Sunday, January 15, 2017

Southern Breeze Congratulates Alison Weiss!

Southern Breeze Congratulates Alison Weiss!

One of our speakers received amazing news...
Alison Weiss, of SkyPony Press, has been promoted to Senior Editor!
Southern Breeze is excited for this latest journey of your career, Alison and wish you the best! We can't wait for all our attendees to be able to congratulate you in person at SpringMingle!

*throws confetti* 

Don't miss your chance to meet Alison Weiss at SpringMingle in March. 

Alison S. Weiss is a Senior Editor at Sky Pony Press, where she works on picture books through YA and everything in between. And she has awards, too. Weiss was named a 2016 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree!

What’s she looking for? Well, she loves assassins and spies and sleuths, friendships that feel like they’ll last forever, and love stories that will twist you in knots before they’re through. She’s especially eager to find a middle grade with a cozy feel, and a voice-driven, sweeping, romantic YA.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click  :::HERE::: to log in and register.

~See you in March~

Monday, January 9, 2017


Hello everyone.

I want to encourage you to IMAGINE, CREATE & PREPARE for the journey of creating marvelous products for kidslit. There are some wonderful opportunities for you to take advantage of in our region.  

Just a little reminder:
Liz Conrad Scholarship and Art Director Mentorship
DEADLINE:  January 15th!  

It's right around the corner and this cold weekend will be a great time to write something up and submit.  Loraine Joyner, Art Director of Peachtree Publishers, is excited about assisting the awardee in their own career development.  Take advantage of the guidance.  It's valuable's FREE! #nobrainer 

For more information, please go to the Southern Breeze website:

Jim Hoover's, Art Director with Viking Children's Books, Illustration Project 
DEADLINE: Sketches must be submitted to Jim via email by February 10This one will require a little more preparation, so don't miss the boat!  Make sure you follow the directions in the link below and prepare to submit by the deadline.  It's a great opportunity to have a review of your work at the conference.  Shine big ya'll and be seen!

For more information, please go to the Southern Breeze website:

For more informations about Southern Breeze & Springmingle:

OK, all that being said, we look forward to seeing all of the great work you will put out in the world.  Southern Breeze has so much talent....let's show them who we are!
See you soon! Stay warm!

TeMika Grooms

SCBWI Southern Breeze Region
Illustrator Coordinator 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Georgia Center of the Book Event

EVENT: Georgia Center of the Book Presents...

The Georgia Center of the Book will be present a lecture series titled Why Literature Matters and How Reading Leads to Empathy by Dr. Pearl A. McHaney, Professor of Southern Literature at Georgia State University, starting on this Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 7:15 pm in the Decatur Library Auditorium. 

The first part of the series is Connecting Lines: Building Empathy Through Literature. The topic of empathy funneled through literature, particularly relating to children, middle grade and young adults, relates closely to the We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) movement that has encompassed the book industry.  The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is an organization dedicated to supporting authors and illustrators in their journey to publication.  It supports diversity in literature and addresses the issue in an effort to promote inclusivity.  All voices are welcomed to be heard at the table in powerful storytelling.  The interview with Dr. McHaney makes a clear statement that we all have a wealth of knowledge to collectively share through the avenue of the book.

Join SCBWI members as we descend upon Decatur to discuss and learn about building community through books.  SCBWI will also host the Southern Breeze Springmingle and Illustrator’s Day at the Decatur Library on March 10 – 12, 2017.  The conference will include notable editors, art directors and agents, including Adrianna Dominquez of the Full Circle Literary Group, who focuses on acquiring diverse talent for children’s book publishing.

For more information about SCBWI Southern Breeze:

About Why Literature Matters -

Interview: New Lecture Series Focuses On Building Empathy Through Books, WABE 90.1, January 6, 2017,Gabbie Watts

Saturday, January 7, 2017

PAL Luncheon at #SpringMingle - #SBreeze17

PAL Luncheon at SpringMingle
from Cathy C. Hall

As the PAL Coordinator for Southern Breeze, I get to hobnob with a lot of VIPs!

Oh, wait. You’re thinking “Very Important People” and I’m thinking “Very Interesting PALs.” That’s why I love our conferences. At Springmingle’17, I’ll catch up with the latest news from that author whose book has just released or the writer whose poem landed in Baby Bug or the illustrator whose work is highlighted in…well, Highlights!

But perhaps more importantly for our PALs is the opportunity Springmingle’17 provides for them. We’ll get together at the close of the conference, Sunday at 12:30 in the 4th Floor Conference Room, Decatur Library, for the PAL Lunch. When you register, don’t forget to order your lunch ‘cause we have lots of upcoming events for our PAL members to discuss!

And if you’re not sure whether you are a PAL member, look for me or any PAL member. We’re the ones wearing a blue button and we’ll try to answer any questions you have. Because in SCBWI, everyone is a Very Important Person! 

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click  :::HERE::: to log in and register.

~See you in March~

Friday, January 6, 2017

You Got ?s... Get Answers at #SpringMingle - #SBreeze17

 We all have questions about the publishing industry. At Southern Breeze conferences, we give you an opportunity to get it from the source! During the conference, we will have a Q&A Panel filled with a few members of our faculty.
This year will be no different. Our Q&A Panel consists of editors, art directors, agents, & editors.
So get your thinking cap on and get ready to submit your questions for the panel.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click  :::HERE::: to log in and register.

~See you in March~

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Come Soar at #SpringMingle with Informal Critiques! - #SBreeze17

Come Soar at #SpringMingle with Informal Critiques!

Manuscripts in hand, you sit down with a group of your peers. They all write the same genre. They all are as eager as you to improve your manuscript.

SpringMingle offers the opportunity for you to do that!

After the conference, you'll have the opportunity to sit with other writers / illustrators and chat about your story (and theirs), where it needs improving, where it is strong, suggestions on the tone.

These informal critique sessions are a great way to meet others in your field. Maybe make a lasting friendship. To learn about your craft and to improve yourself on your way to publication.

Not sure how to critique? 

Here are is one way to look at it. Think of critiquing someone's work like a sandwich. You have bread, filler, and bread.

  • Bread - Start off with something nice and squishy. What you really like about the story or the writing in general.
  • Filler - Get to the meat of what you think. Are there places that can be taken out? Do you see pov shifts? Are there rabbit trails that need to be fixed? Does their work zip and zag in all the right places? How is the plot? Character development?
  • Bread - Finish off by saying something nice again. Let them know you appreciate their hard work and give some encouragement.

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click  :::HERE::: to log in and register.

~See you in March~

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

#SpringMingle Conference Book Signing - #SBreeze17

SpringMingle In-Conference Book Signing

Southern Breeze not only offers great workshops, but we also offer the opportunity to meet our faculty authors and illustrators, buy their books, and have them signed! What better way to show our speakers how much you've enjoyed what they have said? 

This year in-conference book signings schedule will include:

Patricia MacLachlan  is the author of many picture books, poetry books, and novels for children.  She is best known for the Newbery Medal book Sarah, Plain and Tall.  She later wrote the Hallmark Hall of Fame screenplays for the Sarah, Plain and Tall characters, starring Glenn Close and Christopher Walkin.Her newest books are the picture books The Iridesence of Birds, Someone Like Me, and The Moon’s Almost Here.  Her newest novel is The Poet’s Dog, and the 1017 books Barkus and Just Dance.She has lectured and taught Children’s Literature at Smith College.She lives on a hilltop in Western Massachusetts.

Jacquelyn Mitchard  is the number one New York Times bestselling author of twelve novels for adults, including The Deep End of the Ocean, which was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club and also made into a major feature film. The editor of a realistic Young Adult imprint, Merit Press, Mitchard also is the author of seven novels for Young Adults. Her work has won the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson awards, as well as the UK’s Walkabout Prize and was short-listed for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. She is a professor of Creative Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts and a contributing editor for More magazine. Mitchard grew up in Chicago, and now lives on Cape Cod with her family.

Along with several of our Book Launchers!

Don't forget to visit our book store at the conference to purchase your books!

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click  :::HERE::: to log in and register.

~See you in March~

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Come Soar at #SpringMingle with a Book Launch - #SBreeze17

Come Soar At SpringMingle with a LIVE Book Launch!

So you have a new book that's come out since our last conference? First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! *throws confetti* That is an amazing thing that you've done! Really. Truly! Now what about getting it in front of people? Yikes! Does that sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be. At the Southern Breeze conferences we offer the opportunity to do a LIVE Book Launch. Yes, you read that right. A LIVE Book Launch!!!
So what does that mean? What do I do?
Well, let me tell you...
At our conferences we give new books (and their creators) center stage. You get three minutes to tell us about your book, why you wrote it, how SCBWI help you get to where you are, and anything else you can think of to help get the objective of your book across. We have had several people perform, talk, and teach at our book launches. Here are some of their tips to help you think of what to say, and even go outside of the box.

"Pick one fact or event in your book that will be the most interesting to OUR audience and start with that. With my book on snakes I started with the fact that kingsnakes eat other snakes. It hooked the audience enough that an editor in the crowd later asked me to submit to her even though she isn't into science at all."
- Heather Montgomery
"Prepare a written script and practice, practice practice! Engage your audience with something fun from your book like singing or acting out a favorite scene."
 Delia Blackstone & Lucyann Wagner
The Groovy Grandmas

"Hours, months, years have passed and now it is time to . . . LAUNCH.
Cathy Hall says you only have three minutes. Seriously?! Yes. 1. Be yourself. You know your book. You are the only one who can pitch it. 2. Be creative~think, Lucyann Wagner and Delia Blackstone, co-authors of “Norah Bedorah and the Pink Doughnut with Sprinkles.” (Pink Tutu’s and big smiles!) Bring the book to life. 3. Science or non-fiction book; try doing an experiment from the book. (I love to see gooey-goo!) 4. If you choose to read an excerpt; be brief and be animated. 5. Relax. You are pitching to your friends. Writers love books; we will love you."
  - Amy McCoy Dees
"The biggest thing I can say to relax. The people you are telling your book to are your tribe. They are proud of you! They want you to succeed. So smile. Show off your book. Make a joke about where you live... You heard about my neighbors, right? And enjoy. This is your 15... errrrrr 3 minutes ;) in the spotlight!"
- Tracey M. Cox

"Follow the directions given for the book launches, especially that time allotment for your launch! And though it might make you crazy to get everything you want to say down to two or three minutes, it's actually a great exercise. It will help you figure out the most important thing you want to say about your book.  And that's something you'll appreciate for all those times outside a conference when you want to promote your book!"

- Cathy C. Hall

"1.     Tell us WHAT the book is about and WHY we need to buy it.

Example: This is a hilarious adventure book about a young Marco Polo, and is a great choice for boys and girls, 9 – 14 years old.  The chapters are short and easy to read – perfect for reluctant readers.Or, “Looking for a YA romance that you’re not embarrassed for your teen to read? Then read this!”
Keep it simple and give us a reason to purchase. Don’t forget to bring a copy with you to share from the stage!
2.     Toot your own horn. I know it seems unseemly, but you owe it to yourself and your publisher to give your book it’s due.  Did you get a good review? Win an award? Sell it at auction? Share the accolades!
3.     Use your (and your books) strengths. Is your book about science? Tell us an interesting fact that makes us want to know more. Is it funny? Then make us laugh. If you’re funny, we’ll assume the book is too.
4.     Think creatively. Some authors in the past have dressed as their characters, passed out brownies made from bugs, and brought props to the stage.  If you have a fun marketing idea for your book, go for it!
5.     Practice. Three minutes will go by fast and you want to make sure you’ve used it wisely. Practice with a timer in front of the mirror. Say it to your family and friends. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll be when it is time to take the podium.
6.     Have fun! You did it - you published a book. Now go up there and enjoy!"
- Lisa Lewis Tyre

What I did to prepare?   Wrote a few lines of a short blurb about my book. Tried to make it fun, interesting, and yes a bit quirky. Going for humor is always good when presenting something.
Did I use props?   Nope. But I did ask questions. My books lend themselves to the sort of "Did you know" type of thing. I love to give people a tiny bit of trivia. Everyone loves that. That's why Jeopardy is so popular.
Most of all, HAVE FUN with it!! 

- Jen Swanson

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click  :::HERE::: to log in and register.

~See you in March~

Monday, January 2, 2017

Come Soar at #SpringMingle with Formal Critiques! - #SBreeze17

Come Soar at #SpringMingle
with Formal Critiques! 

People in this industry tend to be very nice, and that can make it difficult to remember that publishing is a "bunny-eat-bunny" world. As difficult as it might be, however, it is important to learn what we need to know if you really want to get published.

Has your manuscript been critiqued by your critique group, is your prose polished and honed, your plot peeled away and re-layered, is it is as good as it can get? How can you be sure?

When writers submit work to an editor or an agent, their submissions land on an editor or agent's desk, or in their email inbox, and are read in batches. The submission must stand on their own, no author sitting there to add anything or answer any questions. Even worse, in today's publishing world, when a submission is rejected, typically there is no feedback - often not even a polite "Thank you, but we are not interested."

Registering for a written only critique not only guarantees that your work will be critiqued by an acquiring editor or agent, it simulates the real world process but also allows you an opportunity to receive valuable feedback and learn what you might do to make it even stronger before you send it out again. It focuses exclusively on what is on the page, which is what happens in the real world of children's publishing.

Sometimes face-to-face critiques may be a better choice, for example, if you have a specific question to ask about plot and character choices. That is what I did at my last face-to-face critique: how old should my main character be, given the nature of the story and the things she would be doing?

What is really great is that you don't have to choose - you can register for both face-to-face and written only critiques!

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click  :::HERE::: to log in and register.

~See you in March~

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Just for our Illustrators - Liz Conrad Portfolio Scholarship

While Illustrators' Day is not just for illustrators, any picture book author or illustrator would benefit from learning about the interaction of text and image in a picture book, illustrators do have an opportunity that is not available to anyone but illustrators: attending both Illustrators' Day AND Springmingle for FREE and getting a mentorship to boot!!!

But illustrators can't be considered for this wonderful opportunity if they don't APPLY!!! The deadline for the Liz Conrad Portfolio Scholarship is approaching soon, January 15, 2017 to be exact, and if you are serious about being a children's book illustrator, but haven't submitted your application yet, please let me know why. You can email me at  Funniest reason will get a $50 prize to apply to Illustrators' Day tuition!

Possible reasons I can think of:

I just didn't have time over the holidays to get my application together.
     My reply: Make it your first New Year's resolution! Get that work together and get it sent!

My dog/cat tap danced on my computer and I can't scan the work to send it out.
     My reply: As a last resort, maybe you can take a photo of it with your cell phone? But seriously, get that computer fixed asap!!!

I just can't decide what images to send.
     My reply: check the SCBWI Blue Boards for a discussion and advice on what might work, and look at the previous winners to see what they submitted.

"Little Ben" - 2016 Liz Conrad Scholarship winner Narges Jafari

I'm still a student, no one will take my application seriously.
    My reply: SCBWI is all about celebrating both successful careers of our published members and encouraging new talent. Not only does our region offer the Liz Conrad Scholarship, but the international organization has student scholarships for both its winter and summer meetings. Of course we take student work seriously - you are the future of children's books.

I'll never get the scholarship anyway.
     My reply: Absolutely true if you don't apply.

Deadline: January 15, 2017

Breezers In Your Neighborhood - January Events #SBreeze17

Breezers In Your Neighborhood
January 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!

  • NAME: Carrie Dalby Cox
    DATE: January 17, 2017
    TIME: 6-8pm
    PLACE: Gallery 450 at 450 Dauphin Street in Mobile, AL

    Gallery 450 has partnered with the Mobile Writers Guild to bring you a monthly Literary Night. Each month a member of the Mobile Writers Guild will be the discussion leader. They will lecture on a variety of topics regarding writing and literature, then will follow up with Q & A session. A $5 donation is requested and light refreshments will be served.
    This month Carrie Dalby will be leading the first Literary Night. She will discuss Charting Your Course: Historical Fiction.
    Whether your story takes place twenty or two thousand years ago, finding the best sources for accurate information can make all the difference for the reader. Carrie will share tips and examples from her experience with researching and writing historical fiction set in and around the Mobile area, including 'Fortitude' and her current projects.

    Facebook event page:
    Don't let your fortitude get corroded.
Florida Panhandle:

  • NAME   Suzanne Purvis (   Wednesday January 25thTIME   1pmPLACE   Destin Commons Books A MiilionDESCRIPTION   The Northwest Florida area of Southern Breeze is having a Meet and Greet

  • NAME: Heather Montgomery   DATE: January 14th, 2017   TIME: 10 am - 12 pm   PLACE: Five Forks Public Library, 2780 Five Forks Trickum Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30044   DESCRIPTION: Join kidlit author Heather L. Montgomery for a morning of writing, sketching, and stretching your brain! Start the year off with fun at a Writer's PLAYshop where you'll play with language and ideas to bring your work to life. Heather's designed these two hours for kidlit writers and illustrators, and as always, it's free! (Questions? Contact

  •  NAME: A.H. Taylor   
           DATE: January 24th, 2017     
           Time: 11 A.M-12 P.M 
           Place: South Cobb Regional Library (805 Clay Rd, Mableton, GA 30126)

           DESCRIPTION: Join Kidlit Author A.H. Taylor as he brings the story of 'The Color                  Machine' to life with live music and interactive games. This event is being hosted by the              largest homeschool resource fair (Epic Homeschool Fair) in connection with the Cobb                  County Library System. There will be door prizes, book signings, and free giveaways.                  Also, there will be the opportunity to win discounts on the books. This is an event that is              sure to leave everyone in awe, while seeking to carry on the inspiring story that will                      submerse you, as you become a part of the bigger story. 
          (Questions? Contact: or call 404-910-9851)
           Facebook Event Page:

                                           Website :
                                  Website :

Upcoming February Events...


Florida Panhandle:



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Come Soar at #SpringMingle with 1-On-1 Critiques! - #SBreeze17

Come Soar at #SpringMingle with 1-On-1 Critiques!

What Can One-on-One Sessions Do for You?
by Tay Berryhill 

WIK attendees have three golden opportunities to receive feedback from agents: face-to-face critique, written manuscript critique, and one-on-one meetings with an agent. I’ve been fortunate to participate in all three. Each has helped me grow as a writer in different ways; all have advantages.

All written-only critiques are conducted by agents or editors who keenly target craft and marketability issues. Face-to-face critiques offer the same, but with the added benefit of a twelve-minute meeting with the expert who conducted the critique—although that person may not be an agent. One-on-one brings even more to the table—twenty minutes with an experienced agent to discuss anything. Anything. At WIK14, I spent my one-on-one time with literary agent Courtney Miller-Callihan of Greenburg Associates. Prior to our meeting, I submitted elevator pitches and one-paragraph synopses of three works-in-progress for Courtney to read in advance. I also put together a “goodie bag” of queries, first pages, and a full page synopsis of a finished draft, in case time allowed us to expand the discussion.

“...I mentioned a graphic novel I was outlining. Courtney gave me the name of her agent friend who represents graphic novels...”

During our first ten minutes, Courtney addressed the marketability of my WIPs, offering generous feedback on what was appealing and why, as well as potential pitfalls. Her input quickly gave me a clearer picture of which projects merited my attention. I then showed her a first page of the front runner, and she spent the rest of the session suggesting ways to improve it. All good. Before leaving, I mentioned a graphic novel I was outlining. Courtney gave me the name of her agent friend who represents graphic novels. I’m pretty sure that I danced out the door. For writers with a manuscript that needs detailed feedback, the formal manuscript critiques are invaluable. But for those also seeking individualized advice on queries, marketing, rejections, Internet presence, or any other topic an agent can enlighten, one-on-one is an ideal venue. Besides great advice, the meeting gave this tongue-tied writer the chance to relax and “talk shop” in a stress-free exchange with a fellow lover of words. Agents want to help us succeed. Let them. 


Tay Berryhill writes young adult novels while also trying her hand at graphic novels and picture book illustrating. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and three dogs.    

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click  :::HERE::: to log in and register.

~See you in March~