Fiction Collection: Allo-Aro

Handdrawn illustration of a green meadow foreground with green and yellow pine trees growing against a mint-hued sky. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the 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.

This is a separate list of all my works featuring allosexual-aromantic narrating protagonists. My other aro-spec works can be found on my fiction page or at my website. Most of these pieces are available as free reads, but One Strange Man and Different in Other Ways are currently subscriber exclusives on Patreon.

It’s also worth noting that my protagonists are like to be various combinations of trans, non-binary, multisexual, disabled and autistic.

Hallo, Aro

Cover image for Hallo, Aro: Allosexual Aromantic Flash Fiction by K. A. Cook. Cover features dark pink handwritten type on a mottled green background with a large line-drawn peacock feather, several sketch-style leaves and swirly text dividers. Green arrows sit underneath each line of text.Is it “aay-romantic” or “arrow-mantic”? What if she hears “I’m a romantic” instead of “I’m aromantic”? What if she says “isn’t that just friendship” or “that can’t be real” or, worst of all, “I’m looking for something more”?

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

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress | Tumblr

Individual stories: Unspoken | Leaving | Friendship | Lucky | Attraction | Existence | Neuronormative | Loveless

Length: All stories are under a thousand words.

More info: An ongoing series of stand-alone stories about allo-aro experiences, ideal for folks after quick reads!

What if it Isn’t

Cover for "What If It Isn't" by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a colourful pastel fractal/dripping-glass style background, predominantly peach-orange and light blue. The title text, in black serif and antique handdrawn-style type, is framed by three black curlicues. A fourth curlicue borders the author credit at the bottom of the cover and a fifth forms a frame at the top.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.

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

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

Length: 2, 097 words / 6 PDF pages.

More info: A stand-alone, fluffy, contemporary short story about a greyromantic autistic and the beginnings of a QPR.

The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query

Cover image for The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query: A Marchverse Short Story by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a cemetery at night, with various tombstones in the foreground, surrounded by grassy rises and green bushes, with a tumbledown stone fence and trees in the background. A lit candle sits on the ground at the front of the cover, showing a glow of orange light illuminating grass and part of a tree branch. Cover and author credit are written in a white, fantasy-style text, the type bright against the dark sky and shadowed leaves.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.

Links: WordPress

Length: 8, 115 words / 23 PDF pages.

More info: A long short story about a sapphic lithromantic and an unexpected world of aro-spec. This is something of a prequel to a story about an ace-spec aro character, Love is the Reckoning, but it can be read on its own.

Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie

Cover of Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie: A Marchverse Short Story by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a wooden door set into a wooden wall with a paper sign on the front reading Mara Hill, Witch. Stones, bones and feathers tied to string dangle over the top of the door, along with a creeping vine, and two potted plants sit on either side of a wooden doorstep--white daisies in a bag and orange roses in a brown pot. A straw broom rests propped against one side of the door and a piece of torn paper reading Absolutely No Love Spells sits on the step. Text is written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.Lovers’ Day is good trading for a witch who deals in enchantments, ribbons and dyed flowers. For Mara Hill, it’s long been a holiday of tedious assumptions and painful conversations–once best handled by casting petty curses on annoying customers. This year, when a girl asks about love spells, it may be time to instead channel a little Aunt Rosie.

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

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

Length: 3, 429 words / 10 PDF pages.

More info: A short story, sequel to The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query, about a sapphic lithromantic’s continuing acceptance of her identity in an amatonormative world.

Ringbound

Cover image for Ringbound by K. A. Cook. Cover shows an eight-pane window set into a cream brick wall above a stone and wood table or bench, with various items sitting on the table--candles in vases, bottles, a large shell, a white vase filled with flowers, two gold rings propped against the vase. The text is written in brown fantasy-style handdrawn type. Through the window, scrubby green trees and a blue-green sky is visible. The subtitle "a marchverse short story" is written in white handdrawn type.Kit can’t find anything unfair about the contract or the man, so why is the ring so heavy?

Kit March is a signature away from marrying the man who loves him. He should be delighted, but for reasons he doesn’t understand and can’t explain, his future with Lauri weighs upon him. What is a magician to do when no script extant has words for the confusion he feels?

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress

Length: 1, 873 words / 6 PDF pages.

More info: Ringbound is a story about the pain of not knowing one’s aromanticism. It’s also a prequel to the opening chapter of The Crew of Esher Hill: Absence of Language, explaining how Kit comes by the word. It does, however, stand on its own as a single short story.

The Crew of Esher Hill

Cover of The Crew of Esher Hill: A Marchverse Serial by K. A. Cook. Cover shows cartoon-style vines, trees, mushrooms and plants in a swamp theme with lots of aqua and blue-green tones for the plants and leaves, and purple-brown tones for stumps and branches, giving everything an uncanny, unnatural feel. A clear, glowing sphere sits on a stump at the bottom right of the cover. Test written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.Esher Hill’s dying sister once gave her magic to save Esher’s life. Saving Mara means venturing into the Gast, a dangerous place of magic walled off from the rest of the world, in search of an ancient elfish relic.

He won’t survive the Gast alone.

Faiza Hiba Khalil studied dragons and artefacts to escape the pressures of title and family. They leap at the opportunity to use their knowledge on Esher’s quest—even if they have no idea how to use the sword that accompanies their fire-proof armour.

Marie and Sarie Roxleigh know two things: they are women and they are wed. Astreut disagrees. In the wilds of the Gast, they may find power enough to make their safety—but they have no reason to trust Esher and his crew.

Kit March is a magician and trickster with quick words, an affinity for narrative and a heart filled with guilt—but Kit’s magic is designed to impress and entertain, not protect.

Indigo has mastered horses, weapons and a biting absence of fear, but nothing else about hir life will ze share. Ze serves the Grey Mages, not Esher—but ze alone knows where and how to find the artefact that will save Mara’s life.

Esher can’t risk a single mistake, but his crew may be more dangerous to Esher than the Gast.

Links: PDF | EPUB | WordPress

Length: A novel-length serial, but the first chapter is 7, 209 words / 20 PDF pages.

More info: This is a serial I’ll begin updating regularly later this year, but the first chapter works as a sequel to Ringbound. The narrating protagonists Kit, Faiza and Indigo are various shades of allo-aro. Please note that this is a sequel to the aforementioned Love is the Reckoning but this first chapter (narrated by Kit) can be read on its own.

(The chronological order for these Marchverse stories is The Sorcerous Compendium of Postmortem Query; Love Spells, Rainbows and Rosie; Ringbound; Love is the Reckoning and The Crew of Esher Hill.)

⁕ Love in the House of the Ravens ⁕

After seven years in Rajad, Darius has fallen out of love with the unattainable and failed to fall in love with the companionate. When the right person offers a romantic relationship and he doesn’t understand why yes won’t grace his tongue, the only thing an autistic man can do is ask the Ravens–and hope he can survive the word they give him in return.

Love in the House of the Ravens is a story about what it means to be aromantic when one is also autistic and the world isn’t accepting of either.

Chapter Links: One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven

PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available in the patron-exclusive collection Bones, Belts and Bewitchments.

Length: 10, 436 words / 29 PDF pages.

More info:  A novelette about the problems of being aromantic and autistic set after the (less aromantic, just as autistic) story Certain Eldritch Artefacts.

One Strange Man

Cover of One Strange Man: A Marchverse Short Story by K. A. Cook. Cover shows a wooden door, bolted shut, set into a stone wall, with dangling ivy and climbing roses obscuring the wall and part of the door. The ground in front of the door is brown earth and has a thin-bladed green bush growing in front of it. A glowing white marble sits on the earth by the base of one of the roses on the bottom left-hand side of cover. Text is written in a white, handdrawn, fantasy-style type.How can the want for another person make an intelligent man gift something so precious?

When Akash’s former lover refuses to return a family heirloom, Darius knows only one way to help his mate—even if it means ignoring several laws in the process. The magic he mastered in surviving the College and the mercenaries has surprising utility in the art of larceny, at least once he gets past the stomach-knotting anxiety. When Darius makes the mistake of asking Akash why, however, getting caught in a stranger’s third-floor bedroom seems like nothing compared to comprehending the mysteries of romance and friendship.

Links: Early PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available on Patreon.

Length: 7, 673 words / 22 PDF pages.

More info: A sequel on the subject of aromantic acceptance to Love in the House of the Ravens. Further development of Darius’s acceptance takes place in The Adventurer King.

The Adventurer King

Cover image for The Adventurer King by K. A. Cook. Cover features a red leather-bound journal sitting on a wood panel background, like that of a tabletop or floor, with the text sitting on top of the book image in a gold fantasy-style handdrawn type. Objects sit on top of the book cover: a blue pen with a gold nib dripping ink, a screwed-up piece of white paper, a cream scroll with a green seal, a cream and silver compass, and a piece of rope. A grey single-edged sword blade sits underneath the book, and black handdrawn type atop the blade reads "an efe and darius story". The images have a cartoony, vectory feel.Seven years ago, Darius Liviu met a talking sword belt in the Great Souk, an eldritch being who changed his life forever. In that time, he has learnt something of the sword, mastered strange magic and survived dangerous jobs, but while he has friends in Rajad, he still feels out of place—too divergent to be welcomed and accepted as mercenary and magician.

When an unexpected meeting with potential employers goes wrong, his first instinct is to flee. But a wandering monarch, Efe Kadri, has an offer that might provide the certainty for which Darius has been searching, if only he has the courage to say yes…

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

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

Length: 11, 322 words / 31 PDF pages.

Catch a Man (Have the Girl)

Yuissa is the only partner Adelin wants, but survival in Ihrne requires both girls to keep secret their truth. No matter: they’re only a year away from having coin enough to escape to a cottage in Greenstone, a paradise of vegetable gardens, rescued cats and unrestrained affection. They can survive anything until then, right? Yet when Adelin’s worried mother and grandmother plot to solve Adelin’s unwed state by forcing her to court a male acquaintance, Yuissa thinks a beard the only answer.

A queer-seeming bookseller called Nevolin ein Yinne may do, but the process of asking isn’t quite so simple…

Links: Part One | Part Two

Length: 4, 021 words (thus far).

More info: A story about misogyny, heterosexism, attraction, fake dating and real dating, with aromantic-spectrum experiences of romance and partnership. Set in the working districts of The Eagle Court‘s Ihrne and overlaps with a few of the Different in Other Ways characters!

Different in Other Ways

Nevolin ein Yinne sells books, curses low ceilings, promises his father that he won’t get himself killed and looks a little too hard at pretty men. Men he wants to date, men he can’t date, men–even in Ihrne’s queer underground–who expect a comprehension of romance he doesn’t possess.

Harper Mitzin Seili serves dishes, never removes his gloves, promises his mother that he won’t get himself killed and has no idea how to comprehend an interest in people that won’t stop changing. An interest bordering on irrelevant while he keeps secret the nature of his masculinity.

Nevo isn’t good at pretending to be straight.

Harper isn’t good at pretending to be unremarkable.

Different in Other Ways is a series of sketches and vignettes, prequels to The Eagle Court, about gender, abrosexuality, quoiromanticism, customer service, working-class queerness and friendship.

Links: Booksellers Who Know Things | Men Bound by Blood | Jeile

Length: 7, 870 words (thus far).

More info: An unknowing allosexual quoiromantic and an equally-unknowing abrosexual abroromantic try to navigate friendship while avoiding the romance they think the other wants, but Ihrne’s endemic cissexism and heterosexism makes even friendship a fraught prospect.

Their Courts of Crows

Cover image of "Their Courts of Crows: A Tale of the Eagle Court" by K. A. Cook. Cover has a waterstained paper background with grey line drawings of a crow sitting on a branch, a tree, three falling dandelion seeds, a feather and an arrow, with the title written in alternating serif and handdrawn type. The effect is something like a sketch in an antique journal.The best he can find is ugly compromise.

Prince Paide ein Iteme has lost his father, his family, his people and his home to a conquering necromancer queen and her armies of the risen dead. A last horrific battle sees him forced to discuss surrender, but that conversation is no small amount complicated when said conquering necromancer is his mother. Who might not have been entirely wrong in her overthrow of Paide’s father…

Length: 5, 108 words / 14 PDF pages.

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

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

More info: This is the first book in a series, The Eagle Court, about necromancy, fantastic politics, family and several aro-spec characters. It’s worth noting that Paide doesn’t here mention his aromanticism, but he does refer to it–without yet using the word–in the following book (below).

A Prince of the Dead

"A Prince of the Dead: A Tale of the Eagle Court" by K. A. Cook. Cover has a waterstained paper background with grey line drawings of a sparrow sitting on a branch, a knife, a falling dandelion seed, two leaves and an arrow, with the title written in alternating serif and handdrawn type. The effect is something like a sketch in an antique journal.Too alive to die and too dead to live.

Bones interred under the palace, gold given to field-ravaged farmers and Parliament dallying over amendments: war is ended for Prince-Regent Paide ein Iteme. Or so it should be, but returning home to Ihrne in a broken body ensorcelled by a necromancer leaves Paide struggling with politicians who ignore him and servants who condescend to him. What good is a title and purpose when his words and desires have become meaningless to those around him?

Surviving the dismissal of the Eagle Court is harder than facing an army of shambling corpses. How does a dead soldier fight it when he no longer wishes to live?

Length: 9, 890 words / 28 PDF pages.

Links: PDF (read in browser)Smashwords | PDF | EPUB | MOBI

More info: The second book of The Eagle Court! The third novelette, The King of Gears and Bone, also features Paide, but please note that the narrating protagonist is his brother, an aro-ace autistic. I also recommend checking the content advisory before reading with regards depictions of mental illness and suicidal ideation.

The Hallo, Aro story Loveless takes place several hours after A Prince of the Dead and before The King of Gears and Bone.

Header links take you to information pages with blurb and further links; brief content advisories are included inside each book. Their Courts of Crows and A Prince of the Dead are also available in the Kobo and Apple Books stores.

K. A. Cook is an abrosexual, aromantic, genderless, autistic, queer adult who experiences chronic pain and mental illness. Ze writes creative non-fiction, personal essays and novels about the above on the philosophy that if the universe is going to make life interesting, ze may as well make interesting art. Ze can be found online at Queer Without Gender and @aroworlds.

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