Monday, August 21, 2017

It's Tough to Get From Idea to Novel by Valerie Ullmer


How great to have Valerie as my guest today! Read on...
Story ideas are easy, but expanding them into a full novel is the difficult part. 

For my newest release, Xander, the 3rd Novel my Dark Assassins paranormal romance series, I had a difficult time coming up with a story that would work in the world I had already created. 

My first imagining of the story was Xander, my hero, would fall in love with a librarian that was targeted by a bear shifter and needed his protection.  But after that initial story idea, I was stuck when it came to developing conflict throughout the book after Xander saved her from the first encounter at the beginning of the story.  I even had a different name for the heroine, Etta.  But the concept didn’t work and I scrapped it. 

The second reiteration was even less memorable.  Etta was still a librarian, but I imagined the story as more of a get to know you, without an antagonist threatening to kill them, but again, there was no conflict and no action, which is a miserable failure when you’re talking about government assassins. 

And by this time, I was starting to freak out a little.  I had set a deadline for myself and scheduled the edits.  I had to get it to my editor by May of 2017 because I planned releasing it at the end of July 2017.  And by March of 2017, I had nothing. 

Then it came to me.  Xander, although a government assassin, had a softer side to him.  One where he longed for a mate and thought, for the longest time, that she had passed him by.  And because of his personality, it was only right to have him and his mate be able to have an actual family.  And that is where the idea of their son, Silas, came about. 

Frost was unique character.  One, her name, her occupation, and her personality was so different from anyone that I’ve created before.  Also, she was half shifter, half human, which allowed her to become pregnant.  Most of all, Frost is a ferocious character that will protect anyone who threatened those she loves. 

And Silas is an exact replica of his father.  They are close and while Silas loves his mother, Frost, he has a special connection to Xander. 

And because of the turmoil I had while coming up with and dismissing ideas for Xander, I was able to come up with the perfect idea that fit both the character and the story.

Half-human, half-shifter.

Xander has secretly yearned for a mate for most of his immortal existence, and yet after three of his friends found exactly what he’s always wanted, he’d come to believe that he’d missed his chance at happiness.

Until he heard her voice.

Frost is a wildlife biologist and tracker and she has been assigned, despite her adamant protests, to lead mercenaries into the mountains of Snowfall, Colorado for the sole purpose of killing immortal shifters.  In order to protect those who have no idea the kind of danger they are in, she agrees.  As she leads the armed men on a wild chase around the snow-covered pines, she could sense that she was running out of time.

Until she heard his voice.

Xander understands exactly who Frost is the moment he hears her thoughts.  With the help of Kane and Gunnar, they eliminate those in her group as they try to keep her safe.  But during the fight, she is hurt and all of his protective instincts flare to life.  As Xander learns more about her, he realizes that Frost might be the key to the creation of the immortals, both vampire and shifter.  

But when she becomes a target from those who want to destroy the Dark Company and Xander’s family, how far will he go to save her?


Can either of you hear the woman’s thoughts?

Woman?  Gunnar sounded confused.

Kane’s reply was quick and clipped.  No.



Xander tried to get her attention.  Can you hear me?

He held his breath when he heard her distinct gasp, knowing that their mind link worked.  His chest filled with dread at the thought that she gave herself away, until he heard her next words.

“I spotted a grizzly bear in the trees to the west.  Sorry, I startled him and he ran off.”

For long seconds, the men in the clearing stared at the woman before they were ordered to keep searching.

Xander stood close enough that he could see her curves underneath the heavy white parka.  And having the worst timing in the world, Xander felt his body react.  He took a deep, cleansing breath of sharp mountain air that instantly cooled his overheated body.

Yes, I can hear you.  These men, seven in total, are looking for immortals.  They have been contracted by my boss at U.S. Fish and Wildlife to kill them.  Apparently the immortals are supposed to become animals.  Can you help me without hurting yourself?  They are heavily armed.

Xander was taken completely by surprise.  She didn’t question their connection but instead relayed vital information that he would need.  He could also start to feel her emotions.  She wasn’t scared, just determined.  He could hear her heart beating at a fast rate and her breathing strained from either the hike up the mountain or the tension in the air.  He watched as she subtly shifted her head around as she searched for him, unable to spot him in the trees.

We can help.  I’m going to communicate with my team and we’ll take out the men.  Are you okay with that?

Yes, I know they are paid mercenaries and I’m mad that they killed a wolf two days ago for no other reason than they wanted to shoot something.

What’s your name?


Frost, I’m Xander.  When I tell you to run, run south.  Okay?

Yes, I understand.

Xander relayed the conversation he had with Frost.  We are going to have to kill them, there’s no other way around it.  They couldn’t have a threat looming over them, especially if one escaped and brought in a stronger, more trained group of mercenaries.  Although they could easily defeat any group of fighters, keeping their existence a secret was crucial.  The more humans that knew about them, the bigger the danger it posed.

Buy Link: Amazon 

Author Bio

Valerie writes paranormal and contemporary M/F and M/M erotic romances. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her wonderfully supportive husband and their funny and wise black lab. She's addicted to coffee, crime shows, and reading and writing character driven romances. 

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