Walking: It’s the Best Exercise Ever

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.


Mary Lola Barnes’ Thoughts on Life

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

Surprise! Greenvale Already Exists in Nova Scotia

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.

Continue reading “Surprise! Greenvale Already Exists in Nova Scotia”

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes: the perfect poem

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.

Continue reading “the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes: the perfect poem”

The Proof Arrived in the Mail!

The mail just arrived and with it, a package for me! The proof for my next book: the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes.

I am extremely happy with the paperback proof. The pictures don’t do the front cover justice. The warm green tones are heavenly to the eye.

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes proof

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes proof Continue reading “The Proof Arrived in the Mail!”

First Scene: “the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes”

Introducing the first scene in the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes.

the Salvation of Mary Lola BarnesMary stared at the piece of cake on the decorative plate. The virgin white icing held little hint of the mile marker that had been scrolled across the surface of the portion consumed by family and friends. Its absence hadn’t erased it from Mary’s mind. If anything, it reminded her of the huge chunk of time carved out of her life. She had lived half a century, making her an older woman than she had been last week. The consumption of this last piece from the celebration cake would commit her to this age, condemn her to old age in the eyes of the incredibly young. There was no way to hold on to youth; celebrities had proven it time again when they exposed themselves to the outside world without make-up and un-photoshopped.

The ache for the past swelled in her chest. It was not that she wanted to be eighteen again; she wanted only to have a little more substance in her life. A little more laughter, a little more variety…a little more gentle contact with the man she loved. Was that too much to ask for?

She released a sigh. It was the way life went, she was told by others. Her friend, Louise, had put it bluntly: Don’t expect anything more than what you have. A woman’s role is to grow old beside their man.

Continue reading “First Scene: “the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes””

the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes Description

The description for the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes is still a work in progress, but it’s getting closer to what will appear on the cover. Here’s a peek at it.

She reserved the most convenient lies for herself

the Salvation of Mary Lola BarnesMary Lola Barnes has everything: a loving husband, two wonderful grown children, good friends and a lovely home. She has no business asking for more. It doesn’t matter if she feels something is missing. She’s just being silly. Afterall, what could she ask for? When new friends enter her world, she’s ill prepared for the harsh light that shines on the imperfections in her life. It reveals the emptiness she refuses to acknowledge.

If you love reading stories about women redefining themselves after decades of living, you’ll love the Salvation of Mary Lola Barnes.

More to come about this project in next week’s update, where I’ll share the first chapter.