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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mini Oh Henry Halloween Diet

Ah, Halloween. A time for ghosts and goblins... and ingestion of considerable calories in tiny, bite-sized chocolate bars ... the secret location of which only you and the other adult(s) in your home know for sure.

It is always on this day of the year that we think of the Halloween Diet humour column written by the late Ron Petrie, published first in the Regina Leader-Post on October 30, 2004 and then again on page 210 of our Running of the Buffalo book of Ron Petrie's wonderful, witty columns.

Here, for your enjoyment, is Halloween Diet by Ron Petrie:

Halloween Diet

Today I come to you with the most fantastic news in the entire history of miracle weight-loss diets, as follows:

Umnph ew, Appums.


Q: Yes. I have a question. What was that, Norwegian?

A: What? “Umnph ew, Appums”? No, not Norwegian. “Umnph ew, Appums” is an approximation, a phonetic attempt to transcribe human speech as the human mouth savours the great taste of a whole fudge particle rolled in a roasted peanut speck and smothered in two jots of creamy milk chocolate, while, at the same time, the human brain attempts to speak, in so many words (three words, two of which – “Umnph ew” -- are an extremely impolite phrase) its thought that the human body no longer requires the services of Dr. Atkins (“Appums”), founder of the absurdly popular low-carb diet. A much more effective weight-loss program, the last diet North Americans will ever need, has been discovered.

Q: And?

A: Yes. Of course. The most fantastic news, the lasting cure for the obesity epidemic of the western world:

The All-U-Can-Eat Minuscule Oh Henry Diet.

You know those Halloween-size Oh Henry bars? What you do is, you gobble down those little babies like nobody’s business. Help yourself. Pig out. Mmmm-mmm. You go, boy! You go, girl! Woo-woo!

Then watch the pounds melt away.

Q: But aren't peanuts, fudge and chocolate all fattening?

A: Doesn’t matter. All that matters is size. Perhaps you have not noticed, but this year’s trick-or-treat version of all the popular chocolate bars looks even smaller than it was in 2003, just like it was the year previous, and the year before that, down through every known Halloween, ever diminishing at the same exponential shrinkage rate as both the type size in newspapers and that dangblasted wee screw that's always working loose in the hinges of the bifocals. Probably if you go back in time to the very first Halloween, when the Pilgrims, as a gesture of appreciation to the Indians for their kindness in helping the colony survive its first season in a harsh new land, put on disguises and went from teepee to wigwam with open pillow cases demanding sweets or else -- back then, your so-called “candy bar” was probably nothing more than a simple chocolate-covered wafer twice the size of the Mayflower and emblazoned with the words “Kit Kat”. And next year, goodness knows, in 2005, if the trend continues, the kids will still dump out their bags to see exactly what treats they managed to score, expect to do so, instead of running back home, they'll be running back to Saskatoon, for the help of the synchrotron microscope.

Or the planet will have blown up, on account of Hershey having successfully split the chocolate atom.

Q: So? Rather than tear into one pre-1974, standard-size tasty Oh Henry bar, nowadays you scarf back the equivalent weight in the teensy-weensy edition, or roughly 17 dozen. You are still ingesting in the same number of calories. Like, duh. What are you, wrong in the head, stupid on arithmetic, a complete scientific moron, more confused than a daylight saving time advocate?

A: Hey, hey, hey! No need for that kind of talk!

Q: You're right. Sorry. Let me rephrase. So, what are you, wrong in the head, stupid on arithmetic, a complete scientific moron?

A: Actually, none of the above. Your calorie comparison is quite correct. What you have forgotten, however, is that each Halloween Oh Henry is individually wrapped. It is a fact of biophysics that every human activity, be it jogging, breathing, weight-lifting, winking -- no matter how great, no matter how small -- requires an expenditure of energy, except for column-writing. The very action of fetching and unwrapping a minuscule Oh Henry from the pile resting on your belly as you sprawl out on the sofa burns off more calories -- nano-calories, actually -- than contained in the entire sub-atomic chocolate bar itself. You actually eat your way to a slimmer you.

Q: Hang on ...

Why, this actually makes sense, at least mathematically. What practical test results have you?

A: Me. I have been subsisting for more than a week now on the ultra-peewee Oh Henry bars that my wife keeps purchasing and failing to hide properly. And look at me, here I go again, reaching for yet another one. I cannot get enough of the delicious little beggars. Clearly I am working up a power appetite, running a calorie-deficit, wasting away, and believe me, it's not from aerobic workout.

Q: Or it could be that you're in a guilt spiral, rationalizing your gluttony.

A: Probably. But, hey, what the umnph?

                                                   Originally published in the Regina Leader-Post on October 30, 2004

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Photo journal - Swift Current trade show

It's been a busy few weeks of travelling to craft and trade shows to share our Saskatchewan and Prairie books. One of the first events of this fall was the Fall Into Christmas show in Swift Current.

Here's a photo journal of our Swift Current weekend in late September:

We left Regina bright and early to drive to Swift Current.

Yep ... we`re on our way alright!

Racing a train across the Prairies. (We`re winning...)

The view along the way...

Arriving at the Stockade in Swift Current, site of the show.

Lots of booths, lots of people, lots of fun!

Al tells some folks about our books.

Two women get a giggle from the Parlez-Vous Ronglais column by Ron Petrie in the Running of the Buffalo book.
This young man walked from one end of our table to the other to match the book covers on our bookmark with the books on our table. Cute!

Part of the fun of being an author as well as a publisher is in signing my books for customers.

A sign available for purchase at a neighbouring booth made us laugh out loud.
We liked this one, too.
It was raining as we left Swift Current for the drive home.


The skies cleared and the view was great, looking out and looking back.

An almost-full moon was breathtaking over the prairies.

Driving away from the setting sun.


Northern lights! And passing traffic...

Not bad photos, considering I shot them from inside the vehicle as we were driving.

Arriving back in Regina after a great trade show.

Whew! That was fun!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Bigger not necessarily better

In the world of Canadian book publishing, one could get downhearted by the closing of book stores and big publishing companies in various spots across the country. One could... or one could simply follow their business plan, focus on their niche market and carry on... as we do at DriverWorks Ink, sharing our fascinating stories of Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes.

A Nova Scotia publisher penned this Letter to the Editor response to a recent Globe and Mail article about the end of Canada's largest publishing company:

Publishing dreams
   Despite its present woes, Douglas & MacInyre made an extraordinary contribution to the literary culture (The Demise Of Douglas & MacIntyre Ends A 40-year Dream – Life & Arts, Oct. 24). Its loss will be a monumental one for authors and readers alike. But it is nonsense to suggest that the “dream” for an independent industry is at an end simply because its largest player couldn’t make ends meet.
   What of all the wily, tenacious, innovative little literary presses that are the backbone of our publishing culture? Perhaps they are not small merely because they are bad at being big, but rather because their smallness is a model for true sustainability, independence and cultural impact? Whether it’s in farming, banking or publishing, we must get over this obsession with “biggest knows best” and foster diversified economies and industries with players of all sizes.
    -  Andrew Steeves, Gaspereau Press, Kentville, N.S.

We appreciate this response letter and agree that publishing in Canada is not at an end. We smaller publishing houses are finding our own audiences and coming up with new and effective ways of reaching our readers with our books - be they print or electronic.  

DriverWorks Ink has recently added two new children's books to our list of great titles: SuperMom and the Big Baby by Dave Driver and The Sailor and the Christmas Trees by Deana Driver. We've spent the last two weeks launching these books and getting the word out to our readers. (That's why you haven't heard from me on my blog for awhile. Sorry about that.)

Regarding SuperMom and the Big Baby, the book came about because the author's wife talks in her sleep. Being the clever man he is, Dave Driver (who happens to be our son) recorded some of those phrases and turned them into a funny story about their youngest son, whose temper gets the best of him one day. As the baby gets angrier and angrier, he grows and grows... becoming a giant 18-month-old who needs to be rescued. His mom grabs a cape and mask, becoming SuperMom, and saves the day. Everything that SuperMom says in the story is something the author's wife actually said in her sleep!

This is a very funny book, perfect for children ages 2 and up!

The Sailor and the Christmas Trees is the true story of a Manitoba-born sailor during the Second World War. John Hanlon realized in November 1944 that he and his fellow sailors would be at sea on Christmas Day, so he went up a hill in St. John's, Newfoundland and cut down some trees. He hid them in the ship for a month and brought them out on Christmas morning to surprise the crew. He also surprised a group of young children who were travelling to safety in Canada on another ship in that convoy. It took 50 years for John to find out whether those children ever made it safely to Canada.

This is the perfect Remembrance Day and Christmas story for children ages 6 and up. It is written for children who are learning to read, and includes a biography of John Hanlon and a glossary of definitions.

So from our little publishing house to your home... keep enjoying Canadian literature! You'll find it in the most wonderful places!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wow! What a week/weekend!

I can't believe all that has happened for us recently!

On Thursday:
We received the proof for my new book (also my first children's book) The Sailor and the Christmas Trees.
Me, with the proof of The Sailor and the Christmas Trees

Artist Catherine Folnovic with the proof

We look very happy because we are! The book came into being in a very short time (May to October!) and I am so thankful for Catherine's talent, patience and good humour (on this project and in general). She created the most beautiful drawings (including the cover art) to complement the true story of a Manitoba sailor who provided his crewmates and some small children with a special Christmas gift (evergreen trees from Newfoundland) in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War. You can read more details about the book here.

We'll be launching the book in Brandon, Manitoba on October 22 at 7 p.m. at Central United Church and in Regina, Saskatchewan on October 24 at 7 p.m. at NorthWest Leisure Centre. We'd love to see you at one of these launches.

(As an aside, Catherine's sister Erika created the beautiful cover and inside artwork for our funny book Letters to Jennifer From Maudie & Oliver by Sharon Gray. (That book is on sale on our web site - a steal of a deal considering the wonderful writing and humour in it!)

See excerpts and inside pages of all of our books here.

Also on Thursday:
We received our new book SuperMom and the Big Baby. The story was written by our son Dave as a 2011 Christmas gift to his wife Kelli. Once Dave realized that Kelli was talking in her sleep a lot, he started recording what she said. Then he turned those phrases into the basis of a funny story about an upset, overgrown baby whose mother saves the day. Everything that SuperMom says in the book is something that Kelli actually said in her sleep. We decided we wanted to turn the story into a great children's book and TA DA! This is the result!

Dave and Kelli and their oldest son Cooper see the book for the first time

Another happy author - this one happens to be our son

On Friday:
Dave Driver was interviewed on CTV News At Noon about his new book SuperMom and the Big Baby.

Dave Driver (left) with host J.C. Garden of CKTV in Regina, SK

The interview went very well and one woman told us she came to Saturday's book launch because she saw the interview. Nice! We have heard from many people over the years who've told us months later that they saw our author or me or something about one of our books on TV, in the paper or heard it on the radio. Thanks, media, for sharing our great stories.

On Friday evening:
Al and I were pleased to attend a surprise birthday party for eight-time cancer survivor Dionne Warner. The party was organized by Dionne's wingman, her husband Graham. Although Dionne was NOT happy with Graham for (supposedly) forgetting his wallet at home and having to turn around and go home to get it (making them late for a supposed Chamber of Commerce 1920's party), all was forgiven once the shock of the whole event wore off and she realized how many people had come out in style to help her celebrate another birthday.
Dionne was still in shock shortly after arriving at the party and seeing the beautiful ice sculpture created in her honour

Woo Hoo! The inspiring seven-time cancer survivor I wrote about in Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope has made it through another year! ... And even though she's battling liver cancer again, it's all good. She continues to fight the fight and bring hope and laughter to others. I wish I had taken more photos of this lady dancing up a storm that night with family and friends - celebrating and living life to the fullest - in sickness and in health. Once again, she outdanced most of us. We could all learn from her example... and many of us are striving to do that every day.

First, we hug everybody, then we DANCE!
I couldn't be bothered to find a flapper dress (in my own defence, I have been kinda busy), so I thought I'd fool them all with this gangster get-up, including my painted-on moustache. It worked! Even the people who knew me had to look twice to figure out who was with Al. What fun!

On Saturday morning:
We launched SuperMom and the Big Baby to a large group of adults and children. About 70 people in all - coming and going, enjoying coffee, cake, treat bags and a fish pond.... Oh... and they enjoyed the book, too, of course!

 All eyes are on Dave as he reads from the book
When SuperMom made a surprise appearance, the children smiled - and the adults cheered!

Time for cake - with SuperMom, the author and their sons
Colouring, cake ... and treat bags still to come. What a party!

Dave's sisters ham it up, pretending to be star-struck by their author brother. Silly girls.

Not quite as star-struck, these little ones were peeking over the Fish Pond barricade to see what prizes they might get.

Dave and Kelli Driver (author and SuperMom) with artist Guy Laird, who did a beautiful job of bringing Dave's wonderful story to life.

Al and I with our son Dave and our friend/artist Guy Laird

Whew! That was quite the weekend, wasn't it? And the amazing month of October has only begun....

Stay tuned.