Author Interview ~ Tammy Ruggles

I’m excited to introduce author Tammy Ruggles to my website. If you have any questions for her, that I don’t cover in my interview, please comment below and she will respond.

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  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name? Tammy Ruggles, but I’ve written as Miss Tammy for my children’s book, and some fan-fiction too.
  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I used to be a social worker in the child/adult protection areas, and I loved that job, but had to retire from it due to becoming legally blind. That’s when I started writing professionally.
  • If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like? Trailers mostly, but a couple of apartments and houses too.
  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? Cooking.
  • What is your greatest dream? To be remembered fondly by my grandchildren.
  • What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you? I wish I could be a perfect person, but making mistakes stops me.
  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? Yes, he died, but I still think of him often.
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? No certain person inspired me to write, I just started on my own at about age 12.
  • What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not? Yes, I had 3 dreams come true. One, to be a social worker. The second to be a professional writer, and the last one was to become a mother.
  • Who is your role model? Jesus Christ, though I never measure up.
  • What is your greatest fear? Losing loved ones, which is always hard.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? Back when I could read regular print, it was print books. But the larger fonts of eBooks makes it easier. And audiobooks are SO wonderful for a visually impaired person.
  • Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so, what was it? The King James Bible. And “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy.
  • What is your opinion of novellas? I love them, as I lean toward shorter works.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? No, I don’t think so.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book? I don’t have a favorite.
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment? I don’t have a favorite.
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? EL James, because she started in fan-fiction too.
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? I am on hiatus from reading, but it would be audiobook most likely. My most recent is fan-fiction by various authors.
  • If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why? Edgar a. Poe, Emily Dickinson, Peter Benchley, Harold Robbins. I like their writing.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  • What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? Starsky and Hutch Next Gen Series, Episodes 1-8. The sons of Starsky and Hutch carry on the legacy in their own unique way.
  • Is the above book part of a series? I’m not sure yet. It could stand on its own.
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)? I tried to find pictures that matched the characters, and I put it together myself.
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? No, I prefer silence when I write, but if I like music when creating in other ways, like A Perfect Circle, Beck, Bob Marley, Tool, and some southern gospel. Even American Idol’s Wade Cota once in a while.
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? Based on the characters being the next generation of Starsky and Hutch.
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? 

  • In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her? There are two leads, Davis Starsky and Kent Hutchinson.
  • What is your character’s greatest strengths? Davis’ would be his resilience and willingness to learn and change. Kent’s would be his empathy and willingness to help others.
  • And what are his/her greatest weaknesses? Davis’ would be that he’s impulsive, and Kent’s would be that he feels guilty about things he has no control over.
  • What are some of his/her favorite foods? Davis’ would be pizza, and Kent’s would be Triscuits with goat cheese.
  • What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has? Davis doesn’t realize his inner strength, and Kent doesn’t realize that it’s okay to be vulnerable.
  • Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? I hope readers like them and see them as individuals instead of copies of their dads.
  • What first gave you the idea for your latest book? I wanted to explore the world of the next generation of Starsky and Hutch.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? I’m somewhat of a plotter, but not heavily so. I start with a beginning, middle, and end, then write a scene list of things I’d like to have happen, and them fill in the blanks as I go. I am definitely open to change, though, and have made some eureka changes along the way that take the story or character in a completely different direction.
  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time? I think writing is the easy part. It’s promoting that’s hard. I think if I had it to do over again, I would just hire one PR person instead of trying to do it all myself. It’s very time-consuming, but it has to be done.
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? I am a published Indie author now, but my very first book was a paperback traditionally published.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? I have so many books, I think it was just easier and faster to go the indie route. I’m kind of impatient, and put out a lot of work, so Indie works better for me.
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Write for yourself. It may be cliché, but it works for me.
  • Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts:
  • You mentioned fan-fiction writing. Do you think it helped your journey to publication? Not really, since I kept my fan-fiction writing separate from my professional writing. I even wrote under different names. In the early days of fanfiction, it wasn’t something to put on a resume or discussed in an author interview like this. But the success of EL James and others has made it easier for writers to discuss it.

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Interested in writing your own novel? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel

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#MindfulnessMonday 4/29/19

Today’s #MindfulnessMonday Tip: It’s important to recognize your strengths so that you don’t allow yourself to be defined by your weaknesses.

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Check out today’s #MindfulnessMonday video to learn how to choose self-love and stop negative self talk. You can check out the video by clicking HERE!

With that little piece of advice, I give you today’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Talk About Your Strengths!

With a close friend or loved one, start a conversation by explaining that you want their true and honest opinion, then ask the question, ‘What do you think are my key strengths?’ Listen, without interrupting. Then, think about their answer, ask clarifying questions if you need to, try engaging in an open dialogue so you can see yourself the way they see you. Don’t judge their opinion, take it in – and be willing to take a complement when given.

Mindfulness Journaling Prompt: After you’ve completed the ‘Talk About Your Strength’ exercise, take five to ten minutes of quiet time and create a list of your strengths. These should be the strengths you see in yourself as well as the strengths your loved ones and friends say that they see in you – Even if you don’t believe them just yet. Then, once a day, I want you to pull out your list of strengths and read over the. This shouldn’t take long, but over time it will help you to change the way you see yourself so that how you define yourself shifts from focusing on weaknesses to focusing on strengths.

Mindfulness journaling can be very private. However, if you are willing to share your thoughts with me and my readers, I would love to invite you to comment below and let me know how today’s exercise made you feel and what strengths you found others see in you that you maybe didn’t see in yourself.

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Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

EPISODE 17 ~ Choosing Self-Love!

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Invisible

Would you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.

My 2 Cents… The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

SisterhoodTitle: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) 
Director: Ken Kwapis  
Writers: Ann Brashares (novel),  Delia Ephron (screenplay), and Elizabeth Chandler (screenplay) 
Stars: Amber Tamblyn (Tibby), Alexis Bledel (Lena), America Ferrera (Carmen), Blake Lively (Bridget), and Jenna Boyd (Bailey)

Genre(s): Comedy/Drama/Romance

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4)

STORYLINE:
The movie is based on the young adult book, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Anne Brashares. As four best friends spend their first summer apart from one another, they share a magical pair of jeans. Despite being of various shapes and sizes, each one of them fits perfectly into the pants. To keep in touch, they pass these pants to each other as well as the adventures they are going through while apart. Written by Stephanie

MY 2 CENTS:
I didn’t really expect much from this film; a little entertainment, some laughs, but not much else. I mean, come on, the premise is a magical pair of pants that bonds four girls together and keeps them close even when they go their separate ways for summer vacation.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The cast; Amber, Alexis, America, and Blake played four uniquely different characters, who in any given high school would probably not have remained friends for as long as they did. However, this movie made it work. Either through good directing or good acting, their relationship as close friends since birth was believable.

Again, the story of a magical pair of pants was a bit over the top. However, the things these girls had to deal with during their summer vacation; travel, falling in love, pain, illness, loss, the loss of virginity, family struggles, and so much more are all very real topics in the lives of many youth these days. The mystical element of magical pants allowed the film to connect all of these issues seamlessly; allowing us to travel across the world with each girl as they follow their own path AND maintain a connection to their small-town friendships in the process.

I think the secret weapon in this film was Jenna Boyd, the young actress who played Bailey. Bailey enters Tibby’s life as this young, annoying kid who keeps tagging along trying to help with Tibby’s documentary film. At first Tibby doesn’t see the importance of Bailey’s presence. It isn’t until she discovers Tibby is dying that she really starts to notice their friendship and how important it is to recognize the beauty in those around us and in life itself.

I’m not going to lie, I cried during this film. Only once, but they were the kinds of tears you don’t feel coming until their rolling down your cheek. The kind that take you by surprise because the emotion sneaks up on you.

No, I don’t think this film will ever be added to my top twenty list of best films ever, but I do think it’s worth the watch.

If you’ve seen The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, please comment below and let me know what you thought. If you enjoyed it, tell me why. If you didn’t care for it, tell me what was missing. If you haven’t seen it, but are willing to give it a shot now, tell me that too.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“You know what I like most about the stars? You look at them, at all of them up there…and you just know there’s gotta be something more…” ~ Bailey

“Maybe the truth is there’s a little bit of loser in all of us, ya know? Being happy isn’t having everything in your life be perfect. Maybe it’s about stringing together all the little things like wearing these pants or getting to a new level of Dragon’s Lair – making those count for more than the bad stuff. Maybe we just get through it…and that’s all we can ask for.” ~ Bailey

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/eIGAxZ3rd-U

You can watch the official trailer here:

https://youtu.be/eV1IkLvTe1I

 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

wonderTITLE: Wonder
AUTHOR: R.J. Palacio

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★★ (5)

GOODREADS DESCRIPTION:
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING JULIA ROBERTS, OWEN WILSON, AND JACOB TREMBLAY!

Over 6 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller WONDER and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face.

The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement.

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

“Wonder is the best kids’ book of the year,” said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

Buy the book HERE

MY 2 CENTS:

WRITING (★★★★★): I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! It is a truly amazing story with a profoundly important message – Choose Kindness!

I read this book because my son wanted to see the movie and I suggested we read the story first. Within the first couple of chapters, I was hooked. It took us only a few days to finish the book and we were both on the edges of our seats the whole time.

I cried… a lot!

Palacio has a beautiful way of capturing the emotion in what’s happening throughout the story. Her writing style is fluid. Wonder can be easily read by young children and still enjoyed by adults. Not an easy task for a children’s author to manage, but Palacio pulled it off seamlessly.

STORY (★★★★★): Wonder is the story of August (Auggie) Pullman, a young boy who has a congenital facial abnormality. Do to his unusual appearance, he has had to deal with a range of reactions from people he meets and others who just noticing him passing by. Kids he encounters, as well as many adults, are cruel. They use hateful, hurtful language, often displaying their disgust without trying to hide it. However, it is important to know – if you are letting your child read this book – that goodness does win in the end. Readers will learn a valuable lesson on choosing kindness and should find Auggie’s story to be both inspiring and emotionally moving.

It is hard to read a story about suffering, especially the suffering of a child. The way the character of Auggie Pullman has suffered all his “life” is devastating. Yet, he keeps a positive attitude in the face of bullying, ridicule, pain, loss, and humiliation. There are days that I wish I was as strong as he is.

This story started the Choose Kind movement and honestly, I believe it should be required reading in all elementary and middle schools across the country and around the world. We could all learn something from Auggie Pullman.

CHARACTERS (★★★★★): Auggie Pullman is the epitome of kind-hearted and selfless. Not only do I feel that the author gave us a completely fleshed out lead character, she successfully brought to life Auggie’s parents, sister, and the school staff and other children around him. There wasn’t a single character that I didn’t feel I got to know, understand, and relate to.

APPEARANCE (★★★★★): The cover of Wonder is simple and powerful at the same time. I’m not sure who designed it, but the minimalist illustration of August (Auggie) Pullman’s face on the cover is perfect.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”

“Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”

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Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

You can check out the Movie Trailer here:

https://youtu.be/Ob7fPOzbmzE

Week 12 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the 12th Edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Writing Wednesday 6

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

• Read the writing prompt below,
• Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
• DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Stella, one of the characters in the novel I am currently outlining. I’m not sure if this will be a selection in the novel, or just part of my character development journal.

Today’s writing prompt:

When was the last time you got lost?

I get lost a lot. Not physically, that would be impossible seeing as I live in a ten-foot by ten-foot room and am followed by armed guards whenever I’m allowed out. No, I get lost mentally. I’ve found myself in a home in the suburbs, on the edge of a cliff, and sailing in the middle of the vast ocean with no land in sight.

A mind is a beautiful thing, but it can also be a very scary place when your whole life is spent exploring the thoughts of others. What I wouldn’t give to just be home. To be safe, surrounded by my family, and loved instead of valued.

© 2019 Nina Soden

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Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with!

When was the last time you got lost?

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51gqQbGYyAL._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel

Author Bullet Journal 8x10 Front Cover

 

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal

#MindfulnessMonday 4/22/19

Today’s #MindfulnessMonday Tip: Savor the positive experiences in your daily life through joy!

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Check out today’s #MindfulnessMonday video to learn 4 easy to ways to savor the positive experiences in your daily life through joy. You can check out the video by clicking HERE!

With that little piece of advice, I give you today’s Mindfulness Exercise:
Talk About Your Joy!

With a close friend or loved one, start a conversation by asking the question, ‘what makes you really happy?’ Take the time to listen to their answer and engage in open dialogue. Make sure you are sharing the experiences you’ve had and the memories you hold onto that bring you true joy as well. Often times, when we first start to talk about what brings us joy, the conversations can be constricted… make sure you open yourself up and don’t hold back –make sure you pick someone you feel very comfortable with.

Mindfulness Journaling Prompt:

It’s time to start your own Joy Journal!!! This can be electronic – in your computer, phone, or tablet – or do it the old-fashioned way with pen and notebook. Take fifteen minutes of quiet time and see how many different things you can come up with (events, memories, people, etc.) that truly bring you joy when you think about them. If you update this journal once a week, you’ll have plenty of things to turn to the next time you’re feeling down and need a little joy boost.

Mindfulness journaling can be very private. However, if you are willing to share your thoughts with me and my readers, I would love to invite you to comment below and let me know a few of the things you’ve added to your new Joy Journal.

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Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

EPISODE 16 ~ Savor the Positive Experiences in your Daily Life!

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InvisibleWould you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.

My 2 Cents… Unicorn Store

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

unicornTitle: Unicorn Store (2017) 
Director: Brie Larson
Writers: Samantha McIntyre
Stars: Brie Larson (Kit), Samuel L. Jackson (The Salesman), Joan Cusack (Gladys), Bradley Whitford (Gene), and Mamoudou Athie (Virgil)
Genre(s): Comedy/Drama

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★
Cinematography: ★★★
Story: ★★
Acting: ★★★★
Overall: ★★ (2.75)

STORYLINE:
A woman named Kit receives a mysterious invitation that would fulfill her childhood dreams.

MY 2 CENTS:
It will pass the time. This movie is more about the message than it is the acting or the script.

Let’s start with the cast. The lineup is pretty amazing. I mean, come on… you’ve got Brie Larson (AKA Captain Marvel) playing the lead – and, oh by the way, she directed the film too, ‘A List’ actor Samuel L. Jackson as the strange yet inspirational Salesman, Joan Cusack as Gladys, Kit’s quirky emotional mom, and Bradley Whitford as Gene, Kit’s caring and insightful father. The cast was great, so I expected the film to be great too. That is where I made my mistake.

I knew nothing about this film when I decided to watch it. I was Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson on the Netflix poster and said, “Yeah ok. I’ll give this a try.”

The idea of a store called “The Store” in the movie, or “Unicorn Store” in the title of the film, being able to fulfill your childhood dreams is somewhat intriguing. But then again, what were your childhood dreams? I mean really think back to when you were a little kid and what was the one thing you wanted more than anything?

The lead character, Kit, wanted to have a pet unicorn. Oddly enough, she carried that childhood dream into her adult life. When I was a kid, I’m sure I wanted a pony at some point or another, but more than anything I think I wanted a chauffeur driven limousine. Do I still want a pony? Probably not. Do I still want a chauffeur driven limousine? Sure, but not enough to follow a mysterious invitation into what appears to be an abandoned building to see if my dreams could be realized.

As I’ve gotten older, my dreams (or rather my goals) have changed. In most cases, I would think this is true for just about everyone. I think it would be hard to find someone with the same goals and dreams they had as a child well into their 30s, 40s, or even 50s and beyond. So, for me, this film lost its reality when we find a 20+ or 30+ struggling artist who still have a very powerful dream of one day owning a pet unicorn.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this movie isn’t just about the pet unicorn or struggle to obtain a unicorn. It’s a metaphor. Behind the weird script lies a message is about belief, I not only yourself but others. It is full of childlike love, ambition, wonder, and even fear. Think of it as a mid-life crisis… a coming of age story about a woman in her late 20s/early 30s struggling to find herself, her purpose, and most importantly her place in life.

This movie is not for everyone, and I don’t really think I am part of the target audience. With that said, I’m sure there is an audience perfectly in tuned to its unique sense of quirkiness.

If you’ve seen this film, please comment below and let me know what you thought. If you haven’t and are daring, I’d love it if you’d watch it and then come back to share your thoughts with me and my readers.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“The most adult thing you can do is failing in what you really care about.” ~ Gladys

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/DTwewG2zwQ4

You can watch the official trailer here: