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: http://terronjames.blogspot.com/p/giveaways.html.

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!