Sea you later, 2018 -- shell-o, 2019! December 31, 2018 20:59

From Jess: 

What a year this was! I spent a quarter of 2018 accompanying my husband Chris to the set of his first live-action/CG hybrid film, Jack London’s “Call of the Wild”; I’ve also been doing development on “Rescue Sirens” behind the scenes for months. That’s a LOT of stuff that we’re not allowed to show you just yet, and keeping it to ourselves is SO HARD. ARGH!

I’m bursting with excitement to share more of what we’ve been doing in the months to come — I have a feeling that 2019 is going to be a fin-omenal year for our lifeguard mermaids! More artwork, more stories, more MERchandise, and maybe even a surprise or two.

In the meantime, it’s fun to look back on your favorite photos, videos, and illustrations from 2018, featuring our beloved friends and talented artists in this year's Top Nine on Instagram.

Thanks to all of you for another wonderful 365 days of joy and adventure, and have a safe and happy New Year!

That's a wrap! November 20, 2018 13:30

From Jess:  

If you feel like you haven't been hearing as much from "Rescue Sirens" over the past three months or so, there's a good reason for that: my husband and "Rescue Sirens" co-author, Chris, has been busy directing his first live-action/CGI hybrid film, Jack London's "The Call of the Wild"! I've accompanied him to set most days, and I even have a couple of small cameos in the movie (one of which "Rescue Sirens" fans will find particularly fun, I think). Chris's cast and crew are all absolutely outstanding, and I can't wait to see the final product!

Filming wrapped late-night Friday, bringing this part of the adventure to a close.

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Roughly eleven weeks ago, I started principal photography on “The Call of the Wild,” based on the Jack London novel. . Since then I’ve shot in trainyards, soundstages, old mansions, and man-made rivers, towns, and snowed-in mountain passes recreated on a desert movie ranch. Four AM wake-ups, fifteen-hour days, all-night shoots, windstorms, freezing cold, burning heat, days spent in snow and mud and even underwater. All with a massive crew of the nicest, most talented people in the industry. . We wrapped filming early morning Saturday; last night we had our wrap party, and Jess (who was there through it all) and I attended. In two weeks, I begin a year of post-production — but today, we finally sleep in! #chrissanders #cotw

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I'm so incredibly proud of Chris! As always, he's remained enthusiastic, encouraging, and energetic throughout the entire shoot; I really don't know how he does it. (Coffee helps, I guess.)

Now that production has ended, "The Call of the Wild" moves into post-production, during which Chris and a team of animators will bring the story's dogs to life. This is much more like what Chris is used to, coming from animated films, and the process should take around a year.

The long hours, night shoots, and general craziness of the shoot are behind us, so I plan on getting back to "Rescue Sirens" in a more visible way. I'm still devoting a lot of time and brainpower behind-the-scenes to the development document I've been working on, and we could definitely use some crossed fingers (or fins) in the weeks to come as we explore possible directions that "Rescue Sirens" could take in the future.

With 2019 right around the corner, Chris and I are hopeful for another exciting year!

...but now, we're gonna take a nap.

"Rescue Sirens" reviews wanted! October 29, 2018 11:34

From Jess: 

Have you read our novel, "Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist," and/or our children's picture book, "Rescue Sirens and the Great Fish Round-Up"? If so, Chris and I would love it if you'd leave us a review on Amazon or Goodreads!

"Rescue Sirens and the Great Fish Round-Up" and "Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist" lifeguard mermaid books

Although the next books in the series have taken a bit of a back seat to other projects at the moment (my super-secret "Rescue Sirens" reference document; Chris's work directing Fox's film "The Call of the Wild"), we're always eager to hear what people think of what we've written so far.

What did you like? What weren't you crazy about? What would you like to see more of, or never see again? Constructive reader feedback is always, always welcome, as it helps us craft future adventures for Nim, Kelby, Echo, Pippa, and Maris. We have the stories themselves planned out, but knowing what people think allows us to fine-tune the details.

So where, exactly, can you write a review? If you've purchased your copy of the book from us on Amazon, you might've been prompted to leave a review once you received your package, which is where things can get a bit confusing: Amazon has one place to review the seller (in our case, we sell our books under our company name, Happy Tiki, Inc.), while reviewing the book itself is an entirely separate process.

Here are handy links to both of our books on Amazon and Goodreads:

"Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist" on Amazon

"Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist" on Goodreads

"Rescue Sirens and the Great Fish Round-Up" on Amazon

"Rescue Sirens and the Great Fish Round-Up" on Goodreads

If you've already left a review for us, thank you! Not only does your feedback aid us as writers, but sharing your thoughts also helps other potential readers decide if our books are up their particular alley. We'd love more people to discover "Rescue Sirens"!

New and upcoming MERchandise September 20, 2018 17:00

From Jess: 

Oh, man, you guys, what a summer it's been! Usually San Diego Comic-Con represents the pinnacle of our summer busy-ness, but 2018 just hasn't quit! Beyond a bit of unexpected traveling (Wyoming is stunning this time of year!), my husband and "Rescue Sirens" co-author Chris has begun filming his first live-action/CG hybrid project, 20th Century Fox's "The Call of the Wild" (based on the classic Jack London novel), and his schedule is all over the place -- which means mine is, too, haha.

That, and I'm still hard at work on my super-secret "Rescue Sirens" project. It's not a book (although I'm working on that, too!), but I can tell you that it does include brand-new artwork from Gabby Zapata, Kellee Riley, and "Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist" illustrator Genevieve Tsai (plus a couple of new artists, who I hope to introduce to you soon). I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be able to show this stuff to you before too long.

In the meantime, I've been slowly adding more merchandise to our online store. Being able to switch gears mentally and work on something completely different, like backpacks or throw pillows, is a great break from my current project, and I'm tickled pink with some of our newest goodies.

Let's see... since my last update about the backpacks, I've added an awesome beach bag, featuring Gabby Zapata's adorable artwork; a new premium throw pillow in the same print; and kids'/youth mermaid scale leggings in the five Rescue Sirens' signature colors (aqua for Nim, coral for Kelby, blue for Echo, purple for Pippa, and gold for Maris).

Gabby Zapata "Rescue Sirens" mermaid beach bag

Gabby Zapata "Rescue Sirens" mermaid throw pillow

Rescue Siren Nim aqua mermaid scale leggings for kids

My plan is to eventually add leggings that mimic each Rescue Siren's tail pattern (not all of our mermaids even have scales, after all!), but, for a start, this classic mermaid scale motif looks great and pairs really well with our kids' T-shirts. The best part is: these leggings are designed to be worn on land or in the water, so they help provide sun protection for little legs while swimming! I'll create adult versions, as well, but I wanted to debut the kids' line first.

As always, if you'd like to share photos of you or your guppies sporting your "Rescue Sirens" gear, we'd love to see it! Tagging your pictures with #rescuesirens on Instagram is the best way to show them to us.

In addition to all things "Rescue Sirens," I've also been running my husband Chris's online store, and I've been using it as a testing ground for a warehousing and fulfillment service. So far, I really like the way it works, and I'm thinking of warehousing some of our "Rescue Sirens" items, too. What does that mean? You'd be able to purchase our books directly from our website (signed copies!), along with vinyl sticker sets and maybe even our enamel pins! This service ships worldwide with affordable pricing, too, which has been a very big priority for us. And, because I won't be mailing stuff out of our home, it frees up more time for me to write and create new "Rescue Sirens" content! Talk about a win-win-win.

Last, but not least, I'm testing high-quality "Rescue Sirens" art prints so you can add a splash of mermaid magic to your walls. Want to know when the prints are available? Remember to sign up for our newsletter! I don't have quite as much time for social media right now as I'd like, so the newsletter allows me to get all the latest announcements directly to you without spamming Facebook or Instagram.

That's a wrap for this post... see you next time!

Backpacks, SDCC, and a newsletter -- oh my! August 6, 2018 10:03

From Jess: 

At San Diego Comic-Con last month, I teased a new product that I've been chomping at the bit to share with you: "Rescue Sirens" backpacks! The backpacks that I brought with us to the convention were samples and not for sale, but now I'm happy with them and have added all five designs to our online store! You can click the image below to check 'em out.

"Rescue Sirens: Mermaids On Duty" backpacks

Just like some of our new vinyl stickers and acrylic charms, these backpacks feature "Rescue Sirens" artwork by Kellee Riley; boasting bright colors, cute poses, and adorable faces, they really stand out in a crowd! If you know a little Rescue Siren-in-training, one of our backpacks makes the perfect back-to-school bookbag.

With a secret pocket on the lower back for your cash/cards and an interior sleeve for a 15" laptop, they're great for grown-ups, too. I used one of our sample backpacks to tote around everything but the kitchen sink at SDCC and was super pleased with how it held up.

Speaking of SDCC, 2018 was another wonderful year! It's so strange to me that Chris and I spend the first six months of each new year thinking about, planning, and making merchandise for SDCC, and then it arrives all of a sudden and it's over before we know it. The end of the convention always leaves me feeling a little out-of-sorts and bewildered -- like, this huge thing has come and gone, so what am I supposed to spend my time stressing out over and panicking about? (Just kidding; I have a million other things to stress over and panic about.)

After SDCC, Chris and I are exhausted and glad for a breather, but we miss our friends and fellow creatives, and, of course, the attendees. We never take enough photos during the show, but here are a few pictures that I shared on Instagram! I posted them as a pair of slideshows, so, you know, click the left and right sides to view them all.

We’ve been home from #SDCC2018 for a week now, and we’re finally starting to catch up on everything! 😅 As always, we had an amazing time, and we love getting the opportunity to see our friends, fellow exhibitors, and wonderful attendees. Here is just a small sampling of happy moments from the show! Post 1 of 2. 1️⃣ “Rescue Sirens” creator @jessicasteelesanders with her husband and co-author, @chrissandersart. 2️⃣ Artist @seangallowayart showing off a #rescuesirens commission that he drew for us. 3️⃣ Our friends and “Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist” collaborators, @delgaduck and @teresamtzjun. 4️⃣ Sneaking away from the convention center for an absolutely marvelous dinner with @coliegreno, @nathangreno, @tanyalehoux, and @jscottcampbell. 5️⃣ @jessicasteelesanders with stunning ladyfriends @tanyalehoux and @coliegreno. 6️⃣ @chrissandersart holding the first of two gorgeous original paintings by @pernilleoerum that we purchased... 7️⃣ ...while @jessicasteelesanders holds the other! Not pictured: the utterly delightful @kikidoodling and her husband, Nik; our dear friend and “Rescue Sirens: The Search for the Atavist” illustrator @genevievetsai; awesome neighbor @terrydodsonart; brilliant and talented @whitneypollett; sweet @caseyrobin; and probably a million other of our beloved “art friends”! We need to remember to take more photos next year!

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We’ve been home from #SDCC2018 for a week now, and we’re finally starting to catch up on everything! 😅 As always, we had an amazing time, and we love getting the opportunity to see our friends, fellow exhibitors, and wonderful attendees. Here is just a small sampling of happy moments from the show, focusing this time on mermaids! Post 2 of 2. 1️⃣ Bryn and Zach, part of the fin-omenal @finfolkproductions team, stopped by to visit! (And when @jessicasteelesanders was wearing her Finfolk leggings, too: perfect timing.) 2️⃣ Over at the truly incredible @cfxmasks booth, @jessicasteelesanders got in touch with her inner sea monster. (We totally bought that mask at the end of the show.) 3️⃣ It’s not SDCC until @mermaidkalynn drops by... 4️⃣ ...and the same goes for @badkidbebe/@themergoth! 🧜🏻‍♀️🖤 5️⃣ Okay, this was real SDCC magic: @jessicasteelesanders and @chrissandersart first noticed this adorable Orange Bird dress (Jessica owns it in navy), and then discovered that it was being worn by none other than @lovelysundae, who recently drew an outstanding Kelby illustration! She was an ab-shell-ute joy to talk to. #rescuesirens #sandiegocomiccon #finfolkproductions

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As usual, we're already talking about what we're going to do for SDCC 2019!

And there's my cue to bring up my last topic for today: the "Rescue Sirens" newsletter, the most reliable way to find out what we're up to. Chris and I love keeping you up-to-date on what we're doing, but we've noticed a big difference in social media reach over the past couple of years; Facebook shows our posts to only a fraction of our followers unless we pay for more views, and Instagram is quickly heading in that direction, too. Lots of people just plain aren't hearing from us. The solution, it seemed to me, was to start an email newsletter and talk directly to you.

How can you join? When you purchase something from our online store, you have the option to subscribe to our mailing list; you can also do so by visiting our signup page. If you missed our introductory email, you can read it now! Future newsletters will include sneak peeks at what we're working on, event information, and maybe even some subscriber-only exclusives. It's also the first place that we'll announce new products (such as the backpacks!). I'll probably use it to share blogs with you, too, so you don't have to remember to check the website every month.

All in all, I expect to send out only a handful of newsletters per month. I hope you find this a fun and useful way to stay in the "Rescue Sirens" loop!