Hi, Laurie, and thank you so much for having me as a guest today!
I’m Elizabeth Amber, a museum and archaeology junkie, and author of erotic historical paranormal romances for Kensington. Bastian, The Lords of Satyr is a love story set during the tumultuous time of the large-scale Roman Forum excavations of the 1880s. Bastian is the lead archaeologist in the Forum, supervising these excavations. Most of these photos are from a trip I took to Italy a few years back with my husband.
BASTIAN’S STOMPING GROUNDS: THE ROMAN FORUM
Today the Forum is a bleak jumble of scattered marble blocks, broken walls, lumps of stone, and the occasional soaring column or magnificent arch. But it looked even stranger and more desolate in the 1880s before major excavations took place. Back then, these arches and columns were half-buried, many of their secrets hidden under eighteen feet of dirt! Where did this all this dirt come from?
Most of it just drifted in. This is hard to imagine until you do the math. If 1/8th inch of dirt were deposited per year, it would result in the accumulation of an inch of new soil in eight years. After a century, that’s one foot. In years of flooding by the Tiber River, even more dirt might be deposited. After sixteen centuries, you’ve got sixteen to eighteen feet or more!
Canaletto and other painters have captured the bizarre, spooky sight of the Forum before its excavation. At the time, Italian families used the area as a picnic ground, a place to stroll on a lazy afternoon, or for amateur treasure hunting.
LORE of the SATYRS
Bastian, The Lords of Satyr was inspired by some of the most fascinating characters in Roman mythology—the satyr. They’re the carnal followers of the Roman wine god, Bacchus. If you were the descendant of a race of satyr lords who’d migrated to Italy from an adjacent world, what do you think you’d be doing in the 19th century? I believe these satyr lords would gravitate toward the wine industry. They’d own vineyards and olive groves. And they’d have secrets to protect, many of them buried in the Forum, which was built in a time of pagan religion, when Bacchus and other gods were fervently worshipped.
LORE of the VESTAL VIRGINS
One of the first discoveries Bastian makes in the Forum is Vesta’s Temple and adjacent House of the Vestals. Roman philosophers inform us that these Virgins numbered six in all. They came to the temple as girls between the ages of six and ten, to serve Vesta—goddess of fire--for thirty years, after which they could marry.
Their first ten years were devoted to learning, the next ten with service to the goddess, and their final decade with indoctrinating new initiates to replace them. They lived lives of confinement and privilege, and were greatly revered.
It was believed that the Virgins’ chastity insured the good health and wealth of Rome. The penalty for fornication was death. Amid great sorrowful pomp and ceremony by ancient Roman religious leaders and citizens, a convicted Virgin would be taken on a litter to a small underground room hollowed out for her in the Campus Sceleratus-- the "Evil Field"--near the Colline Gate. There, she was essentially buried alive--left to die in solitude with only enough food, water, and lamp oil to last a few days.
The Virgins were charged with another matter of utmost importance-- the care and protection of a collection of mysterious relics. When Vesta’s Temple was destroyed during the purging of all pagan religions in the fourth century A.D., these relics disappeared. Since no one knows exactly what they were, I imagined them as powerful artifacts sought by both Bastian and Silvia.
Silvia was a Vestal Virgin, who was transformed into an Ephemeral along with the other Virgins during the destruction of Vesta’s temple centuries ago. Immortal, she now seeks to use Bastian to locate one or more of these powerful relics, which she believes are buried in the Forum. But she never wanted to love him. For she cannot have him. Bastian belongs to Michaela, her dearest friend.
EXCERPT from BASTIAN, THE LORDS of SATYR:
Lord Bastian Satyr was certainly a big one.
With an experienced eye, Silvia sized him up in a long, sweeping glance as she stood at the foot of his bed, her arm loosely wrapped around a bedpost.
Dark, cropped hair; broad, sculpted shoulders; a pronounced indentation running the length of his spine; powerful thighs and buttocks; flesh glistening from his exertions; knees dug into the bedcovers between the smooth stockinged thighs of his bed partner.
Michaela looked so vulnerable and feminine lying in his enormous bed, under his enormous, straining warrior’s body. Her slender calves hugged his hips. Her body was open to receive each thrust of his organ. Silvia could only employ her imagination regarding how sizable that portion of his male anatomy might be. From her vantage point, all she could see was his backside. His naked backside. His naked, flexing backside.
She swallowed, her throat strangely dry. By firelight, he was magnificent—a golden god. Which just possibly made him worthy of the woman he was riding. Michaela was her closest, dearest friend in both worlds. Had been since their childhood in Vesta’s Temple.
Silvia had always watched over her as best she could. And when it came to hedonistic matters such as these, had lived vicariously through her. Tonight was no exception.
Michaela had been born a Companion, a courtesan with the power to please any man. Like most in her profession, she had taken hundreds if not thousands of lovers over the centuries. She always chose them carefully. That in itself told Silvia that this particular specimen of manhood must be something quite extraordinary.
THE LORDS of SATYR:
The first trilogy, Nicholas, Raine, and Lyon, was set in the heart of wine country in Tuscany, Italy of 1823. The new trilogy concerns another Satyr clan in 1880s Rome, Dane, Bastian, and Sevin. The two trilogies don’t involve any of the same characters, and can easily stand alone.