From WIP Wolves’ Masquerade

Hello everyone!

Today is Book Quote Wednesday, and the keyword is “Test.” Here’s a sample of my work-in-progress, a non-fiction book titled Wolves Masquerade that has a simple (but important!) test that you can do yourself.

The book is nearly completed and I hope to get it our later this year. – Wendy

Remembering Martin Luther King Day

I was not old enough to participate in any of the civil rights activist work of the 60s, and although my family was sympathetic my mother was extremely ill and my father worked two jobs to pay the medical bills. I was born in 1955, and so I was 13 years old in 1968 when Dr. King was shot. I remember it clearly: my family admired the man and his work, and we were absolutely devastated by his loss. I was, at the time, a northerner: I had been born in Western Pennsylvania and was raised on Long Island in New York. I went to school during times when racial tensions ebbed and flowed. Busing affected the school district where my father taught, and he was the teacher that got the minority students, from Inwood, NY, that they bussed into a wealthy Jewish school district. Dad made it a special point to bring these young children up to grade level and treat them with honor and respect. They felt so out of place; but he did the best he could to make them feel welcome and get as good an education as he could provide.

We were not like many of our neighbors who moved out to Long Island because of white flight from New York City. When we moved to Lindenhurst we were actually fleeing from the shunning we got in the mostly Orthodox Jewish community of Cedarhurst where we lived near my father’s job. It was also an area which also had a smattering of Catholics who were at least higher up in the pecking order than us and treated me miserably as a child.

So we moved halfway out onto Long Island because we wanted a place where we fit in. As far as our white dominated society was concerned, we were not prejudiced against black people but looking back on it we were totally blind to their lack of inclusion in society. That lifted, slowly as we saw things like Charles Schultz make his courageous stance that he was going to include his black Peanuts character “Roosevelt Franklin” whether a bunch of papers canceled his comic strip or not. Racial breakthroughs came in sports (Jackie Robinson), on television (Bill Cosby), and in more and more professions as time went on

And I cheered out loud when I saw first network television all-black add that had been put together by black ad agency, I remember it clearly: it was for brown sugar (Domino brand, I think) and had a lovely black couple singing and dancing in their kitchen with the tagline of the husband saying “My sugar sure can cook!” while looking admiringly at his wife, and she held up the brown sugar and said to the camera, “So can mine!” This is what we’d been missing, and I wanted more of it. At first, my family and I didn’t know what we were missing, but we wanted more. It actually pains me as a Christian to hear black friends say things like the cartoon show The Jetsons was terrifying to them because it showed a future without black people.

So on this Martin Luther King Day song I learned in Sunday school as a child kept running through my head. “Red and yellow ,black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the children of the world.” There is also scripture verse that applies, Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Neither is there black or white. We are all one in Christ Jesus.

I think Dr. King would’ve been pleased with the Black Panther superhero movie – I certainly was, because I saw that inclusion was finally reaching the mainstream at last.

It’s funny. Somebody asked me if I lived in integrated neighborhood, and I had to think about it. South Carolina has a half black and half white population. My neighbors aren’t black or white – they’re just neighbors, and I guess in the 70s people would’ve called it integrated.

Nowadays, I just call it home.

A&A places in 2020 Preditors and Editors poll

For the first time ever the magazine I edit, Abyss & Apex, has placed in the P&E poll, in several categories. 

Our short story “Factory Girl” tied for 4th place in Steampunk. 

And Wendy S. Delmater tied for 6th place (with four others) for Best Magazine/e-zine Editor.

(We did not suggest A&A be nominated or voted for in the Poetry Magazines/e-zines category, because we are not exclusively a poetry magazine. But we note that the zine that won for Best Poetry only has partial poetry content, so we’ll suggest that category to our fans next year, too.) 

To put it mildly, the staff and I are chuffed. 

Book Quote Wed., keyword – “ragged”

Here’s a scene from my finished science fiction novel, The Sands of Mime. It will be part of a duology and I’ll shop it once the second book is done. Writing a chase scene in a flooding slot canyon was fun!


Dust and wind swept past Don and Effie as they ran under darkening skies. Misty rain started to shine on the rocks of the desert canyon.

He heard thunder in the distance, thought of the weather report he’d seen, and grimaced as they pounded down the narrow cleft. The rain came down in drops now, slowing them as it accumulated under their feet. Sheets of water splashed down the canyon walls, growing in strength and volume. The rain started to pound.

Effie looked back past him, the fear naked on her wet, determined face – she had to know what the rising stream and cascades meant. Ominous as it was, if their pursuer didn’t know the reason a slot canyon had smooth sides, well, Don decided they could use that. If he and Effie could find a way to climb, if they left the pirate in the slot, a flood pushing rocks up to and including giant boulders would be forced through this narrow defile.

But no handholds, Don noted in despair as his calves sloshed through rising stream at the floor of the canyon. No handholds: the unclimbable walls continued to be cut smooth by previous floods, with the added hazard of being wet. And, in his case, no hands to hold with: Don struggled with his partially-cut bonds as he slogged forward, his breath now coming in ragged gasps.

He nearly slammed into Effie when she stopped suddenly at a narrow cut in the wall, the site of a sudden spectacular waterfall. There were some boulders wedged above the streaming cut; an agile person could climb above the floor here, if they weren’t washed away. Don tried not to think of the force of a flood that could propel boulders the size of the ones wedged above them.

There. His hands were free.

“Hold on, Eff.” He surprised her by grabbing her by her sopping waistband and swinging her up onto the top of a boulder. If she could climb that wet, thin-cut channel she’d probably be up and away from the torrent he knew was coming. He tried shimmying up the same rock chimney, but the thing was too narrow and he slid back down with a thud.

“Don!” Effie yelled over the sounds of rushing waterfalls and more rain.

“Climb, dammit!”

“But what about you?”

“In a minute!” He rubbed his sore wrists frantically, kicked off his wet shoes, and tried climbing again. Over the pounding rain he yelled, “Get as high as you can!” Someone grabbed his bare ankle with a snarl. The pirate.

Effie shrieked, a high piercing sound like a sharp whistle.

“Effie! Climb!

For Book Quote Wed, Raw scene from MIME

At about 1 AM Claire and her cleaning crew were leaving by the front door of her restaurant because the area around the back door, frankly, looked unsafe to her. Too many places to hide in the dark around that door, she thought as she locked the storefront behind her.

“See you tomorrow!” Claire waved as all three of them piled into the autotaxi they’d called. Her auto-t was just pulling up.

The car’s mechanical voice asked, “Fitzgerald?”

“That’s me…I mean, yes.”

“I am carrying another fare,” the car informed her. “Is that acceptable?”

Claire hesitated. She had not been able to see that through the silvered windows. “I guess so. I mean, yes.” You had to be so careful to be specific with the damned AIs.

The back door on her side opened. There was a largish red-haired man in neat business attire seated on the other side of the back seat, doing something with his link, oblivious to her. She shrugged, and got in.

The auto-t accelerated smoothly, almost as smoothly as the other passenger used what had looked like a link to spray something cool on her face.

Claire lost consciousness almost immediately. Her last, waning thought was that maybe the back door alley would have been safer.

Then, oblivion.


Claire awakened very slowly from being drugged. Air puffed on her face from a grille in the wall. She was lying on some sort of bunk in a very small metal room. She tried to get up. She could sit but not stand yet. Still woozy. Queasy.

Perhaps the room was monitored, because a few minute after she woke, the door opened. An armed guard came in. He didn’t look military to Claire, but he did look like he and his huge gun meant business.  

“Where am I?” She asked him.

No answer. Stony silence.

Another rabbit of a man entered the small room, taking up most of the rest of the space. This turned out to be a medical person who checked her over perfunctorily, ignored her questions, and left. He seemed afraid.

The silent guard stayed; the door remained open with tantalizing views of a slightly-curved corridor. Where was she? There was a faint hum of some sort of mechanism in the background. The air smelled a bit stale, and of machinery and…paint? And humanity.

Rapid footsteps approached. A very plain older woman in a tattered black jumpsuit glanced at the guard and passed him. She seemed afraid, too. She had a similar jumpsuit over her arm, and a tray of very plain food in her hands.

“Where am I? Who are you people?”

The guard gestured with is gun, and the woman all but dropped the clothes at Claire’s feet and spun—never taking her eyes of the guard—to place the food tray on the bunk, the one flat surface in the room. She choked back a sob, and backed out of the room. Claire could hear her running down the corridor.

Not good. This was not good.

Claire looked around, really looked around for the first time. Her link and her bag were nowhere to be seen. Her shoes were missing.

The guard stepped just outside into the corridor, still visible and watching her, but doing something with his link. Behind where he’d stood in the room, Claire’s eyes focused on a glass covered cabinet, marked “Emergency Oxygen.” She put the clues together: curved corridor, mechanical hum, stale air, emergency oxygen, metal room.

She was in a spaceship. She was in space.

The guard finally spoke. He pointed at the clothes heaped on the floor with the tip of his gun as he said, “Put those on.” His voice was guttural, accented. He indicated the tray of food in the same menacing way. “Eat that.” As an afterthought, he added, “It helps nausea from the drug.”

He closed the door.

Claire got up and walked shakily to the door, leaning against the walls as she went. It was locked. There were scratches in the metal near the latch, as if someone had been trying—and failed—to get out.

She couldn’t handle the food yet, but she didn’t want to tangle with that guard. She supposed she’d better put on the black jumpsuit. It wasn’t prison orange, at least.

On the other hand, maybe it was worse.


Here’s what’s in the January 2021 A&A

Issue 77:  1st Quarter 2021

“Surrogates” by Wendy S. Delmater

“Hellhound, Housebroken” by Gerri Leen
“Melton’s Jam” by A.W. Marshall
“Three Hundred and Sixty-Four Hand-Tied Knots” by R. Y. Brockway
“The Golden Rays of the Morning Sun” by Marc A. Criley
“Control State” by Michael Stevens
“Tell Me Half a Story” by Jennifer Lee Rossman


“Introduction to Poetry,Issue 77 (includes the poem ‘Space Mission’)” by John C. Mannone)
“After the Singularity, the Programmer Goes for a Walk” by Stephanie Yue Duhem
“Web Breaker” by Lisa Creech Bledsoe
“Apnea” by Oliver Smith
“Blue Planet, 1990” by Elizabeth J. Coleman
“Nykken” by Nikoline Kaiser
“The Wound Beautiful” by Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios
“One day, they say I will fly. But not today” by Babo Kamel
“The Beasts Are Gods” by RK Rugg
“Tweetstorm” by Louis B. Rosenberg

A&A Reviews: The Garden at the Roof of the World by W.J.B. Williams
A&A Reviews: Knight and Nightrider by J. Kathleen Cheney
A&A Reviews: Anthems Outside Time by Ken Schneyer

Adventures in Housekeeping (spiders)

My online friend, prolific writer Barbara Avon, showed us all her pet’s new terrarium. Now, I’m not much of an arachnid lover, but boy did that remind me of a good story.

Betsy’s terrarium

You see, I have relatives in Florida. One of them related this to me, so it’s 2nd hand, but they swore it was a true story.

A friend found a way to keep their house free of Palmetto bugs (a polite thing to call the huge, enormous cockroaches Florida is famous for). She was not afraid of spiders, so at night they gave their pet tarantula the run of the house. In the daytime it reposed in the bathtub of an unused bathroom, and they just closed the door. Her mother hated spiders, and would always have a broom with her to keep the thing at bay when it went on its nightly rounds. Not how I’d’ve kept the bugs at bay, but it was organic, natural, and it worked.

The only time it did not work was when they had a party and some poor guest, looking for an empty bathroom, was sitting there doing her business when this monstrous spider came crawling up over the edge of the tub. I understand they discovered this when the woman came running down the hall while pulling up her pants and screaming. (I know I would have screamed!)

Fast forward to a few years later when they were selling the house. They were moving up north and no longer needed the spider. A combination of not finding a new home for it and very nasty house buyers made them decide to just leave it in the house for the new owners to find. Ouch.

Barbara will take better care of her Betsy, I just know she will. In fact, here’s Betsy’s new terrarium.


There’s no place like home.