When Quiver Meets Quill

Cover image for When Quiver Meets Quill: Collected Aromantic Fiction by K. A. Cook. Cover depicts a frame border in the stripes of the aromantic pride flag against a mottled green background, title text arranged around images of pencils and feathers. Text is in black handdrawn type outlined in different shades of greens, greys and whites.Jessie’s casing an art gallery affords an opportunity to discuss a queerplatonic relationship. The phrase “I don’t love” encompasses more than a prince’s lack of romantic attraction. A gay aromantic makes a game of his alloromantic co-workers’ inability to accept him. Alida finds an accomplice in petty revenge after hir friend sets hir up on a date. An aro-ace wanderer invents their own fairy tales free of weddings as a happily ever after. And a demiromantic witch learns about aromanticism from her allo-aro cousin after an escapade with an unwanted romantic admirer.

When Quiver Meets Quill collects fourteen fantasy and contemporary aromantic stories about amatonormativity, friendship and connection.

Contains: Asexual aros; allosexual aros; aros without reference to sexual attraction identities; transgender and non-binary aros; queer aros; autistic aros; neurodiverse aros; and a genderless aro dragon.

Links: PDF (read in browser)Patreon

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

Length: 45, 000 words / 149 PDF pages.

Readers should note note that this is a free aromantic fiction collection archiving several internet and previously-published short stories. As it contains allo-aro characters, there are sex mentions and references in some stories, along with romance references, depictions of physical intimacy and depictions of amatonormativity and aromantic antagonism.

Blurbs and specific content advisories are listed below, along with links to the original publication of each piece:

Lucky

A game is the best way for Piper to deal with the casual amatonormativity of alloromantics who think they accept his aromanticism.

Content Advisory: Depiction of amatonormativity in social discussions about relationships and references to the amatonormativity experienced by aromantics in sexual relationships. Some swearing and casual sex references. Allo-aro.

Links: Patreon | WordPress | Tumblr

Length: 992 words / 4 PDF pages.

The Wind and the Stars

True love’s kiss will break any spell. Always be kind to wizened crones. The youngest son is most favoured by wise foxes and crows. Princes save princesses from beastly dragons and towers overgrown with briar brambles. A happily ever after always involves a wedding…

The Wind and the Stars is a short aro-ace fairy tale about heroes, love, adulthood and the worlds we make in the stories we tell.

Content Advisory: Non-explicit sexual references, kissing mention, many references to common fairy tale structures that contain misogyny, heterosexism and amatonormativity. This story also depicts society’s unquestioning reaction to said structures. Aro-ace.

Links: PDF (read in browser) | Patreon | Smashwords | Gumroad | WordPress

Length: 1, 308 words / 4 PDF pages.

Friendship

A sapphic aromantic wishes to partner a dragon’s handmaiden without the complications of a romantic relationship, but finds comfort in her friendship with her own dragon.

Content Advisory: Casual references to fantasy violence including dragons and fire. Depiction of amatonormativity and expectation of romance in relationships from both sexual partners and parents. Allo-aro.

Links: PatreonWordPress | Tumblr

Length: 993 words / 4 PDF pages.

The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query

Necromancer Mara Hill has waited weeks for the Thinning: the one night the dead walk freely amongst the living. Her wandering great-aunt, Rosie, was wise in the way of magic and the world, and Mara knows of none other to ask. Books and magic alike haven’t restored her fading love, and Benjamin Lisabet is too wonderful to risk losing. Why can’t Mara keep herself from falling out of love whenever the girl she yearns for dares love her back?

She’s sure that Aunt Rosie’s spirit will offer up needed advice. She just doesn’t expect a deluge of deceased villagers set on unravelling everything Mara knows about what it means to love and be in love.

Content Advisory: Many non-explicit references to sex, sexual relationships and sexual attraction, along with discussions of amatonormativity and the internalised hatred experienced by a lithromantic character. Please also expect non-detailed references to gender dysphoria and depression. It should be noted that this piece also contains discussions about romantic attraction and (unlike some lithromantics) the protagonist doesn’t object to being subject of romantic interest. Allo-aro with allo-aro and aro-ace secondary characters.

Links: PDF (read in browser) | Patreon | WordPress

Length: 8, 221 words / 32 PDF

Monstrous

A world where sexual attraction sans alloromantic attraction takes on fangs and teeth–and a pansexual’s aro liberation means accepting monstrosity.

Content Advisory: Depictions of amatonormativity and allo-aro antagonism, along with romance and love mentions, attempted kissing/kissing mentions, physical intimacy and casual sexual attraction mentions. Allo-aro.

This story uses the expectation of romantic attraction as a metaphor for what is seen to make one human to reflect and explore amatonormativity and the way allosexual aromanticism is feared as predatory. Please expect a piece that leans into this construct of allo-aro-as-monster and does not consider how this metaphor may apply to non-allosexual aros.

Links: Patreon | WordPress | Tumblr

Length: 1, 000 words / 4 PDF pages.

What if It Isn’t

What if her love is a dull, flickering, rare thing, so insubstantial it makes better sense to disregard it as meaningful? What if her love is quiet and companionate at best while Keiko loves with fairytale passion, a woman who wants and needs to be wanted?

Pretending to be girlfriends while casing an art gallery with Keiko shouldn’t be a problem, but once Jessie realises things have gotten a little too real in the façade they’re showing to the world, the only thing to do is ask.

Content Advisory: Cuddling, touching and non-explicit/really vague sexual references. This piece is also light on any actual knowledge on how one may case an art gallery. Allo-aro.

Links: PDF (read in browser) | Patreon | WordPress | Tumblr

Length: 2, 097 words / 6 PDF pages.

Loveless

When Paide ein Iteme says the words “I don’t love”, he doesn’t just refer to romantic relationships.

Content Advisory: Non-detailed mentions of death, war, violence, abuse, cissexism and suicidal ideation. More detailed references to off-page ableism and abuse, including a parent’s breaking of an autistic child’s stim toy. Depictions of heterosexism and heterosexist slurs/sex negative language. Allo-aro.

Links: Patreon | WordPress | Tumblr

Length: 1, 000 words / 4 PDF pages.

The Vampire Conundrum

When Rowan Ross is pressured into placing an aromantic pride mug on his desk, he doesn’t know how to react when his co-workers don’t notice it. Don’t they realise he spent a weekend rehearsing answers for questions unasked? Then again, if nobody knows what aromanticism is, can’t he display a growing collection of pride merch without a repeat of his coming out as trans? Be visible with impunity through their ignorance?

He can endure their thinking him a fan of archery, comic-book superheroes and glittery vampire movies. It’s not like anyone in the office is an archer. (Are they?) But when a patch on his bag results in a massive misconception, correcting it means doing the one thing he most fears: making a scene.

After all, his name isn’t Aro.

Content Advisory: This story hinges on the way most cishet alloromantic people know nothing about aromanticism and the ways trans-accepting cis people fail to best communicate their acceptance. In other words, expect a series of queer, trans and aro microaggressions. There are no depictions or mentions of sexual attraction beyond the words “allosexual” and “bisexual”, but there are non-detailed references to Rowan’s previous experiences with romance. Allo-aro with aro-ace secondary character.

Links: Patreon (Part One, Part Two) | WordPress

Length: 6, 688 words / 21 PDF pages.

Attraction

A sapphic aromantic fears that her interest in another girl may be best explained by a word she doesn’t wish applied to her–romance.

Content Advisory: Casual references to fantasy violence including dragons and fire. References to amatonormativity and the vague nature of what is (and isn’t) decided to be romance or romantic. Allo-aro.

Links: PatreonWordPress | Tumblr

Length: 989 words / 4 PDF pages.

Old Fashioned

Amelia March is tired of suitors breaking into her house after dark to express their undying love. Sure, it might be the fashion, but whatever happened to getting to know someone first? Why won’t they listen to her when she says she isn’t interested? And what does it mean that her cousin Kit thinks there’s a word for her approach to romantic relationships?

Old Fashioned is a story about finding words and the importance of fake cobwebs in the windows.

Content Advisory: Depiction of a woman somewhat enthusiastically wounding a home invader (despite awareness of the fact that said invader isn’t there to kill her). It also depicts this love interest engaged in the creepy but traditional act of invading her house, unasked and uninvited, as a sexual/romantic gesture towards a woman who doesn’t want it and is explicit about this. The protagonist also threatens and imagines violence and murder on several occasions as a form of bluster. Demi aro-ace with allo-aro secondary character.

Links: PDF (read in browser) | PatreonSmashwords | Gumroad

Length: 5, 108 words / 14 PDF pages.

Leaving

A pansexual aromantic endures their alloromantic partners’ expectations of casual sexual relationships evolving into romance–until they find another aromantic.

Content Advisory: Depiction of amatonormativity and expectation of romance in sexual relationships. Please note that this story contains the use of a misogynistic, sex-negative slur more often targeted at allo-aro and multisexual folks. Allo-aro.

Links: Patreon | WordPress | Tumblr

Length: 767 words / 3 PDF pages.

When Quiver Meets Quill

Alida Quill is just fine spending hir holidays alone with a book if it means freedom from hir family’s continued expectation to court and wed. When hir co-worker Ede sets hir up with a friend and won’t take no for an answer, Alida plots an extravagant, public refusal scene to show everyone once and for all that ze will not date. Ever.

Ze doesn’t expect to meet Antonius Quiver, a man with his own abrupt, startling declarations on the subject of romance.

It isn’t courting if he schemes with hir to pay back Ede … is it?

Content Advisory: An aromantic character pressed into dating along with casual references to general amatonormativity and ableism. Aromantic, no additional reference to sexual attraction identities.

Links: Patreon (Part One, Part Two) | WordPress

Length: 5, 596 words / 17 PDF pages.

Unspoken

An allo-aro contemplates the problem of how to tell hir best friend that ze wishes for a sexual queerplatonic relationship.

Content Advisory: Depiction of amatonormativity in social discussions about relationships and relationship experiences. Romance references. Allo-aro.

Links: Patreon | WordPress | Tumblr

Length: 539 words / 2 PDF pages.

The Pride Conspiracy

December isn’t the best time of year for a trans aromantic like Rowan Ross, although—unlike his relatives—his co-workers probably won’t give him gift cards to women’s clothing shops. How does he explain to cis people that while golf balls don’t trigger his dysphoria, he wants to be seen as more than a masculine stereotype? Nonetheless, he thinks he has this teeth-gritted endurance thing figured out: cissexism means he needn’t fear his relatives asking him about dating, and he has the perfect idea for Melanie in the office gift exchange. He can survive gifts and kin, right? Isn’t playing along with expectation better than enduring unexpected consequences?

Rowan, however, isn’t the only aromantic in the office planning to surprise a co-worker. To survive the onslaught of ribbon and cellophane, Rowan’s going to have to get comfortable with embracing the unknown.

Content Advisory: This story focuses on some of the ways Western gift-giving culture enables cissexism and a rigid gender binary, taking place in the context of commercialised, secular-but-with-very-Christian-underpinnings Christmas. There are no depictions or mentions of sexual attraction beyond the words “allosexual” and “bisexual” and a passing reference to allo-aro antagonism, but there are non-detailed references to Rowan’s previous experiences with and attitudes towards romance and romantic attraction as a frayromantic. Please also expect depictions of physical intimacy along with casual references to amatonormativity and other shapes of cissexism. Allo-aro with aro-ace secondary characters.

Links: Patreon (Part One, Part Two) | WordPress

Length: 9, 702 words / 29 PDF pages.

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