Publishing stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver - author, editor, and publisher of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan. We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also publish genres of healing and wellness, humour, children's fiction, and rural poetry. Visit our website to learn more about our books.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Shredding the past and moving into a new year


There's a certain satisfaction that comes with shredding old business files. You see where you have come from, what you've accomplished, who you touched, who touched you, what did not go so well, and what you learned from it.

In shredding business files that are older than seven years, the timeframe after which CRA says you can shred your business/income tax files, I came across many memories. Things I’d forgotten. Things I needed to be reminded of. Things I might want to try again, but maybe in a different way.

I found lovely notes from authors, readers, fans, work colleagues, and family. Little winks were hidden in expense and sales sheets from craft or trade shows and posters for dozens of author readings across the Prairies. I remembered mental images of children and adults who were enthralled to hear about my books and those of the authors I publish. What a precious gift of memories.

The new year will bring more terrific new books to my business. Four marketable books are on my DriverWorks Ink publishing list at present, along with a few that will be produced only for the authors and/or their families. There will be new growth – for my authors and readers, and for me as we learn new concepts from writers who are known and beloved or are new to us.

Onward and upward! Welcome, 2023!


  









Friday, December 2, 2022

Gift ideas for the Book Lover

Searching for a great gift for someone who loves to read? We recommend these terrific books written by Canadian authors. And they’re less than $25 a book!

All titles are available from www.driverworks.ca/shop.html


Tunnels of Time – Moose Jaw Time Travel Adventure #1.
By Mary Harelkin Bishop:

Synopsis: This first book in the five-book series finds thirteen-year-old Andrea unhappily attending a boring family wedding in boring Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Andrea is annoyed that she is not on a class field trip to the mountains, and she barely listens when a local restaurant owner talks about the old days of gangsters and gamblers hiding in the tunnels below Moose Jaw. But when Andrea accidentally falls into one of those tunnels and finds herself back in 1920s Moose Jaw, the stories and danger become real. How will Andrea outsmart the gangsters who are demanding that she work for them? And will she ever see her family again?

Genres, subjects: Juvenile Fiction, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Time Travel, Family, Change; Co-operation; Friendship; Determination; Canadian History; Literacy; Education; Learning Resources; Prairie Provinces; Saskatchewan Author; Canadian author.

Audience: For ages 9 to adult


Fun On The Farm 3 – True Tales of Farm Life! Compiled and edited by Deana J. Driver:

Synopsis: Cranky cattle, ornery pigs, curious farm kids, tricky technology, and head-banging farmers are some of the hilarious memories shared by 20 Canadian Prairies writers, including author/ publisher Deana J. Driver, in this third and final volume of the popular Fun On The Farm series. Even more pranks, unexpected events, tricks, and delights of living and working on Western Canadian farms are recorded for posterity and the enjoyment of readers, bringing a satisfying end to this amusing series celebrating the lighter side of farming.

Genres, Subjects: Nonfiction; Anecdotes; Humour; Prairie Provinces; Canadian history; Fun; Farming; Rural life; Family life; Canadian authors.

Audience: Ages 13 to Adult


Don’t They Kick When You Do That? Stories of a Prairie Veterinarian. By Dr. Gary Hoium:

Synopsis: After graduating from veterinary college in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1984, Dr. Gary Hoium joined a mixed animal clinic in Weyburn. He spent the next almost-40 years serving animals of all shapes and sizes, and their human owners/handlers. He collected humorous and heartwarming stories of the creatures he met along the way and shares them in this compilation of his real-life adventures, mishaps, and successes. From cattle to hogs, cats to dogs, the creatures and men and women who love them have wormed their way into Gary Hoium’s heart … and his stories.

Genres, Subjects: Humour, Nonfiction; Veterinary medicine; Prairie Provinces; Canadian history; Farming; Rural life; Family life; Canadian author.

Audience: Ages 15 to Adult

 

Cream Money - Stories of Prairie People. Compiled and edited by Deana J. Driver:

Synopsis: In Western Canada in the 1900s, money earned from selling cream helped purchase groceries, fabric, farm supplies, and other items that could not be produced on the farm. While children cherished the occasional candy treat purchased with cream-cheque money, children and adults alike enjoyed delicious foods cooked with homemade butter or covered with rich whipped cream. Cream Money honours this bygone era of Prairie farming, celebrating the work of farm families through true stories and poems of how cream money was earned and spent. Stories are written by: Deana J. Driver, Irene K. Bingham, Dora Shwaga, Cornelia Mary Bilinsky, Bryce Burnett, Jean Fahlman, Truus de Gooijer, Brenda Garbutt, Maurice Giroux, Jerry Holfeld, Janice Howden, Ryshia Kennie, Betty Harkness, Marilyn (Brown) Meyers, Linda Mikolayenko, Theodore D. Mikolayenko, Laurie Lynn Muirhead, Marion Mutala, Clara Puddell, Carrie Schemenauer, Carol McCullough, Lilleth Shantz, Eleanor Sinclair, Glenn Swallow, Roy Tollefson, Dexter van Dyke, Eleanor Wagner, Clifford Walker, and Ruth Wildeman.

Genres, Subjects: Nonfiction; Prairie Authors; Canadian Nonfiction; Biography; Prairie Provinces; Anecdotes; Farming; Rural Life; Canadian History; Family Life; Education, Canadian author.

Audience: For ages 13 to Adult

 

Miss G and Me. By Jennifer S. Wallace:

Synopsis: Author Jennifer Wallace explores the background of her mother, Ruth Williamson, aka “Miss G”, who grew up in Jamaica and left there at a young age, under her mother's direction, to pursue a nursing education in England. Ruth then chose her own path, which led her to Canada in the late 1960s. Unlike many immigrants from the Caribbean at that time, Ruth ended up in rural Saskatchewan, working as a nurse while adjusting to the culture and climate of the Canadian Prairies. Jennifer unravels some of the mysteries of her mother’s life, with the use of anecdotes, journals, poetry, and personal essays to weave together the story of Miss G and her mother’s impact on her own family.

Genres, Subjects: Nonfiction, Memoir, Poetry, Essays, Journals; Black history; Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black; Family & Relationships / Multiracial Families; Canadian history; Prairie Provinces; Canadian author.

Audience: Ages 12 to Adult



You Are Enough – Activate Your Angels & Magnetize a Soul-FULL Life. By Lisa Driver:

Synopsis: In this, her fourth spiritual guidebook, award-winning author Lisa Driver will help you reconnect with your spiritual radiance, reminding you of your Divine perfection. She shares her personal journey along with spiritual tools – such as channelled meditations, Angel Activations, exercises, and journal prompts – to help you heal your need to achieve, stop sabotaging yourself, and make room for pockets of rest, reflection, acceptance, and clarity. Feel the love of your angels and ancestors as they encourage you to let go of the past and the pressure you feel. You are loved. You are supported, You Are Enough.

Genres, Subjects: Spiritual wellness; Nonfiction; Healing; Angels; Faith; Health; Biography; Alberta author; Canadian author.

Audience: Ages 15 to Adult

  

Flight - Stories of Canadian Aviation, Vol. 3. By Deana J. Driver & Contributors:

Synopsis: Canadian aviation enthusiasts, pilots, and other aviation personnel share stories of tense flights, perilous routes, historic achievements, impressive flying adventures and more in this salute to Canada’s aviation industry and people. In this third volume of the series, stories revolve around precarious landings, hidden airstrips, annoying passengers, the joys and perils of aerial crop spraying, and more. Six stories and introduction are written by Deana J. Driver and 27 stories are written by 14 other Canadian writers: Bill Cameron, Will Chabun, Richard Dowson, Peter Enzlberger, Mary Harelkin Bishop, Dave McElroy, Vincent Murphy-Dodds, Curtis Penner, Don Riekman, Ralph Tweten, Walter D. Williams, Ken Wilson, Mason Adam Wray, and Bill Wunsch.

Genres, Subjects: Nonfiction; Transportation; Aviation; Short stories; Anecdotes; Aviation history; Military; Canadian history; Prairie Provinces; Canadian authors.

Audience: Ages 13 to Adult


Running the Riders - My Decade as CEO of Canada's Team. By Jim Hopson with Darrell Davis:

Synopsis: In 2004, offensive lineman-turned-educator Jim Hopson was hopeful that the floundering Saskatchewan Roughriders directors would hire him as the team’s first full-time president and CEO. He believed that the team, with its incredible fan base, could become a successful business that consistently posted strong annual profits while playing in and winning multiple Grey Cups. And it happened. After a decade under Hopson’s leadership (2005 to 2015), the Roughriders became the Canadian Football League's strongest franchise. This is Jim’s story of the struggles, successes, and steps taken to victory. Darrell Davis, an author and long-time sportswriter and Roughriders-beat writer at the Regina Leader-Post, assisted Jim in co-authoring this book.

Genres, Subjects: Nonfiction; Saskatchewan Roughriders; Sports; Canadian Football League; Prairie Provinces; Business; Leadership; Education; Saskatchewan teacher; Saskatchewan author; Canadian author.

Audience: Ages 15 to Adult


The Sailor and the Christmas Trees - A True Story. By Deana Driver:

Synopsis: As a sailor in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War, John Hanlon of Brandon, Manitoba, knew they would be at sea on Christmas Day 1944. So when they docked in St. John's, Newfoundland, he decided that he and some other sailors should go up a nearby hill and cut down a few evergreen trees, then hide them on the ship. ​On Christmas morning 1944, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on their way back to Canada from England, John and his friends pulled out those trees and surprised their fellow shipmates with a hearty “Merry Christmas” wish! They also shared this unexpected Christmas gift with some small English children on another ship in that convoy, who were being transported to safety in Canada.

Genres, Subjects: Children's nonfiction; Second World War; Canadian history; Canadian sailor; Royal Canadian Navy; Royal Canadian Legion; Canadian war hero; Inspirational nonfiction; Early reader; Manitoba sailor; Saskatchewan author; Canadian author.

Audience: Ages 8 and Up


The Little Coat – The Bob and Sue Elliott Story.
By Alan J. Buick:

Synopsis: Bob Elliott, a 19-year-old Canadian tank commander, met Sussie Cretier, a feisty 10-year-old Dutch girl, during the Second World War. Sussie's family had run across a mine field, dodging German bullets to seek refuge with the Canadian soldiers. Sussie quickly became a good-luck charm and beacon of hope for the weary Canadian troops. On Christmas Day 1944, the Canadians honoured their little adopted soldier with a special Army-style coat they ordered from a local seamstress. Decades later, the relationship between Sussie (Sue) and Bob not only endured but flourished. Due to this book, Sue’s little coat is now a Canadian artifact in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Genres, Subjects: Nonfiction; Canadian history; Second World War; Canadian hero; Dutch girl; Canadian Armed Forces; Netherlands; Inspirational nonfiction; Biography; Love story; Literacy; Canadian War Museum; Canadian wartime artifact; Sussie Cretier's child’s coat; Royal Canadian Legion; Saskatchewan author; Canadian author.

Audience: Ages 10 to Adult

Monday, October 24, 2022

Reconnecting with a special friend and unique story in Brandon MB

As an author and book publisher, I am often asked, "Where do you get your stories from?"

Sometimes, I find the stories or book subjects by researching and asking questions, the way I did when I was a freelance journalist writing for various Canadian newspapers and magazines.

Sometimes, the stories walk into my line of vision or hearing, as was the case when my daughter Lisa told me about the indomitable Dionne Warner, the seven-time cancer survivor who was about to speak at a Relay for Life rally in Regina in July 2011 (which made me think Dionne's story was worthy of a great book, which I would go on to write and publish - Never Leave Your Wingman).

Sometimes, as in the case of the book I wrote about former Royal Canadian Navyman John Hanlon of Brandon, Manitoba, the story comes to me through a friend of a friend.

In about 2011, a dear friend of mine, Dexter van Dyke, suggested that he knew of a story that his friend, Elaine Rounds of Brandon, had told him about an elderly man who did something wonderful during the Second World War. 

In November 1944, John Hanlon was a wireless operator on the HMCS Royalmount, which was docked in St. John's, Newfoundland at the time. John knew their convoy would be at sea on Christmas Day, so he and a couple crewmates walked up a hill in St. John's Harbour and cut down some evergreens. John hid those trees in the belly of his ship and pulled them out weeks later, on Christmas morning, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - surprising his crewmates as well as some English children who were on another ship in that convoy, coming to a safe home in Canada. John's forward thinking made that wartime Christmas into a very memorable day for many people for decades to come.

John had been telling this Christmas 1944 story to his children, grandchildren, his United Church community, and Royal Canadian Legion members at Christmastime for decades after the Second World War ended.

Elaine had told Dexter about the story. Then Dexter told me. We all knew it would make a great book. So I asked Dexter to connect me with Elaine and, thus, John Hanlon.

I met Elaine Rounds in Brandon in May 2012, based only on an introduction via Dexter. Elaine became an instant friend and we have spoken and seen each other several times in the years since then. That first day, she took me and my husband Al to the care home in which John Hanlon was a resident. John's wife Audrey told me the story while John, unable to speak at times at age 90, nuzzled in beside me and bumped my leg when the story got interesting.

Before I left John's room that day, I promised him and Audrey that I would write his special Christmas trees story before that Christmas and I would donate some money from each book to the Royal Canadian Legion (Dominion Command Poppy Trust Fund, which helps veterans and their families). John Hanlon passed away a few days after our meeting.

I fulfilled my promise and wrote The Sailor and the Christmas Trees book a couple months later in a style as though John was telling his Christmas trees story to the reader. When I phoned Audrey to read her what I had written, to make sure I had the details correct, she said, "I can hear John's voice." This brought tears to her eyes and to mine. A nonfiction writer cannot receive a bigger compliment.

I added a biography of John to the back of the book and invited artist Catherine Folnovic to illustrate the first half of the book, with family photos completing the biography. In a spur-of-the-moment decision that first day in Brandon, I had asked Al to take a photo of me with John, Audrey, and Elaine in John's small room. That photo has been a precious memory ever since.

This past weekend, I was storm stayed in Brandon after a successful weekend at the Brandon's Big One Arts & Crafts Sale. Deciding to not take a chance on driving back to Regina in bad weather, I opted for a hotel room and I also made a phone call to Elaine Rounds to see if we could connect again. We met for supper and spent three glorious hours bringing each other up to date on our lives, relishing in our friendship, and celebrating the wonderful people who brought us together.

Thank you to Dexter, John, and Audrey. But thank you, especially, to Elaine, who knows a very good story when she sees one.


Elaine Rounds and Deana Driver
in Brandon, MB - Oct. 24, 2022














Friday, September 9, 2022

Angel Signs and a new Spiritual Healing Book

Hello, beautiful souls.

I thought I'd share some fascinating angel signs that happened to me/ for me this week.

I don't ask for angel signs often. Maybe a couple times a year.

Perhaps it's because my daughter Lisa Driver is a spiritual healer and angel card reader, among other talents, or because of my own intuition and spiritual views, or the things I've learned in editing and publishing Lisa's first three amazing spiritual guidebooks. (This is also a hint that her fourth book, You Are Enough: Activate Your Angels & Magnetize a Soul-FULL Life - being released in October - will blow your mind! Here's a link to her Kickstarter crowdfunding project, where you can preorder the book at a discount and receive other offerings including channelled meditations and private readings - http://kck.st/3AQVknK)

Anyway... Angel signs have just kind of appeared in front of me randomly since my mom passed away in 2011 and Lisa began training in spiritual healing the following year. Coins, feathers, dragonflies, butterflies...

But back to this week.

I've been pondering something for the last few days, overthinking it as usual (cause that's what I do and it isn't annoying at all).

So I finally decided to ask for a sign while I was driving one day and listening to the radio.

"If I'm meant to go this way, I need to hear a song about an angel," I stubbornly thought. "Good luck with that, Universe," was my follow-up thought, putting no pressure at all on the Universe to deliver.

So I kept driving. I changed the radio station a couple times, then I zoned out and began daydreaming about this and that and this again...

Then I noticed the song playing on the radio...
"My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centrefold
Angel is the centrefold..."

In that uptempo song by J. Geils Band, the word "angel" is repeated many, many times.

Well played, Universe. Well played.

The next afternoon, I was standing in my backyard, watering my flowers, when a big, gorgeous blue-green hummingbird flew in. It landed on one and then another zinnia flower, then flew over to a second patch beneath my sunflowers to touch on three more flowers!

I haven't seen a hummingbird in my yard for at least 10 years!

I didn't have a camera, so I'm sure it flew slower than usual and stayed longer than usual so I could imprint the images in my memory.

(Below is a photo of my zinnias and sunflowers. Imagine the lovely bird enjoying the end of this year's flowers.)

I guess I got my answer, huh?




P.S. Lisa Driver's first three spiritual guidebooks can be purchased from this page - https://www.driverworks.ca/healing--wellness.html

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Our books won Next Generation Indie Book Awards

Three of our books published by DriverWorks Ink in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada have won Next Generation Indie Book Awards!

Such exciting news!




Fun On The Farm 3 - True Tales of Farm Life, compiled and edited by Deana J. Driver, was a finalist in humor/ comedy.

The book shares more funny stories of growing up on, working on, visiting and/or living on a farm. Twenty Prairie writers including author/ publisher Deana J. Driver tell their tales of annoying cattle, overly curious farm kids, stubborn pigs, confusing technology, and more. This is the third and final volume of the popular Fun On The Farm series and has been described as "even funnier than the first two!"

(A donation form books sold is being made to the Lung Association of Saskatchewan in honour of the Driver family's history of respiratory illnesses.)

Humorous book on farm life


Flight - Stories of Canadian Aviation, Vol. 3, by Deana J. Driver and Contributors, was a finalist in anthology.

This third volume of the Flight series shares stories of dangerous landings, mid-air optical illusions, hidden airstrips, irritating passengers, and long-distance flights carrying rehabilitated birds and other animals. There are 33 short stories plus an introduction – 6 stories and introduction written by author / editor / publisher Deana J. Driver and 27 stories written by 14 other Canadian writers: Bill Cameron, Will Chabun, Richard Dowson, Peter Enzlberger, Mary Harelkin Bishop, Dave McElroy, Vincent Murphy-Dodds, Curtis Penner, Don Riekman, Ralph Tweten, Walter D. Williams, Ken Wilson, Mason Adam Wray, and Bill Wunsch.

We've been told it's a great addition to the Flight series. "What wonderful reading – astonished at the work you did in putting the book together!"


Vol 3 of Flight stories

Don't They Kick When You Do That - Stories of a Prairie Veterinarian by Dr. Gary Hoium was a finalist in career/ memoir.

If you like the James Herriot series All Creatures Great and Small, you'll enjoy Dr. Gary Hoium's amusing stories of his adventures, experiences, and interactions as a mixed-animal veterinarian in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Gary's style of writing is humorous, heartwarming, and illuminating - with fascinating insights into the people and animals he worked with during his 40 years as a veterinarian. Tales of cattle, squirrels, hogs, dogs, cats, sheep, and the men and women who love them are wrapped up in Don't They Kick When You Do That? "This witty vet is highly entertaining," said a reviewer.

(A donation from books sold is being made to the Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation in memory of Gary's sister Lois.)


Funny veterinarian book by Dr. Gary Hoium


Thank you to Next Generation Indie Book Awards for these honours!






Saturday, July 9, 2022

New Tunnels of Treachery book coming soon from Mary Harelkin Bishop

Author Mary Harelkin Bishop and I are working on our updated edition of the third book in Mary's Moose Jaw Time Travel Adventure series. 

These exciting books for kids, age 9 and up, and adults share the adventures of Andrea and her brother Tony as they go back in time to the dark, dangerous tunnels below Moose Jaw in the 1920s.

Tunnels of Treachery will be released this fall. Stay tuned...


Thursday, July 7, 2022

99 Year Old Bomber Pilot an Honorary CF Snowbird

I visited 99-year-old Reg "Crash" Harrison in Saskatoon recently to learn more about his fascinating life story, including the four crashes he survived as a bomber pilot during the Second World War. I wrote about those events in Volume 1 of Flight: Stories of Canadian Aviation by Deana J. Driver and Contributors.

But Reg's story deserves to be shared wider and with various audiences around the world.

So this time, Reg and I talked about some other stories that we can share for a new kids' book I am writing about him.

In this video, Reg talks about his first Moose Jaw air show and his special connection to the CF Snowbirds aerobatics team.