In the mid-19th century two men began a war of opposing philosophies. One took the side of genetic perfection, and the other believed robotics was the way of the future. With vast armies at their disposal and a complete inability to reconcile what once was a great friendship, these two men enter into an arms race from which there is no return. A race to see who can erase humanity faster.

Now it is two hundred years later, and the world has been reduced to rubble. Everyday people struggle to survive. Everyone but twenty-six year old Shiloh and her thirteen year old sister Rilei who have never been outside their home—until they’re thrown out into the world outside their little sanctuary.

Their quest to return home will take them through the darkest parts of a ruined world teeming with human corpses mutated into nightmarish monsters, slavers hungry to make a profit off the helpless, androids forgotten by the passage of time, and surgeons perverting the line between right and wrong. But no matter what the world throws at them, Shiloh will do anything to make sure her sister gets home safe.

But what if home isn’t safe?

Now that we’ve got the synopsis taken care of, I want to talk a little bit about The Gilded Cage and how it came to be.

I’ve always been the kind of person who can have a vague idea, and then work backwards to find out the circumstances behind it. The Gilded Cage is definitely one of those ideas. I don’t remember what made me think of it, but I remember having this sort of epiphany about wanting to write something about two girls isolated from the rest of the world but don’t understand why.

But why are they isolated? And who is the one doing the isolating? These are the questions that simmered in my brain as I called up my fiance and told him about the idea I had. We talked for hours and hours, past meal times which went ignored and all through regularly scheduled television programs. We talked about everything: Eugenics, Proletarians, Techno-Progressiveism, and so many other things that by the time we were finished I felt my head swimming with the possibilities.

Then one day I sat down at my desk, put my fingers to the keys, and just started writing.

It’s just that simple, and that hard.

In the time I’ve spent working on this project, I’ve done my best to learn everything I could about real-world survival skills (ones that might be needed in the wilderness), and different technologies (such as what Tesla introduced into the world," and everything else I could get my hands on to help mold a realistic representation of what a steam-powered post-apocalyptic future might be like.

But more than anything this is a story about humanity. About humanity’s ability to endure tragedy and rebuild itself in the ashes, about familial bonds and the lengths we go to for the ones we love, and about a sort of metaphorical coming-of-age growth that happens to all of us when our circumstances are turned on their heads.

The excerpts I’m posting here are first-drafts, meaning that they are unedited and the final version will be immanently more polished. That being said, I’m incredibly proud of what you guys will be reading here and hope you’re thoroughly entertained by this world I’ve built up for you!