Can You Help Us?

It’s down to a little more than a week before we launch our Seababies Adventures campaign. Now’s your chance to get a peek at what we’re offering.

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If you are new to our site, we’re launching this book through a Kickstarter campaign. You may or may not be familiar with Kickstarter. It’s a crowdfunding platform. But, unlike many others out there, Kickstarter is a platform where people promote CREATIVE PROJECTS to potential backers. It’s a way to test the market to see if the product is something that consumers desire. It’s not a platform where people are seeking personal funding. No charities or general fund raisers. All backers are helping support a PROJECT with an outcome—whether it’s a book, a game, a movie, or some other creative endeavor. And you get all kinds of cool perks along the way if you back the project to help us achieve our goal of producing this children’s book series.

Here’s where we need your help.

We’d love it if you could look over the preview of our campaign that we plan to launch September 6 and provide us with feedback. Look over the content. Does it make sense to you? Is there anything confusing? Is there something else you’d like to see included? All comments and suggestions are welcome. We want this to be something you are excited about as we are.

Here’s the preview link:

And don’t forget to click on the “Notify me on launch” button at the top. The moment the campaign goes live, you’ll receive an email from Kickstarter. You don’t want to miss this because we’ll be offering perks along the way. The earlier you back the project, the more perks you’ll receive.

If you’ve never used Kickstarter before, you’ll have to create an account. Once you click on the “Notify me on launch” button, the site will ask you to log in. Scroll down to where it says: “New to Kickstarter? Sign up.” And follow the instructions from there.

Thank you for your support. As the Kickstarter guru who has taught us about this platform says, “We hope to see you behind the backer wall.”

And we’re also gearing up for another campaign in October for Kickstarter’s Witchstater promotion. For that one, we’ll be continuing our Spirits & Creatrues series with a book about Baba Yaga. You can follow that campaign here:

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Mysterious Rusalki

In Whimsea Wishes Upon a Star, the little mermaid learns that she is a Rusalka, commonly known as a Slavic mermaid. In 2020, we were asked if we would discuss Rusalki, as this Slavic water spirit was going to be a contestant on the Blurry Photos Annual Miss Cryptid Contest. The following is a shortened version of the transcript for that discussion. You can listen to the full podcast here: The part about Rusalki starts around minute 27.

Make sure you follow our campaign, so you’ll be notified the moment it goes live. Simply go to our page and select the “Notify me on launch” button and create a Kickstarter account if you haven’t already done so:

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Mankind’s fascination with the sea has sparked imagination since the first person beheld its mighty waters. Curiosity led people to invent the means to travel across the great oceans and eventually explore beneath them, trying to discover their secrets. Throughout the centuries, millennia in fact, people have created myths and legends about creatures living within the sea’s depths. One of the most alluring and formidable beings to inspire writers, artists, children, and adults is the mermaid, who has been forever immortalized in stories such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. But there’s more to this sea maiden than that story tells. In Slavic folklore, she’s called a Rusalka and lives mostly in fresh-water bodies or swamps, rather than the sea.

In case you’ve never heard of a Rusalka, she’s a Slavic mermaid. The plural of the word is Rusalki. She is most popular in eastern and southern Europe: Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, in particular.

She’s not your “Ariel” type of mermaid, because she has no tail. In fact, she was once a living, breathing human girl, but she died before she married—often the cause of her death was drowning. I know this sounds odd in today’s world, but the people who believed in them lived in a rural, farming society. Fertility of both the land and people was critical to them for survival. They believed if girls died before they married and had children, then that fertility was lost, and the girls became part of the “unclean dead,” that is, they were cursed. People did have many rituals, though, to entice the Rusalki to return that fertility to them.

Mermaid and Hag with copyright

Not everyone can see Rusalki, but those who can will tell you they look like normal girls, except they are extremely pale, and they have long, green hair. They can also shape-shift into geese, swans, snakes, silver fish, or frogs. Or they can appear as birds, like the Sirens, and entice men with their songs.

They don’t really eat anything, because they are … well, dead, or undead, after all. But some stories said they like wheat bread with salt, cheese, butter, and eggs. What they are more interested in is getting clothes. They were buried in wedding garments, even though they never married. That’s all part of the whole fertility mindset. So, eventually, those clothes wear out and the Rusalki are left wearing rags, or nothing at all. They beg girls to leave them even a small rag to cover themselves with. Rather sad to think about, really.

Rusalki weren’t always thought of as dead girls, though. They were once considered goddesses or nature spirits. Talk about your kick-ass heroines; they weren’t wimpy, sidekick-to-men-only goddesses, but powerful ones, who ruled the land. But then, the Orthodox Church intervened. They didn’t totally wipe the Rusalki out, but the Church authority repressed the role of these goddesses as much as it repressed the role women played in society. And Rusalki lost their goddess status. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

Rusalka Cover

You can understand they probably didn’t care to much about this demotion. From goddesses to dead girls, and unclean, cursed dead girls at that. All because some supposedly holy men thought they weren’t worthy of the goddess status. So, they revolted and started their campaign of torturing men… especially any man who jilted them when they were alive, because it was men who decided Rusalki weren’t worthy of exalted status.

Being dead really wasn’t so bad. If they had lived and married, the girls would have lost what the Russians called their “volia,” their freedom. As Rusalki, they could be wild and FREE of male dominance.

They usually didn’t bother women or girls, unless they were jealous of their happy life. And they left children alone, unless they had an overwhelming desire to nurture a child, since they couldn’t have one of their own… they were DEAD after all, but still retained the feelings of the average rural girl. So men were their main targets.

They would either drown them (typical mermaid fashion) or tickle them to death with their breasts… which, I forgot to mention earlier, were huge, even if they had been small during their lifetime. This was just another sign of their unused fertility.

All right, stop laughing. Have you ever been tickled? If so, you know it can be quite painful, especially if prolonged. And a Rusalka most often was accompanied by other Rusalki, so you’re talking about several of these mermaids tickling you…

When you consider that some stories say the Rusalki had iron-tipped breasts, well, just ouch. You wouldn’t want someone to tickle you that way. Okay, laugh if you want to, but I’m glad I’m not male, so I wouldn’t have to endure that torture.

They also loved to dance, and would flatter … or force … a shepherd to play his kaval, a flutelike instrument, for them all night long. He was fortunate if he survived and only had holes in his shoes and blisters on his fingers.


Geeze, you might ask, is there any hope to escape their attention? How could men protect themselves from these assaults? Well, the Russians would tell you to wear your baptismal cross, especially if you go into the forest or near water. You could also wear ferns in your hair when you go swimming; this prevents them from pulling you under. Magical chants are also useful to keep them away from you. Other methods are to prick the Rusalki with a pin or throw wormwood in their eyes. Be sure you DON’T carry anything that ATTRACTS Rusalki, like parsley, roses, birch, and especially not their favorite plant rosen (which is burning bush). You’re just asking for trouble if you do. They’ll think you WANT to be tickled.

Rusalki also love telling riddles. If you have the correct answer, they’ll leave you alone. But if you get it wrong… well, be prepared to be tickled to death.

As to whether or not they do any of this torture maliciously is up for debate. Some people say they are bent on destroying men. Other people claim they’re innocent maidens who are only trying to find the love they never had while alive…

Are they good? Or are they bad? I guess you’ll only ever truly know when you meet one for yourself.

Don’t Touch That Jellyfish

The summer days are getting shorter, and the greens are turning pale and yellow, the pallet of fall coming to life. But August is one of my favorite months to go to the beach. The water is warm, and the sun is not brutally hot. This is also a prime season for one sea creature that loves warm water, the jellyfish.

Since we started the Seababies series, we’ve learned interesting facts about each creature featured in the series. In one of the books, Cupcake is a cute jellyfish. Someone asked me what type of jellyfish. I couldn’t address this question, so I did a little more research. I learned that jellyfish are found worldwide, and swim close to the surface as well as deep in the sea. They come in various shapes and colors. Large, colorful ones abound along coastlines.

These prehistoric creatures lack organs vital to humans: a heart, lung, and brain. They absorb oxygen through their thin skin, and since they don’t have blood, they don’ need a heart to pump it. Nerves below the outer layer of their skin are sensitive to touch and let them be aware of changes in their environment, so they don’t need a brain to do this.

The teeth a beroid comb jelly uses to devour its prey are made up of tiny hairs that pull the food into the jellyfish’s stomach.

A jellyfish’s stinging cells hurt, and thousands of swimmers are injured by them yearly, so you need to be careful when in the water. There are some species whose poison can cause serious harm or even death.  Don’t dive or put your face into the water if you notice them. Unfortunately, many times you can’t see them, because they may be indistinguishable from the color of the water.

If you do ever get stung by one, stay calm and get out of the water slowly. The movement of the salt water around you helps to remove the tentacles and without them releasing more toxins. Rinse the affected area with sea water if any parts of the tentacle remain when you get back on land. Avoid using fresh water, and don’t rub the area. An old home remedy is to rinse the area with vinegar or baking soda for around 30 seconds. But this is not medical advice. Always check with a medical professional. If you get stung near your eyes or have an allergic reaction, seek medical help immediately.


Photo by Aurelien Gauchard licensed CC BY-SA2.0

Interesting Tidbits about Jellyfish

  • The medusa stage of a jellyfish is when it is sexually active. They are fast-growing at this point, but die soon after breeding. With their bell and tentacles hanging off them, jellyfish get the name of “medusa” after the Greek Gorgon, who had writhing snakes for her hair. The goddess Athena cursed Medusa into this form. One look at Medusa and a person turned to stone, even after her head had been cut off.


Caravaggio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

  • When I’m busy, I wish I could create a second version of myself. A cool thing about jellyfish is that they can do that. If you cut one in half, the pieces will become two new jellies.


Photo by Aurelien Gauchard licensed CC BY-SA2.0

  • Have you ever dreamed of visiting the moon? A moonfish jellyfish beat you to it, as one was aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1991. It was an experiment to see how microgravity affected the creature. While it was cruising around outer space, the jellyfish multiplied. Upon returning to Earth, the new jellyfish were unable to deal with gravity.
  • Every morning I have to spend an hour dealing with my tangled curls. I wonder if I can discover the jellyfish’s secret. Even though some have long tentacles, they never get tangled up or sting them. That’s because the tentacles are slippery and only sting other creatures and other species of jellyfish.
  • The lion’s mane jellyfish has tentacles that are more than 27 meters long (88 feet). That’s longer than a blue whale! It sounds like a Rupentzel of the sea. If the Seababies home in MerrowLand has a tower, our jellyfish Cupcake could lower her tentacles down the side and reach the ground.
  • Noun collectives are fun to discover. Interesting ones are a gaggle of geese, a murder of crows or a cloud of cats. But groups of jellyfish have even better names: a bloom, a swarm, or a smack. They can congregate in numbers of to 300,000. I especially like the name bloom. It’s hard to imagine a bloom of this many colorful jellyfish moving in the water.
  • Jellyfish are made up of around 85 to 98 percent water. I’ve seen them magically disappear on the sand in hours. Not that they are teleporting to another world, but they disappear as their water evaporates.

As you can see, our Cupcake is a member of a complex family. In our story Cupcake’s Heroic Day, she’s a brave master baker, who will take you and your kids into a magical adventure.

The Seababies Adventures was inspired by childhood challenges. Each story brings awareness to a problem holding the character back. The tales teach children to value friendships and teamwork and that it is okay to be unique. The power to change and succeed lies in their own hands.

We’d love for you to follow our campaign that will be launching in a little over three weeks. Click on the “Notify me on launch” button to get an email from Kickstarter as soon as the project goes live. If you don’t have a Kickstarter account, you’ll have to create one first. Here’s the link to our campaign:

Hermit Crabs: Pets or Not?

What child hasn’t wanted a pet? But taking care of them is a serious matter, and even adults find they can’t always fully commit to the care of, say, a cat or dog. Rebecca and I both had cats and dogs growing up. I also had parrots and guinea pigs, and Rebecca’s family had chickens, turtles, birds, and a white rat. But there were always cats. In Rebecca’s case, lots and lots of cats all at one time.

When I stared the Seababies Adventure series, I researched the sea creatures that would appear in the books. I wanted to share knowledge about them with our young readers. One of the books is about Seamore, a funky little hermit crab. I’m sure you’ve seen them in the ocean or in the stores at the boardwalk gift shop. Tiny little things with painted shells.

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Many people buy them, but when they return home from vacation. They’re unsure how to care for them. I wanted to get a hermit crab a few times. I was going to name him Seamore, after the character in our book. However, after learning facts about the crabs, I changed my mind for good.

On the beach in their natural habitat, they’re happy, splashing like Seamore and playing with other crabs. But when they’re taken from their wild environment, their story becomes sad. Not only does it hurt the environment to take them away, it hurts the creatures themselves.

Even though their name has “hermit” in it, the crabs are quite sociable and live in communities. I read somewhere that they are called hermits because they carry their home with them. This is often a shell another creature has outgrown. Hermit crabs, too, change their home as they grow.

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When taken into captivity, some of them die from loneliness. Also, unlike cats or dogs, hermit crabs are stressed the more you touch them. They’re not pettable pets.

You also have to make sure their environment is suitable for them. They need a special diet and don’t like to be bathed as a lot of people think. Calcium in the sand could kill them.

Maybe you’ve decided you want to buy the crabs so you can release them back into the ocean. Although altruistic, it’s not a good idea to return crabs to the wild. One of the reasons is that the ones you buy in stores may carry bacteria or contagious viruses that would infect crab colonies.

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That’s not to say, the situation can’t work. There’s a happy story about a hermit crab and his owner. They have been best friends for more than 40 years, and now they both live in a retirement home together. You can watch this video about them:

While I was doing my crabby research, I found an organization that provides information on how to care for crabs. You can adopt one or become a foster parent them if you’re interested. Their link is here:

They are a registered non profit. is where they share all of their care guides. is the page for their annual convention.

Here’s another great video about crab facts that can help you to make the right decision:

I hope our book Seamore Sees More brings awareness about this topic. The next time you see this cute little creature with painted shell in a gift shop, it’s best not to buy it. Perhaps this will discourage the trend of crabs being taken from their homes for pets. Or, if you do get one, first educate yourself on how to care for the creature. Reach out to these organizations to help you make a decision or learn how to care for a crab as a pet.

Please follow our Kickstarter campaign to know immediately when it launches.

You’ll learn more about crabs and other sea creatures and get some great books and merchandise to go along with them:

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