When I started blogging I did so mostly as a way to vent my opinions and ramblings from my head. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a blogosphere. I didn’t know that it was a virtual community where I could connect with people all over the globe and make incredible friends through network cables and routers. I also didn’t know that there were copious amounts of aspiring writers out there using blogging as a platform to achieve their dreams of becoming published.

In the last four years I’ve connected with many writers who have had their dreams come to fruition. They’ve published books either independently or traditionally. They’ve been featured in prominent online outlets such as BlogHerThe Huffington Post or Scary Mommy. They’ve labored long and hard. They’ve honed their craft.

I am proud to announce that another blogger/writer I know has been published!

I have been following Kelly Suellentrop for about a year new. I met her through another blogger when she cohosted the Remember the Time bloghop. Very quickly I was impressed with her writing and storytelling ability. She adeptly drops bits of humor in at all the right places, and her writing can make you feel all the feels. It is always a pleasure to read her prose. Her writing is insightful, evocative, and witty.

Absolute Mayhem

9780692311011.MAINOn December 1, Kelly officially released Absolute Mayhem, a children’s book she wrote and illustrated herself.

It. Is. Amazing. It’s also highly imaginative. I love the premise of this book.

The story features siblings Lulu and Milo. Lulu and Milo follow the rules and do what they’re supposed to do, but all bets are off when they let loose their imaginations. This rhyming tale shadows the children as they go to school, do their chores, and follow the rules, all the while keeping their imaginations at bay. But then Friday comes and they can let it all loose.

There are many things I love about this book. The illustrations are the most fascinating part. When Lulu and Milo are following the rules, their world is black and white. But when the Mayhem comes everything is vividly colored. I also love the way the Mayhem is portrayed. You can see the children fighting off the colorful tentacles of Mayhem while trying to do their homework or eat their veggies.

The Test

Obviously, I am not the target audience of a children’s book. I know some of you would debate that, and I’m sticking my tongue out at you. And I will be telling my mom you were making fun of me.

I read the book to Baby C since he is the supreme authority on, well, everything, in this house.

C was very engaged while I read Absolute Mayhem to him. Being three, he was of course more interested in the pictures than the words. He was especially captivated by the Mayhem. He absolutely loved the brightly colored depictions of Milo and Lulu’s imagination. He was very intrigued by the canon shooting cookies in particular. Every time the tentacles of Mayhem began reaching out he stopped me to say, “Ohhhhhh, look at that! What is that?”

“That’s the Mayhem,” I would answer.


C loved the illustrations and had fun pointing out and naming all the animals and their activities on each page. “That monkey is swinging!” After we finished reading the book he leafed back through it to look at all the pictures again.

In short, his highness, Baby C, has given his elusive stamp of approval.

The Interview

I decided to let my inner Mayhem out and pretend I’m a journalist. Or something. So I interviewed Kelly about her book. Please remember I’m not a real journalist, and my questions more than likely reflect that.

What made you decide to write children’s books?

I have wanted to write children’s books since I was a kid myself…for a few reasons. First, I have always loved the genre, whether I was having them read to me or was reading them to a younger sibling, cousin, or my own children. I think more than any other type of book, children’s lit lends itself to being bundled with fond memories. Secondly, two of my biggest passions have always been writing and drawing. And what better marriage of the two than a children’s book!

How did you come up with the idea for Absolute Mayhem?

The idea for Absolute Mayhem was born straight out of my life. We actually call weekends at our house “Absolute Mayhem,” because that is exactly when we get to break from our schedule, and my husband gets to spend more time with the kids. He was the one to start using the name. To this day, when he gets home from work on Friday evening, he opens the door and yells, “Absoluuuuuuuuuute…” and the kids yell, “MAYHEM!” And then they, like, get to have soda or something. So our weekends are quite as magical as Lulu and Milo’s, but that idea of freedom and stepping outside of the ordinary is there.

What is your next project?

There will definitely be more books about Lulu and Milo. Absolute Mayhem wasn’t actually the first book I wrote with them as characters. The initial one I wrote for my daughter’s birthday one year, and that one will likely make its way to the public at some point. I have several plots for Lulu and Milo (and Hippo, of course) to romp in. The question right now is deciding which is the best follow-up to Absolute Mayhem. So stay tuned!

Will you focus solely on children’s books or will you attempt to write a novel or memoir some time in the future?

At this point, I’m not really sure. I can’t imagine that I would abandon the children’s lit genre, but I have thought about also venturing into the young adult lit scene, especially now that my daughter is getting older and reading so many fabulous young adult books. I think I could really dig that, because it would give me an outlet to do more of the kind of writing I like to do on my blog, but still have some of the fun vibe of children’s lit. For now, I am going to focus on building the Lulu and Milo series, and I will just have to see where the future leads me.

The Giveaway

How would you like to win a free copy of Absolute Mayhem? I thought you would. To do so, click on over to the new Facebook Fan Page I created for this here weblog and click on the Like button to follow the page. Also, leave me a comment on the fan page letting me know that you wish to enter. Next Tuesday I will throw all the names into a hat (or some other thing that will hold names) and pick a winner, who will receive an autographed copy of Absolute Mayhem! To clarify, it will be autographed by Kelly, not me. I know no one wants my John Hancock. Or my autograph.

Buy It Now!

If, like me, you never win contests like this and want to go ahead and buy the book, you can do so at the following locations:

Also, I highly recommend heading over to Kelly’s blog and clicking the follow button. Kelly run’s a WordPress Recommended Family Blog, so you’re really missing out if you’re not reading.