Thursday, September 14, 2017

Why Should I Attend a Retreat?

Are you ready to recapture that first-day-of kindergarten feeling?

While we all love the energy that surrounds a conference and the learning opportunities presented by workshops, sometimes a retreat is just what a writer or illustrator needs to convert all that inspiration and information into work on a page.

Over the last three years Southern Breeze has held three summer retreats which have received rave reviews from those who attended, and we now offer a fall retreat for those who are busy with kids and family and vacation during the summer.

Here is what attendees have to say about the value of attending a retreat:

"There is no better feeling when staring at a manuscript, wondering how in the world you can fix it, than the moment you remember hey, I'm at a writing retreat!

  Three day SCBWI writing retreat: $150

  Delicious food: $60

  The best writing community just down the hall:
    - Cathy

    "I knew the writing time at the retreat would be valuable, but the new and deeper friendships with fellow writers were an unexpected bonus. It was so nice to connect for longer than a quick chat between conference sessions."

      - Sharon

    "Southern Breeze retreats give me the mental space I need to dig deeply into a project."

    "There’s nothing like a retreat to jump start, revitalize, or fine tune a writing project. No dishes, no errands, no work emails—nothing but you and your book or art. Plus a few like-minded friends to bounce ideas around if needed. In fact, my first book (July 2018 publication date) is a direct result of a Southern Breeze retreat."
      - Lisa

    "What I like about a retreat is the focused atmosphere it provides."

    "There is something about removing myself from the daily bustle, being in a different space, and having a stretch of time dedicated to a project that opens up my mind, at a retreat, to new possibilities for my work."

    Are you ready to curl up in front of a fireplace ?

    Dance in the rain?

    Hunker down over your manuscript or take your sketch book for a long walk?

    There's a rocking chair waiting for you, and guideposts to give your work new direction.

    Register early for the next retreat before the slots fill up!

    Tuesday, September 12, 2017

    Don't Miss the Back To Nature Kidlit Retreat!

    Craving your fall Southern Breeze writing fix?  We know you're used to coming to Alabama in the fall for WIK. But since WIK is happening March 2018, come join Heather Montgomery for her Back to Nature Kidlit Retreat, October 13-15 at Camp McDowell in northern Alabama. Don't wait until it is too late to register. Go to the Southern Breeze website now!
    During this three-day working retreat, guided exercises will re-awaken your senses, nudge your characters into action, and illuminate imagery to enhance your voice.
    Surrounded by other creative-types, then immersed in nature, you will connect with your craft. The schedule will include equal measures of structured instruction, time to write or illustrate, and small group sharing/critiquing.
    Back to nature doesn’t mean roughing it. Lodging is in modern hotel-style rooms (minus the television and the telephone, each room has 2 double beds). Delicious meals will be served by the famous McDowell kitchen staff. Wi-Fi and cell phone service are available on site but why not use this as an excuse to unplug!
    Retreat leader is Heather L. Montgomery. She has published 12 nonfiction books for kids who are wild about animals. With a B.S. in biology and a M.S. in environmental education, Heather's award-winning educational programs include professional development workshops, seminars and retreats for writers, educators, and librarians. Heather’s subject matter ranges from snail tongues to snake poop. Her publishers include Scholastic, Capstone and Highlights.

    We hope to see YOU there!

    Thursday, September 7, 2017

    Picture Book Workshop Right Around the Corner!

    The picture book market is highly competitive, with thousands of writers attempting these deceptively difficult works of art. Southern Breeze PAL members Randi Sonenshine and Dori Kleber will teach you two ways to make your picture book one that editors and publishers will want.

    First, Randi will present strategies to ramp up the value of your picture book for today’s busy teachers. She’ll share insights into how and why teachers use picture books, as well as which content, structures, and features matter most in today’s classrooms. You’ll also learn which literacy skills and standards span multiple content areas and grade levels and how to seamlessly incorporate these into your picture books, giving them a life far beyond Circle Time.

    Then, Dori will show you how to craft a satisfying narrative picture book using the classic “Hero’s Journey” story arc, first imagined by Joseph Campbell. Although many associate the Hero’s Journey with epic stories like “Star Wars,” you’ll see that its framework is equally useful for taking a character through a story that’s only 32 pages long. You’ll learn to recognize the Hero’s Journey in mentor picture book texts and apply it to your own manuscript to strengthen your story arc.

    Dori and Randi will devote the final part of the workshop to providing feedback on the opening pages of picture book manuscripts submitted by attendees. Please bring a manuscript in progress if you want to participate in this “First Pages Critique.”

    Picture Book Workshop
    Saturday, Sept. 16, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    Marietta, Ga.

     Registration: SCBWI Southern Breeze

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    ANNUAL GALLERY SHOW @ Decatur Arts Festival​

    Inline image 1

    ANNUAL GALLERY SHOW @ Decatur Arts Festival​

    JOIN US at the Decatur Library on Friday May 26th from 7pm - 9pm
    for the opening of the SCBWI Southern Breeze Annual Gallery Show featuring our PAL Illustrators!  Show is open to the public during the Decatur Arts Festival and runs through June.

    This event made possible in conjunction with the Georgia Center for the Book.

    TeMika Grooms

    SCBWI Southern Breeze Region
    Illustrator Coordinator 

    Monday, May 1, 2017


    PSSST…  in case you missed the memo,
    So… you SHOW me yours, and I’ll SHOW you mine…

    If you’re like me, you’ve attended a Southern Breeze conference or two, and each time you left inspired by the speakers and made a solemn vow that this time, yes, this time you WOULD submit to at least one of them. Then, you get home, and the glow fades, and when you give your writing sample one last review before hitting send… you just can’t. It’s not as brilliant as you remember.  You really wish you had a set of fresh eyes to give it a quick read.

    This year, you can have that set and be that set for someone-else. Give your first pages (or art portfolio) one last look, and help a fellow creative shine their work to the that ready-to-hit-submit glow as well.
    We want you to SHOW us your work during the month of June, and then give it a final revise and SUBMIT it to the SCBWI Southern Breeze Writing Contest. The Contest Deadline is June 30th, so we’re scheduling critique meet-ups in June at various locations hosted by our local liaisons and other willing folks.  Click here to read more about the Contest:

    This is what you can win:

    1st, 2nd & 3rd Place Winners
    Each category's winning authors, titles, and manuscripts’ genres will be acknowledged in the:
          •  Southern Breeze News
          •  Southern Breeze Web Site, Blog, Facebook Pages and Twitter
          •  Winners receive a Southern Breeze, SCBWI Writing Contest Award Certificate and Button for their social media pages.

    Each 1st Place Winner also receives FREE tuition to the next WIK Conference in Birmingham in March, 2017.  

    Let Show-Mo help you get your pages submission ready!

    It works like this: You bring your pages or paintings and then read or show your work to other writers and illustrators.  They fill out feedback sheets which they give to you that you can use to improve and revise. In turn, you listen to them read their work, or look at their illustrations, and fill-out feedback sheets for them.


    COST:  Free and open to the public, so yes, you can bring a non-SCBWI writing friend; however, they will not be able to enter our annual writing contest.

    HOW LONG: Each “live” event should last between 1.5 and 2 hours.

    HOW MANY PAGES/ILLUSTRATIONS: Your pages up to ten, double spaced pages in a 12-point font. Your pages should be your best work and near submission ready. For illustrators, bring up to four illustrations for feedback. For more of the Writing Contest submission information, see

    DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS:  To insure everyone is reached, where participation exceeds 8 people, we will break into groups of 4-6. This is a similar format to our conference Informal Critiques.


    SHOW-MO HOST                   REGION/LOCATION              DATE/TIME


    TEMIKA GROOMS/MAEGAN PENLEY    ALL REGIONS           6/4/17, 6-7pm
      Contact Temika at, with attn: #ShowMo Illus
      *Limited to the first ten due to the nature of google hang-out


    MARK MCCLINTOCK                      BIRMINGHAM, AL     6/3,17        1:00-3:00 PM
    Hoover Public Library, 200 Municipal Dr, Birmingham, AL 35216

    Ben May Main Library, 701 Government St., Mobile, Al 36602

    SUZANNE PURVIS   NW-FLORIDA                       6/13/17        1pm - 3pm
                Niceville Public Library, 206 Partin Drive N., Niceville, FL 32578
      Contact Suzanne Purvis, 850-897-5593           


    COLLEEN BENNETT                Canton, GA             6/10/17             2-4 pm
                         RT Memorial Library in Canton
         Contact Colleen Bennett at 770-314-0246 or

    BOBBIE CANADA                 PINE MOUNTAIN          6/9/17 10-11:30,
    Starbucks on Bradley Park Drive, Columbus, GA 31909
       Contact Bobbie at 706-604-9650.

    TEMIKA GROOMES DECATUR, GA                      6/4/17, 2pm-4pm
                            Karvama Coffee House, 707B East Lake Dr., Decatur, GA 30030
      Contact Temika at, with attn: #ShowMo wrtr

    CATHY HALL                         LAWRENCEVILLE GA          6/3/17, 10am-12pm
    Five Forks Library (Gwinnett County) 2780 Five Forks Trickum Rd SW, Lawrenceville, GA 30044

    STEPHANIE MOODY           N.FULTON CO. (Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Milton, Johns Creek, Roswell, Sandy Springs, and Cherokee, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties)
    Contact:                         6/24/17, 10:30-12:30
    Location: Northeast Spruill Oaks Library, 9560 Spruill Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30022

    PAULA PUCKETT                 NORTH GA EAST     Time and location to be determined, but we'll be somewhere on location in the North GA mountains. Contact to help with this event. Thx.

    TK READ                                SE ATLANTA                         6/17/17        10am-12pm                  915 COMMERCIAL ST., CONYERS, GA 30013

    PHYLLIS TILDES                   SAVANNAH, GA                  6/10/17        2pm-4pm
      Contact:   Location to be determined, so check back!

    TRACEY M. COX       SOUTH CENTRAL GA          Date TBD          Would like to have a meeting at Giggles Cafe in Tifton, GA. Email me, if you are interested.

    *Can’t make an event? Email me at and I’ll coordinate exchanges during the month so you can participate online.

    Hope to see you at one of these!

    Here’s to your writing success in 2017!

    BEST, TK READ, Critique Group Coordinator, Southern Breeze



    Breezers In Your Neighborhood - MAY EVENTS

    Breezers In Your Neighborhood
    May Events

    Southern Breeze is kicking up some dust! 

    Breezers In Your Neighborhood is a monthly post to list where you can find our authors & illustrators as they are out in the community. Come out and support your local members and invite others to do also!

    • SCBWI Tuscaloosa members May meeting.  We would love for anyone to come from Birmingham and surrounding areas.
      We will host Kevin Waltman, author of Quicks, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 16 at my home in Tuscaloosa. Kevin teaches writing and literature in the English department at the University of Alabama. He will speak for 15 minutes about his publishing experience, provide any advice he would like, take a few questions and then sell his books as others mingle.
      Anyone who needs additional information, including an address and directions, can email or call 205-447-3254
      Please let me know if I need to send this announcement to other writers and illustrators.

      Monique Fields

    Florida Panhandle:


    • May 26-27 Decatur Art Walk Illustrator Gallery Show, Public Library, Decatur, GA
    • Vanessa Fortenberry...   Saturday, May 20, 201710:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
      Christian Authors on Tour (CAOT)
      Book Signing, Story Time, and Writers Forum
      Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS
      Holmes Hall Auditorium
    • Sho-Mo... Show Us Your Manuscript!

    Upcoming JUNE Events...


    Florida Panhandle:



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    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Southern Breeze Illustrators!

    Southern Breeze Illustrators!

    As mentioned during this years Illustrator's Day, we will be hosting year-long opportunities to connect with your tribe and get involved with the regional activities.  The Southern Breeze webpage includes all of the regional events:  Check out some of the events we have coming up below:

    ARTIST SKETCH CRAWL @ Decatur Square
    Please RSVP
    We will meet in the Decatur Square for some leisure time to sketch some of the great features and people in the area.  Open to all illustrators and writers - All levels are welcome!
    JOIN US! Sunday, April 23, 2017  1pm - 3pm  

    Please contact TeMika at for interest

    DIGITAL ARTIST TOOLKIT  @ Lenox Mall Microsoft Office Store
    Sunday, May 21, 1pm - 4pm

    Join Microsoft Surface and SCBWI for a hands-on demonstration of digital artist tools using Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 4! Artists of all levels will be introduced to hardware, applications, and work processes to advance their work to new levels,  learning how to integrate digital tools into the traditional illustration process.All necessary hardware and software provided by the facility.
    Space is limited so registration is required.

    ANNUAL GALLERY SHOW @ Decatur Arts Festival​

    JOIN US at the Decatur Library on Friday May 26th from 7pm - 9pm
    for the opening of the Southern Breeze Annual Gallery Show featuring our PAL Illustrators!  Show is open to the public during the Decatur Arts Festival and runs through June.

    This event made possible in conjunction with the Georgia Center for the Book.

    Please contact TeMika at for interest