Friday Fictioneers: Abeni Pleads

FriFicrs_zps74023d18What a few weeks I’ve had! I could not be more grateful for the support and encouragement of my wonderful writing community, on my blog and here on Friday Fictioneers. I am now officially a “featured blogger” for Huffington Post! Thanks to all of you, for this wonderful place to explore flash fiction each week; it is something I look forward to, every single week! If you are interested in reading some of the HuffPost pieces, check out my Tales From the Motherland Facebook page. If you hit Like, you’ll see all posts there. Or, visit any story on HP and hit the thumbs up near my name, to receive all posts. Now I’ll have to show them that they made a good choice.

If you would like to participate in Friday Fictioneers, or read all the great stories from this amazing prompt, by Douglas Macllroy, visit Addicted to Purple. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields graciously herds the group of Kool Kats, and hosts our weekly challenge to write a 100 word story, to a photo prompt. As always, I welcome honest, constructive feedback.

© Douglas M. Macllroy

© Douglas M. Macllroy

Abeni Pleads (95 words)

Day in and day out, Abeni works under an unforgiving sun. Her black skin glistens, and the red dust clings to her dry cracked hands.

She carries her humble grains back to her family, and hopes that her husband will be happy. His happiness is her peace.

“Your name means one who pleads humbly,” her mother told her, as a child.

Now, with a baby of her own on the way, she is tired of humble pleas; tired of authority, tired of life sucking her dry.

“I will name my child Strength; my child will not plead.”

*     *     *

GIPY

HELP ME REACH MY 2014 GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforcedto be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Following Jen’s Lead: 60 Things I’m Grateful For in 2014– Join the Fun!

talesfromthemotherland:

Am I reblogging a post from two days ago? Yes! I am. After this one went out it occurred to me that it would be fun to make this an “event.” I’ve added an explanation at the end, but simply: write your own gratitude post, link to my post and Jennifer’s post (included in mine) and I’ll add yours to the list on the bottom of this post. Add Joy to this season and share some Gratitude! Come on; it feels GOOD!

Originally posted on TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND:

Share the Gratitude! thecoastalcenter.com

Share the Gratitude!
thecoastalcenter.com

I headed over to a favorite blog today, Jenny’s Lark, and found that Jen had started a list, as part of the Daily Prompt, and suggested others do the same. Ironically, I had been wanting to do this Daily Post challenge, for three days, but the time got away from me. Jen’s post gave me just the nudge I needed!  I stopped reading right after her introduction and decided to write my own; I didn’t want to be influenced by her list. I took a few minutes to think it through, and the list added up like crazy.

I  spent 12 minutes writing, because I wasn’t finished with the last two that were in my head, when the timer went off. I also spent some extra time formatting and adding links and photos. Like Jen, I found myself going over the 50 goal. Things just kept popping into my head…

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Following Jen’s Lead: 60 Things I’m Grateful For in 2014– Join the Fun!

Share the Gratitude! thecoastalcenter.com

Share the Gratitude!
thecoastalcenter.com

I headed over to a favorite blog today, Jenny’s Lark, and found that Jen had started a list, as part of the Daily Prompt, and suggested others do the same. Ironically, I had been wanting to do this Daily Post challenge, for three days, but the time got away from me. Jen’s post gave me just the nudge I needed!  I stopped reading right after her introduction and decided to write my own, as I didn’t want to be influenced by her list. I took a few minutes to think it through, and the list came together pretty quickly! Gratitude is a nice thing to focus on.

The challenge called for 10 minutes of writing– I  spent 12 minutes, because I wasn’t finished with the last two that were in my head, when the timer went off. I also spent some extra time formatting and adding links and photos. Like Jen, I found myself going over the 50 goal. Things just kept popping into my head, and it made me so happy to acknowledge the many things I have to be thankful for. It’s truly been a remarkable year!

I challenge you to write your own list... Jen had a great idea, let’s keep it going! (see note at the bottom to join in!)

The 60 things That I’m Especially Grateful for in 2014… In No Particular Order

1. The wonderful Christmas tree that my son and Germany put up for me, while I was in the hospital, last December. It was a very special surprise. I kept it up until January 7th.

So wonderful, and a complete surprise from my boys!

 

2. The tiny Christmas tree that Scout brought for me in the hospital, I kept that up until the end of January, to remind me of the people who love me. So many of them brought food, flowers, and smiles, while I was recuperating.

3. Having “Germany” with us for all of the 2013-2014 school year. He brought enormous joy to our home! I miss him terribly.

4. My work at Hospice. It’s a highlight of every week.

5. Trip to Belize with my husband, son, our exchange student, Germany, and dear friends. We spent one week on a sailboat, and it was amazing!

6. Swimming with sea turtles in Belize.

7. Swimming with stingrays in Belize.

8. The most amazing nighttime snorkel, in Belize. It was unbelievable!

9. Seeing my eldest son, Middle Man graduate from Claremont McKenna College. It was a very proud day! He and his friends are electric!

10. Seeing my youngest son, Little Man, graduate from high school. I was so proud of him!

11. Having our family all together for Little Man’s graduation party, extended family, immediate family and a couple of friends–  Getting to share that celebration with Mike, David and Aaron. Three of my favorite Little Men, was icing on the cake!

12. Becky and Alison’s wedding, in the mountains of North Carolina, and seeing dear friends there.

13. Spending time with my cousins in NC. Ross, Damia, Isabelle and Max made me feel like a million dollars! What a great time!

14. Fireflies and lightening,  in NC.

15. Finally getting to meet Jennie Saia, in NC.

16. An amazing 3-week trip to Scandinavia with my youngest son. It was just spectacular!

17. Horseback riding in Iceland: across the fields and to the most incredible waterfalls.

18. Climbing a glacier with my son, in Iceland.

19. Drinking fresh water straight from a glacier. Best water ever!

20. The Icelandic language. It is as unbelievable as the place.

21. The magical landscape of Iceland.

22. The iceberg pond, in Iceland. Gorgeous!!

23. Listening to Bon Iver, for hours, while I traveled.

24. Visiting my Danish daughter, “Denmark”… in Denmark. It was so good to see her again! And getting to finally spend more time with Denmark’s family– who will always be family to us, now.

25. Visiting my good friend Pia, her husband Claus, and my Danish sons and grandbabies, during our trip to Denmark.

26. Tivoli Gardens.

27. Train ride from Stockholm to Gamla Uppsala.

28. Lots of Viking ruins, and getting to see my son’s face when he saw them.

29. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Incredible!

30. Visiting the Hans Christian Andersen Museum– a fairy tale come true!

31. Watching the World Cup final game, in the old city of Stockholm.

32. The clock tower at Tivoli, by moonlight.

33. After leaving Iceland: Sunset! Blessed darkness.

34. Every single sunset from our deck.

©Principessa

©Principessa

35. Having my daughter home for the summer.

36. Having my oldest son home for the summer.

37. Spending time as a family, over this past summer.

38. Emails from Australia from my son. They always make me smile!

39. Getting to know Emmy better, through emails. They always make me smile, too!

40. Going to BlogHer and getting to finally meet Emily and Amy, as well as so many other remarkable women! (Chloe, Kylie, Tonya and Julie, in particular)

41. Seeing my girl finally get her wish and become an Israeli citizen. Wish we could have been there, but it’s enough to know she’s happy.

42. Visiting Sea glass beach with my nephew, Little Man, Smart Guy and my aunt and uncle, this past September. It will always be my happy place.

IMG_7058

43. Having my nephew live with us for two months in the fall– what a joy!

44. Truly great friends, who are so supportive, and wonderful!

45. A girl’s trip to LA with 3 women I adore, and visiting Sur Restaurant.

46. Meeting Mohamud.

47. Fiji with Smart Guy. It was a dream come true, in every way!

48. The people of Fiji– several of whom write to me regularly. What truly special people.

49. The beach from Blue Lagoon, on Turtle Island… alone with my husband for the day.

IMG_1163

 

50. Matangi Private Island Resort and Horseshoe Bay on Matangi. One of the most incredible places ever!

51. Being Freshly Pressed.

52. Being published by Huffington Post, here (with nearly 3,500 FB Likes!), and here, and here! What an ending to this year!

53. Great books to read, movies to see, and music! This includes some awesome concerts this year! (Arcade Fire at the Gorge, was THE best!)

54. Gracie and Luke… every morning, every day; it never gets old!

IMG_7172          IMG_3922

55. Annual holiday shopping trip with MB.

56. Getting a personal email from Arianna Huffington. I still grin like a fool each time I read it.

57. A practically perfect Christmas tree this year. A tiny bit shorter than I’d like, but beautiful in every other way.

58. Knowing that my kids are happy.

59. Plans to visit NYC right after Christmas– there’s nothing quite like the holiday windows in that city!

60. So many supportive readers. This year has been the best yet for my writing, and I truly owe so much to the many readers who support my writing, cheer me on, and make me smile… daily. Thank you!

Share the gratitude: Write your own list of 50 things that made you happy in 2014, or that you’re grateful for. Add a link to my post, and Jennifer’s post, and then add your link to my comments and I’ll add it to my post! Spread the joy this holiday season.

Other Grateful Writers:

Jennifer at Jenny’s Lark: 50 (ish) Happy Things From 2014

Joyce at Musing off the Matt: Happy Things From 2014

Susan from Life is a Journey, Not a Guided Tour: Hopping on the Bandwagon, 10 Things I’m Grateful for in 2014

*     *     *

GIPY

HELP ME REACH MY 2014 GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

 

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Friday Fictioneers: Here Comes The Flood

friday-fictioneersFriday Fictioneers: a weekly flash fiction group: it’s fun; it’s challenging; it’s highly addictive! “The following photo is this week’s PROMPT.  What stands out? What type of story does it tell you? Tell us in a hundred words or less.” Each week Rochell Wisoff-Fields leads the show. Check out her blog, Addicted to Purple, for more details or to throw your hat in the ring. This week’s photo comes from Sandra Cook.

Thank you for all of the kind words of support and congratulations last week. It meant a lot to me!  As always constructive feedback is welcome.

© Sandra Cook

© Sandra Cook

Here Comes The Flood

 (100 words)

A thundering roar blocked out all other sound, as the violent surge swept Kayla up and then pulled her under. She couldn’t breathe, or scream for help– her mouth covered and her senses twisted inside out. She felt her body breaking– her insides torn, as her arms and legs went limp. She squeezed her eyes shut and left herself, floating away from the life she’d known.

As her stepfather got up, he wiped his face with the red and blue fabric, and threw the soiled dress at her.

“If you tell your mother, I’ll kill you.”

Kayla drifted above the debris.

•     •     •

GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY 2014 GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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My Blog is Me, But I Am Not My Blog…

I love.

I love.

It’s been an amazing week for Tales From the Motherland, and it’s given me lots to think about. Last weekend, my story On My Father’s Birthday, A Letter to His Killer was Freshly Pressed on Word Press. This was my third time being Freshly Pressed, and honestly, the most important validation of my work. My first FP piece, The Grass Is Always Greener On Someone Else’s Head was featured after only 6 weeks of blogging. I had no idea what I was doing; I had about 5 followers at the time, and I really didn’t get what FP was, or how it worked. It was an utter shock to find out a day later that my post had been read by hundreds of people, many of whom left comments. Those comments are still some of THE most interesting work on Tales From the Motherland. If you have some time, check out the post and read the comments. Such revealing statements from women from all walks of life. I was deeply honored, but at the time I was also very aware that my blog was limited and a beginner. I had no idea how to post photos (there were none, in the original); I didn’t know how to put my work out there– I was such a newbie! So, being Freshly Pressed was a huge honor, and a giant boost for my blog, but I didn’t really get it yet.

The second time I was honored with a FP was for a very short bit of writing, that was a Word Press challenge. Titled “She Said What?” it was something I felt good about, but it wasn’t a post that I imagined would be recognized in any way. So the honor, again came as a big surprise and earned me new followers and comments. This third time, was really important to me. On My Father’s Birthday… is a piece that is deeply personal; I put a lot of thought into writing it (over a long period of time), and I felt proud of the work. This same story was featured on Huffington Post and BlogHer this past week, but it was the Freshly Pressed nod that really meant so much. That post got nearly a thousand views in the initial days it was up, currently has 550+ likes, and several hundred comments. I answered every single comment (as I always do) because it really meant the world to me to see such a personally meaningful post resonate with others, and earn such wonderful recognition. I am so grateful to Word Press staff for choosing it.

I was a fatherless daughter

I was a fatherless daughter

It was a monumental week for my writing on several fronts however, and with distinctly different outcomes. Days before anything happened, I was shocked and thrilled to get a personal email from Arianna Huffington. To say that I nearly fell out of my chair when I read it, would be a huge understatement. I will not publish that email, as I am enormously honored that she took the time to write to me personally, and it will remain personal. However, she complimented another story that I had published on my blog, and told me that the Huffington Post would like to publish the story. The Jerusalem Synagogue Attack: Let’s Talk Truth, was also a very personal piece. I wrote it very spontaneously in the aftermath of the vicious attack on 5 rabbis at a synagogue in Jerusalem. The 5 men were killed with meat cleavers and guns, in a horribly bloody attack, during prayer. The fact that my daughter lives there triggered emotions as a mother, that I felt compelled to write about. The story however is not a fully developed representation of my feelings about the conflicts between Palestinians and Israels. It in no way fully represents my beliefs about the issues there or the very complex and troubled history of the country or the people.

Nonetheless, that story ended up being published the same weekend that On My Father’s Birthday was Freshly Pressed. The results could not have been more polarized. While readers of OMFB were very touched and moved by my search for forgiveness and closure, in the accidental death of my father, in 1973, readers of The Jerusalem Synagogue Attack, on the Huffington Post, were completely the opposite. There were certainly readers of TJSA that understood my intention and my beliefs and were supportive, but far more were so angry and critical of my views– and this was entirely, in my opinion, based on their beliefs about Israel and Palestine versus what I actually wrote. From the minute I heard that the story would be featured on HuffPost, I understood that there were bound to be negative comments; it is a vastly challenging subject. However, I had no idea that I would be accused of: celebrating the deaths of Palestinian children; having no concern for the deaths of thousands of Palestinian people; wishing ill on one group over another; practicing a religion that condones murder, cheating and lying; or that I would have perfect strangers wish the vilest things upon me and my daughter, who lives in Israel. The comments, nearly 400 of them, were stunning! I thought that more of my family, friends and blog buddies would circle the wagons and counter all of that hate, but save for a few, I was pretty much on my own– and mostly, It think I managed well.

I am a proud mother

I am a proud mother

The fact that none of those people know my religious background (unstated, and non-existent), my views on Palestinian-Israeli relations (complex, but distinctly not one-sided), my daughter’s views or actions in Israel (extremely giving and very involved in helping both sides) or our family’s personal stance (which will remain private)– was lost entirely in a spiral of hostility and assumptions. As noted before, I have always prided myself on answering all comments on my blog; I touched each time someone takes the time to read my work, or leave a comment; it’s the least I can do in return. I set out to do the same thing on the Huffington Post story. However, it quickly became clear that there were no answers, that would not lead to more accusations and vitriol. I was honored when Ellis Shuman, a respected author and columnist, not only tweeted my story, but advised me to stop answering the comments. The fact that my oldest son, Middle Man, who has reams more experience with online news, opinion, etc suggested the same, was the nudge I needed to let many of them go.

While all of this hate was being slung on my Huffington Post story, the comments on Word Press, to On My Father’s Birthday… could not have been more polar opposite! I was “the most forgiving person on earth;” I was a saint; I had enlightened numerous readers; I was wise, compassionate, an “amazing human being!” I am in no way poking fun at these comments; people shared very personal stories and were wonderful in their expressions of thanks. However, frankly, for a few hours on Sunday, as I tried to answer all those comments, I switched back and forth between the two comment sections, to try and find a modicum of balance. Let me be clear, I am neither; I am not the Palestinian-hating, insensitive, racist, killer that many HuffPost commenters saw, nor am I the saint, the wonderful human being, the “blessing,” that Word Press readers saw. I am neither. I am something in between. I do not hate anyone, nor do I condone murder ever (the main point of my story, which was utterly lost on many readers), nor am I such a forgiving person as to be a role model to… anyone. It took me nearly 40 years to work through my grief and come to a place of forgiveness– that hardly makes me an example on forgiveness! Much of my anger and blame was utterly misplaced anyway, which was the point of that letter. Letting go of the life narrative I had held onto for so long, in explaining the loss of my father. It was time.

I am silly

I am silly

In one week, I was Freshly Pressed, published on Huffington Post, twice, and approached by an Australian site, asking to publish OMFB– it’s been incredible! So I spent this amazing week– as comments for both have continued to flow in, chasing my tail, feeling honored and excited, pinching myself, realizing that I need to reign in my excitement and not post so many FB updates…  and contemplating all that praise and criticism.

The bottom line is this: My blog is me, but I am not my blog.

What you read on Tales From the Motherland is mine. These are my words, my experiences, pieces of what I feel and think (rarely a full story); this is mine, this blog is me. However, I am not Tales From the Motherland. I am much more than you read here– more complicated, more simple. I have secrets I don’t share here, I have truths that are only partially revealed. You don’t know me if you have only read a few posts. That said, this is mine… this is the first thing I’ve done, in my entire life that is fully mine and not about anyone or anything else. I don’t write here just to toot my own horn, nor to find absolution or acceptance. I am honored each time one of you reads what I write, and doubly so when you share your thoughts– both the negative and the positive. But remember: My blog is me, but I am not my blog.

I am a writer

I am a writer

Thank you to all of the wonderful readers who have shared my work this week; you’re amazing! I’ve appreciated all of the support and kindness; thank you. Now: Share your thoughts; leave a comment. I am hoping to reach a goal of 500 Facebook likes, for Tales From the Motherland, please take a minute to stop by and hit Like. If you’re not already following this blog, what are you waiting for? Hit that button!

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Friday Fictioneers: Pale Brown Memories

friday-fictioneersWhat a difference one week makes! Last week I had been told I’d be on Huffington Post. Exciting enough, but since then, they’ve published two of my pieces, and on Saturday one of those same stories was Freshly Pressed! The one story received hundreds of comments, many of them very hostile and ugly. I understood that there might be some negativity, but wasn’t prepared for what happened. The other painted me as a saint. Neither is accurate. Today, an Australian publication asked to put the saintly story on their site; it’s been an exciting week for my writing!

Thanks to all of my Friday Fictioneer buddies, who brought such supportive words and their usual brand of wonderful writing. I apologize for not getting to each of your stories; I was completely overwhelmed! Led by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, find details and a list of the other stories on her blog, Addicted to Purple, this weekly flash fiction challenge is a bright spot in every week. This week’s photo comes form Janet Webb. As always, honest, thoughtful feedback is always welcome.

© Janet Webb

© Janet Webb

 Pale Brown Memories (97 Words)

We lazed in the late day sun, at the back of the garden. Mottled light flickered across his face, as he slept on the blanket and I counted his freckles. Married all of these years, his freckles still charm me and pull at my heart. His bare shoulders were slightly burned, from a day lounging together alone. I watched his eyes flutter, swept up in some unknown dream, and knew I would love him forever.

This fall, I could not bring myself to trim back the hydrangea blooms, now dry and faded. They remind me of summer joy.

•     •     •

GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY 2014 GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

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Absolute Mayhem Is An Absolute Joy!

On the heels of a crazy weekend, where I found myself Freshly Pressed and featured on Huffington Post, it is such a delight to write about something that’s fun! That said, thank you so much to the folks at Word Press for the honor of being featured, and to the Huffington Post for sharing my work. If you have the inclination, I’d welcome any kind feedback on the HuffPost piece!

I’ve wanted to be a writer for… all of my life. From an early age, books were my friends and my escape from difficult times. Books seemed to hold all the answers. Ultimately, books are about words and words are what make my world spin. Long before I wrote a novel (still unpublished), or a memoir (still unpublished) or started a blog (alive and well), I wrote a children’s book. I submitted it to publishing houses and then collected the rejections.

Instead, I’ve built a world of words, words, words– that’s what makes my world spin, unless there are really fabulous pictures. Picture books are my first love and a genre I will always find near and dear. As a child it was the wonderful images in books that drew me in; my earliest memories are of the glorious fairy tales that also had intricate, beautiful drawings to enhance the words. Once I had children, picture books became the magic that we shared.

As my children grew up, “painted wings and giant’s rings, made way for other toys.” The picture books were tucked away on bookshelves, and I haven’t gotten any new ones in years… until now! A new children’s book by fellow blogger and children’s book author/illustrator Kelly Suellentrop will be the newest book in my collection.  I’ve followed Kelly’s blog, Are You Finished Yet , for a long time now. I knew that she had two children; I knew that she was a kick-tushy (yes, this is a G-rated post) writer, but I didn’t see this one coming– until it was nearly here. Meet Lulu and Milo, the wonderfully real and dynamic duo behind Kelly’s new book Absolute Mayhem. If I thought Kelly Suellentrop was super talented before, getting a first look at this new book just drove that belief outa’ the park!

© Kelly Suellentrop

© Kelly Suellentrop

Lulu and Milo are the kind of kids we all wish we had, and kids we can all recognize. They do their chores and play by grown-up’s rules during the week; they curb their mischievous urges and tow the line. My kids weren’t those kids, but I always admired my friends who got their kids to do all of this. However, on the weekends, things turn to Absolute Mayhem… and that’s when the real fun begins, and where I can really related!

Kelly’s vibrant illustrations bring Lulu and Milo to life, and will pull young readers right in. Children will adore these characters– cheering them on as they have adventures with pirates, princesses, jungles, circuses and caves! Milo and Lulu will pull young children into their wild adventures with giggles and cheers, and parents will recognize all of this fun for the Absolute Mayhem every family has, when the weekend hits and we let our hair down. However, we all need balance, and Lulu and Milo show us all that mayhem and order can coexist, with wonderful results.

Kelly Suelllentrop is a mother, writer and illustrator who lives in the ST. Louis area. Her blog, Are You Finished Yet covers the entire spectrum of parenting, and she does it with humor, compassion and excellent writing. If you haven’t checked it out, you should!  She has been featured on Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, BlogHer and on numerous parenting websites. This is her first picture book, and I’m so excited for Kelly, as she begins this exciting venture! Her work is gorgeous, and I was honored when she agreed to let me interview her, and write a post about her new picture book.

It is my honor and thrill to introduce you to my blogging buddy, and the author and illustrator of Absolute Mayhem, Kelly Suelletrop, on the day of her book’s official release:

TFTM: Kelly, thanks for agreeing to this interview! With the release of your book, you must be so excited?

KS: Thanks Dawn! Thank you so much for featuring my book. I’m so excited to finally see out there. It’s been months of hard work!

1)  Yes, writing AND illustrating a book is a huge effort! Why this book now? Aren’t you busy enough raising two active kids?

That is exactly why I wanted to publish this book now…because of my kids. I love that they are both still young enough to get lost in children’s books, but old enough to understand that their mom is making one of her dreams a reality. And since I do all my work at home, they have also been able to witness that dreams don’t become reality through good luck. They see all the hard work that has gone into this. I hope that somehow stays with them, to not only help them believe in possibility, but also understand the roles patience, persistence, and elbow grease play.

2) Do you do better with mayhem or calm?

I need a bit of both. For some reason, I seem to be very productive and creative in times of chaos and mayhem, but then I pay for it big time and can crash pretty hard. So I have learned how important it is to find time for calm for my well being. Not only that, but calm helps me stop and appreciate my life, and really enjoy it. 

3) How much do Milo and Lulu resemble your own two kids? Were they the inspiration?

They were absolutely the inspiration. I spend a lot of time with Lulu and Milo, so I knew I had to make them in such a way that would make me fall in love with them. The easiest way to do that was to make them resemble my own daughter and son. Also, we have called weekends at our house “Absolute Mayhem” for years! My kids are so funny and so full of life, I would be crazy NOT to use them as my muses. 

4) Did you study art? Is this something you’ve done for a long time?

I have drawn for as long as I can remember. I used to sit in my bedroom and sketch celebrities out of my teen magazines. I took art all throughout high school and some in college. I had planned on minoring in Art, but being an English major, I found it hard to keep up on all the time-intensive projects while staying on top of the massive amounts of reading and writing I had to do. I switched my minor to Psychology. So my formal education ended there. But I have always found ways to keep myself creating over the years, whether it was sketching, painting pieces for our house, or cake decorating. 

5) What is the one take away message you hope readers will find in Absolute Mayhem?

Life should be full of imagination and fun, but it is important to balance that with reality and responsibility. The existence of that balance is what helps us appreciate and enjoy when life is really good.

Kelly’s book Absolute Mayhem is available now on Amazon and on her website: Kelly Suellentrop. It’s a fabulous book for the children in your life who love big, bold illustration and smart, snappy writing, as well as two characters who will take everyone off for a grand adventure– balanced with a few chores in between. A great gift, just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah!

As a special treat, enjoy this wonderful video from the author and illustrator Kelly Suellentrop; witness the Absolute Mayem:

Are you in love yet? Buy a copy of Absolute Mayhem today!  Leave a comment; I love feedback.

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GIPY

Make me smile; HELP ME REACH MY GOAL:  I’d love to see the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page reach 500 likes in 2014. Have you stopped by to spread some fairy dust? Follow me on Twitter, it’s where I’mforced to be brief.  Most importantly, if you like a post I’ve written, hit Like and leave a comment. I love to hear what readers think. Honest, positive or constructive feedback is always welcome. Click Follow; you’ll get each new post delivered by email, with no spam.  If you see ads on this page, please let me know. They shouldn’t be there.  ©2014  Please note, that all content and images on this site are copyrighted to Dawn Quyle Landau and Tales From the Motherland, unless specifically noted otherwise. If you want to share my work, please give proper credit. Plagiarism sucks.

 

 

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