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.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Always something to write or publish

The greatest thing about being a writer who is also a small publisher is that there is always something new to explore and consider writing about or publishing. About a month ago, we (the Mom and Pop of this mom-and-pop business) made plans to spend a few days in Manitoba, our neighbouring province. We just came back from that trip, and it was a blast!

We intended to visit and do a book signing with one of our authors - and we did that on Saturday with Sharon Gray, author of the funny Letters To Jennifer From Maudie & Oliver.

It was a chuckle once again to watch the reactions of bookstore patrons as we told them the book is a series of letters written by two Siamese cats. Yes - cats wrote the book! (With a little help from their LIP - Live-In Person Sharon - who turned on the computer for them, she claims!)

We also brought my Never Leave Your Wingman book to the attention of Winnipeggers again. Everybody loves the concept of seven-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner and her wingman husband Graham dancing into Dionne's chemo treatments dressed in costume. "Seven times?" and "Wow! That's amazing!" are the most often-heard comments.

We had a couple signings in Winnipeg last year, and it's always great to remind people of the great Prairie books we produce. We talked to at least 80 people (and handed out at least 100 leaflets that show details of all our books) in the two hours we were in the bookstore this weekend, so we are watching southern Manitoba sales in the next few weeks to see the ripple effect from that effort! Come on, Manitoba! It's time to be inspired by our great Prairie stories!

Two other items were on our agenda for the weekend trip to Manitoba.
# 1 - Meet with a person writing a book about a 100-year-old marvel of engineering. We visited the site and met the author and his collaborator and were in awe and appreciation of all three of them.
#2 - We also stopped on our way back to Regina to meet a 90-year-old war veteran in Brandon, Manitoba. He has a unique, heartwarming Christmas story to tell, and I am honoured that he and his wife are allowing me to tell that story in the form of a children's book - which we hope will be published this fall.

So here's to a great weekend full of new ideas and options ... and many more wonderful experiences on these great Canadian Prairies!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Australia wants our cancer book

I've joined Twitter! Now you can follow the events of our little publishing house on a bite-size basis.... @driverworks.

In the latest inspiring story update, we received an email from a Christian bookstore in Australia. A customer came into their store and asked how to purchase a copy of our inspiring book Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope (written by me, Deana Driver). Proof once more that our true story about a seven-time cancer survivor is reaching much farther afield than little old Canada! We have sold copies to people in numerous other countries including the U.S., Mexico, Phillipines, England, New Zealand, Denmark and Netherlands.

We've talked with a couple of U.S. distributors and publishers as well as distributors here in Canada to consider selling our wonderful non-fiction books. Cross your fingers for a positive response soon!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Changing the world around me

As a writer of non-fiction - a journalist and an author of inspiring true stories - I have often thought of myself as a bit of a teacher, sharing information with others and hoping that I can in some way improve their lives or those of people they love.

There have been some opportunities to do that in my 28-year (so far) journalism career, writing about fascinating Prairie people and programs or innovations they've created. I've beee told that Prairie grain growers and various organizations considering building an inland terminal learned something from my first book Just A Bunch Of Farmers: The Story of Weyburn Inland Terminal 1976-2001.

My second book Never Give Up: Ted Jaleta's Inspiring Story - Running For His Life received awards and many positive feedback from readers who said they learned so much from Ted Jaleta's strong positive attitude and wisdom and they enjoyed the way in which I told his story. Ted was born in Ethiopia and survived a brutal civil war to make a new life for himself in Canada and become a world-class masters long distance runner, despite the challenges he faced in Africa and Canada.
Just A Bunch Of Farmers (far right) tells how the Weyburn Inland Terminal changed the way all Canadian farmers are paid for their grain. You can purchase it from our web site
Never Give Up (second from right) is now out of print but we still hear from readers who loved it and learned from it
(The other two books are great, too. Check them out on our web site)

With my latest book, Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope, my opportunities to help change the world have taken a phenomenal leap forward. Dionne is a beautiful seven-time cancer survivor who lives her life with courage, love, laughter and - above all - hope. Her wingman, her husband Graham, is beside her all the way. The two of them together dressed in costume and literally danced into Dionne's chemotherapy sessions for two years since December 2009 as she battled Stage IV liver, lung and bone cancer. In January 2012, Dionne was told she is in total remission! Amazing!

Dionne and Graham Warner dancing into one of her chemo treatments in 2010 to the Arrogant Worms' song The Last Saskatchewan Pirate

The Never Leave Your Wingman book chronicling the Warners' story of hope, love and courage was released in June 2011. (You can buy it from our web site or check a local bookstore.) Since then, it has been a whirlwind of book signings, attending speaking engagements with Dionne, and talking with the media - whose members have been wonderful in helping us share this fabulous positive story of living with cancer without letting cancer run one's life.

The book signings are emotional events. Dionne and I hear a personal cancer story from almost every individual who comes up to us to get a book signed. It is gut-wrenching at times. At recent book signings, we heard about two young mothers who were diagnosed with cancer while they were pregnant. One lost her life, choosing her child's life over her own, and the other is still ill but has her infant and husband to keep her hope alive. We met a woman who is devastated by her diagnosis but her siblings are doing what they can to lift her spirits, including bringing her by to talk with Dionne. Two young men came to us, scared and wondering how they will get through radiation and chemotherapy. It was heartening to share Dionne's experiences and knowledge with them and to laugh and joke together, lessening their fear and giving them a release from the stress.

Most of these patients or caregivers are recipients of a Dionne hug. It always brings a smile to their faces and a warm memory into their future.

These kinds of interactions are not new to Dionne Warner. She has spent many years listening to other cancer patients - not only as a volunteer at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre in Regina SK for seven years (and again now that she is in remission - go figure!), but as the beautiful person that she is, sharing her own cancer journey with others and encouraging everyone to live each day to the fullest whether sick or not.

For me, this type of interaction with readers or potential readers is new. It is difficult, sometimes draining, often rewarding ... and always an honour.

Strangers stand there in front of us, telling me and my friend Dionne their deeply personal stories. I am blessed to have the opportunity to possibly help them through one of the most difficult periods of their lives. What more could any writer who fancies herself as a bit of a teacher ask?

By the way .... Dionne's coming to Toronto to promote the book from June 10 to 16th.
Look out, Toronto and area! Your world is about to change!!