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A Dragon, a Dragon

If you can’t produce a ghoul or a ghost for Halloween then the next best thing is a dragon, right? 

Oct 31 AR Dragon Pauline Baird Jones Facebook

If you can’t produce a ghoul or a ghost for Halloween then the next best thing is a dragon, right? 

So here is Here Be a Dragon

When I first pondered what pet would own Emma in “The Real Dragon,” my story that was orginally published in the first Pets in Space anthology, I had a flamingo in mind. I was born in the ’50s and have apparently gone back there (according to the hubs). Flamingos are popping up all over my house, on some of my promo materials and even in my books. 

But the nature of flamingos is to gather in herds and I would feel bad if I took one from its herd. Of course not taking one means I’d have to work a bunch of flamingos into a short story…

***Head explodes***

So I started looking around for an unusual pet to kickstart my Muse. 

And found the bearded dragon.

It turns out that bearded dragons, in addition to their cool factor, are nice pets to own. They don’t breathe fire. Or fly around. They are affectionate and fairly easy to care for (if you don’t mind buying bugs, which I kind of do mind).

There are lots of interesting facts about bearded dragons, but I’ll try to stick with just five since this is a blog post, not a book: 

It turns out that bearded dragons, in addition to their cool factor, are nice pets to own. They don’t 

1. Bearded dragons originated in Australia.

2. They like it HOT.

3. They don’t just eat bugs, they eat live bugs. One of the live bugs they like to munch are cockroaches. (Our cat was also supposed to do this but instead fled in terror from them. This would be a huge plus if one didn’t have to buy the cockroaches for the bearded dragon to eat.)

4. The most accurate way to tell if you’ve got a boy or a girl bearded dragon is—wait for it—to look under their tail. (If you want to take a look, here’s a link. CAUTION: once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see it.)

5. Bearded dragons display a hand-waving gesture to show submission and their beards can flare to show dominance.

Like my human characters, the simple act of choosing a bearded dragon had an interesting effect on my story. Peddrenth flowed into Emma’s life in a very dragon-like way and he impacted her— his human pet—in ways that certainly surprised me. I know he surprised Emma.

Peddrenth slithered around. His paw waved, more like permission giving than submission this time.

“Where have you been for the last eight years?”

I sounded more curious than freaked out, which surprised me, because I was pretty freaked out.

He shouldn’t even be alive. A bearded dragon had a max life span of twelve years. I got him for my eighth birthday and I would be twenty-six in a couple of days. You do the math. On the other hand, he wasn’t supposed to be typing or talking, so the life span thing felt moot.

“I have been absent four hours and some minutes.”

“And eight years.”

He’d disappeared the same night as the accident. My fingers curled into my palms. I didn’t remember much about that night, except that when the dust settled, Peddrenth and my mom were both gone. Losing them had changed my life almost beyond recognition, but whatever. I’d moved on. Without actually moving on, since I still lived at home with my dad. From “The Real Dragon”

So, would you be willing to buy bugs for your “owner?”

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