November 22, 2015

Frances Pauli, Washington and Dragons

When most people think of Washington State they immediately bring to mind Seattle, constant rain, and copious amounts of coffee. While all of these are iconic to Washington, the vast majority of the state lies on the "other side" of the Cascade Mountain range, and over here on the dry side, things can get a little bit different.
The coffee, however, is not optional. 

So grab your double tall and wander with me across that stunning, snow-capped barrier and into the rest of Washington. Keep your eye on the horizon. As soon as we pass that summit, we're on fire watch. While the west side enjoys a hearty daily sprinkling, in central and eastern WA, dry is the theme of the day. From the pine forests of Cle Elum to the wide grasslands of the Columbia Basin, wild fire is a real and present danger.

Today the skyline is clear and we travel though some of the signature sunshine this side enjoys almost year round. The days are golden, and so long as we're not aflame, the journey can continue south, through the wine country of the Yakima Valley to where the Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge monument keep watch over the Columbia river, boasting some fantastic views along with art, wine, and a full sized replica of Stonehenge. (link to 

Or perhaps we could head in the opposite direction, north along Hwy. 2 to the Methow Valley and the North Cascades Highway where the town of Winthrop recreates the Old West for a steady stream of tourists. The ranchers in the Methow run range cattle up into the hills for grazing in the summer months. Watch the roads for stray cows, bears, or even one of the area's elusive wolves. 

Provided, however, you continue in an easterly fashion, you are liable to end up in my neck of the woods.  The middle of the state, the dry scrubland of the Columbia basin with its towering basalt columns, alkaline lakes, and miles and miles of dry sage. Here you will find world famous Soap Lake, home of healing waters and mud prized the world over. The banks of Soap lake often sport petitioners seeking the benefits of the black, sticky mud...covered in it, in fact, and basking happily in the sunshine. (soap lake link:

I'm near there somewhere, wandering the desert and looking for stories. From the petroglyphs to the pothole lakes and the ancient caves at Lake Lenore, for a rock hound like myself, the area is almost irresistible.

Except for the fires, of course. After only a few months in my home here, I looked out the window one afternoon and found a wall of flame rushing across the grasslands. Four fires later, we've been very lucky, and still, I spend too many days checking the windows now, watching that horizon. The rain, it turns out, does have its benefits.

 Which is where my Kundalis dragons come from, I suppose. The fires all summer long, the forces of nature, all factors bound to work their way into a local's fiction. 

My dragons battle in the shadow of those Cascade Mountains, and if you leave a comment on the blog, I'll draw two winners at random for electronic copies of the first book: Storm Dragon.

About this author: Frances Pauli writes across multiple genres. Her work is speculative, full of the fantastic, and quite often romantic at its core. Whenever possible, she enjoys weaving in a little humor. Once upon a time she was a visual artist, but she's since come to her senses. Now she fills her miniscule amount of free time with things like crochet, belly dance and abysmal ukulele playing. She lives in Central Washington State with her husband, two children, a pair of hairless dogs and five tarantulas.

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  1. Coffee, I didn't know there was coffee n Washington. Seriously and sadly those cups of joe that have been merchandised around the world under the name a of likable character from Moby Dick have given my favorite brew a bad name. No wonder the dragons are unhappy. All the dragons I know prefer a better brew or even a cuppa, but the last bunch are mostly from across the pond. At any rate, thanks for a nice share.

  2. Lovely description of the dragon's fire that we all know starts those wildfires when he/she gets mad, and a part of Washington State I have never visited. Good luck with your writing.

  3. I was in Sequim, WA in June 2014. As I flew over your state I saw much that I would love to see. It's green and beautiful there. Too, I found a walking stick for my roommate which has the head of a dragon on it. Ever since, I have found a growing interest in dragons! I will return one day to Washington and will also definitely check out your rocks for my collection. I love them. Nice picture of your state you've created.

  4. I hear you, Ken! There is a lot more to coffee in WA than "that brand." So long as there's caffeine involved, I'm not too choosy. :)

    Thanks so much everyone for stopping by!

  5. Washington state is beautiful! I have family in the Seattle area..

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Belinda MattlyYouNovember 22, 2015

    I love this discription of my side of the state. You have an amazing gift.

  7. I've never been to this part of Washington, but you make it sound worth a visit. Best of luck with your writing.

  8. I lived in Mount Vernon WA for 17 years. Lovely community and always green, but couldn't handle the dark gloomy winters. Now I live in North Central AZ! Nice blog post-very interesting, thank you!

  9. Great post. I used to live in Tacoma, WA. I remember Bigfoot sightings reported, but no dragons. LOL Glad you survived the fires and also came up with story idea. Your book sounds amazing. Best wishes!


  10. The geology of Eastern Washington is fascinating. Google "Missoula floods" for instance. Very nice description of the dry side of the state.

  11. I've been in Seattle and west on the Olympic Peninsula, but this blog makes it clear that there is much more of Washington to see. Fascinating. thank you

  12. Thanks everyone for stopping by! There are so many sides to Washington and they're all wonderful. :)


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