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.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Q & A with Naicam School students' cards - 2

 In November 2013, we visited Naicam School in central Saskatchewan, and I talked about my writing and publishing career. We recently received thank-you cards from the Grade 6 students. I posted some of them in my previous blog. Here are the rest of the cards - in no particular order - and my answers to the students' questions.

       Wow. Thank you for your compliments! Many of our books are inspiring, and I am glad that you liked hearing about Dionne Warner's story of fighting cancer with a costume and a laugh. She is a wonderful, fun-loving, inspiring person, and I am so pleased to have written Never Leave Your Wingman about Dionne and her fun-loving, caring husband Graham. Almost everyone is touched by cancer these days, and I am pleased to give some of Dionne's hope to those I meet in my travels. As Dionne would say, "Let's Keep Hope Alive!"     
And thank you for the great drawings on the front of your card. They made me smile. Good artwork!

       I'm sorry that you weren't able to be at my presentation, but thank you for writing anyway. I did have fun talking with your classmates and I am glad to hear that they it was very good. I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, and have written five books. All of them are true stories. I am happy that you are enjoying the bookmark and I am sure that you will love Letters to Jennifer From Maudie & Oliver by Sharon Gray. The author did a great job of writing those letters as though they were written by the cats. The letters are funny, silly, and often heart-warming. They're perfect for your age group.

       I really enjoyed reading your card. It sounds like you love learning, whether it be history or other topics. That makes me happy. It is so important to read and learn from what you've read. Did you know that both the books you mentioned - The Sailor and the Christmas Trees and The Little Coat focus on events that happened on the same day in time - December 25, 1944? How crazy is that?
       I am happy to hear that I may have influenced some children to become writers when they're older. My mom was the person who encouraged me to start writing when I was about eight years old. It's never too young to start writing. You can do it for your whole life. You sound like you are already a writer. Keep it up! Maybe I will read some of your published work some day!

       Well, there you go. That's the reason that I come to schools and speak about our books - to encourage students to write, write, write!  I hope you do write your own books. And I hope you also inspire people - if not in your writing, in your everyday life. Thank you for your kind words.

Thank you, again, to all of you Grade 6 students at Naicam School for these kind thank-you cards. 

I'm putting all your cards in my 'Smile File' - a special file I have in my office that I created to cheer me up on days when I am tired, upset or anxious about something. 

I hope we meet again. Maybe on my next trip to Naicam...

Take care, everyone.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thank-you cards from Naicam School students - 1

I love doing author/publisher readings. It's fun to talk about something I am passionate about - writing and publishing, reading and literacy. I've spoken to audiences of all ages from kindergarten kids to senior citizens - in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. Every group has been interested in my writing and our publishing work. They've asked specific questions about the books I've written and the books that other authors have written and we've published.

But elementary school students are the most fun!

Their enthusiasm, interest, passion for learning, and love of life are absolutely infectious. You can't help but come away from those sessions rejuvenated and on a high that makes you want to run back to your office and publish more inspiring and funny books as fast as you can!

Which brings me to the reason for today's blog - Awesome Thank-You Cards from Grade 6 Students of Naicam School!

Last fall, we did a lot of travelling and talking about our books. Thanks to a one-time grant from the Creative Industries Transition Fund, through the Saskatchewan Arts Board, we made 62 presentations in 27 communities in the three Prairie Provinces. We spoke to 3,200 students and 150 adults at schools, libraries, seniors’ residences, bookstores and museums - not to mention the hundreds of people we met at trade and craft shows. It was amazing.

One day in November 2013, Al (my husband, and publisher partner in DriverWorks Ink) and I went to Naicam School, in the town of Naicam, Saskatchewan (east of Saskatoon and south of Melfort).

We spent the day at the school, and I made presentations to all the students, in four different groupings.

Here I'm speaking with the older grades.

And here I'm talking with the youngest group of students.

All the students at Naicam School were well-behaved, attentive, curious, and fun to chat with about the process of writing and the importance of reading and writing as tools for learning and a brighter future.

A few days ago, we received a package of handmade thank-you cards from the Grade 6 students. It had been misplaced at the school until recently, but the months that passed in between only meant we received a wonderful surprise in the mail, which reminded us again of the great time we had last fall!

At my presentations, I told the Naicam School students about my background as a farm kid growing up in Alberta, then moving to Saskatchewan in 1975 and working as a Canadian journalist and publisher since. I briefly mentioned the first two books I wrote - Just A Bunch of Farmers and Never Give Up - even though neither is available for sale any more, and I told them about my latest two non-fiction books, Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope and The Sailor and the Christmas Trees.

I also told the Grade 6 students about these titles, written by other authors and published by DriverWorks Ink, which might be of interest to their age group:

These are some of the thank-you cards (in no particular order) that we received from the Grade 6 students, followed by my answers to their questions:

Front of the card...

Inside of the card...

I am pleased that you are interested in Never Give Up: Ted Jaleta's Inspiring Story. It is the second of the five books I've written. Ted Jaleta is an amazing man. I am proud to say that he is now my friend because we grew so close when I wrote this book. There is so much that we can all learn from Ted, including the importance of getting an education, hanging out with positive people instead of those who are always negative, working hard towards the goals we set for ourselves, and appreciating what we have here in Canada. I hope you can borrow the book from a library either in your area or in some other region of Saskatchewan.

       You must like living on a farm. We don't have any more copies of the Just A Bunch of Farmers book, but you might be able to borrow a copy through your local library. As you know from my presentation, I grew up on a farm near the town of Athabasca, Alberta, north of Edmonton. We didn't have red machinery when I was little. My dad bought only Case equipment, which was orange in colour, because my Uncle John owned the Case dealership in town. My brother owns the family farm now. He has machinery of all makes and colours, including a tractor that's red.

       I love the drawings you made of four of our books. Good work! I also love the stationery you used to write your letter. Yay for book lovers! Thank you for enjoying The Sailor and the Christmas Trees. It is a nice, heart-warming story and I was happy to write it and share that story with the world.
       I do not have a favourite book of the five books that I've written. I like them all for different reasons. Just A Bunch of Farmers and From The West to the World share stories of fascinating entrepreneurs who built very successful companies on the Prairies. Never Give Up and Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope are stories of inspiring, remarkable people who can teach all of us so much about overcoming difficulties, leaving their troubles in the past and living life to the fullest every day with as much joy and passion as we can muster. The Sailor and the Christmas Trees is a nice story about something extraordinary that happened because of a rather simple act of a Canadian soldier during the war.
       I was 45 years old when I wrote my first book. That might seem old but it really isn't for writing. We work with an author who wrote her first book when she was 70 years old. Isn't that neat? I hope you do write one or more books. It's fun and very rewarding when you see all that hard work end up in a printed book you can hold in your hands.
      I have a couple of ideas for books I would like to write some day, but I do not have any writing projects on the go at the moment.

Thank you for your card. I hope I was able to encourage you to keep on reading and writing. Find a type of book or magazine or newspaper that you like to read and keep on reading. It's a great way to learn, and to improve your vocabulary and your understanding of the world around you. I find that writing helps me to express myself. If I write something down - whether I'm happy, sad, confused, or just have a lot on my mind - it gets those thoughts out of my head and onto a piece of paper or into a computer document. Then I can release those thoughts and think about other things.

       I am glad that you had fun in my presentation. I try not to make it boring for listeners.
I do like farming but I have allergies, so the dust, hay and animals make it hard for me to spend too much time on a farm these days. 
        I do like your card. You and your classmates made Al and I smile all day long as we looked at your wonderful thank-you cards. Thank you for taking the time to send a note of appreciation to us. It's really nice to hear from people who enjoyed my presentation and our books. Our authors work really hard to write great stories. We are so pleased to share their work with students in Saskatchewan and elsewhere.

Thank you for the nice compliments. I am pleased to hear from another student who is interested in the Never Give Up book. Ted Jaleta is an amazing man with an incredible, inspiring story. I have had to stop talking about that book because students immediately want to buy the book and we don't have any available for purchase. Maybe we'll print some more some day. You never know. Check with your library to see if they can order the Never Give Up book from another library in Saskatoon or Regina.

   It sounds like you are a person who is eager to learn. That is a wonderful characteristic that will help you achieve great things as you grow older. Thank you for being interested in our books and stories of Prairie people.  I am sure that you will enjoy The Little Coat because it is an inspiring true story about a 10-year-old girl who saved her father from a German firing squad and then met a Canadian soldier who helped save her family and country from Adolph Hitler's regime during the Second World War. It is a story with a happy ending, and those are always nice to read. SuperMom and the Big Baby definitely is a funny book. It's kind of like a Robert Munsch book in its silliness - and who doesn't love Robert Munsch?

Thank you again for your cards, Naicam School students. They put huge smiles on our faces!

I will post the rest of your wonderful thank-you cards, along with the rest of my answers to your questions, in my next blog. I'll talk to you soon!

Take care,

Deana Driver

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Do you have 'Cream Money' stories?

Due to the success of our Egg Money book, which celebrates the lives of Saskatchewan pioneer women, DriverWorks Ink is inviting you to send us your short stories of collecting and selling milk and cream on your Prairie farm. These stories will be considered for inclusion in the new book Cream Money, celebrating that era of Canadian farming. 
Stories should be from 300 to 1,500 words and could include: a particular story about processing and/or selling the milk/cream including the women, men or children who collected the milk or separated the cream; memories of how your family used that cream money; any other story that comes to mind when you think of ‘cream money’ and all that goes with that way of farm life.
Please provide details including your name, address, phone number and email address, as well as the names, dates, location and other details of the farmers and farm in your story. We are looking for anecdotes and explanations - stories of heartache and hardship, humour and joy, sadness and celebration.
Please send your submissions before December 31 by email to: or by mail to: DriverWorks Ink, 110 McCarthy Blvd. N., Regina, SK S4R 6A4.
Please phone DriverWorks Ink at 306-545-5293 if you have a cream money story to share but you do not wish to write it yourself. We will be happy to write it and help you share your story in that way.
All submissions will be accepted but not all submissions will be published. Those whose stories are published will receive two complimentary copies of our Cream Money book upon publication and will be able to purchase more copies at a 40% discount.
Thank you in advance. We look forward to receiving your stories.

P.S.  (October 30, 2014) We've decided to donate some of the proceeds of our Cream Money book to the Canadian Lung Association. We've donated to other charities from a portion of the sales of eight of our other books, and we'd like to continue giving back with this new book. We have a Driver family history of lung disease and we want to see more research that helps save lives, so we're going to help as we can with donations from sales of this book.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Homegrown and other poems book released

Ta da! Here's the latest book published by DriverWorks Ink!

Homegrown and other poems is written by Bryce Burnett (below), a rancher and well-known cowboy poet from Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

In Bryce's book, you'll read heartfelt poems about his family and community.

Bryce tells stories of the pioneers who settled in his region of the Prairies decades ago.

He also shares his love for the land, and his respect for the animals that help sustain his ranch and rural way of life.

There are 44 photos in the book - many of them were taken by Bryce Burnett - to go along with his 63 poems. Here are two excerpts from the book:

The poem below, Rubber Boots, is one of the many humorous poems in Bryce's book.

Ah, yes. The Homegrown poem continues on page 61 and The Rubber Boots poem/story doesn't end on the one page either. You'll have to buy the book to find out what happens next.

See more excerpts here.
Buy the book here.