BonniebrochIn some ways, every author engages in worldbuilding because their fictional setting is unique to their story. However, some stories require more planning than others. If I’m using an actual location, I must be true to it. London can’t suddenly be north of Edinburgh, for instance, unless I’m writing some sort of alternate history tale. For Plaid to the Bone, I created my own Bonniebroch Castle.

Plaid to the BoneI borrowed heavily from other Scottish castles of the period, like the picturesque ruin of Kilchurn seen above.  I sketched out a blue print of all the buildings within the confines of the crenelated curtain walls so I’d know where things were located. In my files, I’ve also got a rough floorplan of the keep so all the chambers, even down to the dungeon, and the secret connections between them were clear in my mind. Wild horses could not compel me to share my doodles. I’m not a graphic artist, but it helped me to visualize the special world of Plaid to the Bone (and to a large extent, the setting for Plaid Tidings too since much of that upcoming novel takes place in Bonniebroch!)

Want to visit my 16th century Scotland yourself?
Find Plaid to the Bone at: Kindle | Nook | iBooks | Kobo
And for my international friends: AmazonUK | AmazonCA | AmazonDE

CL Wilson

Lord of the Fading LandsI recreate a world gone by for my historical romances. My friend, CL Wilson creates an entirely new world for her fantasy romance. She and I first met when we were writing for Dorchester. She’s gone on to sign with Avon and I’m with Kensington & Sourcebooks now, but we’ve kept in touch through the years.

Like the works of Tolkein, her books call for a map. Here’s the link to the map of Eldoran , the setting for all her Tairen Soul novels. Her heroes shift from handsome warriors to great winged cats! CL’s stories are epic, richly imagined and deeply emotional. I love visiting her fantasy world.

She generously offered a copy of Lord of the Fading Lands, Book 1 of her Tairen Soul series, to help me celebrate my 20th published work. But why trust to luck? Claim your copy now.

How to Vex a Viscount

How to Vex a ViscountWe’re counting down my 20 published works with another backlist book each day. For Day 14 of my 20Days/20Books, I’m spotlighting one of my Dorchester titles–How to Vex a Viscount. This story is closely related to How to Please a Pirate because the heroine is Daisy, Gabriel Drake’s niece. She was a ten year old terror in Pirate. Now she’s a spinsterish bluestocking who’s desperate for an adventure in her own tale.

Both stories are available separately or in my How To series book bundle along with How to Distract a Duchess. As I type this, the How To series is currently the #1 Victorian Romance in the Amazon rankings. I’m thrilled that readers have taken this book set to their hearts. And it’s still only 99 cents!

The Prize

Today you can win Plaid to the Bone from Kensington Publishing, Lord of the Fading Lands from CL Wilson or How to Vex a Viscount from me. Your comment will also enter you in the Grand Prize drawing for a Kindle Paperwhite!

Here’s our question to get the discussion going: A romance is a “take me away” sort of read. The rules of our world don’t necessarily apply. What sort of things would you like to see in the special world of a fantasy–magic, mythical creatures, a quest of some sort? Let your imaginations fly!

85 thoughts on “Worldbuilding

  1. Christine A. says:

    I have always had a thing for fairies. Especially if they can grow to human size for a time then return to their normal size. I like that they can fly and flutter around.

  2. ELF says:

    I always love magic and mythical beings in my stories. I really enjoyed the Tairen stories as well as the late Ms. McCaffrey’s wonderful Pern series, I am a big fan of Thea Harrison’s Elder Races as well as Mercedes Lackey’s wonderful Valdemar stories and Tamora Pierce’s excellent series, not to mention Michelle Sagara’s wonderful Elantra series. (yes, I am a BIG fantasy fan, lol)

  3. Alexisa N. says:

    Mia thank you for the escapes! I love your books.

    1. Mia says:

      Any time, Alexisa! I’m humbled that you love my work. ;-)

  4. Janie McGaugh says:

    I’d like to see more superheroes/heroines.

    1. Mia says:

      Interesting. It’s hard to make a superhero relatable because they are well …. super. They have to have some flaws or we secretly resent them.

  5. Armenia says:

    Highland stories and the Fae have always intrigued me. I just love all the standing stones, and magic that goes along with those stories. Really, when magic is involved anything can happen.

    1. Mia says:

      Standing stones are so intriguing. We saw a number of them on the Hebrides last June. It’s probably my imagination, but I could almost feel the magic humming in them when I touched the stones.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I love elves, like the kind Tolkien created. I like elemental magic usage. I like it when authors create there own world or alternate universe. I’m not creative enough to think of anything that hasn’t already been done.

    1. C.L. Wilson says:

      The secret isn’t necessarily to create it only if it’s never been done, but to put your own unique twist on it.

      1. Mia says:

        Says the woman who created several new races of beings, different types of magic and a new belief system! CL is one of the most inventive authors I know.

  7. Chelsea B. says:

    I’m always amazed at shapeshifter stories. How author’s can turn a man into a snake and still make it sexy is beyond my comprehension! :-)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      That one’s beyond me, Chelsea. I’m so not into cold blooded.

  8. catslady says:

    I enjoy mythical creatures such as dragons or griffins :) Kathryne Kennedy has some wonderful romantic/fantasy reads.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      I enjoy Kathryne Kennedy’s alternate history paranormals too.

  9. bn100 says:

    vampires and werewolves

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      There are sure a lot of them out there. My crit partner, Ashlyn Chase, has written some very funny, light vampire and werewolf romances.

  10. Glittergirl says:

    I’m no writer and I’ve not got the imagination to be a world crafter but, I love magic especially fae, sexy dragon shifters, flying cats (lynx?) seem fun as well as gargoyles (Vickie Taylor had a wonderful series about them), maybe a faery godmother and a bewildered heroine who somehow lands in never-never land and ends up kicking some serious butt. Sounds like a good start. Maybe someone will pick it up and build a story from there, lol. Best wishes for your new series and thanks for the celebration giveaways!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks for the brainstorming, GG!

  11. Hi Mia and C.L.,

    I like magical swords like the Elfen swords in Lord of the Rings. Magical gems are also fun. Mia, you’ve made gems come to life.

    Have a super Monday!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Thanks, Barbara. I guess I did in Touch of a Thief. That red diamond was really evil!

    2. C.L. Wilson says:

      Hey Barbara – I love magic in all forms, including enchanted items. :) I’ve got a magical sword featured in my forthcoming WINTER KING :)

  12. Hi Mia and C.L.,

    I like magical swords like the Elfen swords in Lord of the Rings. Magical gems are also fun. Mia, you’ve made gems come to life.

    Have a super Monday!

  13. Quilt Lady says:

    I love about all romances but I think the ones with a quest involved is my favorite although I do like a little magic thrown in.

  14. Amy Hart says:

    Well, a different setting besides plain Earth would be interesting. Maybe some exotic unknown place. Not like an alien planet set in the future or anything. Maybe something like The Lost World, but possibly on a different plane or time.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      One of the things I love about Norse mythology is that they have 9 worlds all connected by the roots, limb and trunk of Iggdrasil, the World Tree. I’ve often thought it would make a good backdrop for a fantasy series.

      1. Amy Hart says:

        Yes it would!

  15. Amy Hart says:

    Well, a different setting besides plane Earth would be interesting. Maybe some exotic unknown place. Not like an alien planet set in the future or anything. Maybe something like The Lost World, but possibly on a different plane or time.

    1. C.L. Wilson says:

      Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark novels are set in all sorts of non-earth planes as well as in Lousiana. Had to fan my way through a couple of them, but just devoured my way through the whole bunch. I’m currently LOVING the Thea Harrison Dragon Bound book. (putting off finishing my taxes to read it)

  16. Becky says:

    I love the Tairen Soul series. I just finished reading it and cannot wait for Ms. Wilson’s next book/series. I like most fantasy worlds of dragons or shape shifters. I love Vikings and Highlanders too!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      CL’s The Winter King sounds wonderful! Can’t wait till next August…

      Glad you like Vikings & Highlanders too! ;-)

  17. Theresa Fischer says:

    A quest to fine a magical dragon, who turns out to be a shape shifter and the hero of the book!

    1. Becky says:

      Hi Theresa – if you don’t mind erotic sex scenes, Bianca D’Arc writes the Dragon Knights series, where some of the dragons are actually shape shifters. They show up first in book 2 and book three has one specifically as the main character.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      A friend of mine wrote a dragon shifter story where the dragon side had a very strong, very arrogant personality. I loved it and never could figure out why it didn’t sell.

  18. Aly P says:

    I enjoy any mythical creature and magic, though dragons are on the 1st place :D

    1. C.L. Wilson says:

      Me to, Aly! :) I love lore and legends, mythology from all over, fairy tales, etc.

  19. Glenda says:

    I love the magic with mythical creatures and all stories need some sort of quest even if only a minor one. The journey makes the story. :-)

    1. C.L. Wilson says:

      I have a hard time writing stories without a quest. For me, it’s the spine on which everything else hangs for me.

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        That’s part of what makes your stories so magically addictive! ;-)

  20. Carrie says:

    I love fantasy in books. I enjoy visiting a new world that I can immerse myself in. I also enjoy a strong female character, one that works with her male counter part, rather than a simpering twit who couldn’t find her way out of a paperbag without help

    1. C.L. Wilson says:

      Mia has terrific heroines.

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        Thanks, CL. There is nothing more irritating that helplessness, IMO. Can’t think why I’d want my heroines to be incapable of taking care of herself.

  21. may says:

    Not sure what I would add… That’s why I am just a reader and not a writer. However, I do enjoy some magic with my romance. But in the end, I think it comes down to how well the book is written and how likable the characters are.

    1. Mia says:

      You hit upon something important, May. Character likeability is paramount!

  22. Shirene says:

    I don’t know that I have a favorite element of a world. It is more the execution of the element by the author that draws me in or repels me. Some stories with magic are gripping and others just don’t do it for me. All I want is great story telling and I’m sold.

    1. Mia says:

      Then you’ll love CL Wilson’s magical world. She’s a terrific storyteller.

  23. BETH SHEEHE says:

    I love a good Scottish Highlander story, with a tall dark and handsome highlander who come to the rescue of his one true love, but she is also one kick ass female who can protect herself, but loves him enough to let him protect her. Nothing better than a scottish highlander love story with alot of twist and turns, adventure and sex.

    1. Mia says:

      Glad to hear to say so, Beth, because I have two for you now, Plaid to the Bone,, Plaid Tidings) and another coming next October–Once Upon a Plaid!

      1. Becky says:

        Can not wait to read these, Mia!

      2. BETH SHEEHE says:

        Yes, they are on my TBR list, I have 4 more books on my current TBR author and then your books are next in line. I can’t wait to read them, I keep reading little snippets of them and can’t wait to read about Cait and Adam.

        1. Mia Marlowe says:

          Hope you’ll love Plaid to the Bone, Beth!

    2. Becky says:

      You should try Janet Chapman. Great Highlanders and very strong females plus time travel – what could be better?

      1. BETH SHEEHE says:

        Just added Janet Chapman to my TBR list. Thanks

  24. Sheryl N says:

    I do like to read about magic and dragons. It is not my auto buy, but if I stumble across one, I would read it.

    1. Mia says:

      CL Wilson’s flying cats aren’t dragons, but they do breathe fire. She’s so incredibly inventive. I think you’d love her work.

      1. C.L. Wilson says:

        Aww, thanks Mia :) xoxox

  25. Laurie W G says:

    I did like Tolkien’s LOTR trilogy. I also like King Arthur, Camelot and the search for the Holy Grail. I do like the idea of Excaliber the magical sword…

    Magic mirror

    Magic ring

    1. Mia says:

      There’s a bit of magic to the mirrors in Bonniebroch Castle, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise by explaining it here.

    2. C.L. Wilson says:

      I love books with a bit (or a lot) of magic to them :)

  26. Danny says:

    I absolutely love dragons and other mythical creatures.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Me too. And the fact that dragons appear in almost every culture around the world makes me go “Hmmmm….”

  27. Anita H. says:

    Mia, you asked for a “take me away” kind of story.Well let me tell you about my idea…I’d love to see some elves helping out with a world-wide quest to find the one true love for our hero. The quest would take us readers on exotic locations all around the globe as the elves helps to administer various tests for contestants to find out the potential winner (hmm… this sort of sounds like the Bachelor minus the elves!) You did say fantasy, right? LOL!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Do you mean Keebler elves or tall, handsome Tolkein elves?

      1. C.L. Wilson says:

        I hope the yummy kind! (not yummy in my tummy kind, but eye candy yummy kind. Lurve me some Legolas!)

        1. Mia Marlowe says:

          snort! Yummy does cut both ways, doesn’t it? ;-)

  28. Mary Preston says:

    I do love magic. In books, TV & movies. I think it’s a case of always wanting to have magic myself. In my case of course it would back fire big time. I can see it would be loads of fun in a romance story.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      The problem with great power is always do we have the character to be able to wield it wisely. The answer is almost always no. Hence, great story.

    2. C.L. Wilson says:

      Jill Barnett had the most wonderful historical romance about a witch whose magic always backfired. It’s been ages, but I *adored* that book! It’s called Bewitching. Heroine’s name is Joyous. Fabulous, funny book :)

  29. Ada says:

    Since I’m a big fan of magic, I think every medieval or paranormal romance should have a dragon. (They might be more interesting than your average pet dog/cat, since dragons can fly and breathe fire!) Ever since I’ve watched the BBC series “Merlin”, I’ve been hoping someone would include a dragon in one of their romance books. :-)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      We don’t get BBC (darn!) I love anything associated with King Arthur.

      I think Kathryne Kennedy has had a dragon in one of her books.

    2. C.L. Wilson says:

      I love dragons – especially since discovering Anne McCaffrey’s marvelous Pern series. The Tairen in my books started as dragons, but ended up getting furry and purry instead :) Jade Lee had some great dragon romances.

      Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison has also been recommended to me several times, although I haven’t given it a try yet. Hmm…off to!

      1. Mia Marlowe says:

        Oh, that’s right! I forgot about Jade’s dragons.

      2. C.L. Wilson says:

        OK – now I can honestly say, those recommends on Thea Harrison’s book were spot on. On first chapter, but already hooked!!

  30. Sarah Meral says:

    I´m not really good at creating ideas myself , but I would like a quest the heroine and hero have to do together :)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      It’s always good to have a goal and a quest provides that.

  31. Linda Thum says:

    My fav has always been magic & dragons. I love the Tairen Soul series. I have the whole set & am eagerly awaiting Ms Wilson’s next book/series. I pre-ordered it ages ago as soon as it was available for pre-order up on The Book Depository.

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Have you tried Shana Abe’s The Smoke Thief? Her characters can shift into either dragons or smoke. Lyrically written books.

      1. Linda Thum says:

        I’ve read The Smoke Thief & really liked it. I’ve not idea now that I think about it why I’ve not gotten more of her books. Soon to be rectified!

    2. C.L. Wilson says:

      Thanks so much Linda! I appreciate your support :) xoxox

      1. Linda Thum says:

        I’m dying of anticipation! Pls pls pls say it’ll be released soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *