Fiction: The Girl and Her Unicorn, Part Three

Banner for Nine Laws: Allosexual Aromantic 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.

Ponder Sheafed can’t stop asking questions. Ze isn’t the girl others presume hir to be. Ze won’t become a wife or let a wedding’s absence stopper hir lust. Ze isn’t good, so maintaining hir kinsfolk’s high regard demands a complicated dance of stealth, secrecy and untruth. Ponder does, however, own some ability in deception … so when tragedy befalls hir family, how does ze explain that–despite all appearance to the contrary–ze can’t trade hir life’s service for a unicorn’s magic?

Only virtuous maidens may enter the forest to seek a creature as pure as a unicorn. Returning home empty-handed avoids provoking Father’s rage by confessing unacceptable truths, so what options has ze other than embarking upon a farcical quest for hir family’s salvation … and dreading the failure to come? No unicorn can ever grace an unrepentant liar!

Ponder isn’t good. But neither, ze discovers, is the unicorn.

You may learn, given time, that ‘good’ is but sunlight and seafoam … and all else is sapience.

Continue reading “Fiction: The Girl and Her Unicorn, Part Three”

Fiction: The Girl and Her Unicorn, Part Two

Banner for Nine Laws: Allosexual Aromantic 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.

Ponder Sheafed can’t stop asking questions. Ze isn’t the girl others presume hir to be. Ze won’t become a wife or let a wedding’s absence stopper hir lust. Ze isn’t good, so maintaining hir kinsfolk’s high regard demands a complicated dance of stealth, secrecy and untruth. Ponder does, however, own some ability in deception … so when tragedy befalls hir family, how does ze explain that–despite all appearance to the contrary–ze can’t trade hir life’s service for a unicorn’s magic?

Only virtuous maidens may enter the forest to seek a creature as pure as a unicorn. Returning home empty-handed avoids provoking Father’s rage by confessing unacceptable truths, so what options has ze other than embarking upon a farcical quest for hir family’s salvation … and dreading the failure to come? No unicorn can ever grace an unrepentant liar!

Ponder isn’t good. But neither, ze discovers, is the unicorn.

Why must ze learn hir lesson only after ze has been ordained to uselessness?

Continue reading “Fiction: The Girl and Her Unicorn, Part Two”

Fiction: The Girl and Her Unicorn, Part One

Banner for Nine Laws: Allosexual Aromantic 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.

Ponder Sheafed can’t stop asking questions. Ze isn’t the girl others presume hir to be. Ze won’t become a wife or let a wedding’s absence stopper hir lust. Ze isn’t good, so maintaining hir kinsfolk’s high regard demands a complicated dance of stealth, secrecy and untruth. Ponder does, however, own some ability in deception … so when tragedy befalls hir family, how does ze explain that–despite all appearance to the contrary–ze can’t trade hir life’s service for a unicorn’s magic?

Only virtuous maidens may enter the forest to seek a creature as pure as a unicorn. Returning home empty-handed avoids provoking Father’s rage by confessing unacceptable truths, so what options has ze other than embarking upon a farcical quest for hir family’s salvation … and dreading the failure to come? No unicorn can ever grace an unrepentant liar!

Ponder isn’t good. But neither, ze discovers, is the unicorn.

Ponder knows that consequences must someday claim hir. Ze just didn’t expect Mama to have to pay the price.

Continue reading “Fiction: The Girl and Her Unicorn, Part One”

Hallo, Aro: Pillar – K. A. Cook

Banner for Hallo, Aro Allosexual Aro Flash Fiction. Image features dark black handwritten type on a mottled green background. Diagonal rows of arrows with bands, heads and fletching in the colours of the green/light green/white/yellow/gold allo-aro pride flag cross the image above and below the text.

Hallo, Aro is a series of flash fiction stories about allosexual aromantic characters navigating friendship, sexual attraction, aromanticism and the weight of amatonormative expectation.

Contains: A allo-aro woman who doesn’t choose marriage and children … and a society that expects she use her time in service to those who did.

When fog creeps and moon fades, the desperate seek out gods few dare name.

Continue reading “Hallo, Aro: Pillar – K. A. Cook”

Pride Month Patch Patterns: Aro Queer Text

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.

If you follow me here or elsewhere, you probably know that I posted a collection including pixel-style “queer” text patterns for three, four and six-stripe pride flags. If you’re really invested in my creative output, you may remember that last year’s Pride Month patch patterns included lower and upper-case pixel-style “queer” patterns for five-stripe flags. On Patreon and Tumblr, meanwhile, I’ve been posting pixel-style “queer” header images in aromantic spectrum pride colours–headers based upon my original patterns.

Given that I also made a-spectrum variants of last year’s “pride” text patterns, I don’t know why I didn’t think to create a-spectrum “queer” text patterns before the end of June. I can and will, however, hurriedly finish Pride Month with patterns celebrating apothi, aego, caed, caligo, demi, jump, spike and vague folks!

Three cross stitch text pieces sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. All pieces show the word "queer" in a pixel-style capitalised lower-case lettering. The topmost piece, a finished patch, shows the word sewn in the colours of the demiromantic flag on a yellow background, outlined with yellow cord and sewn onto a dark green felt. The felt is trimmed with a lighter green blanket stitch. The left-hand piece, also a finished patch, has every letter stitched in a different five-stripe pride flag: aro for q, abro for u, butch for e, trans for e and allo-aro for r. Each leter is set against a different pastel background: green, pink, purple, blue and orange. The patch is trimmed in blanket stitch worked in a cotton-candy-coloured pink/cyan/cream/mint floss. The right hand piece shows the word stitched in the colours of the aromantic flag, outlined in dark green. The cream coloured felt has been trimmed but is otherwise left unfinished.

Some patterns will require fractional stitches to sew as shown. Folks who need help with materials, stitching, finishing or attaching patches should check out my pride text tutorial and my tutorial master page.

Continue reading “Pride Month Patch Patterns: Aro Queer Text”

Pride Patch Tutorial: Aromantic Alphabet, Part Three

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 five or ten-stripe pride flags? Do you crave patches depicting longer words like “aromantic asexual”? I now have a complete alphabet, with narrow letters ideal for stitching non-abbreviated terms, to accompany my many five-stripe block text patterns. Plus patterns for the words “aromantic”, “allosexual”, “asexual”, “non sam aro” and “arospec” … and adaptations for my 8 x 10 block A is for Aro letter frame designs!

Seven cross stitch text patches sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. From top to bottom: "aroace" in angled aro-ace colours on an olive background; "aro" in aromantic colours on a pink background; "aromantic" in aromantic colours on a yellow background; "pride" in allo-aro colours on a purple-grey background; "allosexual" in allo-aro colours on a pink background; "pride" in apothiromantic colours on a gold-tan background; and "flux" in aroflux colours on a light purple 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.

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 three, four, six and twelve-stripe pride flags should check out my 10 x 12 Aro Alphabet and Letter Patch tutorials.

Continue reading “Pride Patch Tutorial: Aromantic Alphabet, Part Three”

Story Collection: Spirits Most Singular

Banner for Spirits Most Singular: Stories For Non-Partnering Aros. Image features dark black handwritten type on a mottled light purple/lilac background. Diagonal rows of arrows with bands, heads and fletching in the colours of the green/light green/white/grey/black aromantic pride flag cross the image above and below the text.
Cover image for Spirits Most Singular: Stories For Non-Partnering Aros by K. A. Cook. Cover features black handwritten type on a mottled light purple/lilac background. Cartoon images of arrows--in four different styles--sit in diagonal rows across the cover, the fletching and shafts coloured in the stripes of the green/light green/white/grey/black aromantic pride flag.

Princess Constance of Blackvale hopes a witch’s entrapment proves less onerous than a royal betrothal. A ring weighs heavy upon a gay trans man who knows no acceptable reason to avoid marrying the man he loves. Suki faces condemnation for scorning her lover’s courtly intentions. Esher Hill’s dogs make his days worth living, but his cousin believes marriage the cure to his depression. Priesthood offers Moll community and purpose in a life eschewing love until their usefulness–and their humanity–comes under question. A baker risks unknowable powers rather than submit to the relationships his mother deems necessary.

When society celebrates partnership as obligate duty, unquestionable necessity and saving grace, what must these aromantics sacrifice to build a world without it?

Spirits Most Singular collects sixteen fantasy and contemporary aromantic stories that don’t centre on a wish for or possession of a partner.

Continue reading “Story Collection: Spirits Most Singular”

Fiction: The Cage and the Road

Banner for Nine Laws: Allosexual Aromantic 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.

Prudence Revered revels in her work as witch-hunter. (Well, census-taker.) What’s not to appreciate in travelling new roads, meeting new people and experiencing new freedoms–ones impossible as the demure once-wife to the Sorcerer Potentate? If she prefers to bed and befriend the witches she tracks down, well, she doubts the Citadel cares (much) about a minor official’s lack of interest in investigation and interrogation. The only clouds on her endless horizon are those ignorant souls who preach the rules that once caged her–the rules witches taught her to break.

She thought herself content wearing the Citadel’s uniform, but when a chance-met companion expects Prue to wage a moral war against unwed witches and provocatively-shaped trees, she fears that her new life isn’t different enough from what she thought to leave behind.

Mother told such stories. Their silken filaments clung to everything Prue knew herself to be, until she was less a person than an actor upon the stage, reciting the lines of a play so old that the audience mouthed the words along with her.

Continue reading “Fiction: The Cage and the Road”

Pride Patch Patterns: Aro Arrows, Part Two

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.

My second Aro Week arrow pattern post features patterns for aromantic-spectrum flags with uneven stripe counts or non-stripe elements like crosses, spikes and triangles. Most of these patterns aren’t exact representations of their respective flags, as I am constrained by cross stitch’s pixellated nature as well as the width and angled slope of the arrow fletching. I hope, however, that these patterns come close enough that aegoromantic, apothiromantic and demiromantic folks feel included in this series.

Four cross stitch patches sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. Two of them are arrows stitched on a single-colour rectangular background, edged with buttonhole stitch; two of them are arrows with the buttonhole edging shaped around the arrow itself. All arrows have a tan and light tan shaft, grey arrowhead and fletching in the colours of various horizontal-striped pride flags. From top to bottom: rectangle allo-aro arrow on light green background with green edging, shaped allo-aro arrow with white edging, loveless aromantic arrow on dark green background with yellow/green multicoloured edging, and shaped quoiromantic arrow with mint edging.

Folks who need help with materials, stitching, finishing or attaching patches should check out my tutorial master page.

Previous patterns are available at part one and my pattern gallery.

Continue reading “Pride Patch Patterns: Aro Arrows, Part Two”

Pride Patch Patterns: Aro Arrows, Part One

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.

A couple of years ago, I posted a tutorial for making pride-themed arrow cross-stitch patches. Unfortunately, the template I used back then made it difficult (read: time-consuming) for me to post patterns covering flag style and stripe variants. This isn’t the case with my current template, so for Aro Week I thought I’d update my arrow patterns to cover a greater selection of aromantic flags … starting with simple horizontal stripes.

Four cross stitch patches sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. Two of them are arrows stitched on a single-colour rectangular background, edged with buttonhole stitch; two of them are arrows with the buttonhole edging shaped around the arrow itself. All arrows have a tan and light tan shaft, grey arrowhead and fletching in the colours of various horizontal-striped pride flags. From top to bottom: rectangle allo-aro arrow on light green background with green edging, shaped allo-aro arrow with white edging, loveless aromantic arrow on dark green background with yellow/green multicoloured edging, and shaped quoiromantic arrow with mint edging.

Folks who need help with materials, stitching, finishing or attaching patches should check out my tutorial master page.

Previous patterns are available at my pattern gallery.

Continue reading “Pride Patch Patterns: Aro Arrows, Part One”