Thirst of Steel – Must Read

Whoa! It’s been a long time since I blogged on here. Life, you know. It feels great to be back and even more great to be starting back again with a book review and interview with my favorite author!

Ronie Kendig writes incredible books. Plain and simple. Her characters are complex, deep and so realistic that you can feel their emotions. Her plots are heart-racing, page-turning masterpieces. Once you go Rapid-Fire Fiction, you never go back! Once you pick up a Rapid-Fire Fiction book, you never want to put it down! ‘Thirst of Steel‘ is a book you will want to finish in one sitting. There were several nights where I had a very unhealthy respect for the following day as I read into the early morning hours!

Thirst of Steel

 

Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies’ blood. Cole “Tox” Russell only wants to begin his life with Haven Cortes, but he must first complete a final mission: retrieve that sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.

The AFO, however, is determined to claim the sword. Wielding their father’s life over Tzivia and Ram Khalon, they threaten to expose Ram’s long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things only worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the sword is tied to both Ram’s secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to focus only on the enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must stop or take the enemy down with them. 

I loved this book! Okay, I say that about all of Ronie’s books, but it’s no less true with Thirst. The series was a wonderful ride into the supernatural, while still staying deeply rooted into reality. I felt the panic as I ran with the team through the streets of foreign cities, felt the pull of power and the desire for health, cried as the book unfolded it’s secrets. Ronie wove a tale that, while supernatural, was so natural to humanity. She pointed to the true holder of power, while there are so many pulls on our allegiance in this world. This was a fast-paced, giant-sized adventure that I know I will read over and over again.

I had the honor of asking Ronie a few questions about this series.

1. What do you like about writing the supernatural aspect of ‘The Tox Files’?

To me, the supernatural aspect of the story is simpy a very strong parallel of the supernatural realm intricately tied to most Christian’s lives–the existence of angels and demons and an omnipotent God. 

2. What did you find most challenging about adding a supernatural element to your already amazing action stories?

The hardest part is probably twofold in that I do not want those elements to overshadow the larger story, but rather complement it, and in doing so, I am careful to make sure those elements do not contradict the Word of God and are grounded in sound theology, because the point is to remind Christians the supernatural realm is truly there. In a society like ours, it’s easy to discount and dismiss it as “irrational,” but when we bring God down to our level, He’s no longer God.  

3. What do you love the most about ‘The Tox Files’ series now that they are all finished?

Looking back, I think I fell in love with having the team dynamic paired with an archaeological thread paired with the supernatural. That’s been so wonderful to explore and so challenging to write.

4. What projects are you working on now, if you have some that aren’t super top-secret?

As announced in my recent newsletter, I am working on two new series. One will be with Bethany House and is another paramilitary-archaeological series (without the supernatural this time), and the other is a science fiction (space opera) series with the same publisher who did my fantasy series. Both of those first books will release next year.

I hope that you enjoy her answers and will go out and get ‘Thirst for Steel’. Check out ‘Warrior’s Seal‘ (the FREE prequel!), ‘Conspiracy of Silence‘ and ‘Crown of Souls‘ as well. I recommend starting with the first book in the series and reading through. You will love getting to know the characters!

Find Ronie on her website, Facebook and Twitter! Find all her amazing books on Amazon!

Have you read Ronie’s books? Which is your favorite?

~Sarah

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‘Crown of Souls’ by Ronie Kendig: A review and an interview

Crown of Souls

Ronie Kendig has done it again! If you were here last year for my review of ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ then you know that I loved the beginning of this series. Ronie keeps the excitement and suspense going in this new release and you will not want it to end!

“Six months after stopping a deadly plague, Cole “Tox” Russell and his team are enjoying a little rest. That peace is short-lived when a sniper shot hits Tox. The enemy is discovered to be one of their own, a rogue Special Forces team operator.

Alec King is perhaps the only person as skilled as Tox, and he’s out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier. 

Afraid his old friend is right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team engage in another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is cheating–he’s using a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one.”

Tox

I loved the first book and didn’t know how Ronie would top it, but she did an amazing job with ‘Crown of Souls’! (I highly recommend that you all read ‘Conspiracy of Silence’ first!) Not only was the team in top form in ‘Crown of Souls’ but there was also a hint of romance in this one. I love a good action adventure book with a hint of romance and Ronie does that balance so perfectly. For those of you who don’t like romance books, you don’t need to worry because it doesn’t detract from the action and suspense at all! Tox, Haven and the team are in a race. A race against a mad man bent on revenge. Add into the mix a mysterious artifact that is adding madness to the mix and you have an action-packed race across the world. Ronie is so good at crafting suspense that I often found myself holding my breath, reading desperately to find out what happened next. I was craving resolution and safety for the team, but I was also so sad when the book ended. Being an author myself, I know how much work goes into a novel but I wanted this one to be twice as long. I can’t wait for the next book in the series ‘Thirst of Steel’!

Cole ‘Tox’ Russell is an amazing hero. What I love about Ronie’s heroes is that they are so real. They have flaws, faults, fears and yet are willing to fight for what’s right. I think sometimes heroes are ‘too perfect’ that I can’t find them believable. Ronie’s heroes come fully-equipped with scars, imperfections and hair pulling moments. Just like real life. I was blessed to be able to ask Ronie a few questions on how she crafts such amazing heroes!

1) Ronie, you have an amazing knack at writing a great hero! What makes the perfect hero to you?
Wow! Thank you for that huge compliment. I think a great hero is a broken hero. He’s relatable because he’s not perfect and he knows it–but he also can’t let himself cross the line, though huge chunks of him probably want to for one reason or another. He’s flawed, makes mistakes, but at the end of the day, he gets it right. ​
2) Do you find it easy to write an amazing hero, after having written so many? Or do you still have to struggle to write them?
​I think the word “struggle” is inherent with any good hero, so yes–I struggle. How do I make this man’s struggle unique from the previous heroes I’ve written, yet make him a classic Ronie Kendig hero? But with the fact I have 17 published novels and six novellas enables me to know how to craft the hero persona.
3) Do you have any advice to offer to writers that would love to write a fantastic hero like Tox?
The heroes I write “come to me” as they are–I just have to get in the trenches with them and understand them, not unlike we do with the people we meet in life every day. So, I think my advice would be three fold: 1.dig deep–keep asking WHY?–and keep pushing yourself, 2.) DO NOT protect your hero (because that’s where you’ll fail your story), 3.) if you’ve gotten down and dirty in the trenches with your hero, trust those instincts about that hero. Sometimes, they don’t always tell you the truth.  ​For example, Griffin Riddell gave me three different backstories, and then one day he said, “Baby, I don’t care what you write; just stay out of my business.” Which told me so much about him, but had I stopped with those first few lies, I never would’ve found the crux of his true identity. Crazy, huh? 
4) What do you like most about Tox? What makes him most unique from your other heroes?
​I adore Tox’s loyalty and trust in his team. He doesn’t have to tell them to do every little thing because they operate as one. They know what needs to be done, and he leaves that up to them. He believes in them. He’d die for them.​
Thanks so much to Ronie for being willing to answer these for me. I appreciated hearing her say to not ‘protect your hero’. I believe that will help me in my own writing and will hopefully help in yours if you are a writer.
Pick yourself up a copy of ‘Crown of Souls‘ today! Also, get your hands on ‘Conspiracy of Silence‘ (Tox Files 1&2 here!) while you prepare for ‘Thirst of Steel’! You will not be disappointed. Ronie is a master story-teller and she doesn’t fail in writing a gripping, action-filled, tense and beautiful story in ‘Crown of Souls’!
Crown of Souls Launch
Rapid Fire Fiction

Conspiracy of Silence ~ Ronie Kendig

conspiracy-of-silence

Four years after a tragic mission decimated his team, Cole “Tox” Russell has been disavowed by the United States. And that’s fine–he just wants to be left alone. But when a dormant, centuries-old disease is unleashed, Tox is lured back into action.

Tox and his former Special Forces team regroup to work with FBI deception expert, Kasey Cortes, and fiery archaeologist, Tzivia Khalon, to search the globe for answers–and a cure. As the mission leads from one continent to another, it becomes clear they’re not just fighting a plague but battling an ancient secret society whose true goals remain hidden.

With time running out and the threat for a global pandemic rising, Tox and his team realize their sole chance might be to reach back through centuries of silence to find the only answer that can save them all.

It’s no secret that I love, love, love Ronie’s books. I think she could write about the most boring thing in the world (I’m not sure what that would be) but she could make it interesting, captivating and exciting! She’s that good. I think the reason is that she agonizes over her books. Not only does she work so hard on the writing but she stresses over each word, turning herself inside out to make sure each book is her best. It shows. This book is no exception. It is a page-turner that will make you not want to put it down and make you cry for more when you reach the last page!

I was able to snag a few words from our hero, Cole ‘Tox’ Russell, and asked him a few light questions to get to know him a bit better. Needless to say, he’s a man of few words.

Hey, Cole. Thanks for sitting down to have a chat with us! I know a lot of us would love to get to know you a bit better after having read about your story so I have a few questions for you.

First of all, since we’re chatting on Christmas Eve, what is your favorite holiday and why?

I’m in the field a lot, so holidays are different for me, but I used to like Christmas a lot. People seemed to realize what was important that time of year.

On the heels of that question, what is your absolute favorite holiday food?

My mom’s mashed potatoes. Nothing like homemade.

What is your favorite book?

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged or Sun Tzu’s Art of War

I haven’t read either of those. What do you do in your downtime, if you have such a thing?

I like riding dirt bikes in the desert.

 

What is one thing that you wish you could learn faster in life?

Not to expect much from people. Ram said that sound jaded—I just don’t expect much so they can’t let me down.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully living a quieter life.

If you could give us one piece of advice about life, what would it be?

A two-pronged answer: people are important, so don’t get hung up on things or notoriety

Thanks again for chatting with us, Cole. Wishing you all the best in the future! We’re all looking forward to more adventures with you.

I can’t wait for Book #2! You can also get amazing Tox gear HERE!

Thanks for joining me! Get your hands on Conspiracy of Silence today from the following websites:

AMAZON

CHRISTIAN BOOKCHRISTIAN BOOK

CHAPTERS

BARNES & NOBLE

~Sarah

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends (aka awesome readers),  I want to wish you a wonderful and very

Merry Christmas!

I’m so grateful for the hope that we can celebrate this time of year.  The most precious gift ever!

I hope that your time is filled with family, friends, love and joy….

and food!

Mmmm, food!

Thanks for walking on this journey with me. I love hearing from you and just knowing you’re out there.

~Sarah

Christmas 3

Tornado Hunters Set to Storm CMT

Tornado Hunters is coming

Hey all! It’s been forever since I blogged but life is crazy! I was hoping to have so many things to talk about for storm season here this summer, but it largely failed to develop. We had a few storms but nothing amazing to blog about. Sadly. Waiting nine plus months for storm season and then having hardly anything to show for it… well, it sucks. Oh well. Thankfully, my favorite chase team didn’t have the brutal season I did.

The Tornado Hunters had a very, very busy summer. Greg tells me they did around 100,000 kms for chasing this summer. Doing that in a year would be crazy. Doing that in a summer. These guys are committed to the chase!

The Tornado Hunters consists of Greg Johnson, Ricky Forbes and Chris Chittick. If you talk to any of these guys for even a few minutes, you will see the passion they have for storms and chasing.

Great helment

Greg Johnson

Ricky Forbes

Ricky Forbes

Chris Chittick

Chris Chittick

From the moment that storms start to make an appearance in the US, these guys run full out until the fall. Thankfully, on occasion, there’s a bit of a break in the weather patterns and they are able to make it home for a while. I imagine that makes their families watch the weather pretty close too. Chris just married this summer and was on the road not long after.

I attribute much of the storm enthusiast (wannabe chaser) I am today to Greg’s chasing. I started watching him a few years ago and couldn’t help but be caught up in his passion for storms. I had the opposite passion. If I could go a whole summer without storms back then, I was thrilled. Now, my 180 degree spin leaves me super disappointed after a season like this.

Greg, Ricky and Chris were approached a while back about the possibility of doing a show. Of course, it was a brilliant idea and they went for it. Last year they did a few webisodes and a few pilot episodes. You can check out my review here and find the webisodes here. They were fantastic. A really gritty look at the world of storms and storm chasing. The guys, and Saloon Media, did an awesome job!

Then we waited. I say we because I was anxious waiting as well to see if the powers that be would want a whole season. I shouldn’t have doubted because the pilot was awesome! Thankfully, they fans had spoken and we got what we wanted. The Tornado Hunters were going to have their season premier in the fall of 2015. There was much rejoicing.

Fast forward to now. The summer has come and gone and we missed the live stream the guys used to have available to us, but we knew that some serious work was going into making this show the best storm show out there. I have no doubt that this season will be amazing. Greg, Ricky and Chris have put their heart and soul into this show. Blood (is that an alligator?), sweat and tears (were the wings worth it, Ricky?) went into this season and I hope that you will join the guys as they show us their life in storm chasing. Only 12 days from now, the premier will air on CMT Canada!

Check out the awesome trailer for Tornado Hunters here!

I know that a lot of you from other countries are asking ‘Will I be able to see it?’ and I really hope the answer is yes. I think that it will be available to see online at some point, but you can also contact your local TV providers and ask them to pick up Tornado Hunters for you! You could even beg them. 🙂 I know the guys would love if everyone everywhere who wanted to see it could. So, make those calls today so you can watch Tornado Hunters with us on October 18th!

You can see the pilot episodes on CMT at the following times to prepare for the season premier!

Thursday October 8

Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 1) 11pm ET/8pm PT
Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 2) 11:30pm ET/8:30pm PT

Friday October 9

Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 1) 6pm ET/3pm PT
Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 2) 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT

Sunday October 11

Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 1) 10am ET/7am PT
Tornado Hunters (Pilot Ep 2) 10:30pm ET/7:30pm PT

Find Greg on Facebook and Twitter!

Find Ricky on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Find Chris on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Here’s where you can find their website!

Tornado Hunters Banner

~Sarah

Summer Storm Fun in Canada

Monday July 27 tornado mb

Wow, I’ve been quiet lately. Sorry to all you awesome folks who like seeing me post. Guess the summer got to me and I’ve been out doing things rather than posting. Sadly, the ‘things’ I’ve been doing haven’t involved much storm chasing. I’m in this strange place where I very much want to get out and chase everything that even looks promising (or even those that don’t), but I’m not confident enough to go on my own. I can see me getting out there, getting eager to get close to a storm and then finding myself in terrible position. The kind that people don’t walk away from. Yikes! I like my family too much to be risking a lot. Also, there wasn’t much to chase this year. Not within driving distance at least. I seriously considered how disruptive it would be to uproot my family and take a vacation to Oklahoma for a few months. Abysmal would be the word I would use. I now understand why chasers spend hours and hours and months on the road to chase. Sitting still and waiting for storms to come to you is brutal.

Thankfully, while my season has been terrible, my favorite chase team has been busy. I miss the days they were live streaming but it’s still fun to follow their FB and Twitter sites to get updates. I can’t wait for the season premier of Tornado Hunters on CMT, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Last week, July 27th, the guys were finally chasing in Canada. I love when they chase in Canada. Not only because I am Canadian, but because these guys are local and it just feels right watching them chase here! Plus, that usually means the storms are near me and the chance goes up that we might get hit with some fun!

Yep, I am hopelessly in over my head with this draw to storms. Often times I wonder, in slow seasons, if it would be easier to just go back to hating storms… but I can’t. I’m addicted.

Back to the story. Last Monday the pros were all seeing some sweet weather patterns setting up. Greg, Ricky and Chris (and their entourage) booked it back up here, from Arizona I believe. The day was slow and the afternoon continued on as though there was nothing much to talk about. A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook of a chaser convergence. Which we had fun with since a chaser convergence in Canada is nothing compared to the ones in the US. He, like them all, was in waiting mode.

Canadian Chaser Convergence by Ryan Crouse

Canadian Chaser Convergence by Ryan Crouse (Yorkton Storm Hunter)

Yep, that’s the Dom 3. Waiting. Everyone waits.

It was worth the wait. Finally the action began and the chaser were off. I spent most of the night following Yorkton Storm Hunter (Ryan Crouse), RAIDEN (Notanee Bourassa) and Nick Schenher live stream. While I didn’t get a chance to see the beast that the storms produced, Greg Johnson, Ricky Forbes and Chris Chittick (the Tornado Hunters) did!

Sweet Wall Cloud

Wall cloud

Since I wasn’t there, maybe next year, I’ll let Ricky describe it.

That moment

“My favorite part of storm chasing is this moment right here. When we get right underneath a massive rotating supercell. A monster chaotic storm over 50,000 ft tall above us yet so eerily calm below, as we watch the clouds start to slowly twist and churn above us. Feeling the rush of the winds blasting into this storm, and then the clouds start to lower. Faster and faster the clouds spin and tighten up, lightning blasting down, torrential rain beside us, and then a huge tornado touches down and its game time.”

Could I be more jealous? Probably not.

Then, as Ricky said, the huge tornado touched down.

MB tornado chittick pic MB tornado July 27 201 MB tornado July 27 2015 tornado tornado MB july 27 2015 July 27 2015 EF2That thing is a BEAST! Wow! It was on the ground for three hours! Three. Hours. That’s only a half hour less than the current record for longest known tornado on the ground, the Tri-State Tornado. Thankfully, though this beast was on the ground for three hours and reached a kilometer wide (I heard) and maybe more at some point, unlike the Tri-State tornado no one was killed in this storm and there was very little damage done. The rating, because of this, was an EF2. The Dom 3 measured the winds on the back of the tornado at 122 MPH. Pretty wild!

Chasers like the Tornado Hunter team, and many others, make it possible to get warnings out early and keep eyes on storms like this so that people in the path can prepare. I’m so grateful for chasers and many people owe their lives to them.

July 27 tornado damagePretty amazing to see the road torn up by that tornado. I can’t imagine the power that was in that storm and in that tornado. I’ve been told it’s not that uncommon for roads to be torn up like this, depending on the age and upkeep of the road. However, I’m still pretty impressed with the damage and the cool shot.

Here’s a sweet video by the Tornado Hunters of the wedge tornado.

http://www.newsflare.com/video/50305/weather-nature/massive-wedge-tornado-in-tilston-mb-canada-clip3

While I miss the live stream these guys used to do, I can’t wait to see the footage of this storm on the new season on Tornado Hunters coming this fall!

If you haven’t heard of Tornado Hunters on CMT Canada, you’re missing out. Last year they did a few webisodes and a couple episodes to feel out the show and I, along with many others, really liked what we saw!

You can find the webisodes here to prepare for the new season!

In my review last year of the pilot of Tornado Hunters, I said: ‘This show is a very clear look into the lives of these guys and the realities of storm chasing as a profession. All the thrills, frustrations, joys, angers, laughs and tornadoes that go along with it.’ I hope, and expect, that the new season will be the same! I can’t wait to see it and I know these guys have been busting their butts in order to give us the best show that they can!

Ricky, Greg and Chris, I can’t wait for the new season of Tornado Hunters! It’s one of the only reason that I am looking forward to fall.

Find team Tornado Hunter on their website, Twitter and Facebook page!

Ricky: Facebook Twitter

Ricky Forbes

Greg: Facebook Twitter

Great helment

Great helmet

Chris: Facebook Twitter

Chris Chittick

Here’s hoping the season isn’t over for me, or for these guys who will continue to chase as long as the season holds out. I wouldn’t be surprised to find them chasing blizzards next!

How about you? Do you love the thrill of a storm chase? Are you, like me, an arm-chair chaser and watching these awesome chasers do what they do? Maybe, like me, you’re hoping to do some chasing of your own. Tell me your story!

~Sarah

The Reckoning by MaryLu Tyndall ~ A Review

The Reckoning

When Morgan Shaw crept into the hold of an old pirate ship replica at San Diego’s Annual Tall Ship Festival, her only intention was to avoid the guy who had just dumped her and who was now boarding the ship with two women on his arm. What she didn’t expect was to wake up aboard a real pirate ship three-hundred years in the past. But of course, it wasn’t real. Her wealthy father had obviously staged it all in an effort to get her mind off her upcoming chemo. Or had he?

Pirate Rowan Dutton seeks enough treasure to repay a debt to his sister and reinstate the Dutton name among British Jamaican Society. He is but one major haul away from accomplishing his goal when a strange woman appears on his ship and causes him to lose his prey. Despite his anger, he is enthralled with the little minx, her strange clothing, odd speech, and her insistence that they are all actors playing a charade paid for by her father.

Yet when the brazen little lady divulges Rowan’s secret to a longtime nemesis, events are triggered that could cost them both their lives and change the course of history forever.

I went into this book expecting a full and adventurous read. What I got was so much more.

Morgan has a problem. Cancer. As everything seems to fall down around her and she isn’t sure she could feel more alone, everything fades away and she finds herself in an even more unpredictable situation. Anxiety soars as the world grows more unknown. She faces down an unruly pirate captain and his crew, while trying to hold herself and her world together. When she’s not sure she could possibly face another moment, when a simple breath is beyond her, she has a decision to make. Face the rest of the unknowns alone… or put her life in the hands of the One she doesn’t think cares.

Rowan is a mighty Captain and one tough pirate. Known for his cunning and ruthlessness, he meets his match in Morgan. He can’t figure her out and she seems to not care for his charm, which usually sends the ladies swooning. Morgan is not swooning. In fact, she seems to be immune to him… but is he immune to her?

As a person who fights anxiety, this heroine spoke to me. MaryLu draws the emotions of anxiety out and I could nearly feel Morgan’s panic. I also love how MaryLu dealt with anxiety and the other trials that Morgan had to face. Numerous times I wiped tears from my eyes as truths were spoken that even spoke into my life.

Not only is this a wonderful read if you struggle with anxiety, it’s a fantastic adventure for anyone. MaryLu knows how to write a fantastic pirate story. She knows her ships, pirates and adventures and knows how to grab a reader and yank them into the story. It was really hard to put this book down and yet, when it ended, I was sad to read the final page.

This will definitely be a book I will re-read many times. I loved it!

*I received this book from MaryLu Tyndall in exchange for my honest review. I didn’t have to love it, but I sure did!*

You can find MaryLu on her website, facebook, twitter, and goodreads.

M.L. Tyndall (MaryLu) grew up on the shores of Southern Florida dreaming of romance and adventure upon the sea. She now lives with her husband, six children, and four cats in Northern California where she writes inspirational adventure romance novels. MaryLu’s novels have been praised for their fast-paced action, strong inspirational messages, and incredibly vivid settings. Her first novel, The Redemption was nominated for the prestigious Christy Award for Best Christian Fiction.

 

~Sarah