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Welcome Francis Gideon

A big welcome today to Francis Gideon as part of his blog tour for his new release Fearful Symmetry.

Hi everyone! I'm Francis Gideon and today I want to talk about my recent release Fearful Symmetry.

When I was planning out this story, I had most of the elements that I wanted to use: a bargain with a forest creature, a series of trials, an enchanted forest, and of course, an odd love triangle between a fox-shifter and a tree-creature. Done and done! But it wasn't until I stumbled across the William Blake poem Tyger, Tyger that I realized I had a good title. Here's the section that contains the title:

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?


I first found this poem years ago in my grade ten English class, where instead of discussing how Blake was this awesome painter/poet/mystic, the class became hung up on the off-rhyme near the end of the poem. Snore, right? That's why I totally forgot about it until almost a decade later while writing this novel.

As I wrote, Emmons, the fox-shifter in the story, became the Tyger figure of the Blake poem. The concept of fearful symmetry also gets teased out over the course of the narrative. At first, fearful symmetry is represented through Dryden's mother who insists on the world balancing itself in precise and rather odd ways. Then Otto's determination to keep Dryden inside his cabin because he sees it as a fair trade becomes another twisted representation of the balance in this magical world. It's not until Dryden meets and talks to Emmons that he realizes just how useless the concepts of balance or symmetry really are.

Emmons, when he's not in fox-form, has a scar on his face. This disrupts the symmetrical beauty he has--but Dryden still finds something good in him. Beauty isn't in the physical form, but in Emmons' actions. I've included their conversion in the excerpt for this post because it illustrates one of the central points of the story way better than I could articulate. So I hope you enjoy!

And maybe look up more work by William Blake if you have the chance. He's a lot better than most high school curriculums make him out to be!


Book Blurb:
When something is perfect, it sets itself up to be destroyed, and for everything gained, something is lost.

Since Dryden was young, his mother taught him about balance. While she weaves jewelry to sell at the marketplace, Dryden learns how every unspoiled gem begs to be damaged, just like the universe corrects every misfortune.

But with age and experience, Dryden begins to see the cracks in his mother’s innocent view of life. If she is wrong about balance, she might be wrong about the supposed beast in the woods. Dryden ventures into the forbidden, where a handsome hunter named Otto saves him from a deranged fox and seduces him. But like so much else, Otto has an unseen side, and if Dryden wants to regain his freedom and break Otto’s spell, he’ll have to answer three riddles in three days.

With the help of his mother’s stories and the fox who once threatened him, Dryden must beat the monster and restore balance to his world. But it will come at a cost.

Excerpt:
When Emmons smiled, the lines around his mouth grew deeper. Dryden saw the scar below his mouth, white and taut against Emmons’s skin.

“You know,” Emmons remarked, “I read somewhere—probably in this cabin—that our standards of beauty are based on whether or not we have symmetry in our faces.”

“Yeah?”

“Yes. The space between the eyes, the width of the nose, the way the mouth curves, it all has to be even, be symmetrical, be perfect.” Emmons touched each part of Dryden’s skin with aloe as his speech went on, implying Dryden’s beauty with each stroke. “This impulse is also why we tend to see faces in everything. It’s why two stones on the ground can be eyes and another one can be a nose, and then a line in the sand can be a mouth. So long as there is symmetry, there is beauty, and there is life.”

“That’s quite a theory.”

“It is. You have a near-perfect face, if I do say so myself.”

Dryden laughed. Once, he probably would have found Emmons’s remark flattering. He liked to know his splendor, especially since he so often worked with jewels and made beautiful items. Now the reminder of beauty only brought him sadness and fear.

“What’s wrong?” Emmons asked. “Have I hurt you?”

“No, no. My mother just told me that sometimes symmetry isn’t a good thing. Perfection shouldn’t be strived for.”

“Why not?”

“Because the universe will put things in order. If there is something good, the universe will make it bad. And if something is bad, the universe will make it good. She used to make jewelry. She would always tear or break the piece in some way to make it have a flaw, so we could have good luck.”

“Did it work?”

Dryden took a moment before he answered. “Yes. I used to think she wasn’t trying hard enough to make things beautiful. That maybe she was afraid of perfection. So I made the most beautiful thing I could think of, which was a sacred heart woven together to wear on the wrist. I was proud of it. And then, the same day, my father died. So I know she was right.”

Emmons nodded, though his brows were furrowed. “You know that’s the same reasoning as Otto, right?”

“What do you mean?”

“Otto tricked you. He pretended to be kind when he was cruel. Then he demanded that you solve silly riddles to get yourself out of trouble you never deserved in the first place. But your mother, as much as she loved you, still made you look out for men like Otto when she taught you how to make jewelry that way.”

“I still don’t understand what you mean.”

Emmons paused. “Maybe I’m not saying this right. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have.”

“No. Keep going. Try. I want to understand.”

“When you make something beautiful, you should cherish it. But if someone comes along and rips it up, it’s not your fault for cherishing something beautiful in the first place. It will always be the other person’s fault for breaking something beautiful. You should…. You should never have to break what you love in order to save it. That’s what your mom was telling you with jewelry. And maybe that’s just her story, maybe that’s just her way, but I can’t do that. Not anymore.”

Buy Link:
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6927

Author Bio:
Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He has appeared in Gay Flash Fiction, Chelsea Station Poetry, and the Martinus Press anthology To Hell With Dante. He lives in Canada with his partner, reads too many comics books, and drinks too much coffee. Feel free to contact him, especially if you want to talk about horror movies, LGBT poetry, or NBC’s Hannibal. Find him at francisgideon.wordpress.com.

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WIPs aka the to do list

The Harp and the Sea
One Word
Comes a Horseman
A Mage to Forget
Double Exposure
Dragon's Price
A Sword to Rule
A Wind of Roses
Finding Home
Dreamcatcher
A Year and a Day
Tempus Institute
Jazz Detective
V'lante
Solitaire
Aurora
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