I feel that every professional experience and every bit of education has led me to becoming what I am now: an author's virtual assistant. Well, maybe not every bit of education — my Bachelor's degree is in Spanish, which I don't use currently as a V.A. But everything else...

After college, I worked for many years as an executive assistant, with a variety of companies. During this time, I honed my skills with Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Publisher, Access, and PowerPoint. I learned professional business etiquette and the importance of teamwork.

I lived in Saudi Arabia with my husband for ten years. The first six years we were in Saudi, I wrote a number of unpublished manuscripts and got my Masters degree in Writing Popular Fiction through a distance program with Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. I also learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, doing graphic design and illustration as a hobby. When I decided to return to the workforce, I got a job with Saudi Aramco Schools, in the Central Office. There, I helped build the SAS website and learned enough basic HTML to make me a little dangerous on the web.

After we returned to Texas from Saudi, I worked in real estate for a year or so, and learned in the trenches the importance of marketing and networking. Even in a tough real estate market, in my first year in the business, I did well because I made it happen. I realized that realtors have to spend most of their time away from home, so I transitioned into being a virtual assistant... but I will always be grateful for my time in real estate because it taught me valuable lessons that I now bring to my author clients. It's not enough to just write the book — you have to find a way to let readers know about it.

E-mail: jenel@jenellooney.com

Jenel Looney, Virtual Assistant