I have noticed that as I have gotten older the holidays and birthdays come more quickly until they become part of the blur of days whizzing by. Remember when you were a small child and each birthday and each Christmas seemed to take forever to arrive? I still have the memory of standing in the living room and looking up at the piece of felt with candy canes tied to the squares marking each day. My mouth still salivates thinking of that sugary confection.

But I’m older now. I’d like to think the candy doesn’t have as much attraction now as it did then; however, I would be fooling myself.

An advent calendar similar to the ones in my childhood.

Now that I am considered an adult—by most people that are not married to me—I have the responsibility of providing for others. Then I see all the horrors of supply chain and logistical snafus and labor shortages causing empty shelves. Then I hear about fleets of container ships anchored off the shores laden with products that they cannot unload. But just as anxiety creeps into the edges of my being, I realize that shopping local takes care of all that.

Headline from CNBC.com

Then I started thinking about local shops and local artists. When I started thinking about local artists, I realized that I knew many writers that put out excellent books with quality stories. These are the gifts you need to get for any reader on your list.

Not in any particular order, I wanted to talk briefly about three authors that live within an hour’s drive from my domicile. First up is Phillip Drayer Duncan. This author from southern Missouri writes both urban fantasy and science fiction. The work of his I want to talk about is the first book in his Assassins, Inc. series—Assassins Incorporated—published in 2014.

I do not often read humor. Duncan’s novel is funny. I bought the second book as soon as it came out. Follow Brandon’s adventures as he tries to get ahead at his job but can’t get past the fact he is the butt of everyone’s jokes at the guild. Pick this book up for the person on your list that likes either humor or science fiction.

Very funny book. Loved it.

The next author is J.H. Fleming, a writer originally from Fort Smith, Arkansas that writes fantasy and urban fantasy. I have read her story collection Lifting the Veil: Tales of Discovery and Magic. But what I want to focus on is her most recent adventure Music the Gathering: A Most Inconvenient Curse.

A traveling group of bards come across some ill-timed misfortune when one of them has her voice stolen. Together, Liv, Azia, and Marco head into a valley that has been cursed for countless years. Along the way they face incredible dangers. This book is perfect for the person that loves a good tune with their quest.

A musical fantasy adventure.

And at the end comes Gil Miller, a writer of crime thrillers. I learned, after becoming a published author myself, that Gil and I attended the same high school. What makes this author’s writing unique is that rather than setting his thrillers in big cities or exotic locations, he plants it right down in the middle of the US.

Startup is the first book in the Rural Empires series. Lyle Villines is a small-time crook that gets corralled into moving up the drug smuggling food chain. His goal: the very top to bring it all down.

Harboiled, hardcore crime thriller.

Shop local. Read local. And if there is a shipping delay on physical books between now and Christmas, e-reader apps are free to download. And you don’t have to wait for your ship to come in to get an e-book downloaded almost instantly. Enjoy these titles.