It’s also worth noting that my protagonists are like to be various combinations of trans, non-binary, multisexual, disabled and autistic.
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.
Length: 1, 308 words / 4 PDF pages.
More info: A fluffy short story about a non-amorous, agender, aro-ace protagonist inventing the fairy tales that describe their life.
⁕ Hallo, Aro ⁕
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.
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 ⁕
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
His sister Mara, the village witch, made sure he didn’t.
Two and a half years later, Esher owns two dogs, a blade, a career and a new body—the shape of masculinity he always felt he should be. A miracle Mara refuses to explain. A miracle the Sojourner’s priests reject and fear. A miracle, say the Grey Mages, that cannot exist without something precious sacrificed in exchange: a soul.
Returning home in search of his sister and the truth isn’t just a matter of enduring stares, whispers, explanations and the condescending pity from those he left behind.
Love holds edges sharper than Esher’s sword, for nobody wins but demons in the sale of souls.
Length: 11, 561 words.
More info: A novelette about a graysexual, aromantic trans man fighting his own mind; the trans sorcerer of a sister who loves him; a grizzled aro-ace mayor and barkeep; and a desperate need for simple communication against a background of amatonormativity.
⁕ Ringbound ⁕
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?
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.
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.
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.)
⁕ 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.
Length: 4, 509 words / 13 PDF pages.
More info: A short story about irascible demiromantic, trans witch, set a couple of years after Ringbound and Absence of Language, in which Amelia knows nothing of what happened to Kit … or how much he’s lying to her.
⁕ 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.
Length: 10, 436 words / 29 PDF pages.
Header links take you to information pages with blurb and further links; brief content advisories are included inside each book. The Wind and the Stars and Old Fashioned 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.