Story Collection: Witches of Fruit and Forest

Banner for Nine Laws: Aromantic Spectrum Fairy Tales. Image features a tree in the foreground, lanterns hanging from its branches, against a background of heavily-overgrown grey stone walls and archways leading into smaller courtyards. Vines and ivy cover the walls, archways and steps; an array of grasses grow around the bases of trees and walls. Text is set in a white, slightly-curving serif type; white curlicues matching the text, set in each corner, form a broken frame around the text.
Witches of Fruit and Forest: Nine Laws Short Stories cover by K. A. Cook. Cover features scenery of a dense forest of green and gold leafed trees, the ground underneath covered by thick clusters of grass and yellow-flowering shrubs. Background shows pink flowers peeking through the foreground shrubbery. Text is set in a white, slightly-curving serif type; white curlicues matching the text, set in each corner, form a broken frame around the text.

All know that acceptable sexual attraction walks in twain with romantic love and intimate partnership. Sorcerers’ wives know that their daughters must marry to further power’s cause. Royals know that a kingdom’s prosperity demands the happily-ever-after of monogamous marriage and future heirs … and if romance here cannot be found, it must at least be feigned. In a world so constrained, where can a princess give language to her aromanticism? Where can a baker avoid his mother’s insistence that he love and wed? Where can a villager celebrate that dreaded, threatening possession of desire untethered from love?

Where else but in a witch’s company?

Witches of Fruit and Forest collects all Nine Laws short stories: tales of magic and fantasy exploring aromantic identity.

Contains: Magic, vegetable gardens, a riot of blackberry, abundant queerness, human and not-quite-human aro witches, loveless and non-monogamous protagonists, and stories like to end with rebellion–or gloriously casual sex.

Links: PDF (read in browser) | PatreonWordPress | Tumblr

PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available for download from Patreon.

Length: 29, 827 words / 109 PDF pages.

(Some stories have been reprinted in the Hallo, Aro and Bones of Green and Hearts of Gold collections.)

This free collection gathers my short Nine Laws stories into the one volume. As the PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions will be updated with future stories, please consider them live documents (as opposed to a complete book). The most recent editions will always be available at my Witches of Fruit and Forest book page.

I grew up with a spineless copy of Grimms’ Fairy Tales that, on account of chronic childhood insomnia, I read over and over. It strikes me as interesting that in many wedding-equals-happily-ever-after fairy tales, love isn’t a factor: the princess is but a prize for the hero to win, distant and unknowable. Others tend to gloss over the experience. Snow White and Rose Red, one of my favourites, showed the affection had between the sisters (heroines smartly carrying scissors!) and the ensorcelled prince … but even then Rose Red was perfunctorily handed off to the prince’s brother in order for the story to arrive at a requisite happy ending. Romantic love, despite its focus in Disney retellings, is secondary to marriage–less important than (heterosexual) partnership.

For this reason, Witches of Fruit and Forest collects fairy-tale-inspired stories with a focus on narrators who cannot exist within the confines of a traditional happy ending: otherwise-queer, non-partnering aromantics.

Most stories contain loveless, polyamorous, promiscuous, non-partnering or non-monogamous allosexual aromantic protagonists. Please expect at minimum non-explicit sex mentions and references in all stories (including those with aro-ace characters). Many include romance references, love references, depictions of physical intimacy, kissing depictions, sexually suggestive language, descriptions of sexual attraction/desire and references to sexual acts.

Additionally, many stories contain depictions of amatonormativity, allonormativity, misogyny, sex negativity, cissexism, heterosexism, sex worker antagonism and aromantic antagonism.

Stories include:

Folks in need of individual story blurbs and story-specific content advisories can find also this information on the Witches of Fruit and Forest master page.

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