Friday, February 29, 2008


by Madelynne Ellis

Following the publication of A Gentleman’s Wager, the phrase I heard most often was: “So when are you writing the sequel?”

Sequel, thought I. I don’t think so. You see as much as I loved the characters (and Vaughan is still my favourite out of all the characters I’ve created), I’d reached the close of their story. I knew roughly what happened to them in future, but I didn’t feel any desire to flesh out the details for an audience. None whatsoever. And that’s how it remained for the best part of five years.

So, what changed?

Coincidence mostly… It went something like this.

1. Ms Mathilde Madden informs me over lunch that I really do want to write about Vaughan again. She also mutters something about gothic and vampires.

2. While researching a location for a story (for Love on the Dark Side), we happen to drive through the village of Pennerley... the same village from which Vaughan’s title is derived. I’ve never been to this place before. I originally chose it at random by browsing a map of the UK. (NB: I never did finish the story I was researching.)

3. At the end of the same day, we decide to take a minor detour on the way home to visit a castle. As we approach the castle, I’m struck by the realisation that this is where Vaughan lives. In each room, I see him laughing, prowling, brooding.

4. I start dreaming about Vaughan, nothing concrete mind, just impressions and vagaries.

5. I get on with writing other stories (see #2).

Some weeks later…

6. I go in search of a dictionary and instead sit down and write the outline of Phantasmagoria. It comes out of nowhere and leaves me feeling shocked and excited. I contact Black Lace and ask them if they’re interested in a sequel to A Gentleman’s Wager. They are.

7. OMG! They want it by when?

Sequels, it turns out are damned hard to write, especially when the world decides to go to hell in a hand basket around you.

Phantasmagoria is released in the UK on the 6th March, and US on 29th April. A Gentleman’s Wager is reprinted on 1st April. I hope you’ll consider reading both…

Here's the blurb and a teaser.

1800 – Three years after escaping to London with her bisexual lovers, Bella Rushdale wakes one morning to find their delicate ménage a trois about to shatter. Vaughan, Marquis of Pennerley, has left without any explanation. Determined to reclaim him and preserve their relationship, Bella pursues him to his family seat on the Welsh Borders, where she finds herself embroiled in his preparations for a diabolical gothic celebration on All Hallows Eve – a phantasmagoria. Among the shadows and phantoms, Bella and her lovers will discover shocking truths about each other.


‘Let go!’ Bella fought against Vaughan’s hold, but remained trapped between the flexing steel of his warm body and the wall. Vaughan quashed her cries, forcing his tongue into her mouth and kissing her hard.

She melted.

Nobody else ever kissed her with the same knee-buckling intensity, with a taste that washed straight to her quaint. She’d never been able to resist his kiss. Never.

‘Get off me,’ she snarled, when he finally pulled back for air.

‘Not yet.’ He locked an arm across his chest, while his body still pressed against her as unyielding as pig iron, and with his free hand he lifted her hem.

Her arousal exposed, Bella turned her head away from his scalding breath. ‘I’m not your plaything. Not even your mistress.’

‘You’re my lover.’ His breath troubled the pulse point in her throat. ‘If not my mistress, what are you, some slattern that needed a bed for a night?

She snapped her teeth at him, but he merely laughed and pushed his fingers into her heat. His thumb worked bitter circles around her clitoris, driving her onto her toes, gasping for breath. Arousal so thick it felt like bellyache knotted her lower half. Slickly, his fingers worked their magic, driving her to the brink of joy, and transforming sharp words into sharper breaths.

She couldn’t speak. She felt his cock lying unbearably hard against her hip, so full of promise.

‘Sing for me, my nightingale. Come.’ He dragged his lips down the side of her neck and sucked. She couldn’t fight it. Shards of frosty hatred cracked into sparklers of delight. The swirl of his thumb, the twist of his fingers brought such sweet, swift pleasure, her limbs trembled.

Bella’s pulse raced with need and expectation. She managed to win one arm free, and immediately dug her fingers into his bottom. The muscles clenched and unclenched as he rocked against her thigh, taking his pleasure from the friction. The dance of their bodies slowed, as her breaths became shallow and ragged. Everything was concentrated in her clit and the tingle of her nipples. The whole world seemed to contract into one point as she gasped into his chest and her orgasm rendered her soft and pliant.

Bella snuggled against his shoulder, her eyes wet with tears, content for a moment to simply exist in his embrace.

‘Now you’re even.’ Vaughan disentangled their bodies, and stepped back. ‘Don’t ever presume to tell me whom I can bed in my own house.’

She felt the blood return to her face. Her eyes narrowed, but so did Vaughan’s. Was this battle of wills really what she wanted? She longed for Lucerne’s easy smile, the safety of his embrace.

Vaughan was the most exciting, sexually aggressive man she’d ever met. The most perverse, the most infuriating, and it hurt to love him.

God, how it hurt!

Fancy more? You can read the Prologue here. You might also like to check out Indiscretions, a short story which bridges the gap between A Gentleman’s Wager and Phantasmagoria.

Madelynne Ellis

PS: Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Phantasmagoria.


Erastes said...

Woo! Lovely excerpt - may I say DOUBLE - or perhaps TREBLE Kudos for Jason as Lucius.

I may melt.

Sweet Samantha said...

Wow. That was an amazing excerpt. I love Vaughan! He is SO exciting! Lucky Bella!

Portia Da Costa said...

I'm reading this book at the moment and it's fabulous!

Vaughan is a marvellous, well drawn character, so complex and tantalising... but I'm really developing a special fondness for Henry. He's such fun and he's got a good heart.

Bravo, Madelynne, it's a wonderful story!

Janine Ashbless said...

"Quaint"? Oh yes!

Anonymous said...

I've not finished it, but I think Phantasmagoria is better than A Gentleman's Wager. The characters are more complex - there is just so much richness.

I don't normally read historicals (with a few notable exceptions) but I love yours because they never feel over written or silly or overly this-is-the past! You remind us that people in the past were still people like us - not just characters in stories.


Madelynne Ellis said...

How lovely to wake up to some comments. Thanks guys.

Ah, Portia, I'm immensely fond of Henry too, especially his outfits.

Quaint - I love that term. I have a whole list of historical sex slang terms on my website

Olivia Knight said...

Wonderful, Madelynne! And gratifying, as always, to get the sneak-peek behind the scenes... I love it, "I went to get the dictionary and instead wrote an outline for a novel, oops!" So much fun when something carries you on its own tide like that.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Let's try that link again click here

"You remind us that people in the past were still people like us - not just characters in stories."

Thanks for the huge compliment, Mat.

Olivia Knight said...

Lordy, 15 & 16 centuries weren't exactly PC, were they? It does lend a whole new dimension to jesters dancing around playing their pipes singing "hey nonny-no"...

I wonder if archeologists, historians and linguists realise their raison d'etre is to provide easily accessible information for erotica writers?
"Great! You know what grains people had in Sumeria! Now my heroine can eat historically appropriate food before getting it on!"

Madelynne Ellis said...

Mm, yes, guilty of that one, Olivia. Though I have to say I feel most guilty over Passion of Isis, all those serious Egyptologists sweating in the desert and I all can think about is how to make them hotter. :-)

Olivia Knight said...

It always amuses me what synonyms I need most of for any given novel - apart from the obvious, naturally ;-) I always have the online thesaurus open, as I desperately strive for another way to describe flame / heat / sanctity / winter / muscular / whatever that story's obsessing over. The words "push", "pull" and "press" are the bane of my life.

Olivia Knight said...

P.S. On the earlier subject of historical accuracy - surely one of the advantages of a sequel is that your historical research is largely complete? And does Henry repeat outfits that he wore in the previous novel, saving even more time on your part?

Deanna Ashford said...

Loved the excerpt Madelynne and the background info on the book. I'm so looking forward to reading it as I love a Gentleman's Wager.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Well some of the research is already done, but AGW and Phantasmagoria are set three years apart and in different locations. They also have totally different casts of secondary characters. Henry doesn't appear in AGW, and as he's very much into a mix and match (or not) style, his costumes are never repeated.

Madeline Moore said...

Congratulations Madelynne. Wonderful to have a sequel coming out and the first book reprinted during this, Black Lace's fifteenth year in operation. I hope both books fly off the shelves. Thank you for the steamy excerpt. I have a terrible cold but reading that excerpt really cleared my head. Woo hoo.

Kate Pearce said...

I am soooo looking forward to this one-it sounds just my cup of tea! Amazing excerpt-and congrats Madelynne!

angell said...

Super Yummy - and both books definately on my wish list. At this rate, all my birthday pressies are gonna be Lusties (books that is).

Now for a little jaunt out into the snow....need to cool off.

littlelamblst said...

Great excerpt! Loved the conflict of emotions mixed with the scorching situation.

Stacia said...

Wow! Great title, great cover, great excerpt. I'm gonna have to have this book.

Mr Madelynne Ellis said...

Just have a little sympathy for poor me, sharing a house with Vaughan for the last few months. He's hell to live with, never does the dishes and hogs the bathroom in the morning. I've seriously had to watch my ass.

kim said...

Wow..the cover is gorgeous! I loved AGW. Great excerpt. What is a "quaint"?

Anne Tourney said...

She couldn’t fight it. Shards of frosty hatred cracked into sparklers of delight. The swirl of his thumb, the twist of his fingers brought such sweet, swift pleasure, her limbs trembled.

I love this passage, partly because the frost-to-fireworks metaphor is so delicious, but also because I have a weakness for erotic encounters where antagonism turns to lust. If that kind of tension continues between Bella and Vaughn, I'm not sure I'd survive it ;).

I've been looking forward to Phantasmagoria for a long time, Madelynne. It sounds like a wonderful blend of dark gothic eroticism, historical transgressiveness, and very hot sexual chemistry!

Now, I wonder if Mat would mind telling me what I should write next . . . .

Madelynne Ellis said...

Anne, Bella and Vaughan's whole relationship is like that from the moment they meet in AGW.

Kate Pearce said...

I just pre-ordered them both of amazon-April isn't that far away is it?

cathleen Ross said...

Wonderful excerpt. England and Wales are so right for those steamy dark stories. How long did you get to write Phantasmagoria?
Cathleen Ross enjoying the Aussie sunshine

Savanna Kougar said...

mgEchoing...fantastic excerpt. Luv that hot fierce tension. And what an amazing title and cover!

Madelynne Ellis said...

Woo hoo, thanks Kate!

Cathleen, I had about five months to write Phantasmagoria. Not good since I had major family issues arise during that time, two under fives at home, and my previous writing record was a year a book.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Anne, I think you have to meet Mat for lunch for her to tell you that.

Kim, a quaint is a 17th century term for vagina.

Janine Ashbless said...

Your sex-terms page is awesome and I've now got it in Favourites. Thanks Madelynne!

t'Sade said...

Mmm, fun sex terms. :)