Episode 08 – What I write about

I’m late, I know. I had to check the URL that I included in the cartoon. This is both a true story and a bit of shameless promotion for a project that has become near and dear to my heart. Coming Together is a series of erotica anthologies put together and sold for charitable causes. I have a story in Coming Together: With Pride. The proceeds go to AVERT.org to support HIV and AIDS research. There are a number of other books in the series, some of them award winners, all of them good anthologies put together for good causes. You can find out more at the Coming Together website. Alessia Brio, the editor, will be a guest tomorrow night on Passion Internet Voices Radio. That’ll be at 9PM-11PM EASTERN time. She’ll be playing audio excerpts of some of the stories, including mine, and some of the writers will be joining her for interviews. If I still have a voice tomorrow after fighting with a nasty cold, I’ll be there.

I’ll get to work on another cartoon right away, I promise. It looks like it’ll be a couple more weeks before I’ve got a website set up for the cartoons, but once it’s up, I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

Episode 07 – More Freaks vs. normal moms

Does this sort of thing really happen to me? Yes and no. I’ve done the stand up and announce I’m an erotica writer bit, but most people don’t seem to want to confront me about it. Apparently I intimidate a lot of folks. I have no idea why. I’m a really nice person. I am. Stop laughing. I know where you live.

I noticed today that Google’s Picassa will not put these toons in order, so if I’m doing a series, like I am right now, they’re going to be all jumbled up. But that’s okay. I’ve taken steps toward getting a web comic account set up, and by next week, I should have a page dedicated to just the comic strips. I’ll link to that page from here and from my erotica website, and probably from my podcast, so that wherever people find me, they can go look for the comics as well and find them all in one place. The web comic page should have a nice archiving function that will let people scroll through the comics by calendar dates. But that will happen next week. For now, enjoy the mixed up mish-mash on Picassa!

Episode 06 – Of freaks and “normal” mommies


True story!  This has actually happened to me on a couple of occasions.  Thus I no longer join mommies’ groups.  Not that I don’t have a mommy posse.  I do, but we’re all too weird to be a proper mommies’ group.  We’re more like a murderous gang of heathens and freaks.  Seriously, don’t piss any of us off.  We might have to rub you out.  Or else let Mary jab you with a hypodermic needle.  She’s a nurse, she can do that.  She can give you a colonoscopy too, so watch it pal…

Episode 04 – Just Another Day In The Office

We had a fun weekend at La Casa Madden. On Saturday morning, after going through karate and swimming lessons, Cassie suddenly came down sick – temperature of 103 degrees, chills, sore throat, aches and pains. I promptly put the Princess to bed and babied her with juice, sherbet, Disney movies, whatever would keep her content while she rested. She puked once, all over the couch and herself, and complained of being cold and unable to sleep, but otherwise she was okay. Well, not **okay** okay — she was looking pretty pale and scrawny — but I knew with enough viewings of Beauty and the Beast, she’d live.

Cassie’s illness sort of threw all our weekend plans into a tailspin, however. We missed her best buddy’s birthday bowling party that afternoon, and I have heard nothing but, “But I wanted to go bowling!” and “I LOVE bowling!” ever since. Cassie doesn’t even know what bowling is, but man she sure wanted to go to that party. Michael did get some house work done that he’d been planning, but since I spent so much time tending to Cassie, my plans to rapidly accomplish my work went down the tubes real quick. Tasks that should have taken an hour tops took five. I just couldn’t concentrate when all I could hear is this tiny, whiny little voice in the background going, “But I LOVE bowling!” Mary, if you’re reading this, we are taking the kids bowling SOON. Otherwise I may just have to throw myself through a window to escape that sound.

So I was all discombobulated as usual this weekend… the weekend that I had to proof my final novel galley, the weekend that I had to do up promo materials for a convention I’m headed off to in a few days, the weekend I had hoped would go so smoothly. Nothing new. Just another day in the office.

Episode 01 and Welcome!

Welcome to ‘The Adventures of Cynical Woman!’ This is the official home for the Cynical Woman cartoons, written and drawn by Helen E. H. Madden. Basically, this is my life as a stay-at-home mom and erotica writer. If you like the cartoons, feel free to print them out or pass them on to your friends. These cartoons are protected under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. That means you can share it, but you can’t sell it or take credit for it. Thanks!

The Origins Of Cynical Woman

I have a secret to confess. I am not the original Cynical Woman.

Are you shocked? Don’t be. Cynical Woman is a title I inherited/borrowed from a friend of mine way back when. Many, many, many moons ago, I was a young college student studying communications at Virginia Tech. I was also a cadet and an ROTC scholarship student, but those are miseries we’ll discuss in later entries. As I was saying, I was a young Hokie working hard on my degree and in desperate need of a social life. Being the geek/freak that I am, I joined VTSFC, the Virginia Tech Science Fiction Club, and proceeded to meet a wild assortment of characters, including a charming young woman named Joelle. I do not use the word charming lightly. Joelle originally haled from Atlanta, Georgia, and was as close to a Southern Belle as anyone I’ve ever met. She had style, grace, good manners and enough attitude to power all five computers currently running in this house, which is funny because computers and Joelle never really did get along.

So I met Joelle and we very quickly became good friends. She was working on her master’s degree in entomology, the study of bugs, and did cool things like make pets out of giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches (while still maintaining that wonderful Southern Belle attitude). Unfortunately for Joelle, life was not always easy. I think she had more than her fair share of bumps trying to get through grad school. She was supporting herself and paying for all her courses, which often stretched her finances thin. She worked an assortment of jobs to make ends meet, and did them all very well, but usually only got paid crap for them. She rented a small room in an apartment that was quite frequently mistaken for a landfill. Her room was clean, but the rest of the place was a dump. And she had problems with friends who turned out to not be friends, thesis advisors who stabbed her in the back, etc., etc., etc. I won’t go into too many details because a lot of it is quite personal and much of it is not pleasant, but I will say that Joelle survived in spite of all the garbage that was dumped on her by her graduate department, minimum wage jobs, and assorted aggravating room mates and faux friends. In fact, she did quite well, although there was always something coming up to cause her trouble even after she graduated and moved on to bigger and better things.

Through much of this, I had the pleasure of being one of Joelle’s friends. I can remember several lunches, usually held as some fine but affordable dining establishment located somewhere in Blacksburg, where we’d sit and discuss our woes (I had my own problems with being a cadet and an ROTC scholarship student, but again, we’ll save that for later). What I remember best is that after detailing her latest crisis, Joelle always said the same thing. “You know Helen, just when I think things are going well and everything is wonderful, something really crappy happens, and then Cynical Woman raises her ugly head and says ‘I told you so!’”

And that’s where Cynical Woman came from. It wasn’t until a few years later that I myself started to use those same words. “And then Cynical Woman raises her ugly head…” By then, I was dealing with my own crappy minimum wage jobs, assorted aggravating room mates and faux friends and I so totally understood what Joelle meant. You think things are going okay and you start to feel happy and kind of nice and then life jumps up and bits you in the ass. Only the way Joelle said it sounded so much nicer. Cynical Woman. It just had a nice ring to it, so I adopted the title and developed the persona to go with it. And I have to admit, being Cynical Woman has served me pretty well these last few years, especially when my life has been at its worst. Anytime I’ve been hip deep in agony, I’ve always been surrounded by a bunch of Pollyannas who try to tell me that life is great, things are going to get better, God has a plan for me, etc., etc. Well I know better. Life isn’t always great. Many times it down right sucks, and I’d much rather be Cynical Woman and know that life is going to hand me crap than be all perky and obliviously happy and then get kicked in the teeth when things go bad. Some people think that’s a horrible attitude to have, but I say it’s realistic, and being realistic means I’m always prepared for when things go wrong.

So whatever happened to Joelle, you ask. Where is the original Cynical Woman now? She’s in Bangkok, Thailand, a place she went to pursue her dream job and live an exotic, adventurous life. Of course, they’ve just had a military coup over there and everything’s in a sort of uproar. As Cynical Woman would say, “It figures.”


Artwork from yesterday. More torsos. I’m getting better at it, I think.

Torso studies, 19 September 2006