Thursday, December 8, 2011

Picture Book Writer Jesalyn Cole & MeeGenius! Contest

Today I'm excited to welcome my dear friend, Jesalyn Cole. We live in the same town and met when our daughters were in tumbling class together. Jesalyn is one of the first friends I made after moving back from China. 

Well, Jesalyn discovered my secret (that I write novels) and then told me her secret (that she writes picture books) and that gave us just one more reason to like each other.

Jesalyn has two stories in the MeeGenius! picture book contest. I invited her to come on the blog for a quick interview to tell us more about this endeavor. 

How long have you been writing?
I actually started writing stories for fun while in 3rd or 4th grade and was selected by teachers to attend a few creative writing workshops. I started writing children's stories and picture books about 4 years ago, but only this year have started telling people about them and calling myself an author.
Why did you decide to write picture books?
I love picture books and the beautiful illustrations that bring the words to life. I enjoy writing in rhymes and patterns. I have fun playing with words and trying to create the illustrations for readers with only the text.

Give us one sentence summaries of your stories.
Joey is an almost 7 year old who requests a giraffe for his birthday by way of a letter to his parents explaining what life with a giraffe will look like in their household.
Emma is having trouble going to sleep due to multiple distractions from all sorts of sources (real and imaginary) throughout the house, much to her mother's dismay and impatience.
Who or what inspired these stories?
My four year old daughter gives me lots of inspiration. One day we were driving home from preschool and she mentioned that she wanted a giraffe for a pet. So, I started asking her questions about where the giraffe would live, what it would eat, etc. She had some great ideas! I couldn't get home fast enough to start writing it all down! Emma's story was inspired by a friend's Facebook post about her own daughter not being able to sleep due to their dog being in her room, dancing on her bed and wearing a sombrero. I could see it SO vividly that I decided to try other scenarios and ended up with an entire picture book. 
Explain how the MeeGenius! contest works and how we can vote for you.
MeeGenius! Is a New York City based digital publisher and this competition is taking place nationwide. There are two ways to advance through the "Manuscript Voting Round": 1) The stories to get the most “Likes” from the Facebook community and 2) “Staff Favorites” will be picked by MeeGenius to enter the Finalists Round. You will need a Facebook account to vote and voters can only vote once per manuscript.  This round of voting concludes December 18. The stories selected will be professionally edited, illustrated and enhanced for e-readers before another, final round of voting will take place.  If one of my stories is selected, I will not only get $1,500 for the story but Keene Riverview Elementary (our local elementary school) will get a complete digital library for its students.   
Below are the links to the stories and voting:

Thank you, Jesalyn! Best of luck!

If you have time to check this out, it's a really cool contest. Jesalyn's stories are so cute. Has anyone else entered? Any picture book writers out there who may be interested in this next year? (Assuming MeeGenius! will do this again next year!) And if none of the above apply to you, leave Jesalyn an encouraging note in the comments. I know she'd appreciate it! 


  1. Good luck and I hope you win! I remember how I and my kids (when they were younger) loved the pictures in colorful, picture books. It did make the story come to life.. even today my 11 year old has 'Spot The Dog' tucked away in a corner.

  2. I think it's way cool that you have another children's writer right in your town Amy. Good luck with the MeeGenius contest Jesalyn. You have cute stories. Sorry, but I don't do facebook or participate in these kinds of voting contests.

  3. Do you want to know my secret?
    Sshhh......anybody listening?
    My secret is...gasp...choke...ugghhhggghmmm...
    Foiled Again

  4. Nice to meet you, Jesalyn, and good luck! I admire writers who can write picture books, as I have tried and failed. :)
    Unfortunately I don't have facebook, but the contest sounds great--I'll let my friends who DO have it know!

  5. Best of luck Jessalyn! Good for you for putting yourself out there. Not so easy!

  6. LOL, Susan Fields and I knew each other a little bit for years. Our daughters were friends. When they went into middle school I was over at her house and I noticed a lot of material that looked like she was a writer too. We've been super friends ever since....

    Good luck, Jesalyn! It was nice to meet you.

  7. I'd not heard of the MeeGenius contest before. I love those story scenarios (wish I'd thought of them first!!) Good luck to Jesalyn with the competition.