Have you seen Guinness the Therapy Dog’s Instagram page?

@real_guinness_the_therapy_dog is his Instagram handle. He would love to count you amongst his followers! Guinness the Therapy Dog posts every day and gives a little peek into his antics when he’s not ‘on the job’ and bringing happiness to others.

Guinness the Therapy Dog has a wonderful follower from Japan who paints pictures of him. She uses one of his posted pictures as a model and always adds a pretty flower. This week she painted a picture of Guinness balancing a treat on his nose!

I think it would be fun to showcase art featuring Guinness the Therapy Dog at the back of my future books. If you want to be included, paint or draw a picture of Guinness the Therapy Dog, send it to me at sonjadanielson@gmail.com within the message (not as an attachment, please) and include information that you would like included (first name, age, where you’re from-nothing too specific, please.) Also, write that you give permission for the artwork to be published in perpetuity so there are no questions about if it’s able to be in a book, or how often/when it appears.

I hope you enjoy reading about Guinness the Therapy Dog! Sonja

Another Look-

Here’s another look at the journals I keep for each story. The photos show the journals for the Fairies of Carlow series.

I keep one journal for each book, with the pages divided into several sections: main characters, settings, events, chapter summaries.

They help keep continuity while I’m writing the book, and any books that may share characters or settings. (I’m a big fan of series’!).

By using a journal I can make sure the eye and hair colors of each character are consistent as I write. Sometimes, these things get lost inside my head and I can’t remember if I made someone a blonde, redhead, or a brunette. Also, I include height, preferences, things they hate/love, etc. Some characters get a full page, others get a half-page. It depends on how much I need to know about them.

For the Fairies of Carlow books, I found journals with covers that match each fairy’s signature color. (Confused? Now’s a good time to buy the books and find out what I’m talking about!)

I happen to love journals and tend to buy way too many of them. I have a stack of blank journals and a ton of pens that I need to find a use for. Did I mention my love of pens?

I have found that I don’t like gel pens… and try to find anything but those these days! I don’t know, the ink smears, it bleeds when you drip tea on it… But I love ballpoint pens and feel so posh when I use a fountain pen. I was given a Mont Blanc decades ago and feel so special when I use it. (But talk about wet ink and bleeding under drips of tea!)

Anyway, consistency is the key to good writing. Floor plans need to make sense. The barn needs to stay in the same place. And the sun needs to set in the same direction every evening.

Write on! Sonja

Make It a Habit

However you like to write–pen and paper, laptop, typewriter–make sure you write every day. Sometimes it’s terrible. Sometimes it’s golden. Just make sure it gets done.

Don’t worry about quality, especially when you’re starting out and it’s the first draft. That draft is always terrible, but it’s very important.

I like to say the first draft is the skeleton-when you get the general gist of the story down on paper. Subsequent drafts are when you add the muscles, skin, and features–to make it pretty.

And don’t worry about the beginning. That always changes as you write and get to know your story and your characters. What you think about one character can change drastically by the time you type ‘The End’ on the final page.

I like for my characters to surprise me so I leave plenty of wiggle room in my outlines to allow for surprises.

In the ‘Guinness the Therapy Dog’ series, Lucy (his older sister) surprised me by insisting on being in the books. She’s a great dog so I let her assert herself-which is new for her. The real Lucy is so emotionally damaged by abuse that she is afraid of everything. To have her stand her ground is something wonderful to see.

I hear people say all the time “I would never write a book”. I say, “Sure, you can!” There’s a story in everyone and I think if you sat down at whatever writing implement you choose, you can get the story down on paper. You may not like the result, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. You wrote a book!

Take your passion or your favorite family story, and flesh it out. Write every day. Make it something you miss if it’s not done. If you decide you hate to write, finish your story and never do it again.

At least you’ll have one book that you wrote and you won’t have to wonder if it’s in you ever again.

Take on the challenge! Sonja


Friday night under ‘stay at home’ orders. Much different from ‘before’. Ew, that was a little Handmaid’s Tale. Okay, prior to the orders, Fridays were for friends and fun.

Now, the only friends we can see is the series Friends, which used to be on Netflix and is now on Warner’s streaming. Or you can catch one of the many reruns that are showing every day on other channels.

These days, Friday are for hobbies. Whatever your flavor: photography, reading, knitting or other needlework, binge-watching Netflix…. no judgement… lol.

I write (of course) and love having this time to steam through edits and creating new stories. I took a risk and entered a manuscript into a contest, #revpit. The results were announced this week.

I’ve also watched more classes on my favorite teaching website, masterclass.com, and found a lot of motivation from James Patterson and Margaret Atwood. Name dropping? Sure. Advertising the site? Probably, but I pay the annual subscription to watch any lesson.

I label myself a lifelong learner, and am trying to use this time at home to fulfill my desire to learn as much as possible. My interests are wide and varied, from improving my writing to learning ASL and adding to my high school French.

What are you doing?

I hope you enjoy whichever hobby brings you bliss. Sonja


Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Today is the day to celebrate the big blue marble that we live upon. Instead of giving you a history of the day, as is my want, I am going to take a look at the effects of the worldwide pandemic on our planet.

This is from the website: voicesofyouth.org, the underlined phrases should link you to other articles.

Photos of reduced smog in China, unpolluted canals in Italy, and wild animals roaming the streets in the United States have been shared all over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter over the past few weeks, helping give hope to a demoralized global population.

However, many of those photos are some of countless examples of the harmful misinformation that has spread over the internet during the pandemic – they have perpetuated a false narrative of an environment saved by a few weeks of quarantine and ignored the negative environmental impacts that have instead ensued.

To begin, the pandemic has led to the abandonment of many environmental sustainability programs – in the United States, smaller municipalities have halted recycling programs due to the risks associated with the spread of the virus.

Likewise, Italy has banned infected residents from sorting their waste at all. Additionally, many corporations have overturned disposable bag bans and begun relying once again on single-use plastics, and many restaurants are no longer accepting reusable containers – in early March, Starbucks announced a temporary ban on using reusable cups.

Furthermore, with more and more consumers isolated at home, there has been an increasing number of online purchases and meal deliveries made. This has not only caused the disposal of more single-use plastic packaging, but has further required more fossil fuels to be burned for the individual transportation and distribution of goods.

There has also been an increase in medical waste – much of the personal protective equipment that healthcare professionals are using can only be worn once before being disposed of. Hospitals in Wuhan, for example, produced over 200 tons of waste per day during the peak of their outbreak, compared to an average of less than 50 tons prior. 

Even if mass isolation were aiding in the reduction of climate change, it would not be a sustainable way of cleaning up the environment.

The UN news agrees. I’ve attached a link to their article. If you click on ‘UN news’, it will open a new page for you.

Now, keep in mind that both of these sites are more liberal than conservative. Apply your own political leanings as you read.

There are images that show that the air and water are clearing.


From cnbc.com (click the site to find a clickable link):

As coronavirus quickly spreads around the world, it’s forcing people to stay put, and wreaking havoc on the economy. Millions are either out of a job or working from home. Factories are shuttering, and with mandates to stay inside becoming the new norm, people aren’t driving or flying.

All this has led to a massive drop in air pollution, which kills a total of 4.2 million people every year, and over 1 million in China alone. The last two months have seen a huge uptick in air quality, especially in hard-hit areas like Wuhan and Northern Italy, as well as a number of metropolitan areas throughout the U.S.

While the coronavirus outbreak will probably be a setback for global climate change priorities and investment overall, this temporary reduction in carbon emissions is notable. By one conservative estimate, cleaner air has saved about 50,000 lives in China alone over these past few months. 

While experts caution against viewing these numbers as a cost-benefit calculation around pandemics, some climate scientists hope that they will help shed a light on the massive environmental impact of our everyday habits and economic activities, potentially leading to some positive change after the crisis subsides. 

So, some positives and negatives to look at this #EarthDay.

Form your own opinions. Sonja