#bookqw – BDTE

The above quote is from my nonfiction book, Better Dating through Engineering. The book is aimed at women dating in midlife.

There is also a Better Dating through Engineering for Men. The target audience is also midlife dating, but this time for the poor beleaguered males of the species!

I know for fact that this book has resulted in marriages, and I’ve done all the hard work for you: things like cost-benefit analyses and reviews of the various dating sites, and a simple spreadsheet that will help you keep track of it all. Get yours today!

For #bookqw – a WIP excerpt

The book quote Wed. keyword is “Dread,” so here’s something finished I’m sitting on. I’ve been working on this novel on and off for 15 years; it was done at about 60K words 2 years ago, but I will be shopping it as part of a duology and the second part is not ready yet. There’s a bit of the romantic subplot in this section. Enjoy!

…Then Fort got to the heart of the matter. “About the police investigation, then. I think you’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve managed to get the detective on the case to work with one of the inventors of the Netts, Dr. Don Lawrence, to see if that was a cause of the recent tragedy.”

“Good idea. Riparian has already run through things with our experts, of course, but Lawrence would also be a logical chap to help him.”

“Right.” Their experts? March Enterprises’ and Kempcon’s experts? And that Alliance detective had had the audacity to complain to Fort about a MimeCo having possible conflict of interest?

Collin was reaching to this turn off his link. “And remember, Mr. Stark, the police are telling everyone that I’m dead. They hope that if the killer thinks I am out of the way he or she will make some other move than another attempt on me. Please, for my safety, don’t let it slip that I am still alive, especially to the press.”

“You bet.” Fort broke the link.

“The police think Collin was the target?” Alix hadn’t been out of earshot, she’d merely been out of Collin sight. She yawned. Fort got out of his chair and gestured for her to sit down. She sat bonelessly on his sofa. And then she yawned again. “Sorry. It’s just that I worked at the hospital last night. And I’d heard about a possible Sanding death, but not about March falling ill. They must’ve really kept a lid on that.”

He stood before her, wishing he was better with women. “Do you want me to fly you home?” Say no. Please stay a while.

“Maybe I should go.”

“Do you want something to eat first? I have some Mrookri and a cactus salad. Not much of a breakfast, but Claire made them.”

She nodded and sat a little straighter. “If you don’t mind. I’m starved.”

He grinned and turned on his heel, heading for the kitchenette and some of the food he’d brought back from Darryl’s. From around the corner he asked, “Iced tea with that?”

“No, I’m fine.”

A few minutes later he was seated next to her on the office couch and they both dug into their impromptu breakfast. It was remarkable that they could even have a conversation in the middle of all this. At least it took his mind off the disaster.

The food gone, she leaned back into the cushions of the sofa and, not coincidentally, against his arm. “You…” she said, shyly, “we’ll get through this.”

Well, that was encouraging. As she rested her head on his shoulder he held still, resisting a desire to pull her close. He’d let her set the pace. She snuggled a bit closer. After a few peaceful moments she looked up and found him watching her. She didn’t look away. He found himself sinking toward her lips-

Metal screeched outside and they both started at the noise. They heard a strange rumbling. Then silence.

After that, footsteps. They stood. Fort went to the door while Alix went to look through the adjacent window. A knock at the door was followed by a Netted head poking in.

“Good, you’re awake.”

 Alix blushed and stood still. Dr. Gasparelli paused in the doorway, obviously not expecting to see her there. Then he shrugged, stepped inside, and began speaking before they could ask him about the strange sounds that had heralded his arrival.

“You aren’t going to be surprised, I suppose, that MedGalaxy is using this as a reason to leave Mime?” Fort nodded and Alix reached for the doctor’s windbreaker, but Gasparelli hung it on Fort’s one empty door-hook, not seeing her hand extended. “Here’s your surprise then, Fort. It’s wrong, but they feel they can get away with it, legally.” The doctor unhooked his Nett and shook out his speckled hair with one hand. His jaw was clenched.

Fort’s dread grew. “Legally,” he repeated.

I just heard about the emergency administrative meeting last night, after it was over. MedGalaxy has decided to pull out, yet they are still charging MimeCo for the three-year balance of their contract. I checked for myself; on a technicality, they actually can. Unbelievable.”

What?” The rough monetary figure they’d be demanding spat itself out of Fort’s unwilling mind. It would more than ruin him, and destroy the planetary economy. Could his lawyer forestall it?

Gasparelli was grimly sympathetic. “I know, Fort, I know. Their position is blatantly unfair, and perhaps that’s partially my fault. The faction that opposes my work is in power now, and they suggested it. They’re after me, not you. I’m not sure what I can do to help, but I need to stop them if I’m to continue my research with the Sands. So. I suggest we work together.”

from THE SANDS OF MIME – Wendy S. Delmater

A Christmas Story

It was Christmas Eve 1942. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.

We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Daddy wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Daddy to get down the old Bible.

I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Daddy didn’t get the Bible instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon he came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now he was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew he was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my coat. Mommy gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn’t know what..

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Daddy was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Daddy pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed.

“I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.” The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high side boards on.

Then Daddy went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. I asked, “what are you doing?” You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. Mrs.Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” he said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.” That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, he called a halt to our loading then we went to the smoke house and he took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

“What’s in the little sack?” I asked. Shoes, they’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Mrs.Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Daddy was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was he buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?” “Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

Mrs. Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Mrs. Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Daddy said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then he handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at my Daddy like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” he said. Then turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.” I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Daddy handed them each a piece of candy and Mrs.Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of my Daddy in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Daddy had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Mommy and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Daddy insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. My Daddy took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Daddy and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door he turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven. It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Mrs. Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles. I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold.

When we had gone a ways, Daddy turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your Mother and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough.

Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your Mom and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Daddy had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. He had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Mrs. Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, Whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside of my Daddy that night. He had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life..


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“After Wendy went through my piece, I found something i was missing; confidence.” – Mike M., who received an edit as a Patreon reward. Here are some more writers happy with my work: https://wendysdelmater.net/testimonials/

Let me turn your manuscript into a marketable book or story. Contact me at wdelmater@usa.net

And it kept getting worse. So…

Here’s a poem from my chapbook, Plant a Garden Around Your Life. The Book Quote Wednesday keyword is “Stone” and you’ll see how that fits if you dive in. Worth the read. #bookqw

Plant a Garden Around Your LIfe by [Wendy S. Delmater, Elisabeth Kitzing]


A Glorious Day

The car broke down in the snow

North of New York City.

Didn’t sleep at all last night,

‘Cause I worked my second job

Typing transcripts

‘Til the sun came up.

I worked all day, then headed north

To Westchester County,

To college.


And it really was a glorious day

A memorable one

Looking back on it now.


So the damned overheat light

Glowed bright on the dashboard

Of my seventeen-year-old car.

It was after nine o’clock in the evening

And I was stuck on the Hutchinson River Parkway

In the middle of Scarsdale,

With no credit cards,

No triple-A,

And $2.49 to my name.


And it really was a glorious day

No matter how bad it sounds

Looking back on it now.


I said a quick prayer

A compassionate stranger stopped

Prayer must work, ‘cause he loaned me ten bucks

To get home

And a flashlight

To find the problem.

The problem was that

I needed my radiator replaced.



Catchin’ a cold,

With sleep deprivation,

Stone cold broke

And out of options –

As I eased the cooled-off car

Up the exit ramp,

Stopped at a pay phone

And called my sister.

As usual.


But it really was a glorious day

No sarcasm intended.

I’ll always remember it that way.


The State Trooper was kind enough to wait

For the tow truck to come

And then he dropped me off at a motel.

And off he drove

As I discovered

That the tow might take her VISA by phone

But motels do not.

Unless my sister’s card could be run through their machine,

I was out of luck.

It’s 11pm, and a mile and a half

From the nearest train station.

It starts raining.


But it really was a glorious day

I know you don’t believe me at all

Yet I think back on it fondly.


If I am careful I should have enough to get home

A taxi to the railroad is too expensive.

Walking through the six-inch slush,

On my way to Metro North,

I figure I can spend a dollar on something to eat,

But nothing’s open.

So I caught the last train to Manhattan

(Oh, God – its warm, I can sit!)

And fell asleep is if drugged.

On an empty stomach.


But it really was a glorious day

(Wait, it gets better)

A wonderful memory on my life.


I scared the train cleaner

Half to death

In the bowels of  Metro North’s station.

It seems I never heard them pull into

Grand Central Station.

I wonder why.

Let me out of here –

I still have to catch a train to Long Island.

Yes, I know I shouldn’t be back here.

No, I don’t have a pass.

Can I go now?


It truly was a glorious day

One I shall recall fondly

For the rest of my life.


One vendor was open

A Snickers bar

Is better than nothing

On an empty stomach, right?

I took the subway to Penn Station

And just missed the last train

To Long Island.

There was one at three in the morning.

I’ll wait.


The Long Island Railroad makes you

Change from an electric train

To a diesel one

At Babylon Station.

The hell with it.

I’ll take a taxi

From Babylon to Bay Shore

Rather than wait another 45 minutes.

There’s my driveway,

And if you don’t take a check you can throw me in jail,

As long as it has a bed.

I’m calling in sick tomorrow.


But the glorious thing

Was to be able to quantify

Something that I had never been able to isolate before.

I was miserable.

I was tired.

I was unhappy.

But I was not depressed.

My condition had responded to the medication.


Depression is not sadness.

Depression is not tiredness.

It is hard to put into words,

But I never would have been able to describe it at all

If it had not been for

That glorious day.


Wendy S. Delmater

Juggling, and the holidays

It has come to my attention that normal working people, in other words those who did not work from home until the pandemic hit, had a great deal of trouble fitting in all the “extras” that the holiday season seems to insist on us performing on top of their regular duties. Even if we no longer put up elaborate decorations, send Christmas cards, or do a lot of visiting, there was still a strain on the budget and on your time for the absolute holiday necessities… To which you could add guilt for not doing all the other things you thought you ought to be doing.

As someone who quit the 9-to-5 rat race 12 years ago and is now self-employed I can imagine the pain of the newly-working-from-home dealing with the unexpected insanity of trying to have themselves a Merry Little Christmas on a nonexistent time budget. Working from home is a lot like being self-employed. A wise person once described self-employment as the following: you get to work half days, and you get to choose which 12 hours! From the outside people think that working from home means you have unlimited time and extra leisure. The reality is anything but.

First of all, there are distractions. If there is one thing I miss about my former life is a wage slave it was the fact that occasionally I could go to an office and people would actually leave me alone and let me work. Those of you with children who are also home have discovered just how distracting they can be. If you’re a frustrated homemaker you have discovered that working-from-home does not mean extra time to do decorating and crafting projects. Far from it. Housework, it is said, will expand to fill the existing time allotted for it. It is also an excellent distraction from the work you should be doing for your employer.

You see, there is the matter of no one being at home to push you – except yourself. If you were already a self-starter this might not be much of an issue for you, but if you miss the structure of the workday and the work week it might be huge deal. Writers (and editors – I’m both) are familiar with the term “cat waxing” to describe doing stuff you don’t really need to do to avoid doing the stuff you don’t feel like doing. Yes, gentle readers, that is my favorite term for our human tendency use busywork to avoid things we don’t wanna get to.

Add to this what many people are discovering: some bosses assume that since you were commuting to work and you’re now telecommuting, you have more time. Plus some bosses seem to think you’re probably goofing off so they must ride herd on you to make certain you’re not a slacker. Example: one of my sons was doing 14-hour days when he started working from home due to Covid-19. He’s managed to get it down to 12 hours a day. The boss thinks this is perfectly reasonable, but he wouldn’t if my son were showing up at an actual office. My son longs for the good old days of reasonable office hours.

Some of us may not get those employer offices back, either. One of my sisters (recently) and my brother (three years ago) were told that they would be working from home from now on. Neither employer wanted to pay for office space that now seemed an unnecessary expense. (Note: post pandemic office spaces will be harder to rent.)

My third sister in Sweden and I have been working from home for quite some time. She’s a musician and music producer, and – like me – has trouble fitting everything into a normal day because we’re ambitious and work hard. Add the holidays to that and where do you fit in the baking, the parties (Note: no more office parties, at least not this year for my siblings in America), the gift-buying, decorating, etc.?

So here’s the solution most of the people I know who are working from home during the pandemic are coming up with. They pare down family traditions. They buy baked good instead of making them. They buy gifts online (some places will even wrap them for you) and have them delivered instead of visiting. They don’t just do Zoom meetings; they Skype or use Facebook videochat, or WhatsApp to visit with family. They isolate themselves further.

All of the above are good coping mechanisms, up to a point. But take it from me, you’re not going to be satisfied with the lack of human contact if this goes on for too long. Trust me, I’ve lived it. People need community, friends, family. The sooner things get back to us being able to interact safely, the better. And if your job has become telecommute only, there go many friendships where you ate lunch together, any chances at an office romance. (God – this is taking me back to when I went to college online! Talk about lonely…)

I guess what I am trying to say is that you’re now also going to have to WORK at having a social life and human contact.

As if you’re not busy enough. Merry Christmas.

For Book Quote Wednesday: CRUSH

This week’s #bookqw “Word of the week” is crush. I knew there’d be something that involved crushing in my poetry chapbook, and I was not disappointed. This is an excerpt from a larger poem titled “Adjustments” which is all about dealing with being healthy, for perhaps the first time in my life. I have, of course, moved on from there… but it was quite a turning point.

The book makes a great Christmas gift for someone you love, or you could buy it for yourself.