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.

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Fiction Collection: Loveless Aro Friendly

Handdrawn illustration of a green meadow foreground with green and yellow pine trees growing against a mint-hued sky. Scene is overlaid with the grey gradient/green/light green/green/grey gradient stripes of the loveless aromantic pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Fiction sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

As an autistic, loveless aromantic writer who prefers that my feelings of attraction, connection and affection not be contextualised with a word that doesn’t always feel applicable, I thought Aro Week the perfect time to collate those stories written for aromantics like me. This post lists my works with loveless aromantic protagonists and those that don’t presume an aromantic protagonist’s ability to love and/or label their experiences as love.

My other aro works can be found on my fiction page.

What Makes Us Human

Cover image for What Makes Us Human: A Marchverse Short Story by K. A. Cook. Cover shows an archway set into a stone wall, the wall covered by a dull green creeper. A small peach sphere of light glows underneath part of the creeper at the top of the archway. Inside the archway is another stone wall behind a courtyard comprised of a few rocks, two spindly trees and a striped purple cushion. Title and author credit are written in a white, fantasy-style text, the type bright against the grey background.

Moll of Sirenne needs prompts in their girdle book to navigate casual conversations, struggles to master facial expressions and feels safest weeding the monastery’s vegetable gardens. Following their call to service, however, means offering wanderers in need a priest’s support and guidance. A life free of social expectation to court, wed and befriend does outweigh their fear of causing harm—until forgetting the date of a holiday provokes a guest’s ire and three cutting words: lifeless and loveless.

A priest must expand a guest’s sense of human worth, but what do they do when their own comes under question? Can an autistic, aromantic priest ever expect to serve outside the garden? And what day is it…?

Contains: A middle-aged, agender priest set on defying social norms around love; an alloromantic guest with a journey to undergo in conquering her amatonormativity and ableism; an elderly aromantic priest providing irascible reassurance; and the story of how Moll became Esher’s guiding priest.

More info: Loveless aromantic narrating protagonist.

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Pride Patch Tutorial: Aromantic Alphabet, Part Four

Six digitally-created versions of cross stitch pride patches, arranged in two rows of three, against a background of a textured partially-translucent aromantic pride flag. Text between the two rows reads Aro Pride Patches in black type. Patches include a rectangular patch in aroflux zigzag stripes, an idemromantic heart, an aro flag text patch reading "aro", a square in quoiromantic stripes, an arrow design in allo-aro colours and a second arrow in nebularomantic colours.

Are you an aromantic or otherwise queer person wanting more text patch designs for three, four, six and twelve-stripe pride flags? Do you crave patches depicting longer words like “aromantic asexual”? I now have a complete alphabet, with wide letters great for larger objects, to accompany my many four-stripe block text patterns. Plus patterns for the words “aromantic”, “asexual”, “alterous” and “nope” … and even “wtf” for my fellow quoi folks!

Seven cross stitch text patches sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. From top to bottom: "quoi" in quoiromantic colours on a blue background; "apl" in aplatonic colours on a purple background; "aroace" in oriented aro-ace colours on a pink background; "aro" in aromantic colours on a black background; "queer" in rainbow/LGBTQIA+ colours on a black background; "wtf" in quoiromantic colours on a teal background; and "aego" in aegoromantic colours on a matching flag-stripe background. All letters are capitals in a blockish style of text with rounded corners. Each letter is outlined in backstitch. Every patch is finished with a buttonhole stitch edging in colours similar to (lighter or darker than) their background colour, save the "aro patch, which is edged in chartreuse.

You’ll need familiarity with cross stitch (full crosses and fractional stitches) and backstitch to make unedged patches, along with buttonhole stitch to make the edged patches shown above. The first instalment of this patch tutorial series demonstrates cross and blanket/buttonhole stitch, while the second covers backstitch. While these patterns use fractional stitches to round off most letters, they can be omitted for a more pixellated look.

Folks after patterns suitable for five and ten-stripe pride flags should check out my other Aro Alphabet posts!

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