by Nancy Lee Badger
I might have mentioned in passing that the idea for a book set in Charleston, South Carolina on the brink of war came to me when I visited Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The fledgling Federal Government built the fort to guard against invading British forces and pirates. Constructed on a man-made island of piled rocks and dirt, Fort Sumter is surrounded by water. The idea of a dragon as a character—one who could easily visit another character stationed at the fort—turned into my story.
One aspect of the fort is the guns, also referred to by visitors to the National Monument as cannons. At the eve of war, when the Southern Secessionist Army shelled the fort, only a small selection of guns were in residence. I took advantage of this knowledge and added it by using my shero’s observations. It helps that she is a misplaced Scottish dragon:
Like a grand Scottish castle overlooking a strategic headland, Fort Sumter appeared destined to turn into a great fortress. The thick walls and armory would protect Charleston from any invaders. She’d seen the cannons off-loading on the dock beside the fort’s main gate.
A pamphlet I picked up at the fort listed the timetable surrounding the fort’s construction. Considering the time period of early 19th century, this was was a feat in itself. One thing Fort Sumter had that surpassed other forts along the harbor were the high walls. Five stories stood in a pentagon shape. Cannon mounts were spread along the sides, though most faced the sea. The high walls were the main reason federal soldiers departed Ft. Moultrie in the early hours of December 26, 1860 and moved to the safer—though incomplete—Fort Sumter. Here is a scene that includes actual historical facts added to dialog between Shaw, my hero, and his commanding officer:
Shaw inhaled sharply and turned to face his commanding officer. “Yes, sir. We have nearly finished filling the boats. The men have orders to be up before dawn.”
“Make sure we spike the cannons before we leave.”
“We cannot leave weapons for the enemy. They would use them against us.”
“Understood.” Shaw sighed. War loomed. Back in Charleston, townspeople he drank with would just as soon shoot him in the head, now.
“Set fire to the wooden gun carriages once most of the boats have departed. No sense signaling, and bringing attention to our transfer to Fort Sumter.”
When the officer instructed Shaw to ‘spike the cannons’ this meant that the soldiers were to drive long metal rods into the holes where sparks would normally fire the gun powder charge. Gun carriages carried ammunition and smaller cannons. They meant to leave nothing useful behind since they assumed war loomed.
Various cannons had arrived at Fort Sumter before the blockades began about four months before the first shots of the American Civil War. One such gun is the Rodman gun and I saw many of these at Fort Sumter during my visit, and used it in a scene when my shero, Dru Little, has revealed her true nature to Shaw Stenhouse:
Safe below the upper wall, he leaned against the huge, bottle-shaped Rodman gun, but his heart rate refused to slow. He felt nauseated.
“Must be the potato soup.” Shaw laughed, then burped. What had he spied flying above him? Shaw gave his head a shake, closed his eyes, then sat on the cannon’s low base.
Rodman guns came in various sizes but they all were nearly identical in design and shape. They looked like bottles on their sides. I added several scenes where cannons fired back and forth. One such cannon ball caused the death of a specific character (who shall go unnamed). Though I based my story on the Civil War, and include battle scenes and descriptions of forts, this is primarily a paranormal romance. There is the magic of love at first sight when Shaw saves Dru from drunken sailors. There is spicy lovemaking after they succumb to desire. There is also fear and longing when war separates two lovers on April 13, 1861 when the guns went silent.
Title: SOUTHERN FRIED DRAGON
Author: Nancy Lee Badger
Genre: Paranormal Historical
E book: $2.99
Amazon Buy Link http://amzn.to/zgv30B
NOOK Buy Link http://bit.ly/M0vNXP
More about Nancy Lee Badger
After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. Due to a Scottish heritage, she and her family continue to volunteer at the New Hampshire Highland Games each fall. Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy also writes romantic suspense and is a proud Army Mom.
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