Publishing the true stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan, Canada.
We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by
Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also assist authors in self-publishing their work. Visit our website and buy our books at

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Deana Driver's blog has moved!

Hello. Thank you for following my blog posts in the past on Blogger.

I've moved my blog to my DriverWorks Ink publishing website -

Come check out my thoughts there!

Take care,
Deana Driver

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Busing it to Medicine Hat to sell books and carry on while grieving

I travelled by bus to Medicine Hat, Alberta from my home in Regina, Saskatchewan on the weekend – to do some work, including a signing at the Coles bookstore in the Medicine Hat Mall. I also enjoyed a visit with my eldest daughter, Lisa (who is also an award-winning author), my son-in-law Kyle, and their five-month-old baby girl. It was the first time in decades that I had travelled on a Greyhound bus and it was quite the experience.

I chose to take the bus because road conditions on the Canadian Prairies can change quickly, especially in winter months. I didn't want the stress of having to drive for almost five hours during a snowstorm if the weather turned bad. I thought an experienced bus driver could do that for me and I could figure out how to close my eyes and pretend everything was alright if the weather changed for the worse. Which it did, of course.

The drive there was fine. 

There was very little snow along the drive on Thursday morning. It was surprising to be able to see the fields. I did some people-watching on the packed bus – which stopped at many different communities along the way, offering plenty of opportunities for new characters to board and attract my attention.

I saw travellers who had either little income or no desire to care for themselves clothing-wise or hygiene-wise. These were people of all ages. There were younger males who explained to others that they were travelling across the country because of the downturn in the economy. (It is close to impossible to not overhear others while waiting at a bus terminal, especially boisterous young males.) Some travellers were older and by themselves. I gravitated toward older women, as they seemed closest to my age and life story.

During our lunch stop in Swift Current on the way there, I sat at a table with an older woman who also turned out to be a widow. We had a lovely visit and discussed our grief and how it takes years to process it and learn to live with it. We also talked about how others who are not as affected by our loved one’s death have carried on with their lives within days or weeks. It is hard being a widow. It is hard being alone. Our conversation offered some healing moments for each of us and we were glad we’d found each other on this journey, among this bus full of strangers.

On the buses there and back, there were a handful of riders who had obvious mental health problems. One talked loudly and explained his illness to anyone in his path. He was obviously a nice guy, but definitely sick. I wondered about him and felt sad that his drug use caused more problems for his mental health and daily interactions with others. One young man had visible twitches and made many trips to the bathroom on the bus ride home. Another yelled out in his sleep. It was enough to make me uncomfortable and I thought about the bus drivers who meet these people daily and take them onto their buses, hoping everything goes well – which it did on my buses.

On arrival in The Hat, I was met by my daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, and this terrific sign:

It was the start to a great weekend.

As always, Lisa and I spent many hours talking about our books, marketing ideas, book awards contests, future book sales and signings, and other strategies for our respective companies - her Above 540 and my DriverWorks Ink.

It began snowing on Friday night and continued for the rest of the weekend. We visited and worked, drove through the snow, and visited and worked some more. (And I got in plenty of Grandma cuddles!)

Oh ... and we got our toenails painted! Thanks, Lisa, for the early birthday gift!

On Saturday, we had a signing event at the Coles bookstore in the mall.  Lisa signed her award-winning spiritual book Opening Up: How To Develop Your Intuition And Work With Your Angels and her new book Leap! How To Overcome Doubt, Fear And Grief & Choose The Path Of Joy. I signed two non-fiction books that I have compiled, Cream Money: Stories of Prairie People and Fun on the Farm: True Tales of Farm Life.

My granddaughter is the cutest co-signer I've ever had!

At the signing, we held each other up emotionally and spiritually when people asked about Lisa's new book, Leap! In it, she shares details of her own story and how she felt when she heard the news in August 2015 that her dad (my husband, Al) had colon cancer. She shares what that diagnosis meant in her life and how she coped with that situation at what should have been the happiest time of her life – a time of expecting her first baby.

Our entire family lived with hope from the minute that Al got sick. He chose to fight with all he had and we chose to be there beside him, doing whatever we could to keep all our spirits up and LIVE in every moment we had together. Unfortunately, in December 2015, the doctors surprised us with news that they could do no more. Al passed away two weeks later, on January 4, 2016.

In her Leap book, Lisa talks about overcoming feelings of doubt and fear as well, but mostly her story is one of carrying on through grief. She shares meditations and exercises and strategies to help readers overcome these obstacles and events in their lives.

It was tough for me to read her story, hearing my own child's pain. It was emotional for me to edit it and publish it. But she did it and I did it.

The story is difficult but important.

We know it has already helped others. 

"I am reading your new book and cannot put it down! It is filling me with the inspiration and affirmations I require. Your opening of your soul so openly in this book has me examining every inch of my own soul and filling it with love and appreciation for the journey I too am on."

We know Lisa's new book will continue to help others. And we are confident that Leap, like her first book, Opening Up, will win a book award too. It’s very well written.

So every time Lisa and I get together  as happens with my other two children and their partners  we talk, we listen, we care for each other. We miss our dad, dad-in-law and husband. We talk about him. We love him and each other. We grieve. We cry. We laugh. We hug each other. And we carry on.

Al and Deana Driver, 2013
The little one's fingers on the window were a precious sight as she looked out at the snow.

The bus leaves Medicine Hat going east only once a day. At 3:15 a.m. 

As the bus depot's answering machine's voice message says, “You heard that right; 3:15 in the morning.” You cannot buy a ticket “at this ungodly hour” – a comment that made me laugh out loud – but if you buy your ticket ahead of time, as I did, you can get on a bus driven by an experienced driver who will head out onto the highway even though it’s been snowing for three days and is still snowing, and there are warnings to stay off the highway.

It's quiet on the streets of pretty much any Canadian town or city at 2:30 in the morning. Medicine Hat is no exception.

I tried really hard to sleep while the bus driver did his job. The one kind-of-open lane of highway caused me some stress.

And it got a little worse partway home.

I did not take photos during the worst parts. I closed my eyes and said a lot of prayers.

But we made it! And I wanted to express my appreciation to the driver.

As he handed me my suitcase, which he had just pulled out from the storage compartment under the bus, I handed him a $20 bill. "I haven't taken a bus for years and I wanted to thank you for getting us here safely."

He just looked at me, so I asked him to please take it. He lifted his arm up and out a bit and asked me to "put it there", under his armpit. Ummm... okay.

As I turned and started walking away, he followed and stopped me. "Do you know that this is only the second time in 26 years that this has happened?"

"That someone gave you a tip?" I asked.


"Well, you deserve it." And I left. Perplexed. I understand that people who ride the bus may not have much money but ... really? Not even a dollar? Sad.

My daughter-in-law Kelli and my youngest grandson picked me up from the bus depot and drove me home. I cherished the hugs and the "Welcome Home" sign made by my four-year-old grandson.

As I shovelled snow, I thought about the weekend and all its experiences and interactions. 

I saw this mug in Lisa's and Kyle's cupboard and I used it all weekend.

Profound and appropriate. Exactly.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Exploring Chicago after Book Expo America 2016

In May, I attended Book Expo America in Chicago (see my previous blog), along with some other publisher friends from Saskatchewan. In the evenings and after the conference, we had some time to do a little sightseeing and exploring parts of Chicago. Here are a few photos of my experiences.

My travelling companion was my friend and fellow Saskatchewan book publisher Heather Nickel of Your Nickel's Worth Publishing. We decided to take a selfie in front of this Chicago shop because it's called Books-A-Million.
BAM! Cute.

You can't visit Chicago and not try their version of deep-dish pizza. It was fantastic!

This fountain in Millenium Park is gorgeous at night.

SaskBooks staffer Jillian Bell, me, and Heather Nickel at the start of the riverboat architecture tour.

Chicago has a diverse architectural landscape, and much of it can be viewed on the riverboat cruise. Our guide (in the red hat) is a member of the local architectural society.

Old and new buildings beside each other make for a fascinating landscape.

Many bridges, like this one, were built to be raised over the Chicago River.

This is one of the many unique buildings we saw on the tour.

We went for a walk and saw the Chicago Cultural Center, a gorgeous building on the outside and inside. 
Jillian and I wondered what it would be like to work in a building this grand.

The cultural center has amazing ceilings...

...and fantastic stained-glass domes. This isn't even the largest one. The room with the largest Tiffany stained-glass dome in the world was, unfortunately, closed for an event when we were there.
Jillian and I met Priscilla, a Chicago resident who quickly endeared herself to us with her enthusiastic descriptions of her city and the people in it. She became another happy recipient of some DriverWorks Ink books. In fact, she was so happy when I handed her some free books that she began to cry. Priscilla had some profound words of wisdom that I believe can help us all live a better life:
"I don't respond to stupidity. It makes your face grow old."

So farewell, Chicago. Thank you for a great learning opportunity and a great visit.

This mirror on exhibit at the cultural center says it all.

Exploring Book Expo America 2016 in Chicago

In May, I was pleased to be invited by SaskBooks (Saskatchewan Publishers Group) to be one of three Saskatchewan publishers to attend BookExpo America in Chicago, IL. BEA is "the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry and is the best place to discover new titles and authors, conduct business and network, and learn the latest trends."

I had never attended BEA before and was delighted to participate, with the help of Creative Saskatchewan funding. I learned more about the book publishing industry in North America and made some great business connections towards the goal of eventually selling foreign and international rights to some of our books written by Saskatchewan and Prairie authors.

I quickly found out that BEA is definitely "the largest gathering of booksellers, librarians, retailers, publishers, rights, licensing, and book industry professionals in North America." We were told that this year's conference was smaller than those of most years because it was in Chicago rather than its usual location of New York City.

This was not only my first trip to BEA but my first trip to Chicago as well, so there was a lot for me to learn and explore. Here's a photographic snapshot of some of my experiences at BEA:

Here's Millenium Park and Lake Michigan, on a clear day's view from my hotel room.

Sask publishing friends Heather Nickel of Your Nickel's Worth Publishing and Jillian Bell of SaskBooks stand in one of the halls of McCormick Place, the huge conference centre where BEA was held.

A blogger's conference was a great start to the event, where I learned more about the importance of book bloggers in getting the word out about new titles.

Book marketing and promotion ideas were shared by these panelists.

The time that people spend on social media is constantly increasing, so publishers need to adapt to that change, says branding authority Cindy Ratzlaff. (This was my favourite presentation of the conference.)

Cindy shared a list of some great graphics tools. 

These bags were waiting for their participants' new haul of free books, informational brochures, business cards, and more.

The exhibit hall had many rows of booths.

More booths, from some of the biggest publishers.

These folks were all waiting for a book launch... Kenny Loggins, who reworked his Footloose lyrics into a children's book about animals at the zoo.

Yes, there's Kenny Loggins in the background, signing his book at the booth a few steps away from me.

Kenny Loggins and his new Footloose children's book.

NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was signing his new book as well.

We met many authors, including Kwame Alexander (above centre) and illustrators, including Daniel Myares (above right). We enjoyed a little singalong with Kwame and Daniel before we could happily take home a copy of their beautiful new children's book. 

Oh yeah, I. .. did not meet the Beatles, of course, but I enjoyed these life-sized cutouts at one of the booths. Too cool to ignore, right?

I was most intrigued by this display at the booth of Foreword Reviews. We just might include a couple of our DriverWorks Ink books in their display for the upcoming Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. 

These U.S. teachers were the lucky, very happy  recipients of some DriverWorks Ink books that I had taken to hand out and spread the word about our great books.
Book Expo America was a fabulous opportunity to learn, make some connections for marketing and increased sales, and share information about our popular and award-winning books. Thank you, SaskBooks, for the invitation and thank you, Creative Saskatchewan, for the funding assistance.

And now with the conference over, there was a tiny bit of time to do a little sightseeing in Chicago.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Keeping My Chin Up After My Husband's Death

It's been five months and 10 days since my husband, soulmate and business partner Al Driver died of colon cancer. Stupid cancer! I'm so tired of even thinking about it. So I try not to.

I try to get through the days doing some work for our book publishing company, spending time with family and friends, moving stuff around inside my house, and tending to my flower garden and small, new vegetable garden. I am thankful that it is summertime and I can go outside and take short or long walks or bike rides. I can sit in the backyard and ponder or look at the sky at night and talk to the stars.

A couple of weeks ago, I went for lunch with my dear friend Nadine - my girlfriend soulmate. After lunch, we went to a wonderful local garden centre and perused the aisles before buying a few plants for our gardens. At one point, Nadine pointed out this bench:

I started to cry. Heavily.

I turned away from the bench and my attention was drawn to a wall FULL of signs and sayings.

But I only saw this one:

I burst out laughing. I recognized my husband's wacky sense of humour jumping out at me from the many quaint, tender, and funny sayings on that wall. "Come on, Deana. You can do it!"

Thanks, Hon. I needed that.

Yes, I need to keep my chin up. The days will get better, the evenings will eventually be not as long and lonely, and life will return to a comfortable new normal some day.

Our daughter Lisa Driver, who is a gifted spiritual healer and author, sent me a link to the website of another author and blogger who writes about Second Firsts. I have been encouraged and inspired by Christina Rasmussen's blogs, her social media posts, and her changed attitude toward life after loss. I highly recommend her to anyone who has lost someone dear to them.

As I sit alone in my home-based office, I think of others who have come through this and I know I will do so too.

I will get through this with the help of people like you and my friend Nadine.

Thank you for your continued caring of me and our family.

I will enjoy the rosebushes that I purchased in memory of Al.

And I will keep my sense of humour and my love of life.

I will remember all the good times - and some of the tough times - that I had with my husband during our 42 years together. And I will continue to tell his story for the rest of my life so that no one around me forgets him.

And I will hold onto my faith and know that life will again be good.

Chin up, Buttercup!