kiss in the books

2

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

Summary: A darker retelling of The Little Mermaid, in which Ursula must outwit the Norse god Loki to save the woman she loves.

In the icy northern sea of her merpeople’s kingdom, Ersel must prepare for the fertility ceremony that will determine her future. Ersel wants nothing to do with it, and she would rather spend her time dreaming of a life of adventure and collecting human trinkets from nearby shipwrecks. When she stumbles upon a human woman stranded on a glacier, she must contend with a jealous best friend, a wicked king, and a trickster god to help her.

Thoughts: This was a captivating, original take on The Little Mermaid. The plot is fast-paced and keeps you guessing until the end. If you have any interest in lesbian mermaids, fairytale retellings, or Norse mythology, check this book out. 

I loved the diversity here too - Ersel is fat, as she has to be to survive in icy waters. Ersel and Ragna’s relationship is forbidden as mermaid/human as well as two women. Loki is canonically genderfluid with they/them pronouns in the narrative and dialogue.

I gave the love story 3/5 because Ragna is absent for most of the book and returns at the end, where (*spoilers*) there is an instance of domestic violence between Ersel and Ragna that goes unchallenged. I was very disappointed. This is not the kind of romance that young wlw should be exposed to in YA fiction.

Warnings: 

  • Fertility ceremony - fertile mermaids are a coveted prize fought over by the mermen, infertile mermaids are “broken” and shunned
  • Trickery/deception from Loki
  • Domestic violence - Ragna and Ersel punch each other in the face
OTP Teeth
  • Person A: *drugged up from getting wisdom teeth removed*
  • Person B: *came to visit*
  • Person A: who are you? *attempts to strike sexy pose and fails. Loudly whispers * your hot!
  • Person B: * trying not to laugh* I-I'm (person B).
  • Person A: Well, (person B)..*drools a bit from Gauss* you must have cleaned your pants with Windex, cause I can see my self in them latter tonight. *failed wink*
  • Person B: *dying of laughter* yo- you realize- we are already dating!
  • Person A: yes! Worked like a charm!

I will never understand how someone can finish a book, like it and then just go on living. I have to go look for all of the fan art and fanfiction that has ever been published. Do deep character analysis, see what other people think of it, and basically just scroll down the book’s tumblr tag for HOURS looking at everything that’s already been discussed about it then imerse myself in the fandom so much it will consume my every thought for at least the coming week.

Don’t say you love me if I’m only gray to you. It’s either black or white, yes or no, up or down. There’s no ‘well maybe she’ll work’. I am a gift to you and if you do not cherish me like the queen I am, then leave and stop wasting my time. If you want to be with me, you have to work for it. I am not a prize to be won but I am the judge seeing if you are suitable and willing to deal with me. Deal with my random rambles and my soft kisses and my ugly laugh and my cute chubby tummy and my hot screams. Do not say you want me because I’m better than nothing. If anything, you need me more than I need you.
—  this isn’t my best but oh well
Kiss Scenes 101: How To Write The Perfect Kiss

Anonymous said: Hey there. Not sure what kind of questions you accept but…here goes. Do you have any tips for writing kiss scenes? Not fluffy kiss scenes but really passionate ones. Thanks!

I was hoping to post this on Valentine’s Day, but I got a little busy so it got pushed back. Happy (late) Valentine’s Day, and enjoy!

|| 1 || Detail. Remember that describing a kiss means including more detail than just what is happening and when. Be sure to include description of how the protagonist’s five senses are being affected, as well as some other elements such as:

  • What the protagonist smells
  • What the protagonist tastes
  • What the protagonist hears
  • What the protagonist sees
  • The inner monologue of the protagonist, if the point of view in your story allows it.

|| 2 || Make the kiss(es) realistic. Situational details are a key factor in making the scene more satisfying and memorable. Pay attention to details like the character’s physical characteristics, such as glasses, braces, messy hair, etc. and incorporate those tiny details into the scene.

She turned her head to the left, leaning in to brush her lips against her partner’s, but was interrupted when their noses bumped together, making them both giggle, and the awkwardness fade away.

I mean, sure, that’s not the best example, but at least it’s better than:

Their lips collided, and they made out flawlessly, as if they were in a Nicholas Sparks novel.

Little details like bumping noses, giggling, grinning like an idiot, stumbling, hesitating, etc. can make the scene so much better.

|| 3 || It doesn’t always have to be a full on make out session every time two characters kiss. A lot of the time, kisses are short and sweet and that can be enough to send a substantial spark to the fingers and toes, and send the reader out smiling. Pecks, if only on the cheek, can be more than enough and are extremely underrated.

|| 4 || Pay attention to what your characters do with the rest of their bodies. Kissing is in no way just about the mouth. Keep in mind that most of the time, people don’t just lean forward and mush their faces together. Grab the face, caress the lower back, hold their hand, hell, sweep them off their feet and carry them into the sunset! Don’t just stand there!

|| 5 || Lastly, but not least..ly.. VOCABULARY. Using the right wordage can improve your kiss scene-no, scratch that- ANY SCENE a million times better. I’ve made an entire post on vocabulary and synonyms to use for your sex/kiss scenes {shameless plug} and you can find it: 

HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE HERE

|| 6 || Read kiss scenes as a writer would. Read kiss scenes that you’ve enjoyed and nitpick them to find what you do and don’t like about them, adding the good things to your own scene and being wary of the bad. 

And now, here are some extra tips to get you going:

 I. Practice - If you’re in a relationship or have a really great friend {;)}, practice the act and take notes on how it actually feels! A lot of people who read these kiss scenes take it as the reality because some have never kissed anyone, so teach them how it’s done!

II. Know your characters - Would they actually bite their partner’s lip like that? Would they actually go as far as caressing the majestical inner thigh? Think about it.

III. Add elements of the setting - Are your characters standing in the middle of a crowd? In a high school hallway? Elevator? Include details like sounds and smells and lighting to give the reader a more full-sensory experience.

IV. Dialogue can be fun to play with - Kissing doesn’t always have to be silent. Maybe they break for a second to say “You’re so beautiful” or “Did you pop a mint when I wasn’t looking, oh sneaky one?”. Include those little mutterings or comments because they are some of the best parts.

V. Have someone you trust read it - If you’ve got a good friend who will be honest, have them read and suggest edits. Google docs is fantastic for having your friends read and help you edit your work, because you can change the setting to “suggest edits” and you can see everything they’ve suggested without permanently altering the scene.

Kissing you for the first time felt like fireworks. Feeling your lips against mine is a feeling I’ll never forget. Your lips were so delicate and soft. Biting your lip through our various kisses, I was definitely euphoric. I never want to stop kissing you.
—  kissing you // 9:16pm