Wednesday, April 18, 2018

It's Baaaack! (SHOW-MO 2018!)

Show-Mo: (n) A free event whereby writers and illustrators in the Southern Breeze region show their work and get feedback in a small workshop atmosphere. Usually held in the month(s) prior to the Southern Breeze Writing Contest.

We're revving up for Show-Mo now and that means that our Critique Coordinator has been very busy! Here's T.K. Read, ready to share her Show-Mo encouragement and excitement (and P.S. She's really excited!):

So… Last June was our first SHOW-MO!
You came, you showed, you read; we came, we saw, we heard and we responded, and… IT WAS SUCH A RE-SOUNDING SUCCESS, WE’RE DOING IT AGAIN, AND EXPANDING IT TO THE MONTH OF MAY AS WELL!
We had over 55 folks participate last year, and a 19% increase in the number of submissions to our 2017 Southern Breeze Writing Contest. This year, we’re hoping to go-big, double that number… and get even more people to submit their polished-up, dazzling, publish-ready work to the contest. Submission to the contest is free for Southern Breeze members and you can read more details at the Southern Breeze Writing Contest. (Please note: Information for 2018 has not been updated yet but the rules are the same for every year!)
So, you say, TK, that sounds a little ambitious. My response: Consider this my challenge to you to pick one Show-Mo out from our line-up and go, just go. Find out for yourself why 55 of us went last year. You have no excuses. Show-Mos are a free, no strings attached way to get fresh eyes to give you honest feedback on your pages. We, the serious, professional writers of Southern Breeze, know that such feedback is crucial to insuring we submit our best work. So, I challenge you to take three to four hours of your time during May or June and improve your writing while helping others improve theirs.
Here are some participants’ feedback from last years SHOW-MOs:
"Was great!" "Very helpful." “WONDERFUL SCBWI SHOW-MO today at Starbucks! Productive critique group! Loved the diversity!”
And, my favorite:  "Can we do this again?"

I told you TK was excited! We are getting information daily about Show-Mo events throughout the region so please check the Southern Breeze website for updates, and next month, we'll have a complete list here at the Southern Breeze blog. Get writing and get ready--the next winner of the Southern Breeze writing contest could be YOU!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

SCBWI Southern Breeze Congratulates Liz Conrad Awardee Laura Moss!

The Liz Conrad Award is a coveted Southern Breeze honor given to a promising illustrator in our region.  Every year we receive many applications which are judged by an industry professional to decide the awardee.  This year Claire Easton of Painted Words, Inc., an agency representing award-winning illustration for children's publishing, and the editorial and advertising industries, reviewed and provided comments to the top three awardees for Honorable Mention, Runner-Up and Winner.

Illustrator Coordinator Temika Grooms interviewed the 2018 Liz Conrad Awardee Laura Moss to learn more about her work.

 I received the award letter on my birthday, and it could not have been a sweeter birthday gift. It was such a huge surprise to pull the envelope from my mailbox, frantically tear it open and read it on my porch! It's a pretty amazing feeling and great honor to be chosen for an award from SCBWI since it's the largest platform that recognizes illustrators and writers for their work. So for me, I'd like to think the award was confirmation of me as an artist, and that illustrating children's books is what I was meant to do. Thank you to those of you who selected me for this prestigious award. It means a lot.

Laura, congratulations on winning this year’s Liz Conrad Award! Share with us a bit about what inspired the pieces you submitted for review. 

 The piece I submitted for this award was directly related to my own struggles growing up. I had really big feet when I was young and went through a lot of insecurities as a child because of it. When I got older, I promised myself I'd write and illustrate a story for children who experienced similar situations when faced with diversity. That is the reason for naming the book, "Little girl. Big feat!" This book was the best way for me to show kids that being different was okay, and not only okay, but to show them their differences were beautiful! The images that I painted for this award were pulled right from the days when I went to school; a very emotional, sad and confused young girl with big feet. I laugh at it now, but I do remember it was challenging for me at age 10 to wear a size 10.5.

What do you use to create your illustrations?  Do you have a special process or something that helps you get in the work flow?

I create children's books digitally, using Photoshop because it's more efficient over traditional methods. The only time I paint traditionally is when I'm asked to do a commissioned piece for someone. As far as my process, I would call it a routine more than a process. Before I start my day working on any illustration, I get up and go workout to get my blood pumping. I need to feel energized and alive before I start to paint because I know the long hours ahead will be spent confined to my office or the inside of a random cafe.

We love to learn about the spaces where artists work because they vary greatly.  What is the one thing you can’t live without when it comes to art making?

All I have to do is turn on my Spotify playlist, which includes, but is not limited to jazz, hip-hop, rock, blues and so on. I can create anywhere. Music always brings me back to a place and time, so I always need a great playlist to get me going. Oh, and Kendrick Lamar. I can’t forget my Kendrick Lamar! :)

Your application mentioned that you were inspired by children’s book illustration at an early age.  Who is your greatest inspiration?  Do you have any special projects or work coming up that you’d like to share?

At a very young age I knew I wanted to be an artist. The book that started it all for me was Ezra Jack Keats’s, "A Snowy Day." It was the very first time I saw a child that looked just like me inside a children's book. It was huge! I mean, i saw more animals represented in books than I saw people that looked like me, so naturally it was a really big deal and I'm sure for every child of color who read it felt the same way.  Since then, I've fallen in love with storytelling. Creating "Little girl. Big feat", had always been a dream of mine. Not only to create a beautiful visual representation of what I experienced, but true reflections and stories that represent what we all see in everyday life. In an industry that doesn't always reflect that idea, I would like to begin to change that. Inclusion would mean that we all matter and what better way to tell a child they exist is to show them in the books they read. My latest picture book project, "Little girl. Big feat." will be released by the end of this year, just in time for the holiday season! So be sure to check the Facebook page to get the latest updates and release info.

Where can we learn more about your work?

Friday, April 6, 2018

An SCBWI Southern Breeze Shout Out!

SCBWI is all about supporting our writers and illustrators, and in the Southern Breeze region, we have lots of opportunities! Last month, we had a handful of Breezers attend an event know what? I'll let Breezer and author, Amy M. O'Quinn tell you more:

The UGA Hotel and Conference Center in Athens was the place to be March 23-24, 2018! The building was abuzz with all sorts of bookish goodness, as attendees of the 49th annual Children’s Book Awards & Conference on Children’s Literature were treated to the most amazing keynote author presentations and workshops—and a lineup of interesting concurrent sessions on topics ranging from ways to get boys excited about reading to how to use fiction books to teach science and STEM. There was something for everyone!

I took part in a GCBA session last year (2017) presented by SCBWI members called “Authors in Your Backyard.” I had such a wonderful time that I submitted a proposal for a solo presentation this year called “Get Up Close and Personal! Spark Student Interest with Real Life Stories of Scientists and Inventors.” I was thrilled it was accepted! As an author/educator, I’ve interacted with students, teachers, and parents often over the last thirty years. And I’ve found that when students become invested in the life and struggles of a scientist or inventor, they become more interested in learning about that person’s discoveries or inventions. And I love to share great resources to that end. I had a lot of fun with the attendees who came to my session.

PAL Coordinator, Heather Montgomery, organized another SCBWI session for this conference called “The Book in You.” She invited SCWBI authors/members who would already be in attendance or presenting to take part in this jam-packed session. There were five of us —Heather Montgomery, Shelli Johannes, Randi Sonenshine, Paula Puckett, and me. We all created PowerPoint slides and chose specific talking points about the process of writing, being an author, and/or getting published. Heather did an amazing job pulling the whole thing together, and we presented to a room full of ‘aspiring author’ attendees. Based on comments and questions, they undoubtedly found our session to be very valuable. Just another outstanding SCBWI service!

I do enjoy the camaraderie with other authors and mingling with fellow book lovers, so attending the GCBA is a top priority for me. As a presenter, I was required to pay the conference registration fee, but that meant I also had full access to all the concurrent sessions. Moreover, I feel that this money is a marketing investment. It gives me yet another opportunity to make contact with educators and librarians from all over the state who are interested in my topic, presentation, or book, which lead to invitations for school visits or presentations.

It’s a win-win!

Amy M. O’Quinn is an educator and author of Marie Curie for Kids: Her Life and Scientific Discoveries, with 21 Activities and Experiments, published in 2106 by Chicago Review Press. Her next book, Nikola Tesla for Kids, is scheduled to be released in 2019. Amy and her family live on the family farm in rural south Georgia. Find out more about her and her work at

Monday, April 2, 2018

Breezers in the Neighborhood: APRIL!

It's warming up in our region, and our Southern Breezers are warming up with several events that you can attend!

April 21

If you're in Georgia near the metro Atlanta area, come out to Stephanie Moody's workshop:

What:              Writer's Workshop With a Christian Focus

When:             Saturday, April 21, 10:30 AM

Where:            NE Spruill Oaks Library
                        9560 Spruill Rd.
                        Johns Creek, GA  30022

Join Author and photographer Deborah Malone who will lead "Writing Christian Fiction 101"and author April Love Fordham as she discusses "My Journey as a Christian Author." As always, workshops are FREE and open to the public! For more information or to register, contact Stephanie at

If you're in Alabama, we have Breezers in several spots you can visit!

Author Alayne Smith will be participating in the Alabama Book Festival in Montgomery. Her YA novel, Ellen and the Three Predictions will be available for sale and signing. And authors Ash Parsons and Peter Huggins will also be at the festival. Come see them (and their books)!

Author Claire Datnow will be presenting "Writing Nature into Fiction and Non-Fiction:" How authors can seamlessly incorporate nature and science-based information into their writing to make their stories more powerful, entertaining and relevant.

When:     Third Saturday (April 21) 10:00 AM

Where:    Daphne Public Library
                2607 US98
                Daphne, AL 36526

April 28

Author Sucheta Rawal will be at the All About Kids Expo In Gwinnett County!

What:   Book Talk and Signing (Beato Goes To series)

When:  11:00 AM

Where:   Gwinnett County Fairgrounds
               2405 Sugarloaf Parkway
               Lawrenceville, GA 30045

Sucheta's presentation is free as is the entire Kid's Expo. Please see more information here.

So come out and enjoy the spring weather and your Southern Breezers in April. And if you have an event coming up, let us know so we can add you to the fun!