Author Interview – Marcus Liotta

Hello my little demons, I interrupt your Sunday with another Author Interview…

I also want to apologise for missing posts, work has been getting progressively busier and more stressful, so on my days off I tend to find a dark corner to hide in…

But, I hope this new blog post makes up for it. Because today I have an interview with another fellow author, one who has quite a few similar interests as I do… and I don’t mean that we’re both authors… Say hello to Marcus Liotta!

About Marcus Liotta

As well as being an author, Marcus, who is originally from Chicago, IL, works in Information Technology (as he calls himself; a ‘Technocrat’), defining himself as a Programmer, Hacker and Social Engineer, as well as a public speaker (rather him than me!)

He also seems to have a long list of hobbies and skills, from Philosophy, Psychology, Archery and Survivalism. He even has some legal skills (I feel the need to explain he’s not BAR registered, just to avoid any future confusion).

Adrift

Although Marcus has managed to scramble together words into stories a few times, from novellas to short stories (I’ll leave some of his links below for you to check out), but I just wanted to quickly tell you about his most recent works, ‘Adrift’.

I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi, especially if it entails space and all things thus contained in space (okay, I like spaceships! There, I said it!) and this one really has the feel of the ‘Expanse’ series (written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck – pen name James S.A. Corey – also a TV series), I mean, you read the synopsis and the interview below and you tell me…

Synopsis:

The silence of space can be overwhelming. It can drive a man to madness. When one is consumed by the Empty, a region beyond the reaches of known star maps, there is no rescue.
In the vast Empty, nothing can be trusted.
A scavenging crew discovers this first hand when they ransack an aged provisioning vessel. Far from any possible civilization, they encounter something more deadly than they could have ever imagined.
They should have known better.
Often, this place is where starships go to die.

Check it out here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08VGPM99K/

Interview

What’s your current book about?

My most recent work, “Adrift“, is a Dark Science Fiction novella about the perils of space travel. A scavenging crew finds more than they are prepared for when they board a derelict vessel, one who contains a deadly secret.

Can you tell me a little about the main character(s)?

The main characters include a muscular blonde woman who doesn’t take heat from anyone, yet also finds herself treating a flying utility drone as a puppy dog. The drone, a massive human-sized machine with sleek metal of a black obsidian sheen, it always hovers nearby and comes when called; but that glowing red eye never blinks.

What got you into writing?

I was always pushed to write when I was very young, given my active imagination. Later, I continued to write short stories and participated in Dungeons & Dragons (or other role playing games), as a Game Master – crafting stories of Monsters, Magic, and Mayhem. That was really enjoyable and kept me writing in my spare time.

Do you use a pseudonym? If not, have you considered it?

No I do not. I considered it but the negatives seemed to outweigh any positives.

How do you deal with criticism?

I assume the critic is correct in some perspective and considered how to better my writing. If someone responds very poorly, they may not be interested in providing criticism but rather use the review process or a twitter / author contact response as an output for their own internalized-anger. It is important to accept and understand that many who are unhappy project internalized-anger onto others, and into much that they do. Once one realizes this, it is easy to accept another individual for who they are and what they do, while not becoming annoyed or aggravated by their words.

Do you play music while you write – and if so, what’s your favourite?

Yes and no. I often write in silence, but at times when specific scenes are benefitted by listening to a theme song for them, I will listen to a specific set of music for the section. Often, this is non-voice and dramatic music intended for a specific sort of action or dark (creepy) sequence.

What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

A Wizard of Earthsea“, by Ursula Kay Leguin. This book is an amazing adventure and depicts the struggles of Good and Evil, in vivid detail. It is a perfect book to demonstrate the need to accept the consequences for one’s actions, while learning how to cope with the grief of both failure and how to face one’s own demons.

What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

A story that can steal one away from the world and wrap them in a newfound reality is important. This means that integrating a Good Plot, Interesting Characters, Twists the reader never saw coming, and being Consistent in a Story is key. Consistency means both keeping character behavior the same unless some development would sensibly change them, but also not pursuing a plot which would create holes in the story arc. At the same time, consistency also means not introducing new plot mechanics which could cause a reader to lose their ability to suspend disbelief (and take them out of the reality a writer creates.)

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I’m a Hacker and Programmer, so often my hobbies revolve around code and computers.

Do you write every single day?

Yes, but not always on a specific project. I work on my blog, poetry, various short story concepts or stories for my paintings I often post.
When I am working toward publishing a project I absolutely work on it every single day, whether it is writing or editing.

Where do you get your ideas?

I take pieces of our own reality and twist them, shaping them into something that is similar but not as we would normally see..

Are there any themes in your work you are trying to portray?

I love detailing the conflict between Good and Evil, and how one must fight to be a better person.

Do you have any projects you’re working on at the moment?

I am working on a horrific book relating to a small town and terrifying ordeal that some must endure. A newcomer brings all sorts of terrible reasons to fear an otherwise uneventful town.
I’m also working on another piece relating to Fantasy; both Magic and Dragons.

~~~

If you would like to learn more about Marcus and his works,
or follow him on social media, here are a few links:

marcusliotta.com
twitter.com/marcusliotta

~~~

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thegirlwhowhispered.com

facebook.com/TheGirlWhoWhispered
instagram.com/thegirlwhowhispered/
twitter.com/penny_hoops

The Girl Who Whispered – The Next Chapter

A few of you may already know about my history (and why I call myself The Girl Who Whispered), and I won’t bore you with the details now. But the jist is, I was a very shy girl growing up and as a result I was so shy at school that I became very quiet. I was bulled because I was an easy target and to communicate with friends, I would whisper quietly to them to avoid being heard by the bullies. This progressed into secondary school and I became The Girl Who Whispered.

Well, that shy girl has changed so much since then, she’s no longer shy and she certainly doesn’t whisper anymore. In fact, I am now more confident and willing to speak up for myself. I do so by proving to myself that I am not stupid, like my bullies told me, and I use my writing as a way to express myself and important topics.

Yesterday was my very last day as an Open University BSc Psychology student, I handed in my very last assignment (I actually handed it in on the 30th, as I was worried about the internet going down in this isolated village! But technicalities!). I eagerly and a little impatiently await my results.

I hope to gain a 2:1 grade overall, because if I do. I will be heading to my next chapter of my educational path… a Master’s Degree!

I also am progressing with my writing, I have had a few people comment on my published book (It’s My Mistake) saying that they really enjoyed reading it (I’ll add a link to the bottom of the post if you’d like a copy), I have also had comments about my first draft of ‘I fell in Love with a Psychopath’ which is up on WattPad (also at the bottom) and I am currently in the process of sorting a cover letter and 3,000 word synopsis to send my ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ series to a literary agent. I have one already picked out and plan to do more research to find others.

Someone said to me today, my luck is turning around.

I hope so. ❤
Here are the links:
It’s My Mistake (UK Paperback): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709

It’s My Misake (US Paperback): https://www.amazon.com/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709

It’s My Mistake (Ebook): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

I fell in Love with a Psychopath (WattPad Draft copy): https://www.wattpad.com/story/137106427-i-fell-in-love-with-a-psychopath%7E-complete

WattPad profile: https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16
(Where you can read my other written works)

Also, please check out my other posts for sneak chapters of Rose Garden Sanatorium).

Potential Career pathway – Data Scientist

 

Recently I’ve been really considering what to do after I have completed my Psychology Undergraduate Degree at the Open University, and when I first got into the degree, my initial idea was to just explore the subject because of my interest in Psychology and Criminology.

I went through stages throughout my undergraduate degree learning, thinking about becoming a Forensic Psychologist was one, and although I had since talked myself out of it – because, let’s face it, I’m not really a people person! I have since come to the conclusiong that I really love a) working behind the scenes and b) statistics!

I have a few options, some more to do with psychology than others:

1) A neuropsychologist,
2) A Forensic Scientist,
3) A statistician,
4) A Research (in another field other than neuropsychology),
5) Investigator/Intelligence (E.g. National Crime Agency) or
6) Data Analyst or Data Scientist.

I came across a Data Scientist only recently – I can’t even remember how I came across it, only that it was recent – and as such I’ve become increasingly interested.

I wrote about it on my Facebook account and I even started a small discussion with a friend in America about it and after a small conversation about my past experiences (the fact I did a National Diploma in Computer programming (and got good marks too!) and have on a number of occasions proved that I can problem solve independently – one example is that I recently create an Open Sesame experiment as part of my last psychology degree project and I was telling my tutor how to work it!) and not to mention that my interest for problem solving, statistics and maths in general, he actually agreed that Data Science was a good career path for me!

So, with that in mind, I have since gone onto EdX, a Free Online Courses website which has top universities on there – such as Harvard and Berkley- and I have found there are a few courses on Data Science and Data Analysis, one such course is actually a Microsoft Professional Program.

I’m currently auditing the Introduction to Data Science course and I have to admit, my interest for the subject is only increasing!

Here is the link to the course if you are reading this and interested yourself: https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:Microsoft+DAT101x+1T2018/course/

So far I have got as far as the speakers importing a small data file into Excel and running a few simple Excel functions to clean and analyse the data, most of which I already know from doing a previous course on EdX, but I am going to continue watching the videos and going through this short introduction course to see what else being a Data Scientist involves.

The good thing about this career path, is not only is a well paid job and a challenge (I do like a challenge! I got bored as a simple Administrator!) but that it is in High Demand, especially since the emergence of Big Data but also that it’s universal to different companies and organisations. Which means, I could use these skills to combine two or more of my above career options; for example, I could be a Data Scientist for a governmental organisation and work within an investigations/intelligence environment!

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Copyright ©2020 Penny Hooper
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the author.
Penny Hooper has asserted her right under Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This story may contain sensitive themes that some readers may find difficult to read.
These themes include, but are not limited to:
Scenes of a sexual nature
Strong language
Rape / sexual abuse
Alcohol abuse

Chapter 1

“Mrs Mark?” I heard someone call. My head shot up from my mobile phone.

Miss! For the last time, it’s Miss! I thought from within my panic.

I groaned and stood up from the uncomfortable plastic chair that I was sitting on and walked extremely nervously towards the two beady and judging eyes that were staring at me.

The woman who owned the eyes held open the looming door for me to walk through. It was the same door that people before me had walked through and had eventually reappeared looking scared shitless but with a mix of relief that the torture was over. I trudged through it self-consciously and into the room that laid in wait.

I woke up feeling fine this morning. Better than fine, I was excited. I knew I had this meeting, it had been circled on my calendar for weeks. I counted down the days. I deliberated for hours, if not days, over what to wear. I had my hair cut the weekend before. I’d even had my nails painted, not something I was too keen on doing. It was a waste of money in my opinion. But I wanted to look the part. Have every chance of acing the day. I told myself over and over that I would ace the interview and I would finally get a job in a hotel. A job I have wanted for years!

But after watching those worried and upset looking faces pile out of the room I was about to enter, my confidence slowly disappeared. These people looked way smarter and even more confident than I am before they entered. I was way in over my head.

Especially when I had this obnoxious woman finally give me the usual up-and-down look like she had given all the others. Maybe the casual yet slightly formal look wasn’t the best look to go for?

After the hours I had spent in front of the mirror, risking running late for my interview, I had finally decided on this look. I had gone through a number of dresses; from really smart dresses to dresses with those girly plaits in them. I tried a dress with a cardigan, a dress with a blazer. Until I realised it was a little cold and wet today in London, and tights didn’t seem to be working for me. So, I settled on trousers instead. But smart trousers looked too smart, jeans looked too casual. My expensive black shirt I got from a Debenhams sale that was now two years old, also looked too formal—I looked like I was about to go to a funeral. My pink blouse seemed too girly and gave the wrong impression. Even plain t-shirts looked too casual. It took me three hours to finally decide.

I walked in, nearly tripping up as my heel caught the edge of a carpet tile and I stumbled into the room. I felt the palms of my hands go instantly sweaty.

I was being stared at by three faces. Silently judging no doubt. One of the faces was of a woman with pursed lips and glasses with a thick rim hanging onto her thin nose, her hair was short and wiry, as if attempting to look young and hip but failing miserable. Next to her was a slightly younger person, a man this time, but still much older than myself judging by the greying hair on the sides of his head and his thinning hair on top. I would have said he was in his late forties. But the other man had caught my attention; he was handsome. A thick square jaw, cleanly shaven, piercing blue-grey eyes under a small mat of dirt-blonde hair. He also wore a curiously wicked smile on his face as if he was amused by my appearance.

You and me both fella.

I stole a glance at myself in the reflection of the large mirror wall behind them. I looked stupidly under-dressed suddenly. I should have gone for a dress. Or maybe my trouser suit that I had left discarded on my bed. I was wearing black jeans, purple court heels and a plain black t-shirt with a deep purple blazer over the top. My long brown hair looking a mess because I had been sat running my sweaty hands through it nervously.

“H–hi,” I stuttered, when I realised no one was saying anything. Maybe it was up to me to start this interview? Maybe this was part one of the test? Had I failed already?

“Mrs Mark, it says here that—” started the older man with the greying and thinning hair. He looked down at some paperwork in his hands as he spoke.

“Miss,” I corrected confidently, interrupting him speak.

The man looked up from the paperwork and glared at me. I felt my palms getting sweatier. “Excuse me?” he frowned at me.

“I–I’m not Mrs Mark, I—” I started, but got interrupted.

“You’re not Mrs Mark?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at me. “Then, who are you?”

“No, I mean, I am, but I’m not—” I got interrupted again.

“Deborah called for Mrs Mark, why have you come into this room if you are not Mrs Mark?”

“No, wait, you misunderstood!” I panicked. This was going terribly wrong already. “I’m single, I’m not—”

“That’s good to know,” the young handsome man suddenly said. I glanced at him and saw he now had a large grin on his face. I gulped. Was he grinning at me?

Yeah, probably because I am an idiot for even thinking I could get this job.

“Look, whoever you are I suggest you—” the woman started, but she got interrupted. Not by me though.

“What’s your name?” asked the handsome man, sitting forwards on his desk and curiously staring at me as if he was talking to me and ignoring the others in the room. I felt suddenly warmer than usual. His bright grey-blue eyes were gazing right into mine.

“It’s Miss Mark, not Mrs.”

The woman and the older man both sighed in union as the young man gave out a hearty laugh.

“Why didn’t you say that then!” snapped the woman.

“I tried…” I sighed.

“You just assumed she was someone else, Mirren,” said the handsome man, sitting back in his seat, looking casual yet confidently business-like. But his searching eyes had not left my face. “You just assumed that she came in here after someone else’s name was called and didn’t give her enough time to actually explain. In fact it is our mistake for wrongly assuming she was married, it can actually be highly offensive.”

The older woman sat up straight suddenly and looked visibly upset that she had been caught out being rude to someone, even the other man looked a little taken aback, his face even went a little pale.

“But she did just stand there and stutter!” the woman named Mirren started to defend herself. “All she had to do was say that her name was Miss Mark and not try and hit on the men in this room by telling them she’s single!”

“I don’t think—” the older man started, but got interrupted. This time by me.

“Excuse me!” I snapped. I knew this interview was pretty much ruined now anyway, so it was pointless trying to be nice to these people, and I certainly wasn’t going to let them get away with insulting me! “I walked into this room feeling a little self-conscious. I’ve been looking forward to this bloody interview for weeks. I really want this job, so I was a little nervous!”

“Dressed like that?” the woman whispered and snorted a little, after composing herself from being spoken back to like that. I don’t think she intended me to hear her.

“I’ll admit; looking at how overly dressed you lot are, and the other unsuspecting idiots out there, who have dressed in suits, I do feel just a tad underdressed and out of place. But I didn’t want to be one of those in-your-face suit dressed women in high heels trying to show off my tits to get the job”—I realised too late that my voice was getting louder—“but after meeting you, I feel that actually I’m not right for this job, and my full and undivided commitment would be wasted here in this company and I’d rather find another hotel that accept me for my experience and drive and not because I wore a suit that I’d be stupidly uncomfortable in anyway!”

I span round and went to leave the room without another word, but something else got my attention; the carpet tile I nearly tripped on, it was clearly poking up looking frayed and menacing waiting for its next unsuspecting victim to trip on it. I wondered how many people had already nearly tripped over this obvious health and safety risk. “And for fuck sake, sort these damn carpet tiles before someone trips and hurts themselves!” I finally stormed out of the room without another word.

~~~
Updated: 13/09/2020

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~

If you’re interested in reading more, it’s now available in e-book and paperback.

Don’t forget to like, reblog, share, comment and/or follow!
You can check out my other photos on my Instagram, see the link below.

thegirlwhowhispered.com

facebook.com/TheGirlWhoWhispered
instagram.com/thegirlwhowhispered/
twitter.com/penny_hoops

Waiting to hear from The Princes Trust

So, I sent an email to The Princes Trust today. After speaking to a good friend of mine who said my idea was fantastic, it really encouraged me to make my dream a reality.

So, within 5 days, I should get a call from someone at Princes Trust to discuss my business plan. They might be able to help.

If you haven’t read my previous blog post, I will explain briefly. I have this big and very ambitious idea of opening up a hotel chain which has the sole purpose of helping the homeless population.

It saddens me to see people living on the streets, by probably no fault of their own. Yes, I know, some of them are probably drug addicts, but we need to stop pointing the figure of blame and recognise that drug addiction is a mental health issue or at least a form of escapism. I escape reality by diving into a good book or writing my own, but everyone has their way of dealing, and sometimes people turn to drugs and then get themselves stuck!

Anyway, I won’t go into too much detail here, but my aim is to help these people. And if I cannot go straight into the hotel business, then I’ll start off somewhere else and smaller. A hotel is rather ambitious, especially for someone who doesn’t have business knowledge let alone knowing how to run one!

So, for now, I’ll leave that there, I’ll keep you posted with what happens! 🙂

Business/Charity idea

I was reflecting open this social enterprise company in Scotland this morning, they’re mainly based in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but are hoping to expand; they’re called Social Bite.

Click here to go to their website.

For those of you who don’t know, Social Bite is a social enterprise which sole purpose is to change social issues, mainly homelessness in Scotland. They’re a cafe/sandwich chain of shops in these cities, where people can just go to get a bite to eat, but people can also donate money to put aside for homeless people so they can go in and get something to eat. They also stress that 100% of their profits go towards charity, they’re soely driven on making social change!

One of my favourite celebrities gave them a visit once; Leonardo DiCaprio.

I think it’s a fantastic idea, I’m always worrying about our homeless population, and I feel that our government isn’t doing enough to help them, so my heart goes out to the founder of Social Bite.

Other musings I’ve had in the past, in terms of helping our homeless population, usually end up with me saying, “If I get rich, I’ll buy a hotel to home the homeless!”

But I thought this morning, why do I have to be rich to be able to do this? Yeah, I’ll work hard on my book in the hope that it becomes successful and maybe I can use the profits of this to this advantage, but I cannot just assume that I will be a successful author. Besides, I don’t want to be driven to write a book that is soley for making money, it’s for a hobby.

Anyway, back to the point, I know that it’s possible to set up a charity and I could go about it that way to make a change with homelessness (oh, it doesn’t stop with homeless, by the way, I have other areas I’d love to help in, environmental issues, mental health, animals, etc, but I can’t focus on all of them at once, I’ll go mad!) but everyone does this, and in today’s world I see there are too many charities, and some exploit an issue just to pocket a £200k+ yearly wage and then give charities a bad name! So a social enterprise may be a better idea.

So my idea…! Skip right to the point here, what if I were to get a loan (yeah, not a bank loan, I know, they won’t help!) and just buy a hotel business, and turn it into a social enterprise where people can pay to stay at the hotel, and if they want, put money aside for a homeless person for a night. I could offer employment to the homeless people too, work in the kitchens, work in the bar, work in admin, etc, train them up. On the premise that they move on to bigger and better things!

Only, the issue is, I have no experience working in a hotel, let alone running one!

BUT… I am seriously considering this! I can even see potential areas of expansion, a school/university for homeless, hair dressers on site, give a free space to social bite on site too to help them, a joint effort to tackle homelessness.

Although I start thinking up other ways to help other issues, mental health issues, drug addictions, reducing crime, climate change, refuges. But these are all possible ‘expansions’ upon the initial idea.

If there’s anyone out there who know much about running a business, a hotel maybe? Or can offer advice, support or ideas? Feel free to message me! PennyRoseHooper@gmail.com

Off to make this book a worldwide best seller for now…

Why blog? Second time lucky?

I started a blog once, not that long ago actually. Called it ‘The Girl Who Whispered’ (there’s meaning in that, I’ll come back to it another time), but after my insecurities managed to wrap their hands around me again and I got too deep into a pool of personal commitments, I found the idea of blogging about my life narcissistic and deleted the whole thing. Well, I think I managed to save the blog posts to my hard drive, but they’re hidden from public eyes now.

But while I was browsing the internet for ideas on how to get more readers for my up and coming book, I read somewhere that blogging is the best way to attract new readers. So, here I am again, writing utter dribble in an attempt to self myself and my book (stay back insecurity, be gone with you, you ugly thing!)

One of my insecurities (I like the idea of a little devil on my shoulder shouting things into my ear, it goes with the theme of my book too) told me that I’m not a writer, I can barely write a decent essay for my BSc Degree, so why advertise frequently how inappropriate you are? Not just with writing, but as a human being too!

But then I mentally flicked that little bully off my shoulder and said; “Who care? I like to write, even if it is dribble?”

One reason why I have decided to stand up tall with writing/blogging came from inspiration from a fellow bloggers post about her love for writing, and it made me think; well, if I’m not that great, the only way you are going to get great is by practice.

So, here I am, practicing!

Hopefully as time goes on, I’ll get the knack of this blogging lark and I won’t be consumed in my insecurities and delete this one. Onwards and upwards!