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 www.DungeonCrawlersRadio.com 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!

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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