Please join me in welcoming guest author Krystal Anderson to the Junction.
There’s something about standing in front an old western fort that brings that bygone era to life. The chipped stone walls and thick timbers tell a story of conflicts withstood, the battlements and gun ports atop eighteen-foot walls a sense of strength and security.
For many traveling through America’s untamed west, forts were among the only places of safety from Indian attack and harsh elements and were utilized by mail carriers, stagecoach operators, and weary travelers alike. Some, such as Fort Vancouver in Washington, weren’t even established with defense in mind, but industry and commerce. Others served as way stations along main travel routes, such as Fort Benton along the Missouri River in central Montana, or Fort Bridger, Wyoming, which became a vital resupply point for those traveling the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails.
In my little corner of Utah there are plenty of old forts to explore, some only remains of crumbled stone wall, that were constructed to protect the herds and homes of local settlers during the Black Hawk War (1865-1870). Recently I took my children to explore historic Cove Fort in central Utah and boy, did it fuel my imagination! Details from that visit will likely carry into many of my future stories.
Cove Fort is rectangular in shape and made of volcanic rock with six rooms on each of the long sides, each with its own chimney. A central courtyard opens in the center, and when those thick wood doors were closed, I don’t see how anything or anyone could have gotten through. Just outside the fort, which also served as a ranch, was a bunkhouse, vegetable garden, ice house, blacksmith shop, derrick, livestock barn, and supply store. It was to imagine how people were able to labor and live in such a place, but I’m certain it was immensely difficult. The women spun their own thread and fashioned rugs and blankets on a loom, scrubbed the laundry, and tended to the fort’s guests in addition to their own families. Years of harsh winters were spent enveloped in the fort’s cold stone walls. Do you think you would have possessed the fortitude to live in a remote, rugged western fort without many of the comforts of the day?
With that fort in mind, I created a fictional fort on the coast of Oregon for my latest story titled Her Keeper’s Heart. Fort Donnelly, I called it, stationed somewhere in Tillamook County. The book’s heroine, a mail-order bride named Orissa, is making her way to the Oregon coast from Connecticut via sailing around Cape Horn when catastrophe strikes. I won’t divulge the details (no spoilers here!), but she and the sailors find sanctuary at industrious Fort Donnelly. And that’s not all she finds there…
I’d like to give away a signed paperback copy of Her Keeper’s Heart to one of you lovely people. To enter, tell me something you couldn’t live without should you have been called upon to man an old western fort. I look forward to reading your responses, and thank.
HER KEEPER’S HEART
Living as the assistant keeper at the Puffin Point lighthouse for four years, Leonard Tarby admires everything about his coastal home: sweeping ocean seascapes, lush, tangled forests, and unobstructed views of the stars he enjoys charting. There was only one thing Leonard would change, and that is the absence of a loving bride by his side. Certain the only way to achieve that goal is to send for a bride through the mail, Leonard sits back to wait for her arrival, dreaming of a life of wedded bliss soon to come.
The young lady is soon on her way to Puffin Point but goes missing en route. Is there foul play involved or did she simply get cold feet? Will Leonard ever have a bride of his own?
Find out in this sweet historical romance full of dangers, intrigue, and love, all beneath the ever-watchful beam of a Pacific lighthouse.
To learn more or order a copy, use THIS LINK