Down to Earth Romance

Please welcome my talented guest Paula Millhouse, whose original maps of the Kingdom of Chalvaren, the world she created for her fantasy novel Chalvaren Rising, intrigued me so much that I invited her to my blog to share her artistry with you. Paula is here to describe her fascinating process. Please be kind and like or leave a comment for Paula, and then check out her new release.

~ Best, Adele


Cartography and Maps in Fantasy Worlds by Paula Millhouse:

Maps are important parts of Fantasy worlds. As a key to world-building a writer must see where her characters live, how the climate affects them, where water sources are located, and the best routes for trade, protection, and natural resources.

As a nod to Mr. Tolkien who inspired me with his maps of Middle Earth as a child, I decided, “HEY – my Fantasy Romance novel, Chalvaren Rising, needs a map too. I’m an artist – I can provide that.”

Kingdom of Chalvaren (c)Paula Millhouse/Boroughs Publishing Group 2015


Map #1

Developing a Watercolor Painting

Here’s the first really rough draft of my map. Kinda ugly, right? Just like a first draft of a novel. You kinda know it’s got potential, but… you’re not willing to share that ugly puppy with anyone.


Draft 2: This is my developmental edit

I took my really rough composition above, thought on it, and reconstructed it. I edited out the parts that didn’t work, added new elements like any great Cartographer would to ground the map’s Reader, and I revised the entire painting. I went to my photo-imaging program Gimp, and added text to the base image.


Draft 3: How the Process of Creativity is Unified

Finally, I added my copy edit – which visually included development of the pencil dragon drawings, and what I thought might be the final text images. I love this edition. This is how art is made, whether with brushes and watercolors, or with the text of your prose. It’s a process. No matter what, I created this world of Chalvaren, and I feel her and now I see her not only in my imagination, but also on the page. This original watercolor painting now hangs in my house in honor of the love I have for Chalvaren’s territories, her castles, her dragons, and her citizens.


But, and here’s the caveat of this post, remember Editors Always Matter.

My amazing editor over at Boroughs Publishing Group, Christopher Keeslar, took my piece of art and transformed it even further into what I consider to be the finished product, just like he did with my novel.

I adore the “Mappiness” of the image below, don’t you?

We were able to include the map in the book, a special nod to JRR Tolkien who introduced me to my first fictional dragon and fantasy world.

Kingdom of Chalvaren (c)Paula Millhouse/Boroughs Publishing Group 2015



With the love of Kort, Chalvaren’s warrior-prince heir, Mia Ansgar will seize her birthright and become the great dragon-riding wizardess prophesied to free that elven kingdom from her embittered sorceress kin.

Chalvaren Rising_FINAL


Twenty-five years ago, Theo Ansgar abandoned the Kingdom of Chalvaren for a hiding place on another world. Some called him traitor. Some, thief. Now his fully grown daughter Mia must return to the land of her birth…and their war.

It was the elf prince Kort Elias who brought her back. Theirs was an instant connection, an inescapable union of body, soul and sorcery, reminding Mia of what she truly is, and what she must become. There is also Magnus, destined to be more potent than any wyrm Chalvaren has ever seen, a three-day-old dragonlet Mia must nurture and then ride. And then there is the Dragonstone, an artifact of power nonpareil. Joined, they can tip the scales of battle against the wraith-possessed forces of darkness, of Mia’s own embittered kin.

Redemption will be offered, the protected will become the protector, and an ancient prophecy will come to fruition, but only righteous love can conquer all.


Author’s Bio

Paula's Headshot 1-15

Paula Millhouse is the writer of books where fantasy, romance, and suspense collide, including Chalvaren Rising, it’s prequel, Dragonstone, and Three Wishes. Dragonstone also appears in the anthology, A Gift of Fantasy.These stories are published by Boroughs Publishing Group.

“I wanted to find out what would happen if I designed a world where fantasy lovers get their adventure quest, but also gave their girlfriends a healthy dose of grown-up romance along the way. How can we blend High Fantasy and Romance into a story that leaves the Reader breathless, where magic and suspense collide in a spellbinding imaginary world?”

She is also the author of a romantic suspense series, where fast-paced thrillers collide with high-heat romance. The Wishes Chronicles includes Careful…, and All Your Wishes…

When not following her muse on quests for happily ever afters, Paula works in the field of medicine as a Family Nurse Practitioner by day, and micro-gardens in her potager with her husband and their pack and pride of furry babies. Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, where Spanish moss whispers tales in breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, as a child Paula soaked in the sunshine and heritage of cobblestones, pirate lore, and stories steeped in savory mysteries of the south.

She’s a PRO member of Romance Writers of America, and the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Writers specialty chapter.

She lives in the mountains now, but she honors her southern heritage as a storyteller by sharing her adventures in fiction with readers.

Find the Author here:

Amazon Author Page
Facebook Page
You Tube

Comments on: "Guest Post-Paula Millhouse, Original Map Art" (9)

  1. What cool maps! Somebody’s VERY creative…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m still in such awe of these maps and am bowled over by the final product! What a wonderful accompaniment to a terrific book.


  3. So happy to be here today on your beautiful site, Adele. One of the highlights of my trip to RWA in New York this year was meeting you, and talking about writing.

    I’m thrilled Boroughs Publishing Group was able to include my map with Chalvaren Rising.

    What do you and your readers like most about fantasy romance?


    • Thanks for being here, Paula. I’m so impressed by your map (I want one for Alfheim in HER IMMORTAL VIKING)! I took photographs of gardens and fountains that reminded me of Alfheim when I blogged about my book, and wish I’d had a wonderful map like yours to go with them. Fantasy romance really does stir the imagination like nothing else. Congratulations on your release!


      Liked by 1 person

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