New Cover for The Third

As I mentioned last month, I recently got my rights back for my first novel, The Third. With those rights comes a new cover, that you can see below. You can pre-order the ebook version of The Third

About The Third

“The only way your kids are going to have any future is if we get this world back to a livable condition. The only were going to do that is with fewer people. People are the problem, not the solution.”

When Ransom Lawe, a recycler in the Pacific Northwest, discovers his wife is pregnant with their third—and therefore illegal child, he’s forced to choose between the government who proclaims a desire to save the planet and his hope for a place where his family can live in freedom. But with the Census Bureau Sentinels closing in on his wife and unborn child, Ransom’s choice will either save his family or tear them apart forever.

Abel Keogh offers a stark and haunting look at the not-to-distant future in this chilling novel. Crossing lines between good and evil, freedom and oppression, and political and environmental responsibility, The Third, is a gut-wrenching tale of intense loyalty and unconditional love.

Pre-Order on Amazon

The Third - 07.jpg

Life Imitates The Third XI

From the Weekly Standard:

Last week, the New York Times ran a piece on the dire demographic problems facing Germany. The short version: Germans aren’t having enough kids, and as a result the economy is in trouble and there are all sorts of logistical problems—vacant buildings that need to be razed; houses that will never be sold, sewer systems which may not function properly because they’re too empty.

***

Twenty-three percent of German men—that’s not a typo, 23 percent—said that “zero” was the ideal family size. There probably aren’t public policy solutions to a cultural worldview like that.

Link to the rest at The Weekly Standard.

Note that in The Third enough people didn't want children that there was a robust child credit trading system for those who wanted more than two kids. If such a policy were enacted in Germany, I can't help but wonder how robust such a system would be would be.

The Influence of Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury was one of the few people I always wanted to meet but never got a chance to do so. Since he passed away yesterday at the age of 91, it appears that meeting might never happen.

I wasn’t exposed to Ray Bradbury until high school. My junior year the Honors English teacher assigned Fahrenheit 451 to the class. I read the first page and was hooked. At the end of the year the teacher asked the class to vote on their favorite book we had read that year. I was the only one to vote for Bradbury’s classic. The themes in Fahrenheit 451 were something that always stuck with me and that book was one of the major influences for my novel The Third.

That summer I read a lot of Ray Bradbury books and enjoyed every one of them. Despite the deep messages that were a part of many of his works, there was always an innocent quality to his worlds and characters and a call to adventure that made me feel like a kid on a grand adventure whenever I read his novels. (Sadly, I don’t think any of that simple innocence will ever come across in my fiction.)

One of the great things about being a writer is that so long as someone, somewhere is reading your books, you never really die. So even though Bradbury is no longer with us in person, part of him will continue to influence readers for generations to come.

Rest in peace, Ray. Though we never got to meet in this life, maybe we’ll get a chance to talk in the next.

Life Imitates The Third X

From the International Business Times:

Cities are expected to expand the combined size of Texas, California and Montana in the next 20 years, adding environmental and cultural strains from population growth and shifts away from rural living, experts said Tuesday at a conference in London called "Planet Under Pressure."

By 2030, humanity's total urban footprint will expand by an additional 1.5 million square kilometers (579,000 square miles), according to the conference.

***

The American model of urban sprawl won't work, raising the question of how to design cities that can sustainably cope with population increases, said Karen Seto, a professor of urban environment at Yale University.

"The North American suburb has gone global, and car-dependent urban developments are more and more the norm," Seto said in a statement. "The way cities have grown since World War II is neither socially [nor] environmentally sustainable."

***

Reversing the trend toward ever-larger homes will be a big part of designing efficient cities, the researchers at the conference said.

In some countries, urban planners are starting from scratch; the United Arab Emirates and China are both building "zero carbon cities" that aim to run completely on renewable energy.

The UAE's Masdar City began construction in 2008, and aims to house between 45,000 and 50,000 people. Cars will be banned in Masdar City and plans call for power to come from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydrogen energy.

Read the rest at the International Business Times.

Usually I'd pull a quote from The Third here but those who have read the book will get the fact that most of the story takes place in one of the efficient/zero carbon cities described in the article. But you'll have to read the book in order to decide if living in such a city is right for you.

 

More Book Availability

A couple of quick book updates: The Third

  • For a limited time publisher of The Third has reduced the price of the Kindle version to $4.99.  Download your copy here.

Dating a Widower

Life Imitates The Third VIII

From Forbes, California Wages War On Single-Family Homes:

In recent years, homeowners have been made to feel a bit like villains rather than the victims of hard times, Wall Street shenanigans and inept regulators.  Instead of being praised for braving the elements, suburban homeowners have been made to feel responsible for everything from the Great Recession to obesity to global warming.

In California, the assault on the house has gained official sanction. Once the heartland of the American dream, the Golden State has begun implementing new planning laws designed to combat global warming. These draconian measures could lead to a ban on the construction of private residences, particularly on the suburban fringe. The new legislation’s goal is to cram future generations of Californians into multi-family apartment buildings, turning them from car-driving suburbanites into strap-hanging urbanistas.

***

Ultimately the density agenda reflects less a credible strategy to reduce GHG [greenhouse gases] than a push among planners to “force” Californians, as one explained to me, out of their homes and into apartments. In pursuit of their “cramming” agenda planners have  also    have enlisted powerful allies – or perhaps better understood as ” useful idiots” —  developers and speculators who see profit in  the eradication of the single family  by forcibly boosting the value of urban core  properties.

From The Third, Chapter 2

[Ransom] stopped in what had once been a bedroom. The walls were painted pink with big brown polka dots. The color combination was not to his liking. Still, he stood in the middle of the room and wondered who had lived in the house over the last hundred years. He wondered whether the home had seemed small and cramped or large and spacious to its occupants. He felt a twinge of jealously. This home was easily twice as large as his apartment. It probably boasted eighteen hundred square feet. Granted, he had recycled homes twice this size, but still, he’d love to be able to give his boys their own rooms and paint the walls their favorite colors.
***
Ransom headed to the backyard. . . . Ransom stood up and looked around the yard. It was about a quarter acre in size. He found his mind drifting back to his two boys and wondered how they’d enjoy having this much space to run around. The play area next to their apartment building was crowded with kids, and there was always a fight for the swings or other playground equipment. But if they lived in this house, his two boys would have their own place to play. He stood for a minute and imagined them running around the yard, chasing each other and playing on the swings. The thought of his boys made him smile.

From Chapter 11

[Ransom speaking]

“Sometimes I feel this whole city is on the brink of chaos. We live cramped together, stacked on top of one another like rats in a lab. We spend most of our weekends standing in line to buy half-rotten food. People treat each other like animals in a survival-of-the-fittest contest. Sometimes I wish we lived in one of those homes I recycle—one with more living space and a yard.” He turned so he was looking at Teya. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra bedroom, a fruit tree or two, and maybe a little garden? There’s a huge cherry tree at the house I’m taking down now. I don’t think I’ve had a cherry since James was born. I want a giant orchard with enough peaches, cherries, and apples to feed our family and share with others. Doesn’t that sound good to you?”

***

Hat Tip: HitCoffee

Life Imitates The Third VII

I see why Al Gore doesn't allow his speeches to be recorded?  At a speech Monday in NYC, the former VP was caught on tape talking about reducing population as a way to reduce pollution. (Update: The YouTube clip has since been removed by the environmental journalist, Brain Merchant, who posted it.) Said Gore:

One of the things we could do about it is to change the technologies, to put out less of this pollution, to stabilize the population, and one of the principle ways of doing that is to empower and educate girls and women,” Gore said. “You have to have ubiquitous availability of fertility management so women can choose how many children have, the spacing of the children.

“You have to lift child survival rates so that parents feel comfortable having small families and most important — you have to educate girls and empower women,” he said. “And that’s the most powerful leveraging factor, and when that happens, then the population begins to stabilize and societies begin to make better choices and more balanced choices.

From The Third, Chapter 19

Mona shook her head and looked over the plaza. “The only way your kids are going to have any future is if we get this world back to a livable condition. The only way we’re going to do that is with fewer people. People are the problem, not the solution. You know that. I give Teya my credit, and I’m not only jeopardizing your kids’ future, I’m risking the future of every other child in the world too.”
“What if this child’s special? What if he or she is destined to make this world a better place? What if this baby will grow up and invent something or be the kind of leader needed to clean up the planet once and for all?”
“The world tried that for thousands of years, Ransom. It didn’t work. At one point, we had over eight billion people on this planet. What did we have to show for it? Overcrowded cities. Poverty. Starvation. Greed. Wars over finite resources. One more person takes us one step back, not forward. Every living person moves us that much closer to the brink of destruction.”

Life Imitates The Third VI

The World Bank will suggest a global levy on jet and shipping fuel in recommendations to G20 governments later this year on raising climate finance, a senior official said on Sunday.
The Sydney Morning Herald, The Dangers of Bone-Headed Beliefs, Richard Glover, June 6, 2011

Looked at through this lens, our generation has it easy. Already wealthy and armed with new technology, we need to front up to the challenge of building a low-carbon economy.

The tool we'll use is a carbon tax that seeks to subtly redirect some of our choices. Cut your power bill by more than the compensation offered and you get to keep the change.

From The Third, Chapter 2

Dempsey honked the truck’s horn, and Ransom watched as a lady reading the news board jumped in the air. He could remember car-filled streets, but the memories were few and hazy. The clearest was of him sitting in the backseat of his family’s minivan, looking out the window as his mom pulled into a parking lot filled with cars. Perhaps he remembered it so well because the summer sun had reflected off their windshields and reminded him of a sky filled with stars.

"I was five, maybe six, when the carbon taxes went into effect," Ransom said. "I remember my dad coming home from work and telling my mom that they couldn’t afford to drive anymore. Sometime after that, I think the car was sold or given to a recycling center."

Weekend Photographs: The Third Party

Thanks to all those who came to The Thrid party. It was so much fun to see and talk to all of you, and celebrate the release of my first novel. Photos of the fun below.

Started the party off with a big bang. Hopefully this will accelerate global warming.

A mixed reaction to the initial fire plume.

Everyone liked the fire since temperatures were in the high 40s. It was a great way to keep warm.

The post popular thing with the kids was the hayride.

Adults liked it too.

Me reading a chapter from The Third.

The kids would rather watch the fire then listen to me read from The Third. (Can't say I blame them.)

But everyone seemed to have a good time....

...especially the kids.

The Third Launch Party and CarbonQ

In celebration of Earth Day, I’ll be having the official launch party of my environmentalism run amok novel, The Third, on Friday, April 22. There will food, prizes, fun, and hayrides! In following the general theme of The Third, I’ll be having a little CarbonQ as part of the party. What’s a CarbonQ? It’s a big bon fire (weather permitting) that will put several hundred pounds of CO2 into the air. Let’s face it, this has been a cold, cold spring here in Utah and it’s about time we did something to get summer here a little faster.

Friends, spouses, significant others and kids are all invited to come too.

Come and have some fun!

When: Friday, April 22, 2011 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Where: Stone Family Farm 301 W. 2nd St. Ogden, Utah  84404

What to expect: 6:30 – 7:00 – Start hay rides. Mix and mingle. 7:00 – 7:30 – Prize drawings. Lighting of the fire (weather permitting) I’ll read from a section of The Third while carbon 7:30 – 8:00 – More prize drawings, hay rides, mixing and mingling, and I’ll sign books.

Oh, and if you want to buy a copy of The Third, you can buy a copy for just $10. If not, that’s fine. Just come and have some fun!

Hope to see you there. :-)

Marathon Girl and Her Kindle

For our anniversary back in February I bought Marathon Girl a Kindle. Even though Marathon Girl’s an avid reader, I wasn’t sure how the gift would go over with her—after all she seemed just fine holding a paperback in her hands as she read herself to sleep at night.

For the first two or three weeks the Kindle went largely untouched because Marathon Girl had a stack of books on her nightstand that she wanted to finish. When she finished those books she picked up the Kindle and started reading the one eBook I bought along with the Kindle. And once she picked it up, hasn’t been able to put it down. Just a few of the things she loves about it include how she can resize the text, never lose her place, and look up words in the online dictionary that she’s not familiar with. Plus she likes the fact that she can download a book with a push of a button instead of having to go to a bookstore or library.

Though I’m happy the gift’s been a huge hit, it’s causing one problem in our otherwise wonderful marriage: there’s only one of them.

Yep, I love the Kindle just as much as Marathon Girl. But since we have only one, a minor (but friendly) argument can break out over who’s turn it is to use it. Alas, since the Kindle belongs to Marathon Girl and she gently reminds me of the books I need to spend time writing, I generally end up with the short end of the stick (a.k.a a paperback). So it looks like I’ll need to get my own Kindle before too long.

The good news is that there’s a rumor floating around that Kindles will be more or less free by Christmas. (First sign this might be true: there’s now an ad-sponsored version of the Kindle for $114.) And even if that turns out to be just a rumor, I’m sure we can save up the money for one by then. Until then I’ll just have to sneak in some personal Kindle time when Marathon Girl’s not looking. :-)

***

And speaking of Kindles, I’ve received many emails asking when The Third will be available in eBook format. Well, The Third is now available on Kindle. It should be available in other eBook formats soon.

Life Imitates The Third V

Once again, life imitates my soon-to-be released novel, The Third. From today’s The Telegraph (U.K.):

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a "single European transport area" aimed at enforcing "a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers" by 2050.

The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.

Top of the EU's list to cut climate change emissions is a target of "zero" for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU's future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto "alternative" means of transport.

"That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres," he said. "Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour."

From The Third, Chapter 2:

“You aren’t that young, are you?” Dempsey asked as he took a left on 12th Street, heading west. “I thought you were old enough to remember when just about everyone owned a car.”

Dempsey honked the truck’s horn, and Ransom watched as a lady reading the news board jumped in the air. He could remem­ber car-filled streets, but the memories were few and hazy. The clearest was of him sitting in the backseat of his family’s minivan, looking out the window as his mom pulled into a parking lot filled with cars. Perhaps he remembered it so well because the summer sun had reflected off their windshields and reminded him of a sky filled with stars.

“I was five, maybe six, when the carbon taxes went into effect,” Ransom said. “I remember my dad coming home from work and telling my mom that they couldn’t afford to drive any­more. Sometime after that, I think the car was sold or given to a recycling center.”

The only difference? In my book cars are banned around 2040.

Scary, ain’t it.

The Best Way to Celebrate Earth Hour

Update (3/27): I've receved a lot of emails asking if it's too late to  pre-order personalized copies of The Third. It's not. Like Room for Two, I always have some copies on hand to sell.  Just visit the store to order one. Or two. Or three. :-)

First, thanks to those who who pre-ordered copies of The Third. Your book is one of these photographed.

I'll be signing pre-ordered copies tonight during Earth Hour and mailing them out on Monday. And, yes, every light in my house will be on during this time. I'd hate to let all the good electricity go to waste!

Look for lots of well lighted photos tomorrow. :-)

Pre-Order The Third

If you look across the menu bar of my website, you’ll notice a new link: Store. Yes, I’ve finally migrated my store to my website. This means that those who have been wanting to, can now pre-order a copy of The Third before the official release date. Just click here to start shopping. Though I don’t know when I’ll get my copies, anything order before the end of the month will be shipped before the book hits store shelves. I’ll even personalize it to you or whoever you’re giving a copy to.

You can also pre-order copies from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore.

For those who prefer e-readers, though I don’t have an exact release date yet, e-book versions (Kindle, Nook, etc.) of The Third will be available sometime before the end of April.

If you live outside the United States and Canada and would like to pre-order a copy of The Third, drop me an email. I have some options in order to get the book shipped out to you in an affordable, timely manner.

Keeping Me Honest

A quick update on the Creative Writing goals I made at the beginning of year.

  • The Dating a Widower manuscript is now in the hands of my publisher. No word yet on whether or not they’ve accepted it. Hope to have an update by my next monthly update.
  • The Third is scheduled for an April release. More details will be forthcoming. In addition to being available on Amazon, bookstores, and e-book format, I’ll also be selling personalized copies from my improved online store for those who want one. The new store will be up within the next two weeks.
  • Worked out the kinks with the “White Whale” book I’ll be pitching in May. With plot and character problems mostly worked out, I’m hoping to make more progress and have a first draft completed by the end of the month.

For more information on these and other writing projects, keep your eye on this blog or join my mailing list if you want the scoop before anyone else.

The Third Book Cover

Each new birth is one step closer to the brink of destruction...

“The only way your kids are going to have any future is if we get this world back to a livable condition. The only way we‘re going to do that is with fewer people. People are the problem, not the solution.”

When Ransom Lawe, a recycler in the Pacific Northwest, finds out his wife is pregnant with their third—and therefore illegal—child, he’s forced to choose between the government who proclaims a desire to save the planet and his hope for a place where his family can live in freedom. But with the Census Bureau Sentinels closing in on his wife and unborn child, Ransom’s choice will either save his family or tear them apart forever.

Abel Keogh offers a stark and haunting look at a not-so-distant future in this chilling new novel. Crossing lines between good and evil, freedom and oppression, and political and environmental responsibility, The Third is a gut-wrenching tale of intense loyalty and unconditional love.

Read chapter 1

Guess what I’m doing this weekend?

The edits for the first half of The Third are in. Time to hunker down and get to work. Update 1/16: Edits are complete and on their way back to the editor. Hoping to have the other half wrapped up this week!

Update 1/17: Received the second half of edits from the editor. Getting back to work.