"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Library Way New York City⁠

While walking to New York Public Library on East 41st Street in New York City, pedestrians are treated to literary-themed images inset along the sidewalk. The 96 illustrated bronze plaques depict various quotes from favourite authors and other notable figures.⁠⁠

Gregg LeFevre designed 48 unique images, duplicated to make 96 plaques, to be placed along both sides of the street so everyone has a chance to see them.⁠

Getting Your Story Straight: Multiple POV


Professional coaching tips to help you figure out point of view, structure, and master all the elements of story.
⁠Follow Ken's series on IGTV @storymerchant
⁠Facebook @thestorymerchant

Ken's Weekly Book Recommendaton: Fossil River by Jock Miller⁠


Fossil fuel has an ageless affinity with dinosaurs. To create oil, dinosaurs died. Now, in this riveting action thriller, the tables are turning! ⁠⁠

An undeniably readable thriller with breakneck pacing and jaw-dropping action sequences. - Kirkus⁠

Available on Amazon

MEG VAN DEUSEN Author of Stressed in the U.S. on on Fit for Joy

Healing the Soul - Back to Calm: Mindfulness and Simplicity

Valeria interviews Meg Van Deusen — the author of Stressed in the U.S.: 12 Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction, and More 


Seventy-five percent of Americans are moderately stressed. Seventy-five percent of Americans are also lonely. More than 33 percent of us sleep less than six hours a night. In addition, 77 percent of us use social media daily and 81 percent of us own a smartphone. Why are these statistics important? Because loneliness, sleep-deprivation, social media use, tech use, and even gut-imbalance—which the Huffington Post refers to as “the modern plague”—are all causes and results of stress. Stress is the reason for at least 75 percent of today’s doctor’s visits, costing the US billions per year in employee absenteeism, accidents, and illnesses.

9/11, climate change, a historic economic crisis, numerous mass shootings, an inordinate amount of school lockdowns, a foreign attack on our election, a politically divided country, tech-induced anxiety and addiction, and information overload: since 2000, these unique-to-our-time phenomena have created a petri dish of stress in the US, causing a host of emotional and physical ailments.
Here’s the problem: while the well-researched, psychological theory on attachment tells us that secure attachments to each other and to our nation create resilience to stress, our current American culture is creating barriers, not pathways, to human trust and closeness.

Meg Van Deusen received her BA in English from Santa Clara University in 1985 and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles in 1992. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults both in inpatient and outpatient settings throughout the Los Angeles and Seattle areas. Her knowledge of and passion for attachment theory, mindfulness, interpersonal neurobiology, sleep and dreams informs her belief that meaningful connection with ourselves and others helps us handle stress. In her review of the literature and interviews with researchers, everyday Americans, and clients, she has cultivated a first-hand understanding of how our current American culture is creating barriers to human attachments and, therefore, weakening our ability to handle the stressors we face today. She believes that the ancient art of mindfulness, the recent research on happiness, and the simplicity of nature can, among other things, help us build resilience and calm during a time when disconnection has us lost in a worried world.

To learn more about Meg Van Deusen and her work please visit: http://megvandeusen.com/

Dealing With Your Type-C Creative Mind: Continent and Islands


Learn more about One-on-one coaching to help understand a Type-C personality and equip you with practical tools to make yourself more productive and less frustrated with storytelling at http://www.thewriterslifeline.com/

Happy Dragon Day!

Dragons are among the most popular and enduring of the world's mythological creatures.

It's not clear when or where stories of dragons first emerged, but the huge, flying serpents were described at least as early as the age of the ancient Greeks and Sumerians. For much of history dragons were thought of as being like any other mythical animal: sometimes useful and protective, other times harmful and dangerous.  The word "dragon" comes from the ancient Greek word "draconta," meaning "to watch," suggesting that the beast guards treasure not for the hoarding dragon but instead a reward for the brave knights who would vanquish the evil beast.

Dragons, in one form or another, have been around for millennia and Dragon tales are known in many cultures, from the Americas to Europe, and from India to China. They have a long and rich history in many forms and continue to populate our books, films and television shows.

Celebrate with Linda Malcor's book series Dragonlords of Dumnonia.

Dragon Heart (FREE) 1/16 through 1/17

Dragon Sun (50% discount) $2.99  through 1/18 

Dragon Voices (43% discount) $3.99  through 1/19 

Shashtah, a veteran desert warrior struggles to become one of the legendary Dragonriders of Dumnonia.  Except the gods have other plans.  He winds up Bonded to the wrong Dragon and searching for a Wizard known as the White Wolf, who doesn’t want to be found, in a world filled with demons, elves, monsters and other magical things he’d really rather not think about.  As if that weren’t enough, the chief god decides to use him as a Prophet, which promises to be a very poor career choice since Shashtah is also special kind of half-Dragon, one known as a Dragonheart.


THE WIZARDS: Life on Centuria is filled with Wizards, all of whom attend the School of Corin to learn to control their powers. The more they learn, the more powerful they become… the most powerful of all being the WHITE WOLF.

              THE WAR: Mirari, Beings of Light, have banished one of their rebels to Centuria. This rebel, Serak, has emerged as the DARK ONE, with power stronger than even the best of wizards. In an effort to stop him, the Mirari send out their own Winged Warrior CRITON and the Elven King FARADOR. Their magic, however, is proven useless on Centuria, and all they can do is physically keep the Dark One’s forces at bay.

              THE DRAGONS: Bronze Dragons and their caretakers, the Dumnonians, traverse the land of Dumnonia -- a wasteland so barren that it is not under threat of the Dark One. In order to stay alive, the dragons receive provisions from the wealthy land of Daethia, home to a plethora of Dragonslayers.

              THE PROPHET: Shashtah, a caravaneer, bonds with a Bronze Dragon to help the Dragonriders of Dumnonia defeat the Dark One. When Shashtah’s lack of control over his own powers leads to his capture, the Dragons realize that Shashtah is untrained and severely underprepared to face the Dark One.

Source: https://www.livescience.com/25559-dragons.html

Getting Your Story Straight⁠: Plot ⁠⁠

Professional coaching tips to help you figure out point of view, structure, and master all the elements of story.⁠⁠ Learn more: http://www.thewriterslifeline.com

How to Affect Change Through Agency by Dr. Meg Van Deusen Author of Stressed in the U.S.

 How to affect change through agency

As 2020 comes to a close, some of you may find yourselves feeling weary, wary and downright impatient. You may feel weary from the months of mask-wearing, zooming, and social distancing. You may feel wary that the new administration, despite hope, will solve our 2020 problems. You may feel impatient about money, political divide and how long it will take to get vaccinated.

It’s been a long haul, my friends, and while there may be a visible light or two, we are still in the tunnel. So, what keeps us going when weariness, wariness and impatience are present? Agency. Agency is the art of picking yourself up when you feel kicked down. It is the ability to move forward when life feels like it has moved backward. It entails tuning into what’s bothering you, providing yourself with encouragement and taking action. It requires that you honor your emotions without getting stuck in them. Agency comes from a grounded, parental voice within that reminds you of your value and your ability to make a difference.

Three Steps to Recruiting Agency

1. Define a Problem You Want to Address

This step may be the easiest as our negativity bias has us more aware of what is wrong with our lives than what is right with them. Don’t make this overly complicated or get mired in the details of a situation. Simply list the things you want to make better in your life. Be careful not to dismiss any problems you think are too big or too small.

Take them seriously and take yourself seriously. For example, systemic racism may be a problem that makes you sad, a problem you wish you could impact. Instead of getting lost in the sadness, allowing yourself to feel flattened by the depth of it, put it on the list. Other possible situations that beg attention may be your financial situation, emotional distance in your romantic relationship or better physical fitness. List the problems without judgment so that, later, you can pick where to start.

2. Improve Your Self-Talk

We all talk to ourselves. Some of us are more aware of our internal dialogues than others and some of us are more critical of ourselves than others. Research has shown the way in which you talk to yourself is crucial to your well-being, including your motivation to do something about a problem. If you’ve found yourself repeatedly telling yourself things like, “You’ll never find a good-paying job,” or “You’ve done nothing with all this time alone,” you won’t feel inspired to get off the couch and make positive change in your life.

If, however, you speak to yourself with compassion and encouragement (and when I say compassion, I don’t mean condoning complacency), you will be more likely to apply for that job, study for that exam or volunteer for that organization.  Here is an example: Judy is lonely and depressed and worries about climate change. She’s unhappy with herself and the world. So, she decides to improve her relationship to herself by speaking to herself supportively. “It’s been a rough year, Judy, but you deserve better care. Let’s start by walking around the block every day to get you exercise and fresh air. You can do it, even if you feel tired.”

Another technique Judy can use to talk to herself is “self-distancing” or talking about herself.  “If Judy spends one hour a week volunteering for that tree-planting organization, she will help reduce the effects of climate change. Judy can make a difference.” Just changing how we talk to ourselves from a critical or cynical voice to a hopeful and encouraging one or from first-person language to third-person language can help us recruit agency.

3. Take Action, One Thing At A Time

In order to follow through on the behaviors that can positively impact a situation, it is vital that you learn self-discipline. Taking action works best when you are consistent. Set reminders in your phone. Time block your schedule for exercise, talking with friends, looking for a job or whatever you decided to affect.

Try not to get into a debate or discussion in your mind about whether or not it’s worth it to follow through on the action, just respond to the reminder bell or time block in a matter-of-fact manner. The phone dings to remind you to work on your resume for ten minutes, bring yourself to the task. Taking action is not about kicking yourself or threatening yourself—that creates stress in the mind and body. Instead, it is about putting an arm around yourself and guiding yourself to the task you set out to do.

When the action is repeated (for example, daily ten-minute meditations to tackle stress), it is more likely to become habit and, therefore, affect permanent change. But please don’t take on too much. One thing at a time will feel less overwhelming and more doable.

How to Affect Change Through Agency: Conclusion

I know we are all tired. We’ve had to navigate perpetually scary and painful circumstances this past year. Some of us had to find stamina when the previous three years had already been challenging. As humans, we have the capacity to be more resilient than we realize. Agency is key to developing resilience. But if you threaten yourself with pessimism and doubt your ability to make change, you’re likely to fall into complacency. Now is the time to offer yourself compassion, pick yourself up with encouragement and take action to improve your life.


Hanson, Rick and Hanson, Forrest. (2018). Resilient: How To Grow An Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness. New York: Harmony Books.

Kross, E., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., Park, J., Burson, A., Dougherty, A., Shablack, H., Bremner, R., Moser, J., & Ayduk, O. (2014). Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: How you do it matters. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(2), 304–324.

Dealing With Your Type-C Creative Mind: Age and Dreams


Learn more about One-on-one coaching to help understand a Type-C personality and equip you with practical tools to make yourself more productive and less frustrated with storytelling.⁠ Learn more: www.thewriterslifeline.com