Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What was your most interesting hands on research project?

I'm thrilled to be a guest today on my favorite website, Just Romantic Suspense. Thanks for joining me.  

What was your most interesting hands on research project?

The first thing that pops into my mind when it comes to research projects, is the twelve-week Citizen's Academy course I took with my County Sheriff's Department. Hands on—oh yeah. I practiced target shooting with a Glock 22, alongside a deputy, participated in scenario training with law enforcers, visited the county jail, the morgue, the court house and judge's chambers, and watched demonstrations from the SWAT team, the Dive Team, and the K-9 unit. (My WIP features a Belgian Malinois like the canine  I met during class, and I also offer a free short story on my website and on Amazon that features a Belgian Malinois.) Sessions also included presentations from the drug enforcement division, the patrol division, and the detective bureau. The entire course was filled with invaluable, hands-on, in your face, adrenaline pumping experiences that now help me breathe authenticity into the lungs of the law enforcers who live between the covers of my books.

Speaking of deputies, aka hunky guys, there were a few deputies who could serve well as a model for a heart-palpitating romantic suspense hero. Heroes for my stories can pop up almost anywhere. Tony Crazaniak in Shadow of Deceit introduced himself to me in a magazine photo. As a writer or a reader, where have you come across inspiration for the perfect hero? I'd love to hear your comments.  Mal.

Can an FBI agent obsessed with redemption and a grieving widow desperate to clear her husband’s name learn to believe in love again?

Shannon Riedel faces down danger when a gunman breaks into her office claiming her dead husband swindled him. When FBI agent Tony Crazaniak arrives to investigate, sexual heat sizzles. The ex-Delta Force operative’s massive presence and dark eyes trigger an attraction the young widow finds unnerving.

When Crazaniak convinces Shannon she needs his protection, they partner to unearth secrets her husband left behind—secrets involving a Tanzanian mine that yields perfect blue diamonds coveted by dealers around the world—secrets connected to a terrorist leader Crazanaik has vowed to take down.

With danger surrounding them, two emotionally wounded souls bond, but can they put their demons to rest and trust in love? Can they survive long enough to find out?

Excerpt: Shadow of Deceit

The gun Shannon came across at the bottom of a neatly folded stack of masculine attire on her bed shouldn’t have surprised her. She’d seen the agent’s Glock earlier.
Intrigued, she reached for the pistol, an object that seemed so out of place in her bedroom. As though she were familiar with handling firearms when she wasn’t, she wrapped her hand around the grip then jerked her head toward the bathroom door, conjuring up thriller fantasies.
But she didn’t have to conjure anything when she noticed a letter poking out of Crazaniak’s inside jacket pocket. Nor did she have to imagine the fact that the closet door stood slightly ajar. Her stomach clenched, a mix of anger and unease. Had the FBI agent been nosing through Tyler’s belongings?
Tit for tat—the urge to sneak a peek overwhelmed her. Her heartbeat ratcheted up as she shifted the gun to her left hand and reached for the letter. 
At that instant, she sensed a presence behind her. Even as the sound of water pounded the walls of the tub enclosure, Shannon knew in her heart of hearts that six foot-plus of dripping wet, naked man stood not relaxing under the water jets, but hovering five heart-palpitating feet away.
“Want to toss me my clothes?” he asked.
Unwilling to face him, she remained quick-frozen like a pillar of ice.
“Tell me you weren’t snooping in my things,” he rumbled.
“Tell me you weren’t snooping in my closet.”
“ I wasn’t snooping.”
She eyed the edge of the letter. “I thought I’d treat your duds to some suds. You want to hang out in my robe for a few?”
“Not enough material there to cover my manly attributes. I’ll settle for day-old Jockeys, and what the hell were you doing with my pistol?”
“Nothing.” She almost turned around.
Her chest thumped. The thought of Crazaniak au natural not only spiked her pulse, it titillated her imagination. She waited for a chord of guilt to strum across her heart. It didn’t happen. Instead, discord fluttered low in her abdomen, and she sensed him moving closer.

Buy link at The WildRose Press
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Author bio:
Mal Olson writes adrenaline-kicked romantic suspense. When her consuming passion for writing allows time, she enjoys reading, flower gardening, jamming with friends on the mountain dulcimer, and hiking in a nearby state forest (or in the mountains somewhere). She has three grown children and one granddaughter and resides with her own special hero in southeast Wisconsin where she juggles writing time with her freelance landscape design business.


  1. Loved Shadow of Deceit! My inspiration for heroes comes from actors I find incredibly good looking and also from clothes catalogs. Gives me a wide variety of men to choose from. :) I like finding heroine pictures in catalogs, too.

    1. So nice to hear from you, Stacey! And, oh yeah, one does stumble across some nice merchandise in catalogs. (grin) I'm wondering where you got the inspiration for Trent in Lost in Italy? He certainly was a hunk. As was the smoking hot cowboy, Tripp, in Chasin' Mason. Where can I order one of those? :)

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, valclarizio! Happy to hear you enjoyed the excerpt. You're right, WisRWA rocks!!

  3. I love that-"merchandise in catalogs". :) Tripp was inspired by the one and only Matthew McConnaughey. Google his Stetson Cologne ad and there's Tripp. (Funny, I realized about two years later he plays a character named Tripp in Failure to Launch.) Trent's hunkiness was inspired by Joe Flanigan as he appears in Stargate Atlantis. Mmmmm.

  4. Hi Mal! Loved Shadow of Deceit. So did my husband! I also have some "hero" pics from cologne ads in my files, but my most unusual hero is one who showed up completely cloaked and masked. Even I didn't know what he looked like until he chose to reveal himself to the heroine.

    1. So nice to have you stop by, Helen. Those cologne ads are quite resourceful, aren't they? Since the Prince of Val-Feyridge is one of my all-time favorite heroes, I'm guessing Arn may have been the hero who showed up cloaked and masked at your doorstep? I have him pictured quite clearly in my mind--larger than life, powerful, valiant, scarred, yet gorgeous. Ummmm...