November 12, 2012

The New, Old Me!

Dear committed fans, casual readers, and random bystanders,

I know my lack of networking lately has been dismal at best. I am feeling extremely handicapped by my stupid shoulder. Although this may not be readily apparent in my social networking, this shoulder and teaching business has made me quite grumpy about my lack of networking. I already felt like I was barely keeping my head above water when I was a fully functional teacher, but now it has become ridiculous.

Good news is, I've learned a lot about what I can and should cut out of my teaching life. As much as it rips my heart out and grinds it on the asphalt, I just don't have the time to be the kind of teacher I want to be this year. I've been telling myself since July something along the lines of "I just need to wait until (insert lame excuse here) is over, then I'll be able to jump back in." That time is never gonna just happen, especially since I have to go back to school this spring to finalize my teaching certificate. I'm going to have to make some compromises all around so that I don't neglect my authorian necessities and obligations. I have been seriously neglecting my writing craft, and that terrifies me.

Wednesday, I am meeting with my doctor to see if it's time to take off the sling. PRAY TO ALL DEITIES THAT IT IS! I won't be able to use my shoulder fully for another 5 months, but I can FINALLY start working toward something! No more being trapped! Hrm... trapped is a great word to define the past month, like a dog leashed to the bumper of a car cruising down the freeway, totally at the mercy of everything around me and danger lurking around every bend. Anyway, once the sling comes off, I'll be able to start using my right arm in whatever capacity my right shoulder will allow. No more one-handed typing. HUZZAH!

I've been thinking back to the two years it took me to write the rough draft of my book, Insight (release date - June 1, 2013). Up at 4:45 AM, hour bus ride to SLC, write until 7 AM, work until 4 PM, school until 7 PM, hour bus ride home, and homework until midnight. Rinse, spin, repeat. I did this before for two consistent years. I can do it again! I WILL start doing it again! Expect to start seeing daily facebook and twitter posts. Expect to see weekly blog posts. Expect to see new writing creations. Expect to see a new and improved Terron, because I'm coming back, baby! *fist pump*

Yours Truly,

Author Terron James, Extraordinaire

October 21, 2012

Guest Post - Interview with Lehua Parker

Aloha, Terron! Thanks for letting me drop by to answer a few of your questions about my MG/YA novel One Boy, No Water, book one in the Niuhi Shark Saga. It’s available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon in hardback, trade paperback, and ebook.

"Aside from your talented imagination, what else motivated you to write your book, One Boy, No Water? What are your goals with this book?"

One of my main motivations to write is avoidance, specifically of things like laundry, housework, and snow. I first started what became the series one bleak -20°F Heber day when I was terribly homesick and in desperate need of a few hours on a sunny beach. When I came up for air, I had an unpublishable mess on my hands and a spark of an idea that wouldn’t let go. I did some research and discovered how few titles there are for MG/YA readers that show Hawaii as a real place rather than a Tiki god curse for Bobby Brady to solve. That nagged at me.

I thought back to when I was a kid and how teachers used to coach us just before standardized exams—“Now Lehua, when the test says the leaves are falling off the trees, what are we supposed to infer?” “Uh, that the trees stay makÄ“ die dead ‘cause nobody wen water them?” “Lehua, sweetheart, I hope you love hairnets and grease because trust me, child, with an answer like that your future is going to feature both of them.”—and I realized I wanted to write a story set in Hawaii for all those kids who wondered how Santa was going to come since no one they knew had a chimney. (My Dad’s answer: he comes through the sliding glass door on the lanai like the invited guest he is; Hawaiians don’t make guests enter houses like two-bit second story cat burglars, especially if they’re bringing gifts.)

As I refined the target audience, I imagined a kid who called all the adults in his life Uncle or Aunty and could make a killer kite out of a pair of wooden chopsticks, a sheet of notebook paper, some leftover rice, and yarn from the ball in the junk drawer. Typically, this kind of kid isn’t a big reader, (Ho! Boring! Waste time read books!), and I wanted to write a book he could relate to, one that would make him want to sneak a flashlight to bed so he could read under the covers. To engage this kid, (and to amuse myself, I admit,) I wrote a lot of cultural inside jokes into the series, things a kid who knows the taste and sting of saltwater in the back of his throat would immediately get, things non-islanders probably wouldn’t, and the Hawaii kid, being in on the joke, would feel smart.

Yet at the same time I wanted people who think Hawaiian means something with pineapple on it to get a glimpse of what life in Hawaii is really like and to understand that paradise can be very different depending on whether you’re the one on vacation or the one dancing in a hula show to make rent. While I try to keep the Hawaiian, Pidgin, and storylines accessible and entertaining to those unfamiliar with the culture, I also figure it’s okay if the kids who know the correct answer to my teacher’s question is autumn have to work a little harder to read it. Turnabout’s fair play!

"How much writing time do you make for yourself every week? What tricks do you use to motivate yourself to write, especially when you don't want to?"

I manage to write something most days, but since I signed with Jolly Fish Press I find I spend most of my writing time on blog articles, social media marketing pieces, and critiques—and far less time than I’d like on the series. During the work week, I often write from around 11 am until 3:30 pm, that magical Mom witching hour when I transform into a taxi driver, chef, and homework warden. I usually sit back down at my computer around 10 or 11 pm when the house settles down and write until 3 am or so—insomnia and I are old friends. When the spark hits, it’s not unusual for me to lock myself in my office and write twenty or more hours at a time—my family is highly self-sufficient, at least in the short run.

Book two is due to the publisher soon, but I’m not as far along as I would like to be. I keep thinking I will go into turbo mode and bang the rest of it out in a couple of weeks, but the spark hasn’t ignited yet. Until then, I’m outlining and researching and tweaking what I have written, but it’s slow going. The trick is to never stop thinking about characters and plot, even if you aren’t sitting at your computer writing.

When all else fails, I take a long, hot shower, listen to Hawaiian radio via the internet, practice my mad hula skills while cleaning house, and watch Shark Week reruns. For me, deadlines are crucial to getting any serious writing done. Otherwise it’s too easy to spend a day reading a book instead of writing one.

"What personal impacts has writing had on your life?"

Before I returned to creative writing about a year ago, I used to read all the time, about 250-300 books a year, mainly adult novels with a few YA thrown in based on my kids’ recommendations. The ability to download any book while in pajamas at 2 am was like having a fine chocolatier on standby with my next order on a fancy silver tray. However, in the ten months since I wrote and sold One Boy, No Water, I think I’ve read maybe fifteen books, most of them research for the series. Writing has usurped most of my reading time.

Lehua is a pen name, part of my middle name, and not one that I’ve used before. I did this to try to keep some separation between my personal and professional lives, and not as my kids claim, to protect their burgeoning social lives. (Your mom does what? The shark books? That’s weird, dude.) I still have to remind myself when someone says Lehua, they’re talking to me. I once told someone they had the wrong number and hung up—and that was last week.

Jolly Fish Press is keen on using social media as a marketing tool which had the unintended consequence of squelching my private interactions since I’m less inclined to post things about my family life to friends if I’ve been posting things about my professional life to the public. In my private life I’ve become the person who “likes” many things everyone else is posting about, but seldom adds a status update, which has some old friends believing my account has been hacked by an antisocial voyeur.

On a more positive note, since I pursued publishing I’ve made many bright and talented new friends as well as reconnected with others I hadn’t seen in years. It’s forced me out of my cozy book-filled, chocolate-covered, pajama-wearing cave, which had gotten a little too comfortable and narrow for my own good. It’s given me focus and purpose in a way that still allows me to be the kind of Mom I want to be. Maybe not the kind my kids or husband want, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Brief Bio
Lehua Parker is originally from Hawaii and a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools and Brigham Young University. So far she has been a live television director, a school teacher, a courseware manager, an instructional designer, a sports coach, a theater critic, a SCUBA instructor, a poet, a web designer, a mother, and a wife. Her debut novel, One Boy, No Water, is the first book in her MG/YA series the Niuhi Shark Saga. She currently lives in Utah with her husband, two children, four cats, two dogs, six horses, and assorted chickens. During the snowy Utah winters she dreams about the beach.

Contact Info
Facebook author page:
Twitter: @LehuaParker
Goodreads: Lehua Parker

2012 Insightful Quote of the Year

I had this epiphany today, so I just HAD to post it all over my social media pages (ironic, I know).

Our society is so busy doing nothing that we convince ourselves we don't have time for anything.

Don't become another victim!

August 16, 2012

Guest Post - Jennifer Griffith

Today, I'm honored to share a guest post by author Jennifer Griffith. She lives in Arizona with her husband and five kids. Her fourth novel, Big in Japan, the story of an accidental sumo wrestler, is available in bookstores nationwide and wherever books and ebooks are sold (and a PHENOMENAL read, I might add). She blogs about writing at and is on Facebook and Twitter. Take it away, Jennifer!

Hanging off the Cliff to Save Our [Writing] Lives

My husband and kids have been watching a miniseries version of The Arabian Nights. Very loudly, I must add. So even if I didn’t want to watch it, I’d get to absorb it as it reverberates into my soul.

Meanwhile, I love how Scheherazade’s storytelling skill is what keeps her alive. Well, to be more exact it’s her ability to effectively use a cliffhanger that keeps the crazy sultan from killing her. She never quite finishes her story and he wants to hear it badly enough that he spares her life for the next installment.

Stayin’ Alive

There’s a pretty obvious lesson for us novelists in that idea. Our readers keep us “alive” by turning the pages and reading to the end of our stories. But we have to keep them turning pages, keep them caring about the story, keep them on wanting to know what happens next, or else they’ll set down the story and might not come back to it.

One great way is to place cliffhangers at the ends of chapters or scenes. Scheherazade was probably the first (and possibly still the best of all time) at this, but other more modern authors have mastered the technique. Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code had itty bitty short chapters, but every one of them left readers anxious to turn the pages.

Three Ways to Employ Cliffhangers

One way to do this is to end the chapter before a critical piece of information is revealed. Another way is to leave it in the middle of tense dialogue, with a question hanging on a character’s lips. Another way is to reveal a new piece of information to the plot, but not explain fully its relevance.

Dream Weaver, I Believe You Can Get Me Through the Book

Another way I’ve seen employed that intensifies that page-turning urge for the reader is to plop down a cliffhanger and then when the next chapter starts, flip to a different subplot rather than answering the question foremost in the reader’s mind immediately. This happens all the time in soap operas (and makes daytime TV an addiction), and I think JK Rowling did this weaving together of different subplots very well. There’s no reason why we can’t master this technique and make our writing as addictive as Days of Our Lives.

Big in Japan

When I was writing my latest novel, Big in Japan,  I read a bunch of great how-to tomes to learn how to write commercial fiction. Over and over, the experts recommended ending chapters with moments that left the reader breathless. To be honest, I wrote the novel all the way through (probably twice) and then went back and adjusted chapter breaks to make them more of page-turners. It’s been pretty fun to hear back from readers who (finally! After three years’ work!) have it in their hands and hearing them say they read it straight through in just a couple of days.

Meanwhile, we’ve got another installment of Arabian Nights to watch around here. I hope that pretty Scheherazade girl can stay alive!

July 31, 2012

Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 4 (Final)

I wrote the following autobiography in my 7th grade Honors English class at Jefferson Jr. High School (in Kearns, UT). This will be the final piece of your glimpse into 7th grade. As you'll discover, I disliked both of my sisters (although the younger definitely had the brunt of my hatred). Glad our differences have all been sorted out. :)

Oh, and as a side note, my wife just looked at the picture I posted below and said, "Man, you were so hot! I would have followed you all over the school!" Yes, she was being sarcastic. Yes, I know I was goofy lookin'. And yes, girls did follow me all over the school, but not because they wanted my body. They had a very different agenda in mind.

7th Grade
(typos left uncorrected)

I live a Frustrating life with my brother and two snotty sisters. One of my sisters named Angela is five years older than I am. My other sister is the baby of the family. She gets everything just the way she wants it and me and my brother, named Lonnie, who is four years older than me, always end up getting in trouble for it. My parents named this spoiled brat Melanee. She is two years younger than I am and thinks she can do whatever she wants. which my parents, who are Debra and Allen, practically tell her she can.

Now, on to my life. The furthest thing back that I can remember is when I was about four years old. My mom and I were on the way to the doctor and I didn't know what was going on. I thought we were just going for a visit and did not know I was about to get a shot. I remember that I had an eye test and they took my blood pressure and stuff. Then they made me sit in a room which seemed to last forever.

Finally, a doctor came inside and tried to act real nice to me so I wouldn't be scared that he would hurt me when he gave me the shot. Still I remained normal and not suspicious. It was when he got out the gauss pad and started rubbing my arm that I started getting suspicious. When he finally got out the needle I went crazy.

First, I went down to my mom and begged her to protect me. She just told me to be brave.

Then, I ran up to the table again and screamed, telling them to stay away from me. It took four nurses to hold me while they gave me the shot and I didn't even feel the shot because I was so busy screaming and whining. [I also want to insert here that they chased me out of the room, up and down the hallway, then back into the room before they finally caught me. That's why there were four nurses by the time they gave me the shot.]

A very scary thing that happened in my life was when I was in fourth grade. My dad's whole family and their children had a family reunion at Seven Peaks Resort Water Park. Lonnie and I went on the huge slides for about an hour then we decided to go to the wave pool. We stayed in there for a while, but then Lonnie wanted to go on the slides again. So he left and I went to find someone to go in the wave pool with. I ended up finding my cousin named Ricky, who is two years younger than me, and we got some tubes and went to the wave pool. When we got there the waves weren't going, so, we decided just to go to the deep end until the waves start to go again. I guess Ricky started to get bored or something and started to try something out of his mind because he couldn't swim. He tried to stand up on his tube without falling off which I had already told him not to. Of course, he fell off, and I ended up having to save him.

He was thrashing around, so, I knew that I would have to dive under him and hold him up until someone noticed he was drowning. So I took a deep breath and dove down as far as I could and pushed him up by his feet. Finally after what seemed about forty-five seconds, my other cousin Sheldon came and lifted him back up onto his tube.

12th Grade
When I finally got up, I climbed up onto my tube and collapsed.I never went into the wave pool again that day.

[Another note: This experience is what later led me to become an outdoor pool lifeguard for 3 years. I had the sexiest tan ever!]

Also see:
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 1
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 2
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 3

July 24, 2012

Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 3

My life in 7th grade was a trial, to say the very least. I didn't have many friends. In fact, even my sibling closest in age was my enemy. The following was the biography I wrote for her in my 7th grade Honors English class at Jefferson Jr. High School (in Kearns, UT). I'll give this disclaimer in advance... Melanee and I get a lot MUCH better nowadays. When I look back, I can't even recall what made me so vengeful. *sigh*

(typos left uncorrected)

Melanee James was born on September 17. She is my little sister and is a pain in the butt. She is always whining and cries for the stupidest reasons. One time she was acting really snotty so I took the responsibility to get her to be quiet and yelled at her to shut up and she started balling her head off and I got in trouble for it.

Right now, she is in fifth grade and thinks she is the most popular girl in her class. But, whenever I tell other people that she told me that, she acts like she didn't say anything.

Melanee is about the worst liar I've ever seen. She tells us something that is impossible to happen and, no mater how obvious it is, she won't tell us what really happened. Like one time, she had a hoagie about 1 1/2' long and I told her she had to eat it all before she could play. So, I went downstairs to watch T.V. but came up in about 30 seconds because I couldn't hear her upstairs. When I got upstairs, she was outside playing. I knew she couldn't have eaten it that fast, so I tried to get her to admit that she didn't eat it. But as I said before, she wouldn't give in and just kept saying, "I just shoved it down really fast." So, I took drastic measures and checked the garbage and sure enough, there was the hoagie with only one bite in it.

This is my biography on Melanee James.

Also see:
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 1
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 2
Glimpse into 7th Grade - Take 4 (Final)

June 5, 2012

There vs. Their vs. They're

There are three reasons I'm making this post and I'm directing it toward all of my grammatically challenged friends. They're the greatest people in the world, but their grasp on certain concepts is infuriating, like the differences between similar, but VERY different words. My first inclination was to find their childhood English teachers and paddle their butts for not doing their job to effectively teach their students that there are specific reasons to use specific words. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate teachers and all of their efforts. I'm a junior high teacher myself. I just thought, "If they're not going to clarify things in their classrooms over there, how they're expecting their students to succeed is beyond my comprehension." Then I realized that some people have chosen to close their minds. No amount of effort by anyone will penetrate their stubborn barriers of ignorance. You won't become one of those people, right? You'll listen to all there is to learn about grammar, right? Good. There, that should do it.

(they're = "they are")
(their = possessive)
(there = everything else)

May 5, 2012

Insight Cover progression

As many of you know, I have been writing Beholders since 2008. Since then, many different prototypes of cover designs for Insight have emerged. I want to share this design evolution with you. They are listed below chronologically. Feel free to laugh. I know I did (don't forget you can click on any of these to see an enlarged version).

Created by Scott Humphries
Created by Scott Humphries

Created by Kip Ayers

Sooo... you're probably wondering which version makes it onto the book being released Summer 2013. The answer is, none of them. I, for one, am especially excited to see the final design from Jolly Fish Press. Just another thing to look forward to next year.

I tell you, 2013 is going to be a GREAT year!

May 2, 2012

It's Official!

I just realized that I haven't made an official announcement about my querying process with Jolly Fish Press. This semester at the University of Utah has been kicking my butt (as far as my free time goes), but it's finally over. I grovel before you and beg your forgiveness for neglecting you so long.

There... now that I've gotten that out of the way, on to the good news. On March 28, 2012, I signed a 4-book contract with Jolly Fish Press for Beholders. Huzzah!

Let me put something in perspective that I've learned this year. I've done my fair share of querying in the past and received a slough of rejection letters. Some were more hurtful than others. All of them chinked away at my self-confidence. That being said, it wasn't until I found JFP that I realized how important a successful relationship is between author and publisher. Every aspect of my interaction and correspondence with JFP jives at a spine-tingling level. Connecting with them was a perfect storm. Don't worry, friends. Your time will come, too. Just keep your eyes on the heavens.

Now back to Beholders. You can read JFP's publicity release by clicking here, but if you're too impatient to move your cursor over the hyperlink and force down the button on your mouse, let me summarize. Basically, it says Insight will be released Summer 2013. The next three books in the series will be released each subsequent year (True Sight in Summer 2014, Hindsight in Summer 2015, and Foresight in Summer 2016). I've already received my first wave of edits from JFP and let me tell you. It will be worth the wait. Insight is improving far beyond what I ever could have hoped to do by myself. As I insinuated before, my relationship with JFP is a match made in heaven.

April 10, 2012

You're vs. Your vs. Yore

You're going to drive me crazy with your inability to distinguish between you're and your. Medieval knights of yore had a greater command of the English language. Are you hearing the words coming out of my mouth? Are they penetrating your ears? You're going to remember, now, right, or will this info slip out of your memory again?

(If this post was helpful, please leave a comment!)

February 23, 2012

Since vs. Sense

I want to knock some sense back into the world since so many people have forgotten the difference between since and sense, but since I can't hold everybody's hand, you're going to have to make sense of it yourself. It's not that hard, really. Just use your common sense, since that should still exist somewhere in your brain. Make sense? Can you sense my frustration?

(If this post was helpful, please leave a comment!)

February 5, 2012

Grand Theft Poetry

The Age of Death
by Terron James

I bow in most tender wetness, because nothing will make me feel better,
Like dogs in a street in Syracuse converted to explicit rapture.
Oh, dear, what comfort can I find watching it all fall into a strange outlaw?
For you’re young, whatever life you wear from the skin of some animal.
I dance the strumming, rooted, long-tailed pull of grief.

The mountains tower over me with uncertain shadows upon a salty sea,
The houses gray sewage bubbling up out of street sewers
Telling me something, something undone in thin air.
Even at night the air clings and clings.

And on naked hillsides by the open grave,
My embodied life, my life of senses,
They die shuddering with joy.
Is there nothing but the thin shadow?
Now you understand just why my head’s not bowed.

* * * * *

The purpose of this exercise was to create a poem by pulling solitary lines from 18 separate books of poetry, then manipulate the compilation to my liking and give it a title. Almost makes me sound like a poet!

Helpful Writing Flow Chart

January 31, 2012

"Aliens" - Exercise #4

by Terron James

I don’t see what the big deal is it’s just a flash of light it’s our project after all and I wouldn’t miss it for anything ‘cause no camera can capture this kind of detail like in a concert with a live band thumping the walls with bass no recording can replace the real thing.
I have bad eyesight already so there’s not any risk lasik can’t fix later. Funny how lasers work like that destroying sight and restoring it again. A real oxymoron like most of the other morons in my group sitting back and wasting my time but not really theirs ‘cause something has to be valuable to be wasted and they just smoke and flirt and drink and puke while I pick up all the slack and get them the good grades they’ll use to slip into some top engineering office just because they have looks and style and I’m a peter jackson rehash who cares more about what I do than how I dress but that doesn’t really matter to the big dogs when it all comes down to it I’ll end up in a basement corner like dan aykroyd in spies like us what a loser he was just like me wish I had a photon pack to fry these leeches and cage them in a red electronic prison ‘til another politician comes around and spoils everything and sets them loose again they’re like cockroaches that’ll follow me around the rest of my life ruining my image and making my life hell…

…I should’ve stayed at hq and held those incompetent’s hands and changed their diapers but I would have smashed their own crap in their faces and made this test work instead of standing here in the dark cold waiting to prove my research and make a name for myself that my group will steal and use to get themselves into the jobs I deserve when they’re the kind of people running the show so no wonder this country is so screwed up run by shiny-shoed politicians instead of people like me who really have a clue what’s going on and how to fix things but I’ll fix them good with this laser when it hits a gas pocket in the ozone and refracts a light that makes them think we’re under alien attack and I’ll save the world with my death ray because I’m the only one who knows how to kill an alien by frying its brain which isn’t hard to do because it’s so huge stop thinking about it they’re probably probing my brain right now I’ll ruin everything—

* * * * *

The purpose of this exercise was to create a stream of consciousness from a photograph. I chose the guy with his eyes open in the following picture.

January 16, 2012

"The Gate" - Exercise #1

"The Gate"
by Terron James

My life was usually boring. Every second droned past in a common blur. Occasionally—and I do mean without any hope of frequency—the scene would change. Instead of seconds, people would pass by. Just as slow. Just as common. They rarely stopped. They barely even glanced in my direction. They were terrified of what lay hidden above my shoulders. Don’t misunderstand me. It wasn’t my speared crest or my cold steel. It wasn’t even my menacing blackness. It was the vision I protected. What lay hidden behind me. I could see it in their eyes. They were grateful for me. For the barrier I provided. My job was to keep people out, but sometimes I wondered if it was the other way around. Few crossed past me, but far less ever returned. Sometimes I could hear their screaming. Most times I heard nothing at all.
My Master had a bad reputation. Much worse than mine. Twice as sharp and thrice as cold. He had no friends. Only contacts. A herald here. An embassy there. The rest were usually bound in irons, too poor and too stupid to know any better. They should have paid their taxes. They should have found a way. If nothing else, they should have run away. As far away as possible.
That’s why the wretch surprised me. I’ll never forget that night. A raging thunderstorm had descended, leaving me engulfed in thick, wet darkness. A woman appeared on the road, hunched over and clinging to a gnarled staff. The toes of her ragged boots left long lines in the mud as she dragged each foot forward. She trudged up the road with no apparent destination.
I sunk into the darkness, hoping to remain unseen.
It’s times like those when I wished I could talk. The woman’s wrinkled eyes peered up at me from under her drenched wool cloak. She set her pursed lips and turned in my direction. Moments later, she was rapping on my face. I willed her away, but it was no use. The sentry let her in and escorted her to the keep. To my Master.
I knew I’d never see her again. I was right… well, in theory.
A woman did eventually return a decade later, but it wasn’t the same woman. At least she didn’t look the same. If anything, she was the exact opposite. She held no torch, but glowed with a bright, yet tainted light. While rain poured down from the heavens, not one drop touched the satin in her emerald gown or the tight curls of her red hair. Mud fled from her velvet slippers, along with all other signs of darkness. Except for the silhouette behind her. It thrashed through the shadows, writhing in pain and snarling its protest. It wasn’t until later that I learned the horrible beast was my Master.
Forgive me. I shouldn’t speak of my Master that way. He was a good man… a good… a…
Where was I? Ah yes. My mouth hung open in a wide gape and my Master followed the fairy past me. He hugged her ring of light, desperate and pleading. She turned and scowled at me, then tapped her staff on a rock and disappeared.
People say everything changed after that, but I never saw much of a transition. My Master looked a bit different. That’s about all.
Then the merchant showed up—and left again with a wagon full of prized jewels and linens. The beautiful rose in his hand caught my attention the most. My Master loved and protected his garden, so I naturally suspected the merchant was a thief. Then I saw my Master following after the wagon, waving his paw and baring his sharp teeth in an uncanny smile. My Master’s actions were strange, but his presence was even more unnerving. He never left the keep. Never.
I didn’t understand what happened that night. Not until the young woman returned.
She introduced herself as Belle, the merchant’s daughter. The dots finally connected for me. Even as a beast, my Master still longed for a queen. So he bought one. Belle would be his wife.
I have only disobeyed my Master’s orders once, on the night Belle ran away. Her tear-filled eyes reflected off the mirror in her hand. It was too much for me to bear. Even with my Master’s prized ring around her finger, I had to let her go. I just had to.
I never saw Belle return, but she must have climbed over a wall. Only two weeks after she ran away, wedding bells rang from inside the keep. I suspected that the stablemaster’s brat had been causing mischief again, but then my Master appeared. He had changed back into his original self and Belle was at his side with a shimmering crown on her head.
For the second time since my creation, I gaped at my Master and he hurried past me with a stunning woman. I’m glad to say that Belle never disappeared. I don’t think I could’ve handled the strain it would have put on my Master. My old hinges are just that. Too old.

* * * * *

The purpose of this exercise was to push myself past my limits. To try something new as I retold a fable, myth, fairytale, or moment in history with an unexpected point of view. I chose the original story of Beauty and the Beast (not to be confused with the corrupted version of Disneyfication).

January 13, 2012

Another Free Giveaway of Insight!

I'm giving away a FREE copy of Beholders: Insight on my facebook author page today! Check out the link below to find out how you can win!

January 12, 2012

Stansbury High School Winners!

On December 1st, 2011, I posted two separate writing contests by students at Stansbury High School. It's been a crazy month, but I'm finally getting around to posting the results. Sorry for the delay! Thanks to all the participants as well! They were all great entries!

The poetry contest winner is entry #3 - "Success in Life" by Wyatt Woodard.

The winner of the short story contest was tricky. It ran as a three-way tie between entries 1, 2, and 4, so I had to call in late tie-breaker. The final result was entry #2 - "Magic Mayhem" by Caitlin Belle Martin.

Congratulations to both winners, who will both win a free Beholders t-shirt and this post on my website to their story & poem. A permanent link to this post will remain here.

Now, without any further ado, here are our two contest winners!

"Success In Life"
by Wyatt Alan Woodard, age 16

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?

"Magic Mayhem"
by Caitlin Belle Martin, age 16

    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.

January 5, 2012

Dungeon Crawlers Radio interview with Terron James

I was contacted by Dungeon Crawlers Radio over the weekend. They have invited me to do a 45-60 minute interview on their internet radio show on Monday, February 13, 2012. It will be all about my fantasy novel series, Beholders.

(from Revan, producer of Dungeon Crawlers Radio)
We broadcast our show live from a local gaming store here in Salt Lake which is great for us and the gaming store. We have had RA Salvatore, Tracy Hickman, Brandon Sanderson, Margaret Weis, and many others on our show. The store is Epic Puzzles & Games located at 3612 W 4700 S #4 West Valley City UT 84129. The show starts at 6:00pm MST. We would like to start the interview at about 6:15pm MST and run the interview for about 45-60 minutes.

Listeners can access the show by going to and clicking on the audio player on the right hand side of the screen. We can also accept callers and they can call in to (626) 226-1475 and ask any questions.

January 4, 2012

Book 2 - Rough Draft Complete!

Just want to take a moment and announce that I just finished the rough draft of the 2nd book of Beholders! The name of book 2 will be True Sight.

Well, time to jump into editing. I'll keep you posted on my progress, but as of right now, True Sight is scheduled to be released in early spring 2012.

January 2, 2012

Recap of Cedar City Tour

This is a long time coming, but I've finally found some time to post a recap on my tour to three schools in Cedar City, Utah. This recap was written by my father, Allen. Both of my parents joined me on the tour and I couldn't be more grateful for their help!

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Terron and his parents, Allen and Debbie, made an eventful trip to Cedar City, Utah on November 14-16. On Monday, they barely made it on time to Three Peaks Elementary because they were pulled over for speeding. One of the difficulties of looking for an unfamiliar location is noticing all road signs so as to not break traffic laws. Such was their plight as they missed the speed limit sign. Allen asked the police officer if he would follow them to the school that had just come into view and, surprisingly, the officer obliged. Terron and Debbie hurried into the school as Allen faced the long arm of the law. He didn’t realize that a teacher from the school, Mr. Hunt, had gone over to the police car and pleaded for leniency since they had driven a long way to help the school. It probably didn’t hurt that Officer Dunn is the brother-in-law of the author, Brandon Sanderson.

Terron was a little worried about the first assembly for the students of grades K-3, since their reading and writing skills are still emerging at that age. However, the assembly went very well as it followed the theme of expressing your imagination. It all started with some great fun when the principal and teachers selected random props to create an on-the-spot improv story. After being assigned a general topic, each person contributed to the story line and then passed it to the next participant. The students were then awestruck as Terron shared his prior experiences before he became an author: a teenage detective, king, hobbit, Jedi Knight, dragon rider, wizard, and sorcerer. They finally caught on when Terron told them that things didn’t always work out as he once experienced a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. At their tender young ages the kids were able to understand that these experiences can happen when they become immersed in literature.

The 4th and 5th grade students also enjoyed their assembly and weren’t fazed in the least when the school’s power-generating windmill couldn’t keep up with the electrical needs of the school, resulting in a 10-minute power failure. Actually, the timing of the power failure was perfect. The lights turned out exactly when Terron began reading the students’ Mad-Lib story about college werewolves.

The next day, Terron did 2 workshops at Enoch Elementary with the 4th and then the 5th grade students. A handful of students especially enjoyed sharing the stories they had written for their classmates. A cool thing happened when Terron agreed to stay after school for students who forgot their money to purchase a discounted copy of Insight. Two 5th grade boys burst into the school, having run all the way home and back again. Their passion for reading was evident in the smiles on their faces as they tried to catch their breath while expressing the satisfaction of knowing they had returned in time.

On the last day, assemblies were held at Canyon View Middle School for the 8th and then 6th grade students. One new element was added where Terron effectively taught students that one of the most valuable benefits of reading is creating one’s own images while interpreting the printed words. An exercise was presented where a description was read from Insight (Omar’s description of a kelsh), followed by the illustration from the novel. When the students were asked whether the illustration was exactly what they had imagined, only a few hands went up. The point was effectively made and followed up with another reading of a mountain clearing where a 16-year-old girl was taken after she was kidnapped. A contest was announced where the students were invited to go to Terron’s website and request the same reading so they could illustrate their personal interpretation of the scene. Obviously, the variation in the pictures they submit will drive home the idea of the diversity of individual imaginations. All illustrations will be due before the month ends, then they will be posted and judged by website viewers with a t-shirt being awarded for the entry receiving the most votes.

These students in Cedar City were the some of the most well-behaved, attentive and impressive to observe of all the workshops Terron has conducted. The school hosts were also very accommodating and gracious, making the road trip even more enjoyable.

Written by Terron’s father, Allen James

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Now for some pictures. Sorry about the darkness in some of them, but the power did go out, you know. :)