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.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tug For Tatas - a blast!

One of the perks of being the author of an inspiring book about a seven-time (now-eight-time) cancer survivor is being invited to various cancer awareness fundraisers. We meet the most wonderful people at these events, all joining together to support a great cause. One such event was Curves First Annual Tug For Tatas, held yesterday at Evraz Place in Regina, raising funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

The brainchild of Tracy Thompson, owner/manager of two Curves fitness centres in Regina, Tug For Tatas invited teams of women to show their strength by pulling (tugging) a semi-truck and trailer 100 yards. Thompson and Sandi Ellert Day, the owner/manager of the other two Curves fitness centres in Regina, enthusiastically worked together on the project. Yesterday, they cheered on several teams of strong, committed women while they tugged and pulled, screamed and yelled in their efforts to move that semi from its starting point to the finish line.


The semi and trailer were supplied for the event by Graham Warner of Warner Industries in Regina. Graham, of course, is the other half of the story in my book Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope. Dionne had already successfully battled breast and brain cancer by 2001 when she was diagnosed with liver cancer. She had just moved to Saskatchewan to be with Graham. She told him he did not have to marry her - she would go back to her family and doctors in Toronto. Graham, a successful businessman and experienced pilot, quickly replied, "You never leave your wingman." Since then, Graham has stood (and danced in costume) beside his beloved Dionne as she's battled two liver cancers, Stage IV liver, lung and bone cancers and is now in a fight against liver cancer.
Here, Graham and Dionne Warner show their strength together as they tug on the rope to raise funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Al and I tried our hands at tugging for tatas ... but with a bad shoulder and a bad back, we decided to leave the real tugging to the teams.

Lovin' the decorations on the truck!

The Regina Rage of the Lingerie Football League was the first team
 to tug at the truck. Thanks for your support of a great cause, ladies!

Teams were dutifully photographed (for posterity and for fun) and were cheered along every step of the way by Tracy (below in black shirt on the left) and Sandi (below in black shirt on the right).

Here's a view from inside the truck. Graham Warner sat at the steering wheel and wondered about adding a load of gravel next year to give these strong woman an even greater challenge. Many of the teams had no trouble tugging this 40,000-pound semi and trailer to the finish line.
It was exhilarating each time a team reached the finish line. This accomplishment was celebrated by the crowd's cheers and a very loud semi horn blast. Woo Hoo!

Although everyone began the day wondering how many women it took to pull a semi, the answer was soon apparent as the teams whittled down their numbers from 10 women to eight, to six, to five, to four, to three (above), to two (below is Sandi on the left and Tracy on the right) and eventually... to ONE LONE WOMAN, who had already pulled four other times and still managed to pull the truck 25 yards on her own before others jumped in and helped tug it the rest of the way. Now that's determination and strength! Congratulations, you tough tugger!

As the event was winding down, two female members of the Regina Police Service came by to show their support. Graham did not miss the opportunity to be photographed with these fine officers. After all, it's his truck, right? So, Graham... you can touch their shoulders but don't touch their guns! (They're sensitive about that.)

The officers did not disappoint. The first few tugs were tough, but once they got going, with the support of a loud cheering section, they accomplished their goal. And everyone appreciated their appearance at this First Annual Tug For Tatas.

And last but not least... below is my favourite sign from the event. As a mother, mother-in-law and aunt of many females... this is why we're all fighting to find a cure to this disease:

That pretty much says it all.
It was a great event. Thank you, Tracy and Sandi, for inviting Al and I along with Dionne and Graham. We had a blast and were pleased to share our book, our cheers and our support for this great cause.
October is breast cancer awareness month, everyone. Please do what you can to help spread the word.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Starting a Fun Fall ... with Photos

The busy fall trade show season has begun for us and, if the Carlyle Homespun show on the weekend was any indication, it's going to be a fun fall for DriverWorks Ink publishers!

Al and I were pleased that so many people came to our DriverWorks Ink booth in Carlyle SK to buy more of our inspiring  'Saskatchewan and Prairie Stories' after they had purchased books from us last year. We heard particularly wonderful comments and compliments about Never Leave Your Wingman, The Little Coat and Prairie Pilot.  It was nice to introduce them to three new books: The Inquiring Reporter, Egg Money and Our Lamps Were Heavy, and hear their stories of how much they enjoyed a particular book and why.

Several children had read Seeds of Hope or Moving Forward in school. Some remarked they had giggled while reading Running of the Buffalo or Letters to Jennifer From Maudie & Oliver. And even though I'd written my first book in 2001, Just a Bunch of Farmers was still a popular title as well.

So here's a little photo journey of our weekend. Enjoy!

Businesses in Carlyle, SK had these signs up, welcoming everyone to their excellent Homespun craft show.


Here we are, selling our books at our trade show booth, Carlyle Homespun, Sept. 2012.

This made my writer's heart soar. A gentleman purchased Just A Bunch of Farmers: The Story of Weyburn Inland Terminal - the first book I ever wrote (in 2001) and the one that led me further into this lovely adventure that is now DriverWorks Ink book publishing.  He then promptly took a break from the busy trade show and sat down and started reading it.
We drove more than two hours from Carlyle back to Regina after the show, taking the longer way home to enjoy a different drive than we had taken to get there. I couldn't help but pull out my little camera and take a pile of snapshots of our beautiful Saskatchewan as it flew by outside our window.  

Straw bales lined up and ready for the winter.

The changing of the seasons... the leaves are turning colour and the air is getting cooler.

A couple of farm implements waiting to be called into service.

As we turned a corner, a rainbow came into view. How lovely!

Swaths of grain waiting to be combined.

 A lonely but proud barn. What stories could it tell?

The sky was dark and ominous... Saskatchewan is known as the Land of Living Skies, after all.

As we headed west, the lighting was more in my favour. Here's a farm yard with all its interesting buildings.

You can see for miles/kilometres in southern Saskatchewan. And if you're lucky, you catch a glimpse of a freight train as well.

 This is my favourite photo of the group. It looks like a painting, but it really is a scene I shot with my little Olympus camera as we drove down the highway. Beautiful!

Harvest is coming to an end for this year, but this combine was still working hard.

 And here it is... heading into the sunset and entering Regina, Saskatchewan. (Sorry about the bug guts on the window.)

Home sweet home...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Authors - Bring your reader with you

I love how a good book can take you away to another place, on another journey through another person's story.

It is the author's job to bring the reader along on the journey with your characters as they make their way through struggles and triumphs, love and loss. I try to keep a broad group of readers in my head when I write and keep their varied age groups and interests in mind as I construct my sentences and paragraphs.

Don't leave out the grandmother when you tell of young love, and don't ignore the teenager in a passage about death. Let young and old celebrate your characters' birthdays and weddings, discoveries and confusions together.
The best way to do that is to write your characters with depth and strength - even if they are weak. I've found the conversations and thoughts of my characters have always had more impact with readers than a description of their hair colour or body build.
Help your readers to intimately know your characters and care about them. Your readers will not be disapppointed and a wonderful journey will occur for all.