Today it is my pleasure to introduce Linda Barnett-Johnson, Professional Editor and Virtual Assistant. Originally from Southern California, Linda worked in the business world for over 30 years, but now resides in Montana. She started a site for writing forums in 2001 called “Your Writing Friend” where she gives monthly assignments, exercises, contests and writing links. She is Assistant Editor of Long Story Short and Director Administration for the Long Story Short School of Writing as well as an editor at Long Story Short Publishing Company. Welcome Linda, tell us all a little bit about yourself.  

I have a wide range of interests which include: oil painting, singing, playing the organ, church activities, gardening, canning, playing games, reading, writing, and editing. I live in Montana with my husband, Karl, our black lab, Daisy, and curious cat, Sheba. We love traveling the countryside and going for motorcycle rides. We enjoy going to the gym to swim. And my husband loves racquetball. Well I try to play…he has to be nice and let me hit the ball once in a while. Lol  We bought an old fixer-upper that we’ve been working on for years. My husband is a cancer survivor for over three years now. We want to reach that five-year goal. We love our grandchildren, and love life. 

Tell our readers something interesting about yourself not many people know. 
I met my husband through Computer Cupid, a Christian computer service in 1994. He was living in Montana and I was in Southern California. In 1995, he came down to meet me, and I left with him May of that year. We married December 9th, 1995. He had two daughters and two sons. We now have 13 grandkids and 4 great grandkids. Wow! When I put it down, I feel old. Lol  I now live in Big Sky Montana. It’s a beautiful state. 

That’s awesome. I understand you are the assistant editor of Long Story Short, a web e-zine for writers. Can you tell us more about your e-zine? 
Denise Cassino, Senior Editor, and I started the ezine in 2003. We have been chosen Writer’s Digest 101 Best Writing Sites for 8 years now. Our motto has been to help as many new writers as possible, and we have done just that. We have published quite a few because we believed in them and their writing. We are proud to know many wonderful people since we started the ezine. Denise and I take pride in getting to know them personally, and have made many friends. We take the pain out of submitting, especially first-timers.

We choose a Story of the Month, and at the end of the year their story may be chosen as Story of the Year, where they will receive a check of $25.00.

Our new poetry editor, Amy Pacini, has been with us a short time, but has been accepted for her fine eye and knowledge of poetry. I hope your readers and writers will come and see for themselves, how they are treated. She also chooses a poem for Poetry of the Month, which is added to the list to be picked for $25.00. 

I also understand you are a book editor. What genre do you like most to edit? Why? 
I am not too picky when it comes to genres. I enjoy the versatility of being an editor. I love how writers think. Though I am a stickler for a beginning hook. You need to grab me into the story, or I will call you out on it. The editing process is fascinating to me. Of course, I love to read, and that a must for an editor. Lol. What I don’t like is abusing the English language. I don’t like pornography, graphic sex, and/or profanity. I feel we should be able to express through action, details, and words that don’t make you blush, or cringe. I guess I am old fashioned in that respect. Showing a scene is more important than telling it. I don’t want to read, “He was shy.” I want to see him being shy. For example: “Mark couldn’t take his eyes off of the new girl in school, Britney. Her long brown hair, green eyes and slim body, took his breath away. Whenever they passed in the hallway, he pretended to look at something in his hand or in his books. A lump would form in his throat as he hurriedly rushed by.” Anyway, something that shows the situation instead of telling. Fleshing out characters is a must too. I want to empathize, cry, or get angry with them. I want to feel their pain, their love, and their passion. I want to see them too. Make sure your characters aren’t perfect. We aren’t perfect, are we? Maybe they have a small scar. What mannerism do they have that stands out? These are a few of the things I look for. 

I also understand you are the Administration Director for the Long Story Short School of Writing. Can you tell us about this? 
Denise Cassino and I started the school in 2005, after we felt there was a need to help beginning writers. Now we have courses for beginning to advance. There are grammar and punctuation courses, Show Don’t Tell, Curing Your Writing Problems, Basic Writing Skills, Novel Building 101 and 102, and many more. If you have a need, we supply the course. We have personable instructors that are willing and able to give you that special touch. The fees are reasonable too. 
I do all the administration duties: keep track of students, money, instructors, banking, etc. 

How has writing and editing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being an editor? 
I make a living at what I love to do. I also get to meet people from all over the world. As I said before, I love the way people think. Everyone has a story…everyone! Some just choose to write about it. 

What advice can you give writers regarding the editing process? 
Make sure you have your books, or short stories, edited. You may miss something so simple as a misspelled word, where an editor has a keen eye for detail. I also look for a good opening hook. You want to make sure you reel that reader into the story from the beginning. Have you ever started reading a story that started with so much description, that you lost interest? I have. Start with dialog or something fascinating that will pull in the attention of the reader. You want to start and finish with a bang. Make sure you flesh out your characters. You want the reader to fall in love, or hate. Make them memorable. 

Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers? 
First of all, submit. How many writers let their stories sit around and do nothing with them? Have faith in yourself and send your stories out. Even if you get a rejection, don’t stop. Get tough. Don’t let the rejections slow you down. Someone will give you a comment that will help you learn. Long Story Short ezine is one of those websites that will give you constructive criticism if they feel you have a good storyline. Sometimes we do reject a story. The reason may be that we have had so many love stories, that we just can’t accept another one. If you do send us one, make sure that it has a different twist. We like to be surprised. 

I also edit short stories. So if you’re not sure about submitting your story, send it to me and I’ll give you honest suggestions and feedback. 

As far as marketing, I am a virtual assistant for writers. What I can do is this: radio interviews, blog interviews, post to lots of social websites, press releases, daily and weekly blurbs, use Digg, do mailings, newsletters or whatever it takes to get you and your book(s) noticed. 

How can our readers find, follow or friend you? 
Long Story Short ezine:
LSS School of Writing:
You can also Google me. Linda Barnett-Johnson
I also love playing games on facebook. So you might find me there, in my free moments.  

There is one more thing I’d like to add. I also run private writing/novel/poetry forums. If anyone is interested, please email me at
writingfriend@yahoo.com and put in the subject line: Interested in Writing Forums. I give monthly topics. Everyone posts and gives comments to all stories and poetry. At the moment, our novel forum is closed unless we receive more that are interested. It’s a great place to fine-tune your short stories and get into the habit of submitting them.  

 Thank you for letting me be a part of your blog. I hope to make many new friends.

Thanks for visiting with me today Linda. It was wonderful to get to know you better. You are definitely one busy lady! Thanks for taking the time to be here.

C.K. Volnek

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