Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide 2016, Day Four: Fan Favorites

For the first three days of the Whatever Shopping Guide 2016, I’ve let authors and creators tell you about their work. Today is different: Today is Fan Favorites day, in which fans, admirers and satisfied customers share with you a few of their favorite things — and you can share some of your favorite things as well. This is a way to discover some cool stuff from folks like you, and to spread the word about some of the things you love.

Fans: Here’s how to post in this thread. Please follow these directions!

1. Fans only: That means that authors and creators may not post about their own work in this thread (they may post about other people’s work, if they are fans). There are already existing threads for traditionally-published authorsnon-traditionally published authors, and for other creators. Those are the places to post about your own work, not here.

2. Individually created and completed works only, please. Which is to say, don’t promote things like a piece of hardware you can find at Home Depot, shoes from Foot Locker, or a TV you got at Wal-Mart. Focus on things created by one person or a small group: Music CDs, books, crafts and such. Things that you’ve discovered and think other people should know about, basically. Do not post about works in progress, even if they’re posted publicly elsewhere. Remember that this is supposed to be a gift guide, and that these are things meant to be given to other people. So focus on things that are completed and able to be sold of shared.

3. One post per fan. In that post, you can list whatever creations you like, from more than one person if you like, but allow me to suggest you focus on newer stuff. Note also that the majority of Whatever’s readership is in the US/Canada, so I suggest focusing on things available in North America.

4. Keep your description of the work brief (there will be a lot of posts, I’m guessing) and entertaining. Imagine the person is in front of you as you tell them about the work and is interested but easily distracted.

5. You may include a link to a sales site if you like by using standard HTML link scripting. Be warned that if you include too many links (typically three or more) your post may get sent to the moderating queue. If this happens, don’t panic: I’ll be going in through the day to release moderated posts. Note that posts will occasionally go into the moderation queue semi-randomly; Don’t panic about that either.

6. Comment posts that are not about fans promoting work they like will be deleted, in order to keep the comment thread useful for people looking to find interesting gifts.

Got it? Excellent. Now: Geek out and tell us about cool stuff you love — and where we can get it too.

63 thoughts on “Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide 2016, Day Four: Fan Favorites

  1. Wings Silverwork makes hand crafted Native American jewelry using traditional methods. They also sell pottery and other works by other Native artists. The pieces are beautiful and have stories, small snippets of which are listed on the sale page for each item, and they take commissions as well. The site does not work well on mobile, but on a desktop you can see items offered under the “Galleries” link (additional submenus pop out), and to purchase or commission items use the “Contact” form.

    I know the people behind this business personally; it is their means of survival in a very literal sense, and they have generous hearts and often support other activist causes such as the protests at Standing Rock. They are a delight to work with, and I am honored to be able to call them friends.
    Thank you.

  2. Frostbeard candles makes some awesome candles that have names like “The Shire” and “Christmas at the Burrow”. My girlfriend got me “Oxford Library” last year which according to a customer review “smells like a freshly showered Sherlock”. They’re fantastic and the service has been great.

    https://www.frostbeardstudio.com

  3. My brother, Charles Finn, has written a book of nature essays: “Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters”. The essays are all very short and written with a certain poetic flair. They really evoke how it feels to encounter a black bear… or a bumble bee. This is the perfect gift for the nature lover on your list.

    Wild Delicate Seconds” is available through Amazon, but I think Charles would prefer you to support your local independent bookstore.
    ISBN-10: 0870716557
    ISBN-13: 978-0870716553

  4. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
    (Amazon: http://amzn.to/2gpP929 Google: https://goo.gl/E7wzq7)
    My review: Probably the best story I have read in years. It is very rare to find a book that have it all: exquisite writing, moving, intriguing, and enticing story, memorable characters, astounding and original world building. The Fifth Season is at the same time impossible to put down, and deep. It is the kind of book it will stay with you and make you think.
    The book has three subplots adroitly waved together. The first is the story of Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. The second is the story of Damaya, a young girl that is discovered to be a powerful orogene, and as such kept in a barn as a beast by her parents, to soon be given away. The third is the story of Damaya, growing locked up and used as a de-humanized weapon by the fulcrum.
    This is an ambitious trilogy, that while set in a world so different from ours, it succeed like no other in exploring issues like slavery, oppression, discrimination, and taboos. A strongly recommended read.

  5. Ben Aaronovitch writes the “Rivers of London” series, (If Harry Dresden were a young, black, police constable in London) which is awesome. 5/5, would recommend.

    BUT WAY MORE AWESOMER is Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s narration for the audiobooks!! I have never heard a better match of voice and content, and his secondary characters are just as believable. It feels like an ensemble recording. If you already know the series, Try book 2 or 3 when he really has hit is stride with it. Absolutely my favorite thing in audio right now, and I listen to way too many audiobooks. Available from Audible.

    soooo…that’s nerdy. But it was either you guys or Facebook.

  6. Lots of stuff is really based on personal taste, but I think that many here will fall into this category:
    I HIGHLY recommend Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman’s Star Trek oral history books. They are incredibly well done, researched and in-depth. They also go into places most Trek history books do not – the writers room.

    I am a TNG guy, so I started with The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek and moved onto the first book there.

    It is not perfect, they really gloss over most of the post-DS9 era. But the detail they go into just on TNG alone is incredible and worth the price. I was surprised at how many issues behind the scenes never made it to the screen. Like how some actors truly could not stand each other, yet felt like best friends on screen.

    If you even have a passing fondness for Trek, or want to know how a show really gets made, buy these two books. You will love them.

    The audio book is great too. They hired excellent narrators that tried to approximate the voices of the individual intervewees.

  7. I own work from every one of the creators I’ve posted below, and know most of them personally:

    Music:catl. – a great blues-punk/dance rock duo from Toronto with a stripped down, high-energy sound that somehow manages to fill up as much sonic space as a five-piece. Recommended if you’re into JSBX, rockabilly, the Black Keys, the White Stripes, early-career Heartless Bastards, etc. Available on vinyl, digital, etc.

    Books: – Paintwork, by Tim Maughan – a take on old-school cyberpunk that feels relevant and fresh rather than an exercise in nostalgia.

    After James, by Michael Helm – published by Penguin Random House in Canada, and I think by Tin House in the US, this is a literary/genre hybrid novel that blew my hair back for its intensity, intellectual sophistication, and spectacular prose. Helm is one of Canada’s finest authors (though he doesn’t limit his focus to Canada), and any of his works would be a good gift idea, but this is the one that will probably be easiest to track down, and the one most likely to appeal to people who are primarily genre readers.

    The Bell Forging Cycle, by K.M. Alexander – Great mythos-inspired far-future horror blended w/ road-novel sensibilities. Non-traditionally published, and starts off a bit on the weak side, but builds up steam and never stops.

    Against the Smart City, by Adam Greenfield – Sometimes called “the Jane Jacobs of the smart city,” this is an essential read for understanding the origins, social impact, ethics, and technological challenges of smart city infrastructure. Good for folks who are into urbanism, ethics, and those who find the science fictional potentials of smart city tech fascinating.

    What’s Yours is Mine, by Tom Slee – Does for the sharing/gig economy what Greendfield does for smart city tech. Slee surveys the existing research on gig economy ethics, social impact, and economic developments, but also does a ton of original research. Absolutely *the* go-to for anyone wanting a deep understanding of this new economic model. (Fair warning: he’s extremely critical of the gig economy, and is primarily interested in the disparity between marketing and media coverage and the facts on the ground for workers and customers.)

    Other: – Glitch Textiles – High quality scarves, throws, and pillows woven with software-generated noise/glitch patterns.

    Todd Rutherford Art – High-quality abstract and semi-abstract paintings and prints.

    Jon Contino New York – Fashion and accessories from a master of hand-lettering techniques who has spent years studying and faithfully recreating/playing off traditional Americana styles. (This is his one-man shop.)

  8. Some books that I recommend to people:

    Dark Horse (Mary H. Herbert) is out-of-print but still relatively common (in used book stores I’ve seen/Amazon). It is not a difficult read but a thoroughly enjoyable romp through a “sword & sorcery” that really steps away from the stereotypes of castles & wizards. Helps that the protagonist is a badass woman. If you can get yours hands on a copy, it would make a great present for any fantasy library.

    The Fox & The Hound (Daniel P. Mannix) available in ebook! https://www.amazon.com/Fox-Hound-Daniel-P-Mannix/dp/B0006BQYDK – This is SOOOO much better than the Disney version. Instead of being saccharine with “friendship” and “love” Mannix writes the story of a wild fox (Tod) and a foxhunting dog (Copper) and the years in which they cross paths and the various hunts. I love this telling because you really feel like you get into the mind of a fox and a dog, there isn’t a sense of anthropomorphization with human motivations on them – they are animals and they act like it.

  9. Of course, it’s an SF novel: “The Medusa Chronicles” by Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds. It came out in June and I am not hearing enough noise about it!

    In 1972 Arthur C. Clarke won a Hugo for his novella “A Meeting With Medusa.” Baxter and Reynolds have written an excellent sequel to it! And one of the things that make it such a hoot is they stayed in Clarke’s timeline! If Clarke foretold something that we now know didn’t happen, they assumed it did, making this an alternate history as well! This sequel promises amazing things, and THEN DELIVERS! A lot of writers (Clarke, Baxter, Reynolds, all writers) promise amazing things and then fudge on whether or not it happens. You know, that empty ending where everyone is scratching their head. Not here.

    This is (in my opinion, perhaps) THE FINEST SF BOOK THIS YEAR! Yet, it isn’t on anyone’s list. Please do yourself a favor and go read both Clarke’s original novel and this outstanding sequel!

  10. I second gwenhyfarr’s recommendation of Matthew Rossi’s Nameless series, and would add that he has a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=3856590). In 2017, patrons will be able to get audiobooks of the series.

    Rencor: Life in Grudge City by Matt Wallace (http://frompartsunknown.net/?page_id=1989) was one of the most fun things I read this year. It’s about 2 luchadors teaming up to battle the supernatural. What else could you want?

    Michael Underwood (http://michaelrunderwood.com/) released Season 1 of Genrenauts, his new series of genre-bending adventures. They’re all worth your time.

  11. Becky Chambers’ debut novel is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and with all I’ve read, that’s saying a lot. It’s more of an episodic tale than a traditional novel, and plot takes a back seat to character. It’s worth it. I see it compared to Firefly a lot, which is a good comparison if you substitute the adventurers for interesting people just trying to do their jobs. Highly, highly recommended.

    Amazon Link: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

    Dan Koboldt’s novel, The Rogue Retrieval is another debut that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s a portal fantasy that kicks off a trilogy. Recommended.

    Amazon Link: The Rogue Retrieval by Dan Koboldt

    Arrival is my favorite movie of the past few years. The writers paid homage to Ted Chiang’s work, and Amy Adams gives an excellent, subtle, heartfelt performance.

    Finally, in addition to this blog, I regularly read The Wertzone by Adam Whitehead. It’s a great source for SFF news. Particularly, I enjoyed his series on the History of Epic Fantasy.

    Thanks, John, for giving the fans their day!

  12. A plug for my friend Angi Shearstone, who does beautiful paintings and illustrations. I’m in the process of acquiring one to hang in my home, and you should, too! (You should hang yours in your own home, though. I mean, I’ll certainly hang it in my home, if that’s what you want, but how often are you going to visit me, realistically?) http://www.angishearstone.com/for-sale.html

    Also, a plug for my friend Tracy Manaster, who writes lovely, character-driven novels. I haven’t read “The Done Thing,” her most recent release, but I suspect it’s as good as her first, “You Could be Home by Now.” https://www.amazon.com/You-Could-Be-Home-Now/dp/1440592187

  13. http://www.sockdolager.net – “The Sockdolager currently publishes a quarterly magazine of short genre fiction, most of it SF or fantasy and all of it excellent, in our opinion. The Sockdolager is edited by Alison Wilgus and Paul Starr, whose day jobs are making comics and editing Japanese light novels, respectively.”

    (Full disclosure: Alison and Paul and friends of mine, but I would be a fan of their work regardless.)

    To round out your Sockdolager experience, also subscribe to their podcast: http://www.sockdolager.net/blog/?category=Podcast+episodes

    And if you too become a fan, you can support them on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thesockdolager

  14. A couple superhero-related choices are my top recommendations.

    1. The Ex-Heroes series by Peter Clines. The fifth book in the series, Ex-Isle, came out earlier this year, and it’s definitely worth scooping them all up. The gist of the series is a world post zombie (or ex-humans) apocalypse, but in a world where superheroes exist. That alone is a pretty darn good hook, but what sets the series apart for me is how Clines takes a superhero trope (eg. super-soldiers, magic, alternate reality) in each book & plays with it in unexpected ways. Also great is his focus on the day-to-day status of the survivors’ community. It isn’t just a backdrop; it grows and changes based on the events of each book & in many ways the stress to provide for the community’s basic survival needs (sustainable food, power, space, etc.) drives the greater events of the narrative. The characters, too, are a stand-out feature here. No mere pastiches of the big name heroes out there, these are fully-realized individuals with unique strengths, faults, hopes, and demons driving their actions in ways that have real consequences. It all makes for a must read (or listen as the audiobooks are quite good as well) series in my opinion.

    2. Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Video Game from Cleveland-based studio Handelabra. The digital version of a stellar board game, Sentinels is a co-op card game featuring a diverse (in terms of POC, LGBT status as well as play mechanics) line-up of heroes & villains with endless replay value. The app streamlines the tabletop experience & includes some truly phenomenal music for the various villains, environments, and soon, heroes. Seriously, the music alone makes this one worth picking up. Plus the developers and the game’s community are warm, welcoming & dedicated to inclusivity and respect for all. The app is available for pretty much all mobile platforms, but they currently have a special on printable Steam key stocking stuffers. http://handelabra.com/blog/2016/11/30/give-the-gift-of-the-multiverse

  15. I’ve already given Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe books to my gift list so want to encourage even more people to read about these characters that I love.

  16. I second the recommendations for Wings Silversmiths and N. K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season series.

    Now a couple of my favorites:
    ZOMGsmells ( http://www.zomgsmellsshop.com/ ) has wildly eccentric perfumes, for those of you who are into such things, with improbable names like ‘Seagull Eating a Starfish’ and ‘Kudzu Doom’. They are not as aggressive towards other people’s noses as many commercial perfumes, but they are rich, lush and unusual.

    Nathan Lowell has written a series of books about a young man named Ishmael Wang and his journeys from penniless orphan to ship master — in space. They are a little Mary Sue-ish, but more than fun enough to make up for that shortfall; DH and I have read/ listened to them a number of times. The original podcasts were narrated by the author, and he did surprisingly well; we liked them as well as (or maybe a little better) than the professional audiobooks up on Audible. He has another series in the hopper set in the same universe, and a couple other works as well. This is his home page, from which you can buy his books:
    http://solarclipper.com//

  17. I’ve got to give a shoutout to my friend Lucy Bellwood, who is an Adventure Cartoonist™ specializing in sailing on tall ships and talking about the hazards and wonder of the high seas. Her book “Baggywrinkles: A Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea” came out late this summer and it’s absolutely charming.

    Her book is available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Baggywrinkles-Lubbers-Guide-Life-Sea/dp/0988220296/) and her website is https://lucybellwood.com

    Cheers!

  18. My favorite SF book that I’ve read this year is M. Suddain’s Hunters & Collectors (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hunters-Collectors-M-Suddain/dp/0224097059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480613959&sr=8-1&keywords=suddain+hunters). Quoting from the Amazon entry, “John Tamberlain is The Tomahawk, the universe’s most feared food critic – though he himself prefers the term ‘forensic gastronomer’. He’s on a quest, in search of the much-storied Hotel Grand Skies, a secretive and exclusive haven where the rich and famous retreat to bask in perfect seclusion. A place where the waiters know their fish knife from their butter knife, their carotid from their subclavian artery, and are trained to enforce the house rules with brutal efficiency.”

  19. “All The Pretty Horses” is a relatively unknown cd of Rhiannon Giddens (recorded just before the Carolina Chocolate Drops started to get famous), with a duo called The Elftones (Roger Gold on guitar and Mara Shea on fiddle).
    It’s a beautiful and artistic collection of mostly traditional tunes and songs from Scotland, Ireland, England, France, and America, done in unique arrangements, including a few instrumental and original tunes. This is not a highly “produced” recording but captures a wonderful energy and shows off the amazing versatility of Rhiannon Giddens. You can listen to clips on Amazon but, if you want the actual CD, with full audio quality, you can get it for just $14.68 (including shipping) on ebay.

  20. Delurking to say if you like vivid, character-driven, near-future alternate reality – somewhere between Charles Stross and Alan Garner – you should definitely buy ‘Cold City’ by Cathy McSporran. This unusual novel takes an original approach to the exploration of what we sometimes call mental illness, and weaves elements of mythology and archetype into a world which is otherwise firmly rooted in the often brutal reality of the city of Glasgow in a time not far from here and now.

    Or, for a slightly lighter read, try Cathy’s ‘The Few”, a rollicking tale of a group of children who find themselves using hitherto undiscovered magical powers to battle a coven of teenage Nazi necromancers during the 2nd World War – officially for young adults, but a gripping read for all ages, and amazingly partly based on true details of magical research carried out for Churchill.

    Intrigued? Both are available from Amazon.co.uk (yes, I know that’s far away for some of you, but I promise they’re worth the extra postage).

    Here’s Cathy’s page on Amazon.co.uk:
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cathy-McSporran/e/B00O69JS0O/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

  21. My friend Catherine John has recently released her first album, ¡Fandango Bragh!, a fusion of traditional Irish and Mexican music, with San Francisco Bay Area musicians from both traditions. Catherine plays fiddle and sings in Spanish, English, and Gaelic. Downloads are available from https://fandangobragh.bandcamp.com/, and you can give a download as a gift. Contact her through the link for physical CDs.

  22. I second the recommendation for Baggywrinkles. If you’re interested in traditional, monster-infested dinnerware, you should visit Don Moyer at his Calamityware website: http://calamityware.com/. He also has paper products, t-shirts, prints, puzzles, and shower curtains. For National Parks/retro art afficionados, see Robert Decker’s work at http://www.national-park-posters.com/ The posters have a 40s vibe (for me, at least), and are beautifully executed. Finally, I heartily recommend Elise and her wondrous jewelry: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LionessElise Please buy all her things, before I completely blow my budget for the next four years.

  23. Lumberjanes – A comic about a group of girls who meet in summer camp in the woods, their adventures there, and friendship. And then there’s the whole problem of magical creatures showing up randomly.

    Please Don’t Tell my Parents I’m a Supervillain – Richard Roberts. Fun superhero prose novel about a group of kids whose superpowers start to emerge. Due to the usual set of misunderstandings everyone thinks they’re villains. Why not go with it? A fairly easy read that also happens to be fun. First of a series (currently has two sequels and a prequel)

    Dane Curse (Black Cape Case files book 1) – Matt Abraham. Retired supervillain turned private-eye gets dragged into investigating the murder of an invincible hero. Not the most novel premise, but it’s fun, competently written superhero-noir novel.

    Transmetropolitan. It’s a classic. In light of recent political events it feels more relevant than it should. Read it.

  24. If you’re a fan of a favorite indie bookstore, point them here:
    http://bookweb.org/james-pattersons-holiday-bonuses-booksellers
    The application form seems to be closed now, but James Patterson gives away $250K annually to support indie bookstores. They should check back periodically to see when the form opens for submissions again.

    If you’re a fan of genre SF or know someone who is, why not get them a subscription to Locus magazine (http://www.locusmag.com/Magazine/Subscribe.html)? There are always a couple of great interviews with authors in each issue, usually a couple profiles of lesser-known but still interesting genre folk, and reviews of hundreds of stories or novels per issue that are great inspiration for writers and wannabes. They’re also a charitable foundation, so you can gift them a few bucks to keep them running.

  25. Here here! You’re right. And the thing I especially hate when people comment on my anti-Trump postings, on Facebook: Telling me Trump is not a would-be dictator, which he most certainly is. Their blindness is, and obviously has been, offensive.

  26. Do you like murder mysteries? If so, check out Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad books. She brings in new detectives (with a few repeats) for each book, which allows her to be… brutal. These are dark, tough, gut-wrenching books, all of them page turners.

    WARNING: Do not read these books if you are lonely or depressed. Keep a loved one nearby for hugs as needed. A ready supply of hot, comforting tea is recommended.

    The most recent book, The Trespasser, was published a couple of months ago, but start at the beginning with In the Woods.

  27. For anyone looking for a brilliant and unique take on terraforming/first-contact science fiction, I can’t recommend Rosemary Kirstein’s Steerswoman series enough. Here’s her blurb from Day Two:

    https://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/11/29/whatever-holiday-shopping-guide-2016-day-two-non-traditionally-published-books/#comment-826698

    One of my favorite scenes: the main character is surveying the location of some strange meteorites and is trying to figure out how they got there. She ends up deriving the first steps in orbital mechanics, and it’s all done in a compelling way that feels like a natural outcome of the situation.

    Plus, if enough people buy the books, she can finish the fifth book and we can all find out what happens next :<)

  28. Bradley W. Schenck is an SF artist who does absolutely stunning and hilarious Art Deco-style SF posters and t-shirts and more. A large number of my favorite t-shirts are his designs, and they tend to get more amused comments from passers-by than just about anything else I own, especially at cons. His online shop is called Retropolis: http://shop.webomator.com/retropolis/

    (Make sure to check out his “Pulp-o-mizer”, where you can generate your own pulp-style covers: http://thrilling-tales.webomator.com/derange-o-lab/pulp-o-mizer/pulp-o-mizer.html.)

  29. I’d like to second Marco’s recommendation above for N K Jemisin’s ‘The Fifth Season’ and it’s sequel ‘The Obelisk Gate’. The Fifth Season won the Hugo so it’s not exactly unknown, and it came out in 2015 (however the sequel was released in August 2016 so together I think they’d qualify as “newer stuff”). There may be someone reading this though who missed out on reading The Fifth Season – if so, I heartily recommend giving it a read. It’s gripping and the world-building is top-notch.

  30. I am recommending my friend Susan Boulton’s new novel, out from Penmore Press, called Hand of Glory. It’s a brilliantly written historical fantasy mystery thriller, set at the end of World War I and in Britain after the war, involving murder, thieves, the ghosts of fallen soldiers and black magic. Authentically researched with searing imagery and a cat and mouse suspense plot, it’s a fun read that had a cult following as a manuscript and now is available in print and e-book. I’m getting it for the holidays and you can too!: https://www.amazon.com/Hand-Glory-Susan-Boulton-ebook/dp/B01LOWF11K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480625060&sr=8-1&keywords=Susan+Boulton

  31. My friend at Crochet by Necessity makes fandom-y crocheted dolls. Recent projects include characters from “Hamilton”, Agent Carter, and a light-up, anatomically correct Jon from “Sex Criminals.” She takes custom orders as well.

    Another friend does designs on redbubble. My favorite of hers is “Marvelous Ladies”, celebrating the women who’ve borne the Ms/Captain Marvel title.

  32. Oberon Design

    Simply gorgeous leather items, including smart phone cases and tablet covers. Beautiful scenes, patterns, or pictures of various creatures (OMG the LION I saw when I went for the link, that’s new!) in a variety of colours.

    http://www.oberondesign.com/

    I learned about them here quite a few years ago and have bought a few things from them and love them. I think they’re worth mentioning here again.

  33. I tecommend “A Mountain Walked,” S. T. Joshi, ed, Lovecraft-type stories by pros. How else will you ever know the REAL story of the Dunwich Horror? (Hint: that Dr. Armitage was a lyin’ dog!). This book also contains a zinger of a story, “John Four” by Caitlin Kiernan, which, while depressing, is an English-language thing of beauty. Sorry to sound cliched, but she really does make every word count.

    An oldie but goodie, since it’s Christmas: NOS4ATU by Joe Hill. Enjoy–but stay out of Christmasland…

    Also, “Venomous,” by Christie Wilcox, an entertaining overview of the biting, stinging critters that plague mankind.

  34. For Super-Hero prose I I two recommendations-

    Drew Hayes’ Superpowereds, a web serial that follows a group of college kids going through their universe’s Hero Certification Program. Each book = 1 college year. Great Series, well written and pretty funny and action-packed. http://www.drewhayesnovels.com/

    There are 3 books out now and a 4th being released online. Available online or at Amazon.

    Marion Harmon’s Wearing the Cape Series. 7 book series that Focuses on Astra, a rookie Cape Starting on that universe’s premiere superteam. Also available via Amazon.

  35. Shire Post Mint (https://www.shirepost.com/): They sell “high quality solid metal coins using antique machinery and traditional techniques,” specializing in licensed fantasy coinage. Their recent work includes some really lovely coins from Lord of the Rings, but they also make licensed currency from the Wheel of Time, Game of Thrones, The Kingkiller Chronicle, and now The Demon Cycle. Good quality, fast shipping, wonderful people.

    Paul Mitchell Kane Lightbox Photography Cards (http://lightbox-photography-cards.myshopify.com/): Paul is a photographer and has number of decks available with photography challenges on the cards to help people improve their picture taking skills. He has a regular edition, as well as Mobile and Macro editions (and I believe Wedding is coming soon).

  36. Books, e and paper, suitable for adults, but even better for young adults.

    Are your teens and tweens sick of Hunger Games ripoffs, love triangles, and generic high fantasy? Do you wish there was some nice crunchy hard SF like Heinlein juveniles, but with modern technology and women, PoC, and LGBT characters as heroes? Where the adults aren’t all idiots?

    Then you must buy ALL the works of L.J. Cohen. Unlike too many other indie authors, she pays an actual professional development/story/copy editor to work on the books! IKR?

    A fantasy duology and an excellent SF/space opera series which is up to 3 books (soon to be 4, but they’re fairly self-contained and she promises not to go on forever).

    https://www.amazon.com/LJ-Cohen/e/B006QL6GA0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1480633148&sr=1-2-ent

    Buy! Buy! Buy! She’s got two dogs and two sons to feed!

  37. I’d like to recommend a few books by some authors I like who are in that not-quite-well-known state where you could really use a boost! (also one artist, after the books!)

    Dreaming Death by J. Kathleen Cheney. Secondary world fantasy in a setting influenced by Persia. It’s a stand alone story with beautiful writing.
    https://www.amazon.com/Dreaming-Death-Palace-Dreams-Novel/dp/0451472934/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480632620&sr=1-1&keywords=Dreaming+Death

    Damocles by S.G. Redling. An awesome first contact story, character driven rather than action. She has other great stuff that’s fast paced and violent if you like the action, but this one is my favorite.
    https://www.amazon.com/Damocles-S-G-Redling/dp/161109965X/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480631864&sr=1-1&keywords=Damocles

    The Empress Game (and 2nd book Cloak of War) by Rhonda Mason. A fun space opera battle royale with all kinds of interesting characters.
    https://www.amazon.com/Empress-Game-Trilogy-Book/dp/1783295244/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480631444&sr=1-1&keywords=the+empress+game

    Lastly, we bought a print last summer at a local con from this nice fellow, an awesome piece of dragon art. He’s got a lot of very pretty things to fill those empty spaces on your wall. http://www.donhigginsillustration.com/

  38. I’ve had good success selling other readers on the work of indie Australian SFF writer Andrea K Höst. If you go to her blog, http://www.andreakhost.com/, and click through to portal SF book Stray, there are links to get it for free at sundry book retailers. She hasn’t failed me yet; I also like Hunted and And All the Stars.

    If there’s a yarnaholic in your life you want to impress, a couple of indie dyers who have delighted me recently are Azlynn of DyelectableYarns (https://www.etsy.com/shop/azlynn), and caterpillargreen yarns (http://www.caterpillargreenyarns.com/). DyelectableYarns include self-stripers with subtle depth of color – I have a pair of socks on the needle right now. caterpillargreen’s growing specialty is shawl stripers – yarn mathematically dyed in segments of increasing length, such that the many-stitch stripes at the bottom are the same width as the ones at the top. She sells sock stripers too. caterpillargreen is Canadian, so a good choice for northerners being slammed by the exchange rate with the US.

  39. Another fan here of N.K. Jemison’s Fifth Season, Becky Chambers’ two existing novels (the second is even better than the first!) and the Steerswomen books by Rosemary Kirstein. I found out about Kirstein’s books from the authors thread here two or three years ago. The main characters are strong women and the setting is fantasy (sort of). I read them all, and then I gave them as gifts. I re-read them regularly, and they’ve become a favorite of at least one other friend.

    I’d like to recommend the music of a couple of friends. The first is Marissa Lauren, a singer-songwriter with a voice like an angel. Her music is pop with a hint of folk, influenced by Ingrid Michaelson, among others. She’s got an EP available on iTunes, and a new EP with three Christmas songs just out. You can sample her covers on YouTube and her website includes lyrics to her songs.

    The second is Canadian singer-songwriter Ben Wilkins. He’s been compared to Ben Folds. His music is pop with a jazz flavor, built around the piano and with string sections too. There are two albums available on iTunes and Amazon, his self-titled debut and All From Hello, released last year. Check out his music via a few videos on YouTube. I especially like the ones for “Through to You” (from his first album) and “Doldrums” (from the second album).

  40. Do you like epic adventures, grand battles between good & evil, larger-than-life characters, and mythology set in a distinctly non-western tradition? Then let me recommend the Indian film Bahubali: The Beginning

    It took India by storm in 2015 and became the biggest hit in the country. It was critically acclaimed. It’s the perfect time to watch this because the sequel is coming out in April 2017.

    While it was filmed in Telugu / Tamil (and was dubbed into Hindi / Malayalam), you are not going to miss much of the experience if you watch it with subtitles. It’s available from Amazon and other stores.

  41. Kyth does amazingly beautiful, one of a kind jewelry at http://www.wyrdingstudios.com. Her wirework does a really neat job of translating nature’s curls – like vines and waves – into jewelry. She is at least part magpie, and she’s clearly creating for people who love shiny objects as much as she does. Her battle cry, and that of her fans is always and forever “ooh, shiny!”

    Be sure to keep an eye out for some of the gorgeous labradorite pieces. She’s got a particular fondness for stones and beads that shift color and have hidden rainbows!

  42. The ‘Clovenhoof’ series, by Heidi Goody and Iain Grant. Laugh-out-loud funny.

    What happens if Satan loses his job, and is given retirement on Earth, specifically in a suburb of Birmingham (England)?

    A hugely enjoyable set of events, calamities and near-disasters, obviously. Warning: not safe for Church…

  43. My friend Melody MacDuffee runs a nonprofit for young adults orphans in Ghana, Soul of Somanya. They make gorgeous handmade jewelry using locally made beads. Melody is a very talented jewelry and crochet artist who teaches all over the US, she started Soul of Somanya with a young Ghanaian after taking a trip to teach in Ghana. Here is a link to their site: http://www.soulofsomanya.net/

  44. My recommendation for this year is s nonfiction book, Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon, by Bronwen Dickey. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B013ZNK5HG/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
    It’s a well researched and balanced account of pitties and their controversial history. It’s readable and entertaining as well as educational! The author lives in my hometown, is admittedly pro-pit and has one of her own (who I’ve met and is a pumpkin). She’s also met with significant harassment both online and at book signings once she started doing press for the book, which just makes me want to recommend it more highly.

  45. Pride’s Children by Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt is a really excellent read. Well-written, compelling mainstream literature.

    A contemporary mainstream love story, in the epic tradition of Jane Eyre, and Dorothy L. Sayers’ four-novel bond between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, Pride’s Children starts with a very public chance encounter, and will eventually stretch over three separate continents.

    http://a-fwd.to/6C90E3S

  46. I highly recommend these four books, which I read in the past few months.

    #1 I recently finished After Atlas, an awesome high-tech-future murder mystery novel by Emma Newman. It’s connected to the awesome Planetfall, though you don’t have to read them in order, as it’s not a direct sequel. (Planetfall is about a group of scientists who colonize a far-away world; After Atlas is about the world they left behind.) The protagonist of After Atlas is the emotionally damaged corporate serf (more like slave) investigating the murder.

    #2 M.R. (Mike) Carey’s Fellside, his latest under that version of his name, is a grim, dark novel about a woman sent to prison and supernatural stuff around the edges. I wouldn’t really call it horror. A lot of it is about the prison and the women there. It may be a tough read for some, but it’s worth it and the supernatural aspect is interesting.

    #3 Jennifer Foehner Wells’s “Confluence” series started with Fluency (a linguist plus NASA scientists explore a Big Dumb Object…or is it?) and continued in Remanence (the group meets aliens suffering from a techno-apocalypse). Note: This is only available from Amazon. I eagerly await the next book!

    #4 Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers is a great space opera about a woman called home from her gun-running ways to be heir to the throne of an interstellar empire, where her two older sisters died under mysterious circumstances. I can’t wait for the sequel, After the Crown, due later mid-December!

  47. My daughter has her first two short stories on Amazon, under the nom de plum “RJ Nunes”. Interesting, unique SciFi. Recommend. Totally unbiased, of course. :)

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