Monday, July 15, 2019

Don't You Love a Good Success Story? Meet Breezer Catherine Black!

It's been a few weeks since the Southern Breeze Writing Contest ended for our members, but for PAL judges and the professional judges, the work is just beginning. For the next couple of months, the hard task of choosing winners will be decided. Come the chill of November, our winners will be announced and then...well, then what happens?

What happens next is up to each member. Last week, we heard from Catherine Black, a member who won the Southern Breeze Writing Contest and she had big news about what happened next for her!

SB: Catherine, we're so glad you contacted us! When did you win the contest and what category did you place in?

CB: Hi! I’m excited to share this with all my Breezers. I won first place in the YA fiction contest in 2016.

SB: So when you got the results, what's the first thing you did? (Or maybe I should ask what did you do AFTER the celebration?)

CB: I had been querying that manuscript for a while, and I was using the SCBWI competition as a way to tell myself if I was crazy for seeking publication or not with this book. I was so thrilled that the manuscript won that I told myself not to give up and that I would keep at it till I found a publisher! Winning that competition was like adding wood to a fire that was getting low. I needed it!

SB: I love that image, Catherine! Now you're all fueled up and your journey with this manuscript began. Tell us how you got from winner to published author.

CB: After winning (I was so excited and humbled and thankful!), I continued querying the manuscript, but I was able to include the wonderful little line about it winning an award. I had some good feedback on it, but no offers. I kept submitting. I tweaked the story here and there. I was teaching full time, so things were going slowly. But one day I discovered the world of PitMad and that’s when things changed. I submitted a pitch as a Tweet to a group of small publishers. That Tweet led to my contract! I never would have guessed Twitter would have been the gateway, but it was! 

SB: And here's where you tell us a little about your YA novel. What's the hook that sold it?

CB: Here’s the Tweet that led to the contract: Confined to a research facility where she must share her mind with others, sixteen-year-old Valeria escapes into the city only to find that her genius in the lab is useless on the streets. Here’s the back-cover copy:

V is a genius. She also frequently forgets her own name. Raised to put science over self, V must link her brain with fifteen other people, making her one of the world’s smartest humans. With this privilege comes a life dedicated to continual research inside a secluded facility, a life devoid of freedom. But she is losing her identity, unable to predict which face will peer back at her from the nearest mirror. Escaping this life will mean freedom to think for herself, but it will mean abandoning everything she’s ever known, ever loved. Will it be worth it? 

SB: Sounds intriguing, Catherine, and all your work was certainly worth it for you! What's next for you? Are you still entering contests or too busy writing your next YA?

CB: Both! I am finished with a new YA fantasy (the love of my life) and I submitted it to the contest just last month. We’ll see! I am also nose deep in getting things ready for Mind of Mine to release in less than a month! 

See what happens when you get involved in all that SCBWI Southern Breeze has to offer? And we’re offering big congratulations to Catherine for her soaring success—and if you have a success that SCBWI Southern Breeze had a hand in, let us know. We love sharing a good success story!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Breezers in the Neighborhood: JULY!

It must be too darn hot around Southern Breeze for book signings and such 'cause there's not a single one in the neighborhood. But there is an event this month, and there's still time to register:

Saturday, July 13
10:30 to 3:00 PM
Savannah, GA

Swanson is one of the science rock stars in this region and her non-fiction workshop will give you hands-on tips on non-fiction topics, research know-how, and even how to get that tricky photo permission. Bring your manuscript for expert advice and soon you could be rockin' a non-fiction book yourself!

Find more details and register at the Southern Breeze website here.

Just a reminder if you have an event coming up for Breezers in Your Neighborhood: send the who, what, where, and when, plus a book cover or photo to Cathy Hall. Make sure to use the ARA email: We know it's not always possible to get that event in by the first of the month but please understand that it's not always possible to add an event later in the month. However, late events will usually get a shout out on the Southern Breeze Facebook page so if you haven't checked us out there yet, come say hello today!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Why the Southern Breeze Contest is Great for You! (And P.S. Here Come the Judges!)

If it's June, it must be time for the Southern Breeze Writing Contest! 

Southern Breeze sponsors two contests for its members: the Writing Contest (during June) and the Liz Conrad Illustrator Award (Accepts submissions in November and December). We love that we can offer this benefit because our contests provide a great opportunity for our members. But how do our contests benefit you? Here's a few reasons why you should enter:

1. Our contests are judged by professionals in the industry. For our writing contest, your work is first judged by two published authors of our region. The top 15 entrants go on to the next round. This year, our writing contest boasts three agents from some of the top literary agents for children's authors. Professional feedback is invaluable--and it's free!

2. You are guaranteed professional critique. Southern Breeze uses the Gold Standard for critique which means that every person who enters the contest gets the same level of feedback, and you will receive at least two critiques. If you're lucky enough to move forward, you'll receive three critiques. The more feedback you receive, the more you will grow as a writer. (And the stronger, more sellable your manuscript will be!)

3. Anyone can enter as long as you are a current member of SCBWI Southern Breeze. Whether you are just starting your creative journey or you are a multi-published member who's been around for twenty years, you have the exact same chance of winning. The manuscripts are blind-judged which means that nowhere along the line does a judge know the name on the manuscript. New members can and do win all the time!

4. You can try, try again. It's completely allowable to enter the same manuscript more than once. So take your past feedback, apply it to your manuscript, and try again. (The published authors who judge the first round of manuscripts change every year, so don't worry about entering the same-old, same-old. You will get fresh eyes on your work.)

5. Learn how to do your homework. Research the professional judges in the category you're submitting! If you have several different manuscripts, think positive and send the one that's the best fit for the pro judge. It will be good practice for you when you start pitching your manuscript out into the wide world of agents and editors.

Oh! Almost forgot to announce the pro judges for this year's writing contest:

For illustrated text (and this includes nonfiction and fiction), we have Christa Heschke. Heschke comes from McIntosh and Otis, Inc. and she has the blog called Neverending Stories that might give you a little insight into what she likes.

For Middle Grade, the pro judge is Alyssa Henkin from Trident Media Group. If you take a look at her information, you'll notice that she's interested in fiction and nonfiction for Middle Grade.

And finally, for Young Adult, we have Samantha Wekstein from Writer's House. You can find some interesting tidbits about Wekstein at Manuscript Wish List.

So now you know the judges; all that's left is the writing. Get those manuscripts ready for submission! Remember, manuscripts are due by midnight, June 30th.

And a special thank you to our Writing Contest Coordinator, Debbie D'Aurelio, who works so hard to bring this terrific contest to our members as well as the PAL judges who do such a great job. Our region is wonderful because we have so many wonderful volunteers. Let them know they're appreciated! And P.S. Good luck!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Breezers in Your Neighborhood: JUNE!

After a whirlwind May, it's time for those lazy days of summer. But not too lazy because the Southern Breeze Writing Contest is in full swing! You'll need to get those manuscripts polished and sent in by June 30th and there are still a few Show-Mo's to give you a helping hand:

June 8th and June 22nd

Join TK Read on these dates from 10 AM to 1 PM at 915 Commercial Street, Conyers, GA. Bring your manuscripts from PB to YA for great critique and feedback. Contact TK at if you have questions.

Starting June 10th

When you live far from the urban areas in our region, how do you celebrate a book? Leave it to our webmaster, Tracey M. Cox, to find a fun online way to host a book party!

Tracey will be celebrating the tenth year anniversary of her first published picture book, Shaping Up the Year, but you won't find Tracey and her book at a bookstore. This party's happening at Tracey's blog and she wants everyone to come! She's having a contest and giving away 10 prize packs which will include her book, stickers, a bookbag, and an adorable crocheted mouse. Plus, she has a coloring page of Squeaks the mouse with his birthday cake, free to download and print.

Come to Tracey's place and join in the fun this month with Squeaks and Shaping Up the Year!

And even more Show-Mo's have been added:

June 12th

New Gwinnett County LL Rhonda Knight will host her first event with a Show-Mo at the Five Forks Public Library:

Time: 5 - 8 PM
Location:  Five Forks Library
                 2780 Five Forks Trickum Rd.
                 Lawrenceville, GA

June 13th

And join Paula Puckett the following evening for a Show-Mo from 6 - 8 PM at the North Hall Technology Center in Gainesville, GA.

And just an FYI: You may attend as many Show-Mo's as you like! These are free events offered to our members in order to work on manuscripts which we hope will be submitted to the Southern Breeze Writing Contest. And P.S. We have Show-Mo attendees whose workshopped manuscripts have won in the contest! So revise and polish and send those manuscripts in by June 30th. NOTE: You must be a member of SCBWI Southern Breeze--or have attended the previous conference--in order to participate in the contest.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Southern Breeze Gallery Show!

Memorial Day weekend starts with a colorful splash as the Decatur Arts Festival opens Friday evening, May 24th. For many artists and illustrators in Southern Breeze, it's an opening for them, too, as the Southern Breeze Annual Gallery Show kicks off!

Featured artists include Laura Freeman, Bill Mayer, Tom Gonzalez, Shanda McCloskey, Ebony Glenn, Art Roche, Amy-Schimler-Safford, and Jill Dubin. Come out and join us for art talk and children's books at the reception, starting at 7 PM Friday, May 24th!

P.S. The Gallery show lasts all month long, so if you're in Decatur in June, come by the Decatur library and see what illustrators are up to in the Southern Breeze neighborhood!

Contact Southern Breeze Illustrator Coordinator TeMika Grooms for more information.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Non-Fiction Rocks! With Jennifer Swanson

What's all the excitement about non-fiction? It's getting published every day! And one of Southern Breeze's rock star authors getting published every day is Jennifer Swanson. She's coming to Savannah, Georgia for a whole-day workshop to help you get your non-fiction ready to send out in the world. On Saturday, July 13th, join Breezers at this jam-packed workshop:

In this hands-on workshop, writers will learn how to come up with intriguing nonfiction topics, dive into research, and get tips on where to find agents and editors. Attendees will come away with a better understanding of how to craft a well-written, fascinating biography, history, or science book for readers from ages 6 to 60. There will be a special session on photo permissions and how to work with experts. Bring works-in-progress, finished manuscripts or proposals– from picture books to YA–or just ideas for this very interactive boot camp.

Morning Session: STEAMing into Nonfiction
Afternoon Sessions: Nuts and Bolts of Writing Proposals
                                 Photo Research
                                 Working with Experts

And here's the 4-1-1 on Jennifer Swanson:

She is the award-winning author of over 35 nonfiction books for children.  Jennifer’s passion for science resonates in all her books but especially, her Astronaut-Aquanaut: How Space Science and Sea Science Interact which received a Florid Book Award, a Eureka California Reading Association Gold Award and an NSTA BEST STEM book award.  She has presented at multiple SCBWI conferences, National NSTA conferences, the Highlights Foundation, the World Science Festival and the Atlanta Science Festival. 

Want to rock along with Jennifer Swanson? Sign up for Non-Fiction Rocks at the Southern Breeze website. Registration is open now!

Thursday, May 9, 2019


If you've read the Breezers in Your Neighborhood post for May, then you already know the Show-Mo's are coming!

Yep, the Southern Breeze Writing Contest is right aroun--what? You don't know what a Show-Mo is? Goodness! Here's Southern Breeze Critique Coordinator, T.K. Read, with all the details:

So… June 2017 was our first SHOW-MO! You came, you showed, you read; we came, we read and we responded, and… it was such a great success, in 2018, we expanded it to include the month of May! 

This year we’re back and we’re hoping to reach more of our members and other writers. We want you to show us your best work – your first ten pages of your manuscript - and use feedback from other writers to let you submit your polished-up, dazzling, publish-ready work for Southern Breeze’s writing contest (submission deadline June 30th, 2019). Submission to the contest is free for Southern Breeze members and you can read more details at the Southern Breeze Writing Contest on our website.

So, you say, TK, that sounds a little ambitious. My response: Consider this my personal challenge to you to pick one Show-Mo from our line-up and go, just go. Find out for yourself why 55 of us attended in 2017 and even more in 2018. 

You have no excuses. Show-Mo's are a free, no-strings-attached way to get fresh eyes to give you honest feedback on your pages. We, the serious, professional writers of Southern Breeze, know that such feedback is crucial to insuring we submit our best work. So, I challenge you to take three to four hours of your time during May or June and improve your writing while helping others improve theirs.

Here are some participants’ feedback from past SHOW-MOs: 

 "Was great!" "Very helpful." “WONDERFUL SCBWI SHOW-MO today at Starbucks! Productive critique group! Loved the diversity!” And, my favorite: "Can we do this again?" 

See your pages real soon! Best, TK.

Thanks, TK! And later this month, we'll be announcing the judges for our Southern Breeze Writing Contest, so come back to the Southern Breeze blog to get more info. And more Show-Mo's are added all the time so be sure to check if one's coming to your neighborhood!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Breezers In Your Neighborhood: MAY!

Start polishing those manuscripts, Breezers, the SCBWI Southern Breeze Writing Contest is coming! And that means we'll see those Show-Mo events popping up all over the region. So come back often and check if Breezers have added a Show-Mo in your neighborhood.

Meanwhile, we have Breezers who have all-polished-up books and awesome art:

Sunday, May 5

Come out and lasso Sheri Dillard's debut picture book, Cowhide and Seek! Join in the fun and games with the farmer and Bessie the cow!

Where: Little Shop of Stories
             133A East Court Square
             Decatur, GA

When:   2 PM

Sheri will be launching her book as well as reading Cowhide and Seek for the Sunday Storytime program. As always, this event is free and fun for kids big and little!

Friday, May 17

It's Show-Mo Time so let the writing (and revisions!) begin!

Claire Datnow will be hosting the first Show-Mo event, from 7:30 - 9:30 PM.  If you're in the Birmingham area and interested in participating, please RSVP to

Saturday, May 18

Candice Conner is hosting a Show-Mo at the Haunted Book Shop, 109 Dauphin St., Mobile, AL. It's from 10-12 and that's probably AM not PM. But wouldn't it be cool if you were writing at midnight in The Haunted Book Shop? Contact:

Wednesday, May 22

Tresha Render will host a Show-Mo in the Montgomery area (Prattville) from 6- 8 PM at the EL Lowder Branch Library at 2590 Bell Road, Montgomery, AL. Contact:

Thursday, May 23

Join Breezer Sonja R. Scott, author of Ikio Learns to Fish, for Books and Blankets!

Friday, May 24

Join us in Decatur, GA for this annual event co-sponsored by the Georgia Center for the Book. The illustrations on display will be accompanied by a copy of the book or publication in which the art appears. It's free and fun, come join us!

Saturday, May 25

Melissa Miles will sponsor a Show-Mo in the Savannah area from 11 - 2 PM at the Southwest Children's Library, Savannah, GA. Contact:

Wednesday, May 29

Suzanne Purvis is hosting a Show-Mo in NW Florida from 9 AM to 5 PM at 803 Turnberry Way, Niceville, Florida. That's a lot of writing (but there will be lunch)!

Monday, April 22, 2019

When SCBWI Members Wander: Meet Paul Fleischman!

One of the wonderful benefits of being a member of SCBWI is that wherever you go, you’re likely to find another member of SCBWI! That’s because we’ve grown into an international organization, supporting children’s writers and illustrators from California to Calcutta and just about everywhere in between.

So when you’re wandering here, there, and everywhere in between, it’s always fun to reach out to the local SCBWI region. Not only will you make new friends in SCBWI but you might also find out about children’s book, literacy, and art events you’d like to participate in while you’re visiting. Or perhaps you can get tips about arranging a workshop or a book-signing at a local library or bookstore. That’s what SCBWI member Paul Fleischman did, and now Breezers in the Birmingham area have a chance to meet this Newbery-winning author and pick up his latest release, Fearsome Giant, Fearless Child.

But we can’t all be in Birmingham on April 25th for Paul’s event so Southern Breeze caught up with him to get the latest news about his book (and a few words of wisdom from a long-time SCBWI member):

SB: Big congratulations on your latest picture book, Fearsome Giant, Fearless Child, A Worldwide Jack and the Beanstalk Story. Was it hard weaving the variants into a single, coherent tale?

PF: I'd done it twice before, turning Cinderella variants into Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal and creation myths into First Light, First Life, so you'd think it would have been easy. But these tales were tougher because they varied more. The hero was often the youngest of many siblings, but might be an only child like Jack. Some were standard-sized, some just an inch high. Some were male, some female. To keep from confusing readers I ended up having to cut the female versions and lost much great material. But solving problems is central to the writing life.

SB: I had no idea that there were tales similar to Jack and the beanstalk in Russia and the Philippines and Ethiopia and beyond. 

PF: I didn't either. But stories come from families, just like people, and Jack's Thanksgiving table would be a big one. Tom Thumb, Baba Yaga, Seven League Boots--they all share many motifs with Jack. A spurned child, a hungry family, food found at a man-eater's table, a series of daring thefts and escapes...

SB: How did you track down the variants? 

PF: This is the private-eye side of writing. Instead of bus stations, I skulked around public libraries for the easy stuff and university libraries for the obscure tales. The internet also has some great folklore sites. I had a huge advantage: a folklorist had already gathered many Tom Thumb variations and collected them in a single volume.

SB: Fearsome Giant is a picture book, of which you've written many. But you've produced lots of novels and nonfiction and plays and won the Newbery Medal for Joyful Noise, a book of poetry. How have you made such a varied career work? 

PF: My publishers no doubt would have been happier with a more coherent brand--but I wouldn't. I studied everything in college, from English and history to botany and folkdancing. I devoted years to sailing, shadow theater, colonial history, playing with copy machines as art tools, and more. My varied books come out of those varied interests. I've been happy to trade sales for the freedom to follow my own path.

SB: Anything else coming out in the near future?

PF: In September I have a brief memoir coming out that describes the charmed, free-range childhood that led to those interests and books. It's called No Map, Great Trip: A Young Writer's Road to Page One. The following spring will see Alphamaniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the Word, a nonfiction book presented as a circus sideshow, starring a cast of obsessives who've explored the most distant shores of language. Never heard of mondegreens, Strine, or zaum? Step right up...

SB: Can't wait! Finally, what’s the best advice you can give to our members, especially those who write across categories or are still plugging away at getting published in any genre? 

PF: If putting words together into well-made, splinter-free, light-catching sentences still gives you satisfaction, don't give up.

Thanks, Paul! Come meet Paul Fleischman at Homewood Public Library at 3:30 on April 25. Fearsome Giant, Fearless Child will be published on April 23.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A Southern Breeze Success Story: Illustrator Laura Freeman

It’s not every day that one region has three Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Awardees, but that’s exactly what happened this year in Southern Breeze! And one of those honor awardees was able to join us in Decatur, Georgia at the Portfolio Show and Book Signing Reception on the eve of our SpringMingle conference. Laura Freeman, illustrator of Hidden Figures, was there to chat a little and sign a lot of books, and I had an opportunity to catch up with this very busy illustrator!

SB: Laura, as the winner of such a prestigious award, you joked that you were an “overnight success” because now people are noticing you and your work. But you’ve been a professional illustrator for a very long time! When did you begin your career and how did you start? 

First of all, thank you so much for inviting me. I was treated like a celebrity, Southern Hospitality at its finest! As to how I began: I spent years carrying my portfolio of editorial illustrations around door to door back in the days when you dropped off your portfolio at the offices of a magazine or newspaper and picked it up the next day. This was pre-internet. Occasionally I’d get an interview with an art director and once in a while I’d even get a job! I ended up working for 10 years as a staff artist at Polo/ Ralph Lauren while doing freelance illustration jobs at night but I didn’t get enough work to quit my day job. Things really began to improve when I changed my focus to children’s books, which was 20 years ago! It didn’t take me that long to get “discovered”, it took me that long for my work to be good enough to be “discovered”! I am very stubborn, persistence is my secret weapon!

SB: So glad you persisted! And how did you get involved with Hidden Figures, the picture book? Hasn’t this book won other awards as well?

 It has! In addition to the Coretta Scott King Honor, The Georgia Center for The Book selected Hidden Figures as one of ten “Children’s Books All Young Georgians Should Read”. Erin Fitzsimmons, the art director at Harper Collins, approached my agent Janet at Storybook Arts Inc. and asked that I do a sample for Hidden Figures. (That’s publishing’s version of an audition.) I was so excited! It was the only movie I had actually gone to the theater to see all year and here they were calling me, of course I did it!

(And this just in! Hidden Figures just received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children. Congratulations, Laura!)

SB: You mentioned that you were busier than ever now! Can you share some of the projects you’re working on? Where will we see your “Illustrated by Laura Freeman” next? 

Yes, I am extremely fortunate to have been offered so many exciting projects! Since Hidden Figures came out Pies From Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott (by Dee Romito, Little Bee Books) came out in November 2018 and Biddy Mason Speaks Up! (by Arisa White and Laura Atkins, Heyday books) came out in February 2019. Follow Chester! A College Football Team Fights Racism and Makes History (by Gloria Respress-Churchwell, Charlesbridge Books) is coming out in September and a biography of the tennis star Althea Gibson called Fleet of Foot Girl (by Megan Reid, HarperCollins) is coming out soon. And … I just finished the art for a biography of Aretha Franklin! It’s called A Voice Named Aretha! (by Katheryn Russel Brown, Bloomsbury Books). It was a blast listening to Aretha’s music the whole time I worked on the book! It’s due out in 2020.

Currently I’m working on a book about the architect who designed the museum of African American History at the Smithsonian. It’s called Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon and is written by Kelly Starling-Lyons and published by Lee & Low books. I still do editorial work too. It’s been a real whirlwind and a dream come true!

SB: Wow, Laura, that's a whole lot of persistence! And you’ve persisted as a member of SCBWI since 1999! So even though you’re very successful, you must believe in SCBWI. How has our community helped you and your career? And what advice do you have for any of our illustrators on their just-getting-started-on-their-overnight-success stories? 

I joined the SCBWI as soon as I became interested in illustrating Children’s Books. It’s been an enormous help as it was my primary resource for researching the field. The SCBWI is also a great way to meet other illustrators and writers in your community. When I moved to Georgia it was how I met other illustrators and writers here.

Thanks so much for sharing your insights and advice, Laura! Look for Hidden Figures wherever books are sold. And you can find out more about Laura Freeman and her art at her website.

We love sharing Southern Breeze success stories, so if your persistence has paid off, let us know!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Breezers in Your Neighborhood: APRIL!

It's April showers of books around the Southern Breeze region!

Sunday, April 7

Join author Tanya Valentine for a very special storytime and book launch of Little Taco Truck, her debut picture book. And treats, too! (P.S. Are you thinking tacos? Yum!)

When: Sunday, 2:00 PM                                           

Where: Little Shop of Stories
             133 East Court Square
             Decatur, GA

Saturday, April 13

The Alabama Book Festival is back and 'Bama Breezers will be there, signing books. Join authors Irene Latham, Kerry Madden-Lunsford, and Randi Pink to name just a few. Check out the schedule to see where they'll be appearing, and see the website for all the fun and activities.

When:  Saturday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Where: Old Alabama Town
            Montgomery, AL

Thursday, April 25

We'll have an Honorary Breezer in the Neighborhood when Newbery Medal-winning author Paul Fleischman is in town! He'll be signing his latest picture book, Fearsome Giant, Fearless Child, a braiding of Jack tale motifs from around the world.

When:  Thursday, 3:30 PM

Where: Homewood Library
             1721 Oxmoor Road
             Homewood, AL

Come out for Breezer book-signings in April (and maybe bring an umbrella)! If you have an event coming up in your neighborhood, send the details to by the first of the month!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Inspiration, the Winning Intangible of SCBWI

There are lots of reasons to join SCBWI, but we often look at the tangibles when it's the intangibles that can ultimately help us into the winner's circle. Take inspiration, for example.

When I attend a conference, I may not always get great feedback on my latest manuscript. I don't always walk away with an agent's interest, and it's been forever since my First Page has been chosen. But I know I will come away inspired.

And one of the most inspiring aspects of our conferences is the Book Launches. At this year's SpringMingle, long-time Southern Breezer, Lisa L. Stauffer, shared her story; so many people loved it--and were inspired by it--that I asked if she'd share it here. Lisa graciously sent the following:

If you tell a writer…
By Lisa Lowe Stauffer

(With apologies to Laura Joffe Numeroff)

If you tell a writer about SCBWI, she’ll want to go to a conference.
When that conference is over, she’ll want to go to another—
and another…
and another.

When there are no more conferences, she’ll want to go to all the workshops—
even if they’re about writing poetry.

(At least she could hang out with her friends. She was no poet!)

But when she goes to the workshop, she’ll find playing with words is lots of fun.
So she’ll keep playing when she goes home.
She’ll draft and edit…
draft and edit…
draft and edit,
until she’s got a weird little poem about monkeys taking over Noah’s Ark.

Then she’ll send it to the Southern Breeze SCBWI contest,
where, to her surprise, it’ll win second place!

(She’s entered lots of novels into these contests, and they never won.)

So she’ll take the judge’s feedback,
draft and edit…
draft and edit…
draft and edit,
until the weird little poem flows.

When she thinks it’s finally perfect, she’ll ask critique partners to take a look.
Draft and edit…
draft and edit…
draft and edit.

Finally, she’ll send it to her agent—who she met at an SCBWI conference.
And she’ll wait as the poem goes out on submission.

(waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting…)*

So when the book comes out, it’ll remind her of that poetry workshop so long ago.
And when she thinks about the workshop, it will remind her of SCBWI,
and chances are when she thinks of SCBWI,
she’ll want
to go
to another

*(Five years from first draft to sale. Two more years to publication.)

A big thank you to Lisa Lower Stauffer, and here's hoping that she's inspired you! (P.S. See you and your new book at the next Book Launch at wik'20 in Birmingham! Keep up with us here for more details coming soon!)

~ Cathy C. Hall, ARA
SCBWI Southern Breeze