Squeaking Pips Books is a small, independent publishing house for novels, novellas, and short stories by me, Janet R. Stafford. My main body of work is historical fiction (American Civil War era) and one lonely little contemporary romance.
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The Squeaking Blog
A post about books, history, and anything else I might be up to.
Change #1: Frankie, Maggie's youngest daughter with John Blaine, will be getting married and moving out west with new husband Patrick - and Maggie is not handling the news well.
Here's an excerpt from the opening chapter of Little Birds Must Fly.
“Eli.” There was no response, save for her husband’s snoring. Maggie tried again, this time in a slightly louder tone. “Eli!” Nothing. She shook his shoulder. “Elijah!” Eli came to life with a snort. “Huh?” Maggie could see her husband squinting at her, thanks to the moonlight sneaking around the window’s curtains. “Wha’s wrong?” he slurred, still not completely out of his dream. “What is a mining town like?” Eli frowned. “You woke me up for that? Can’t it wait ‘til morning?” “I need to know, Eli. Please.” He heaved a sigh. “You need to know…” “Yes. Frankie and Patrick will be going to Rocky Creek soon. I need to know what it might be like.” He gently placed a hand upon her cheek. “My darling wife, you need to let Frankie go.” Irritated, Maggie muttered. “Do not tell me what I need to do! I know full well. I’m her mother and it is not as if Rocky Creek is the next town over. It’s hundreds of miles away!” Eli sighed again. “Fine. I’ll do my best to help.” “Thank you. Did you ever live in a mining town?” He paused. Maggie needed the truth – but what she would do with that truth was the question. Patrick had accepted a job as Rocky Creek’s doctor and it was important that he keep that job, no matter how Maggie felt. Well… honesty was always the best policy. Or so Eli had heard. He took a deep breath and said, “Yes. I didn’t live in one, but I did visit a mining town. Once.” “What was it like?” “It was… rough.” “Rough? How so?” “It’s not like Blaineton, Maggie. Our town was founded a century ago. Mining towns out west are new. The buildings aren’t sophisticated. They exist mainly to provide shelter.” “And the people?” she persisted. “What are they like?” “They’re people, sweetheart. Just like anywhere else. Except…” Eli paused. “Except what?” “Except they’re a bit rougher than the folks you know here.” Her voice grew concerned. “Rougher? How?” “Unsophisticated,” he interpreted. “But just because they may be lacking in manners, doesn’t mean that the people there are ignorant or cruel or natural born killers.” “What about the saloons?” “Maggie,” he said as soothingly as possible, “the Norton Arms hotel has a bar. A saloon is just a bar that often has a hotel.” “A hotel that also has a certain type of woman in it.” “If you mean ‘ladies of the evening,’ yes. Some saloons do have that type of woman on the premises.” Peeved, Maggie muttered, “And Patrick intends to take Frankie into that type of town?” Eli put his arms around her and pulled her close. “Listen to me, my love. Patrick and Frankie are grown up. He needs to start his career somewhere and it might as well be in Rocky Creek. As for Frankie… well, I’ve known her since she was a little thing, and she has copious quantities of pluck.” “Which very well could get her into trouble!” “Which very well might get her into trouble, but she also is a young woman with a good head on her shoulders who has a husband-to-be who loves, supports, and protects her.” After planting a kiss on Maggie’s forehead, he added, “Don’t worry, sweetheart. Have faith.” “Have faith,” she sighed. “Usually. I’m the one who says that.” “Well, now it’s my turn.” Eli kissed her on the lips. “Have faith and know that all will be well.”