The Starving Years

Chapters 1-2Chapters 3-5Chapters 6-7

The Starving YearsThe Starving Years

Imagine a world without hunger. In 1960, a superfood was invented that made starvation a thing of the past. Manna, the cheaply manufactured staple food, is now as ubiquitous as salt in the world’s cupboards, pantries and larders.

Nelson Oliver knows plenty about manna. He’s a food scientist—according to his diploma, that is. Lately, he’s been running the register at the local video rental dive to scrape together the cash for his exorbitantly priced migraine medication.

In a job fair gone bad, Nelson hooks up with copywriter Javier and his computer-geek pal Tim, who whisks them away from the worst of the fiasco in his repurposed moving truck. At least, Nelson thinks the those two are acquainted, but they’re acting so evasive about it, he’s not sure how they know each other, exactly. Javier is impervious to Nelson’s flirting, and Tim’s name could appear in the dictionary under the entry for “awkward.” And with a riot raging through Manhattan and yet another headache coming on, it doesn’t seem like Nelson will get an answer anytime soon. One thing’s for sure, the tension between the three of them is thick enough to cut with a knife...even one of those dull plastic dealies that come in the package with Mannariffic EZ-Mealz.

The Starving Years first chapter on JCP Books

Release date: 3/5/12

Series: Standalone
Length: Novel - 96,000 words - 320 page PDF
Cover artist: Jordan Castillo Price - see larger cover
ISBN: 978-1-935540-43-4

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About this month's installment


Voting will be open until 10/25/2010

The elephant in the room - the cybersex between Tim and Javier...

1. Tim should mention it

2. Javier should mention it

3. Nah, just let them keep dancing around it

4. Let it come to light in a spectacularly embarrassing way that neither Tim nor Javier wanted



Previous Votes

They determine they'd better sit tight until the riot dies down, and Nelson's still tripping the light fantastic. Now what?


1. I’ll bet they’re getting hungry - let’s see some manna. 23%

2. How can Tim possibly resist cracking open that memory stick—even with Randy and Marianne in the room? 51%

3. Expose Tim as the Voice of Reason. It's fun to watch him squirm. 26%


After Chapter 5, in which they escape to Tim's efficiency apartment, I asked: what should they do next?

Split into smaller groups - 18%

Go out for supplies as a group - 3%

Stay put and figure out a plan - 78%

As usual, I was totally surprised by the vote. My impulse would have been to have them go out and start raiding for supplies. I always love it when people do that in horror movies! It must feed a deep-seated urge to shoplift.

Whose p0int-of-view should we continue from? Should we kick Randy out or let him stay? (Vote taken after Chapter 2)

July's Vote

Which charaters do you prefer? (Vote taken during Preparation Phase)

(#1) Nelson Oliver is an idea man—his overtaxed brain spews forth so many ideas, in fact, that he pays the price with debilitating migraines. He wouldn't have it any other way. Headaches are transitory, he figures, but stupidity is permanent. (Creative/Bold)

Those who can, do. Those who can't, complain. Nothing gets under Emil Brecht's skin like a whiner. He's positively relentless in his enthusiasm. Turn that frown upside down—or else! (Contrary/Optimistic)

(TIED #2) There's still good in the world—Javier de la Rosa is sure of it. Everyone has his burden to bear; some burdens are just more visible than others. He was beautiful…once. (Gentle/Tortured/Hesitant)

Why play at all if you don't play to win? While he hopes his charisma will stand the test of time, Daniel Holiday doesn't expect his looks to last forever, so he figures he should start gaining ground while he's still young. (Naughty/Complicated)

(TIED #2) Driven. Intense. Arrogant. Tim Foster has heard it all. Ask him if he cares—he doesn't. The world might be going to hell in a handbasket…but he'll do his damndest to stave off disaster. (Nerdy/Confident/Private)

Which plot do you prefer? (Vote taken during Preparation Phase)

#1 - 28% The Starving Years
In 1960, a superfood was invented that ended world hunger. But now the second generation of post-foodies are exhibiting startling side effects that no one could have anticipated. (Superpower/Murder)

#3 - 20% Loaner
The body is little more than a shell, or so our hero was raised to believe. When he discovers the ability to lend his body to spirits, he finds it difficult to feel detached about the escapades of his flesh. (Paranormal/Kink)

#5 - 12% The Revenge of Marie Curie
Running the machines that punch gears for the ubiquitous cranial telegraphs—Cray-Tels for short— isn't for the faint of heart, but workers at Bond & Co. are falling to a catastrophic number of accidents, and their mortality rate just keeps climbing. (Paranormal/Murder/Steampunk)

#2 - 25% Skewed
Murder is at the top of most peoples' bad-lists…but, really, don't some people just have it coming? Our hero didn't set out to be a vigilante. It just kind of happened. And it feels so…damn…good. (Murder/Kink)

#4 - 13% The Void Above
Wilhelm Booth was the first man to travel to the moon. Unfortunately, while the Void Carriage made it back to earth intact, Wilhelm did not. And now everyone working on the Void Project is dreaming the most extraordinary dreams.




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