Not too long ago, I was introduced to Florida Book News, presented by Lou Belcher. If you don’t know her, or her blog, don’t worry. She’ll explain in a bit. Lou is a wonderful lady, talented writer and artist, and spends hours of her time offering a blog site for other Florida authors to promote their work on a weekly basis. She took some time out to share with me a little bit about herself:
ENGLE: I’m so excited to introduce you with my followers. So let’s start with some of your writing background.
BELCHER: I’ve been writing for a long time. I started by writing magazine articles back in the 80s. I had several articles published in Cat Fancy magazine. I was an English minor in college, but I was a speech therapist by profession until 2000, with writing confined to my spare time. Although I’ve written my share of fiction and taken workshops on all aspects of writing, I enjoy and have had the most success with writing non-fiction.
ENGLE: I know you have published a few books. Can you give us some details, including where to purchase them?
BELCHER: The first book was a language curriculum for special education students that I co-authored with two others. Then in 1997, I co-authored Footsteps: Unforgettable Walks in Southeastern Virginia. That was a fun project where we coordinated walks with some of the historical sites in Virginia. Those two are out of print.
After I moved to Florida, I became active early on in social media and decided to write a book to help others understand Twitter. So I published Ready, Set, Tweet… A speedy guide to Twitter when Twitter was still new. And shortly after that, I published The Zen of Max (a memoir of great wisdom and many naps). Both of these books are still available on Amazon.
ENGLE: I met you through Florida Book News. How did this awesome resource come about?
BELCHER: I’ve been a blogger since the early days of blogging. First, I wrote a regular monthly column for Brevard Live Magazine. In it, I profiled Brevard County artists and their work.
When I established my website, I decided I wanted to write a blog to get the word out about what artists in this area are doing. That resulted in BrevardArtNews.com. Being a writer, I decided to do the same for writers, but I knew writers throughout the state, so I wanted Florida Book News to highlight writers throughout all of Florida. In FloridaBookNews.com I write about Florida authors, their books, their writing groups, and their writing events.
ENGLE: And I, for one, greatly appreciate this resource. Can you explain how others in Florida can get involved?
BELCHER: Florida Book News is a free service. Anyone can send information to post on it as long as it’s about a Florida writer or an event involving a Florida writer or book. Most often writers send me details about a book they are about to launch or information about conferences, workshops, book signings, and book fairs.
To submit to Florida Book News, type the information you want announced into an email and attach a copy of a book cover or illustration if you want me to post that with the announcement. Send it to me at Lou@LouBelcher.com. I usually post items the day I receive them or the day after.
ENGLE: You are also an avid animal lover. I enjoyed your thirty cats in thirty days blog posts. Can you share about your art and your animal blog?
BELCHER: Yes, The Zen of Max is the memoir of my previous cat Max. I set up the blog Max The Quilt Cat about him to help me write the book after he ran off to the Rainbow Bridge. After Max passed away, I was catless for quite a while but was working with the SPCA helping them get the word out about cats and dogs needing homes. Finally, I was ready for new kitties of my own, and Bugsy and Knuckles entered my life. Since then, they have taken over the blog (They call it HH and The Boys. I’m HH… that was Max’s loving nickname for me. It’s short for Her Highness. The nickname stuck. Many people who read my blog call me HH instead of Lou).
For the last couple of years, I’ve been concentrating on drawing and painting. In January of this year, the artists at the studio where I write and paint decided to participate in a 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge. I was just a new painter and was a little reluctant, but I got into it. Again in September, there was another challenge and I just finished painting another 30 Paintings in 30 Days. I’ve had a great time posting them on Facebook and on the blog. I love reading the comments.
I love writing about and creating artwork about cats. And, I make it a point to contribute part of everything I earn through writing and art to animal funds.
ENGLE: That’s awesome! You have two other blogs, don’t you? Please tell us a little about them.
BELCHER: Yes, one is an art blog on my art website. It’s at LouBelcherArt.com I usually post on it on days when I have a new painting to post in my gallery. And the other is called Before You Write and it is partly about writing tips and partly about art also — with the 30-day challenge last month, artwork took over all my personal blogs, but Before You Write is usually about writing.
ENGLE: Are your books self-published or traditionally published, and are you agented? Explain how that came about.
BELCHER: The first book was published by a traditional publisher, but the rest are self-published. I have had a couple of agents over the years but don’t have one now. I prefer to do things at my own pace and to be in charge of the whole thing myself. It does take a bit more marketing to do it all yourself; but, in the end, I know right where I stand. And that’s a good thing.
ENGLE: What a great answer! Finally, if you could be a Muppet, which would you be and why?
BELCHER: Rather than a Muppet…. I’d enjoy being Garfield… Wouldn’t it be great to fly through the air and land in a huge dish of lasagna… ?
ENGLE: Yes, it would!!
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll take some time to check out Lou’s blogs!