Book Review: Come Forth in Thaw by Jayson Robert Ducharme

Come Forth in Thaw by Jayson Robert Ducharme

Genre: Dark fantasy / horror

Self-published novella, to be released February 2021

5 of 5 stars

I was captivated by this powerful story that I read in a single sitting. At just over 100 pages, this little book delivers a solid punch of emotion and horror…

Synopsis: Desperate mom, Ellie, goes in search of her depressed teen son in New England’s Adrienne Forest State Park (a fictionalized version of Japan’s infamous Aokigahara “suicide forest”). There she discovers the strange and creepy Tinker man who collects trophies of the dead. Promising to help her find her son, he sets her out on a quest through the horrors of the forest that holds the pain and suffering of those who died in it and also acts as a beacon to those who hold similar pain in their heart. Hoping that her son hasn’t become a statistic, Ellie ends up having to face her own truths as to why and and how she ended up amongst the trees of that dark forest.

I was absorbed by Ellie’s journey and felt both her desperation and fear as she searched through the strange and, at times, quite frightening forest. There was a jarring twist to the story about 3/4’s in that I absolutely didn’t see coming and not wanting to spoil the book for future readers, I have to say that I forgave the writer for that (!) as the story transitioned smoothly and expertly into its second act, where we discover Ellie’s tragic reason for being in the forest.

I particularly enjoyed the character the Donneur Vie, the Soul of the Mountain, that communicates and consoles the dead who wander the forest and really appreciated the purposeful lack of romanticizing mental illness and suicide. The message/ meaning of the story truly shone through for me at the end and for that reason, I hope that it is read by a wide and receptive audience.

Kudos to author Ducharme for this excellent book. I look forward to checking out more of his work!

My books are FREE this weekend!

“I don’t move the stars for just anyone.”

To start the new year on the right foot (eg: with a good book!), all four of my books are FREE this weekend on Amazon (see links in titles and because of a glitch, Elegant Execution will be free on Jan. 2 & 3rd). Go and grab a copy of each Friday, January 1st thru to Sunday, January 3rd and I hope you enjoy!!! Happy 2021!!!!!

Hope Quest book 1: Blackbird: Fourteen year old Hope Quest knows that the abusive life she leads with her alcoholic grandmother is not the only one she’s ever had. With a face full of scars, a heart damaged from a lightning strike as a toddler, and only able to speak in a whisper, Hope is desperate to find her “voice”, to discover the truth of her life.

Encouraged by her cousin, Onyx, to break free from her grandmother’s control, Hope’s life begins to unravel when an attack at a party awakens another secret ability – the power to pull stars from the sky – and opens a terrifying black hole over her lightning scar.

Escaping with Onyx and their motley group of punk friends to attend a three day music festival, StarFEST, Hope discovers her long-lost brother is Blackbird, an enigmatic rock star, who leads her down a dark and dangerous path to self-discovery.

Hope Quest book 2: The Lightning: Picks up exactly where book 1 left off after Hope’s tumulutous experience at StarFEST ,where she encountered Blackbird and discovered both her star-moving abilities and her dark history with him, she must now navigate life with the knowledge of her strange origins while her unique abilities continue to grow and strengthen. The arrival of a new photography teacher at school presents new challenges when Hope learns there is more to her family than Lennon let on. With her 15th birthday looming, Hope discovers that the family cult is seeking her return. Will Lennon come “out of the dark” to help save her from the family he took her from as a toddler or will Hope be able to find the strength to save herself?

Elegant Execution is my first poetry and dance photography collection and is a very personal piece of work created as a way to heal from childhood trauma and abandonment.

The Stars Went Out was my follow up collection of poetry and my dance photography. It is a blend of literary and visual art, creating a unique and memorable dreamscape.

The Innovators with…..author Eme’ Savage

Introduce yourself and your books.

I am Eme Savage author of The Genesis Chronicles. I write soulful fantasy with mysticism, magic, and mayhem. “Echoes of the Gidat” is my debut novel about a King with unnatural powers, the genocide of the Gidat, and a boy who is the subject of the Third Prophecy. “Tetarul Parallel” is the second book in the series about a young woman with a dark past who comes into possession of a magically enhanced book which will show her the role she is to play in the Prophecy. I also have a short story called “Elegy of the Gidat” which is also part of the Genesis Universe.

Tell me about The Genesis Chronicles: when was its “genesis” and where do you think the story/world/characters came from? What inspired them? What draws you to them?

I love that! There are two timelines that are woven together throughout the series. The Genesis Timeline is the one that came to me first. I grew up on 80 acres of woods and farmland. There is a crik that ran through our property. We would go down there and look for fossils and artifacts. I imagined what it might have been like for the first people who lived here and the story ran from there.

The Omega Timeline came later. The characters took on a life of their own, as they often do. I am drawn to really soulful, philosophical tales that focus on the idea that there is something bigger than ourselves at work. Each story is part of a larger arc but has a theme within them that pertained to a certain time in my life. “Echoes” is about the loss of innocence and finding your purpose. “Tetarul” is about knowing your worth and overcoming trauma. I’m still working out the main themes for my current WIP, but I wanted to bring my own voice as a person with a disability to the table. I am drawn to complex characters mostly because I’m a complex character. Epic fantasy is so often about good vs evil, but the reality is there are shades of gray in everyone. The villain believes they are the hero of their own story, and the heroes aren’t always pure with their intentions. I’m drawn to characters who make mistakes, have insecurities, and they all at the end of the day want to be seen for who they really are. 

As for the world? Worldbuilding is relaxing. I can get lost in developing topography, culture, language, and history for hours. I put a quote from the various books that exist in this world and the beginning of each chapter. I would love to read the Tome of Torcici. It’s quoted quite often. I’ll let you know when I write it. I’m endlessly researching how prehistoric tech might have worked and how people might have lived in that time period. It feels familiar because it is earth-like, but there are notable differences in the world I created. Magic is real, there are sentient beings other than humans, and there are floating islands. I believe that if you build a good world, that the characters will come from that environment and then the plot will drive itself forward.

Why fantasy? What draws you to write in that genre?

Fantasy provides an unrestricted way to process the world. Mental leaps come when we allow ourselves to imagine the improbable or the impossible. I end up in the most interesting places when I allow my mind to wander. I put myself in other people’s shoes and try to understand where they are coming from and what circumstances led them there. I take complex ideas, and issues and process them through the lens of fantasy. Such reflection has led me to a more positive and peaceful place. Don’t we all do that when we watch shows and read stories? Well, maybe not everything. Sometimes an escape from reality is just that, an escape. And that’s a good thing too. Reality can be too much at times.

What role does creativity play in your life? Besides writing, what other creative pursuits do you pursue? Who or what inspires you?

The act of creation is everything. If I can create in whatever form, then I have a sense of well-being. I have been sewing almost as long as I have been writing. There is something soothing about the feel of fabric, the crinkle of pattern paper, and the detailed work necessary to give the project something unique. I specifically enjoy costume design. I was the costume designer for youth theater programs for five years. I put together over 500 costumes in those years, everything from Hairspray to Addams Family. Right now I’m creating a cosplay of one of my iconic characters, The Lady. I’m posting once a week on Wednesdays showing the process I’m going through to get it ready in time for Halloween. I would say my Ma has a lot to do with my love of costumes. She was not a consummate sewist, but she found ways to make these elaborate costumes. My favorite was when I was a peacock. It was a blue sweater with blue tights. She handstitched peacock feathers to my backside, and to a band on my head, created a beak out of painted cardboard, and put my Da’s yellow farm gloves on my feet.

What is the best part of being an indie author?  What is the most difficult part of being indie for you?  What is the best piece of advice you can give to aspiring indie authors?

The best part is the amount of control I have over my work. I decide how it should look, what the content should be, and how much I want to charge. But the best part is interacting with readers. It feels intimate and wonderful. It tickles me to no end when someone pulls a quote out of my novels and tells me what they got out of it. It surprises me every single time. The worst part right now is marketing. It’s a steep learning curve, but I will find a way to master it like I have all the other parts of the writing process. The best advice I can give to aspiring indie authors is to not compare your work with someone else’s. Comparison is the death of creativity. The only thing you should be comparing your work to is your previous work. We are all at different places in our journey. We should be viewing that as something to aspire to, and not a commentary on how much we have yet to do or that we are somehow lacking. You are doing great! Keep going! You absolutely got this! The writing community is so helpful. Sure there are a few bad apples out there, but for the most part, people are so helpful and encouraging. We need that since writing is such a lonely profession. 

What is your superpower? Do you use it for good or evil?

Connecting ideas and things that don’t seem to connect at first glance. I found I have a knack for predicting the socioeconomic effects of public policy. And yes, I did use it for good. I wrote a series of articles on austerity policies, jobless recoveries, tax policies, monetary and fiscal policies, and the global economy.

What was your favourite childhood book or author? How did it/ they influence as a child? And now as an adult?

This one is easy. Madeleine L’Engle is my all-time most influential author. My 4th-grade teacher read “A Wrinkle in Time” to us and I was hooked. That was when I started writing fantasy and SciFi. I loved how the mystical, fantastical, and scientific would intersect in her world. The Time Quintet is the finest series out there. It was true then and it is true now. She was a true pioneer. Women writing science fiction/fantasy was not that common, and having a female protagonist was even less common. “Many Waters” is my favorite. It is a Noah’s Ark retelling, and that sparked my imagination. I reread the novels years later, and I was stunned at how much her writing influenced my style.

What upcoming projects are you working on? What do you want readers to take away from your books? Where can readers find you?

Right now I’m revising the third novel in my series called “Mirror of Ettek”. It picks up where “Tetarul” leaves off with imminent war on the horizon in the Omega Timeline and the aftermath of the Beast Attack in the Genesis Timeline. Both MCs have endured serious physical injuries and are looking for a way to cope. Sakedos possesses a magically enhanced Mirror. He hopes to glean some significant insight into his own situation by watching Vitos’ story unfold. 

I plan on drafting the Scifi companion novel during NaNoWriMo. It will dovetail into the fantasy series. We will learn more about Etevun, the Gidat Tree, Mercy, and the Voice. I have a working title for it, but we’ll see where it goes. I’m very excited about this idea. 

I want you to think about them long after you put the books down. I want at least one idea in there to stick with you and keep you awake pondering the deeper meaning of life. Every reader has taken something different away from these books, and that is what I find so interesting. People from different walks of life and different parts of the world finding their truth in these pages.

You can find me on Instagram and Twitter under the handle @eme_savage, on Facebook as eme.savage, Goodreads as Eme Savage, and both books can be found here: Amazon.com as an ebook, paperback, and on Kindle Unlimited. 

The Innovators #4 with………Author Billy Ray Middleton, Jr

Introduce yourself.

My name is Billy Ray Middleton Jr. I am the author of ‘The Silhouette’ and do a podcast called ‘Blabbercast.’ I also occasionally do Instagram videos/podcasts @ ‘AuthorBillyRay.’

When and why did you start writing?

I started writing around thirteen, mostly thoughts, feels, poems and things of that nature. I liked playing with words and getting things out when I felt the urge. It’s therapeutic to spill your mind on pages.

What role does creativity play in your life?

Creativity is important for me since there are so many things I won’t experience, so in my own worlds I can experience anything I want. Also, I like going outside of the box and creating a unique style of art, whether it be writing or working with video. I enjoy the term ‘Chaotic Beauty.’

Tell me about The Silhouette: who or what inspired the story and characters and why a Lovecraftian romance?

The Silhouette went through many phases over the years, and as most artistic works, it kind of becomes like a child to you. I had an idea for a girl who was physically damaged but still very sweet through her trauma when she could have easily rejected the world that was cruel to her. I asked myself a question, ‘Is love physical more than anything else?’ I wanted to open the door to a curious question of the word ‘Love’. I wanted to put two characters in a situation where they never saw each other, but were right next to each other where only their words and little ticks were on display. Basically, loving someone 100% for only them, the real them, not the external sexual stuff.

The book fell into the Lovecraftian style since it was the best fit for it. I wasn’t thinking about Lovecraft as an inspiration when I wrote it. The book simply fell into it. I’ve always enjoyed the not-knowing aspect of his works and others who do the Lovecraft thing. Our minds do well with blank slates and mysteries.

When and why did your podcast start? Who or what is featured?

In 2013, me and my closest friends started ‘Blabbercast.’ My best friend really wanted to do one and since I can never shut the F up it seemed right up my alley since I talk a lot. I enjoy a Kevin Smith vibe or Howard Stern. I don’t like filters, I know people think different and speak different in private, I always say ‘Let it out. Act like its the glorious 90’s still. This era of fake-ness is lame.’

Who or what inspires your writing?

I actually hated reading since everything was so wordy and never got to the point. So my first inspiration was to try to take some of that out and write more screenplay-like. I like dialogue, and I use it. I like fun and scenes that move, not blabbering on for ten pages about nonsense. The indie books — (yours did this great, Melanie {awe, thanks Billy}) — moved at a perfect pace; I really have enjoyed those reads without the corporate machine behind them F-ing everything up. In fairness I have read some I liked that were mainstream. I love William Peter Blatty, I thought the Exorcist was mind blowing. George R. R. Martin is great as well. I found the Game of Thrones books pretty quick since he moves it quickly or makes scenes, at the very least, interesting.

Any writing quirks?

I don’t have many quirks. I never have had writers block, I just have the ‘I don’t like it’ thing and I never write to just write, I need it be acceptable to me, and then hopefully a lot of people enjoy it, but I need to enjoy it and have fun, whatever happens after that is meant to be or not.

Best advice for other indie authors?

My best advice is to have fun. Ignore all the BS writing rules. They don’t exist. Period. Have good grammar and ‘Do you’ as they say. Don’t be put in a box. Don’t worry about reviews so much either. I found most people review poorly and are hypocritical. If their favorite author wrote something incognito and they were told it was an indie author, they would be extra harsh on it. The look on their face when they found out it was their favorite author? Mind blown! LOL Obviously reviews are important as is people’s opinions. I just feel people in the literary world are too constrictive. That doesn’t work on me.

What is your spirit animal?

A dog. I don’t know if my explanation will fit in with the spirit animal thing, but when I see a puppy my heart sings. My black heart turns red, and I smile and must pet it. I love them. Their loyalty is far superior to humans and it is true unconditional love.

Favourite author and book?

George R. R. Martin – A Song of Ice and Fire, It’s just such a massive accomplishment and I had so much fun reading those for two-months. His dialogue is just so good, and the imagery is fantastic.

What are your upcoming projects?

The newest novel is on the way. The Nicest Parts of Hell – I am not giving too much away. All I can say is I am going to some strange places. Rockstars, psycho’s, serial killers, and blood and love. A lovely Friday night.

Thanks Billy! Check out The Silhouette on Amazon. A highly recommended read that I really enjoyed!!