It’s also worth noting that my protagonists are like to be various combinations of trans, non-binary, multisexual and otherwise-disabled.
Some of these stories do not focus on the aromantic, and one story, Certain Eldritch Artefacts, is more an example of an aromantic not yet knowing it than an aromantic narrative. (Do the alloromantic usually build a successful romantic relationship with an inappropriate crush by first spending a year travelling around another continent?) The sequel, Love in the House of the Ravens, depicts the beginning of Darius’s finding this out…
⁕ 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.
Contains: A stand-alone, fluffy, contemporary short story about a greyromantic autistic and the beginnings of a QPR.
Length: 2, 097 words / 6 PDF pages.
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.
Contains: 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.
Length: 11, 561 words.
⁕ 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?
Contains: A gay, transgender, aromantic autistic struggling with the difficulty of wedding the gay, cis man who loves him.
Length: 1, 873 words / 6 PDF pages.
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.
Contains: An assortment of characters occupying shades of trans, non-binary, queer, asexual, aromantic, mentally ill and autistic; conflicting goals that threaten to run this quest off its rails; and a strange rainforest where flora merges with fauna and unnamed demons wander.
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. 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.
Contains: An irascible, trans, autistic witch learning the word “demiromantic”; her infuriating, gay, aromantic, trans cousin delivering an explanation; a black cat with an unimaginative name; and the bewildering actions of the alloromantic.
Length: 4, 509 words / 13 PDF pages.
Newly-graduated, divergent magician Darius Liviu has scoured half the world in search of the rarest of rare magical artefacts: a tolerable talking sword. After a year of failure, one last rumour sees him risk Rajad’s chaotic, cluttered, terrifying Great Souk. The noise, the smells, the people and his inability to move without provoking disaster make everything difficult, but Darius dares the nightmare of chaos and conversations in hope of an item will draw the eye of the man he thinks he loves.
The sword he finds isn’t elegant. It isn’t tolerable. It has no intention of being gifted as a lover’s token. It is, however, set on destroying Darius’s acceptance that awkwardness and a life of misunderstandings is the best he can hope for.
Certain Eldritch Artefacts is a story about autism, adulthood and the reasons why one should never enchant inanimate objects…
Contains: A trans, pansexual, autistic magician’s misadventures in a cluttered hell; a verbose eldritch entity; a too-helpful weapons dealer; a good amount of casual queerness; and a decision Darius will surely live to regret.
Length: 10, 588 words / 29 PDF pages.
More info: The introduction to a series about a trans, pansexual, autistic magician’s misadventures in awkwardness, relationships, aromanticism and heroism.
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.
Contains: An unknowing aromantic who isn’t prepared for his friends’ conclusion about his identity; a verbose eldritch entity stuffed in a saddlebag; an alloromantic trans man who will always be there for his queerplatonic partner; lots of casual polyamory; and some of the many ways autism impacts conversation and connection.
Length: 10, 436 words / 29 PDF pages.
More info: This and One Strange Man detail the steps between Darius’s learning about aromanticism and his coming out to the belt in The Adventurer King.
⁕ One Strange Man ⁕
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.
Contains: A trans, abrosexual, aromantic autistic breaking the rules for the friends he loves; a queer alloromantic trans man and a pansexual, aromantic genderqueer in a QPR; and an acceptance borne from a midnight flight through the streets of Rajad.
Length: 7, 673 words / 22 PDF pages.
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…
Contains: A trans, abrosexual, autistic magician who comes out as aromantic to a terrifying eldritch entity; a cis, bisexual, allistic king who can’t be simply identified as ally or enemy; and the beginning of a quest that will likely end in chaos and magic.
Length: 11, 322 words / 31 PDF pages.
(The chronological order for these Marchverse stories is Certain Eldritch Artefacts, Love in the House of the Ravens, One Strange Man and The Adventurer King.)
Einas ein Iteme knew he wasn’t a princess. That first truth provoked violence, murder and war, leaving him the heir to the throne of Ihrne—a throne he doesn’t want and can’t hold. How can he when he struggles to put words together, won’t look courtiers in the eye and avoids people on general principle? Yet the Eyrie, even Zaishne, simply assumes Ein will find a way to become the allistic ruler he can never be.
When his brother Paide invites him to a private discussion, Ein sees a chance to voice the second truth. Paide, though, keeps secrets of his own—and doesn’t seem to recognise the fate bound to him by hundreds of devouring angels.
To begin to save Paide’s soul, Ein will have to learn what the world never stirred itself to teach: trust.
Contains: A genderflux, aro-ace, autistic prince seeking to rule on his own terms; a cis, allistic prince learning to be a regent instead of an heir; an allistic, trans general working to support both brothers; and the challenge of governing a kingdom while trans and disabled.
Length: 12, 495 words / 34 PDF pages.
More info: This is the third book in The Eagle Court series and I don’t recommend reading it without having read the first two. While the previous narrating protagonist is aromantic, he isn’t autistic.
Alida Quill is just fine spending hir holidays alone with a book if it means freedom from hir family’s continued expectation to court and wed. When hir co-worker Ede sets hir up with a friend and won’t take no for an answer, Alida plots an extravagant, public refusal scene to show everyone once and for all that ze will not date. Ever.
Ze doesn’t expect to meet Antonius Quiver, a man with his own abrupt, startling declarations on the subject of romance.
It isn’t courting if he schemes with hir to pay back Ede … is it?
Contains: One autistic, aromantic organiser extraordinaire armed with coloured ink; one autistic, aromantic officer a little too prone to interrupting; and an allistic friend in want of better ways to go about introductions.
Content Advisory: An aromantic character pressed into dating along with casual references to general amatonormativity and ableism.
Length: 5, 596 words / 17 PDF pages.
Header links take you to information pages with blurb and further links; brief content advisories are included inside each book. Certain Eldritch Artefacts, The Adventurer King, Old Fashioned and The King of Gears and Bone 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.