Making a splash at BookBar in Denver, part 1 November 21, 2017 09:10

From Jess: 

Chris and I had such a wonderful time at our recent appearances at BookBar in Denver, Colorado! Chris grew up in Colorado and we have family and friends in Denver, so any excuse to visit the Centennial State is welcome -- particularly when it involves reading and signing both of our "Rescue Sirens" books!

Thursday, November 9th

Our first of two events focused on our water-resistant children's book, "Rescue Sirens and the Great Fish Round-Up," released earlier this year and fully illustrated by the amazing Dylan Bonner. I opted to squeeze into my gorgeous custom-made Merbella Studios silicone mermaid tail for this one, which takes ten or fifteen minutes of Chris's help -- and a ton of water-based lube. (Mermaid life: not as glamorous as one might think!) I got ready in BookBar's offices located next to their awesome indie bookstore/wine bar, then was wheeled out onto the sidewalk and into position inside BookBar perched atop a rolling chair. We mer-made quite the entrance!

By the event's official start time of 4:30 PM, the little shop was crammed with kids -- mostly between the ages of five and seven, I'd guess -- and their parents, and I delighted in the shocked, drop-jawed expressions of the young mermaid fans.

Some kids were shy (which, as a lifelong shy person, myself, I totally understand -- especially when approaching a mermaid with flukes wider than some of these children were tall!), but I got lots of hugs, and one tiny girl sporting a Pebbles Flintstone hairdo seemed particularly captivated by me and my tail. She brandished a mermaid doll in one hand and clutched a mermaid purse in the other, staring at me and repeating, "Mermaid. Mermaid. MERMAID!" with adorable urgency. (She'd just had a mermaid-themed birthday party, we learned, so it was probably blowing her mind that there was a mermaid in the bookstore.)

There were the skeptics, of course. Mostly the boys.

"Are you a real mermaid?" demanded one boy.

"Yes. Are you a real human?" I replied.

"Yes!" he responded, taken aback.

"Well, how do I know that for sure? Can you prove it?" I asked him. Turning their questions around on kids seems to throw 'em for a loop.

In the lead-up to my introduction and reading, I showed some of the kids short video clips on my "shellphone" of myself swimming in my tail, both in the pool and in the ocean in Hawaii. That was enough to convince most of them that I was the real deal, and prompted the cutest debate between another of the boys and a girl with fluffy blonde hair and glasses (she could've been me at that age!).

"Of course she's a real mermaid," Chris and I overheard the little girl say passionately to the boy seated next to her. "She swims in the ocean!"

We were utterly charmed. Kids are magic.

I'd brought a "Rescue Sirens" coloring sheet that BookBar made copies of and distributed to the gathering of guppies, and I handed out blue iridescent resin mermaid scales as a special souvenir. ("Why are these hard and the scales on your tail are soft?" "Good question! After I shed my scales, they dry out and get hard." "Like Play-Doh?" "Yes! Like Play-Doh.")

Shortly after 4:30 PM, BookBar staff introduced me and Chris, and I dove into reading "Rescue Sirens and the Great Fish Round-Up" to my young audience.

(Click to enlarge.)

Once I'd finished reading the story, Chris and I signed copies of the book and handed out more mermaid scales. The entire event went really well, and it was such a thrill to acquaint a whole new group of people with the Rescue Sirens!

Seeing so many families bringing their children to participate in a book reading really warmed my heart; I grew up with my nose stuck in a book everywhere I went, and I found it incredibly encouraging that these kids showed up to listen to an old-fashioned story rather than to look at a screen. That made me really happy.

As always, I want to thank my husband and partner in all things, Chris, for making this possible -- not only is he my co-author, but, when we travel, he also makes sure that my mermaid tail gets to its destination and home again safely (which is no small matter!), he helps me get all mermaided out (something I absolutely couldn't do on my own), and then he takes beautiful photographs to commemorate special events like these. I couldn't be more grateful that he's my pufferfish.

Tomorrow: part two!