‘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
Advertisements

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

Greater Love Hath No Man

I posted this two years ago and feel the same way this year. Lest We Forget.

Sundry & Specifics

From Pinterest

‎”Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

Around the world there are men and women giving up their lives for friends, for strangers… like me.

Today we remember all who have fought and all that are fighting for ourfreedom.  For our freedom to sleep in peace, do coffee with friends, hug our children and even blog.  This blog feels even more insignificant now.

This year I am even more grateful for these men and women.  I’ve learnt more in the past year.  Seen more, of what the Military men and women go through, have gone through.

Some went so young, and died so young. Some went and left families behind… forever. Some still serve around the world, sadly still needed.  Some still serve in their dreams, in their nightmares, though their days of battle are…

View original post 41 more words

Weather Wednesday: Boredom and Excitement

Ricky Rainbow

Great shot by Ricky Forbes!

Hey Everyone!  I’ve been pretty quiet on the weather posts lately as it’s been SOOO incredibly boring up here.  We’ve had a few cracks of thunder and a bit of lightning but, for a storm-enthusiast, it’s getting pretty frustrating.  I think I’m going through storm withdrawal.  Is that a thing?  Storm depression?  Anyhow, though the storms are non-existent up here there are still some great chasers to watch in parts of Canada and the US.  I’m surviving on live stream footage right now.  Ugh.  I sure hope that with all this heat, we see something!  Okay, there’s the boredom part of this post.  Now… on to the excitement.

You’ve heard me talk about them before (and you’ll hear it again), but one of my favourite local chase teams is doing something really exciting!  No, they aren’t taking me out chasing, this is something for everyone!

Team Tornado Hunter are doing a show on CMT!  I got to preview the trailer yesterday and it looks like it’s going to be awesome!!  Check out the trailer here:

This is my second year watching these guys chase and I love it.  Not only do they keep the hours of driving entertaining with their banter, insults and chatting with those of us watching the live feed, they also deliver quality and exciting chase moments.  We had a stormy day here this summer, sadly not near me, and it looked like the guys were out of position.  They were commenting on how it might be a bust day, but then decided to check out a cell that had just appeared on radar.

The chase was on and those of us who were watching settled in for what we hoped would be an amazing show.  Well, we sure weren’t disappointed!  Soon the lightning began, the rain came and suddenly we were hearing ‘Do you hear that?’ as Greg spoke to the guys.  The pulse-pounding, adrenalin-filled moments came when the live feed became intermittent (storms are really good at killing reception) and we were only able to get glimpses of the action.  Rain pounding horizontally across the road, debris blowing, Ricky taking the truck into a ditch as the storm got really intense.  Nothing like spotty data reception to make your watchers want to pull their hair out.  The night ended in the guys stuck in a farmers field, having gotten off track.  At 2 am, those of us still watching began sending out messages to anyone and everyone who might be in the area to get the guys out.  I debated hopping in our 4×4 Blazer and driving out to see what I could do.  They were about 3 hours away at the time and I figured they’d be well out by the time I got there.  It was an awesome day to watch!

Here’s the video of this chase with a surprise that we didn’t get to see on the live feed:

If they have data reception in the area they are chasing, these are the guys to watch!

I’m so excited to see their new series and I know it will be a blast to watch!  Make sure to mark August 18th on your calender and see these guys in action on CMT!

Greg RFD RickyChris Chittick

Are you looking forward to seeing ‘Tornado Hunters’?  

Here’s the link to ‘Tornado Hunters’ on CMT!

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Greg Johnson!  Have a great day, Greg.

~Sarah

Not So Covert Ops for Team Zulu

Zulu 33 days, folks!!  3 days left until Team Zulu hits the ground running!  Wait until you meet these ladies!

I hope that you’ve checked out the heart-pounding teaser on day 4!

Sign up today to keep tabs on Team Zulu and enter for a chance to win an iPad mini!

(giveaway only open to those of you who are blessed with US addresses)

Those of us without US mailing addresses, we can still sign up and get this amazing book!

I can’t wait to take this thrill-ride with you!

~Sarah

Team Zulu

Here’s a few places you can find Ronie!

Rapid-Fire Fiction website.

Follow her on Twitter.

Like her on FaceBook. (and everywhere else, because she’s great!)

Check out her Pinterest.

 

 

Unexpected Fun

So, I was writing with my friend Leslie over Skype last night and she posed a challenge for me.  A blog post about “the last time you had more fun than you expected to. Something that surprised you with joy.” She also put a proviso on it.  It couldn’t be about my kids, my man, or God.  My initial thoughts were ‘um, what does that leave me’ and ‘that’s basically my life right there’.  Once I got past those thoughts though, it led me to a realization that there’s more to me than only those things.   So, of course, it’s going to be storm related.  🙂

Bolt from the Blue

‘Bolt from the Blue’ by Craig Hilts

I have an interesting relationship with social situations.  I love them if they are full of people I know, or at least partially know.  I am super uncomfortable with ones where the majority of the people are unknown to me.  I know most people are similar.

I also have an interesting relationship with Twitter.  I think it’s awesome in the summer when all the storm-chasers are posting updates and photos of storms that they are following.  I don’t like how time-consuming it is.  Confession: I joined and quit three separate times before it stuck.

Unless you’re a Twitter person, ‘tweetup’ won’t make a lot of sense to you.  Honestly, I still don’t really get them completely.  A ‘tweetup’ is a get together with a bunch of Twitter people in real life.  Like a party, with mostly people you’ve never met in person before.  It’s a combination of uncomfortable and cool all at the same time.  You could potentially make some awesome friends, or you could want to swear off Twitter entirely.

I had a combination of those experiences my first tweetup.  I met some really strange people, but I made some awesome friends.  (@ItsGodzirra and @mellowdeekay, you two redeemed my first tweetup and I am so grateful for you both!)

My second tweetup is where the unexpected fun happened.  One day I was thinking about storms and tweeted out ‘Anyone ever thought of putting together an storm tweetup?’.  Thankfully, an awesome local weather specialist saw the tweet and ran with it!  She had way more resources to get it done and I’m grateful she did it!

So, the storm tweetup was born.  I had my usual trepidation as the day approached.  Wavering back and forth between wanting to go and wanting to stay home in my safe zone.  Yes, I do this all the time.  Taking a risk is not something I do easily.  Yes, I still want to go out and storm chase!  Unpredictable weather is less scary than the unpredictability of people.

However, I had made a decision at the beginning of last year to be more brave.  To step out of my comfort zone more often.  Not in a dangerous way… though I think there’s always a danger outside of the comfortable little boxes we tend to sometimes live in.  To be bolder.  To not let fear rule my life.  I’m a work in progress.  There are many times where something hard happens and I consider staying in my comfortable little box.  This was not going to be something I would let fear take.  I wanted to go.

storm33

Photo Credit to Greg Johnson

When I arrived I was shaking.  Yep, shaking.  I was greeted at the door, thankfully, by a familiar face.  Greg Johnson, the local Tornado Hunter, had a brief conversation with me and put me at ease a bit.

Settling in at a table with the only other person I knew, I listened to storm-chasers talk about the storms they’d seen, the gear they use, the anticipation of the next season and the sadness that the year was wrapping up.  It was great!  As a new ‘storm-enthusiast’, this was awesome.  Hearing the stories and the excitement just made me want to get out there more.

Greg gave a talk about his storm year.  2013 was a wild year in the US for storms and Greg, Ricky and Chris were down there for a lot of it.  I really enjoy hearing about storms and I find Greg a really dynamic speaker.  He took questions after and I was able to learn a lot.  At one point, when the questions dies down a bit, Greg looked at me and said ‘Sarah, I find it hard to believe that you don’t have a question‘.  Yep, I’m making a name for myself as being someone who asks a ton of questions… annoying and otherwise.  🙂  The conversations continued and I got to meet some great local chasers and hear some great stories.

I walked away from the experience really glad that I went.  Not only did I meet some great people and hear some awesome stories, but I learnt a lot about storms and what it takes to chase them.  Thanks to everyone who made the experience an awesome one!  Looking forward to the next one!  Good luck this year in your chasing!

Storm 1

My own photo from my first storm-spotting trip.

When was the last time that you had more fun than you expected?  The last time that you were surprised by joy?  I’d love to hear about it!

~Sarah