Skip to content

Walking: It’s the Best Exercise Ever

October 27, 2020
the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes

Shortly after the story of the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes begins, Mary starts walking in the evenings. While she’s been fairly active all her life, winter for many in Nova Scotia doesn’t provide much opportunity for outdoor activities unless you embrace the cold and love snow and ice.

With mild weather casting off winter’s slumber, Mary feels the need to get outside more and walk to the nearby park that has trails through the woods and along a lake. It’s a popular place for adults and children. There are even ducks.

Mary quickly learns that walking is reshaping her body. To be more exact, her legs are becoming stronger, she’s toning muscle and losing the extra weight winter hibernation added on.

My Love of Hiking

I’ve always been a hiker, a walker in the woods, but with work, kids and other responsibilities, I didn’t get onto the trails as much as I wanted to. Two years ago, I decided to change that.

One of the places my feet have taken me: Taylor Head Park, Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia.

I started small, just a kilometre. I’d walk every day it didn’t raining. Each trip out, I’d walk one more lamp pole length until I hit 5 km in one direction. After that, at least four times a week, I’d hit the road and walk that 5-km strip, which totalled 10 km per trip. The changes to my body were subtle, but what incredible changes they were.

I’m certain there were changes I couldn’t measure, such as the increased strength of my lungs. However, the things I could measure were impressive. Besides being able to walk that distance faster over time without getting out of breath, my calf muscles became leaner, I lost weight, my knees grew stronger and I could bend easier. The injury in my left knee went into hibernation. I think the muscles around the knee grew so strong, I no longer felt the injury. It was still there, and when I walked less in winter, it showed itself.

During my walks, I would think about my stories and scribble down on the scrap paper I carried anything I didn’t want to forget.

Another place my feet have taken me: Blomidon Park, Blomidon, Nova Scotia


A quick search in the old InterWeb, reveals the top benefits of walking.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Improve your balance and coordination.

No Training or Equipment Required

Walking is something almost everyone can do; you need only comfortable footwear unless you do as I do sometimes and walk a beach or grassy trails, then I go barefoot. Where I live, people walk by the house every day. They walk at different times and different speeds. Some are old, some are young. One woman wears braces.

If you want to get into shape and all you have is a pair of shoes and a little extra time, start walking. It doesn’t matter how fast you go or how far. Just start, and you’ll find yourself going farther and faster as you rack up the miles. That’s the wonderful thing about walking; you can do it at your own pace and when your body is ready, you can increase your distance a little bit at a time.

And here’s a secret: it’s absolutely free.

Launch Day

Today is launch day for the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes. The first chapter is available on its book page on this website. It is available exclusively at Amazon, so if you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, you read for free.

There’s only one negative thing about walking: I can’t read and walk. Or at least I shouldn’t.

Fall in My Garden

October 25, 2020

If spring can spring, does that mean fall can fall? If so, it has fallen in the Maritimes.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in my Nova Scotia garden. While temperatures reached 13 degrees Celsius, grey clouds consumed the sky, a thin veil of fog perched in the distance and a slow mist fell throughout the day, there was no wind. I worked outside all day in shorts and a light sweater.

Here are a few photos of my garden that captured the season.

Red Berries

High Bush Cranberry

I planted this bush several years ago because I love cranberries, and I wanted the ability to pick some from my yard. However, these berries taste nothing like the low-growing cranberries that grow in Nova Scotia. The berries taste horrible. I’ve tasted them before the frost, after the frost and after may frosts, but they still taste horrible. However, the birds enjoy them in winter.


This shrub has been growing in my garden for more than two decades. Last winter, I cut it back hard because it had grown lanky and wild. This summer, if filled out better than the first few years of it living in my garden.

Read more…

Mary Lola Barnes’ Thoughts on Life

October 23, 2020

I’ve often watched birds, considered what they might be thinking and wondered over how they lived their life. I recall thinking many times, with regard to birds and most animals, they have no possessions. Silly humans – we fill our lives with possessions and become burdened with them.

Birds build a nest for the short time they need one, then leave it all behind – every year.

I suppose this thought process fueled these thoughts by Mary Lola Barnes after she received disappointing news.

After exchanging good-byes, Mary hung up the phone. She walked out the back door and plopped down into the patio chair. It was a cool evening, and the forecast threatened frost. Still, she sat without a sweater and let time pass. Robins flew in and flew out, but she didn’t rejoice in their presence. They were birds who flew where instinct took them; they carried no belongings or worries. They sought a place to call their own for short periods of time, long enough to raise their young, then depart for other places far beyond her yard and community. Perhaps birds had it right; when the nest was empty, move onto the next part of life.

The Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes is available for pre-order exclusively at Amazon:

Release Date: October 27, 2020

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes Diane McGyver

Introducing Lady Diane McGyver

October 20, 2020

Not long ago, I saw an interesting ad. It claimed: Become a Scottish Lord or Lady Today. Intrigued by all things fantastical, archaic and Scottish, I clicked to learn more. Shortly afterwards, I became a Lady.

But let’s put a little history to this first.

Castle ScotlandBack when Europeans were exploring The New World by boat and by foot, Scotsman Sir William Alexander devised a scheme that would profit the king in two manners. He “proposed that it might encourage development of a New Scotland if His Majesty were to offer a new order of baronets. The King liked the idea. After all, his creation of the Baronets of England in 1611 and the Baronets of Ireland in 1619 had raised £225,000 for the Crown.”

In other words, they’d sell land in New Scotland to men who wanted to gain status in Scottish society.

While some Baronets came to Canada and developed land, many didn’t. Yet, they were sworn in on Nova Scotia soil and received the title in society. How was this done?

Soil was brought from New Scotland (Nova Scotia in Latin) and put in an area of Edinburgh Castle, which was then declared Nova Scotia territory. It was here “knichts and gentlemen of cheife respect for the birth, place, or fortounes” became baronets, and they then could put Sir in front of their name.

“By the end of 1625 the first 22 Baronets of Nova Scotia were created”. The Order continued for 82 years and by 1707, 329 baronetcies were made. Many of these are honoured still today.

Read more…

“Shadows in the Stone” Exclusively at Amazon

October 16, 2020

Shadows in the Stone epic fantasyIn early October, the first book in the Castle Keepers series Shadows in the Stone became available to read for free by Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited members.

The first draft of Shadows in the Stone was written when I was sixteen, back in the mid-80s while listening to what is known today as Classic Rock. I was in high school and once homework was done and tossed aside, I pulled out my coil-bound notebook and wrote the story in pencil.

Pencil gave me the option pen didn’t: to erase words and complete paragraphs if I didn’t like what I’d written. I’d sit on my bed late into the night when a scene grabbed me and write long past midnight. I was hooked.

The story had been written from every character’s perspective and the details I used to describe them was similar to filling out a character sheet in a Dungeons & Dragons game. You knew their exact height, eye and hair colour and weight. One of the main characters was Argon (known today as Bronwyn). Alaura was originally Anna. Isla of Maura was originally Durania. Where did I get that? Have you ever listened to Duran Duran?

Read more…

LAST DAY for $1.99 Sale for “Northern Survival”

October 15, 2020

Today is the day. It’s been an amazing month and a half promoting one of the most favourite books I’ve ever written: Northern Survival. To date, I think it’s my best. That means my next – the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes – has to be better. Oh, my. I better buckle down. I can’t go backwards. No pressure.

With the official end of the book launch, the eBook price will rise from $1.99 to $4.99 at midnight tonight. So if you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, get it now.


Kindle Unlimited members read for FREE.

QUOTE from Northern Survival

These thoughts are from a scene in which Jonathan Stone has blisters on his feet and Olive Tweed is tending to them. I believe it’s the day after the plane crash.

For the past 20 years, he’d had more money than one person deserved. It gave him a lifestyle many dreamt to have, yet he’d never felt sincerely pampered until now. People paid to serve him performed their duties, but they did it for money or attention, hoping to snatch a piece of his fame. This woman did it for no reason other than she wanted to help.

If you’ve read Northern Survival, please, consider leaving a review at Amazon or the book’s Goodreads page.

Diane McGyver author

Surprise! Greenvale Already Exists in Nova Scotia

October 13, 2020

the Salvation of Mary Lola BarnesFive years ago, when I wrote the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes, I made up a name that probably existed somewhere in the world, but I’d never heard of it in Nova Scotia. After all, green and vale were two popular parts of many place names. In Nova Scotia, we have Greenfield and Greenwood. We also have Elmsvale, Irishvale and Hillsvale.

For all the purposes other writers choose to create a fictional place within a real place, I stuck with Greenvale up until the editing process in September. Curious to see if Greenvale existed in the Maritimes, I plugged it into Google. Imagine my surprise when a place name showed up not only in Nova Scotia, but in the general area I wanted it to be. Eek!

Checking out the place on Google Map, I found it was pretty much forested area. There were no houses there or surrounding it from what I could see. There were, however, what appeared to be a maze of logging roads that connected to the 347 (Sherbrooke Road). This was far from the image of Greenvale in the story I had written.

Read more…

I’m a Guest at D. G. Kaye, Writer

October 9, 2020

Today, I am a guest with D. G. Kaye on her website, D. G. Kaye, Writer.

Northern Survival

Debby is the author of several wonderful memoirs, including Conflicted Hearts: A Daughter’s Quest for Solace from Emotional Guilt and Twenty Years: After “I Do”: Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging. She’s a fellow Canadian, an amazing writer and a lovely person.

I talk about my most recent release, Northern Survival. I also share a little advice for writers.

I write books I want to read. I encourage every writer to do that because after reading, revising, editing and reading that manuscript again, you better love that story or you’re going to take a walk on a long wharf and throw it into the water before it’s done.

So love the stories you write. Others who enjoy reading the same stories will find yours and be happy you did.

To read the guest post at D. G. Kaye, click here: Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Diane McGyver – Northern Survival.

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes: the perfect poem

October 6, 2020

the Salvation of Mary Lola BarnesI had written the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes during NaNoWriMo in November 2015. Shortly afterwards, I came upon a poem, one might call it a quote, that summed up the essence of Mary’s story.

This summer, when I had dug out the manuscript to review, I came upon the poem, and once again it struck that same nerve. It was perfect for this book. It appears in the front just before the story starts.

If Mary had read this poem, she’d recognise herself. I know I did. I’m sure other women will, too.

The short poem is by Alexandra Andersen. The Internet states this about the author:

Alexandra Andersen is a romance author, online editor, and founder of Wine & Drama. Alexandra is an avid traveler and spends her time drinking coffee and wine in between writing. It is her firm belief that the universe expands to allow you to realize your inner most dreams and desires.

Read more…

Zesty Cranberry Muffin Recipe

October 2, 2020

cranberriesCranberries. They’ve been a part of my life since I was conceived. I’m certain my mother ate them while pregnant, and soon after I was off the bottle and on real food, I’m certain she fed them to me. I have never stopped eating them. If I had a penny for every cranberry I’ve eaten, I’d be a millionaire with growing investments.

Each October, we were sent to the woods with pails to pick berries. By the end of October, my siblings and I had picked enough cranberries to make dozens of bottles of ‘jam’.

I call it jam. Some call it spread. Others call it sauce. To me, it was jam because that’s what I put on my sandwich. If it was a successful pick, we had enough jam to do us until the following October. Most years, it was a successful pick.

While most endured the tangy taste of the red berry with turkey at Christmas time, I ate it every day. Every day. From primary to grade 12, I took a cranberry sandwich to school with me for lunch. While others were having peanut butter and jam sandwiches or egg sandwiches, I enjoyed the sour red berry squished between two slices of bread. Mmm.

Read more…