Practicing Drawing – Lovely Ladies

So I mentioned the other day that I was going to start blogging about my drawing practice. I honestly don't believe I do enough drawing, and I want to change that. I have several books in my library that offer exercises for drawing and doodling, and so I've decided to work through at least part of each book and share the results here.

The book I'm starting with is Craft-a-Doodle by Jenny Doh. I love doodling. It's a painless way to practice drawing because I don't feel so emotionally invested in the process of drawing, yet once it's done, I'm usually pretty happy with the end results. I think it's that idea that “it's just a doodle” that allows me to relax and draw. Unlike when I'm working on the webcomic. I tend to get way too tense and judgemental then.

I've worked my way through the first chapter in Craft-a-Doodle. Each chapter is made up of prompts and exercises by a different artist. Chapter one offers exercises by Cori Dantini, including drawing faces, owls, and flowers. The exercises are pretty straight-forward, but the results are great! Here the doodles I did for this chapter:

Lovely Ladies

Lovely Ladies







I drew these on my iPad, using Paper51. It's a nice app with some decent natural media tools. It's not the best app for drawing, but it does have the advantage of a notebook format, allowing me to keep a group of drawings together.

I plan to work through the next chapter over the course of the week, and have another update next Tuesday!


We interrupt our regularly scheduled webcomic for an announcement!

Under normal circumstances, this would be where you’d see the weekly episode of “The Adventures of Cynical Woman,” the always-exciting webcomic about my life as a geek mom. But today, I’m sharing something a little different!

As many of you know, November is the month for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. During NaNoWriMo, writers all over bang away at their keyboards in an effort to churn out 50K words in one month, in the hopes of having the first rough draft of a novel which they can then edit into something actually readable during the rest of the year.

I am not one of those people.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo before, and I think it’s great. There’s something truly awesome about giving yourself permission to pull out all the stops on a project that you’ve always wanted to do. But I don’t want to write a novel this year. I’ve written novels before. And while I enjoy writing, for various reasons, it does not make me a lot of money. But there are other things that I do, and enjoy, that do make me money. So I am hereby announcing my personal pull-out-all-the-stops-to-get-it-done-in-November project.

It’s “Make an Evil Etsy Shop Month” (or MEESMo) here at!

I actually started this over the summer, laying claim to the name “Cynical Woman” for the shop and starting up a profile. Then last month, when the Hubster was furloughed, I cancelled plans t go to all but two conventions this year and started working on patterns for some small toys I knew I wanted to sell online. Things sort of stalled, however, as other things in life (Girl Scouts, the kids’ school, etc.) reared up.

Then NaNoWriMo crept up and I realized that while I did not want to write a novel, I did want to work away at a project that was JUST FOR ME during the month. And I thought for a couple hours about what I wanted that project to be and I decided that I was going to get an Etsy shop set up this month even if it killed me (or caused me to kill someone else). So on Friday, November 1st, I went to the bookstore and picked up a copy of “How to Sell Your Crafts Online” along with “How to Make Money Using Etsy” and I got to work.

So far, I’ve polished my profile page and put together a GORGEMOUS avatar for myself…

Etsy avatar


I also put together a banner for the shop that I think sums up what I plan to sell pretty well, which is evil hand-made toys.

I'm on Etsy, making evil!

Love me, love my Etsy banner!

The next step will be to create my store policies and figure out how I want to handle shipping. While I do that, I’ll keep working on my first few toys I want to sell, then photograph them and list them on the site. I’m hoping that before 15 November, I’ll have my first items listed for sale. It won’t be much, but the store will be all set up and ready for me to list more items once I get to that point. Then I’ll settle down and work on making more evil stuff just as fast as I can!

If you want to see how the shop progresses over the month, the URL is At least I think that’s the URL. Every time I plug in that URL, Etsy changes it to something else and I get either my profile page or a preview page of stuff I can edit for the shop. So do me a favor, okay? Go check out that URL and let me know if it works! Testing my links is part of this month’s MEESMo goals.

Anyhoo, I will keep you all updated on the progress of the Etsy shop, either here or on Twitter. You can follow me on twitter at @Cynical_Woman. Now I’m going to get back to work on my Etsy shop. MEESMo HOOOOOOOO!!

I will be reading at Literary Foreplay in NC this weekend!

Erotica author Beth Wylde has put together a terrific reading event in Gibsonville, NC, this Saturday, featuring a number of erotica authors (including yours truly!). Here are the details if you’d like to come!

Literary Foreplay: An afternoon of HOT erotica
July 24th 2010 2PM-6PM

Summer is here and the temperatures are steaming but we’ve found a way to get you even hotter. Want to turn up the heat? Ready to sweat? If so, we’ve got the event for you!

Join local erotica writers for an afternoon of literary foreplay in Gibsonville, NC on July 24th 2010 from 2pm – 6pm as they read from some of their yummiest and naughtiest stories. Join hostess Beth Wylde and La Fortress owner Adventureseker with readings scheduled by:

Beth Wylde
Nobilis Reed
Oceania Monroe
Jhada Rogue Addams
Helen E. H. Madden
Qwillia Rain
Yvette Hines

and possibly more……….

$5 cover charge at the door gets you into the erotica reading session plus the author Q&A as well as time afterwards to purchase autographed copies of some of the hottest erotic books you’ll ever get your hands on. The $5 cover charge goes to benefit La Fortress, the club that has graciously supported the kink community for so many years. It’s time to give back. Seker does so much!

The readings will be done in the dungeon. Afterwards there will be the regular Saturday night play party at 8PM. The play party is a seperate event and a seperate cost, so be sure to ask Seker about that when you RSVP for the reading.

The first 20 people that bring a friend with them will receive a free book courtesy of Bold Strokes Books or Torquere Press.Their choice as long as supplies last. Beth will also have her goodie basket with her full of free swag bags for everyone and special treats for those who purchase a book from her.

Please RSVP for a seat and directions with Adventureseker at:

I will be there with copies of Future Perfect to sell, plus more books from the other fine authors at

50% off today at All Romance eBooks and Omni Lit!

I just read over at Smart Bitches/Trashy Books that All Romance eBooks and OmniLit are offering a promo code for 50% off all books through midnight tonight, 31 January 2010, 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time. It applies to every, EVERY book they have for sale, including the ones written by yours truly. So, whether you want to buy MY ebooks or browse for ebooks in general, hurry over to ARe and OmniLit today! Use the code SBTBARe1 at check out.

Visit All Romance eBooks or OmniLit and get shopping! And if you are so inclined, you can find all my books on ARe at these URLs!

Demon By Day –

Future Perfect –

Welcome to Mundania –

Diablo –

Man in a Kilt –

Rapacious Mrs. Horner –

A Room with a View –

Coming Together: With Pride –

Remember, use the code SBTBARe1 at check out. You can get more details on this sale at Smart Bitches/Trashy Books. Enjoy your books!

Friday Round Up

I’ve had so much going on lately, I thought I’d post a few links to let you know where I am and what I’m up to. Enjoy!


Future Perfect was reviewed at Coffee Time Romance! I got 3 cups out of 5; not the top rating, but the reviewer did make some very nice comments, including…

“I loved this story! The sex scenes were amazing, the shared memories were very erotic, and the lesson learned was extraordinary. This tale was just perfect.” (for the story Alienated)

“I loved this tale! The emotional upheaval that Marnie’s ex-girlfriend caused with her vicious words shows realistic sensitivity in Marnie. I feel that Sal’s abrasive manner is perfect when handling the emotional woman. This was a fantastic story.” (for the story A Fish Tale)

There were several other nice comments like this as well. If you want a good idea of what the book is like, I do suggest reading this review. Again, Future Perfect only got 3 out of 5 cups, but with comments like these, I really can’t complain! And if you’d like to pick up a copy to read yourself, you can get Future Perfect right here!



Future Perfect was also reviewed by Bitten By Books, and this time got 4 tombstones out of 5! My favorite comments here include…

“A wholly new take on the story of the birds and the bees! The author takes the idea of the circle of life, the pollination of flowers, and turns it into an erotic male/male romp that you won’t believe.” (for the story The Honey Bee)

“Election Day will never be the same after reading this enticing and sexy short which gives a whole new meaning to making the candidates earn your votes! So much political humor wrapped inside this that I couldn’t stop laughing.” (for the story The Voting Booth)

A very nice review, and my thanks to Bitten By Books!


Welcome To Mundania makes an appearance on Babbling About Books, and More! The cover art for Welcome to Mundania puts in an appearance in a blog post entitled WTFckery with the following comment…

“Whoever created this cover was dropping acid or the reader has to to the same thing or swallow some LSD tabs to figure out what this cover is. Maybe this cover will help you reach nirvana in your life? All the pretty colors… ooh… trippy..

If you follow the link in the comment, you end up at yet another blog, Kris ‘N’ Good Books, which also gives the cover art for Welcome To Mundania a good once over. Honestly, I love both blog posts, and couldn’t stop laughing when I read them. The cover art was designed to have an acid trip effect. It’s actually based on the artwork for the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast, which is where these stories first ran. Heat Flash tends to be experimental, and the artwork was meant to reflect that. Anyway, I loved reading the comments and made sure to thank the blog owners, since they gave my book a great deal of exposure 😉

Welcome to Mundania is available at!


Beyond that, it’s Friday, which means I’m over at Oh Get A Grip today, blogging about charity. Also, the latest episode of the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast is available today. This week’s story is a very dirty m/m/m/m/m take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Enjoy!

Writing Wednesday – Kathleen Bradean talks about writing and kids!

If you’re a regular reader here, you know my life centers around two things – my family and my writing. The kids keep me especially busy, and it’s been tough over the years to figure out how to balance my work with my maternal duties. But it can be done, thus proving in at least one instance you can have your cake and eat it too.

Since you’ve all heard me rant before about my life as an erotica writer and stay-at-home mom, I thought I’d give someone else a chance to talk about the topic today. Someone truly talented who also deals with some of the same things I deal with. Today’s guest post is by one of my favorite erotica writers, Kathleen Bradean. Take it away, Kathleen…


Many years ago, I was dropping off eldest daughter at her grandmothers for a meeting of their mutual admiration society. I had a list of errands to run, so I was in a hurry. Not M. Oh sure, she wanted to see Nana (and had been bouncing in her car seat the entire drive over chanting “Nana, Nana!”) but on the porch, she stopped and squatted down.

“Potty?” (Children teach you concise dialog)


There was a double lane superhighway of ants streaming from the camellia, across the porch, and into the tangerine tree. Sure, I’d seen them, I guess, but who pays attention? Little kids do. The big details of the world – like how clean clothes end up in their closet or how rent is paid – are of no interest, but the tiny details loom large. That’s something a writer has to relearn. Characters are about the small details. Does your character hide her almost completed copy of the New York Times crossword in her nightstand drawer when she brings a date into her bedroom? Or does she kick her t-shirt under the bed real quick? Does someone have to open her medicine cabinet to snoop, or do they merely have to poke over the clutter around her sink?

“Honey, please don’t put the hair clippy on kitty’s ear.”

“Why is Barbie’s head floating in the toilet?”

If you ever despaired that every possible combination of words has already been used by other writers, kids will show that isn’t true. All kinds of seemingly unrelated words can be strung together in a sentence that has never been uttered by another human, and make sense (in context). Even if a dozen writers wrote about Barbie’s head floating in their toilets, the stories would be different. If they all used the same words, the combinations would still be unique.

While visiting my niece, I was ordered to join her tea party. M was never into that, and either was I when I was young, so my imaginary tea party skills were lacking. My niece glared at me. “You’re doing it wrong!” I apologized profusely to my hostess. Then I knocked over the tea pot and set it upright. My niece crossed her twiggy arms over her chest. “Aren’t you going to wipe that up?” My sister snickered in the other room.

Pink power is intimidating when wielded by a three foot nothing towhead. Even something mundane like sipping air tea and munching invisible cookies has an underlying wealth of imaginary detail. The problem was that I couldn’t tap into her vision of what we were doing. That, and I didn’t clean up my spill. A writer can’t expect readers to mind read. The scene has to be set, the important details conveyed. Otherwise, your readers will be at an entirely different tea party than your characters. It doesn’t matter if they envision the table cloth as a different color than you did, but it does matter if the tea party is high tea at the Four Seasons, or a cuppa with the neighbor while the kids chase the dog across the yard.

The good thing about all this is that you don’t have to have kids of your own to learn these lessons. We think we don’t have time to squat down and watch a line of ants on the porch, so we put blinders on and ignore it. Yes, we have to focus on rent and laundry, but take time to see with fresh eyes the stuff that you usually ignore. We may be in the same world, but oh, how very different it is from a shorter perspective.


Award winning author Kathleen Bradean’s stories can be found in The Best of Best Women’s Erotica 2010, The Sweetest Kiss, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 9, Zane’s Sensuality – Caramel Flava II, Broadly Bound, Where the Girls Are, Coming Together Against the Odds, Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades, and many other erotica anthologies. Read her reviews on EroticaRevealed.Com and Erotica-Readers.Com. Or let her seduce you 140 characters at a time on Twitter at Visit her blog at, and find her stories in these anthologies:

Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica

Sensuality: Caramel Flava II ( Anthology)

The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 9

Best of Best Women’s Erotica 2

Writing Wednesday – The Gift of the Magician

In light of the upcoming holiday, I thought I’d offer up a Christmas story this week. The Gift of the Magician originally ran on the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast in December 2007. For more info on the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast, visit Free erotica stories in MP3 format every week, folks! Don’t say I never gave you anything 😉

The Gift Of The Magician
by Helen E. H. Madden

“Merry Christmas, lover!”

Backstage at the Mercury Theater, Trixie kissed Hocus-Pocus Henry. Her eyes shone brighter than the spangles on her threadbare costume as she handed the magician a long, flat box. Greta the Great lit a cigarette and groaned.

“You actually bought that fraud a present?”

Trixie ignored the grousing matron. “Open it!” she squealed to Henry.

“Here? Now?” Sweating, Henry peeled back the wrapping and gasped. “Is that…?”

“The Saw of Sergei the Severe!” Trixie exclaimed. “He used it to cut up Madam Splatvatsky! Do you like it?”

Still stunned, he nodded. “It’s wonderful! But how did you afford it?”

“She sold her wardrobe,” Greta answered, flicking cigarette ash in his direction. “Waste of money, if you ask me. **You’ll** never get that thing to work.”

“He will too!” Trixie snapped. “Henry’s worked real magic before!”

Greta scoffed. “So he pulled a rabbit out of his ass.”

“Can you do it?” Trixie demanded of her.

“No, but I can buy a present for my assistant.” Smoke streamed from Greta’s nostrils. “You get Trixie **anything** this year, Henry?”

“Um, it’s at home…”


As Trixie rushed to his defense, Henry vanished from the theater. Outside, he checked his pockets. He found his wand, a deck of cards, and smelly rabbit’s foot, but no money.

“Well then,” he said, gripping his wand. “I shall conjure up a present using this!” He hurried off to Prophetic Pawn.

That evening, Trixie appeared on stage in a brand-new costume. The skimpy outfit dazzled the audience as she stepped into the magician’s box.

“You can do it!” she whispered to Henry as he closed the lid.

With trembling hands, he shoved the saw through his lover, slicing her in half with the serrated edge. When he was done, he flung open the lid. Trixie waved from the box as her legs hopped out and paraded across the stage. The crowd roared with delight.

Trixie stuck out her tongue at Greta as an elated Henry carried her offstage. “Told you he could do it!” she quipped.

Greta sneered as Trixie’s capered past. “Whatever!”

Back in their dressing room, Henry set the bisected woman on the couch.

“For my next trick, I will need my lovely assistant!” He knelt at Trixie’s feet and pulled off her sequined panties. She giggled as he buried his face between her thighs, and then reached for Henry’s erect cock to work a few magic tricks of her own.

Two hours later, Greta banged on the door. “Henry! Are you two done in there? It’s closing time! Quit fucking around and put that girl back together.”

“Certainly!” he called back, a grin plastered across his sticky face. “All it takes is a wave of my wand…”

His smile faded as he patted the pockets of his tux. “My wand… my wand… oh shit.”

“What’s wrong?” Trixie asked. She struggled to pull the panties back up her legs.

“I need my wand to put you back together.”


“I, uh, pawned it to buy your costume.” Henry dropped onto the couch and hit his head against the wall. “Shit, shit, shit.”

Trixie sighed. “Oh Henry.”

The Gift of the Magician, by Helen E. H. Madden, copyright 2007.

Win a Sony e-Reader from LL Publications!

LL-Publications is giving away a Sony PRS-300 E-Reader to one lucky customer!


LL-Publications is one of the publishers I work with, and we’re doing a big push to get the word out on this. So, how do you get a shot at winning this lovely, lovely e-reader? Simple! Every purchase of a Logical-Lust or LL-Publications book (ebook or print, short story or novel) between 12th Dec 2009 and 12th Jan 2010 gets you an entry into the draw for a SONY PRS-300 EBOOK READER! The more titles you buy, the more entries you have and the better your chances!

Here are some of the features of the SONY PRS-300:

• Lighter than a typical paperback weighing just 220g the new ultra slim Reader Pocket Edition™ is designed to fit in your bag or pocket – take it with you wherever you go
• Elegant lightweight design with front aluminium panel in a choice of new colours to suit your own personal style
• Easy to read 5 E Ink® Vizplex™ paper-like screen has no backlight or flicker so you can read for hours – even in direct sunlight and at virtually any angle. 8 Levels of grey scale gives ultra fine text detail
• Built-in 512MB memory easily stores around 350 eBook titles so you can carry all your favourite thrillers biographies or romantic novels on-the-go
• Long battery life with 6 800 continuous page turns from a single charge – enough to last up to two weeks and get you through the longest journeys
• Compatible with the industry standard ePub and PDF formats

Impressed? The PRS-300 retails at £179.99UK/$199.99US, but could be yours for the price of an e-book (which is one heck of a bargain, I might add)! What are you waiting for? You don’t even have to buy the book(s) directly from LL-Publications! Our books are available from AllRomanceEbooks, OmniLit, Bookstrand, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, and a whole load more online retailers. Just email your purchase receipt to editor(at) before 13th Jan 2010 to validate your entry.

Contest is open to US and UK/EU residents only. No maximum number of entries. There is no cash equivalent or alternative prize. Entrants must be aged 18 or over. Eligibility period is from 12.00am 12th Dec 2009 to midnight 12th Jan 2010 US EST.

Not sure what to buy? I could make a couple recommendations…

Future Perfect: A Collection of Fantastic Erotica

Welcome to Mundania – buy all four stories in one colleciton, or get them separately! Really, however you like!

Seriously, you NEED to do this! Just buy an e-book and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Free Read – Torch This!

I could swear I posted this story before to the blog, but for the life of me I can’t find it now. So here it is again, the only fan fic I ever wrote, Torch This! I’m posting this in conjunction with my post on Oh Get A Grip tomorrow, about sequels, prequels, and fan fiction. Enjoy the tale!

I am not a fan-fic writer, nor am I the creator of any of the characters who appear or are mentioned in this story. Not even Mary Sue. Any resemblance between this story and actual fan-fiction is purely coincidental and highly unlikely. I’ve got nothing but love for fan-fic writers — only a very dedicated and talented group of writers could create some of the tales I’ve read — but I’ve also got an evil, twisted imagination and I cannot resist a joke.

To paraphrase Senator Mon Mothma from ‘Star Wars – A New Hope’:
“Many plot bunnies died to bring us this tale.”
‘Nuff said.

Torch This!

by Helen E. H. Madden

It was a dark and stormy night…

Thunder crashed as Mary Sue typed the words into her laptop. Though a real storm raged and bellowed outside her living room window, she paid it no heed. Wrapped up as she was in her favorite terry cloth bathrobe and fuzzy bunny slippers, she was perfectly cozy and content. What’s more, she was in the zone.

The fan-fic writing zone, that is.

Tippy tap, tippy tap, her fingers danced over the keyboard, bringing her favorite characters to life. Lured by the sound of a writer hard at work, plot bunnies scurried out from under the couch to array themselves at Mary Sue’s feet. They looked more like little bits of fluff than actual bunnies, but they were very cute and enticing. One jumped onto Mary Sue’s lap.

“Oooh! You look like fun!” She scratched the plot bunny’s fluffy little chin. “You know, those big blue eyes of yours remind me of… Frodo Baggins! Oh, and Samwise Gamgee!”

At that very moment, a crackle of electricity shot out of the laptop’s screen and coiled around the plot bunny. As it pulled the squealing creature into the computer, Mary Sue gave a wicked smile.

“Oooooooooooh,” the other plot bunnies murmured, and they huddled closer to each other.

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