The Seafarer’s Kiss By Julia Ember

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Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

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Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.


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Connect with Julia Ember at, on Twitter @jules_chronicle, and on Facebook at



The taste of her was like an elixir of salt and courage and freedom.

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Turquoise oil formed a perfumed cloud around me. It smelled sweet as baby kelp and sounded like the whisper of a summer ocean I could barely remember. When it diffused, I looked down and my heart leapt into my throat. My fins and tail were back, but they were different, enhanced. Before, my scales had been shades of royal blue, but now beautiful white and lilac scales were mixed among the palest shade of sky blue. My tail gleamed and shimmered like a pearl held to the light. Each fin was tapered and translucent and looked as delicate as the softest sea-silk. But I could feel the strength in them.

This tail would forever mark me as different, special. No one else under the ocean had such scales. Would that make me something to treasure or something to hunt?

Loki was bribing me, trying their hardest to make me feel gratitude, as if I could forget the horrors of the past months. I wouldn’t let myself be drawn into their snare again. I would take this gift and use it, but I would never agree to do anything for the trickster.

Wearing a smile that stretched my jaw, I flipped, pivoted, and spun, relishing the feeling of my nimble tail and streamlined fins. The storm above had cleared, and sunlight filtered through the water, making creatures from dancing light. The ocean stretched out around me, blue and endless.

Character Bio

The Basics:

What is your character’s name? Does the character have a nickname?

 Ersel, but often gets called Erie in the book by her mother and childhood friends.

What is your character’s hair color? Eye color?

 In Ersel’s underwater home, common human hair colours are rarely found. She has bright blue hair and blue eyes.

Where does your character go when she’s angry?

 Ersel finds life in her merclan very stressful, so when she’s angry or upset, she likes to get away from it. She either goes to one of the abandoned shipwrecks that litter the seabed around her ice fortress, or visits the local beluga pod she has made friends with.

When has your character been in love? Had a broken heart?

 Ersel was in love with her childhood friend, Havamal, for most of her childhood and teenage years. They dreamed about escaping the ice fortress and exploring other parts of the sea together. When Havamal joins the King’s Guards, Ersel’s heart and her dreams for their future are crushed.

Fun/In Depth Questions:

 What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

 One of Ersel’s strongest memories it the first time Havamal took her to see a shipwreck. He woke up her in the middle of the night, and they snuck away from the ice fortress while their parents were sleeping. She remembers feeling scared of going into the open sea, but he comforts her. It’s an important memory for her because it sparked her curiosity about humans and it represents a time when her trust in Havamal was absolute. He betrays her in a lot of ways throughout the book.

It’s Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. If she’s eating breakfast, what exactly does she eat? If she’s stretching out in her backyard to sun, what kind of blanket or towel does she lie on?

In Ersel’s underwater Ice Fortress home, weekends as such do not exist. The mermaids don’t tend to eat breakfast, as when they wake up, they first need to visit the surface to recharge their scales with sunlight. The mermaids retain heat in their scales, which burns off as they sleep overnight. Ersel usually surfaces at the breathing hole of her favourite beluga pod. She would spend half an hour or so laying on the ice, as her body absorbs the sun’s energy. Afterward, she would return to the ice fortress and visit the dining hall for lunch. Her lunches would consist of fish, kelp, algae and small seabirds.

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by Parker Williams

Parker writes m/m fiction where happily ever afters will require work to reach. He loves broken characters, hurt and healing, pain and comfort.

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