WORK IN PROGRESS: Heartburgh

Heartburgh: Part 1

Heartburgh: Part 1

Duke Percheval stood on the steps of Heartburgh Castle and looked down on the town green in front of him, where half-a-dozen wagons were lined…
Heartburgh: Part 2

Heartburgh: Part 2

Geoffrey found Flame Bunyips in the stables, brushing one of the horses. “There you are,” he said. “Who, me?” said Flame, turning around. “No, the…
Heartburgh: Part 3

Heartburgh: Part 3

The atheneum turned out to be a drafty old library. Geoffrey arranged the stack of books on the table in front of him. He couldn’t…

COMPLETED STORY: Krimspiracy

Krimspiracy: Part 1

Krimspiracy: Part 1

Damp darkness surrounded the back door of the Aldwich Row Community Center. It was colder by the door, with a mist rising up from somewhere…
Krimspiracy: Part 2

Krimspiracy: Part 2

“So let me get this straight,” said Ellison, looking around the office. “You want us to find evidence that Krim World administrators kidnapped your leader…”…
Krimspiracy: Part 3

Krimspiracy: Part 3

Taenaran the Bard confirmed that he saw nobody else upstairs except Brother Fulke before the rehearsals began, then nobody else went up and down all…
Krimspiracy: Part 4

Krimspiracy: Part 4

“Apparently, to have a completely realistic physics engine, you need a computer as big as Krim itself,” said Ellison, walking up to Matilda’s table at…
Krimspiracy: Part 5

Krimspiracy: Part 5

“You should have come and talked to me first,” the waitress said. She came up to the banister, keeping Ellison between her and Matilda, and…
Krimspiracy: Part 6

Krimspiracy: Part 6

After getting back to city center, Ellison veered off for the central gate while Matilda continued down Knots Hollow Way, to the rooming house on…
Krimspiracy: Part 7

Krimspiracy: Part 7

Returning to Krim never got any easier. Even knowing that the fleas were all in his head, the minute he stepped through the gate, his…
Krimspiracy: Part 8

Krimspiracy: Part 8

In the hallway outside Remember Keturah Bohannon’s office Ellison stopped to check the floor. “Do you see any scuff marks?” he asked Matilda. “You mean, from…
Krimspiracy: Part 9

Krimspiracy: Part 9

Matilda and Ellison exited the Aldwich Row Community Center through same back door that they had come in through. There was a line of people…
Krimspiracy: Part 10

Krimspiracy: Part 10

The wench avatar was a big mistake. Barking Street was much shorter when Ellison had walked up it while wearing the assassin outfit, with its…
Krimspiracy: Part 11

Krimspiracy: Part 11

Ellison and Matilda met with the Round Krim Society late the following morning to deliver the bad news. The brothers were in the main meeting…
Krimspiracy: Part 12

Krimspiracy: Part 12

Ellison stepped through the gate in his new avatar, wearing a randomly-generated face and a default adventurer outfit. He looked around as if he were…
Krimspiracy: Part 13

Krimspiracy: Part 13

Ellison didn’t know if the cult was watching him or not, so he followed the recommendation to go the King’s Arms and asked loud and…
Krimspiracy: Part 14

Krimspiracy: Part 14

Ellison lunged towards the fire, trying to grab the poison capsule, but it was gone. One of the guards immediately grabbed him by the back…
Krimspiracy: Part 15

Krimspiracy: Part 15

The accountant rubbed his wrists and staggered around the fire. “Did you have to kill them all?” Ellison stepped over one of the corpses, working…

COMPLETED STORY : Krim Cross

1. Perchance a missive

1. Perchance a missive

“World of Battle doth have much to be admired.” The speaker raised his flagon of ale, spilling some on the bar patrons around him. "To…
2. Mayhaps a petty chare

2. Mayhaps a petty chare

Ellison walked away, not glancing back. If Usman was going to stab him in the back, Ellison wanted it to be a surprise. He didn’t…
3. Back from the dead

3. Back from the dead

One benefit of dying, Ellison thought, was that he got a fresh new avatar. A washed avatar. An avatar wearing new, clean clothes.
4. The oldest artifact

4. The oldest artifact

"The man had me kidnapped and tortured." Ellison tried to dig his heels in but Matilda easily dragged him out of the Barley Mow Inn…
6. The list of suspects

6. The list of suspects

“Well, I’ll leave you to do whatever it is you need to do. Let me know when we can move the body.” Rodge frowned at…
7. Time to see the wenches

7. Time to see the wenches

Before leaving, Ellison and Matilda had a chat with some of Rodge’s security team. They weren’t happy that Rodge had brought in outsiders to deal…
8. The street of ill repute

8. The street of ill repute

Marylebone Place was a street of ill repute. Not because of its various houses of prostitution but because it was a street that saw a…
9. Time enough for love

9. Time enough for love

It was getting late in the afternoon, but Derek decided he had enough time to walk them down to Lothbury Street. “I haven’t had a…
10. Horse sense

10. Horse sense

“They’re the Gang of Four,” said Matilda. “They’re famous. They case their targets, figure out who has access but doesn’t interact with other people much,…
11. Stabbing, the old-fashioned way

11. Stabbing, the old-fashioned way

“I really thought you were onto something there,” Two Teeth Tom told Ellison. “One of the maids saw Gorehair and the other two walking back…
12. Around the corner

12. Around the corner

Ellison stepped out through the front gate of the Armforge guild, onto Knots Hollow Way, and debated about whether to head straight back to the…
13. A cold walk to a dank place

13. A cold walk to a dank place

Two Toe Toe continued his circumnavigation of the Armstrong Guild compound, but Ellison had had enough. He was tired, and his bones hurt from having…
14. As the bowl turns

14. As the bowl turns

“Don’t look now, but there’s a table at the back with four guys at it,” Matilda told Ellison in a low voice. “I know. My…
16. A steaming pile

16. A steaming pile

“I suspect that Gervis has been finding opportunities to climb that back watch tower and drop the stolen goods down to one of his accomplices…
17. Start with the toes

17. Start with the toes

The rain had ended by the time Ellison left the guild and he went straight back to his room at the inn and fell deep…
18. A long view off a steep cliff

18. A long view off a steep cliff

Ellison didn’t stick around for any of the torture. He didn’t think it would be particularly useful, first of all. Back in the old day,…
19. Not to be taken via enema

19. Not to be taken via enema

On the way back through Krim’s welcome area, Ellison took the opportunity to reset his avatar, so he wouldn’t have to go back in wearing…
20. Send for the fishmonger

20. Send for the fishmonger

Rodge Bannister didn’t want to offer a reward for the return of the Jewel of Rhotar. They’d recovered everything except a dozen or so of…
22. Fork full of skirrets

22. Fork full of skirrets

“Wait at the entrance,” Matilda told Ellison as she walked into the inn. “Don’t let him go upstairs or into the kitchen.” She pantomimed a…
23. Not bad for an amateur

23. Not bad for an amateur

Matilda left, to put up more reward signs and to listen for gossip about the jewel. Ellison stayed behind. With Rodge down in the basement,…
24. A spider in the corner

24. A spider in the corner

Quimby Plummer, owner of the Barley Mow Inn, refused to tell Ellison where Donna lived. “I know you’re working for that Rodge guy,” Quimby said.…
25. Angel with a jewel

25. Angel with a jewel

Why would Rodge hire someone to steal a blank notebook? Ellison stopped under a streetlight and pulled it out of his pocket. He felt the…
26. Ale, wenches and minstrels

26. Ale, wenches and minstrels

Ellison put his hands in his pants pockets. He could feel the notebook in one of the inside side pockets of his jacket, just under…

Krim Tales

COMPLETED STORY: The Pocoto Investment

COMPLETED STORY: The Assassin’s Assassin

COMPLETED STORY: The Tapestry

Krim Books

COMPLETED NOVELLA: Time of the Meatheads

1. Anything but McMeaty’s

1. Anything but McMeaty’s

Mitchell got to McMeaty's the normal way. He walked out of his real house, through his very real gate in his real white picket fence…
4. Death cures what ales you

4. Death cures what ales you

Donna leaned over the bar to peer into the mirror on the back wall. One of her curls was starting to droop. She wet a…
5. All the way down

5. All the way down

Everyone was staring. The other party attendees. The wenches. The musicians. Charlie. And Harmon, of course.
6. Meatless Monday

6. Meatless Monday

Fried skirrets and egg, skirrets and cabbage, and slaughtered cow parts. Donna rattled off the lunch menu like an old pro. Her fourth day and…
7. Chop you up with a rusty knife

7. Chop you up with a rusty knife

"I'm not a weirdo stalker," Mitchell told the bartender at the Bouncing Octopus. The tavern was about twenty-minutes from Krim's gate. That was about how…
8. A bite at the Dirty Apple

8. A bite at the Dirty Apple

Michell crossed the street to the Dirty Apple. There were more bars further down, he was sure of it, but he was equally sure that…
10. The sum of ale fears

10. The sum of ale fears

The coach rolled down one street, made a turn, and down another. Mitchell peered out the window as the gate faded from view. The gate…
12. A meeting at McMeaty’s

12. A meeting at McMeaty’s

It was Wednesday, so Mitchell had the day off. For a while, he puttered around in his garden, watching the dragonfly drones nibble at the…
13. The Butcher of Banking

13. The Butcher of Banking

Mitchell rushed through the Krim main gate, through the central plaza, across the street, then paused in front of the King's Arms to catch his…

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Krim Times hits Amazon category bestseller list

With a new cover and a Labor Day promotion, Krim Times hit Amazon’s Best Sellers in Two-Hour Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Reads today, reaching spot 29 on the top free books list.

Final installment posted in Time of the Meatheads

All 13 installments of the Time of the Meatheads novella are now up. The full text will remain free until it goes through final editing and is posted on Amazon. This is also an opportunity for early readers to comment on the text and suggest improvements and corrections before it goes live. You can even …

Final installment posted in Time of the Meatheads Read More »

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ABOUT MARIA KOROLOV

Maria Korolov is a science fiction writer who covers cybersecurity, AI and extended reality as an award-winning tech journalist at her day job. Check out her author page on Amazon or follow her on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn. She is also the publisher of MetaStellar, a new online magazine of speculative fiction.