Night blogging?

I swear to you, I have been trying to get back  into the habit of regular blogging. I get all sorts of ideas for blogging late at night when I’m lying in bed, but then by the morning, these ideas have evaporated, or else I’ve lost the interest in writing about them.

I set aside the morings for working on the webcomic and for other drawing projects, which is partly why I don’t have the enthusiasm to blog in the morning. All my brain power has gone into drawing for a couple hours at that point, so the well is kind of dry by then. I can usually refresh myself with exercise, but by the time I’m done with that, it’s time to eat lunch and then it’s time to pick up the kids and then I have to deal with homework and chores and dinner, etc. I’m brain-dead once again by the time 8PM rolls around, which means I’d rather watch TV and crochet than write.

But once I get into bed, my brain once again starts to rev up, like it has now. I always read the news before I sleep (bad habit, I know), and usually after doing that, I’ve got ideas for a blog post I’d really like to write, and I know exactly what I’d say…

Except that it’s bedtime, and the lights are already out and Hubster is sound asleep beside me.

So right now, I’m experimenting. I have a wireless keyboard set up with my iPad, and I have a reading light clipped to the iPad/keyboard case. It gives me just enough light to see by. Hubster isn’t in bed yet – he always stays up later than me – so I’ve got a few quick minutes to write this post. I don’t know if I’ll be able to write like this on a regular basis, but it’s worth trying. I’m saving this as a draft tonight, and will post it in the morning. Then I’ll see if I can start other articles this week.

Maybe I’ll even be able to post some artwork from the iPad?



Test artwork for night time posting

Yerp! That seems to work!

Oh Krampus Tree! A bad poem of misery and woe

I came downstairs this morning, certain something waited for me.
Something bright and festive that made me want to flee.

I found it on my kitchen table, as artificial as my hair.
Its pink and spiny branches caught me unaware.

But worse was him who brought it, this awful Krampus tree.
For Santa doesn’t bring such things, they only come from likes of he!

He looked just like Tom Hiddleston, which really ain’t so bad,
until I caught a whiff o’ him. That smell would drive you mad.

He stank just like an aged camel, a geriatric steed
that on prunes and beans and rotted fish too eagerly did feed.

“What horror have you brought me? Oh why this Krampus bush?!
Haven’t I been good this year?! Haven’t I busted my tush?!”

“Oh yeah, you’ve been all kinds of good,” the old goat said and farted.
“But I really like to pick on folks, and be honest, you’re black-hearted.”

“Not me!” I cried in my defense. “I’ve been good this year, I swear!
I swear it on my mother’s grave and the color of my hair!”

“Don’t lie to me,” old Krampus said. “I know just what you did.
You’re a Girl Scout cookie mom. Who are you trying to kid?”

“I didn’t kill no Girl Scouts! I didn’t threaten their mums!”
Then I sighed and confessed my sins. “Maybe I broke some thumbs.”

“But there were extenuating circumstances! Cookie payments were due!
I had seven thousand boxes stored in a garage made for two!”

“So I threatened all the parents and I broke a couple thumbs!
But they finally sold those cookies, each and every one!”

“A few fractured digits does not a Krampus coniferous merit.
Take this horror away from me. I swear I cannot bear it!”

“Nah, broken thumbs is no big deal,” Krampus did agree.
“But I don’t like you anyway, so you get the bloody tree.”

And then he started to sing. Oh gods, he sang a song!
It was all about the Krampus tree, and I had to sing along…

“Oh Krampus tree, oh Krampus tree!
You are so pink and creepy!
Oh Krampus tree, oh Krampus tree!
The sight of you brings weeping!
Your branches hold such awful frights!
For horror-days and horror-nights!
Oh Krampus tree, oh Krampus tree!
You are so pink and creepy!”

“There!” he smiled and patted my head. “That wasn’t so bad now, was it?
It’ll be much worse tomorrow,” he added as he farted.

He put a finger up his nose and waggled his left thumb.
“I’ll be back tomorrow, with some deco-ra-sheyuns!”

Then off he flew with a belch and a fart. I wished that I were dead.
Instead I’m stuck with this stupid tree, and a creeping sense of dread.

What horrors will tomorrow bring? And how long must I bare
This miserable Krampus tree? Life is so unfair.

Krampus tree!

Oh, the horror.

Episode 221 – How to silence your inner critic


Click on the thumbnail above to view the full-sized webcomic!

True story. A few years ago, 95% of my creative efforts where going into my erotica podcast, Heatflash. The podcast was very well received, I loved working on it, and I poured just about everything I had into it. However…

When my kids started going to school, I began to lose work time. Though they were out of the house, my schedule was suddenly constricted by theirs. They had to be dropped off at certain times, picked up at certain times, there were after school activities to keep up with and of course, volunteer work for the school and said activities.

While I still had 8:30am to 2:00pm to myself, those hours turned out to be less than ideal for recording a podcast. I live next to an  Air Force Base, a NASA research center wind tunnel, a NASCAR speedway, and a neighbor who enjoyed racing RC cars at all hours of the day. I tried recording my podcast in the wee hours of the morning (4:30am), only to discover that the tree outside my office window was host to several families of baby birds. Recording in the closet did nothing to block out all the other noises, and besides, it would also wake up the Hubster who was sleeping in the bed next door.

My daytime hours were also consumed with other work… paying work. I had enough art commissions coming in to keep me tied up all day long. And while people loved the erotica writing, I simply couldn’t publish enough of it to make any significant amount of money.

The final straw for my erotica career came at a writers’ conference for small epublishers and e-published authors. Everyone there knew me. Most of the people there had either published my work, edited my work, or been in an anthology with me. And everyone said the exact same damn thing to me when they saw me…

“Hey Helen! How’s the webcomic going? I love your cartoons!”

Not a word about my writing, my books, or my podcast. They just all wanted to know about the cartoons. About the twelfth time I heard this, I realized I had been beating my head against a brick wall for far too long. Shortly after that conference, I finished off all my remaining writing projects and threw myself into the webcomics and digital art. I have not been unhappy with this decision at all.

But every now and then, my Inner Critic rears her head and demands to know why I don’t write the porn anymore. I have learned not to give a voice to her anymore. She’s got nothing important to say to me anyway.

For the record, I have no idea why I drew myself drawing left-handed in this webcomic. But I did, so there ya go!

Published! Hanuman’s Gift by Helen E. H. Madden

For those of you who are fans of steampunk, horror, evil rabid zombie monkeys, or all three, my story “Hanuman’s Gift” is now available for sale through Amazon, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Smashwords. It is for sale for 99 cents at each venue, so don’t hesitate to grab your favorite format and load it into the e-reader of your choice!


Deep in the Archives, Augustus Whitby toils through his duties in the , dreaming up romantic stories far more plausible than the supposed “investigations” of the field agents. A story from Agent Harrison Thorne and an unassuming artifact from his recent case, however, proves much to Whitby’s chagrin that there are some truths that are far stranger than fiction.

Tales from the Archives are short stories set in the world of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. They explore events mentioned in the novels, characters seen and unseen and may include novel teasers of things to come.

The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences is the delightful creation of Philippa Ballentine and Tee Morris.  You can find the other stories in the Tales from the Archives collection here, including stories by Nathan Lowell, Phil Rossi, P. C. Haring, Starla Hutchon and other fantastic authors.  And be sure to get a copy of Phoenix Rising, the first novel in the MOPO series by Pip and Tee!

ACW Episode 136 – Too Tempting to Resist

Click on the thumbnail above to view the full-sized image.

Okay, I know last week I said I wasn’t doing NaNoWriMo, but it appears I’m doing it anyway. Since November first, I’ve been able to write at least 1800 words a day, and usually 2K plus. It’s not been hard; I just sit down for an hour and type whatever comes to mind. In some cases, this has been entire scenes, including plot, dialog, characterization, and setting. On other days, I’ve just written about what the theme of the story is, or I’ve done some outlining and back story. As far as I’m concerned, it all counts toward that end goal of 50000 words by November 30th.

I’ve yet to spend more than an hour writing when I do this, which has made me realize a few things.

First, I can type really, really fast. Yesterday I wrote over 2K words in 40 minutes. The keyboard was smoking.

Second, it matters more to me that I get the ideas down than that I get the words perfect. It’s take me a while to reach this point, but I’ve learned that once the basic bones of the story are captured, I can always go back and fix/edit/polish/perfect later. Thus the reason why it’s been painless for me to write 2K words every day.

Third, even though it’s only taking me an hour to get in my NaNoWriMo word count each day, it’s still a significant amount of time out of my day. After a week of doing this, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to trim back a little more in other areas of my life, just so I have a life. I can’t do everything I want to do, and I sure as hell can’t do everything everyone else wants me to do. I posted on Facebook earlier today about how I’m getting tired of other people making demands on my schedule and telling me, “Hey, you work for yourself so your schedule is really flexible.” It’s not, and I’m not putting up with that attitude any more. I bust ass every day to take care of my family and to get my work done. So the rule is, if I am not employed by you, did not marry you, or did not give birth to you, you are not at the top of my priority list. In fact, you are probably at the bottom of the list, competing with a billion other lesser priorities for that last chunk of my free time that I may or may not decide to give away. Deal with it.

Final and fourth lesson – I love to to write, especially when I’ve got an idea in my head that I just can’t shake. I can’t do the short story a week any more, at least not write and podcast at that rate, but I can still write and once I’ve got something written and edited and polished, then I can podcast it. And maybe publish it too. And that’s a schedule and a goal I can live with.

For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, keep on rocking. For those of you not doing NaNoWriMo, thank you for your understanding and support. And for those rare few of you who decide you’d rather be assholes and not support, go suck it.

WIP Wednesday – Sketches from “The Little Death”

“I Do Not Wish to See” by Helen E. H. Madden,
Character Sketch from “The Little Death” Podcast Novel

I took a break from my other work-in-progress this past week to do some other drawings and catch up on writing. Frankly, I haven’t been able to make it to my desk that much. But I’ve been doing a lot of artwork on the iPad (did I mention how much I LOVE my iPad?). This was drawn with a new app I picked up, Sketch Club. Sketch Club is a bit different from the other programs I’ve got, missing some of the bells and whistles of Sketchbook Pro like the ability to resize a layer as you work on it, but it’s got some fantastic drawing and painting tools. I love the rough scratchy style I can get with it.

Anyway, this is a drawing of Robin Helki, the main character in “The Little Death,” the novel I’m currently podcasting at I’ve shared snippets of the story before. Robin is a telepath who reads psychic information by touching things. She collects evidence for the violent crimes division of a police precinct in a dystopian society, and is slowly going mad as a result of her work. You can find all the episodes of “The Little Death” on the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast. If you like the story, feel free to pass on the episodes. They run under a Creative Commons 3.0 license, so it’s free to listen and share.

Buy “Metamorphosis” for charity!


My story “Metamorphosis” is on now available from Freya’s Bower in ebook format , including Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket, and Epub. Proceeds from sales of this story go to charity! Here are the details…


Erin, a young woman caught between her parents’ expectations and her own wants and needs, feels nothing in her life is going right and fears disappointing the people she loves the most. But now it’s time for her to be “cocooned,” to enter a dream state that will reveal the truth about who she really is and the life she’s meant to live. Dare she risk finding out? And will anyone, including Erin, be happy with what she learns?

This is part of the anthology Dreams & Desires v. 4. All net proceeds from the sales of this story individually or in the anthology benefit A Window Between Worlds, a non-profit organization that provides art supplies and training for art as a healing tool free of charge to battered women’s shelters.


So there you have it! This story originally ran as part of the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast. If you are a regular listener of Heat Flash, you’ll definitely want to read this. You can also buy the complete collection of Dreams & Desires v. 4 at Freya’s Bower.

WIP Wednesday – “The Little Death” podcast novel

Last week I returned to my weekly podcast, Heat Flash Erotica, after a few months off. For the last three years, I wrote and podcasted a new short story every week. It was great fun, but by the end of the third season, I was exhausted and burnt out on short stories so I took some time off to work up a new project. The result is a novel called “The Little Death,” a story about telepaths, conspiracies and murder. The main character, Agent Robin Helki, is an esper working for the Fifth Precinct police department in the city-state of New York. She’s been called in to gather psychic evidence at the scene of a violent death, but what she finds only leads to a bigger mystery.

I’m still writing the story, but at 54000 words, I thought I had enough to start podcasting an episode a week. Episode 01 of “The Little Death” went online last Friday. You can find it here, and either download it to play on your MP3 player or listen to it on your computer. Episode 02 has been recorded and will be available next Friday. Until then, here’s an excerpt from the upcoming episode.


Excerpt from “The Little Death,” episode 02 – Dr. Hurston Jones

The elevator glides to a halt. I step out into an empty corridor. Room seven is the fourth door on the left, the only door up here with a light shining out underneath the crack. I knock twice and prepare to wait. How long I’m left standing there in the corridor ought to tell me just how deep in trouble I am, so I’m surprised when the door swings open almost immediately. The man who holds it open gives me the false smile of a predator sizing up its afternoon meal.

“Agent Helki,” he says. “Please come in.”

I know this man. I follow him into the room, racking my brains to think of where I’ve seen him before. He wears a dark grey suit, dark enough to make him blend in with the shadows in the dimly lit room. He’s balding, but with his hair cropped close rather than combed over in a futile attempt to hide his gleaming scalp. A pair of oval spectacles perches on the bridge of his nose, and he would almost look bookish if it weren’t for the way he moves. Every motion is precise and graceful like a cat. Underneath the suit I get a sense of a body honed to razor’s edge. As he settles behind the massive wooden desk that dominates the room, the glow of the desk lamp catches on his spectacles. For an instant, the lenses are transformed into a pair of luminous orbs. I’m reminded of my dream in the van and I shiver.

“Have a seat,” he says mildly. He gestures to the only other chair in the room. I settle on the edge of the seat. It’s narrow and stiff-backed and saturated with the memories of its previous occupants, everyone of them as scared and uncertain as I am now. I shouldn’t be picking up on their feelings, not when I’m wrapped up in my coat and gloves, but I’m so damned raw after reading a dead woman’s final thoughts, and this chair is awash in fear. I’ll bet the man on the other side of the desk knows it too. I can tell by the way he’s smiling at me.


And that’s it for this week! The full episode will be available in MP3 format at this Friday. Stop by then and give a listen.

“Let Me Sleep” free podcast story is up!

I was invited by the amazing Philippa Ballantine to participate in “Chronicles of the Order,” a podcast short story collection based on her newest novel, Geist, published by Ace. Geist is the story of a fantastic world where ghosts and spirits are very really and do serious harm, and only members of the Order stand between them and the mortal they seek to destroy.

As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance to write something for Philippa and so I put together a lovely little horror story about murder, revenge, an abusive lover, and a desperate widow. The tale, “Let Me Sleep,” is free to download here. Be sure to listen to the other episodes as well! These stories are great!