Sunday, August 12, 2012

Featured YA Author – Mardi Orlando

I’m happy to introduce you to our first Featured YA Author, Mardi Orlando. A woman of many talents, Mardi has written several YA fantasies, wrote and illustrated children’s books, and a book of poetry.

She studied psychology and teaching, and teaches art and music to children of all ages. Mardi recently received an Arts and Literature Grant from the East Gippsland Shire Council for her contribution to the Arts. She has also travelled extensively and found that an open mind is essential in all walks of life. Mardi lives in Lakes Entrance in Victoria, Australia with her husband of 15 years. Her newly published novel Secrets of Ghosts is a haunting fantasy for young adults.
What’s Secrets of Ghosts All About?

‘Something is trying to disappear me and I do not like it. It feels like I am being slowly undone.’

In 1917, at the age of 14, OSCAR ghosted at the frontlines of Passchendaele Ridge where he fled to escape the loss of his entire family. Now, trapped in limbo, he is hiding in an abandoned church with his gathering of ghosted orphans trying desperately to find a way to save their souls. He is more powerful than they know but his determination is more damaging than he realizes. Through Static Recordings they call for help but slowly they are forgetting everything. 

Sixteen-year-old DAFFODIL uses crystal to change her spirit and has escaped the Institution where she was sent after both her parents died. The abuse may have been difficult but it just may have prepared her for her first mission with The Secret Society Of Gifted Teens – a task that MADAME GLISZNORT has carefully orchestrated to save her Lost Children (the ghosted orphans responsible for the mysterious sightings in Blackwater that threw the town into an irrecoverable contest so long ago). Even death cannot release her from her obsession; after all, she has more than a vested interest in the outcome. And now she has located the most gifted teenagers, and trapped them in this lost place where she must manipulate their fears so that they can access their gifts and do what she has been unable to. Their survival is unlikely – for that would mean they would have to destroy the Shadow – a teeming whirlpool of hatred borne from a place of such human darkness that it turned Blackwater into a ghost-town so many decades ago.

Now, stranded in the icy wasteland of no-time and encirled by a dense mist, with six other gifted strangers Daffodil must figure out a way to free these ghosts’ souls and to do that she will have to get her companions to expose the secrets that have tragically haunted their own lives. It is the only way they will source their gifts. It is the only way they will survive. But first they have to destroy the Shadow. It feeds off misery and shame – and there is plenty of that here. When JAKE finds the old radiola VIII in the church attic and realizes he can hear the ghost’s recordings in the static, the group is thrown into a battle for survival – for the lost souls, for themselves, and for the future. And time is running out.

Motivation to Write Secrets of Ghosts

Mardi heard some strange stories about the WWI era, and when she began to investigate, she was amazed by the unbelievable devastation (approximately 20 million deaths due to war, illness, starvation etc.). She knew she just had to write something about it. There were so many mysterious tales, which had her looking up old newspapers, and that is what gave her the idea to relay the past via the front pages of a newspaper.

The story is told in three parts: The present day where seven gifted teens are stranded in no-time; The front pages of the Blackwater Herald Moon Tribune, which tells Madame Glizsnort’s trials with the ‘mysterious sightings’ that become her Lost Children; and Static Recordings, which reveal the ghosts’ cries for help.

What Made You Self-Publish?

She has now self-published several books. At first she did it because all she heard was about how hard it was to find a traditional publisher, and was really worried about how her creativity would cope with rejections—so she never tried. In fact, she had so much fun being an Indie author that she just kept going. Mardi has total control and can make her own covers, add her own illustrations and design the book the way she wants it to look. Now she has really taken to social media, especially Linkedin, and is having a ball with all the great groups. She has met so many lovely and supportive people that she feels like a part of a team. Mardi can’t believe how many great self-published authors are out there (She has read so many) and she wonders… maybe this way is even better.

Links to Purchase Secrets of Ghosts:

Blog – Mysteries and Curiosities:

It was a pleasure having Mardi Orlando as a Featured Author. I want to first congratulate her on her art grant, and second, thank her for being a part of Pay It Forward. Now help me tell the world about Mardi Orlando -

Young Adults and Secrets,

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