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The Art of Romance

Today I learned about the mating rituals of dragonflies… and it seemed a little bit like a scary monster movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey!

I am currently actively thinking about starting work on my next book. Okay, seriously, I’m a few steps beyond thinking about it, but not much. We all have our processes and ways we organize our thoughts, and I’ve always been one of those people that tend to work things backwards. In the case of my books, they all start with a great photo and then I work up the narrative. I also make lists. Lots and lots of lists. Mostly lists of creatures and critters that I would like to include. From the list, comes the concept. And from the concept comes the research. Sometimes this happens in reverse. And from the research comes the text. Currently I have about 7 different lists going that are varying degrees away from fully developed concepts (that are, of course, subject to change at any point in the process), and a few of them are, for lack of a better phrase, flying ahead of the rest of the flock, and moving into the research phase.

The two concepts that I’m most intrigued with at the moment are a book about critters and creatures you’ll discover in your backyard and a book all about bugs. Both offer a fair assortment of challenges (mostly that bugs scare me… a lot!) with the result that I’m sorta kinda working on both concepts simultaneously. This isn’t anything new to me. I tend to suffer from a rather short attention span and actually wrote all three of my last books (which turned into four books half way through the process) at the same time. As both of these books will feature bugs and insects, I’ve been shooting a lot of creepy crawly and flying things (that don’t have feathers) lately.

So, that’s a long about way of explaining why I was even curious about how dragonflies mate, let alone why I was researching the topic. Now, let me say that I don’t think this is in anyway, shape, or form, the type of information that I would include in a children’s books, but as I was out and about snapping photos today, I noticed a ton of dragonflies “hooking up”… literally… and it got me to wondering why they fly around stuck together like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete idiot and did figure out that it had something to do with making babies, but I was curious about the actual mechanics of it. So here’s what I learned after watching a very informative, albeit a little bit frightening, video on the subject: Essentially, the male uses pinchers on the end of his tail to grab the female by the back of her head in a rather caveman-like manner, and literally drag her around until she's “in the mood.” When the male’s efforts at “wooing” finally pay off, she brings her tail around and they form a heart shape (which would be cute if the lead up wasn’t so horrifying) and maybe even little baby dragonflies. The video did go on to comment that it isn’t a calm and serene experience for either as there is often biting and fighting involved, in addition to the being dragged all over the pond by your head thing. But, surprisingly, this barbaric approach to procreation must work as we don't seem to have a shortage of dragonflies in the world.

So there you have it, the mating rituals of dragonflies… And who says, “Romance is dead!”?

About the author

Cheryl Johnson

Cheryl Johnson

Cheryl Johnson has developed quite a following as a wildlife photographer working under the pseudonym “Backyard Bird Nerd.” Her photos have been featured in magazines, websites, and art galleries. As the owner of an advertising agency, writing has always been a part of her life and career. Her literary work has included producing text for websites, brochures, television and radio commercials, and a variety of magazines articles. Delving into the world of children's literature has been an exciting and challenging adventure, and pairing these books with her love of photography has proven to be the perfect outlet for her passions and talents. When not prowling around in nature looking for something to “fly” by her lens, she lives in South Texas with her husband, two daughters, and dog.

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Cheryl Johnson

Thank you, for taking the time to let me share my passion and love of nature with you!


Cheryl Johnson

P.O. Box 3926
Victoria, Texas 77903

5003 John Stockbauer, Suite J
Victoria, Texas 77904


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