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Archive for June, 2016

What’s white and red and slimy all over? A baby dragon!

P_anguinus-head1

Actually, it’s a salamander. This amazing creature is a cave-dwelling amphibian found throughout the Dinaric Alps of the Balkan states. Proteus anguinus grow 8 to 12 inches long, with tiny limbs and feathery gills below a pointed snout.

Adaptations to its chilly subterranean habitat include nearly white skin and small, primitive eyes. However, it has evolved other senses to help it find prey, typically snails, crabs, and similar cave creatures. It is completely aquatic and resembles nothing so much as a white eel with legs. An olmĀ takes 14 years to reach maturity and they are believed to live up to 60 years.

Olm are also called Proteus, from the scientific name, and Human Fish because of its coloring. In periods of heavy rain, olm can wash out of their caves and appear in rivers and streams. According to legend, people already thought dragons lived in the caves. They reasoned that these unusual creatures must be baby dragons.

Olms are heritage animals in Solvenia, where they have appeared on coins and in tourism campaigns. BecauseĀ their cave habitats are very fragile, they are listed as endangered and wildlife biologists study them closely. This led to the recent release of a video showing a “baby dragon” hatching. Check it out here.

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Yes, I’m back from MisCon with a heart full of fire for writing. The last few chapters of Outcast Order await me.

There were frustrations over the weekend, of course. My trusty Nook connected with the hotel’s wireless on Friday, but after Saturday morning it kept telling me there was a network but no Internet. Thus I wasn’t able to tweet during the weekend as I usually like to. On the other hand, the hotel TV had a 24-hour Harry Potter marathon showing, so that was fun for the quiet times.

Friday was my workshop on “Description to Die For.” I was imagining maybe 6 people would show up, but I got a full room — 18 people! All of them seemed to enjoy the writing part and they asked great questions.

Saturday panels were also excellent. We had a lot of fun with elevating dialogue and building worlds. By Sunday I was feeling fatigued, as expected for a con Sunday, and I don’t think I contributed as much to the panel on anthologies. However, I did manage to pin my publisher down on my own anthology’s schedule. Yay for the Green Room!

Also, I found a neat piece of art by Patricia McCracken. Her dragons have butterfly wings and a distinctively insect-like appearance. Check out her gallery here. The print I bought isn’t shown, but you’ll get the idea what her work is like.

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