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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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.
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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.
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After seven years in Rajad, Darius has fallen out of love with the unattainable and avoided falling in love with the companionate. If he lives at arm’s length from passion, isn’t that better than risking the abuse his fellow mercenaries so eagerly deliver to an autistic who can’t quite fit in? But when the right person suggests a romantic relationship, “yes” still won’t grace his tongue, and Darius hasn’t the least idea why. He likes Harlow. Shouldn’t he want to love her?
The only thing he can do is turn to his old friends and rescuers, the Ravens. They have an answer if he can stumble his way through asking the question … but it may upend every truth Darius thinks he knows about himself.
Love in the House of the Ravens is a story about what it means to be aromantic and autistic when the world isn’t accepting of either.
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A princess flees her betrothed in search of a witch willing to entrap her within a tower. Rowan yearns to be out and proud as an aromantic, but other people’s misapprehensions—and his own anxiety—hamper his quest. A woman expresses her wish for unfettered sexual intimacy, despite her mother’s desperate romantic expectations. For another pansexual, the route to freedom from amatonormativity lies in accepting monstrosity’s fur and fangs. Suki finds aromantic freedom inside the priesthood’s cloisters, but even a rebellious life leaves her at a loss when ministering to her own. And the words “allosexual aromantic” offer a struggling magician hope of a new road—but one not without its dangers.
Bones of Green and Hearts of Gold collects twenty fantasy and contemporary stories celebrating the many ways aromanticism need not always pair with asexuality.
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Four months ago, Kit March abandoned his fiancé without even a note of explanation for a deserving man.
Leaving Lauri should have freed him from the pressures of romantic expectation, so how does a talented magician end up performing flash magic for buttons and hairpins in Raugue’s worst tavern? Kit doesn’t know and doesn’t care, as long as he can keep drowning guilt in beer and spellworking. As long as he can keep not thinking!
When a stranger offers the word “aromantic” followed by an opportunity to join a dangerous quest to the Gast, Kit may have more distraction than he can survive—and more comprehension than he can navigate.
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Suki Lewis has always known what she wants—or, more correctly, what she doesn’t want. She also knows that a good woman of Freehome, deserving of her mother’s uncritical love, wants something she can’t fathom or mimic: a stable, lasting romantic relationship.
She can’t safely stay, but leaving means surviving the challenges of priesthood, her mother’s abuse and the belated finding of a name for her differences: allosexual aromanticism.
Those With More collects four stories showing Suki’s lifetime navigation of her belief, family, community and identity.
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