ToucanAndCompanyWhiteAC4x6After some serious thought, I have decided to add something unique to my blogs. Writing about writing is a fairly boring pastime for me because, let’s face it, writing itself is a rather passive pastime. Okay, before any of my fellow authors bring out the proverbial rotten tomatoes, let me say that writing is and has always been a lifelong passion of mine. Besides photography, writing is the only form of creative expression that truly gives me freedom. That said, writing is deeply personal—active and engaging to the writer, but usually passive to the observer. Most observers will not care to watch my progress as I fight to fill a blank page with my thoughts. They do not care how many words I write a day, an hour, or even a minute. Most readers care about only how interesting, exciting, and thought-provoking my writings prove. Readers might care about the information conveyed and you might not. This is your privilege as readers, just as it is my privilege as a scribe to record those things I think are important.

So here is my plan. While I find word counts personally useful, I’ll likely not share them with you all because I don’t want to bore you to tears with statistics (sorry, mathematicians). What I will try to do is to find interesting moments and information linked to the writing process to share with you all. One of the more permanent features of the blog will be a section discussing different creatures, real or imagined, and their significance to fiction and history. This “Creature Profile” is personally important to me because I have had a lifelong love-affair with animals both mythical and real. Consequently I deal with several different creatures throughout my stories. I hope you find their information interesting as well.

If any of you have questions about writing, creatures, or anything in between that you would like me to answer, please feel free to e-mail them to me. I would love to discuss what you the readers find interesting and what you don’t.

So let’s get started…today’s blog has been brought to you by the Basilisk

Creature Profile: Basilisk

Real or imagined: Both

Interesting information: In mythology, the basilisk creature is often described as a giant snake with a plume or crest resembling that of a cock in its head. The monster is hatched from a chicken egg and can kill its victims simply by staring at them. If that doesn’t work, the king of the serpents can poison victims with its highly venomous bite.

In literature, the basilisk is famously featured as one of the mystery monsters in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter fantasy fiction series. It also finds a home as the name of a space station in David Webber’s Honor Harrington science fiction series book On Basilisk Station. My own book Skinshifter doesn’t include basilisks within its pages, but it does feature basel snakes, which are the descendants of basilisks according to my own imaginings. While basel snakes cannot kill with a look like their ancestors did, their venomous bites cause almost instant paralysis, followed shortly by death due to heart failure.

Historically, the basilisk appears as a heraldry animal on the arms of Basel, Switzerland, where it exhibits more bird-like than snake-like characteristics. The basilisk also makes its appearance among the city’s many fountains and among the carved architectural animals adorning some historical buildings.

As a real member of the animal kingdom, the green basilisk lizard calls the region of Central America home. The green basilisk lizard, also known as the plumed basilisk or double-crested basilisk or the Jesus Christ lizard, is a member of the iguana family. While they are natural tree-dwellers, these lizards have the incredible ability to run across water to escape danger (hence the reference to Jesus Christ, see Matthew 14:22-33 for Biblical details of Jesus’ walk on water).

You can read full details about the creature from the following:

Mythology/Heraldry: http://basel.all-about-switzerland.info/basilisk-fable-heraldic-animal.html

Real Animal: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/green-basilisk-lizard/

Literature: http://www.amazon.com/Harry-Potter-Paperback-Box-Books/dp/0545162076/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1339163629&sr=8-3

http://www.amazon.com/On-Basilisk-Station-Honor-Harrington/dp/0743435710/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339159459&sr=8-1

Religion: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+14&version=NIV

Until we meet again, may your ink blots be liberal and your tea stains tiny.

[~]D Alycia