Thursday, March 15, 2012

Amazing! My first Amazon review of Silent Lips - 5 stars!!!!

Amazing how nice the feeling is when you read your first Amazon review of  your book!

I've just checked the review. Silent Lips, my thriller about a genetically modified virus that spreads in New York, leading to a frantic search for a cure, was awarded 5 stars.

Here's the review:

Reading Silent Lips by Glenn Ashton is like getting on a train heading up a long mountain. The suspense builds and builds until you reach the top and then swoops down into a very surprising ending. The level of detail involved in describing the battle against a plague-like virus attacking New York City is amazing and it feels like you are there in the laboratories and treatment rooms as well as in the highest offices in the land.
Beware that this book can keep you up well past your bedtime. The complexity almost demands a consistent dedication to finishing the book. Then you want to start over to make sure you understand the underlying science, but it's not really a necessity that you do, as it is just a very fine read.
It is definitely an amazing first book and I look forward to other books by this author.

I hope the reviewer buys Obelisk Seven, and Littletown Combo One!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Genetic engineering and cures for diseases: real life and my novel, Silent Lips

In Silent Lips, one of the major themes is the use of genetic engineering in New York City to cause a disease which spreads rapidly, and endangers hundreds of millions if it escapes from the city.

Genetic engineering also plays a role in the frantic search for a cure.

And now we find genetic engineering holding out  the promise of far more effective remedies for some types of cancer:
An international research team that includes Canadian scientists has completed a preliminary study demonstrating that a genetically engineered virus can be used to attack cancer tumours – without harming surrounding tissues.

Earlier studies have shown that some viruses have the ability to infect cancer cells along with other tissues. Based on these findings, Jennerex Biotherapeutics Inc. – a company founded by researchers John Bell in Ottawa and David Kirn in San Francisco – set out to modify one virus so it targets only cancer cells.
Dr John Bell, the man who engineers viruses

 “The virus travels through the blood and selectively infects tumours and destroys them and it won’t infect normal tissues,” explained Dr. Bell, a scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. “Patients should have very few side effects.”
 One of the drivers behind my writing Silent Lips was my fascination with the steps taken by bioengineers to create new forms of life to serve humankind. The thriller – available for the low price of only 99 cents on Kindle Books – details  the experiments of past scientists, and describes the steps taken to find a cure.

In this 100,000 word thriller, people inside and outside New York race against time to save the city from a genetically engineered virus created by mistake. While doctors in the ParkLab in Central Park try everything they can think of to cure people, the Prime Minister of Israel is smuggled into the stricken city to share its fate, and the President makes the most agonizing decision any US president has ever made.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Post on the rebel John Locke and the eBook revolution

Check out my new post on John Locke and how the revolution is helping authors like you to overturn the established order - click here!

Just who is John Locke?

Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Locke is an international bestselling author of 9 novels which have sold over one million paid copies in the Amazon Kindle Store for eBooks. With is dramatic surge in sales, Locke has done two memorable things: joined the slected Kindle Million Book Club (along with the likes of Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child, Suzanne Collins and Michael Connelly), and shown the world how to escape from the archaic paper-based publishing industry into the wave of the future.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Dissection of Silent Lips by Anne Perry at the Surrey International Writers Conference

The doorway is guarded by two SiWC volunteers, and you need to show them your "passport to pitching" to get into the large hall. Inside, agents and publishers are seated at small tables on the left and right sides, waiting for hopeful writers to make their pitches. The writers sit at the front of the hall, in two lines, waiting for their ten minutes.
Anne Perry

At the back of the hall are the Blue Pencillers. These writers and agents are there to give you advice on the structure of whatever you have brought – a few pages of a novel, a handful of poems.

Anne Perry waved me to a seat and held up her hand to stop me passing her the few pages I had selected from an old novel, stuck in a dusty drawer for a little over a decade.

I don't read segments in these sessions, she explains. Talk to me about what your novel is about.

I launch into a discussion of The Silent Lips. Title taken from the famous poem by Emma Lazarus on the plaque of the Statue of Liberty. Before being shipped to New York in 1885, parts of the statue were exhibited in Paris. The words that gave me the title for this old novel of mine are stirring:
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Statue of Liberty head 1885

The story is set in a New York which has had a ring of steel thrown around it to stop the spread of a disease that sprang from one man's experiments to save his friend from sickle cell (using himself as a test tube, and crossing the species line by using chimpanzees). Frantic experiments take place in the ParkLab as scientists – flying in on one-way tickets to help the stricken city – try to find a cure. They overstep boundaries in their desperation,  lead by the military commander of the ParkLap, while B52 bombers trace lazy contrails in the sky above, waiting for the order by the President to solve the problem.

What causes you concern about your story structure, Anne asks.

The flow, I answer.

She leans forward, and talks for several minutes. Your risk is that your novel might sound like a documentary. You might want to personalize it more.

Take your lead character and see if you can make the story more about him/her, and drop any details you do not need.

I sit back, thinking.

 Ten minutes with a highly skilled professional, and an uncanny insight given to me which solves a niggling problem I had – a problem which lead to The Silent Lips being thrust into the back of a drawer and hidden out of sight for so many years.

Time well spent.

No wonder this woman sells so many novels!

I leave, and another hopeful author takes my seat at the small table. Anne Perry leans forward, waving aside the proffered pages.

Speak to me, she says ...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First post on the Silent Lips blog

This thriller, I said to myself after sipping some cold white wine on a lovely terrace and watching the yachts stream by, deserves its very own blog.

If it shared one with the other thriller (Obelisk Seven) I wrote, it would suffer.

So here is the beginning of the Silent Lips Blog.

I hope you enjoy the articles, and fling some comments my way!

Glenn Ashton