tamar hela

New Release: Prompt Me Reading Log & Analysis

This last school year I took on a new endeavor: homeschooling two elementary kids. Overall, it went really well, but there was one area of frustration. My kids hated answering lists of questions and didn’t always want to discuss the chapters they’d read. My solution? I wrote a book.

Prompt Me Reading Log & Analysis by Robin Woods

Drawing on my two and a half decades of classroom experience teaching literature–I came up with several prototypes using my kiddos for guinea pigs. Don’t worry no harm came to any children. ;o)

My kids both love making lists and drawing pictures. So, I incorporated what not only my children like, but also what worked in my high school classroom.

There’s room to log 10 books chapter-by-chapter. And, you never have to chase a bunch of papers around! All their notes stay in this easy to use workbook.

Prompt Me Reading Log & Analysis by Robin Woods | Sample pages

State of Things

The turkey is in the oven, the table is set, and the kiddos are coloring place cards. Now I have my first few moments of peace since early this morning. So, first things first, Happy Thanksgiving!

If you need a gravy recipe for later today, I have a great one! Robin’s Easy GravyEasy Gravy


Second, here’s a little update. It’s been…well, a really, really long time. Bad writer, I know (shuffles feet and looks down).

Life has been extraordinarily busy this school year. I’m still teaching high school and college classes in American and British Literature. Additionally, who knew that first and third graders would have so much homework? I’m spending my afternoons I am working on some projects, just slowly. I’m afraid I’ve missed my deadline for Light & Shadows: Watcher Series Shorts and Extras. Being late kills the perfectionist in me (Argh!).  I did complete a 25 page prequel extra with Joshua in Romania with Gabriel, Kez, and Samael. The book is still in the works, it will be out sometime in 2017. I may add a little post-The Fallen extra for those of you who have been asking. If you are dying to have something included, send requests through my contact page.

I am also working on my second Prompt Me book. Here is the cover reveal! (more…)

Prompt Me Novel: Writing Workbook & Journal

I’ve been teaching English for over two decades, so putting together a writing book seemed a natural progression. Many of the charts and reference materials were items I created for my own writing. Use Prompt Me Novel to map your novel. This book is full of tips and graphic organizers to keep you moving in the right direction.

I’ve been sharing them with my writer friends for years, so they encouraged me to add to what I had, and get it out to the general public. I hope you find it as useful as I have.

Note: I use one of these books for each of my novel projects. It helps keep me organized.

Prompt Me Novel Front Cover

Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook

“This workbook provides a space for you to journal ideas and thoughts for your next–or first–best seller. Robin not only shares her knowledge gained by years of experience, but thoughtfully gives space for writers to reflect and hand-write their ideas and moments of inspiration.” –author and editor Tamar Hela

Writing a first draft can be daunting. This workbook provides guidance for key elements of fiction writing that help create a cohesive novel. Additionally, it gives writers powerful reference resources to create an emotionally authentic work and the space to hash it all out in one, easy-to-carry book.

Workbook Sections Include

  • Brainstorming
  • Outlining
  • Plotting
  • The “Tent Pole” Method
  • Character Worksheets
  • Conflict
  • Setting
  • Lined pages for easy journaling
  • Reference
  • And more!

The old cover>>>

Printable Plot Diagram

Plot Diagram WS thumb

Reference sections include:

  • Common publishing terms and abbreviations
  • Using numerals in text
  • Clichés and newbie errors
  • Symbols and symbolism
  • Synonyms
  • Self-editing checklist and beta readers
  • And more!

Here is a free PDF of the Plot Diagram Worksheet for personal or classroom* use: Plot Diagram WS

Where to purchase:  Amazon US
Add to your GoodReads here.

*If you use this free PDF for your classroom, there is no need to ask permission. I simply ask you do not trim my copyright information off of the bottom, thanks.

Page Samples

Fiction Workbook by Robin Woods Samples

What would you like to see in a writing workbook and journal?

Related Articles

Books by Robin Woods
Graphic Design Resource: Free Backgrounds & Textures
8 Tips on Dialogue
Word Count 101: How Many Words in a…

Prompt Me Series Covers
The Prompt Me Series is available on Amazon and other online retailers.

Author Interview: Robin Woods

I have a special guest on my blog today. She’s no stranger here, but it’s been a while since I’ve hosted her. Please give a warm welcome to novelist, Robin Woods, author of The Watcher Series. She’s sharing about her latest projects, giving some author/writer tips, and letting us know a bit more about her life. Enjoy!

Robin is also hosting an eBook giveaway…

Click here to read the interview and enter the giveaway.

Writing: Abbreviations & Terms

When you stick your toe into the publishing world, you are immersed in a whole new set of jargon.  Admittedly, I had to look some of terms and abbreviations up, but others I knew from being an avid reader.

I recently had this conversation via text with one of my beta readers:


After that little exchange, I thought I would post a few. Enjoy!

Common Terms and Abbreviations in the Publishing World

ARC = Advanced Reader Copy

ASIN = Amazon Standard Identification Number (So, an ISBN exclusively for Amazon)

Epigraph = A quote at the beginning of a book or chapter that usually sets the tone.

Epilogue = A postscript that takes place after a novel or play that gives closure about the fates of the characters.

MS = Manuscript

POV = Point of View

Prologue= An introductory scene that precedes (comes before) the first scene of a novel or play.

Proof = A physical copy of a book that is still being tweaked

RRP = The recommended retail price

WIP = Work in Progress

Did you know that most publishers in the U.S. use Chicago Style? Many writers use MLA or APA because that is what they used in university, but those styles are designed for the academic world.

Did I miss any common abbreviations? Please comment 🙂

Update: This website has a searchable database of acronyms.

Related Topics:

How many spaces after a period?
Self-Editing in 9 Easy Steps by Tamar Hela
Books by Robin Woods

Author Interview: Tamar Hela

Welcome to my blog interview with novelist, Tamar Hela, author of Spirit Lake and The Wrong Fairy Tale.

Hello, Tamar,

What books have most influenced your life most? 

TamarHelaGreat question! So many books have influenced my life, as well as my writing style. Since I read such a large variety/genre of books, I’ll share the ones that come to the forefront of my mind at the moment: The Narnia Series (CS Lewis), The Icarus Deception (Seth Godin), Pride & Prejudice (Jane Austen), The Seven Sleepers Series (Gilbert Morris), The Knowledge of the Holy (AW Tozer), The Harry Potter Series (JK Rowling), The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas), The Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan), The Pendragon Cycle (Stephen R Lawhead), The Princess Diaries (Meg Cabot), Little Women (Louisa May Alcott), & To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

What are your current projects? 
So many right now! I’m trying to get to the next installment of my Spirit Lake Series (book 3). I plan on having it finished this spring so it can be in edits during the summer. I’m also working on a SciFi, Epic Fantasy, and Assassin/Rom-Com type of book. I’m super excited about these projects and hope to finish them all—first drafts, at least—this year.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest (or first) book? 

Funny you ask that. I’m actually working on my first book again. I’m stripping it apart and reconstructing. I think that when you are an artist, you’re always looking back at your work, thinking of how you can make (or could have made) it better. Since I was independently published in 2012, I had the freedom to go back and re-examine my first book. I wanted to make the characters older, make the dialogue less pretentious, as well as make the overall story arc have more at stake—more danger, more to lose.

So . . . since I’ve just signed a contract with a traditional publisher, Cosby Media Productions, I’m now busting my butt to get my first book rewritten and up to par for a re-release (which will actually be its third release since 2012). Now that I’ve been writing for 5 years and have also edited a bunch of books for my clients, I have learned so much more about the craft of writing—probably more than any class or workshop could ever teach me.

What is your favorite motivational phrase or positive saying?

Hard to choose! But here’s one that’s been a long time favorite: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman

So, I decided to mix it up a little. Tamar has answered the following questions on video:

What was the hardest part of writing your book? 
Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Do you write an outline before every book you write? 
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
What inspired you to write your first book?

THIS OR THAT: The Speed Round

 Which do you prefer – Reading or writing? Both!
Writing during the night or writing during the day? During the night, when it’s nice and quiet.
Reading an eBook or print? Both. I’m not a purist. 😉
Buy books online or buy in a bookstore? Online.
Writing from home or someplace else? Depends on my mood. 🙂
Weather: Hot or Cold? Hot
Music or Silence? Music
Classic Fairy tales or Fairy tale retellings? Retellings
Chocolate or Vanilla? Umm . . . wine? =P
The Beach or The Mountains? Beach
The World being taken over by zombies or sexy blood sucking Vampires? Vampires, obvi.
Time Travel to the future or Past? Future
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter
Being able to fly or being able to go invisible? Invisible
Bookmark or Dog-eared? Both.
1st character POV or 3rd character POV? Depends, but I typically write in 1st.
City or Country? City
Pen or Pencil? Pen
Books or Movies? Books
Coffee or Tea? At this point in my life: Tea with cream
Manicure or Pedicure? Pedicure all the way!

 How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website (you can also hire Tamar to be your editor here!)/blog: www.tamarhela.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thelabooks

Twitter: @helagirl

LinkedIn: Tamar Hela

Pinterest: helachick

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/Tamar-Hela/

Spirit Lake: http://amzn.to/1OF0VhR

The Wrong Fairy Tale: http://amzn.to/1uGoD2I

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/TKHela

My Top 6 Fave Reads of 2014

reading challenge

GoodReads Challenge Accepted … and completed!

I took the GoodReads Book Challenge last year and managed to complete it, even with my chaotic schedule.   Okay, 26 books may not seem that impressive, but considering I wrote 1.5 books, edited my own and two others for writing partners, taught full-time, and chased around my awesome kids. I wear 26 books as a badge of honor. I just wish I could log a set of graded essays as a book. If I could do that, my list would be very impressive indeed.


So, I will shut up now, and get to my list.

6. The One by Kiera Cass, the third novel in The Selection Series
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Romance
This whole series is well-paced and always fun. The story is predictable enough to make you feel safe, but there are enough twists and turns to keep you interested. The characters are well-developed and likable. It is the fluffiest read I have on my list, but gosh darn it, sometimes I like fluffy! It does have heart.
Parental Note: PG


5.  The Wrong Fairy Tale by Tamar Hela, the second novel in The Spirit Lake Series.
Genre: Young Adult, Adventure, Fantasy