Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Making It Happen With Mentorship!

Southern Breeze is one of a handful of regions that offers mentorship to its members, and this year's mentorship program has just wound down. Breezer Lori Choi qualified for mentorship and chose Jo Kittinger to help her with her book. We asked Lori to share a few words about her experience:

I had been working on a book with my husband for over a year, but was in dire need of a professional review. Then I applied for the SCBWI Mentorship Program and was accepted. My mentor, Jo, provided clear, concise feedback that could be immediately implemented. She also helped me think more critically about my target audience, pointing out things that weren’t even on my radar. With each new round of revisions, I gained practical insights for evaluating my own writing. It was awesome to work with someone so experienced and knowledgeable about the industry! Her warm, encouraging spirit was an added bonus. I still have so much to learn, but because of the SCBWI Mentorship, I definitely feel better equipped as a writer.  ~ Lori Choi

Thanks, Lori! We're keeping our fingers crossed for you and your manuscript!

The mentorship program kicks off in the spring, so if you're interested in this program, start working on your words. Attend Springmingle in March and polish up those words. Then keep an eye out here and on the Southern Breeze website for our slate of mentors and the opening of the mentorship program in 2019. We want our members to soar to success, and thanks to our many mentors like Jo Kittinger, we can give you the tools to make it happen!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Breezers in Your Neighborhood: November!

It's starting to get a little nippy in the Southern Breeze region, so pull out the sweaters and pull on the boots. We've got plenty of fun events you don't want to miss!

Saturday, November 3

Heather L. Montgomery's visiting in Georgia, stopping in at two different locations to sign her latest books, Something Rotten: A Fresk Look at Roadkill and Bugs Don't Hug:

When: 11:30 - 1:30
Where: Horton's Books and Gifts
             410 Adamson Square
             Carrollton, GA

When: 3:45*
Where: Foxtale Book Shoppe
             105 East Main Street, #138
            Woodstock, GA

*Breezers are encouraged to gather afterwards for dinner at a local restaurant in Woodstock!

Sunday, November 4

Join Lisa Lowe Stauffer and her monkey friends for storytime and book-signing!

When:  1:00 - 1:45
Where: Books-A-Million
             3372 North Cobb Parkway, Ste 100
            Acworth, GA

Wednesday, November 7

Lisa and Two by Two are together again for a storytime and book-signing!

When: 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM
Where: Liberty Books
             176 West Crogan St.
             Lawrenceville, GA

Saturday, November 10

Nancy Day, along with her newest picture book, Pirate Jack Gets Dressed, will be signing and selling!

When: 1 - 3 PM
Where: G. J. Ford Bookshop
             600 Sea Island Road
             St. Simon's Island, GA

And don't forget about our Southern Breezers collecting books in the Florida Panhandle in the Books for the Panhandle effort going on now. Please see the website here for more details on how you can help get books back in the hands of our Florida kids!

If you have an event in the Southern Breeze region that's open to the public--a book-signing, a storytime, a book festival, an art or illustration event--let us know! Send details by the first of the month to and we'll spread the word.

Monday, October 29, 2018

2018 Writing Contest WINNERS!

Just in case you missed the news, here as promised is the latest from our Writing Contest Coordinator, Debbie D'Aurelio:

This year’s contest had amazing entries! All of the judges remarked that they had to make some really tough decisions. We want to thank our wonderful professional judges for taking the time to provide valuable feedback to the writers: Lara Perkins from Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Hannah Fergesen from KT Literary Agency and Elizabeth Bewley from Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

And the winners for the 2018 Southern Breeze writing contest are . . . 


First Place: Appollo, The First Twin Towers Rescue Dog by Emily Matheis
Second Place: The Forest Says AHHH by Allyson Levitt
Third Place: Jeremy Storm by Kelly Jordan


First Place: Nefarious by Amy Board
Second Place: Sentinel by Olga Amigo
Third Place: Murder at the Starswitch Hotel by Sharon Pegram


First Place: The Beast of Weissburg by Emma Fox
Second Place: Something Beautiful by Jasmine Rasmussen
Third Place: The Undoing of Brooklyn Rose by Johnna Stein

Friday, October 26, 2018

An Art Call for our Members!

If you’re one of our illustrator members in Southern Breeze, then you know our Illustrator Coordinator, TeMika Grooms, whether you’ve met her at a conference or you receive Art Calls in your inbox.

But sometimes a new member is not yet ready to put that name “illustrator” next to his or her name. How do you know what’s going on?

You’ll find out about the Liz Conrad Award (Submissions always due January 1st!) and Illustrator’s Day (March 15, 2019). You’ll get details about the Mentorship with Maria Middleton of Candlewick Press (Registration opens December 1, 2018!) and most importantly, you'll discover the contact email for our Illustrator Coordinator if you need more information.

Oh! And this latest Art Call deadline, coming up in just a few days:

It’s all there, waiting for you, if you’re a member of SCBWI Southern Breeze. So check your membership! (And then start drawing!)

Monday, October 22, 2018

Get More From Your SCBWI Membership: Webinars!

Want great workshops between conferences? You’re in luck. Webinars are becoming a thing in SCBWI. Here’s how it works:

1.      Follow this link to a schedule of all webinars being offered by any region of SCBWI: You don’t have to live in the host region to attend! (And big thanks to the Nevada region for hosting and updating the schedule!)
2.       Choose a webinar and follow its link.
3.      Register according to the specific instructions for that webinar. Procedures and prices will be different from region to region, so pay attention to the details.
4.      Enjoy the webinar. If you can’t attend live, a recording will usually be available to registered attendees for a limited period of time. You must register before the live event to have access to the recording.
5.      Check the schedule often. Programs are being added all the time.  A few examples coming up in October and November: “Ins and Outs of Self-Publishing for Children” $15 members, $35 non-members
“Verse Novels 101 with K.A. Holt” $10 members, $35 non-members, limited number of written-only critiques available for additional $35
“Art Licensing for Illustrators: How to License your Art and Product Concepts” $10 members, $25 non-members

Friday, October 19, 2018

Lit Story Fest Fun!

TeMika Grooms, far right, and Lit Story Fest fun!
SCBWI Southern Breeze jumped in with both feet at a recent event! We were pleased to be one of the sponsors and we hope Lit Story Fest will become a regular in our community. Here's TeMika Grooms to tell you more:

Lit Story Fest, a literature and storytelling festival, was held the week of September 24th – 29th, 2018 at DeKalb County Libraries. This community focused event was envisioned and created by TeMika Grooms with a mission to Light the Way to Literacy by providing access to books through enlivened spaces and entertainment.

The festival featured local authors' talks, live storytelling for all ages, and visual art exhibits showcasing quilts by the Brown Sugar Stitchers, a Flat Rock Archives historical talk, and children’s book illustrations by Laura Freeman, Kelsi Jackson and TeMika Grooms. Children’s Literary Day at Stonecrest Library also featured interactive miming by the Gateway Mask Theater, live storytelling, an authors' panel on diversity in children’s literature and a teen poetry slam.

R. Gregory Christie, Cheryl Clark, and Kelsi Jackson
A highlight of the event was the Illustrators Showdown featuring R. Gregory Christie and Kelsi Jackson as they battled over a picture book manuscript. SCBWI Critique Group Coordinator, T.K. Read, served as the judge to choose the manuscript with the highest conceptual and illustrative potential. The winning manuscript, Kaysha and Grandma Omi's Golden Crown of Jewels by Cheryl Clark, was announced and read live as the artists created on-the-spot sketches in less than an hour. TeMika Grooms narrated the work and talked about critique groups, art direction, and the inner workings of visual storytelling.

Storytelling, through literature, visual art and spoken words, was brought front and center with the Lit Story Fest programming. Community support for this festival goes toward reading initiatives through 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.

TeMika Grooms is Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI Southern Breeze. You can find out more about upcoming illustrator events and opportunities in our region at the Southern Breeze website.

Monday, October 15, 2018

They're Coming!

Remember back in May and June when you worked so hard, polishing up your manuscripts at Show-Mo events throughout the region?

And then you followed all the guidelines and sent those manuscripts in for the Southern Breeze Writing Contest?

We had some great judges:

Lara Perkins, an Associate Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency judged the Illustrated Texts.

Hannah Fergesen from KT Literary judged the Middle Grade novels.

And Elizabeth Bewley, from Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc. judged Young Adult Novels.

Writing Contest Coordinator, Debbie D'Aurelio, has been hard at work with the judges and she wants you to know that results are on their way. So stay tuned, Breezers, winners are coming!

And as we say around Southern Breeze, "We're fixin' to celebrate!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Breezers In Your Neighborhood: OCTOBER!

Take the first weekend of October off and get ready, y'all, because the rest of the month is a whirlwind of Breezer events! 

Saturday, October 13

Breezer Nancy Raines Day  and Pirate Jack will be at the Pat Conroy Children's Book Fair In Beaufort, South Carolina. Nancy says it's not exactly in the Southern Breeze region but we have lots of members who'd probably love a visit to the low country.  Find more information at the Pat Conroy Children's Book Fair website.

Local Liaison Melissa Miles is hosting an event in Savannah, Georgia. SCBWI member and author, Kimberly Thornton, will be speaking on several topics, including setting up a vision board, developing a blog, and discovering ways to market books.

When: 11:00 AM to 1 PM

Where: Southwest Chatham Library (Children's Activity Room, first floor)

              14097 Abercorn Street
              Savannah, GA 31419

The event is free and open to the public so bring a friend! Contact Melissa at for more information.

Also on Saturday, Breezer Vanessa Fortenberry will be participating in a collaborative author/book signing featuring works in a variety of genres at the Conyers-Rockdale Library Local Author Expo.

When: 1 PM to 3 PM

Where: Nancy Guinn Memorial Library

              864 Green Street
              Conyers, GA 30012

Heather L. Montgomery will be touring Birmingham with her newest books, SOMETHING ROTTEN: A FRESH LOOK AT ROADKILL and BUGS DON'T HUG: SIX-LEGGED PARENTS AND THEIR KIDS, on the last weekend of October.

Friday, October 26

When: 2 PM to 4 PM

Where: Books-A-Million
              757 Brookwood Village
              Birmingham, AL 35209


Saturday, October 27     

When: 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Where: Discovery United Methodist Church

              5487 Stadium Trace Pkwy
             Hoover, AL 35244

Heather will be joining other SCBWI creators at Dog Days in Hoover, and then she'll be zipping over to the Oak Mountain State Park where she'll do a reading at Owl-o-Ween at 12:45 at the Alabama Wildlife Center in the park.

Also on Saturday, Local Liaison Cathy Hall is hosting Southern Breezer, Lisa Lowe Stauffer (and her two mischievous monkeys)! Lisa's recently released board book, TWO BY TWO is a rhyming picture book and so she will be bringing a wordplay program that's sure to be fun for writers of any length manuscript. Bring the first and last pages of your picture book (or novel), up to 400 words, for an afternoon of wordplay workshopping.

When:  1 PM to 3:30 PM

Where: Five Forks Branch Library

              2780 Five Forks Trickum Rd.
              Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Decatur Book Festival Roundup!

The skies stayed clear, and the sun stayed hot this year at the Decatur Book Festival. The Southern Breeze SCBWI booth, in the children’s zone on Sycamore Street, was staffed by a baker’s dozen of brave and cheerful authors and illustrators including Kim Sullivan, Jodi Wheeler-Toppen, Jill Dubin, Janie Watts, Vickie McEntire, Andy Klein, Alayne Smith, Linda Hodge-McLoud, Susan Allen, Lucyann Wagner, Laura Freeman, Morgan Young, and me.

While we didn’t sell as many books as we would have liked, we talked with dozens of families, teachers, librarians, and grandparents. We handed out fliers about SCBWI to aspiring authors/illustrators, and made some contacts that hopefully will result in school visits and other opportunities.

Plus, the Festival itself was fantastic! There were booths featuring everything from yummy foods to MFA programs. And well-known authors gave talks and signed books in about a dozen venues throughout the weekend. There was no charge for festival visitors, including attending any and all of the speakers’ programs. (I think this festival is Atlanta’s best-kept secret!)

This year marked the first time in a number of years that Southern Breeze had a booth presence at the festival, so it was a bit of a learning experience. I hope we’ll have a booth again in 2019, and make some changes so we can reach even more people (and sell more books).

So whether you’d like to be involved in planning, staffing the booth, or simply as an attendee, pencil in Labor Day weekend. I know I’ll be looking forward to this festival each year from now on.

A big thanks to the Breezers who staffed the booth, the Breezers who stopped by to say hello, and to Ivan Pegram (Sharon’s husband) for shooting photos.

~Lisa Lowe Stauffer

About Lisa Lowe Stauffer

Lisa Lowe Stauffer’s debut book is TWO BY TWO (Zonderkidz), a playful, rhyming story about animals rocking the boat on Noah’s Ark. Her twenty-year journey to publication was helped by the encouragement of many, many critique partners, including lots of fellow Breezers.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Thinking About the Unprogrammed Retreat?

It's last call, Breezers!


An unprogrammed retreat is basically whatever you want it to be. Need quiet time for writing? A chance to get away from all the everyday distractions so you can focus on plotting or characters or even sketching? How about an opportunity to get feedback from your peers? It can be all that as well as the space to rejuvenate and renew your spirit. 


The retreat is open to any Southern Breeze member. 


Check-in is 4:00 PM on Thursday, September 20th and check-out is 11:00 AM on Sunday, September 23rd.


The event is located at the Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, at 916 Convent Road in Cullman, Alabama.

Check out the Southern Breeze website here for more information about costs and registration. And check out the blog for what Breezers have said about this wonderful retreat.

Don't wait another minute, Breezers, because the Unprogrammed Retreat may be here today... but it could be gone tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Breezers in Your Neighborhood: September!

It's September already! Around the Southern Breeze region that means the weather is...still hot. But those warm days are perfect for getting out and about in the neighborhood where you'll find these Breezers:

Saturday, September 8th

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen is inviting everyone to her book launch for Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities To Do with Your Canine Companion.

Where:  City Dog Market
              4244 Peachtree Rd. NE
              Brookhaven, GA  30319

When:   10 - 2 PM

Jodi says "drop in anytime! There will be fun activities, giveaways, and more. And bring your canine!"

And Nancy Day is launching her newest book, Baby's Firsts!

Where: G. J. Ford Bookshop
             600 Sea Island Rd.
             St. Simon's Island, GA

When:   11 to 12 noon

Sunday, September 9th

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen will be taking her latest release, Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Acitivities To Do with Your Canine Companion to Tennessee!

Where: Barnes & Noble
             2615 Medical Center Parkway
            Murfreesboro, TN  37129

When:   3:00 to 5:00 PM CDT

Saturday, September 15th and Sunday, September 16th

Look for Sucheta Rawal and Beato Goes to Japan at JapanFest. She'll be in the Children's Gallery area at this popular cultural festival. (Tickets are required to attend this event, though 6 years and younger are free.)

Where:  Infinite Energy Center
             6400 Sugarloaf Parkway
             Duluth, GA

When:   10 to 6 PM

Monday, September 17th

Heather Montgomery will be celebrating launch day of her latest release, Bugs Don't Hug: Six-
Legged Parents and Their Kids.

Where: Page & Palette
             32 S Section St.
            Fairhope, AL 36532

When:  4:00 PM

Heather promises "spying on some really fun insect mommies and daddies and also a chat about what it takes to make a picture book work. And of course, there will be some icky-fun science involved!"

Wednesday, September 19th

Nancy Day is celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day with another of her new releases, Pirate Jack Gets Dressed.

Where:  Brunswick Public Library
              208 Gloucester St.
             Brunswick, GA

When:   10:30 AM

Saturday, September 22nd

Nancy Day's celebrating with a pirate launch party for Pirate Jack Gets Dressed!

Where:   The Book Loft
               214 Centre St.
               Fernandina Beach, FL

When:    1 to 3 PM

Monday, September 24 thru Saturday, September 29th

SCBWI Southern Breeze is sponsoring the Dekalb County Public Library's Lit Story Fest AND Illustrators Showdown!

Lit Story Fest is a literature and storytelling festival held throughout libraries in the Dekalb County Library system during the week. The festival includes author talks, art exhibits, and live performances. The week ends with an adult StorySLAM competition (Friday, September 28th) and Children's Literary Day (Saturday, September 29th).

For all the locations and happenings, please see the website here!

Illustrators Showdown Manuscript Contest!

Send your unpublished picture book manuscripts of 400 words or less to be reviewed and selected for LIVE ILLUSTRATION by illustrators R. Gregory Christie and Kelsi Jackson!

The Showdown will take place on Saturday at 3 PM at Stonecrest Library, 3123 Klondike Rd., Lithonia, GA. You must sign up in order to send your manuscript!

See the sign-up link here for details about manuscript submission and how the showdown will work. Deadline for submission is September 22nd!

Saturday September 29th

It's a busy day (and month!) for Nancy Day! She'll be in the Georgia neighborhood with Baby's Firsts at the following locations:

FoxTale Book Shoppe, 105 E. Main St., Woodstock, GA at 11:00 AM

Horton's Books, 410 Adamson Square, Carrollton, GA at 3 PM

Author Vanessa Fortenberry will be appearing at a collaborative author event featuring works in a variety of genres.

Where:  Douglas County Public Library
              6810 Selman Dr.
             Douglasville, GA  30134

When:  11 AM to 2 PM

Come out and say hello to your Breezers this month. And if you're new to SCBWI, attending these Breezer events is a great way to get to know your community! If you have an event for October, contact Cathy Hall at with all the details. See you around the neighborhood!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Southern Breeze at the DBF, Part Two

For the first time in a number of years, Southern Breeze authors and illustrators will have a booth at the Decatur Book Festival in downtown Decatur, Georgia. And we have so many authors attending, we couldn't fit 'em all in the first post!

On Labor Day weekend, from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon (Aug. 31 - Sept. 2), this festival offers a nonstop roster of speakers, panels, and entertainment that goes on all over the downtown area--and it's all free!

So where will we Breezers be? Our booth is #621, and it’s smack dab in the middle of the children’s section on Sycamore Street. Breezers will be signing as well as selling, so here's the rest of the rundown of what and who you'll find at our booth and when they'll be signing:

Lucyann Wagner and Delia Blackstone's book, NORAH BEDORAH AND THE PINK DOUGHNUT WITH SPRINKLES, is a rhyming story about a spunky little girl who wants to eat LOTS of pink doughnuts with sprinkles for breakfast at her Groovy Grandmas' house.  The Groovy Grandmas ( with pink doughnuts!) will be signing on Saturday 12-2 and Sunday 2-4.

Andy Klein is back with his 3rd book in the 'Oliver Phenomena' series. 'Oliver and the Little Bigfoot' has the boy with an unusual flair for the supernatural meeting up with a young sasquatch who is very shy and just as helpful. Andy will be signing copies of all his books on Sunday from 12-4pm.

Did you ever yearn to hop on a plane and fly to Paris?  In Pap Pap Goes to Paris, and so does Ricky, a five-year-old boy convinces his parents to let him travel to Paris with his beloved grandfather, so they can climb the Eiffel Tower together.  Author Janie Dempsey Watts will sign copies on Saturday and Sunday from 12-2 p.m.

Alayne Smith's novel, Ellen and the Three Predictions, is set in 1959 Marshall, Alabama, where an elderly soothsayer, Luella, makes predictions about all the babies' lives.  Stop by Sunday from 2:00 to 6:00. Luella may have a prediction for you!

Jodi Wheeler-Toppen's Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities to Do With Your Canine Companion teaches the science of dogs with hands-on activities and behind-the-scenes peeks into current pup-related research. She'll be signing (and petting dogs) from 10-12 on Saturday and 4 to 6 on Sunday.

Over on a Desert is the seventh book in the “Over in” series of animal counting books written by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Jill Dubin, published by Dawn Publications. These nature books show a wonderful array of animals and background material illustrated using cut paper collage. Jill will be signing books on Saturday 12-4.

Illustrator Laura Freeman will be signing a handful of books she's illustrated on Saturday from 2-6pm, including Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, (written by Margot Lee Shetterly). The incredibly inspiring true story of four black women who helped NASA launch men into space was named as one of the ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read for 2018." 

Laura will also be signing a book she authored and illustrated, Natalie's Hair was Wild!, inspired by her own childhood adventures with her hair!

That's all but it's quite enough! Don't forget to check the DBF map for parking and the location of the SCBWI Southern Breeze booth. And remember: wear comfortable shoes and plenty of sunscreen, and be sure to come by the booth and say hello! We'd love to see y'all!