in the UK.

August 22, 2011

5 Free Copies on August 31!

5 free copies of BEHOLDERS: INSIGHT will be given away on August 31, 2011. If you have a Goodreads account, click on the link below to enter the contest.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Insight by Terron James


by Terron James

Giveaway ends August 31, 2011.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win