Sunday, December 31, 2017


On the 12th day of wik'18 registration, Southern Breeze gives to you...

Critical yet comforting and cozy critique groups!

There's nothing quite like professional feedback for a dearly loved manuscript or illustration. But there is nothing like having your writing and/or artistic dreams quashed ruthlessly by a room full of strangers! And that's why the Informal Critique Groups offered at wik'18 are so valuable.

Whether you are a writer or an illustrator, you'll have the opportunity to sit down in a small group with others and discuss your work. You'll be in a supportive environment, and what's more, we make sure that similar writers end up in the appropriate groups so that if you have a picture book, for example, you'll get feedback from other picture book writers. You may find yourself seated next to someone who has a dozen picture books traditionally published, while the person across from you may have just self-published. It's that kind of varied constructive feedback that can really make a difference in your career!

And best of all, the informal critiques are free!

Now, in case you've lost count of all the gifts we have for you at wik'18, here's the list:

Informal Critique Groups! (Absolutely free!)

Quickfire Portfolio Reviews! (Also absolutely free!)

Six Inspiring Intensives! (They fill up quickly, so please register today to get just the inspiring intensive you want!)

Four Awesome Agents! (They're offering One-on-One sessions, but those, too, will fill up fast!)

Two Terrific Editors! (For illustrators and writers!)

And an Early Bird Discount! (Which ends at midnight today!)

Oh! And our very special gift is an invitation to the faculty dinner on Saturday after the conference! Boy, I bet TracyGA is going to have a ton of fun there! Please send an email to RA Claudia Pearson at to get more information about claiming your gift.

But all y'all (as we say in Southern Breeze) can claim a whole 12 days of gifts in our Season of Giving! They're all there, waiting just for you, and all you have to do is register for wik'18!

So start your New Year with the best gift you can give to yourself and join us in March for wik'18!

Friday, December 29, 2017


On the eighth--or is it the ninth day of wik'18 registration?

To tell you the truth, I've sort of lost count. But I know exactly what's up next in our count of terrific gifts at wik'18:


Yes, we're having Illustrators' Day in Birmingham, and yes, it's new to this conference. But it's still the same great experience you've always loved!

Just like always, there will be a full day of speakers focused on illustrated books for young readers. Coretta Scott King Award winner, Pat Cummings, will show you how to fire up the emotional impact of your work. Deborah Shine, editor at Star Bright Books, will reveal how independent publishers find illustrators and work with them to create beautiful diverse books. Nicki Carmack will share the work done in the illustration mentorship as well as reveal how to create a more dynamic finished product. Claire Easton, agent at Painted Words, will join the rest of the faculty for the twenty-five FREE QUICKFIRE PORTFOLIO REVIEWS, plus a Question and Answer session.

So in case you've lost count, too, let's count down our wik'18 Season of Giving:

FREE Quickfire Portfolio Reviews!

Six Inspiring Intensives!

Four Awesome Agents!

Two Terrific Editors!

And an Early Bird Discount for registration!

It's all there, waiting for you! But spaces in some activities fill up fast, so don't wait to register. And don't forget about the special surprise gift you can win by commenting on this post.

Though everyone's a winner at wik'18!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


On the sixth day of wik'18 registration, Southern Breeze gives to you...

Six inspiring intensives!

We'll have six half-day intensives covering just about every topic a kidlit writer could want:

Newbery Award-winning author, Linda Sue Park, is serving up "Sentence Sense" so you can learn how to make every word count.

Senior Scholastic editor, Matt Ringler, is hosting a writers' roundtable where 15 writers will have the opportunity to get first hand feedback on their first five pages. Act fast if you want your pages read! (You can still register for the intensive if you want to keep your pages to yourself. It's always good to hear how an editor thinks, and maybe even better when it's some other brave soul's manuscript on the table!)

Deb Halverson, author of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies, will teach you all about teen speak.

We have a terrific two-for-one deal in the afternoon, with pairs of authors teaming up to bring intensives!  Authors Kami Kinard and Rebecca Petruck will show you how to build characters with heart and humor, while authors Heather L. Montgomery and Jodi Wheeler-Toppen will share the art of using science to engage readers of both fiction and non-fiction.

And last but far from least is the Founder of Fiction University, author Janice Hardy, who's ready to bring your novel to life!

You can find out lots more about this batch of inspiring intensives at the Southern Breeze website, where you can also register for wik'18. Hurry, Breezers, because these opportunities will fill up fast! Your Early Bird registration discount will soon fly away!

But wait! We have one more gift for you because we're still in a Season of Giving here at the Southern Breeze blog. We're serving up a special surprise gift today! So if you've registered, and you comment on this post by noon on December 31st, you might win. If you spread the word and let us know in the comments, we'll add your name twice to the drawing.

Everyone loves to win a surprise, right? Though everyone's a winner at wik'18!

Friday, December 22, 2017


On the third day of wik'18 registration, Southern Breeze gives to you...

Okay, yes. Registration has been going on for a whole week but we've got a theme going on here and so it works for us. You know who else loves to see a theme working?

Editors. And wik'18 just happens to have two of 'em!

Two editors--that's quite a gift! But we have an even better gift for you: when you attend wik'18, you have the opportunity to submit to the conference editors (and the agents)!

So let's take a look at our wik'18 editors:

First up is Deborah Shine. She's the editor and founder of Star Bright Books, and she's been publishing diverse books for almost a quarter of a century. Next is Matt Ringler with Scholastic. He's a senior editor specializing in chapter book, middle grade, and young adult fiction.

You can find out more about our two terrific editors at Tradewinds, the Southern Breeze exclusive newsletter for members. Or research Scholastic or Star Bright Books in SCBWI's The Book. It's filled with tons of kidlit insider information, and it's yours free with your membership.

If you're serious about writing for children, then it's time for SCBWI and wik'18. Register today and take advantage of all our gifts:

Two Terrific Editors!

Four Awesome Agents!

Early Bird Discount for members and non-members!

And big congrats to Jo Kittinger and Sherri Rivers, the winners of our books from our conference authors! Please send an email to Southern Breeze RA, Claudia Pearson, at to get the details about your prize.

And keep coming back, Breezers, 'cause there are more gifts coming your way!

Monday, December 18, 2017


On the second day of wik'18 registration, Southern Breeze gives to you...

Oh, wait. It's actually the fourth day of registration, isn't it? But that's even better, because we're giving you four awesome agents!

Agents who want illustrators, agents who love picture book writers and novelists and poets and more! And agents who can't wait to meet you in the one-on-one sessions!

That's the good news. The bad news is that we don't have enough slots to offer everyone who registers for wik'18 a slot in a one-on-one session. So on this fourth day of registration, take a look at our four awesome agents and sign up today!

There's John Cusik, with Folio, and Erica Silverman at Stimola Literary. Kristy Hunter with Knight Agency will be there, too, along with Claire Easton of Painted Words.

You can find out more at the Southern Breeze website when you register, plus you'll still get that wonderful gift of an early bird $25 discount!

So off you--hold on a minute. What's this in the bottom of my gift sack? It's another gift!

Two lucky winners will get a signed book by one of the wik'18 conference authors!

If you'd like to win, leave a comment on this post and don't forget to include your name. And then once your registration is verified, we'll put your name in the drawing. But you only have till noon on December 22nd. That's when we'll choose two lucky names.

Four awesome agents, an early bird discount, and come back on December 22nd to see if you've won a book from one of our very own amazing authors!

Now off you go! Because you can't win if you don't register--though everyone at wik'18 is a winner!

Friday, December 15, 2017


On the first day of wik'18 registration, Southern Breeze gives to you...
An EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT  on your conference registration!

To find out all about wik'18, visit the Southern Breeze website. Then register between now and December 31st to get $25 off your registration fee.

(This special discount is also available to non-members of SCBWI starting on December 20th. But if you're good with numbers, you might just figure out how much you can save by joining SCBWI and getting the early bird discount, too!)

On the second day of wik'18 registration, Southern Breeze gives to you...

You thought I was going to tell you, didn't you? But you'll have to come back next week to find out what special gift is waiting to be opened!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


‘Tis the season, Breezers! And one of the best gifts you can give yourself is an SCBWI/Southern Breeze conference!

Wik’18 will be here before you know it, and we’ve packed all kinds of good things into this spring conference! Looking for an agent? We’ve got four of ‘em! Want to pick an editor’s brain? Talk to rooms full of authors? Get the scoop on illustration? We’ve got all that and more!

But you have to attend the conference on March 10th and 11th in Birmingham, Alabama to get it all. And we have a very special gift for those early birds who register by December 31st so check out the faculty now and be ready to make your selections on December 15th when registration opens for SCBWI members.

Then keep coming back here to the blog to find out more about all we’re offering at wik’18! You never know what other gifts might be coming your way this season!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ignite Your Illustration Career!

Registration for the WIK 2018 Conference and Illustrators' Day opens for members on December 15, 2017, and we have some wonderful things in store. There will be Something for Everyone with this year’s Illustrator’s Day featuring Star Bright Books Editor, Deborah Shine, Peachtree Creative Director Nicki Carmack, award winning illustrator, Pat Cummings, and Clair Easton, Painted Words agent, who will advise us on how to level up and Ignite Your Illustration Career!

There are a few things you may want to take advantage of before the conference:

Apply for the Liz Conrad Award
Deadline January 1, 2018
The Region offers our regional members the opportunity to have their work reviewed by top professionals in the industry. The Awardee of the Liz Conrad Award will receive free tuition to the annual Southern Breeze Conference and Illustrators Day. Entry is FREE. 

Check out our site for more information:

When you Register for the conference be sure to also register for the Illustrators Mentorship with Nicki Carmack, Creative Director Peachtree Publishers

Space is Limited to 15 participants. Register Early! Deadline January 1, 2018!

Gain valuable guidance from Creative Director of Peachtree Publishers, Nicki Carmack. She will challenge mentees to reimagine the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.  Participants will understand the book development process through hands-on-experience with an art director.  

The Mentorship will include valuable feedback to move towards a finished portfolio piece.  It will include character and environment development. Mentees will be taken through stages of the project to create a final color spread and cover that may be used as portfolio art.

Stage 1: Character studies, sketches and possible color palette

Stage 2: Story board/thumbnails of the entire story

Stage 3: Complete color art of one spread and cover

Estimated Timeline
Stage 1 deadline mid January
Stage 2 deadline mid February
Stage 3 deadline - a week before the event

Space is Limited to 15 participants. Register Early!

Deadline January 1, 2018!

So look for registration to open, stay Connected with your Region and be involved locally. There are many ways to join in and move forward with your tribe.

See you soon!

TeMika Grooms
Southern Breeze Region Illustrator Coordinator 

Friday, December 8, 2017

How I Got My Agent (Pssst! It's Probably Got Something To Do With a Conference!)

So I grabbed my folder and stuffed it into my bag without even giving it a look because of course, I was running late.

There really is no excuse to run late when the conference is practically in your backyard, but that seems to be what I do. That, and spending the rest of the day playing "catch-up" with conference business, people to see, and places where I'm supposed to be. And the next place I was supposed to be was the cocktail party.

I would not be late for that event! There were too many people I wanted to see, including Karen Grencik, an agent from Red Fox Literary. I'd met Karen the summer before at a week-long writer's retreat. She'd given a workshop which I thoroughly enjoyed, but she was also one of the professionals I signed up with for a manuscript critique.

And oh my manuscript critique, it was terrific! Not I-want-to-represent-you right-this-minute terrific; more like here's-what's-not-quite-working-in-this-picture-book terrific. Karen gave me concrete direction into the problems, but she was kind and professional. I'm not gonna lie. I sort of had an agent crush on Karen Grencik.

So I fetched an adult beverage for us both and we reconnected at the conference Friday night party. I'm not sure if Karen remembered me specifically but she was delightful and charming and I wasn't too stalkerish and eventually, everyone left and we cleaned up, and as I sat there waiting for my ride, I reached into my bag and opened my folder to see what I was going to be late for the next day. And that's when I saw the big envelope that had my manuscript critique.

For crying out loud, I'd completely forgotten that I'd signed up for a "written only" critique! I pulled out the manuscript and saw that it was Karen Grencik's name on the notes--wheee! And then I began to read the notes; she appeared to like this middle grade story I'd penned. When I got to the end, she'd included another note:

"I'd love to see this manuscript if you're unagented. Send it to..."

We'd never discussed manuscripts earlier, and clearly, she hadn't made the connection between me and the name on the manuscript, but no matter! As I held that critique in my hot little hands, my heart pounded a mile a minute!

I didn't have another chance to speak to Karen during the rest of the conference, but first thing on Monday morning, I emailed her the full manuscript. Within a couple of hours, she responded that she'd received it and couldn't wait to read it. Within a couple of days, she responded again, saying she was halfway through and loving the story! By the next week, she'd offered to represent me.

Because I attended an SCBWI conference where Karen Grencik was on the faculty, I not only got my agent, I got my agent crush.

Cathy Hall, mic drop.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Breezers in the Neighborhood in December

We needed to get a head start on this month's Breezer news because our first event is this weekend!

Saturday, December 2

Come out and join author Nancy Day at a book-signing! She'll be signing all of her books--and she has an armload of 'em!--at a Holiday Market!

WHERE: Lord of Life Lutheran Church
                2801 Frederica Rd.
                St. Simon's Island, GA

WHEN:   9 AM to 4 PM

And then there's...well, this is awkward. Nancy Day's event is the only one in the Southern Breeze region this month. Everyone must be busy getting ready for wik'18!

That includes this Breezer!So stay tuned for all the exciting conference news coming up!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

And The Winners Are...

Listen! Do you hear that? It's the sound of Breezers cheering all over our region! And what are they cheering about? Let's check in with Debbie D'Aurelio to find out:

Thank you to all those who entered the 2017 Southern Breeze Writing Contest. It was apparent that everyone worked very hard on their manuscripts and the judges were very complimentary about the quality of work coming out of our region. They also mentioned how hard it was to pick the winners! 

This year’s winners for the 2017 Southern Breeze Writing Contest are (drumroll) . . . 

ILLUSTRATED TEXT - Judged by Karen Grencik from Red Fox Literary

1st place: Speed and Spring: The Story of Forrest Grady (Spec) Towns by Sherri Rivers
2nd place: Bug-Truck Buddies by Heather Montgomery
3rd place: Little Bad Blue by Diane Anton Sherrouse

MIDDLE GRADE - Judged by John Cusick from Folio Literary/Folio Jr.

1st Place: The Pickle Pod Tree by Glenda Slater
2nd Place: The Wildness of Mellie Feye by Candice Conner
3rd Place: Canada or Bust by Colleen Bennett

YOUNG ADULT - Judged by Kelly Van Sant from D4EO Literary

1st place: Last Year at Little Bend High by Joan Broerman
2nd place: Address Unknown by Re Marzullo
3rd place: The Crooked Truth by Kristine Anderson

Everyone is a winner because all entries receive free critiques from the PAL judges. The finalists in each category were sent on to our professional judges and will receive an additional critique from Karen Grencik (IT), John Cusack (MG) or Kelly Van Sant (YA).  These critiques will be returned to you as attachments in an email entitled Critiques from Contest.


And a big cheer for Debbie D'Aurelio, the Southern Breeze Writing Contest Coordinator, for all her hard work. (Pssst! November is the perfect month to start working on your next manuscript for the 2018 Southern Breeze Writing Contest!)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Breezers in the Neighborhood in November!

November's another busy month for our Breezers, especially the very first weekend! Please come out and see what our Breezers are doing across the region. And don't be surprised if you learn all about children's writing from these wonderful voices of experience!

But first, you'll want to check out an upcoming workshop because registration is required for this event:

Connie Fleming and Susan Rosson Spain will be presenting a novel writing workshop for members and non-members. The workshop will take place on Saturday, November 18th from 9 AM until 4:30 PM in Covington, Georgia. See the Southern Breeze website here for more details and to register, but don't delay--spaces are filling up every day!

Saturday, November 4

Sally Apokedak, agent and author, will be sharing her tools, tips, and tricks of the trade in her Do-It-Yourself Publishing Workshop. If you've wondered if self-publishing is for you, Sally's informative workshop is a must-attend event! And best of all, it's FREE! She'll be focusing on the novel, but there will also be information for the picture book writer. If time permits, we'll have feedback for your pitch and/or query (no first pages).

Where: Five Forks Library                                               

             2780 Five Forks Trickum Road
             Lawrenceville, GA

When:  1:00 to 3:30 PM

Patricia Cruzan will be signing her books including Poetic Moments, The Wonder in the Woods, My Reflections, Max Does It Again, and Molly's Mischievous Dog. 

Where:  Craft Fair at First United Methodist Church
              175 East Lanier Avenue
              Fayetteville, GA

Cindy L. Shirley will be signing and selling her three books at several venues this month! First up is a Christmas Festival.

Where:   Canton United Methodist Church
               Canton, GA

When:    10 AM to 4 PM

Stone Workman and Linda Aldridge will have a book signing booth where their children's books,  The Animals and the Manger and A Mother's Love will be featured.

Where:   Monticello-Jasper County Deer Festival

              Downtown Monticello, GA

Tuesday, November 7

Sucheta Rawal, author of the Beato Goes To series, will be doing a book reading of Beato Goes to Greenland.

Where:   The Children's House Montessori School
               Serenbe, GA

When:    11 AM

Friday, November 10

One of the featured authors at the "Authors Corner" booth at Mobile Junior League's Christmas Jubilee will be Breezer Carrie Dalby. Copies of her young adult novels Fortitude and Corroded will be available throughout the multi-day event, and during her featured time she will be able to autograph the books.

Where:   Mobile Convention Center
               Mobile, AL

When:    Noon until 2 PM (Signing books)

Saturday, November 11

Come out for face-painting, games, and book-signing fun with author Cindy L. Shirley!

Where:   Little River Elementary School
               Woodstock, GA

When:    11 AM till 3 PM

Friday, November 17

Big thank you to Breezer Amy Dees! She'll be representing SCBWI and presenting at Summerour Middle School's Career Day as published author and writer extraordinaire!

Saturday, November 18

Carrie Dalby will present CHARTING YOUR COURSE: HISTORICAL FICTION to the Baldwin Writers Group. It's free and open to the public.

Where:    Daphne Public Library

                Daphne, AL

When:    10 AM to Noon

Vanessa Fortenberry will have a book launch and book signing. Find out more about Vanessa and her books here!

Where:   Nancy Guinn Memorial Library
              864 Green St.
              Conyers, GA

When:    2 to 4 PM

Sunday, November 26

Blame the bad weather for a cancelled book signing for Nancy Day! So she'll try again to sign her books, What in the World and Way Down Below Deep.

Where: Book Loft

             Fernandina Beach, FL

When:   1 to 4 PM

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Where's the fall conference?

Oh no, October is almost gone and we haven't had wik (Writing and Illustrating for Kids) yet!

What happened? Where did it go?

Not to worry, wik is still around. Our Conference Coordinator, Tay Berryhill, is very busy confirming the final speakers for wik March 10-11, 2018 in Birmingham, and our line-up is already AWESOME!!!!

Let's start with the AMAZING Linda Sue Park! Not only is she a Newbery winner for her novel A Single Shard, but she has written many wonderful books about important issues like A Long Walk to Water, and delightful picture books for the youngest audiences, like Bee-Bim-Bop, Yum - Yuck, and Yaks Yak. Mystery is no mystery to her with two books in the 39 Clues series, and fantasy is one of her fortes with her Wing and Claw series. Linda Sue is the perfect keynote speaker for a conference that boasts "Something for Everyone" and offers more than 30 breakout sessions and a choice of six half day intensives on Sunday.

For our Illustrators, no, we won't be in Decatur this spring -- but don't worry, ILLUSTRATOR DAY is still happening - just in a different location.

And our keynote speaker for Illustrators Day is ....
     (wait for it)...
the phenomenal,
award winning,
fun and fantastic,
illustrator and
illustration instructor,
(drum roll please!)

Pat Cummings!

Pat's work includes illustrations for texts by some of the best children's book authors, including Mildred Walker, Nikki Grimes and Mary Stolz, and her own texts and illustrations, including her beautiful rendering of Carousel, her retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the touching tale, My Aunt Came Back, and the fun filed Harvey Moon books make Pat is the perfect keynote speaker for our first wik Illustrators Day.

Plus, there will be an Art Director led mentorship, agents and editors (yes, the plurals are intentional), including an agent for the Illustrators Day quickfire portfolio review session. Please note that for our first spring wik, our agent One-on-One sessions and intensives will take place on Sunday instead of Friday.

We hope to see all of our regular Illustrators' Day and spring conference attendees at wik in Birmingham in March!Check the registration page (under construction) at for more details about all of the wonderful speakers we have lined up.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Liz Conrad Illustrator Portfolio Award

"The time has come, the time is now!" (Marvin K. Mooney, by Dr. Seuss)

liz conrad logo
Is Your Portfolio Ready?
2018 Liz Conrad Award submissions open November 15

Want to attend wik and Illustrators' Day in Birmingham in March? Well now's the time to polish up your portfolio so it is ready to submit for the Liz Conrad Award.

This Award is open to Southern Breeze SCBWI members only and is an impressive honor to add to one's resume. If you would like to apply, check out the details at and email your application and submission to

Applications may be submitted beginning November 15 of each year, so now is the time to get your work ready to submit!

Jason Bradley Rollins
Liz Conrad Entry

Monday, October 2, 2017

Breezers in The Neighborhood!

Lots of Breezers are busy this October! If you’re in their neighborhood, we hope you’ll grab a friend and drop in!

Saturday, October 14:

Patricia Cruzan will be one of the featured authors at Author Day, and signing Poetic Moments, The Wonder in the Woods, My Reflections, Max Does It Again, and Molly's Mischievous Dog.

Where: Clayton County Library, 865 Battle Creek Road, Jonesboro, GA 30236

When: 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

It's Indie Author Day, hosted by the Clayton County Library System. Join author/artist Temika Grooms for her breakout session Imagine That! Illustrating and Writing Books for Children and Teens where she'll be sharing creative tips and tricks.

Where:  865 Battle Creek Rd. Jonesboro, GA

When:   11:30 AM (The event runs from 10 AM till 3 PM.)

Wednesday, October 18:

Ruth Spiro, an SCBWI member from Illinois, will be an honorary Breezer for a few days while in Athens, GA. Co-sponsored by Southern Breeze, she’ll be giving a free presentation for writers, “Corral the Creative Chaos! The Five Techniques That Helped Re-Launch My Writing Career.” (And P.S. She’s recently sold seven books!)

Where: Avid Bookshop, 493 Prince Avenue, Athens, GA

When: 6:00 to 7:30 PM

Thursday, October 19: 

Ruth Spiro and illustrator Irene Chan will be on hand for a special storytime! They’ll be signing their books, Baby Loves Thermodynamics and Baby Loves Quantum Physics.

Where: Avid Bookshop, 493 Prince Avenue, Athens, GA

When: 10:30 to 11:30 AM

Monday, October 23:

Breezer Kelly Bingham wants you to know that Gilmer County is proud to host a writer's group! “We are part of Gilmer Arts and Heritage Association and we meet once a month. It is an informal group and writers of all genres and all levels are welcome. If you are just beginning your writer's journey or if you are published or self-published or whatever--you are more than welcome to come talk shop, share your work, get feedback and support, and meet other writers.”

Where: Gilmer Arts and Heritage Association Bldg. 207 Dalton Street, Ellijay, GA

When: 6 PM (Meets the fourth Monday of each month, except December)

For more information or to confirm the meeting, write to Kelly Bingham at

Saturday, October 28:

Breezer Tracey M. Cox founded and has directed the Books Love and Taters Book Festival since 2012 and of course, she’ll be signing books and promoting literacy at her event!

Where: The Georgia Sweet Potato Festival, Arts and Craft Venue, Ocilla, GA

When: 9 AM to 5 PM

Join Breezer Miles Davis, along with Butterpup and friends for a fun-filled weekend at the Smyrna Fall Jonquil Festival!

Where: Smyrna Community Center, 200 Village Green Circle,  Smyrna, GA

When: 10 AM to 6 PM
            12 Pm to 5 PM (October 29th)


 DIY Publishing with agent and author Sally Apokedak, November 4 in Lawrenceville, GA.

 Book signing with Patricua Cruzan, November 4 in Fayetteville, GA.

 A book reading by Sucheta Rawal in Serenbe, GA on November 7.

Carrie Dalby Cox presenting tips on historical fiction on November 18 in Daphne, AL.

Look for more details about these events in your November Breezers in Your Neighborhood. And if you have an upcoming event, let us know! We’ll see you soon around Southern Breeze!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

NaNoWriMo is Here!

NO, it is not a drool dripping, crispy marshmallow crunching, humpbacked scale covered monster - but some writers find it just as scary.

How do you prepare for National Novel Writing Month? Do you outline? Do you collect pitches and polish them, maybe test them out in an online a pitch fest?

How do you keep yourself motivated when you start to think your writing isn't worth the effort? Of course if this happens to you please don't give up because all writing helps you develop your craft and first drafts are not supposed to be polished.

Do you keep a bowl of chocolate nearby? Have you collected pictures to remind you what your protagonist looks like? Do you have a writing buddy?

How brave are you? Do you plan to post your word counts daily or weekly or simply stun us all at the end of the month?

Whether you plan or don't plan, write alone or with a buddy, we'd love to hear how things are going.

And if you would like some help, check out the novel writing workshop scheduled for November 18 in Covington, GA - right in the middle of the month, perfect for a "pick-me-up" just when you need it. More details at

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​

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    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