The primary location of my book, “The Emerald Dragon”, is in the deserts of the Southwestern United States. So the following is a short description of those deserts for anyone that might find it interesting. My lead character, Tanis, finds it to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The Sonoran Desert covers large parts of the Southwestern United States in Arizona and California, and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in North America, with an area of 280,000 square kilometers (110,000 sq mi). The western portion of the United States–Mexico border passes through the Sonoran Desert. It is home to the cultures of over seventeen contemporary Native American tribes, with settlements at American Indian reservations in California and Arizona, as well as populations in Mexico.
The desert includes 60 mammal species, 350 bird species, 20 amphibian species, over 100 reptile species, 30 native fish species, over 1000 native bee species, and more than 2,000 native plant species. The area southwest of Tucson and near the Mexican border is a vital habitat for the only population of Jaguars living within the United States.
The Sonoran is the only place in the world where the famous saguaro cactus grows in the wild. Cholla , beavertail, hedgehog, fishhook, prickly pear, nightblooming cereus, and organ pipe are other types of cacti found here. Shrubs include the creosote bush, bur sage, indigo bush, and Mormon tea. It also has wildflowers such as desert sunflowers, sand verbena, and evening primroses. There are also desert willows, palo verde trees, ocotillo, and desert ironwood.
The Mojave Desert includes both the infamous Death Valley and slightly less infamous Las Vegas Valley. An existence in the Mojave means coping with a range of extreme conditions. It is considered a hot-cold desert, meaning it’s hot in the summer — but also extremely cold in the winter, dipping below freezing at night. These extremes have led to plant and animal species that are uniquely adapted to the Mojave. The desert averages about five inches of precipitation a year. Death Valley, which is about 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, and is in the Mojave Desert. It is also the hottest and the driest point in North America. In fact, it is the second hottest place on the Earth; 134 degrees Fahrenheit is the highest temperature ever recorded here. This region also consists of several high-rising mountain peaks, like the Telescopic peak, which is about 11,000 feet high.
The desert is home to numerous unique and interesting plant and animal species that have adapted to this arid landscape. Although the Mojave isn’t home to a large amount of plant life, it is home to numerous unique and interesting plant and animal species that have adapted to this arid landscape. It is home to mistletoe, a well-known Christmas decoration, and also to the slow-growing Joshua trees, which are actually not trees, but water-storing succulents. These plants grow to between 20 and 70 feet in height and live around 150 years.
The Mojave is home to the camel spider, the short-horned lizard, rattlesnakes, king snakes, a wide variety of lizards and the desert tortoise. Small desert mammals include the antelope squirrel, the kangaroo rat, jack rabbit, desert cottontail, the coyote, kit fox, and the bobcat. Large herbivores include big horn sheep, mule deer and wild burros. Predatory birds include the red-tailed hawk, barn owl, golden eagle and roadrunner. Scavengers include vultures and ravens. Herbivores include Gambel’s quail and the mourning dove.
You’ll discover a whole new world in the desert at Mt. Drago, the home of Tanis, and his dragon, Demios, in Book One of the Dragomeir Series, “The Emerald Dragon.”
Book Two, “Flight of the Aguiva” will be out very soon! The adventure continues . . .