Written in Anger, Published in Hope: Guest Blog by Laura Lanni

In 2015 I had the privilege of working with Laura Lanni on an early draft of her second novel, Infinity Line. Although I’d worked with Laura on her first novel, this one was unlike anything I’d ever read.

Fast forward several years, and the final version of Infinity Line, a dystopian novel written in anger and published in hope, is now available. I asked Laura to share some thoughts about this unique novel and what prompted her to write it.


My second novel began in a furious rage.

Anger is a dark place. It is unsafe, unstable, un-everything-good. During the decades while I raised my daughters, sent them to college, cried at their weddings, and played with new grandchildren, while my hair grew gray and my skin thinned, I have felt paralyzing fear for the ones I love. Fear makes me angry.

Before I felt fear, I may have just been naïve. Too young and busy becoming me to notice the problems of the world. But I think my transformation is more than a personal journey. I read on the news and social media about the struggles of everyone. The world has become more dangerous. That makes me angry.

Every American is a degree or two away from losing someone to violence. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will. Almost certainly. That makes me furious.


My personal catalyst came on December 9, 2011. Virginia Tech was on lockdown, again. A police officer was killed. I was stuck five hours away on another college campus, calling and calling and worrying and waiting to know. My daughter hid in the architecture studio on the VT campus. I did not breathe for hours. Continue reading “Written in Anger, Published in Hope: Guest Blog by Laura Lanni”

Writing Process—Fiction from Nonfiction: Guest Post by Alex Vorkov

You know how some books just grab you from the first page and don’t let go?  That’s the way I felt when I read Generation 0, a post-apocalyptic novel about three young girls who band together to survive when all the adult in the world die at the same moment. I was lucky enough to edit an early version of Alex Vorkov’s book, and I’m thrilled that he agreed to share some behind-the-scenes secrets about his writing process with you. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming this multitalented writer.


I confess: I rarely read books in my genre.

That’s one of The Rules, isn’t it? You must read in your genre or else you’ll fail (in some manner that no expert can articulate or demonstrate with evidence). Here’s what I think about such writing rules: Feh! Continue reading “Writing Process—Fiction from Nonfiction: Guest Post by Alex Vorkov”

The Art of Editing, or Should Writers Use the Singular “They”?

should writers use the singular theyI recently completed line editing a dystopian novel. After going through my edits, the author wrote to me with several questions, prefacing them with this statement:

“I made the mistake of not pestering my last editor on details like these. I’m not making that mistake again.”

He was absolutely correct to question something he didn’t understand, and I assured him that I would answer any queries he had. After all, how can writers improve their writing if they write in a vacuum?

One of his questions concerned pronouns and antecedents:

I’ve read about the use and acceptance of gender-neutral pronouns. I prefer gender-neutral pronouns when I talk. You seem to be correcting against the use of gender-neutral pronouns in my writing. May I ask why? Is the world about to go to war over this? I really wish it wasn’t an issue, but apparently it still is. Does using gender-neutral pronouns make my writing look that bad?

I want to be one of the trendsetters that makes gender neutral pronouns the norm, but I don’t want my work to suffer for it. How do I walk that line?”

Ahhh, the controversial use of “they” with a singular antecedent, or as one of my fellow editors calls it, the “informal singular ‘they.’” Continue reading “The Art of Editing, or Should Writers Use the Singular “They”?”