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 worshiped, 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 R.G. Alexander
|I’m really glad to be here today, and honored to be in the same continuity series with amazing erotic romance authors like Eden Bradley, Crystal Jordan, and Lilli Feisty. The Smutketeers are some of my closest friends, so working with them was a dream come true.|
It’s fitting that mine is the last individual blog post, because I was able to write the last story in the Wasteland series, The Priestess. And it was a gift. I was allowed to see all the pieces of the vast world that had been created by my fellow authors — Crystal Jordan’s clans of fierce and inventive Wanderers, Lilli Feisty’s brash Rose and salty sea pirates, and Eden Bradley’s sensual yet isolated Breeders — and weave them all together into my own story.
As Eden mentioned in her blog post, our group had a lot of fun creating the world of the Wasteland. From the humorous details: Kroy Wen and The S’Anilorac (New York and The Carolinas). To sketching a mental map of the Wasteland world and the rules of each caste. Personally, I had a LOT of fun thinking about ways to end the world. I’m not morbid, I’m just a little fascinated with movies about killer asteroids, and Discovery channel specials on the Mayans and Nostradamus … I admit it.
We spoke often of the patched together religion, the detailed rituals and tattoo meanings, the sacrifices to soothe the angry sun and the lottery to appease the needy males. I found myself thinking, how did this come about? How did it really start? Why? Of course my curiosity rubbed off on my character, High Priestess Xian.
In TThe Priestess, we meet Xian not long after the conclusion of Eden Bradley’s The Breeder. Those two are the most connected stories in the series, as the main characters grew up in the same temple. The High Priestess is affected by what happened to her friend and pupil, Nitara, and it adds that one extra doubt to those she’d already been harboring since she was elevated to the role she’d been raised to fulfill.
Xian grew up knowing she would be High Priestess one day. Taught to maintain the precarious balance of their civilization, to take the Priestess and Breeder offspring and choose their castes with the blessing of the Goddess, to send the Sun Guards into the Wasteland to capture strong Wanderers for the sacrifice, in order to invigorate the gene pool. All for the good of their world. All at the whim of their Goddess to ensure the continuation of humanity. Or so she’d always been told. But was it, really?
She decides to go against tradition, to break taboos and journey through the Garden of the Moon to her religion’s Mecca in the Wasteland. She needs answers, and she knows she will find them there.
The one thing the characters' journey gave me was the ability to reconnect, in one way or another, with characters from the other three stories. Their quest through the Wasteland brings them into contact with a few new people and places as well. Xian’s determination to find the truth of the beginning of this new civilization brought me an answer I hadn’t expected, and brought her a new destiny that she’d never imagined.
Not only did the Smutketeers step out of their comfort zone in genre (except for Crystal — have ya’ll read In Ice? Just sayin’) but the series also allowed four close friends, with four very different styles of writing, to work together. I hope everyone enjoys visiting the world as much as I did.
- R.G. Alexander