Each Little Universe Sale and Playlist

It’s been six whole months since Each Little Universe launched, which just feels… ridiculous. A lot’s happened in that time, most of it really cool – plus a lot of stuff’s kind of started happening, so there should be more to share soon!

Anyway, to celebrate ELU‘s six-month-iversary, I’m doing two things.

First off is a sale on the ebook: £0.99 or $0.99, starting on Sunday 1st November and running for one week. US people, get it here; UK people, get it here. (I think those are the only two places I’m able to set up the discount in, so I’m very sorry if you’re elsewhere and it doesn’t get discounted for you.)

If you haven’t read it, this is your chance to pick it up super-cheap! And if you have read it, this is your chance to recommend it to someone else who likes cheap books about life and the universe and philosophy and wrestling and true friendship and heists and punk rock.

And second, I’ve made an ELU playlist, which you can listen to on Spotify! Click here or use the (hopefully working) embedded thingy below…

There’s one song per chapter; I make no claims that this is, like, the definitive best playlist to listen to while reading ELU, but I’ve just picked the first song that each chapter makes me think of, and I figured that would be, like, the most authentic way of doing it. So, yeah. Enjoy!

I’ll leave you with a few excerpts from reviews, just to help you decide that yes, you really do want to buy the book. (And if you’ve read it but not left a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please do. It means the world to me.)

A wildly entertaining ride replete with lighthearted geeky humour, casual diversity (oh, how I love the casual diversity!), and lovable quirky characters which every so often slips in moments of sincerity, tenderness and profound sadness. Beneath all the outrageous, colourful, sparkly fun stuff, this is really a heartfelt story of friendship, love, and being human. A wonderful and very promising debut.

I liked this story a lot because of its near-ness to reality. It felt as if it were actually happening, but with a small piece askew. The piece wasn’t a fault, but rather a perspective, and it was interesting viewing it that way.

The characters were fleshed out really well, and I identified with them strongly, like different parts of a personality.

A very enjoyable read. It gave me a comfortable feeling inside, like when you see friends for the first time in a long time, if that makes sense. The characters all felt like actual people I’ve known in my life, which was refreshing. The story was unique and kept me guessing, and when it was over, I felt a little sad to say goodbye to the characters. A great mix of fantasy and realism that allows for some real humor, as well as cleverly subtle thought-provoking questions.

The two main characters, TM and Veggie, are two of the most real and endearing characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Through effortlessly flowing dialogue, these two absolute gems are possibly now two of my favourite people in the world.
The plot is possibly one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever read. This is not a bad thing.
As the story becomes more and more gloriously bizarre, I honestly couldn’t have guessed where it was going to end up.
In conclusion. I would give the story itself a 3 star (perhaps the excessive D&D or perhaps that it doesn’t follow a traditional story arc) but the characters and the writing style are so bloomin’ amazing *I can not stress this enough*, I would give it 5 stars. So we’ll meet in that warm squishy middle place of a solid 4.
If you want to meet some characters that will stay with you for, quite possibly, the rest of your life, I highly recommend this gem of a book.

There ya have it. Go buy Each Little Universe, because you might really like it and it would also bring me much joyousness. Cheers.

ELU post-launch wrap-up: what’s next?

It’s been a month since the launch of Each Little Universe, which is… weird and surreal and cool. I’ve felt a few things about it since then, some of which I think I’ll have to talk about separately, but overall I just feel really proud to have done it.

I’ve run a giveaway of a few copies, and indeed three signed paperback editions of ELU have now been given away! (or, at least, I’ve contacted the winners; I’m not gonna name them here, although they’re welcome to announce their glorious victory themselves if they’d like!) Thanks to everyone who entered; I really, really appreciate everybody who took the time to sign up for any of the three draws.

(Oh, and if you’ve somehow found yourself here without knowing what Each Little Universe is… I’m impressed, but thanks. It’s my debut novel, a comic urban fantasy about nerds and pop culture and maybe existential philosophy, I dunno. Check out this page to learn more!)

Speaking of people I appreciate, I have to say a quick thank-you here to Alex Sigsworth, who not only wrote a wonderful review of Each Little Universe but was kind enough to discuss it at some length with me, which was very cool. He also pointed out quite a few typos I’d missed, and he has certainly been responsible for improving the quality of the final product. I know there are still a couple (I seem to see a new one every time I look, because that’s just how the world works), but I hope it’s not bad for a first attempt.

And, before I say anything else, the biggest thanks is always owed to my other half, Hannah. She is probably even more responsible than I am for the fact that ELU ever made it out of my head and into an actual published thing, and will absolutely be the reason that anything else I ever manage to do gets done.

So I guess the question now is… what do I do next?

Well, I’ve got a few ideas, and to keep myself accountable to actually doing at least one or two of them I figured I’d share them! I definitely want to do more novels, and if people like them then that’ll just be a bonus.

So, with no definite promises on order, timescales, or quality, here are the things in the works. These are just vague ideas, not polished synopses or blurbs (and all ideas are subject to change as the things develop), but perhaps there’ll be something that piques your interest.

If any of this does intrigue you, please do let me know. I’m going to be needing beta readers before too long, with any luck. (Seriously, I’m really gonna need a good group of beta readers, so please raise your hand if you’d be up for that.)


I Am The Chosen One

Back in uni, a friend and I wrote a stage play together. It was actually half-decent, I reckon (every member of the cast was amazing), and it gave us a good reason to hang out despite not being geographically near each other. We fancied having that reason again, so we’ve decided to turn the play into a novel. It’ll take a bit of work to make it function in a different format, but I’m excited to see how it turns out.

I Am The Chosen One (as with everything on this list, title not fixed) is about a bizarre village full of anachronisms and strange behaviours. When a baby is born who seems to be the Chosen One, the question all the villagers have to ask is… chosen for what?


Through All Things A River

Originally started for National Novel Writing Month 2018, this story follows a girl who, on her search for her missing friend, winds up in strange worlds where identity is an actual physical substance, and a strange force seems to be making everyone in all the worlds less and less sure about what makes them who they are.

This might end up being two novels, or one story in two parts, not sure yet. I’ve got… probably about a third of a first draft and a fairly detailed synopsis of the rest!


Supernatural Suplex… Stuff

Yeah, I don’t have a title for this one (although Godpunchin’ has been floating around). This is another collaboration – a friend (not the same one from Chosen) and I have worked out most of the plot for something that was originally conceived as an audio drama. Still might be, but I realised that we would have to find a cast and stuff, which sounds a lot of effort, so… who knows.

Anyway, this story follows the amateur investigations of a couple of wrestling fans who think that something weird might be going on at the indie promotion that’s just opened up shop near them. Is the disappearance of the show’s biggest star just a storyline, or is there something more sinister at work? (Spoilers: course there is.)


Fixer’s Breakers

This one is a half-finished first draft with a few big ideas but no real plan for where to take it, so I think the whole thing will need hefty revising before it becomes anything proper.

Essentially, Fixer’s Breakers is about a breaker’s yard (also known as a scrapyard) at which our protagonist gets a job. For some reason it transpires that it’s not really a scrapyard at all – they do do scrapyard stuff, but they’ll also fix pretty much any problem that they’re asked to solve.

Nobody’s asked them, as such, to solve the problem of the eldritch abominations popping up, but fortunately they might just be the best ragtag gang for the job.


Solarpunk Murder Mystery Wushu Progression Fantasy Series

Now, I find it pretty hard to work out what genre most of my stories fit into. ELU is maybe sort of magical realism, maybe a bit of urban fantasy, some buddy comedy stuff, I dunno. I don’t tend to think too much about what sort of story I’m doing, is the point, but I fancy having a go at tying myself down and writing one solidly genre-bound thing. Give myself a chance to play with conventions rather than just ignore them entirely.

Of course, I couldn’t just pick one genre, so it’s a bit of a fusion. This is still very loosely-defined, with few concrete ideas, but my conception here is that I’d really like to do a four or five-book progression fantasy series (a genre defined by a tight magic or power system in which the protagonist’s development – or gaining levels – is a big part of the story). I want to explore a solarpunk world, so the magic system will be heavily based around light and heat and there’ll probably be some mythology borrowed from Zoroastrian sun worship and that sort of thing.

I basically just fancy doing something a bit more like a proper fantasy story, but can’t be bothered not to make it at least slightly weird.


Chronicles from the World of Guilt

I’m inspired by a recent read: Tessa Hastjarjanto‘s Tales of Lunis Aquaria. I’ve known Tessa for a little while as a friend of a friend and the owner of the Narratess website, but since publishing ELU I’ve had the chance to talk to her a bit more and she is absolutely awesome. Just, like, as a person.

Since she’s a cool person, I figured I’d probably enjoy her books, and (so far) I’m being proven correct! Tales of Lunis Aquaria is a collection of short stories all set in the fantasy world of Lunis Aquaria; though they all stand alone, feeling like new takes on the fairy tale or fable sort of genre, they also hint at a bigger picture, a huge world with a lot of characters, events, places, and stories left to explore.

This sparked something in my brain: I had a few concepts floating around that seemed as if they might be related, but I couldn’t work out how they might become a single story. Tales made me realise that they don’t need to be: why not create a short story anthology in which all of the stories take place at different times and places in the same overall world, contributing to a big picture but not needing to link so neatly? It seemed perfect, so Chronicles from the World of Guilt is now taking shape in my head.

I don’t really know the specifics of how many stories there’ll be, what they’ll all be about, but I think the world will lend itself to dark adventures, a bit of urban fantasy and a bit of horror – certainly it’ll be very different in tone from ELU, which I think should be fun for me!


Us Humans and Other People

I don’t really know what this is, but I like the title. I think it’s probably a short story collection, but I haven’t got any of the stories yet.

So, uh, we’ll see what happens there.


There you have it, then: one or more of those things will hopefully begin to take some sort of form that I can talk about in the near future.

(Oh – and there are two other things I’m not sure I’m allowed to be specific about right now, but suffice to say that there will hopefully be more published books including some of my work within a few months.)

My current… to-do list, I suppose, and the things I’m interested in right now, are leading me to believe that completing the first draft of Chronicles from the World of Guilt and going on a hunt for beta readers is probably the next thing that ought to get done. The idea was only conceived very recently, but it’s taking shape quicker than I thought; I’ve got a couple of stories written and a few more planned, so that may reach a state resembling a first draft sooner than I was expecting. I’m also working on building the world for Multi-Genre Fantasy Series Thingy, but I don’t expect to be able to start drafting for a little bit.

As for Chosen, I’m hoping that’ll be a thing that keeps progressing soon too, but I and my co-author are mostly in that one just to hang out with each other so we’re not putting any pressure on ourselves timescale-wise.

Basically, publishing ELU has just made me want to do more. Before, I thought I was a guy who’d written one novel; now, I think I’m a guy who can in fact write more things, and perhaps even get them from planning to publishing in a bit less than five years each. We’ll see.

Anyway, I hope that everyone who’s read ELU has enjoyed it, or at least that it was not-bad enough that the prospect of me writing more doesn’t seem like the worst thing that could possibly happen. If you did like ELU, or if you’re excited by any of the ideas above, let me know! I’d be thrilled to talk about stuff, and if you think you could lend a hand as a beta reader then that’d be even better and you’d get to read stuff before anyone else.

If you haven’t already, please do consider signing up for the occasional email to get the latest info on whatever comes next as soon as I know. I expect I’ll give away some more stuff in future, possibly to those on the mailing list, so it might well be worth it!

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Each Little Universe: debut novel launch and giveaway

UPDATE: Since one of the draws is open to those who leave reviews, and thanks to slow delivery times (understandably) some people are only just getting their copies, I’m extending the opening period of all three draws to the end of the month. Last day for entries is now May 31st!

Well, then.

Each Little Universe is here! It’s available in both ebook and paperback format right here on Amazon (that should be the UK page – here’s the US one!) – it’s pretty reasonably priced, in my opinion, and it’s even free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

Now, you should be able to use the links above to get either Kindle or paperback copies, but there’s a chance that the different editions haven’t linked by the time you’re reading this. If the links are only giving you the Kindle option, here are the paperback ones separately: UK paperbackUS paperback.

Or… you could win a free signed paperback copy. How ’bout that?

Before I explain how this giveaway will work, there have been a couple of reviews from advance readers already, for which I’m really incredibly grateful.

Solarayo, of the blog Ace Asunder, said:

The author’s writing style is full of fun meta-fourth-wall-breaking humor, superb sarcasm, and tons of glorious geek culture parodies and references. … This is one of the most out-there-in-a-good-way stories I’ve ever had the honor of reading.

https://aceasunder.com/2020/04/27/novel-notes-each-little-universe/

And over on Goodreads, Alex Sigsworth (whose help spotting typos has been invaluable, and whose eagerness to engage with ELU and have conversations about it has been extremely rewarding) wrote a brilliant review including this bit that I’ve co-opted for the blurb of the paperback edition:

Chris refuses to be dull. … He doesn’t see the point of writing a story if he can’t take full advantage of the medium and do things within that medium that can’t be done in any other.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3277347390

Finally for now, also on Goodreads, Zach Casserly wrote a review that I thought really seemed to ‘get’ what I was going for, which is an exceptionally awesome feeling.

My advance copy of ELU is marred with highlights. Ugh! So many highlights. It was a great read from open to close. 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3301823667

So that’s cool, but you probably came for the free stuff. So: to celebrate the launch, I’ve got some copies to give away!

I have three (or maybe even four!) signed paperback copies of Each Little Universe to bestow upon friends. I’ll send ’em anywhere in the world, no cost for the copy or for the shipping, and all you have to do for a chance at getting one is follow these simple steps.

(All three draws are open for three weeks, until Friday 22nd May, at which point I will be picking winners.)


Step One: Fulfil Requirements!

Since I’ve got three copies, there are three things you can do to win. You can enter all three draws if you want – each of them will have one winner, but each person can only win once.

First Draw: Review Each Little Universe

Okay, so given that a copy of ELU is the prize, it might be a bit odd to ask for reviews. That said, the prize is a signed physical copy and therefore extremely rare and prestigious, while the e-copy can be purchased for a very reasonable price. (Or read for free if you’ve got Kindle Unlimited. Free!)

As such, I’ll be eternally grateful if you would pick up the ebook version and then leave a review. You can do this on Goodreads, the Amazon store (again, here’s US and here’s UK – apparently reviews don’t carry between different local Ama-zones, but any Amazon store is a valid entry), or your own blog or website. Each review earns one entry – so write three (they can even be copy-pasted duplicates, long as they’re on each site separately) and you’ll have three chances to win this draw.

(As a note, I would prefer that people only leave reviews if they have actually read the book, but I recognise that I probably can’t police that.)

Second Draw: Retweet A Thing

Here’s a tweet. Retweet this tweet.

You’ll also need to be following me on Twitter, but otherwise that’s it for this one. Simple.

If this tweet gets over 50 RTs, I will add a second copy to this draw and pick two winners from the RTers instead of just the one. (Thus making a total of four winnable signed copies, for those keeping count. Oooooh.)

Third Draw: Review Philosophiraga

I figure I may as well use this opportunity to get some eyes on another thing I’m currently making, so this is another ‘review to enter’ draw. My podcast Philosophiraga – all about video games and philosophy – can be found in a bunch of places and reviewed in slightly fewer places. The main reviewable podcast places, as I understand it, are Apple Podcasts and Podchaser.

So leave a review for Philosophiraga on either of those two sites and let me know you’ve done it, and you get an entry into this draw. Again, multiple reviews means multiple entries – I think you might even be able to review each episode individually, if you’re super keen.


Step Two: Let Me Know!

Whichever draw you enter – and don’t forget you can enter all three – you’ll need to let me know that you’ve fulfilled requirements. You can do this by tagging me on Twitter (where I’m @overthinkery1), emailing chrisdurstoncreator@gmail.com, filling out the form just below, or using any of the contact methods riiiiiight here. Make sure to drop me a link or screenshot so I know what you’ve done and where.

(Obviously, if you’re only entering draw two, you don’t really need to do anything else as I’ll be able to see that you’ve RT’d the thing.)

Step Three: Win!

And that’s it. I’ll pick one winner at random for each of the three draws on Friday 22nd May, and I’ll be in touch via email or Twitter DM to get address details and such shortly thereafter.

Good luck, and I very much hope that you enjoy Each Little Universe.

Pre-Order Each Little Universe Now!

Exciting news, folks.

As of RIGHT THE HECK NOW, you can pre-order Each Little Universe for Kindle by clicking right here. It’s only two quid (or equivalent for non-Brits – if you can’t make it work on your own local Amazon store, let me know and I’ll see if I can do anything to help), which feels pretty reasonable for five years of my life. If two quid is two quid too many, though, it is totally free if you’re on Kindle Unlimited!

Anyone who pre-orders will get Each Little Universe downloaded straight to their Kindle or whatever readery device they’re using on April 30th when it releases. For some reason paperbacks can’t be set up for pre-order on the Amazon store, but April 30th is also the day you’ll be able to buy the paperback edition to own an actual physical copy of the thing, which is extremely cool for me.

Plus, of course, there’ll be a few signed paperback copies to give away at launch. More details on that to follow!

Thanks to every single person who’s been a part of this journey in any capacity whatsoever. I appreciate it a lot.