All posts by Sonja Hakala

I have been a professional writer since 1987. I've written for newspapers, magazines, worked in the book publishing industry, and published novels and non-fiction books. In addition, I've guided numerous authors through the process of independent publishing, and offer workshops in that same vein. I'm the founder of the Parkinson's Comfort Project and over the course of six years, we gathered and gave away over 500 handmade quilts to people with Parkinson's disease.

Teaching a Class

PYBYW front cover-small
Just a quick note to let everyone know that I am teaching a class in publishing called Full Circle Anthologies in two locations in my dear Upper Valley, the AVA Gallery and Arts Center in Lebanon, NH and Artistree Vermont in Woodstock, Vermont.

I have wanted to do a class like this for a long time. Every time I do a workshop about the publishing industry, I can tell that my listeners are overwhelmed by all the information that I lay out.

Publishing is a HUGE industry and not getting lost can be very difficult if you have no experience in it.

Which covers everyone starting out, doesn’t it?

The Anthologies class is based on Publish Your Book Your Way, the workbook and guide I published about independent publishing at the end of last year. This is a full-gamut class, from original manuscripts through finished books on paper and in electronic formats. In fact, the fifth of the five classes is a publishing party.

You can register for the AVA location here and the Artistree location here.
And there’s lots more information on my business website, Full Circle Press LLC.

Tell all your writer friends. In fact, come yourself. I’d love to see you.

Santa on Vacation

Santa listening to a summer concert on Carding green
Santa listening to a summer concert on Carding green

Ever wonder where Santa goes once he’s done with the holidays?

I think we may have found an answer to that question.

The man’s got to love music, right? Though maybe not Christmas songs. (He must get sick of them faster than the rest of us.)

We occasionally spot him in the Corvus River Valley sitting on the edge of a crowd listening to anything but Christmas music.

This picture was snapped last summer at an Inca Sun concert, a real antidote to the drear of winter.

Sometimes, You Just Gotta Re-Read

Persuasion cover
Like many people, I’m a fan of Jane Austen. I love her rich language, the simplicity and focus of her plots, and her funny characters (almost all of them parents of some sort or another).

And sometimes, I just can’t resist pulling one of her novels off the shelf just for the pleasure of her company.

Last fall, I decided not to renew my membership at the Howe Library in Hanover, NH, arguably the best library in the Upper Valley. You see, I have all of these unread books on my own shelves that continue being unread because I go to the library.

Really doesn’t make sense now, does it?

The idea that denying myself access to the Howe would mean I’d plunder my own shelves. I also gave myself permission to stop reading any book that failed to entertain.

I’ve also been trying not to re-read because that goes against my purpose.
But then I gave in and Jane’s Persuasion came off the shelf.

Guess what? Ann marries Frederick again. And Ann’s father and older sister are still just as fatuous as before and her younger sister Mary just as funny.

Ah, so satisfying.

A Good Hunkering Day

Icicles for web
You’ve heard about the lull before the storm?

Well, around here, we usually get at lull after a winter storm. As in the sky clears and the temperature goes up (which means high 20s), and everyone’s mood elevates with the additional light.

Today, we got one out of two of those. The snow stopped about mid-morning but honey, I want to tell you it it absolutely frigid here at Carding, Vermont’s world headquarters.

Heard from family down on Cape Cod where the wind is whipping up the high tide, and everyone is thankful that the lights and heat are still on.

So you hunker down, don’t go out unless it’s totally necessary, and stay close to the wood stove.

But this too shall pass.

Squeak, Squeak, Squeak

Snowshoes for web
It is wicked cold today.

Wicked as in so cold your nose can freeze shut if you stay outside too long.

And too long is about ten minutes.

It started snowing before the sun rose, and in this wicked cold that means fine crystals that swirl about in the air every time a vehicle passes the house.

Snow connoisseurs can tell you a lot about the quality of any measurable amount of falling flakes by their sound. When it’s wicked cold, the snow squeaks underfoot as you pad along because the air is so dry.

If it’s sunny and a bit warmer, it grunts as you step along.

And there’s the sloshing sound of slush when it all starts to melt.

Today’s a squeaky day.