I’d like to welcome Mal Olson to my blog today. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Mal is giving away 5 ebook copies of Shadow of Deceit and a $15 Amazon gift certificate. Check out the link to her entire tour to find out more about it. (WordPress won’t allow me to post the link to the giveaway. Sorry.)
What first got you interested in writing? What has kept you doing it?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. English and creative writing were always my favorite classes. In sixth grade (which was a very long time ago) my first romantic short story blossomed– two star-crossed lovers reunited on Bastille Day when the wrongly imprisoned Jean Pierre was freed.
I keep writing because I’m an excessive, compulsive writer. It’s in my blood and I can’t not write.
Do you have the support of your family and friends? Has that support always been there, or has it changed since being published?
I definitely have the support of my family. My two daughters, son, and husband have always encouraged me. My oldest daughter is my critique partner, and Shadow of Deceit would not exist if it wasn’t for her help with critiquing and editing. My other daughter and her writer/husband are also excellent final critiquers, as is my husband. They’re all thrilled that I’ve finally been published.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? Strangest habit? Is there anything you have to do before you start writing?
You can find me pounding the keys on my computer at various odd times throughout the day and night. Usually, I do my best creative writing when I start the day reading something really well written by one of my favorite authors. Other than that, I’m not too quirky.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Never give up. I’d been trying for over twenty years before I received my first contract. Thanks to The Wild Rose Press I can now say I’m a published author. I love to quote J.A. Konrath: “There’s a word for a writer who never gives up. Published.”
What has been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
I think it goes back to the fact that it took so long to get here.
Has a reader ever complimented you on your writing. What was the best thing you ever heard, and who told it to you?
A review of Shadow of Deceit that came from someone I’ve never met, had me walking on air. Annette from Gothic Mom’s review sent me an email before she posted her review on amazon and said “I just have to tell you that I LOVED it!! In a word it is FANTASTIC.” She reviews over 150 books a year and says there are very few that receive a five star rating, which she gave to Shadow of Deceit. She added it to her “A book you just have to have self” on her blogspot. She’ll be posting the entire review on April 1. I was also ecstatic over Stacey Joy Netzel’s five star review of “Shadow”—my very first review ever. Stacey is a very accomplished author from my home state of Wisconsin, who is also published by The Wild Rose Press.
What are you working on now? Could you give us a little taste?
My WIP, Too Sexy for His Stetson, features a female sheriff deputy, her field training officer, and a special canine working dog. It’s set in Idaho where Blade Beringer and Brandy Wilcox are combating a white supremacist gang as well as the forbidden attraction that’s sparking between them.
Tell us about your latest book.
Shadow of Deceit is my debut. It’s an adrenaline-kicked, fast-paced romantic suspense. It’s set in the Milwaukee area where an FBI agent risks his career when he collaborates with a young widow desperate to prove herself innocent of diamond trafficking with terrorists who killed the agent’s Delta Force team three years earlier.
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 Crazaniak 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?
How can people find out more about you?
Check out my website at www.malolson.com. You’ll find a fun trailer (make sure you have the sound turned on) and you’ll find pictures from my research projects, like the Sheriff’s Citizen Academy I attended and in which I participated in scenario training and target shooting with the deputies. Research can be a lot of fun!
An excerpt of Shadow of Deceit
Someone knocked on her window.
Heart in her throat, every muscle in her body tensed as she jerked her head toward the passenger side and looked through frosted glass into the face of Special Agent Tony Crazaniak.
Relief uncoiled the knot in her stomach. She’d never been so happy to see anyone in her life. She unlocked the door, and he opened it.
“Jesus, what the hell was that all about?” He dipped his head and plunked a snow-clogged foot onto the floor mat as he grabbed her bags and tossed them over the seat.
“I don’t know, and I wasn’t sticking around to find out.”
Cramming six-foot-plus inches of man into her Porsche was like stuffing two hundred pounds of prime beef into a picnic cooler. But he managed not only to squeeze in and make himself comfortable, he took charge.
“Traffic’s moving, go!”
She eased the accelerator, launching forward into an ice-jammed gridlock of traffic crawling west.
“You want to tell me what’s going on?” His shoulder brushed against hers when he shifted in the seat.
“I would if I had the slightest clue.”
His heat made her nerve endings prickle. And as far as telling him what was going on? The “would if I could” may not have been the entire truth, but it was close enough. Besides, she didn’t want to tell him anything. Yet.
What did she actually know?
Snow bunched on the windshield as the wiper blades plowed through thick gruel, as her brain churned, as she tried to come up with an answer the FBI operative would buy. “Obviously someone’s after me.”
“Obviously. But, who?”
“I don’t know.”
Snapping her head around, she glared at him. The full effect of his intense eyes sent heat waves rippling down her spine.
“No.” Cheeks blooming hot, she tugged her glance away and added, “No lovers.”
She felt his scrutiny slow-slide over her. The bloom that heated her cheeks spread down her neck.
“You ought to fix that,” said Tall-Dark-and-Scrumptious.
And the fact that she noticed that he was scrumptious flustered her. She wasn’t looking for…anything. Although, she could use his broad-shouldered, don’t-mess-with-me attitude and his FBI badge riding shotgun until she ditched the Lexus.
“Listen, I’m not…I mean…” What did she mean? “Not in the market…All I want is a guard dog until I lose the lunatic in the Lexus.”
He shrugged. “Can’t blame a guy for trying.” His smile slammed the scrumptious meter so high she heard bells ring, which made her reconsider her comfort level. She realized she would be safer, at least on an estrogen-to-testosterone level, without his massive presence and raw animal magnetism steaming up the Porsche’s windows.
Looking into the mirror, she couldn’t see the Lexus. She turned around and still couldn’t spot it. Even if it were there, it couldn’t pass four cars on Wisconsin Avenue on a good day, let alone in this snowy mess.
“On second thought, why don’t I pull over at the next light and you can hop out. If I want help, I’ll whistle.”
“I don’t think so.” He swiveled to look out the rear window, his mouth nearly brushing her cheek.
Too close. Too hot. Too dangerous.
She couldn’t pull over without getting stuck in the slushy excuse for a right lane, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t stop, and that he couldn’t let himself out.
When the line of traffic stalled again, she eased her foot on the brake and said with a prick of guilt over ditching him in calf-high muck, “End of the ride, Agent Crazaniak.”
He shook his head.
“I can make it home from here. Thanks for your concern.” Too bad he hadn’t worn boots.
He settled his broad shoulders against the seat.
“I no longer need your assistance.” She glanced over her shoulder again. “The Lexus is gone.”
“Not my style to leave a woman in distress.”
“Distress?” At the moment, he was the cause of her distress. All she wanted was to get rid of FBI Agent Tony Crazaniak.
Her attention snagged on the Tahoe in front of them, which attempted a jackrabbit start, fishtailed, and landed in a snow bank.
“Maybe when you get out, you could give the guy in the Tahoe a hand.”
“You need protection.”
She reached into the glove box and whipped out a gold lipstick tube. “I’ve got it.” Pepper spray. She waggled bouquet de Red Hot Chili Pepper at him.
“You need my protection.”
“How do I know you’re really an FBI agent?” She flipped off the top.
He eyed her small but effective weapon.
“Come on, Shannon, don’t mess around.” Raising his hands in surrender, he leaned away and grasped the door handle. “I don’t think you want to do that.”
“All I want is to go home. Alone…please.”
A nanosecond later, she found herself watching him stuff her pepper spray into his pocket. She didn’t know how the exchange had happened. Other than fast.
“Protective custody.” He patted his pocket. “I’ll get you home safely, and you won’t even have to whistle.”
Dear God, she was trapped in her car with a man who oozed so much male charisma she felt like she was drowning in testosterone.
“Seriously, how do I know your ID is legit? You could be an ax murderer for all I know.”
“You want to call the Bureau?” He offered his cell phone. “You can get the number from information. You wouldn’t want to trust a suspected mass murderer for the correct number.”
She rolled her eyes.
“It’s listed under Federal Bureau of Investigation. They’ll vouch that I’m a really nice guy.”
When she took the phone, his body heat clung to it and warmed her palm, irritatingly so. “Are you, really?”
“What, hiding an ax under my jacket?”
“No.” She scowled and thumbed in 411. It didn’t hurt to check him out. “Are you really a nice guy?”
“What do you think?”
She thought he wanted to interrogate her. And none of the nice guys she knew were pumped like Hercules. Rather than answering him, she spoke into the phone, “I’d like the number for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
The car behind them honked, and she turned her attention to driving and squeezed past the stranded Tahoe. While edging into the intersection, she concentrated on the snow squall, the taillights of the car ahead of them, and on memorizing the numbers the automated voice was reciting in her ear.
“Look out!” Crazaniak yelled as the Lexus materialized from the right, racing toward them. “The bastard must have turned off somewhere and circled around.”
“Jeez, he’s going to ram us!” Shannon dropped the phone and stomped the gas pedal. The tires whined and spun and finally dug beneath the slush. But when rubber found traction, the car catapulted forward too fast.
Her 944 swapped ends twice on the glazed surface and came to a dead stop in the middle of the intersection.
The Lexus revved its engine, its wheels pelting ice. Then rocketed toward them for a second attack.
Paralyzed, Shannon froze in terror. Every muscle in her body locked up. Static electricity lifted the hair at her nape. An image of the accident two years ago flashed through her mind.
“Hit the gas! Hit the gas!”
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MN-ph78gic