The Mayhem is HERE: The Official Release of Absolute Mayhem

I am vibrating just a bit. Finally, here is the blog post four years in the making. If we want to be technical, it has really been more like twenty-five years in the making. But twenty-one of those years were just spent dreaming…the last four were the ones to see the actual work that made this dream a reality. So let’s stop putting this off any long and get right to it then:

ABSOLUTE MAYHEM IS HERE!

My very first children’s book, Absolute Mayhem, is officially available as of TODAY! And all I can say is that I am kind of excited to go someplace like a doctor’s office where I have to fill out a form, just so I can finally list my occupation as Author, after almost ten years of leaving that space blank. I mean, I can totally do that now. I have a business card that says so.

Absolute Mayhem by Kelly SuellentropIf the space on that form isn’t too small, I can also list myself as an Illustrator. In addition to writing Absolute Mayhem, I also did all of the illustrations, which was hands down THE most enjoyable part of this whole project. I have fallen in love with my characters, the sister and brother duo of Lulu and Milo, almost as much as I love my own children. And I sincerely hope they are able to charm you and your family as well, along with their tag-a-long dog Hippo.

Lulu, Milo, Hippo and I have spent a lot of time together getting them ready to go out on their own. I had a lot less time to prepare them to fly the nest than I do with my own children; then again, they aren’t half as stubborn and don’t distract me from my mission by leaving lots of messes to clean up. I can also erase their mouths if they get sassy. So they have now graduated from the desk of my comfy home office to the big world of KellySuellentrop.com and Amazon, just in time for the holidays!

Please help me spread the word about Absolute Mayhem. To sweeten the deal, I am having a GIVEAWAY! Two people will each win a free autographed copy of the book. You can be entered to win the following ways:

#1 – Visit my giveaway on Rafflecopter HERE for various ways to earn entries.

#2 – If you are a blogger, REBLOG this post.

#3 – Go to either my new AUTHOR FACEBOOK PAGE or the ARE YOU FINISHED YET FACEBOOK PAGE, find the post announcing Absolute Mayhem’s release on the timeline, and share it. (And go ahead and give those pages a “like” while you’re there, if you haven’t already.)

#4SHARE this blog post using the social media sharing buttons below, and let me know where you shared it in the comment section.

The giveaway will run today until midnight on Sunday, December 7th (Central Time). I will announce the winners on Tuesday, December 9th here on the blog and on my social media outlets.

Of course, you can always purchase your own copy of the book on KellySuellentrop.com and on Amazon. (And after you read the book, I would love for you to leave a customer review over on Amazon!)

In the coming weeks, Absolute Mayhem will be visiting lots of different and awesome places around the internet, and I am really excited about that. So stay tuned! In the meantime, let me just say thank you in advance to all of you who are going to share the book with your friends and families.

It will be pretty nice to have the last four years pay off.

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Hibernation Supplies

Oh joy. Rapture. Winter is upon us.

(I hope you noticed my lack of exclamation points.)

Our first dose of snow hit us over the weekend, so I guess Fall has officially packed it in for 2014. Christmas has obnoxiously butted its way in front of Thanksgiving, and once again, my children are ill-prepared in the area of winter weather attire. (When will I learn and just buy freaking snow boots as soon as they hit Target’s shelves?) Thankfully, my son’s Kindergarten teacher was ahead of the game and started getting her students into a chilly mindset. The other day, Michael came home with a worksheet about hibernation, and he had to draw pictures of things he would take with him if he had to hide himself away for a warm winter’s nap, just like a bear. Continue reading “Hibernation Supplies”

Calling All Bloggers: Join the Absolute Mayhem Brigade

It’s time to get serious, and I need your help.

Last week I received my first proof of my upcoming children’s book, Absolute MayhemAnd while there are still a few minor changes that need to be made, I’m a little giddy when I tell you it looks AWESOME! Like, it’s a real book and everything. So that means it will be ready for the masses so soon that it’s not even funny.

Absolute Mayhem Kelly Suellentrop
See? I told you. Real book.

Continue reading “Calling All Bloggers: Join the Absolute Mayhem Brigade”

Obligatory Weekly Post…And Pee Wee

Okay, so this post is kind of like a placeholder. I seemed to have forgotten to add “blogging” to my calendar this week, but I did add “randomly redecorating my bedroom,” which has totally been a time suck for the past three days. I almost decided to just ignore you all until next Tuesday, but it always feels like a slippery slope if I skip a week of publishing words on the internet. So this is what you’re getting.

But you know me. I’m going to give you the best damn placeholder I can.

First, BOOK UPDATE!!! (My favorite part.) I have officially finished illustrations for my upcoming children’s book. So, um, that means I, like, am really doing this. Holy crap on a cracker. I don’t have any of them scanned in to show you yet, but here is a photo I took a few weeks ago of me drinking beer while drawing. Yes, folks. When you read your children this book, you can now wonder how many illustrations I drew totally wasted.

This is totally appropriate.
This is totally appropriate.

This week I have a meeting to begin working on my new author website, which I will hopefully be sharing with everyone soon! Don’t worry…Are You Finished Yet? isn’t going anywhere. It’s just going to get a new baby sibling.

Second, my writing is going to be featured at some pretty big places in the coming weeks. Where, you ask? Well, you’re just going to have to wait and see. Suspense.built.

Third, the best thing that happened to me in the past week was that my brother and sister-in-law sent me the double feature DVD of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure AND Big Top Pee Wee. It’s like I didn’t even know my life was incomplete until it showed up on my doorstep. And I want to share some of the joy with you. You know you love this scene:

See? Best damned placeholder ever. Have a great rest of the week, folks!

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My Big Announcement: “I’m Cheating On You”

Some of you may have noticed I have been a little distant lately. Phoning it in with archived blog posts. Not reading or commenting on the works of my fellow bloggers. Failing to dazzle you with my freakishly vivid childhood memories as part of the Remember the Time Blog Hop. I understand that all good relationships need to be nurtured, and I am not really doing my share over here. And it is time you knew the reason why…

I have been cheating on you. Artistically speaking.

I would like you all to meet the pair who has been on the receiving end of most of my creative energy lately:

updatedmayhemcoverblog
Rough copy of the cover

This is Lulu and Milo. They are the starring characters in my very first children’s book, Absolute Mayhem. The story is complete, and I am currently working (very painstakingly, I might add) on the illustrations.

This book has been a dream years in the making, and while I am closer than I have ever been to making it a reality, it sometimes still feels I am eons away from completing it. I have even had second…and third…and fourth thoughts about sharing just this little bit of it with all of you. Because I can’t say exactly when Lulu and Milo will be ready to fly. I fall in love with these two crazy kids more and more each time I make the curves of their over-sized heads or put the sweet circles of rose in their cheeks. So I want them to be perfect when I send them off into the world.

Thankfully, their first introduction to anyone besides my family and a few close friends was pure deliciousness. My son’s Kindergarten class had been working on a storytelling unit, and his teacher asked if I would bring in my sketches so the children could see the creative process of writing and illustrating a book. And since a bunch of five- and six-year-old kids are pretty much my exact target market, I figured this would be a brilliant way to get some valuable feedback.

And feedback I got. The kids were engaged, curious, and gave the sweetest, yummiest compliments I could have ever hoped for. One little boy raised his hand and simply said, “I think your drawings are beautiful.” I pretty much melted into a pool of maple syrup. They asked intelligent and thoughtful questions about the writing and illustrating processes. I was as impressed with them as they seemed to be with my book.authorvisitmontage

But guys, that wasn’t even the best part. After I had spoken to all four Kindergarten classes, I walked out with my son to the lunch room and sat with him while he ate. Kids kept coming up, asking me for hugs and saying hello. The next night, his school had a movie event, and again, kids would run up to me and say, “Hey! I saw you! I know you! You’re the book lady!” I felt like an honest to goodness celebrity with the bestest littlest cutest most huggiest fans ever. And I promised those kids that Lulu and Milo would be out to play with them soon.

So now you know where my priorities are for the moment. I have some kindergartners to answer to. I am still going to try really hard to post here once a week…but don’t be surprised if archived posts pop in now and again. (Or if any of my blogging buddies want to help a girl out with some guest posts, just let me know!) I am still going to try really hard to visit the other blogs I love and read the awesome things you all have to say…but don’t be surprised if I fall short now and again. (At any given moment, I have open tabs with blogs I hope to get to later that day. Some of those tabs stay open for weeks.) But when it comes down to it, Lulu and Milo need me more right now.

So I am hoping you all will stick with me. I know blogging is a fickle business, so I haven’t been surprised by my recent declining stats. It is what it is. But I would love for you to keep your eye out for more updates on Lulu and Milo sprinkled in between my regular nonsense. In addition to the blog, I will be keeping my Facebook and Twitter accounts abreast of book happenings as well (but let’s be honest. I’m mostly just on Facebook. Whenever I open my Twitter feed, I just get anxious and overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy over my apparent tweeting disability).

OH, and since I have nothing else going on, I have also decided to officially make my editing services available to a wider market. I have been quietly doing freelance editing as a side dish, but have now taken the plunge to make it more of a main course. You can find more information on my Editing Services page.

As a final note, I love you guys, and thanks for being such supportive cheerleaders. You always make this a fun little party space.

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A Monkey Could Figure Out What Publishers Want

I am guest posting over on Tipsy Lit today to close out their Children’s Literature Week. I guess you could say this is my official announcement that I’m writing a book. I know. A blogger, writing a book? It’s unheard of. While in many ways it may seem like a natural step, it doesn’t always feel natural. In fact, it usually feels uncomfortable and frustrating writing and illustrating a book, even before a publisher enters the picture.

I hope you will head over to Tipsy Lit and check it out! Thanks!

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Shocker: E.L. James Took NONE of My Suggestions

Twitter and Facebook feeds are blowing up. A cure for cancer? Nope. Peace declared in Syria? Uh-uh. Finally an Ikea in St. Louis? There are rumors, but nothing confirmed. No, the breaking news heard ’round the world is that the roles for the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey have been cast. Hear me *squee*…………….Did you hear me?…….oh wait. That’s right. I couldn’t give a whip and chain.

Aside from the fact that I didn’t recognize any of the actors Continue reading “Shocker: E.L. James Took NONE of My Suggestions”

A Sideways New Year’s Greeting

I have been feeling uninspired lately. Which is funny, because I have been having a lovely time of things. Christmas was merry, providing gathering after gathering of friends and family for whom I am ever increasingly grateful. Our typical Midwestern grumblings about there being no point in getting the kids new snow boots thanks to global warming has been silenced by a smattering of powdered fluff…not quite enough to cover the tops of grassy blades, but enough for some good snowballs and the breaking in of brand new sleds that sat untouched last year. And of course, tonight is New Year’s Eve, which we will spend with good friends. There will no doubt be a lot of laughter as we sit on the brink of yearly rebirth.

237987161529057325_5S1KRotJ_bTrue, I have been busy. It is a busy time of year. But it has nevertheless been in the back of my mind that I should be writing some cleverly witty post about New Year’s: a new take on resolutions (i.e. a new way to beat a dead horse)? A reflection on the past year (i.e. regurgitate my archives)? Make a montage to Dick Clark (i.e. play the sentimental card)? But I just could not muster the desire. I just could not think of anything to say that I felt anyone should devote even a few minutes of their time to read.

But then I read these words as I was checking Facebook: “Life grows sideways.” It is a line from a book written by Michael Nesmith called The American Gene (available for download at videoranch.com), which admittedly, I have yet to read. But the notion intrigued me; it made sense. Life does not build on itself in a linear sense with predictable moments of change. The only reason we see the changing of December 31st to January 1st as a new beginning is because we have assigned that meaning to it. For some of us, it becomes a new beginning because we make it so. We use the excuse of a tumblr_mfp1jq1LBa1qzn9pno1_500fresh, unmarked calendar as the impetus to make changes. And there is nothing wrong with that in the least. But for others of us, things stay relatively the same, including our attitudes. Or if we do change, it is not because we are suddenly writing 2013 at the end of the date. Metamorphosis can happen at any time. We can choose to reinvent ourselves on a Wednesday in the middle of September. Or life can choose to throw something at us when we least expect it, giving us no choice but to change.

More than anything, pondering the idea that “life grows sideways” helped me understand why perhaps I have not been feeling so motivated to write a New Year’s post. Instead, I stopped worrying about it and went outside to watch my kids play in the snow. Then I sat down and let all these thoughts flow out of me. Inspiration does come when you least expect it. Now I can feel as if I have met my self-imposed deadline, and enjoy watching the ball drop exactly when I expect it to.

Happy New Year. Happy Life.

Let’s Make These Boobs Go VIRAL!

Great Day St. Louis
Me, Maggie, and Susan on the set

If you read my last post, you know I had a very important task to do yesterday. And despite being a tad on the side of super-duper-über nervous, I am happy to say that appearing on one of our local morning shows, Great Day St. Louis, actually went surprisingly well.

I have referred to myself in a previous post as being apparently really lame in person, and that I should only communicate my thoughts via my blog, where I can bypass the mockery my mouth always seems to make of the words that form in my head. History has proven that am more likely to flub up than appear cool and graceful in high pressure situations. Thankfully that was not the case yesterday; and I could not be more relieved. Because yesterday held much higher stakes than impressing some celebrity I adore. Yesterday I risked the unforgiving microscope of high def television to help promote Milk Diaries: a compilation of practical, encouraging advice from the “real” breastfeeding experts. You may have seen me mention it before. It is important to me to help get the word out about this book for few reasons:

1. The author, Maggie Singleton, is a very dear friend of mine. But she is also very talented, and I have watched in awe as she has traveled this journey of growing a seed of an idea into a real life book, doing most of the hard work herself. And doing it in a way that is full of wisdom, encouragement, humor, and even a bit of brilliance.

Milk Diaries by Maggie Singleton2. I believe in the message of the book. Milk Diaries is unlike any book I ever read as a new mother, and in the best way possible. Not only is it like getting really great advice from your girlfriends, sister, or mother, but it is a non-judgmental exploration in how mothers can succeed at breastfeeding in a myriad of ways. It is accepting of all breastfeeding viewpoints on the spectrum, whether you are a mom who wants to exclusively breastfeed, a mother who wants to nurse her children well past the year mark, a mom who wants to use a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding, a working mother who pumps, or a struggling mother who is unsure of how long she wants to continue breastfeeding. There is a story in there for everyone, and a voice that will help each mother feel confident in whatever decision she chooses to make.

3. If Maggie becomes famous, I fully intend to ride her coattails seeing as how I contributed one of the stories in the book, “The Lactation Consultant from the Black Lagoon.” You know, I plan to be the Solange Knowles to her Beyoncé.

So considering the above reasons, I am glad I didn’t pull a “classic Kelly” moment, made famous by the great Micky Dolenz Debacle of 2011 and the Andy Cohen Catastrophe of 2012. I didn’t even make some ill-informed comment about “legitimate breastfeeding.” Whew. (I did use the word “zest” twice, as if that is a word used in natural conversation. Weird, but not damaging.) And I might add that Maggie was very graceful under pressure, appearing quite “authorly;” and Susan, another contributor to Milk Diaries, further proved that Maggie chose some great moms to share their stories in her book.

I also want to thank the people over at Great Day St. Louis who were very welcoming and not intimidating whatsoever. Their easy-going attitudes definitely put the three of us at ease, and it was nice to hear Virginia Kerr endorse the book as something she wishes she had when she was a new mother.

And now the moment you have all been waiting for…the roundtable discussion of the year. Please share this with anyone you know who is expecting a child, who is struggling with breastfeeding, or who wants to read a book that will make her feel great about being a mom. Let’s make Milk Diaries go VIRAL!!! Boobs do really well in the viral world.


(P.S. You can find Milk Diaries on Amazon. If you live in the St. Louis area, you can pick up a copy at the Ballwin or St. Peter’s locations of Once Upon a Child or at Main Street Books in St. Charles.)