Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Release: Undine in Love

My erotic fantasy romance novelette "Aquatic Ardor" has just been published in the Amber Heat line of Amber Quill Press ( It was inspired by the legend that an undine (a water elemental) wins a human soul if she falls in love with a mortal. (I suspect Hans Christian Andersen had this story at least partly in mind when writing "The Little Mermaid.") But what if the last thing she wants is to become human? And she falls in love anyway? Since my favorite theme is intimacy between human and nonhuman beings, I had fun with my heroine's adjustment to the "alien" world of dry land and the thrills and terrors of love. I always like “fish out of water” stories, and though Melia isn't a fish, she certainly has problems with being out of water. :)

Here's an excerpt from the beginning of "Aquatic Ardor":

Alien sounds rippled over the water and filtered through it to stir the pondweed and stargrass on the floor of the lake. Voices. Her senses, permeating the liquid that embodied her, resonated with one of those voices. She had heard and seen land folk walking on her banks from time to time, but most of them had been strangers. Could this person be her boy?

No, not a boy. He had been a man for a long time. Human time flowed so swiftly that she lost track of the years. How long had she waited, one with the water of her home, to hear that voice? Why did he come here so seldom now? The vibrations emanating from him woke her memory. Yes, he had visited as a man, but not often enough. No wonder she’d forgotten the changes in him.

The weeds on the lake bed undulated as if swept by a gust of wind. A miniature whirlpool coalesced into a slender, four-limbed shape topped with hair and a face. Slowly Melia gathered her substance from all parts of the lake to concentrate it into human form. Now she saw only what fell within range of her eyes, but her vision became clearer, less diffuse. She could still hear the voices talking. Now, when she raised her head above the surface in woman’s shape, she could understand their language.

One-acre waterfront lots,” said one of the men. A stranger. “The houses will get snapped up as soon as they’re built. Of course, there’s septic permits and stuff like that to take care of, but I don’t anticipate any problems.”

I haven’t definitely decided to sell.” That voice reverberated through Melia like a summer thunderstorm. “I’m still thinking about it.”

It’s him. Adam.

You’d be crazy not to,” the first man said. “Lakefront property an hour’s drive from Richmond? We’re looking at units priced in the high six figures, easily. That’s why I can make you such a great offer.” A low chuckle. “Not holding out for more, are you?”

Her man answered with a hint of warm laughter in his voice. “Hardly. Not a thing wrong with the offer. I just have to be completely sure first. This land has been in my family since 1931.”

It’s not like I’m going to ruin the place. I’m talking low density, scenic views, sailboats. And you get to keep your house and a good-size slice of land around it.” The voices grew fainter, drifting away from the shore. “I’ll be in touch again soon, and meanwhile, you’ve got my number.”

Submerged up to her chest, surrounded by floating water lilies, Melia leaned against a bank under a weeping willow, her chin pillowed on her folded arms. She understood little of what she’d heard, with most of her knowledge of the human world limited to snatches of conversation she’d listened to over the years. She got only one clear impression…that change threatened her home. The strange man wanted to replace part of her woods with human dwellings. Although she’d missed her boy—no, her man—during his long absences, she didn’t want dozens more mortals tearing up trees and plants, bringing noise and artificial odors with them. She sighed with pleasure at the breeze stirring the humid air and inhaled the green aromas of leaves and pine needles. Now that the men had walked out of hearing range, the only sounds were the chirping of birds and the skittering of squirrels in the branches. She wanted to keep her lake exactly like this, sharing it with nobody except the man who’d at last returned from wherever he’d gone.

As a child, he had spent weeks here every summer. Vaguely aware of his parents and the young friends he’d sometimes brought with him, Melia had focused her attention on Adam. Although she’d cherished a mild fondness for his father and grandfather and even dallied with them in their youth, he was the only one who’d come here often enough for her to truly know him. She had watched him grow from year to year. She missed the fun of making the water swirl and eddy around him, startling him with splashes and miniature waterspouts. She’d enjoyed the sensation of enveloping his strong, blood-warmed flesh and sliding over his skin, making him shiver with delight. As he’d changed from a half-grown boy into a young man, she’d reveled in his body’s response to her liquid caresses. Catching him alone, she’d often teased one part of him to urgent hardness. She’d submerged him up to the neck and yearned to draw him below the surface where she could embrace him completely. But she knew no mortal could survive that total union.

-end of excerpt-


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  2. Undine
    The term has also been used as proper name for such a water spirit, "Ondine".
    Ondine was a water nymph in German mythology. She was very beautiful and (like all nymphs) immortal. One of the "only threats" to a nymph's eternal happiness is if she falls in love with a mortal and bears his child - she will lose her "gift" of everlasting life. Ondine fell in love with a dashing knight - Sir Lawrence - and they were married. When they exchanged vows, Lawrence said, "My every waking breath shall be my pledge of love and faithfulness to you." A year after their marriage Ondine gave birth to Lawrence’s son. From that moment on she began to age. As Ondine’s physical attractiveness diminished, Lawrence lost interest in his wife.
    One afternoon Ondine was walking near the stables when she heard the familiar
    sportsbook snoring of her husband. When she entered the stable, however, she saw Lawrence lying in the arms of another woman. Ondine pointed her finger at him, which he felt as a kick, waking up with a start. Ondine uttered a curse: "You swore faithfulness to me with every waking breath, and I accepted your oath. So be it. As long as you are awake, you shall have your breath, but should you ever fall asleep, then that breath will be taken from you and you will die!"

  3. undine
    A water spirit, Undine, seeks to gain a soul in the only way open to her; she must marry a mortal.costa rica fishingShe marries a knight named Huldbrand and despite their deep love, discovers why such a union has been warned against for all time. The price for a human soul is a high one.