It’s Christmas and we’re in a recession. So it seemed to me that it would be a good idea to promote some of the work of my wonderful creative friends – I’m fortunate enough to know talented writers, musicians and painters.
These are all independent creatives – so buying from them puts money straight into their pockets. They’d really welcome your support. Most of what they sell doesn’t cost much and will provide loads of pleasure. If you don’t buy, why not consider sharing this page on Facebook or Twitter? And you’re looking for something different, let’s face it – you’d like to be giving a surprise; to introduce a loved one to something new and special.
So, here we go, in alphabetical order (so there’s no arguments). I’m using links to UK stores, I’m sure those of you from around the world have the smarts to find this stuff near you. All of these recommendations come with my personal 100-yard guarantee.
I encourage you to share these on Facebook, or on Twitter using #XmasGiftsByMyFriends
Andrew is a talented artist, well known for his Doctor Who illustrations – many of which have adorned Target novels and the like. I own some of Andrew’s work myself. From his shop, you can buy limited edition prints, original art and remarq print editions (when an original drawing is added to a limited edition print). Visit Andrew Skilleter’s website or Andrew’s Facebook page.
Anthony is a horror writer who’s been turning his hand to short stories. You can find his work in several well-rated horror anthologies which are available on Amazon. He’s currently finishing an anthology of stories, A Magpie’s Tale, which should be released soon. You can follow Anthony on Twitter.
Lovely man Barnaby is perhaps best known for playing the Daleks on BBC TV’s Doctor Who. He also runs an amazing company – Textbook Stuff –which creates really excellent audio books, based on classic literature. These are superb and a cut above the usual audio books in terms of production (check out my review of Barnaby’s Edgar Allan Poe collection). There’s everything from romance to horror. Visit Textbook Stuff’s website. You can also follow Barnaby on Twitter.
As if that wasn’t enough, Barnaby is also a talented photographer and artist. On Barnaby’s Red Bubble website, you can buy calendars, cards and prints.
Becky Higg is an amazingly talented singer-songwriter from Manchester; her album Room to Move is one of my favourite all-time albums. I was lucky enough for her to play at my birthday party a couple of years ago (well, OK, I really twisted her arm). You can watch her on this video (sorry about the sound quality and people talking). You can buy her album ‘Room to Move’ on iTunes and the rest of her albums on her website.
Belinda is a horror writer based in New York – she has two novels available on Amazon, and short stories in a few anthologies. Her first novel, Dead Spell, is 4.5-star rated on Amazon UK and Amazon US. Her latest novel, Cure, has been optioned as a movie. You can enjoy a free sample of her work, a short story called Payback, on her website. Belinda’s fiction has appeared in Shroud Magazine, Dabblestone Horror, and Tales of Zombie War. She is an honorable mention winner in the Writer’s Digest 76th Annual Writing Competition and her novel, CURE, is the runner-up in the General Fiction category of the 2012 Halloween Book Festival. You can also follow Belinda on Twitter.
Blaze is a writer/publisher whose work is also available on Amazon, in the Satan’s Toybox anthologies of horror stories. In the world of Satan’s Toybox, no toy is ever what it seems, and toy soldiers are no exception. Plastic army men, GI Joe and tin soldiers offer a place to work out your aggressions on an imaginary battlefield. But what if the battlefields are real and the toy soldiers have some aggression of their own? You can also follow Blaze on Twitter.
Colin Steed is a leading light in the field of business training; he’s the chief executive of the Learning & Performance Institute and learning advisor to top organisations. For those looking for a gift of an educational bent, Colin has a couple of non-fiction books available on Amazon, Introducing the Online Classroom and Facilitating Online Learning. You can also follow Colin on Twitter.
Coroner for the Police
If you want the dust blown from your eardrums with some cracking indie rock music with a real edge, check out Coroner for the Police. They have two excellent EPs out, Swamp Box and Gentleman’s Relish – both of which you can get your hands on via their website. You can also find free stuff on there, and you can choose what you pay for Gentleman’s Relish. Their music has had a great reception and has been played by Tom Robinson. You can also follow Coroner for the Police on Twitter.
Danielle Saxon Reeves
Danielle is an extremely talented musician who specialises in early romantic guitar music. She’s half of the wonderful Dodici Cordi, who perform in full period costume in splendid venues. They perform rarely played works of composers such as Giuliani, Sor, Carulli, Diabelli Mertz and others. Mark (the other half of the duo) plays an 1832 Panormo and Danielle plays a Terz guitar by Lamy and a French guitar made around 1840. You can order their CD, ‘Early Romantic Guitar Duets’, via their website.
Daryl is a superbly talented illustrator and artist, whose work has featured on Doctor Who products, books, videos, the BBC website and more. For that special person, you might buy one of his already completed paintings – or you could commission a portrait. He’s also a jolly nice man. You can check out his work on his official website – which I have to confess I created. I proudly own several pieces of Daryl’s work.
David J Howe
David J Howe has been involved with Doctor Who research and writing for over thirty years. He has been consultant to a large number of publishers and manufacturers for their Doctor Who lines, and is author or co-author of over thirty factual titles associated with the show. He also has one of the largest collections of Doctor Who merchandise in the world. You can pick up loads of books by David on Amazon, including my personal favourite, The Target Book: A History of the Target Doctor Who Books.
Although not a friend, it would be remiss of me to depart from David without mentioning his partner, horror writer Sam Stone. Award-winning author Sam Stone began writing aged 11 after reading her first adult fiction book, The Collector by John Fowles. Her love of horror fiction began soon afterwards when she stayed up late one night with her sister to watch Christopher Lee in the classic Hammer film, Dracula. Since then she’s been a huge fan of vampire movies and novels old and new. Sam has around a dozen books available on Amazon, most of them 4- and 5-star rated.
Very much unlike myself, David is a man of God and one of the few writers on here who doesn’t pen horror; he is an author and a speaker, a thinker and a catalyst. He helps people think differently and become more effective in their everyday lives. He also runs Don’t Miss Your Moment, a communications and project management consultancy. You can find his 5-star rated books, God’s Healing for Businesses and Hello David I’m God (and don’t you ever forget it!) on Amazon.
Glen Krisch has written three novels: The Nightmare Within, Where Darkness Dwells, and Nothing Lasting. His short fiction has appeared in publications across three continents for the last decade. Dog Horn Publishing (U.K.) will publish his story collection debut in 2012. He is also an editor for Morrigan Books. As a freelance editor, he has worked on books by Tim Lebbon and Lawrence Block, among others. You can find Glen’s books on Amazon – most have 4+ stars. You can also follow Glen on Twitter.
James Garcia Jr
James was born in Hanford, California, in 1969. In the mid 1970’s, his father began a law enforcement career just up the road with the Kingsburg Police Department, taking his family there. It was in junior high school when things began to take shape. James discovered horror novels – books by Stephen King, Clive Barker and Michael Slade, to name a few – as well as hard rock music. These influences began to form a spark of creativity within him. James began to play guitar and pen song lyrics, but soon found himself confined in that tight medium, desiring to do longer works. You can find james 4-star rated horror novel, Flash Point (Dance on Fire), on Amazon. You can also follow James on Twitter.
Jane plays first violin with the Bolton Symphony Orchestra, so we’ll let her off not creating the music she plays. I’m currently listening to their superb CD of Richard Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, which sadly doesn’t seem to be available on their website yet. Keep an eye out. In the meanwhile, you can get hold of their CD ,A Celebration, from their website. I’m not going to walk on by from Jane without mentioning the work by her late, great husband, Geoff Mann. Search for his work on iTunes, you won’t be disappointed, The Off the End of the Pier Show isn’t indicative of his main body work, but it’s one of my favourites.
Katie M John
Katie is a dear friend and the writer of the Amazon best selling YA series, The Knight Trilogy. Katie is married to a handsome giant and mummy to a mud-puddle fairy. She likes to write whilst drinking tea and eating jaffa cakes. Most of the time she lives in a fairytale world but other than that she is completely and utterly normal. Katie’s debut YA fairtytale series, The Knight Trilogy, has become an international best seller in several chart categories, contemporary fantasy, myths and legends, paranormal romance. It has also been an Amazon number one best selling fairytale. Her work is a blend of rich imagery and fast-paced action. Before writing full length novels, Katie wrote poetry, her works being published in several anthology publications. You can check out her 4- and 5-star rated fiction on Amazon. You can also follow Katie on Twitter.
Marissa Farrar is a multi-published fantasy and horror author. She was born in Devon, England, has travelled all over the world, and has lived in both Australia and Spain. She now resides in the Enlish countryside with her husband, two children, a crazy Spanish dog, two rescue cats and six hens and ten goldfish. Despite returning to England, she daydreams of one day being able to split her time between her home country and the balmy, white sandy beaches of Spain. Pick up one of Marissa’s 4- and 5-star rated bargains on Amazon. You can also follow Marissa on Twitter (bit of a tongue twister there).
So, we’re up to P. That would be me, then. Peter Labrow, horror writer. My first novel, The Well, has nearly 90 reviews on Amazon, an average rating of 4.5 stars. It’s available in print and on Kindle. Here’s the blurb: “Trapped. Missing. Cursed. Fourteen-year-old Becca Richards and her stepbrother have fallen to the bottom of an ancient well. Their parents are away; they won’t be missed for days. The predatory man who had been stalking Becca now switches his attentions to her best friend. Two women who know where Becca is trapped are desperate that she should never escape. Over the course of a week, family, friends and strangers are drawn together by a terrible shared fate – from which not all will escape. ‘The Well’ is a darkly gripping tale about how we respond to the hand fate has dealt us – and the consequences of our choices. The Well deftly intertwines a story of supernatural horror with a tale of one of the greatest fears of modern life. As the book progresses, the two stories become one – driving relentlessly towards a single, thrilling finale. The Well is a fast-paced, riveting story that will grip you – and keep you guessing – until the very end.” I do the Twitter thing too.
Rebecca isn’t just a writer, she’s also a digital artist responsible for creating many a book cover. You can find books to which Rebecca has contributed on Amazon, and if you’re in the market for a book cover, then why not browse along to her website.
Red Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist of dark fantasy for readers of all ages. Monsters, SciFi, wizards, trolls, fairies, and roller derby lightly sautéed in a Southern/Midwestern sauce hand-canned from her mama’s recipes await you in her pantry of readerly delights. Check out her work on Amazon. You can also follow Red on Twitter.
Robert’s a great writer famous for bringing back the Daleks in wonderful style in the episode of Doctor Who, Dalek. But Rob’s more than a Dalek man – he really is a wonderful, inventive writer. Find his superb books on Amazon, including my favourite, the poetic, lyrical and beautifully strange 5-star rated Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical. You can also follow Rob on Twitter.
Another horror-writing friend (you must have spotted a trend by now) Scott Baker is the author of the zombie apocalypse novel Rotter World and The Vampire Hunters trilogy. He is also the author of the short stories, Rednecks Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Cruise of the Living Dead, and Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly (think zombie reindeer). Scott’s work is available on Amazon.
I can’t introduce Stella as well as she does herself. “One night, I lit a candle, poured myself a glass of wine and sat at my kitchen table, a writing pad in front of me. Ten pages later, I had finished an old-school love letter, which I handed over the next day. I didn’t get the man, but a massive surprise: ‘You know what? Your style is amazing, you should write books’, was his reaction. When I started with satirical short stories he became my first ever fan.” And so she is, a writer of funny, biting satirical stuff and you know where it can be found. You can also follow Stella on Twitter.
Steve heads up Rockhopper Studios – a stylish and sexy mobile recording studio. It comes to you or you go to it, it does a bit of both. If you want to spring for a really special present for those family members or friends of a musical bent, Rockhopper does a great package, where you can record a 4-track EP and get an HD video for £250. Go find the Rockhopper.
Tiffany King is the author of the paranormal/romance YA novel Meant to Be and practically a native Floridian. Tiffany wrote her book Meant to Be two years into her degree programme and put it on hold while she finished school. During the process with Meant to Be she discovered just how much she loves to write. 4- and 5-star rated, Tiffany’s fiction is available on Amazon. You can also follow Tiffany on Twitter.