Latest news 2024-07-03: Ebook sale (1st – 31st July 2024): short story cybercrime fiction Unsocial Media free; short story cybercrime fiction Smile for the Camera free; short story noir crime fiction I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing free; crime fiction novel The Private Enemy US$1.99; illustrated children’s story The Foolish Hedgehog US$0.99.

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Unsocial Media: a cybercrime short story 🔗

Unsocial Media book cover.
Image of Unsocial Media ebook cover consisting of (top) Unsocial Media, (bottom) Nicola L. C. Talbot and (middle) red-filled thumbs-down emoji wearing a domino mask. Background light blue with the following characters spaced from top left to bottom right: ZWNobyAiRG9uJ3QgYmUgbm9zZXkhXG4iOwo=.

Unsocial Media is a cybercrime fiction short story (a little under 4,000 words) due out as an ebook on 12th May 2023. This is the first fiction title under the Dickimaw Books imprint to be set in contemporary times (and also the first story with an unnamed first person narrator). The short story I’ve Heard the Mermaid Sing is set in 1928, the novel The Private Enemy is set in the future, The Fourth Protectorate (still in hiatus) is set in an alternative past, and Muirgealia (pending) is set in a fantasy world. (The children’s stories are in a world of anthropomorphic animals.)

Greg has unwisely accepted a friend request from “Natalie”, a stranger who starts to stalk him after failing to hook him in a scam. The stalking moves from the digital world to real life when Natalie shares a photo of Greg with his neighbour Susie, in what looks like a compromising position. Unknown to any of them, Greg’s wife (the narrator) has a secret life of her own and is doggedly following Natalie’s trail.

The story is fiction but was inspired by various news articles in cybersecurity channels, anecdotes and posts, as well as behaviour and attitudes that I’ve encountered over the years in real life (names and other information have been changed and, no, the narrator isn’t me¹). Consider it a cautionary tale but, unlike The Foolish Hedgehog, this is a cautionary tale for adults. The cover image features what may look at first glance like a red elephant head with black areas around the eyes, but is, in fact, a red thumbs down emoji 👎 with a domino mask. Things aren’t always what they seem.

Unsocial Media will be available to purchase on SmashWords for US$0.99 as from 12th May 2023, the proceeds of which help to support the webhosting costs of this site. It should also become available from other ebook retailers, such as Apple and Kobo (but not Amazon), or through library platforms such as Overdrive. (Search for “Nicola L. C. Talbot” as the author name on your favourite ebook site or app) Thank you to everyone who has bought copies of my books since I started Dickimaw Books in 2012. Without your support, this site would’ve closed down.

A sample is available on SmashWords consisting of 75% of the book, so you can read most of it for free. A shorter sample is also available on the book’s homepage on the Dickimaw Books site.


¹If you want a name, you can call her Cassandra.

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Image of magnifying glass over a green bug.I was recently informed that dickimaw-books.com had a medium severity reflected cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the version of cPanel this website was using at the time. I solved the problem by moving to a new web-hosting provider that didn’t have the issue. The security researcher used a non-invasive probe. No data was compromised.
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image of dickimaw parrot with cookies in cloudsOnce upon a time, a little parrot decided to migrate across the vast ocean to the cloud lands, with nothing more than a handful of cookies. The Dickimaw Books site has migrated to a new web hosting provider and this is the story of its journey.
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