Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lynn Squire's Joab's Fire

Lynn Squire is an avid writer who artistically intertwines Biblical truth with colorful narrative. Her childhood farm life, coupled with her equestrian experiences, brings authenticity and heart to her stories.

Lynn actively serves her church through her writing and in other ministries and is currently the president of the American Christian Fiction Writers San Francisco Bay Area Chapter in California, where she resides with her husband and three children.

You can find Lynn online at
www.lynnsquire.com,
www.presentingbiblicaltruths.com – where you can purchase my books, read my devotional blog and the ongoing Bible study on the book of Job (the basis for Joab’s Fire),
www.joabsfire.com ,
www.faithfictionfunandfanciful.blogspot.com - my fiction blog where readers can read a chapter or short story on Fiction Friday and read author interviews and book reviews.
www.facebook.com/pages/Joabs-Fire,
www.twitter.com/ldsquire.


Joab's Fire

Joab Black and his wife Sarah overcame the worst of pioneer hardships in order to establish a prosperous farm in Alberta, Canada. But those challenges never prepared them for the tragedy they now faced—a staggering loss and intense pain causing them to doubt everything they had ever believed. In the midst of their sorrow, even their closest friends interpret their sufferings as a result of God’s judgment. Has God abandoned them?

Sergeant Dixon, the local North West Mounted Police officer, investigates the events leading to the Blacks’ plight. While his work gives them a ray of hope, his probing into the activities of a certain stranger possibly connected to the case may cost him his job and even his life.

Inspired by the Biblical book of Job, this novel includes a Bible study exploring the perfection of God’s plan and the bounty of His love even in the most inexplicable and intense sufferings.

Here's an excerpt of Joab's Fire:

Chapter 1
Surbank, District of Alberta,North-West Territories, Canada
1903

Sergeant Clarence Dixon leaned against the rough wall of the Surbank Train Station and surveyed his territory. Along the western stretch of the rail line waved golden wheat, and the tracks faded into the horizon where ragged mountain peaks rose like jagged teeth. Few homesteads interrupted this view of the Rocky Mountains, though each year another brave family dared to challenge the temperamental land with its ceaseless wind. He rolled a straw between his fingers. It was his duty as one of the North West Mounted Police to be the guardian knight of the territory—do all he could to ensure their safety—whether the locals liked him or not.

In the southeast rolled the Buffalo Hills. Good land there, if anyone dared to tame it. ‘Course, sod houses and barns already speckled the southern landscape. Most of them popped up when the Americans pushed north into Canadian territory.

Dixon took a deep breath of hot air and wiped away the beads of sweat forming under his Stetson. A whistle blew, and the afternoon train rattled into view as it crossed the trestle that stretched over the coulee a mile away. He scanned the prairie for any wagons coming into town. Typically, the Kirklands or one of the local farmers met the train with goods to ship out or orders to pick up.

Sure enough, there was Mrs. Kirkland coming up from the east, and Joab Black rode by him with his son on their Morgan horses. Only people in the country who owned such well-bred animals.

“Hello, Joab.” Dixon touched his Stetson and stuck the straw in the corner of his mouth. He noted the gray western hat on Joab’s dark head. It suited his broad shoulders and thick chest.

“Good to see you.” Joab waved back, and then reached between the mounts to slap his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Getting Rupert his own horse today.”

Rupert beamed up at his dad. “A pinto pony.” His voice squeaked with excitement. He turned and saluted Dixon.

Dixon chuckled. “Well, you deserve it, son. Saw you driving the team the other day. Pretty soon you’ll be taking over your father’s farm.”

Rupert grinned, but Joab’s grin stretched wider. They waved goodbye and continued on to the blacksmith shop. Not a finer man in the country than Joab. Honest, faithful, and always there to help. Dixon was honored to count him a close friend.

The straw Dixon gnawed on twitched from the corner of his lips while he looked down the tracks. Strangers from the east running from the law often rode the rails, so he made it a habit of watching when the trains came in. No sense in letting bad blood mingle with these fine folks. Now that the whiskey traders were abated, things had settled down nicely in the District of Alberta. Dixon wanted to keep things that way.

The train slowed just as bow-legged Barty Dunsmuir stepped onto the platform from Main Street. Dixon nodded to him and swiped a lock of wet auburn hair from his brow. Was Barty here to meet someone, or did he have business? No doubt he’d be pickin’ a fight. Don’t think there was a day in his life that Barty didn’t throw a punch at some poor soul . . . but he’d be there in a pinch if you needed a helping hand.

The wheels of the train screeched to a halt. It sighed and rested next to the station then released its passengers.

Steam whooshed around a stranger as he stepped onto the platform. The steam cleared. Dixon pushed away from the wall. The man looked like white lightning against the sun. His white hair blended in with his white overcoat and unusually pale skin. Skin so thin the veins beneath rippled in colors of blue, purple, and black.

Dixon shivered. He’d seen albino deer before, but never an albino human. The man crossed the wooden platform, passed the station building, and stepped onto the street.

Dixon tugged at his white gauntlets as he watched the clouds of dust puff up around the stranger’s feet. Surbank didn’t attract too many visitors, not like Calgary. So what brought this man to town?

The albino’s white overcoat glistened in the sun, shimmering like a polished pearl, and his long white hair hung down his back in a thick braid. He turned and tipped his white hat at the sergeant.

Dixon nodded back.

Barty stopped beside Dixon. “Wonder what he’s doin’ in town?”

Dixon shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t know. We don’t get too many strangers.”

“Pardon me, Sarge?” Barty pushed his dusty hat to the back of his red head.

Dixon motioned to the man who now stood in the middle of Main Street. “Weren’t you talking about him?”

Barty chuckled, his whole body rumbling with it. “Nope. I was talkin’ about Nathaniel. Thought he said he was goin’ to Calgary for work.”

Dixon rubbed his NWMP insignia. “Didn’t hear that.” He didn’t want to get into it either, not with his policeman’s instincts crawling.

“So who’s the stranger?” Barty spit tobacco juice from the corner of his mouth.

“Don’t know.” But Dixon had better find out just to be sure the man’s business was honorable.

“Sure white and shiny for these parts.”

“Yeah.” Dixon grunted. But underneath all that shine, Dixon saw a face that wolfers like Thomas Hardwick wore. Nothing but trouble and able to kill without emotion.

“Seems nice enough.” Barty glanced at Dixon. “Well, since Nathaniel’s in town, I’ve got a few questions to ask him.”

Dixon touched his Stetson in a salute goodbye, then got caught in the stranger’s gaze. The man’s eyes sparkled like a speck of silver in the prairie sunlight.

An instinctive zing shot up Dixon’s back. Not sure he’d describe this man as “nice enough,” like Barty did. Dixon had never seen eyes like that. Nor felt the intensity of such a bold look—except maybe when he faced Louis Riel. But that was to be long forgotten, and Riel was dead.

The stranger shot him a brilliant smile then headed up the steps to Pastor Perkins’ apartment above the general store.

What did he want with the pastor?

“Good day, Sergeant.” Sheila Kirkland drew near him, her Irish lilt ringing in his ears and the scent of lavender swirling about her.

He touched the side of his hat. “Good day, Mrs. Kirkland. How’s your husband doing?”

She scowled. “He’s still a bit suffering from the dance Friday night. Don’t know why he likes to dance. ‘Tis a sin, I think.”

Dixon nodded and resisted the urge to smile. It wasn’t the dancing Blain Kirkland liked as much as the drinking.

“Is the pastor in? Do ye know?” She looked toward the door and tugged at the ribbon of her blue bonnet.

“Yes ma’am. He’s not leaving ‘til this afternoon, but he has someone with him right now.”

She grimaced. “I was hopin’ he’d see it good to come and talk with my Blain.” Her blue eyes shone out from beneath her bonnet, and she tucked some wild curls of auburn hair behind the tie.

Shivers ran up Dixon’s back. He sensed someone watching him and looked to the pastor’s door as the albino stepped out. The man wore a smug smile on his face and flung a knowing look of triumph at Dixon. If the shivers meant anything, they meant that man was no good.

“Oh, it appears Pastor Perkins is free now. Good day, Sergeant.” Mrs. Kirkland bustled away, her skirts stirring up dirt and the feather atop her hat waving in the hot breeze.6 Joab’s Fire

The unusual man strode past Dixon as though he owned the town. But this was Dixon’s town—well, his to protect at any rate.

Dixon straightened and flexed his muscles. Sure, maybe the man was harmless. No law against visiting a town or a preacher. Yet, something about him didn’t sit right. The locals were peaceful enough. Experience proved that real trouble came to Surbank from visitors.

He leaned back against the station wall and scratched his chin as the stranger walked down the dirt road leading out of the village.

Maybe he was just making too much of it. Best rein in his thoughts.

The man moved with an air of pompous elation toward little Rupert Black. No, not pompous elation. More like a hawk diving for a field mouse.

Dixon stepped down off the train station platform.

With the smoothness of a snake, the stranger coiled down by little Rupert Black.

The boy drew in the dirt with a stick as the man spoke. His voice trilled like a meadowlark, but still too far away for Dixon to make out what the stranger was saying.

Dixon pulled to a halt. No Canadian law prohibited a stranger from speaking with a ten-year-old boy. Could be an innocent conversation. Then why the devil did he feel like trouble brewed?

Angry shouts came from Main Street, and Dixon swung around in time to see Barty throw a punch at Nathaniel. Nathaniel blocked it. He then twisted Barty’s arm behind his back.

Pulling on the ends of his drooping mustache, Dixon sighed and marched toward the two. He knew Barty would start a fight. Sure he had to do it now, when Dixon wanted to keep an eye on that stranger.

“You gone done put a hole in my bucket,” shouted Nathaniel, putting all his five-foot-five into it. He planted his pudgy face inches away from Barty’s large nose. A lock of straggly brown hair hung down in front of Nathaniel.

“What you done doin’ puttin’ that bucket on my shootin’ range?” Barty shouted back.

“Whoa there, you two.” Dixon laid a gloved hand on each man’s shoulder.

A scream then a shot rang through the air.

Dixon’s heart pounded as he whipped around to see Joab Black with his rifle at his shoulder. Dixon’s gaze followed Joab’s sights.

Wild dogs scattered in all directions, and Rupert lay crumpled on the far side of the tracks. Where’d those dogs come from? Dixon scanned the road as his feet took flight. Where’d the stranger go?

“Barty, get Doc Petrie!” Dixon shouted over his shoulder. His feet pounded against the dry ground with increased speed.

“Rupert. Rupert. It’s all right, son.” Joab’s voice quivered as he lifted the still boy from the ground. “Rupert?”

Every muscle in Dixon’s body tensed. He pulled up beside Joab.

Rupert lay limp. His neck was ripped open, exposing its innards.

Dixon’s stomach soured. He touched the boy’s chest.

No movement.

He looked up and met the father’s round eyes. They reflected the fear pounding in his own heart.

Joab stepped around Dixon, his jaw set.

“Joab.”

“Got to get him to Doc.”

“Joab.”

But the man rushed down the road. The doctor would deal with him better, anyway.

Dixon glanced after the wild dogs, still nauseated by the vision of the boy’s mauled body. Not a tail could be seen. “Probably them animals headed for the Indian reserve.”

He turned after Joab and caught sight of the stranger’s glimmering overcoat slinking into Mrs. Clumpit’s restaurant at the end of Main Street. Did that man tell Rupert to cross the tracks? But to what end? Dixon shook his head, but he couldn’t get rid of the feeling the man had something to do with this.
He slapped the side of his leg and headed for his office. Better he got a group of men to go after the dogs than to dwell on improbable scenarios. If the animals were rabid . . . he didn’t want to think of the horrors that would bring on the young village. Bad enough about Rupert. His throat tightened, and he broke into a run.

Purchase at CBD



Purchase Joab's Fire at CBD.


Lynn is giving away a copy of Joab's Fire. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

34 comments:

Lynn Squire said...

Patty and Esther,

Thank you for having me here today. I'm honored you took the time and made the effort to let me be a part of your blog.

Fay Lamb said...

As a friend and critique partner, Lynn Squire is the best. Her books are not only entertaining reads, they offer Biblical food for thought and meditation upon God's Word. Love ya, Lynn, and thank you Patty,for showcasing this dear woman's talents.

Lynn Squire said...

Fay, you are such a sweetheart! Love you too!

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to win this book!
Sunny

Sharon Gibson said...

Lynn is a fabulous fiction writer. Her writing captivates you and pulls you into the story. Once you are there, you will discover truth in a way that gives you a new level of understanding.
Not only that, I know from being in a critique group with her, she is the real deal, caring and giving.

Christine Lindsay said...

What a delight to see something with Canadian flavor in a novel. The whole Royal Canadian Mounted Police genre is full of heroism, color, and steely glint in the pioneer days of the prairies. It's a book I'd love to read.

christine(dot)d(dot)schmidtke(at)gmail(dot)com

Lynn Squire said...

Sharon, you are so sweet. Thank you!

Christine! I love our mounties! Western Canada has such a rich, yet uncapped history, and a lot of it has to do with the missionaries who ventured into dangerous territories and those heroic NWMP officers that made the land safe.

Emma said...

This book sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the giveaway.

Pat Iacuzzi said...

Hi ladies--
Lynn, this is absolutely great! I'm glad you posted an excerpt. Dixon seems to be the universal, watchful law man. Great characterization. And the Canadian setting is so fresh--
thank you and God's blessings on your call to write.

Lynn Squire said...

Emma, I'm glad you're interested!

Pat, thank you so much.

Judy said...

This book sounds so good. Thank you for the chance to win it. I am so happy that there are Christian fiction writers out there. We don't have to worry about what we are reading. Thank you Lynn for using your God given talent!

judyjohn2004[at]yahoo[dot]com

Lynn Squire said...

Judy, Thank you, and you're welcome!

Praise God, He has given me the time and ability to do this.

Vicki McCollum said...

Lynn, I'm so glad you're being interviewed about your book; I loved crit'ing with you on this novel and your others, too. Your characters are strong and vivid, and their troubles and how they respond to them always made me think about how I respond to the trials in my life. Your readers will not only enjoy the story, but learn something about the Lord and the way He works as well.
Congratulations on publishing Joab's Fire. It's a very good read.
Vicki

Lynn Squire said...

Thank you, Vicki. You've been a tremendous help and support to me. So good of you to come and comment.

doveinturkey said...

I'm a missionary who is just beginning to write some things that are not just Bible studies or academic studies. Lynn befriended me as i visited the Writers' Association. She is a wonderful example to me of graciousness and kindness in a field where i might not have expected it.
I loved reading Joab's fire. I am usually a speculative fiction reader, and her book actually falls slightly in that category. But it was the wholesomeness and at the same time harsh reality of pain that needed to be confronted with by the main characters that was a great read. I also enjoyed so much the romantic interest between two older people in the story. It was so believable and sweet.
thanks Lynn for allowing the aroma of Christ to dwell in you.

Lynn Squire said...

Alexandra, Wow. Thank you. I've been so blessed by you and by your comment.

I continue to hold you, your family, and your very important work in my prayers.

Amy Hartung said...

Hhmm Lynn, I wonder where you grew up? Great images! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the book, and excited to see you on the 28th. May the Lord continue to bless you.

Lynn Squire said...

Hi Amy! I'm looking forward to seeing you too!

Meredith said...

Great excerpt! I'd love to read this!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Betty said...

Thanks Lynn, for helping my understanding of the book of Job through the story of Joab & his family. You help to clarify life application from biblical example.
Betty

Lynn Squire said...

Thank you, Betty. Praise God He gave us His Word, and specifically Job, so that we can have some understanding of Him and life.

jude said...

Lynn,
The excerpt sure pulls you in! It sounds like a superb book. Congratulations and hope sales go well.
Jude Urbanski
urbanski4u@aol.com

ann said...

Would like to enter to win the book. Thanks

Salena Stormo said...

Book looks awesome! Congrats!

srstormo at yahoo dot com

Carrie Fancett Pagels said...

Hi Lynn, thanks for letting us know about the interview on the Historical loop! Congrats again on your release!

In My Shoes said...

I've started reading Joab's Fire and can't wait to finish it. I am a Pastor's wife of a brand new church and hope to one day use it for a ladies fellowship group.

Lynn Squire said...

Jude, thank you. I'm praying God will use it for His glory.

Salena, thank you and God bless you.

Carrie, thank you. You've been a great encouragement to me.

In My Shoes - I pray that God will bless you beyond what you can imagine in your ministry. To God be all the glory!

apple blossom said...

please enter me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Lynn Dean said...

This is a wonderful story. Job has always seemed a very difficult book to me, but Joab's Fire gave me several new perspectives. So good read solid, timeless truths in a fresh setting.

Sheila Deeth said...

I really enjoyed following the story of Joab's Fire. Lovely to see it in book form.

sheiladeeth at hotmail dot com

Lynn Squire said...

Lynn & Sheila, thank you. :)

J. M. Hochstetler said...

Sounds like a terrific read! I've really enjoyed getting to know Lynn through Colonial America Christian Writers and the Colonial Quills blog. She always has such interesting observations and information to share. Mega congrats on this new release, Lynn!

Lynn Squire said...

Thank you very much, Joan. I'm enjoying getting to know you too.

Teresa M said...

What a great interview! The book sounds wonderful, can't wait to read it..would be nice to win it! :) tsmathews61@gmail.com

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