Monday, December 30, 2013

Mini Review: By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson

Summary:  Half of Er’Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On the side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them.

It's called bloodvoicing. Some say it's a gift. One of the newly "gifted" wish it had never come.

Achan has been a slave all his life. Worse than a slave—a stray. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities—and a different kind of voice is calling them both.

Toward a destination that is by darkness hid.

Purchase on Amazon:

Mini-Review: Loved it!  I read it on a trans-Atlantic flight when I should have been sleeping, but I could not put it down.  Although it's the familiar "Chosen one" plot (serf boy really hidden royalty), Willimason adds wonderful details tot he world that make the story unique.  Normally, I don't like a lot of description, but she does it with great skill, and I didn't skim as I often do.  Although styled as Christian fantasy, it's a great read no matter what your faith beliefs are.  No wonder it won the Christy award.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Daughter is home! Parents coming down! It's going to be a wonderful Christmas.  I'm taking the week off, so enjoy your holidays and God bless us, every one!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Editing your manuscript: Read it backwards

Now, the fun begins! Having finished my first draft of Mind Over All and done the first read-through and edit on the computer, I am now editing the document by printing it out and reading it backwards, one sentence at a time, from last sentence to first. Why would anyone edit a document that way?

* It separates the sentence from the plot, so that your brain is less likely to fill in missing words, skip bad grammar, etc., because it's focused on the story.
* It lest you analyze each sentence for clarity and beauty.
* It makes repeated words and bad habits stand out.
* It stops you from scanning or skipping over parts you know too well.

I'm about 20 pages into my backwards manuscript edit of Mind Over All, and I've already made about 200 changes.  Give it a try sometime.  It takes a lot of time, but the end result is worth it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mini-Review: Edith Stein, An Introduction into her Life and Thought, Edited by John Sullivan


For the fourth volume in this series the Editor has chosen articles about the recently beatified Carmelite nun and philosopher convert, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross/Edith Stein. Six authors examine the life, thought, martyrdom and beatification. Included is the full text of the homily given by Pope John Paul II at the beatification ceremonies in Cologne on May 1, 1987. Homily at Beatification "For Edith Stein baptism as a Christian was by no means a break with her Jewish heritage. Quite the contrary, she said: 'I had given up my practice of the Jewish religion as a girl of 14. My return to God made me feel Jewish again.' She was always mindful of the fact that she was related to Christ 'not only in a spiritual sense, but also in blood terms.' She suffered profoundly from the pain she caused her mother through her conversion to Catholicism. She continued to accompany her to services in the synagogue and to pray the psalms with her. In reaction to her mother's observation that it was possible for her to be pious in a Jewish sense as well, she answered: 'Of course, seeing as it is something I grew up with.'" 


 I enjoyed getting the different perspectives on this complex saint.  It's more academic in approach than many saint books I've been reading, and is better for someone who is familiar with her life or has already read a comprehensive biography.

Buy it on Amazon:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Excerpt from Mind Over All: Joshua plays the Organ

I'm doing the first edit on Mind Over All.  It's slow going because of work, but overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the story.  In this one, the planets Kanaan and Barin are going to collide, and Deryl has to find a way to stop that from happening. Meanwhile on Earth, Joshua's mother is dying from the same disease that killed her father.  Joshua is home for a few days because she's in the hospital and they aren't sure she has much time left.  As usual, he's turned to music for stress relief.  In this scene, he's playing the big organ at church, working on a composition that might be his mother's requiem, when Deryl shows up out of the blue.

Joshua slammed his fingers on the keys of the upper and lower manuals of the grand church organ, and the chord blasted through the pipes—heavy, minor, anguished.  He let it hang, and then played five notes on the choir—why why O God why?—slowly at first, building momentum, increasing in speed until the notes tripped on each other, spilling into new notes.  Those notes growing in number and intensity until a crowd of music cried in grief.  Then: a single note, high and clear, rises above the rest, pleading, asking for…
His hands froze.  His fingers didn’t know what to play next.
Joshua thumped his elbows on the keyboard, making it blare, and buried his face in his hands.
“That’s an interesting ending,” someone behind him said.
Joshua gave a start.  He’d thought he was alone.  He wiped his face with his hands, hoping the person would notice only his sweat and not the tears.  “It’s a work in progress.”
“I didn’t know you could play organ.  Is it more difficult than the piano?”  The person climbed the short steps and sat on the bench beside him.
Joshua glanced at him long enough to take in the dark hair, brown eyes, and short sleeve polo that was totally wrong for the freezing weather outside.  “Sorry.  I’m…tired.  Do I know you?”
The man laughed as if he’d played a great joke.  “Seriously? A new hairstyle and contacts, and you don’t recognize me?  Maybe I should go harass Malachai next.”
“Malachai?  Dr. Randall Malachai?”  Something clicked in Joshua’s overwrought brain, and he gave his visitor a closer examination.  Blue eyes for brown; long blond hair, add a slouch that came from years of resentment and lack of self confidence… Could it be?  Despite his prayers, he couldn’t believe it, and yet…  “Deryl?” he whispered.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Loving The Next Phase of My Life

This is my Christmas decoration outside my cubicle.  Yes, the Wreath of Khan.
What's awesome is my coworkers get it.

Sorry this blog is late, but I've been busy! On Nov 25, I blogged about how we live up to 7 different "lives" in our lifetime, and as you know if you read it, I am entering a new life this year, that of a staff writer for a reviews website.

November 25th, in fact, was my first day at work writing for Yep, if you want to know what the best products on the market are and why, you might actually be reading my work.  It's a cool job.  We are given a type of product (like e-readers or toasters or business websites) and we find the most popular products, study them and test them when we can, then review them on the website.  Along with that, we tell you our criteria for evaluating the product and write some educational articles that apply to the products.  It's a useful site and quite a moneymaker, too.  We also go back and refresh the reviews periodically to add more products, re-evaluate, make sure the information is up-to-date.  Companies let us know if they've improved products, too.

It's interesting to learn about different products, even if they're portable air conditioners (my first assignment.)  There are lots of people with more experience with the products, plus a cadre of experts in the company I can call on, too.  In addition, I'm learning some tricks to help me in my writing career.  For example, did you know that while briefer is better, too brief a blog hurts your SEO?  350 is a good minimum word count.  For maximum, the rule of thumb is "Don't make them scroll down more than once."  I'm also getting lots of practice using the SEO words and phrases while still making the flow conversational.  As I learn other general SEO tips, I'll share.

The people are a lot of fun to work with.  We're divided into what I call "cubicle farms" of 4-6 people per farm.  I got in the quiet farm, but I'm by the hall across from the chatty group.  The first day, they discussed Lost; the next day featured a demo on how Riker gets in and out of his chair.  They've got a long conversation going on top celebrities, complete with charts.  It's great, because I can lean my chair back and kibitz, but when I lean toward the computer again, I've got that barrier and can concentrate.Another nice thing: as long as the work gets done, fun is encouraged.

I'm even getting into the little things about work: dressing up, putting on jewelry...all the stuff I never cared about when I was working before I had kids.  (Of course, I was in the Air Force, and it was a different environment.  I'm really in my element here.)  The thing I like most, though, is knowing I'm employable. After 20 years out of the workforce, I seriously thought my only options were freelancing or waitressing.  It's nice, too, that Rob can have some breathing space to find a job he'll really enjoy (or stay home, take care of the kids and continue the consulting work he's doing now.)  He took such good care of us for 25 years, I like giving him that.  (And I like leaving the kids and house to him.  He's better at it than I am in several areas.)

I'm still writing books and stories. I have an article and a reprint of "Christmas Spirits" coming in Voluted Tales this month, and a DragonEye novella coming in January in Midnight Diner.  I also write for  More on them later, when they launch their site.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying clocking in, doing what I love--writing and researching--and clocking out to come home to my family.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

An excerpt from *I Left My Brains in San Francisco* concerning bridges

In  Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator: I Left My Brains in San Francisco, I wrote about a bridge that was badly constructed.  It was tarted on each end of the bay and didn't meet in the middle.  I figured I was writing fiction, then I saw this photo in a blog on 31 building mistakes. I had to share!

They were coming up on the I-80 Bay Bridge.  Neeta followed Ted's pointing finger to the blocked-off exit beside the original bridge.  Beyond it was a beautiful and abandoned stretch of highway that ended abruptly to start again, closer to San Francisco. 
"Hey!  That's where I'm supposed to make my appearance for Zehedron Hummers!  That's kind of weird."  Neeta said.
Ted switched the radio to the GPS-Guided Tours station.
"If you look to your right, you will see the famous Broken Bridge.  The Broken Bridge was started in 2037, a joint cooperative between the State of California and the Cities of San Francisco and Richmond.  Federal highway monies were allocated to the state, which in turn divided it between the cities.  Each city hired its own contractor to complete its half of the bridge.  Part of the Commission of Highway Expenditures And Programs Initiative, the plan would have saved the governments hundreds of thousands of dollars, except that fifteen months into construction, it was discovered that the two halves of the bridge would not meet, but in fact miss each other at a height difference of over sixty feet.  Two months later, an agreement was reached with the Roadbuilder's Union to halt construction with only one hundred and two feet of linear distance left to connect the two halves.
"Currently, the Supreme Court is trying to unravel the myriad of suits and counter-suits as both cities, the state, the companies, and the Roadbuilder's Union, plus the Association for the Prevention of Stupid Government Spending, sue each other over the errors.  In the meantime, the bridge has become an important cultural and events center, with the cities of Richmond and San Francisco renting out their respective halves of the bridge in order to recoup some of their financial losses and legal fees.
"Designed to withstand even a 9.8 earthquake, the Broken Bridge would have been a marvel of engineering, had it been completed.  It is visible to east-bound traffic on I-80, as well as accessible for westbound traffic in San Francisco.  We hope you will return later to admire this testimony to the Ingenuity of Man." 

Find Neeta Lyffe: I Left My Brains in San Francisco on Amazon.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Mini Review: St. Clare (a Short Biography) by Joan Mueller, OSC


St. Clare is a much-loved figure in Catholic sainthood, although less known than St. Francis of Assisi. These two figures were critical to the renewal of the Church in their time, and their work has implications far down the ages, to our present time.

St. Clare: A Short Biography looks at the founder of the Order of the Poor Ladies (now the Order of Saint Clare, commonly referred to as the Poor Clares), a monastic religious order for women in the Franciscan tradition. It considers the woman who heard and chose to follow Francis rather than marrying a young and wealthy man as her parents wanted, who moved to the church of San Damiano and then drew other women to a place known for its radically austere lifestyle. Most of all, the book reflects her theology of joyous poverty in imitation of Christ, and her willingness to follow the call of Christ.

This is an introductory portrait of St. Clare beyond the common perceptions, with the spirit of Franciscan practice implicit throughout the work. St. Clare: A Short Biography highlights the relevance of this pivotal saint to our lives here and now.


 Excellent book for middle grade and teen readers as well as adults wanting an interesting glimpse into the mind and actions of this saint who followed St. Francis.  I especially appreciated the summaries from the original documents of her canonization, which had many personal stories of her life.

Buy it on Amazon:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Prayer of Thanksgiving
  Walter Rauschenbusch
O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

 From Living God’s Justice: Reflections and Prayers, compiled by The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How Real World People Lose Weight: Johnny Cash Returns!

You know, the nice thing about being in a loosely structured class like circuit training is that there's a lot of opportunity for fun, and I'm very blessed to have a trainer like Ryion Butcher who is all about making it fun.

Now, music is a big factor in working out.  It can drive you to push harder or it can slow you down.  Sometimes, it can drive you away.  Some of us older crowd have issues with the angry rap or the pop music.  when it's a big group, we make some compromises, usually good-natured mocking or "Ryion, please skip that song!" variety (and usually we all agree on those).  One gentleman, Bill, who is an absolute riot anyway, has been for a month saying "We need Johnny Cash!" and everyone laughs it off.

Last Tuesday, however, it was just him and me, so when he suggested Johnny, I wholeheartedly agreed.  After much laughing at us, Ryion found it on Pandora.  Burning Ring of Fire!  Ghost Riders in the Sky!  It was awesome.  These are the songs I grew up with, and I could still sing them all--or as much as I could sing, considering I was pushing level 8 on the treadmill.

Ryion has indulged us with Johnny and friends all week.  It was the most fun--and apparently, it bumped up my performance.  I lost another two pounds this week.

Wanna see me lose 10 pounds in 30 seconds?  It's all in how you hold yourself.

15-Jan   22-Nov total loss

weight 169 144
25 lb dec
body fat 38.5 33.2
5.3 dec
chest 38.7 34.7
4.0 dec
bust 41.1 37.7
3.4 dec
waist 39 32.9
6.1 dec
hips 42.8 37.7
5.1 dec
abs 42 37
5. dec
thigh 22 22
no change
calf 15 14.2
.8 dec
bicep 11.6 11.1
.5 dec
forearm 10 9.2
.8 dec
neck 15 13.7
1.3 dec
Total loss

27.3  inches

For those who never had the treat of hearing the Master of Country Music, here's "Walk the Line."

Monday, November 25, 2013

How Many Lives Have You Lived?

There was an interesting "article" hopping around Facebook about how we in reality have many lives.  The idea is this:  It takes 7 years to master something, so if we live to be 88, that's 7 chances to do something useful and unique--a "life" if you will.  However, too many people get stuck in one life because they are afraid to die to it in order to be reborn.  As an example, someone graduates high school and goes to work in a factory, and never aspires to do anything else and is afraid to retire--or spends retirement wasting away because their purpose is gone.  Or someone who for some reason has lost a "life" and is paralyzed by the memory of what they had rather than seizing the opportunity to do something new.

One thing I'm enjoying about my husband, Rob, retiring is how he's embracing that opportunity to start something new.  He's even thinking in terms of multiple "lives":  "I'll do this until the kids are all on their own, then I want to try..."

It got me thinking, too, what my lives have been.  I will say I've master nothing, but I have done a lot:

1. Air Force Officer--1980-1993 (if you include ROTC)
2. Full time mom--1993-2018 (when Liam heads to college)
3. Homeschooling mother--1991-1997
4. Writer--1996-present
5. CWG Officer--2005-2013

One thing for me, at any rate, is that my lives run concurrently instead of sequentially.  However, that could be why I feel I mastered none of them as well.  And yet, thinking about each of these as a kind of life, it makes it easier to let go of those years with a feeling of completeness.

Right now, I don't feel the need to change anything until 2018.  If I have more lives, what would I do with them?  I'd like to learn to cook--really cook gourmet style.  After that, I just don't know.  The nice thing about writing is, each book is its own life.

IRONY ALERT!  I wrote this blog 2 weeks ago. (I try to do these in advance when I can.)  So, seriously, my biggest vision of "next life" was cooking.  Then, a recruiter for TechMedia found me on LinkedIn and offered me a full time job.

I was not looking for a job.  I have been increasing my freelance work, but a full-time, office job?  It'd have to fall out of the sky...or maybe into my in-box.  However, I am keenly aware that the best things in my life are the things that "happened" rather than I planned or pushed for--so when I was asked to apply, I went for it.

Long story short, I'll be writing reviews and website content for, full-time, at their Ogden office, with steady pay and a nice benefits package.  Today is my first day.

How about you?  What lives have you lived?  What might you do in your next "life"?  How open are you to the opportunities you never expected?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ten Things Zombies are Thankful For

Folks on Facebook re dong the 30 days of thankfulness.  What would zombies be thankful for?  I've asked Undead Fred to help me out.

1.  That my legs are still attached.  Fingers would be nice, too, but you can't eat brains unless you can catch the felling human.

2.  That my sense of smell has disappeared.  Yes, I'm aware I smell of filt, disease and decay, but it now, I can live with it.  No...wait...

3.  I am no longer worried about my appearance.  It's so freeing to no longer have concern about body image.  Of course, the irony is I can eat as much as I want and never get fat now, either.

4.  Life is simpler now.  Shamble, groan, chase, eat.  I don't even need my cell phone...though I do miss Angry Birds sometimes.

5.  Still being able to vote.  Come on, doesn't that explain a lot?

6.  I don't have to work anymore.  Yep.  If I want to spend a day laying in the sun, decomposing, I can do it.  No boss, no deadlines, no meeting where I felt half-zombie anyway.  Just me, the warm sun, and the occasional rat or crow.  And maggots.  Maggots are a nuisance, but not every paradise is perfect, right?

7.  No more debates!  No more discussing politics, worrying about defending my religious choices...  Yeah, I still get a look of revulsion, but that comes with the territory, and a good long groan and a shamble in the person's direction usually takes care of the problem.

8.  I no longer have to worry about taxes.  Or death for that matter. 

9. I never catch a cold or worry about my allergies anymore.

10.  Braaaaains!

NOTE:  This is a reprint from my post on Girl Zombie Authors.  It's a fun blog I do with multiple writers.  Check it out.

Monday, November 18, 2013

New Cover for Infinite Space, Infinite God I

Hey, my old anthology is getting a new look!  Check out the awesome new cover art for Infinite Space, Infinite God!

About ISIG:  This was Rob's and my first anthology to be published in paperback (Leaps of Faith was our first, but only in e-book.)  The cover art was commissioned, but because of some issues and a time table for the release date, our publisher used a different cover.  She always loved this one, though, so she held onto it and finally tweaked it to the awesome you see now.  (The issues were more background than the art itself.  The artist had such fun--some of the characters in the procession are the writers in the book!)

If you have never heard of ISIG, here's the synopsis.
Come explore the worlds of “Infinite Space, Infinite God.” Meet genetically engineered chimeras and aliens who wonder what a human religion holds for them. Share the doubts, trials and triumphs of humans who find their journeys in time and space are also journeys in faith.

Experience spine-tingling adventure. Marvel at technological miracles--and miracles that transcend technology--and meet the writers who made a leap of faith and dared to incorporate familiar religion with fantastic universes.

"What a great book! ...stories that are well crafted, compelling, and fun!" ~ Br. Guy Consolmagno SJ, astronomer at the Vatican Observatory and author of God's Mechanics.
It's a great idea for Christmas for the SF fan who is Catholic or is interested in exploring faith in fiction.  Check it out at .  It's available in paper or electronic.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

On alien marriage, sex, and Mind Over Psyche

Recently, I had a reader express some concern because two of my characters in Mind Over Psyche "had sex when they weren't married."  The fact it, that's not actually the case--in fact, the two were more married than any humans can be, just not in our human sense of the world.

In Mind Over Psyche, my main character, Deryl, a psychic from Earth, falls in love with Tasmae, an alien from Kanaan. The Kanaan are a psychic people, and I had a lot of fun exploring what that concept means. This is a world where people don't need to explain--they share their knowing.  Those Kanaan with names (like Tasmae) get them only from other species (like humans) and only use them for others' convenience.  You don't have to explain what a person looks like to identify them; you don't give directions.  You just open your mind to the concept of that person or place and the other can know it as you do--or at least, with as much detail as you want to share.

Falling in love isn't the same process of meet, get to know the person, discover compatibility, take the plunge that humans do and sometimes fail at.  When you meet your potential mate, you simply know.  And once you give into that knowing, marriage is an inevitability.  When you bond with that person, it's not just relationship or physical mating--your minds join as well.

So, the Kanaan would never understand casual sex because they don't separate physical and the mental/emotional.  So when they mate, it's the whole package and it is for life.

Further, when their minds have joined in the mating process, everyone will recognize it.  On a psychic level, your mate is with you all the time.  (Secrets are not easy to keep.)

Finally, the Kanaan have a different relationship with God than we do.  It's more direct and more natural.

So what this means for a Kanaan marriage is there's no need for a ceremony.  They don't have the need for a contract, public display of their promises, or even a sacrament as we understand it.  God has made them to join together for life, and when they have joined, it's mind, body, and soul, and everyone knows.

Deryl is human, but psychic, and wants to be part of Tasmae's people, even without being in love with her.  As a psychic, he feels that same pull to bond completely as well, and, as Tasmae tells him before they join, "You are Kanaan now."  He's gone native.

The entire "sex scene" consists of four words: The Two were One.  It's true on a psychic level.

I explore this a little more in Mind Over All, when Joshua and Sachiko, both human, visit Kanaan to help with a small problem of stopping another planet from crashing into Kanaan without killing everyone on both worlds.  (Heckuva vacation, huh?)  They're engaged and going through some rocky times, and the Kanaan just don't get why they aren't mated already, which is really frustrating to Joshua because if he had his druthers, they would be.

Check out Mind Over Psyche on Amazon:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mini Review: Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader by Carmen Acevedo Butcher


“Humanity, take a good look at yourself. Inside, you’ve got heaven and earth, and all of creation. You’re a world – everything is hidden in you.” –Hildegard of Bingen

She was a Benedictine abbess, artist, composer, dietician, naturalist, poet, traveling preacher, mystic, and political consultant. She was a self-doubter with acute certainty in a merciful and mysterious God; a gifted healer who suffered from illness her whole life. Meet the incomparable Hildegard of Bingen. Nourishing, challenging, and idea-bursting, her writings will stir and awaken your soul.

This essential reader captures the vibrant spirit and intelligence of Hildegard with selections from her songs, theological texts, liturgical music, and letters. Combined with an introduction to Hildegard’s life and era, a map of Hildegard’s Germany, chronology, and a thorough bibliography/discography, Hildegard of Bingen provides the ideal introduction to the thought of this fascinating medieval mystic.


I've been reading a lot of books on saints, but this one stands our because of the great love the author shows for St. Hildegard.  Butcher brings poetry and a mystical quality to the biography, which is fitting as Hildegard was a mystic and a poet as well as an abbess.  Most of the book is dedicated to St. Hildegard's writings translated into English.  Butcher puts the same effort in translating the saint's works as she does in the narrative.  Good reading all around.

Order it on Amazon:

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Let's Push a Planet! A Scene from Mind Over All

I'm charging (or more realistically, walking) toward the ending of Mind Over All, the third book in the Mind Over trilogy.  Deryl and Tasmae team up to save their world, Kanaan, and the neighboring world, Barin, from crashing into each other.  For millennia, Tasmae's kind have done this by psychically pushing the other planet away, but that won't work this time for reasons you can read in the book.  Instead, Deryl needs to come up with an alternative.  He'll create a way to direct Tasmae's "push" to guide Barin into a stable orbit.

He didn't just think this up.  Tasmae sends out a physic push, which he interrupts, but not soon enough to keep it from damaging Barin if it hits the planet.  He teleports there and in the heat of crisis, comes up with a plan:

It’s not a gravity pulse, the scientific knowledge Deryl had absorbed on Earth told him.  Otherwise, the effect would have been instantaneous.  It’s a force, a targeted force.  Force can be absorbed, deflected, dispersed…
I’ll make this right, Deryl told Alugiac.  Get out of here.
Despite being on his knees and wheezing, Alugiac argued.  What?  What can you do?
The ground shook, nearly knocking Deryl off his feet.  With instincts acquired from his bond with Tasmae, he reached into Barin and drew the energy of the earthquake.  Rather than sending it elsewhere, however, he pulled it into himself.  His muscles shivered, a strangely pleasant sensation.  The ground below him stilled.  He stifled a laugh Alugiac wouldn’t understand.
Alugiac coughed and wheezed.
You can’t help me, Alugiac, and you can’t help them if you die here.  Trust me and get out of here.
When he had left, Deryl pulled off his shirt, wiped his eyes with it, and tied it around his face, covering his nose and mouth.  It didn’t help much, but enough that he could concentrate. 
Five minutes.
Dispersing was not an option; he didn’t even know how he’d do that.  How long had it taken Tasmae to absorb the energy she then sent on a collision course?  He already felt a little shaky just from what he’d pulled—was still pulling, he realized—from Barin.
Four minutes.
Deflect, it is.  And Barin, if you want to survive, you’re helping me.  Deryl called upon Tasmae’s memories and his own experience with Kanaan and opened his mind to Barin. 
Where Kannan had been furious tyranny, Barin was panicked anarchy.  Ironically, Deryl’s confidence rose.  How many years had he dealt with the anarchy of thoughts impressing upon his mind?  The unorganized sensations of a planet struggling not to be torn apart?  Walk in the park.
Deryl braced his feet, splayed his hand palm downward, and sucked the energy from Barin. 
When Deryl had first been learning to control his abilities, particularly to deal with the legion of impressions coming at him from others around him, Joshua had taught him to shield himself from the mental/emotional aspects.  Over the past year, he’d taught himself to filter those aspects out.  It was energy, all energy, pure and neutral, like food once through the digestive tract.  Now, he applied the same skills to Barin, stripping away the pain of the turmoil, taking the energy into himself, storing it, letting it build.  The tremors under his feet stilled.  The waves crashing against the rocks calmed.  The wind that drove the poisonous air against his makeshift mask quieted.
In response, Deryl’s breathing accelerated, his blood raced, his stomach churned.  Adrenalin coursed through him, making him shake.  He ignored it, pulling further on Barin, reaching into the ground, through the air, and to the ley lines that arched weakly overhead.  A detached part of his mind worked physics problems of angles and forces.
Sheilds?  Ha!  The key to his sanity lay in creating shields—barriers against unwanted thoughts and emotions, clumsily erected until Joshua and his neuro linguistic programming style of psychology had taken him at his word that he was truly psychic and helped him create stronger, more clever shields.  Then again, training on Kanaan, training under Salgoud in anticipation of a Barin attack:  manipulating energy to protect himself, then Tasmae, gradually expanding…
He could do this.  It was just a matter of size and energy.

Get Mind Over Mind and Mind Over Psyche on Amazon.