Thursday, January 17, 2019

Spring to Success with SpringMingle'19 and the PRO Track!

PAL Coordinator Heather Montgomery sent this very important message:

Calling all published and professional creators! We’ve got something special to look forward to in March.

At this year’s Springmingle, Southern Breeze is offering their first-ever PRO Track Intensive. What exactly is PRO Track? A Friday filled with sessions on advanced topics. Want straight talk on advances, marketing, and longevity in your career? Author/agent/all-around rock star Alexandra Penfold’s got a session on that. How about marketing tips from an author who has had 14 books on the NY Times bestselling list? Ellen Hopkins has got that covered. See, these are topics for folks with experience, from folks with experience.

PRO Track will be Friday, March 15, 2019 and will be held at the Decatur Presbyterian Church, next door to the public library in Decatur, GA. It is open to any attendee who has published work for children.

What if you love the idea of learning at an advanced level, but there’s a topic in the picture book or novel intensive that’s calling to you? Really want to hear Kevin Lewis speak about creating works for the very young? Absolutely can’t stand to miss Jessica Anderson’s intensive on revision tricks? You are in luck. This year when you register for the full day of intensives, you can choose different tracks in the morning and the afternoon. Brilliant! Southern Breeze nonfiction author Jennifer Swanson will be coordinating the PRO Track and she'll be happy to answer any questions you might have about this new feature. You can contact her at

And there’s more. The esteemed Joe Davich, Executive Director of the Georgia Center for the Book, will be leading a session on building connections with librarians – we can all use some of that. Plus he’ll share how books are considered for ALA and state awards. Can any of us afford to miss that!?!

PAL members of Southern Breeze often request the space and time to learn from one another. By sheer virtue of attending together, this intensive can offer that; however, Southern Breeze wanted to offer additional opportunities to engage. The last session of the day will be roundtable discussions, each on a topic of attendees’ choice. Bring your burning questions, pick your colleagues’ brains, leave with fresh ideas and deeper connections.

So this Pro Track has a lot to offer the experienced creator, but don’t forget about the rest of the conference. There will be book launches, book sales on Friday and Saturday, and (thanks to more break-out options this year) Springmingle has several advanced sessions on Saturday.

But, what if you are pre-published? Will you be left out? No worries – there will be plenty at the conference for you. For one, there will be lots of published folks to rub elbows with (and buy books from!). Plus, just look at the master-level sessions you have to look forward to once you get that first “Yes!” Southern Breeze has something for everyone.

It’s called Springmingle, but I think it should be called Springforward. Sure there’s opportunities to mix and mingle, and no fooling we love and need that, but the pace of learning can be lightning fast. We hope to see you at Southern Breeze’s annual conference!

Thanks, Heather! And though the early bird savings have flown away, you can still get a discount on Springmingle if you win the Spread the Word Contest! All you need to do is blog, tweet, update, Instagram...any way you want to spread the word about Springmingle'19 is great! But it won't count for the contest if you don't let us know! So start spreading the word, and then send how you spread the word to Spring to Success at Springmingle'19!

                                    CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY!

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Inside Scoop on Illustrators' Day 2019

Illustrator Coordinator TeMika Grooms is here with all the info on Illustrators' Day:

Join the Children's Book Illustration Community for our day dedicated to The Art of Storytelling.

We will dive into developing craft and the business to building a career as an illustrator in a competitive market. There are many paths to publication. We want you to be a strong visual storyteller no matter what path you choose.

 Keeping your work fresh as you grow your voice is important for illustrators.We'll kick off the day with Mark Braught, Award-Winning Illustrator and Educator. He will break down creating Self-Promotional Pieces Outside Your Client Projects. This insightful presentation will explore the difficult process of creating an illustration for yourself, why it’s important to keep this in your practice and how to approach this daunting challenge.

Maria Middleton, Art Director for Candlewick Press, will challenge us in Quick on the Draw! Hands on Workshop & Critique, a hands-on craft workshop, because illustrators need to work fast in this ever-changing industry. Bring your pens, pencils and sketch pads to gain valuable feedback from Art Director Maria Middleton as she takes you through a hands-on activity and brief review of your work.

She will follow the craft session with a mentorship review that challenged mentees to act as author-illustrators and discover new characters for their work. The Drawing on Discovery Mentorship Review will take a close look at the process of discovering the magical, terrible, wonderful, and shocking world of characters for your next story. The art director will provide a live review of Picture Book spreads and Middle Grade covers created in the Illustration Mentorship. This is a great session for any author-illustrator seeking to learn more about the art of storytelling.

Kevin Lewis, Agent for the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, will delve into the Things Art School Will Never Teach You: Publishing Insights for Illustrators (Especially Those Who Endeavor to Write). This session will give valuable hints from experience as an editor to Loren Long, Tony DiTerlizzi, LeUyen Pham, Kadir Nelson, Cynthia Rylant, Matt Cordell, Brian Pinkney, Antionette Portis, and Dav Pilkey, as an author, and as a picture book fanatic.

We will also announce the 2019 Liz Conrad Award Winner in honor of Illustrator Liz Conrad. Make sure you bring your portfolios to showcase you work during the Portfolio Show and experience the fast-paced Quick Fire Portfolio Review! We’ll round out the day with a faculty panel, with the addition of Monica Odom, Agent for Liza Dawson Associates, as they give us final thoughts on how to position ourselves for success in the kids lit market.

Thanks, TeMika! There's still room for YOU at Illustrators' Day, March 15th in Decatur, GA--click here to register today!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Spring to Success with SpringMingle'19 and a PITCH PARTY!

This year, we’re starting the conference with a pitch party! I'm so excited, I can't stand it! We're all excited! But seriously, I may be a little too excited. And that won't be a good thing because there are rules for the Pitch Party and I need to remember 'em. So do you, if you want to participate. I think we should all take a deep breath and look at how the Pitch Party works:

1.       If you’re interested in presenting a pitch (IT’s FREE!), sign up when you register. Look for the button labeled “Start With a Pitch!”

2.       Perfect your pitch! (For more information about a pitch and what makes a good one, see this excellent post from Paula Yoo atTara Lazar’s blog. Or take a look around and research "giving a pitch" for writers. There's lots of good information available.

3.       Bring your pitch with you when you come for Springmingle’19.

4.       The morning of the conference, we’ll select 15 names from those who have signed up. We’ll announce the names at the beginning of the Pitch Party. YOU MUST BE IN ATTENDANCE AND READY TO PARTICIPATE. If you choose at that time NOT to participate, do not line up.

5.       Each person participating will have up to one minute to make the pitch. You may wish to read your pitch rather than memorize it. Either way, at one minute, you must stop.

6.       Each member of the Pitch Panel may or may not give feedback. Faculty will be given two minutes for the entire panel to respond so please listen carefully.

This is a new feature for Southern Breeze, so we'll be learning as you learn, too. Here’s the plan: we expect each pitch and the feedback to take three minutes. We hope to get through at least 12 pitches in the time allotted for this session. And we hope you’ll love this experience!

Don’t forget about our Spread the Word Contest, Breezers! Every time you spread the word—in a tweet, blog post, update or any social media—you’ll get an entry in the contest. The Breezer with the most entries will win $50 off registration, refunded to you when the contests ends (March 5th). For more details, check out this earlier post from our Southern Breeze blog.

So register today and get Early Bird savings and Spring to Success with SpringMingle'19 at the PITCH PARTY!

(And I sincerely hope no one--and by no one, I mean me--passes out from the excitement of it all!)


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Spring To Success with SpringMingle'19 and AGENTS!

We're so excited to bring a handful of helpful agents to SpringMingle'19! Here's a quick introduction to our stellar list:

Alexandra Penfold is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary Agency and an author herself with  a couple of published books. She represents children's book authors and illustrators, and she'll be presenting several sessions on the Friday writing intensive tracks as well as an advanced breakout session on Saturday.

Kevin Lewis is an agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, primarily focusing on writer-illustrators and diverse voices. He, too, is an author, with almost a dozen published picture books! He'll be very busy on Friday, with sessions at both the Picture Book Track and Illustrators' Day. And he'll join us on Saturday for a breakout session where he'll take a look at the #OwnVoices movement and other current publishing topics.

Monica Odom is an agent at Liza Dawson Associates where she represents a variety of nonfiction, literary, and upmarket fiction. She is committed to the expansion of diversity and inclusivity in the publishing industry. She's presenting a breakout session on Saturday for all the nonfiction writers out there.

With the ease of online querying, many agencies have found themselves slammed and closing their doors to submissions. And many publishing houses only accept agented submissions! So give yourself a helping hand and attend our conference. You could be the next writer or illustrator to Spring to Success with a little help from one of our agents!

And don’t forget about our Spread the Word Contest! Every time you spread the word—in a tweet, blog post, update or any social media—you’ll get an entry in the contest. The Breezer with the most entries will win $50 off registration, refunded to you when the contests ends (March 5th). For more details, check out this earlier post from our Southern Breeze blog.

Early Bird registration is available now through January 15th! Come join us and Spring to Success with SpringMingle'19!

                                      REGISTRATION OPEN! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Spring to Success with SpringMingle'19: Early Bird Registration Opens Today!

Are you ready for success? Because Southern Breeze is ready with a SpringMingle bursting at the seams with so much that we had to add more space!

On Friday, March 15, our Illustrators’ Day activities and sessions will be at the Decatur Public Library, while our writer’s intensives—with three different tracks—will be right next door at the Decatur Presbyterian Church. An added feature this year is that attendees for the writer’s intensives can switch it up. You can sign up for one track in the morning and a different track in the afternoon. So you don’t have to choose between picture books or novels—you can do them both! Or you can spend your whole day in one track. Whichever path is going to lead you to success, register early!

Early Bird registration opens today! That means a $25 discount for you early birds. But act fast because Early Bird registration ends January 15th.

And the early bird gets more than a discount. Slots fill up quickly for those additional, optional activities like one-on-ones with an agent, so don’t delay and sign up early to get a head start on your success!

The conference on Saturday, March 16, will take place in both locations. We’ll open SpringMingle’19 in the library auditorium with another new feature: a Pitch Party with our panel of agents! You can find more details at the Southern Breeze website when you register. But you can always get more information when you check in at the Southern Breeze blog all this month for highlights of SpringMingle’19, including more about our Pitch Party.

And don’t forget about our Spread the Word Contest! Every time you spread the word—in a tweet, blog post, update or any social media—you’ll get an entry in the contest. The Breezer with the most entries will win $50 off registration, refunded to you when the contests ends (March 5th). For more details, check out this earlier post from our Southern Breeze blog.

Ready to Spring to Success with SpringMingle’19? Register before January 15th and get Early Bird savings! We can’t wait to see you in Decatur, March 15th and 16th!


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Breezers in Your Neighborhood: JANUARY 2019!

Happy New Year, Breezers!

 And what could be better than starting the year off with your Southern Breeze friends? (Hint: There's nothing better! Unless a contract popped up in your Inbox. A contract might be the teensiest bit better.)

Sunday, January 13

Lisa Stauffer will be at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA at 2 PM for story time. Bring a little one or just bring yourself as Lisa uses song, improv, art, and imagination to explore the often-told Noah's Ark story and how it became something new in Stauffer's Two By Two.

Saturday, January 19

Join our Illustration Coordinator, TeMika Grooms, for a FREE Children's Illustration Critique session. Bring your sketchbooks because they'll be sharing tips to help you find inspiration in your work! And they'll be opportunities for networking and seeing the work of other artists, plus much more.

When: 12:30 to 2 PM

Where: Stonecrest Library
             3123 Klondike Road
             Lithonia, GA

RSVP please! Contact TeMika at for more details and/or RSVP. This event is sponsored by the Dekalb County Library System, Litfest, SCBWI Southern Breeze, and Muse Arts Press.

PAL member Carrie Dalby Cox will be the guest presenter at the Baldwin Writers Group. The group meets at the Daphne Public Library (AL) at 10:00 AM; the meeting is open and free to the public.

Whether you're struggling to find time to write, are in search of fresh inspiration, or trying to increase your daily word count, join Carrie Dalby as she goes through helpful reminders about carving writing space into your life. "Get Possessed with Writing" will inspire you to seek your muse everywhere and drive your project--and word count--to the next level.

Saturday, January 26

Local Liaison Melissa Miles is hosting an event in Savannah, Georgia. As always, these events are free and open to the public.

Who: SCBWI PAL member and author, Susan Montanari

What: Susan will discuss her path to publication, including querying agents and the editing process.

Where: Southwest Chatham Library, Savannah, GA

When:  1:00 PM