With the release of The Lord, Book 8, and The Princess, Book 7, the Virtus Saga comes to a close. Yes, it’s really over! From now on, Duncan, Chris and Ylianor will continue living in the pages of my books alone, out of my head and out of any new future releases. So this is really it!
And how fitting it should end like it does. If it all began with Duncan looking for Black Rose, his and Ylianor’s heart-home, it concludes with Chris feeling finally at home. From the first home to the last, the circle is complete, especially for the character least interested in finding a home. Unlike his two lovers, for Christopher Templeton home has never been a place but a person, so it is all the more fitting he should find it with Ylianor, Duncan and their children. Now I’ll leave them to enjoy their well-earned victory on the overbearing computer that tried to reduce their world to a sex-starved planet. From now on, they and their people will be able to progress, their children especially, taking advantage of the new opportunities created by their parents. But this is another story, one I don’t think I’ll ever get to write, ‘cause these characters will have it so much easier than their parents ever did.
The beginning of this series dates back to 2006 when I wrote the first draft of what will become the Virtus Saga. At that time, it was a very long novel entitled simply Virtus, so long that I later split it up in three separate books—The Sex, The Game and The Festival. Before I managed to find a publisher, I started writing Virtus 2, the rough basis for what will become The Leader and The Pledge. Then I moved on to Virtus 3, which turned out to be The Heat, The Princess and The Lord.
Through it all, I kept submitting Virtus to various publishers, all of which turned me down. Not that I blame them any. I was a nobody at my first experience in professional writing and with an extremely long and different kind of fantasy novel. One without battles or epic competitions. No dragons. No elves, dwarves or trolls. No wondrous creatures or wizards. Just three ordinary individuals struggling to grapple with the unexplainable mysteries that were their powers, but mostly their feelings, which were far more unruly and uncontrollable than any mystifying Virt they seemed to be endowed with. No wonder nobody wanted to take a chance on it, until eXtasy Books did at the end of 2007.
For this and for all the support, help and invaluable teaching, I’ll never finish thanking them. Once eXtasy accepted it, my life changed forever, which is another reason I cannot thank them enough.
I’ll never forget what inspired this particular story of mine. I’ve said it in a lot of blogs and interviews about seeing Duncan lost in a land that was as familiar to him as the back of his hand. If it didn’t make sense then, it didn’t stop me from reaching Ylianor’s shack and discovering a woman so similar to him she could’ve easily been his twin, a twin he had never seen before in his life! That he had no memory of her whatsoever didn’t make much sense, either. But again, it didn’t stop me from following them, as if they took me by the hand and led me. Their story unfolding the way it would to any reader approaching it for the first time. I was not the author. I was just a spectator. Nothing more. Up ‘till the very end, the characters kept me in the dark, revealing only what they wanted me to know when they decided it was the right time. Like with Duncan and Ylianor, how was I to know the prince’s insufferable lover had erased her from his memory way before their phase even started? Not until I was deep into writing Virtus 2 did Chris saw fit to share this itty-bitty information! Can you imagine it?
I’m just glad that genius husband of mine second-guessed them most of the time! From the first reading of Virtus’s primordial draft, he had it all figured out, bless him! Unlike me, he understood the characters and the reasons behind their actions, to the point of knowing where they were going and how they’d get there. Like that bit about inferring Chris was in love with Ylianor after reading only their very first sex scene with Duncan, which was news to me. Not to him, evidently, and to his insightful analysis that made me understand what motivated my characters in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise, going as far as telling me how their story would unfold based on their personalities.
All the things that didn’t make sense to me became suddenly clear, but I’d have never figured it out without that emotionally keyed-in husband of mine. He and his precious insights have gone through the saga not for the story, for the emotions it conveys, bringing me to a whole new level of awareness. For this, I’ll never stop thanking him, same way I’ll never stop thanking my characters for coming up with a happy ending. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have stood for anything less.
Now I’d like to take a brief moment of your time to explain a few things I think are important about the Virtus Saga starting from the name. What does Virtus mean?
No, it’s not an imaginary name or an invented name, either. It’s a real term that comes from Latin, Virtus meaning Virtue.
Virtus was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, “man”). It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors, and was personified as a deity.
Well, I think all my characters proved their undisputable valor, courage and more. So the name is quite suited for the saga and for the relation between Virtus and Virts. For Virtus is the expression of strength, something that must come from within before it can shine out. And since this is a fantasy series, I immediately turned these strengths into supernatural powers or Virts, as they are known on planet Sendar. But there’s more.
In Roman mythology, Virtus was the deity of bravery and military strength, the personification of the Roman virtue of virtus. The Greek equivalent deity was Arete.
Heshe was identified with the Roman god Honos (personification of honor), and was often honored together with him. As reported in Valerius Maximus, this joint cult led to plans in 210 BC by Marcus Claudius Marcellus to erect a joint temple for them both. This led to objections from the pontifical college that, if a miracle should occur in such a temple, the priests would not know to which of the two gods to offer the sacrifice in thanks for it. Marcellus therefore erected a temple for Virtus alone which was the only way in to a separate temple of Honos, financing them both with the loot from his sacking of Syracuse and defeats of the Gauls. This temple was at the Porta Capena, and later renovated by Vespasian.
This deity was represented in a variety of ways — for example, on the coins of Tetricus, it can appear as a matron, an old man, or a young man, with a javelin or only clothed in a cape. Within the realm of funerary reliefs Virtus is never shown without a male companion. Often her presence within this realm of art is to compliment and provide assistance to the protagonist of the relief during a scene of intense masculinity or bravery.
In 1776, Virtus was made the central figure in Seal of Virginia and the subsequent state’s flag which features the seal. The Virginia Four-Dollar Note, a Continental currency, had a similar Virtus pictured on its obverse.
This I find even more interesting. It relates perfectly to Computer Virtus’s feelings. It thinks of itself as a god, which is what stalls planet Sendar in its technological advancement. And then they say computers improve our lives! Go figure! Then again, and the tribute is absolutely necessary, my Computer Virtus is too much like Computer Hal of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (and the rightly famous movie by Stanley Kubrick) for me not to draw your attention on the similarities.
Like Virtus, other terms in the saga have special significance, for instance Stella, Sendar’s sun, which is Latin for star, or the Nephis Valley. Sendar’s most sacred place—ironically also the seat of its most technologically advanced device—owes its name to the Arabic language.
Nafs is an Arabic word (cognate of the Hebrew word “Nefesh” נפש) which occurs in the Qur’an and means self, psyche, ego or soul. In its unrefined state, “the ego (nafs) is the lowest dimension of man’s inward existence, his animal and satanic nature.” Nafs is an important concept in the Islamic tradition, especially within Sufism and the discipline of gnosis (Irfan) in Shia Islam Tradition.
When I first heard the word during my visit of Jordan, I thought it was just perfect to describe the place I already had in mind. Then I went to Petra, and it literally blew my mind away. The long, winding passageway that leads to the city (the one also used by Steven Spielberg in the movie Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade) seemed to highlight the secretiveness and the depth one must reach in order to find one’s soul. This matched the name and concept of the Nephis Valley, like nothing else I’ve ever seen. So Petra’s hidden passageway became an integral part of Sendar’s Nephis Valley. And there’s not a moment I write of it that doesn’t throw me back in the magic of Petra.
My Jordan journey also inspired me as far as deserts and mountains went. The Wadirum Desert my characters have to cross on their first journey together is in Jordan, and it’s also quite famous as Lawrence of Arabia’s desert.
In the 100 years since British army officer T.E. Lawrence traversed Jordan’s desert and the half century since David Lean set out to capture it for his cinematic epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” the blood red landscape that entranced both men has scarcely changed. Still “vast, echoing and God-like” — as Lawrence wrote in his account of his war experiences “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” — the desert’s hidden gems are now accessible to all.
When Lawrence, as a junior officer, was first sent out into the desert to locate the Hashemite rebels who he would join in revolt against the Ottoman Empire, he found himself in a vast gorge, where red rock monoliths rose more than 800m into the air around thin sand corridors.
Another place I frequently mention are the Jeruashi Mountains. In Sendar, this mountain chain connects the Hall to the Nephis Valley. In real life, it’s an Ancient Roman city, Jerash, founded in Jordan.
Jerash is famous for its ancient Roman architecture, with colonnaded streets, Corinthian arches, outdoor Roman Theaters and the Oval Plaza.
The names of the various estates have also special significance. Not just Black Rose, which is to homage the Caldwells’ dark beauty, or Fair Haven for the Templetons’ fairer one. Belleview, Carl Strepton’s home, where Chris and Duncan’s phase began, means Beautiful View, which is what a gorgeous pair like Duncan and Chris make whenever they’re together. No need, instead, to explain about Blue Oasis, Cecilia’s home. Set as it is in a desert and built with blue stones, the name seemed kind of a given. Or Darkley, the Lenz’s home. With a depressed weather controller for a master, the name seemed quite apt.
Finally, I’d like readers to be aware that the language used in these books is a rough translation of Sendar’s vernacular, particularly when it comes to dialogues. Some words just don’t exist on Sendar. Words like buy, sell, priceless, bet or similar have no place in a society that has no money, where economy is based on barter and that has no sense of private property. If I used them at times, it was because I couldn’t find a meaningful translation to what the characters wanted to convey.
Bastard is another word that has no place in a world where pledges control births, where no child can be born without knowing exactly who both his parents are. When I did use it within the story, it was just because I do not know how to translate the equivalent Sendarian insult. Also bitch has no place in the idiom of a society where sex is the highest form of achievement. Again, I just used it to convey Chris’s initial scorn of women in a way that would make it understandable to readers.
Similarly, words like shoot or anything relating to offensive actions have no place in a violence-free society. These I was very careful to avoid, even if at times nothing better came to me. My fault for living in a world that doesn’t condemn violence like Sendar does, but I hope readers understand I did it just to enhance their comprehension, not because these words actually exist on Sendar.
As you read abouve, the writing of the Virtus Saga has been a long and sometimes arduous task that has taken me the better part of eight years. But the important thing is that it has a definite ending. I just apologize with all my readers that it has taken me so long to finish it, but if you read the other blog, you’ll understand why. Safe to say, I wanted to give a credible ending, not an easy way out for Duncan, rather something that made sense in the logic I’ve built of planet Sendar. And without false modesty, I believe I’ve accomplished just that!
This was important to me. Virtus the Saga is not just a series of sex-filled books. It’s a true dark fantasy saga that has its share of good versus evil, even if neither takes the form of dragons, elves, fairies, goblins or whatever else conventional fantasy manufactures. Duncan, Chris and Ylianor’s struggles are real fights for survival, even if they lack the epic connotations usually associated with fantasy battles. That’s why this particular ending is so very fitting with everything they worked for in order to insure a better future to their world and to their children.
Yes, their children—who you’ill know in the Epilogue of The Lord—will give you the measure of how life will be like on planet Sendar from now on. So don’t miss it, also because they are so cute and interesting, they almost make me wish I hadn’t decided to stop writing Virtus the Saga!
One thing I’m real glad is that the final two books are all about the two characters who are most dissimilar yet most attracted to one another. Like fire to water, such is the force of their magnetism, and I think readers will have no problem picking it up from these last two books, if they haven’t already. The BDSM scenes, in particular, give off their heat like nothing else I’ve written about them, just like Chris’s final acceptance of a love that has been in the making since the beginning of The Sex, Book 1 of the Virtus Saga. But please don’t take my word for it. Read the many excerpts I’ve taken from the last two books, The Princess and The Lord, and judge for yourself. You can also download the first chapters in PDF, just to set you on the right track of the last of the Virtus Saga, plus don’t forget you can download them also for all the previous books as well!
For all those who have no idea of what I’m talking about, look at the series trailer, and just go through the various pages on this website dedicated to this very unique dark fantasy, paranormal and extremely romantic series. It might give you an idea of how structured and vibrantly alive this romantic saga has become, before you actually get to read the first word about it.
And for my fans and all the lovers of the Virtus Saga, don’t forget the exclusive wallpapers and bookmarks available as free downloads. Here are all the links:
The secret of the Virtus Saga? Us is sex! Don’t miss the explosive ending of the darkest and most erotic fantasy series on the web!
AUTHOR: Laura Tolomei
SERIES: Virtus Saga Book 8
HEAT LEVEL: 4 flames
RELEASE DATE: 1 October 2014
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER: Angela Waters
Lord Christopher Templeton: Angel or Demon? Angel and Demon! Two faces. One fucking gorgeous man! And only two people to switch him either way. Now Lord Christopher Templeton is going to prove himself to the entire universe. The past in his power. The present in his lust. The future in his temper. Because he is The Lord. Because us is sex!
Erotic MMF Chapter One, Ylianor steals the show, From now on you are a slave PG, Erotic BDSM Multiple Partner, it’s just a fuck sleeping beauty, Shall we tell our infuriating angel-demon what he means to both of us? Erotic MMF, Amazing Amazon
The book that reconnects it all—the love, the sex, the lust, but also the princess and her amazing power. Don’t miss the latest chapter of this ongoing dark fantasy series, the Virtus Saga.
AUTHOR: Laura Tolomei
SERIES: Virtus Saga Book 7
HEAT LEVEL: 4 flames
RELEASE DATE: 15 September 2014
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER: Angela Waters
Alone. The future of his world on his shoulders, Prince Duncan Caldwell has to connect the dots. To pick up the pieces of broken love. Before the new edition of the Game. Before the terrible loss awaiting him at Black Rose. But not alone. Not without his angel. Certainly not without his princess. For only her power will save him.
FIRST CHAPERS AVAILABLE OF EVERY BOOK IN THE SAGA – FREE PDF DOWNLOADS
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