The Starving Years

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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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Go to Chapter 16

About this month's installment


I don't have a clear "A, B or C" choice ahead of me for next month, plus I enjoyed reading your suggestions so much, that I'm going to do an all-essay question.

If someone should happen to get past the flirting stage in the next part of the story, who should it be? And with whom?



Click here to see this month's feedback so far...

It seems to me that Javier doesn't seem to be too bothered about whether he hooks up with Tim or Nelson. Sooo, let's have them all break through the flirting stage together and have a lovely awkward threesome.

It seems obvious that a 3 way love affair is brewing. But I hate that! I'd much rather a couple than a triad. Which makes the choice that much harder. I think Tim and Nelson. Tim is nurturing and with Nelson's headaches, he needs that. Poor Javier. I hate leaving him out in the cold. You really didn't make this vote easy!

Tim and Nelson are my favorites, so of course, I'd like to see them get past the flirting stage. However, after this last installment, I'm beginning to like Javier more... so, I suppose you would need to go "threesome" to appease all your readers. =)

Definitely Nelson and Javier

I'm totally digging Javier and Tim but my gut it telling me that anyone getting it on with Nelson would be hot! Are three-ways not an option?

what's wrong with threesomes??? ;)

I'm going for the three-way snog that all accidently fall into; as in proper kiss not just a place holding peck. Javier finds Tim attractive and seems to like Nelson too.Nelson definitely likes Javier and liked cuddling Tim and I think would have liked him from the beginning except his gaydar is on the blink!Tim liked Javier but then fixated on Nelson... I think Javier is more aware of the menage a trois possibility so should be the one to bring them all together but I think Tim should instigate the actual 'falling' in together. Perhaps by nervously talking to Javier about how he liked their kiss but also likes Nelson too...Nelson could overhear them and then Javier could invite him in..."

It could be Tim, Javier, or Nelson. I wouldn't mind a threesome.

Tim should totally flake at first with Javier...get all embarrassed and have his social skills jam. Javier gets uncomfortable too. Then Nelson somehow comes into the mix and smooths things out! I'm loving this! Thank you again and again!

i think it should be Nelson and Javier. I don't really like Tim, he seems so superficial.

tim and nelson! tim and nelson!

Tim is obviously ready to jump out of his pants with pent up desire for Nelson, so I think that maybe it should be him. Having said that, it might also be fun to see all three make a move at the same time.

Nelson seems to be the most sexually aggressive of the three main characters. He really seems to like Javier, so I think he will at least attempt more than just flirtation and teasing with Javier. But I would prefer that Nelson start something with Tim. I really like the two of them and think they would be great together. I liked that Tim was so reassuring to Nelson when he almost passed out over the pictures from the morgue.

Randy with Marianne, they could get passed all that angry tension that's between them and do something they both might regret later before Tim even builds up the guts to jump Nelson. (much to my regret)

Pertaining to the story... I think it would definitely be Nelson who would turn up the heat on the sex. Haha. It just seems like something he would do. And...of course, it would be towards Javier since he's had the hots for him since chapter 1! Yum yum! And by "should happen to get past the flirting" you totally mean "THERE WILL BE SEX" right? Riiiiiiight? >D

I don't read threesomes, EVER, but I really really like all 3 characters and the chemistry is obviously there, so I say go the threesome!

Tim seems to expect to strike out with both Javier and Nelson so I say, let's get Tim some hot man action! (With Randy!- kidding) Nelson seems intrigued with Tim and it won't take him long to figure out who was having chat sex. Maybe that'll inspire him and if he gets it on with Tim, Javier will want a piece of the action too. Personally I like all three characters too much to see one of them left alone but I'm not (necessarily) suggesting a three-way. Maybe you need a 4th character to pair them up? Sounds like a lot of work on your part though.

i got nuthin' this is one of those votes where you close your eyes, make an educated guess and hope you don't screw it up... you'll do great - so gimme sumthin' where no one feels abandoned...

javier and nelson!!!

I'm also wondering about a threesome to begin but really prefer only two in the end. I think I would prefer seeing Tim and Nelson together eventually, but some form of threesome to begin with.

Nelson and Javier need to get together after I've read about all their flirting recently. However, if you'd asked me this several chapters ago, I might have said Tim with Nelson, viewing his crushing on Nelson while he was passed out. I agree with whoever it was that said a fourth guy should be added... I wouldn't want anyone to be left out, however, I am really interested to see who ends up with whom as they are now. Perhaps once this settles down, and an official couple is chosen (if they don't stay a threesome or something) a fourth gay guy could be brought in so someone won't feel lonely. lol. But, right now, I'm thinking Nelson and Javier. Gosh, though, what if they all got together separately? While Javier and Nelson are alone at one point, they get to kissing, perhaps more, but then they go back to the group, and say Tim winds up alone with Nelson for whatever reason and he finally pushes himself onto Nelson... and then Javier and Tim are alone, perhaps working on the website or something, and get together... but they, of course, only know they've done it twice. For example, Javier wouldn't know Tim and Nelson got together, though he might feel guilty for being with both men and not telling them. Really, the possibilities are endless, and my head might explode just from trying to come up with them all. Hopefully this makes sense!


Previous Votes

I think Tim may explode if he doesn't put the moves on Nelson. Common sense should dictate it's the worst possible time...not that common sense should stop him.

1. Go for it, Tim! - 50%

2. Come on, no one's THAT awkward. - 29%

3. Wait, I have a better suggestion... - 21% (These suggestions were all really interesting and varied!)

I also had a big spot for comments, and I adored receiving each and every one of them! Here are just a smattering, including one that really jibed with the way the scene turned out:

(Go for it, Tim) But it's got to be so subtle that Nelson misses it completely. Leaving Tim even more frustrated. But Javier doesn't miss it...

(Come on, no one's THAT awkward.) Poor Tim. Either way he's sure to lose (I didn't like him at first, but now he's kind of my favourite character so I feel bad for him :( ) I think a fourth sexy man needs to be introduced into this story! ;)

(Go for it, Tim) Jordan, this is awesome! The whole Vietnamese dimension opens a new world with Nelson. I'm really enjoying the love triangle thing with each "intended" unaware of the guy who's crushing on him and each character seeing the other in a different light. And that toddler biting the guy on the wrist? Super-creepy.

(Go for it, Tim) Given that Nelson's already a bit squicked by Tim, a maladroit pass should give you lots of possible plot paths.

(Write-in vote: Do it discreetly, Tim?) I just love Javier so much and I would hate it if he saw Tim putting the moves on Nelson!! Hahaha! I want him happy so despite my fantasy for Nelson and Javier together, since Javier seems so intent on Tim, I want him with Tim. Buuuuuuut, NELSON IS SOOOO ADORABLE, I can't seem to let go of the Nelson/Javier combo. Thus, I conclude this will end in a threesome? Yes? Yes.

And the Cranberry sauce question?

Shaped Like the Can - 34%

Fresh and Homemade - 47%

Yuck, no way - 13%

Personally, I'm fond of the can-shaped sauce. I think it's so goofy, it's cute. But apparently it's mostly a US product and the rest of the world has it in glass jars, so they don't get to experience the whole can-shaped phenomena.


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

1. Tim should mention it. 9%

2. Javier should mention it. 16%

3. Nah, just let them keep dancing around it. 13%

4. Let it come to light in a spectacularly embarrassing way that neither Tim nor Javier wanted. 63%

I love it that you guys voted for the squirmy choice! - JCP


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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