Monday, June 29, 2015

Breezers In Your Neighborhood - July

Breezers In Your Neighborhood
July 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!


Florida Panhandle:

  • NAME:   Tracey M. CoxDATE:   July 16 at 2 pm
    PLACE:   Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library
    CITY:   Fitzgerald
    DESCRIPTION:   Super Storyteller (a/k/a Tracey M. Cox) will make an appearance at the Summer Reading Program discussing some Super Hero books and how you can be like a super hero by reading. (Reading Arachnabet book and sharing a craft too)
  • NAME:   Patricia CruzanDATE:  July 27
    PLACE:   Fayette County Public Library
Upcoming August Events...



:::Leave a Comment:::

Let us know if you plan to attend an event.
What other events do you know of not listed?
Is there another regular post you would like to see?
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Have You Sent Yours in Yet?

That's Gladys, looking for inspiration. (Don't laugh--she beat me last year.)
So you read the title of this blog post and thought, what is Cathy talking about now? Because it’s always something with me, I know, but this is a BIG something: the Southern Breeze Writing and Illustration Contest!

Here are the quick need-to-know details:

*The contest is open to Southern Breeze members and the year’s previous conference attendees only.

*Entries are accepted ONLY during the month of June! Technically, till midnight on June 30th Central Time.

*You do not have to be present to win. (Winners are announced at the fall conference.)

*You’ll receive feedback from judges on every entry. (But you may only send in one entry per contest. The writing and illustration contests are separate contests, so if you are a writer and illustrator, you can send in an entry to each contest. Also, the entry must be uncontracted and unpublished. If an entry receives a contract after it’s been sent in for the contest, it’s no longer eligible for the contest. After all, a contract trumps a contest win!)

*If you’re a writer, you’ll want to get more information here. And if you’re an illustrator, check out the prompt and details here. Please follow ALL the directions so your entry qualifies for the contest, and send in your very best work!

If you win First Place in the contest, you’ll receive FREE tuition to the next year’s fall conference! But honestly, everybody’s a winner in these contests. They’re free to enter and you’ll receive valuable feedback on your work, feedback that you can build on to take that entry all the way to publication!

Yep, previous Southern Breeze winners—from 1st Place to Honorable Mentions—have gone on to be published in some of the biggest houses in our children’s industry. Which brings me back to my original question, y’all: Have you sent yours in yet?

~Cathy C. Hall

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Don’t Get Stranded on an Island – the Value of Critique Groups by Christi Whitney

Don’t Get Stranded on an Island – the Value of Critique Groups

Sometimes being an author can feel like getting stranded on a deserted island, just off the mainland. You can see other artists around you. Some are paddling desperately in the water, fighting to stay afloat. Others are building beautiful structures in the middle of civilization, having great success in all they do; while there you are, on your own, attempting to navigate the daunting world of writing—which sort of feels like sitting on the beach, trying to light a fire with wet wood.
For me, one of the most important factors of my writing has been joining a critique group. Nothing else has proven to be quite as productive as finding that little clan of people who are going through the same journey. We call our group Trail Mix—and with good reason. We all met thanks to SCBWI, and we’re as unique and varied a bunch as you could possibly throw together. We span the realm of children’s books, from illustrators to picture book writers to middle grades and young adult. We have a myriad of outside careers and interests. We are many different ages and come from assorted backgrounds. Our love of books brought us together, but it didn’t stop there.

We provide encouragement and a shoulder to cry on, yes. Those things are certainly important. But we also provide critique—deeply thought-out and constructive help in every area. It’s not enough to get together and just commiserate. You’ll feel better, but no one will improve her skills. You have to be willing to be vulnerable as the artist and brutally honest as the reader, and we’ve managed to create a beautiful balance in our group. But most importantly, we have become great friends. Nothing could be better than that.

Trail Mix meets once a month, but our communication extends far beyond that. We regularly communicate through our Facebook page, emails, and even phone calls and texts—whenever we need advice or a second set of eyes, someone in our group is always there to meet the challenge, whether it’s a sweet hug or a swift kick in the pants.

I honestly don’t think I would’ve kept moving forward in my quest for publication for my YA novel Grey had it not been for my critique group. It’s been a long road, but now that I’ve found a home for my series and the first book is out, I can say it’s largely due to their support.

It’s a lonely place, sitting at your computer, lost in the worlds you create in your head. Friends and family, although incredibly supportive, don’t always understand your battle with writer’s block or your struggle to find the missing piece in a chapter that’s literally driving you insane. It’s amazing to have a group of people who truly get me as a writer and constantly help me develop my craft. If I have one piece of advice to offer any aspiring writer, it’s this: find at least one other person to travel with on this journey. Don’t be an island.

- Christi J. Whitney


Christi writes novels for the YA and NA markets. She is a theatre nerd who makes costumes on shoestring budgets, dabbles as an actor and director, and manages to drink lots of coffee.
Visit her website to read more about her and her book, GREY.


Don't Forget!!!
Southern Breeze offers a crit group survey form < >
This survey is for SCBWI Southern Breeze members who are looking for critique groups or a manuscript exchange,  or are in an existing crit group that is open to new members?

:::Leave a Comment:::
What do you think about critique groups?
Do you have any fears with critique groups?
What challenges have you found with critique groups?

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