One of the things my editor, Rene Sears, said she liked about Mind Over Psyche, is that Joshua had been thrown into totally new circumstances he can't really control. In Mind Over Mind, he was very secure in his job and his abilities. In Mind Over Psyche, not so much. I thought I'd share an excerpt from each book showing his introduction to new surroundings.
This is from Mind Over Mind, when he first starts work at South Kingston Mental Wellness Center:
He turned his attention to one of the paintings—it was like something he’d expect to see in a museum rather than a hospital—and told himself how lucky he was to have such a good summer job when most of his classmates were trying to convince people to “biggie size” their order. Meanwhile, I’m interning under a respected psychiatrist—one I’m actually not related to, for once—and I’ll make enough this summer to pay my expenses next year. I’ve got it made.Here's from Mind Over Psyche, where Deryl has accidentally transported him to another planet. (Deryl has been given some heavy sedatives, and teleported just as they were taking effect.):When Dr. Sellars walked into the room, he rose quickly and shook her hand. “Joshua Lawson, ma’am.” Rique would have teased him for that.She smiled. “Edith. I prefer to keep things informal. Are you all settled in?”“Yes, ma’am—Edith. I drove up a couple of days ago and got all moved into my apartment. Not like I had much to do; it’s bigger than the dorm, but not by much.”‘Course, not as big or nice as this room.She seemed to pick up the thought, and indicated the room with a wave of her hand. “So, what do you think?”“Pretty swanky. Kind of how I’d imagine the Betty Ford Clinic.” He could have kicked himself, but fortunately, she laughed. She pointed to the door with an open hand, and they headed to her office.“Well, our clients aren’t always the rich and famous, but they can afford some luxuries. The low intensity wings have a full gym, a pool—locked unless an employee is present, of course. But you’d have read all that already. Incidentally, you’re welcome to use those facilities in your off time. I’ll introduce you to Jean, the facilities manager, and you’ll check with her. The medium intensity wings are more restricted, of course, and the high intensity is more like what you may have seen at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo—with better quality, of course.”“Really.” He tried not to sound miffed. He’d done a lot of volunteering at the psychiatric ward there, and knew the care was sound, despite the clients’ not rolling in dough.She paused at a door with a wood plaque bearing her name, opened it and let him in first. The office was as big as his living room, and boasted a couch nicer than the daybed in his apartment. More comfortable, too, he realized as he sank into it. Edith sat in the matching Queen Anne chair.She continued. “You’ll need to keep in mind that this isn’t just a mental care facility. It’s a for-profit business. The families of our clients—and the clients themselves—expect a certain level of comfort, and we deliver that. That means top-quality care. That means a high standard of professionalism, including a strict dress code. It also means that though we’re on a first-name basis, you address clients by Mr. or Ms. until invited to do otherwise. And it means swanky facilities.” She paused a moment, as if not sure how to phrase what she wanted to say next. “I think that’s one reason your father asked me to sponsor you. This is a side of the psychiatric world he felt you needed to see. What are your feelings on that?”Joshua had to stop and consider his next words. True, he regarded his father’s few wealthy clients as high-society whiners, but he’d promised to hold off on forming opinions of the clients here until he’d gotten to know some. Instead, he sidestepped the issue. “I hope my father isn’t the reason I got this job.”
Joshua returned to consciousness fully expecting to be in a hospital bed, his slashed throat swathed in bandages, his singing career over before it had started. His hands moved to his throat, found it bare and intact and breathed a prayer of thanks before opening his eyes.He found himself on his back in a small, tree-lined meadow, but he didn’t recognize the trees.He sat up slowly, more disoriented than dizzy. Had he had amnesia? “Sachiko?” he called. “Mom? Dad? Anyone?”He saw Deryl lying on his side, unconscious. Not far from him, near a break in the treeline, stood—Joshua gulped.A unicorn!…or something like a unicorn. Its rhinoceros-like horn and thick neck and shoulders made it a far scarier version than any Joshua had read about in fantasy novels. It stared straight at them.Joshua licked dry lips. “Easy fella,” he soothed, and reached over to shake his friend. “Deryl, time to wake up.”Part of Joshua’s mind gibbered that Deryl was really psychic, that he’d teleported them to an alien planet. Another part argued that he was dreaming or had gone insane himself. He told them both to shut up, but he couldn’t stop his breathing from accelerating or his hands from trembling as he shook his friend. “Deryl!”Deryl’s eyelids fluttered, then closed.He’s drugged. Malachai’s zombiefied him again, and we’re stuck on another world!He tore his gaze from the not-quite-unicorn and shook his friend harder. “Come on, man! Don’t do this to me. Wake up!”Joshua heard hoof beats and turned in time to see several unicorns with red-clad riders approach from the trail. He vaguely noted they looked human, before his eyes focused on the swords they drew.He did the only thing he could think of. He raised his arms, palms open, and said, “We come in peace!”