Author Archives: Peter Darbyshire (Roman)

The end of the world – now live!

I had a great time at the Vancouver Writers Festival this year – it’s always such a treat to meet smart, creative readers and talk writing and books with gifted people like Lydia Kwa and Sean Cranbury.

I was also lucky enough to do a Facebook Live with the festival about my new book, Has the World Ended Yet? Check out the video – it’s only about 10 minutes but I had a great time doing it.

I’m not sure what I’m saying in this screen grab – I think maybe: “The road to salvation is that way, not with this tawdry, earthly book down here.”

 

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Upcoming appearances

A little reminder I’ve got a couple of upcoming appearances around the same time my new book, Has the World Ended Yet?, launches.

This is going to be otherworldly. I’ll be taking part in the Trips to the Other World event at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival along with Lydia Kwa. Hosted by the always ethereal Sean Cranbury. Here’s the pitch:

Vancouver journalist Peter Darbyshire is also a blogger and author. His collection of 19 linked short stories, Has the World Ended Yet?, starts with retired superheroes living in a soulless suburbia where everyone gets lost trying to get home. Then the angels start to fall from the sky. Darbyshire weaves together superheroes, ghosts, the undead, a hired hitman, the Cold War, the rapture and avenging angels in a Twilight Zone-style collection that is riveting and human. Vancouver psychologist and author Lydia Kwa transports us to seventh-century China, which teems with magic, fox spirits and demons. Singapore-born Kwa updates traditional Chinese mythology to include female empowerment and a wickedly modern sensibility. Fantasy with a modern twist will be on full display this afternoon.

Saturday, Oct. 21

5 pm

Studio 1398
1398 Cartwright St.,
3rd Floor

Be there or be in some alternate dimension.


Escapist Fiction to Escape the World

I’ll be appearing at VCON this year on the “Escapist Fiction to Escape the World” panel. Here are the details:

Sometimes, when you pick up a book, all you really want to do is fall into the fiction and get away from reality. So tell us, out of all your favourite novels and stories – the ones in the well thumbed softcovers and the hardcovers without dust-jackets that you always pull of the shelf, pull up in Kindle or sync up on Audible – which is the BEST Escapist Fiction to Escape the World.

Saturday, Oct. 28, 2:30 p.m.

Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, Surrey, BC

Put the end of the world on hold

I’m thrilled to learn that my new book, Has the World Ended Yet?, is an October Loan Stars top pick. It’s one of the most anticipated books of the month as chosen by librarians. Librarians!

True story: When I was younger I wanted to be a librarian but I wasn’t smart enough, so I became a writer instead. Writers know their own books but librarians know all the books.

Anyway, I’m in with some good company here. I want to read all these books – and this Tom Hanks fellow may have a future.

The end of the world is coming 

The ARCs are on the way, at least. 

It was nice knowing you. Except for all of you in Rome. You know what you did. And I’ll deny ever being a part of it until the end of time. 

This is going to be out of this world!

I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be taking part in the Trips to the Other World event at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival along with Lydia Kwa. Hosted by the always ethereal Sean Cranbury. I expect I’ll be talking about and reading from my new book, Has the World Ended Yet? Here’s the pitch:

Vancouver journalist Peter Darbyshire is also a blogger and author. His collection of 19 linked short stories, Has the World Ended Yet?, starts with retired superheroes living in a soulless suburbia where everyone gets lost trying to get home. Then the angels start to fall from the sky. Darbyshire weaves together superheroes, ghosts, the undead, a hired hitman, the Cold War, the rapture and avenging angels in a Twilight Zone-style collection that is riveting and human. Vancouver psychologist and author Lydia Kwa transports us to seventh-century China, which teems with magic, fox spirits and demons. Singapore-born Kwa updates traditional Chinese mythology to include female empowerment and a wickedly modern sensibility. Fantasy with a modern twist will be on full display this afternoon.

Saturday, Oct. 21

5 pm

Studio 1398
1398 Cartwright St.,
3rd Floor

Be there or be in some alternate dimension.

Today’s plans include….


The edits for my new book are in and it’s a long weekend here. What to do?

But what if it’s not fiction?

world ended cover.png

I’m honoured to be part of 49th Shelf’s Most Anticipated Fall 2017 Fiction Preview for my new book, Has the World Ended Yet? It’s also available for pre-order, if you’re into that sort of thing.

I’m going to try to finish it now….

 

Happy Sacrifice, er, Canada Day!

canadaDaySale2017

Happy Canada Day! It’s been 150 years since our ancestors were banished from the Elder Lands and exiled to Canada, where they built the Great Tomb of Parliament to imprison the Sleeping Horror, which awakens once every, you guessed it, 150 years. And you thought those screams were from the fireworks.

Anyway, my publisher ChiZine is offering all its Canadian-authored books for free or pay what you can today, because there will be no tomorrow. Get them while you still can.

On prizes and the writing life

I’ve been lucky enough to win a number of prizes over the years that have let me keep writing. Not prizes in terms of big money, although I’ve definitely received a few cheques when I needed them most. No, I mean prizes with little or no money attached that have nevertheless given me the mental boost to keep on writing.

Let me explain.

The life of a writer is full of doubt and uncertainty, especially when you’re starting out and you’re tying to find your voice, you’re not that good yet, etc. (Some may say I’m still not very good, but that’s a subject for their blog posts, not mine.) There are a few things that help during this time: good reviews, good sales, and prizes. The first two are hard to get when you’re an unknown and a beginner. Every writer dreams of blockbuster sales and starred reviews in their favourite publication, but the fact is most emerging writers are ignored and don’t earn back their advance, if they even get an advance. I’m still hit and miss on that myself.

But prizes? Any writer can win a prize if your writing is good and you find the right judge/jury who sees what you’re trying to say, who understands your voice.

This happened to me a number of times early in my writing career. I think the first prize I won was an award for best story from On Spec, Canada’s long-running and well-respected sci-fi and fantasy journal. It came at a time when I was struggling with a lot of life issues and I didn’t know if it made sense to keep writing. Then I got the good news from On Spec and I learned to believe in myself again, thanks to that wonderful editorial board believing in me. The prize certificate is still hanging on my office wall, and I still feel grateful whenever I look at it. And I still remember to believe in myself and get back to writing.

After that, I won more awards — a university writing prize, an Ontario Arts Council prize for best manuscript and so on. There were writing grants thrown in here and there, which every writer knows are just as important as any award in terms of believing in yourself and your writing. Perhaps my favourite has been the ReLit Award. It came in the form of a beautiful ring, not money, which is just as well. Money would have been long gone by now. But the ring is still with me, and it’s almost either always on my writing desk or on one of my fingers, where I compose secret messages to myself with it.

I’m not writing this post to talk about my trophy list and impress the handful of readers that come to this blog. That’s not what this is about. I will say that I feel incredibly lucky to have received these awards — and to have had a chance at the writing career I’ve had. I know much of that came from happenstance. As a white male who lived in the centre of Canada’s publishing scene for a while and helped run a popular reading series with Paul Vermeersch, I was somewhat within the system, if you want to call it that.

Now imagine that you long to be a writer but you’re far outside of the system, geographically and/or otherwise. Say you’re an indigenous person, or a person from some other group that has been systematically silenced over the ages. How much harder is it to believe in yourself and that your voice matters then? How incredibly important it must be to have spaces to speak and awards to validate you then — likely far more important than it has been for me.

I bring all this up because of an ongoing controversy in CanLit over cultural appropriation. I don’t want to get into all the details here because that’s not my thing — you can Google it easily enough if you’re interested. It’s an ugly situation all around, but some good may come out of it. My friend and fellow writer Silvia Moreno-Garcia has launched an effort to create an Emerging Indigenous Voices Award to “focus on Indigenous writers, on marginalized writers.” Silvia offered up $500 of her own money to start it, and so far other people have pledged more than $4,000 toward the prize.

This is a good thing.

As I think I’ve made clear, prizes are the things that can keep a writer going. They’re not about winning, about being better than other writers. They are about recognizing and validating a writer’s voice. They’re about feeling that what you do matters, that your words matter, that you matter.

I imagine there have been many writers who would not have gone on to write their stories if they hadn’t won a prize at some point or another to give them that boost. There probably have been many writers we have missed out on because of this. We’ll never know. Maybe we need more prizes to ensure all the stories that need to be told get told. After all, when we are all gone, our stories are all that will remain of us.

Help out Silvia with her award if you can, and let’s help more people tell their stories that matter.

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Today was my last day in the newsroom of The Province and Vancouver Sun. It’s time for me to move on. It’s been an amazing 13 years working for the papers, and I’m so grateful to all my colleagues past and present who took a chance on me and let me do all the crazy things I’ve done. I miss and will miss all of them.

I’m proud of all I did to help deliver some of the biggest news stories of the decade to the public, just as I’m proud of all the books columns and profiles I did over the years. I’ll miss talking about all the talented writers out there!

I think what I’m most proud of in my time at The Province, though, was writing The Province Cares columns, where I made a real difference in the lives of struggling families. Many of these people were going through tough times and continue to struggle every day. I am humbled by their strength and courage. I hope to move forward with the same grace in life that they have shown me.

Now on to the next chapter!