In 2012, the world came to a grinding halt as radiation hit from a massive solar storm. Crops died, animals perished, cities fell and humans became little more than beasts themselves. Under the threat of starvation, civility was reduced to mere memory. Only the strongest men survived, and physically weaker women and children wasted to nothingness.
More than a century later, humanity struggles in the desert Wasteland. The solar radiation rendered most women infertile, and the population dwindles more with each year that passes. Scattered up and down coasts, isolated cities eke out an existence from fishing, foraging and hunting for what little game is left. Outside the city walls, men face the threat of pirates and raiders.
Few women remain, divided into four classes — Whores, Breeders, Priestesses and Wanderers. They are as reviled as they are worshipped, a commodity any man must pay to touch. To touch a Whore, a man must sacrifice his riches. To touch a Breeder, a man must sacrifice his freedom. To touch a Priestess, a man must be chosen by the gods. And to touch a Wanderer may end up costing him his life.
There is only one rule in the Wasteland — survive.
Guest Blogger Eden Bradley
|Thanks so much for having me here today to talk about my novella in The Wasteland continuity series. R.G. Alexander, Lilli Feisty, Crystal Jordan and I (the members of the group blog, The Smutketeers) are all close friends who talk almost daily, and this was a unique opportunity for us to work together. We began to develop this world about a year ago, so we’ve been thinking and talking about this for some time. We’re all deeply invested in the Wasteland, and in the sub-cultures and characters. We hope readers will be as fascinated as we are!|
My story, The Breeder, Book Three in the series, approaches one of the two widely developed religions in this post-apocalyptic setting. My heroine, Nitara, is a Breeder, one of four classes of women left in the Wasteland after the 2012 apocalypse. Raised in the Temple of the Goddess, Breeders are chosen at birth for one purpose only: to ensure the continuation of the human race. They are trained from puberty in the sensual arts by a priestess who is assigned to them when they’re born. Their priestess is their mentor in all things, and they develop a strong bond. Nitara’s priestess/trainer is Xian, the High Priestess, the heroine of R.G. Alexander’s book in this series. Breeders are kept cloistered; the only men they have any contact with growing up are their eunich guards — and Nitara’s brother, Nikkan, is one of them. Another of her companions is her sister, Leilin, a retired Breeder. Her siblings play an important role in how her life changes when she is assigned to her Sacrifice, Akaash, the man to whom she will give her virginity in a public ceremony on the altar of the Temple, a ceremony in which the Sacrifice is killed, a gift to their Goddess.
Akaash is a Wanderer, a member of the Mutairi clan. The Wanderers are an interesting bunch. They’re the survivors who live in the Wasteland, the arid and harsh deserts outside the walls of the cities. They are hunters and gatherers, traders, warriors, a proud and fierce people. Being kidnapped by the Temple guards leaves Akaash ashamed and wondering how he can ever redeem himself in the eyes of his clan, and especially his bonded lover, Dhatri, the clan’s fiercest warrior. Locked in the bowels of the Temple, Nitara comes to Akaash each night for a month-long seduction, called the Taming Moon, and the two develop a connection unheard of between a Breeder and her Sacrifice. They begin to plan their escape, and Nitara must face leaving behind what’s left of her family, and the only life she’s ever known, making her own sacrifice for love.
The religion of the Temple of the Goddess is a blend of a myriad of older cultures. After the Burning Time, few people were left alive on the earth. Coming together, they fused their beliefs, guided by the rare, scared texts that survived, into one religion. It’s largely based on the temple of Ishtar, from the tales of Gilgamesh, but is blended with Celtic, Mayan, Shinto and Native American mythologies. We worked on developing the religion for months, especially R.G. and myself, since our stories are both based in the Temple. We both love the old mythologies — R.G. is a mythology buff, and I’m a bit of a cultural anthropology geek — and this was fascinating stuff! Our tales in particular are interwoven quite a bit, with a number of shared characters. Nitara’s story puts into motion events that lead to Xian, R.G.’s heroine, making some of the difficult choices that lead to her own adventure, so it was crucial that we check in with each other regularly. Of course, the Smutketeers are some of my dearest friends, so we talk all the time, anyway.
As we developed the Wasteland, we amused ourselves with a few little inside jokes, like the city of Kroy Wen — what’s left of New York — where our stories take place. The Temple itself is built around the remains of the old subway lines, and there are references in the stories to long, impossibly smooth corridors cut into the mountain that are rumored to have been created by the Goddess herself. We tried to incorporate small hints of the world that once was in the world our characters live in, to create some of the mythology around things they couldn’t explain to themselves in the aftermath of the apocalypse. We spent a lot of time asking ourselves ‘what if’? Of course, writers do that every day, but there was so much more of it in creating a world which is based on the scientific possibilities of the 2012 apocalypse theories. R.G. Alexander did most of the scientific research, which is a good thing because the whole end of the world thing makes me shudder. But even talking about it still gave me a few nightmares — I’m basically a big chicken!
This was my first experience with working on a continuity series, and I loved having a whole team to brainstorm with. You learn to compromise when you’re working with three other creative minds, but you also learn to blend your ideas, to let one person’s vision inspire your own. It was a wonderful experience, and we plan to do another series together next year. Readers can find out more about this series, as well as our upcoming books, and view our photo gallery and book trailers, on our blog. We just did a new Steampunk photo shoot during the RT Convention in Columbus and those pictures will be posted soon. And my book,The Breeder, will be available at Samhain May 18th!
Here’s the official blurb for The Breeder, Book Three in the Wasteland series:
She is destined to serve an entire city, but all she wants is one man. Maybe two.
Born to the Temple, Nitara knows the Great Goddess’s plan for her: to bring life into what is left of an arid and wasted Earth. Since puberty she has been trained to arouse and titillate, to ensure the continuation of the human race.
As is the custom, the man captured for her is strong of blood, though considered little more than a wild animal. Yet when she looks into his eyes, she sees no primitive creature, but the man whose face and hands haunt her sensual dreams.
For Akaash, a hunter and warrior, it’s his shame that he will be sacrificed to a goddess he doesn’t believe in, for a people who are not his own, leaving behind his Wanderer clan — and his bonded lover, Dhatri. Locked in the bowels of the Temple, he has a month to ponder his fate, all while falling helplessly under the spell of the virgin temptress who will soon take his life.
With each tortuously erotic encounter, however, Akaash realizes that Nitara is as much a prisoner as he. If he can just get a message out to Dhatri, there may be a slim chance both of them can escape ...