Writing Wednesday – “Afternoon of a Faun” available at All Romance eBooks

Afternoon of a Faun, a m/m erotica short story I wrote for Coming Together: Al Fresco, is available as a single story at All Romance eBooks for just 69 cents! Coming Together has recently begun re-publishing the original anthologies as well as individual short stories and new material. The proceeds from these stories and books/ebooks go to various charities. Proceeds for Afternoon of a Faun will go to Conservation International.  Afternoon of a Faun is a “delightful tale (tail?) of empowerment and revenge featuring a mythical beast with an insatiable appetite.”  You can buy Afternoon of a Faun here.

Writing Wednesday – A Writer Looks at 41

I’m 41. Huzzah.

Sorry. Usually I’m far more enthusiastic about birthdays, but yesterday, on my birthday, I came down with some sort of nasty sinus infecting crud and have ended up spending most of the day on the couch answering e-mail and watching Scooby Doo with the youngest child. Not a pretty sight, I can assure you.

But since I am just turned 41, I though I’d take a moment today to look at what I’ve done so far with my writing career and then discuss what I want to do during Year 41. I consider my writing career to have started on my 34th birthday, in spite of the fact that I had already published 3 short stories prior to that. Those 3 short stories were written and published years apart, so I wasn’t so much a writer as a wannabe who had somehow managed to get into print. Writers, in my opinion, are people who write every day, and work to get themselves published. And I did not really start doing that until the day I turned 34, which coincidentally also happened to be the day after I came home from the hospital with my first born child.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll repeat it now. Until I became a parent, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I worked at various jobs, all of which I hated. I spent 11 years in the Army Reserves. I had quit my last job to “find myself” as it were, and after 2 years didn’t have much to show for it. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do or how I wanted to do it. But boy howdy, when I came home with that screaming bundle of joy, I certainly figured it out then. The urge to write was overwhelming, and it was prompted in part by a) the fact that I realized if I wanted to do something with my life, I needed to start now, and b) post-partum hormones and a need to distract myself somehow from the pain of breastfeeding a squalling infant around the clock.

Writing = Ass In Chair. I think we all know that equation. With breastfeeding, I suddenly had a lot of ass-in-chair time, and thus I decided to put it to good use and write. Now seven years later, I have written nearly 150 short stories, 135 of those for the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast; one novel; and produced a weekly audio show for the last 2 1/2 years. I also have a weekly webcomic that I write and draw, plus another comic that I’m restoring and publishing online. I get invited to 4 conventions a year to be a writing/podcasting guest. I’ve been in half a dozen anthologies. And probably most surprisingly, I know quite a few e-publishers by first name. At this point in my writing career, I am out of the slush pile, well-known enough to have a small fan base, and I get the occasional invite to participate in various anthologies and projects. It’s not a bad place to be, I have to admit.

So what do I want to do with the next year? Where do I want to go? On one hand, I’d like to step up on a few things – more novel writing, more publications, maybe even a couple more convention spots. On the other hand, I’d like to tone things down a notch. I am still, after all, a stay-at-home mom with two small children to take care of. And I’d like very much to have the time to enjoy my life and indulge in a few hobbies and passions. Can I balance those what I’ve got in those two hands? This is the year I intend to find out.

Here’s the plan. I’ve been podcasting a short story a week for the last 2 1/2 years. That’s been great in terms of getting my name out and building an audience, but it doesn’t allow me any time left over to write novels. And boy howdy, do I have some novels I want to write. And podcast as well. I’ve talked to some publishers I work with and they have said they would be interested in publishing a novel I podcast. That’s always great to hear, because I think podcast novels are a great way to build an audience for current and future work. So the plan is that at the end of the third season of Heat Flash – that’s this September – I’ll wrap up the short stories, take a bit of a hiatus, and get to work on the first of what I hope to be many a string of novels. Then I’ll come back in the new year and podcast that novel a chapter at a time. Taking time off from podcasting will obviously cause me to lose some audience members, but it’s a necessity at this point. I swear to you, I am on the go from dawn to midnight, and there simply is no spare time in my day to write anything more than what I’m already doing. Even if I stopped blogging and cartooning, I still don’t think there’d be enough time. And I’ve already given up TV, so what else is there to cut out of my schedule? Sleep?

Ah, sleep. That’s been another problem. I don’t get enough of it. I’ve been getting up at 5AM for the last couple of years, and it’s starting to get harder and harder. So I’ve decided that I need more and not less. The 5AM wake-up call is going away for a while. Right now I’m thinking 6AM might work, though if I still find myself tired getting up that early, I’m willing to stay in bed until 7AM. In lieu of working early in the morning, the plan is to get the kids to bed earlier and write in the evenings. It’s a switch I can live with, and one that will put my schedule in synch with the Hubster’s. I married the man, I would like to at least be awake when he comes to bed so I can kiss him goodnight.

Beyond that, I am in general trimming some things out of my schedule to make more time for writing and family. My post on Oh Get A Grip this Friday will be my last there. I’ll miss participating on OGG, but I need that time back. And once I get through the current novella I’m writing, I’m not picking up any new writing projects until I get past the third season of Heat Flash. I’m hoping that this summer, I’ll be able to squeeze in a little extra work time in the afternoons, since I won’t have to be at the bus stop at 3:30PM. The kids are quite capable of entertaining themselves in the afternoon while I work, I know that from previous summers.

And that’s the general plan for next year. Start clearing out my workload, get a little extra sleep, and switch over from short stories to novels come September. I think it will work, and hopefully getting more novels published will mean more book sales. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Thoughts and opinions on my plan are welcome. You can leave a comment below 😉

Writing Wednesday – Coming Together Anthologies

Coming Together has a new online store! For those of you not familiar with Coming Together, this is a series of erotica anthologies, the proceeds of which are donated to charity. Authors donate their stories (and yes, we have to compete to get in, the series is so popular!!) and the editor, Alessia Brio, devotes her time and pretty much her life to making these books a reality. Proceeds from each volume go to a different charity. So visit the store, buy a book, and do something good by Coming Together!

(And yes, I’ve got stories in two of these anthologies – Coming Together: With Pride and Coming Together: Al Fresco!)

Writing Wednesday – Pocket Ninja up for auction!

This post has nothing and everything to do with writing. Nothing because I’m not talking about my writing today, or even your writing. In fact, if you look at the picture above and the title of this blog post, you will see that what I am talking about is a tiny little ninja that will fit into your pocket… for the right price.

But this post also has everything to do with writing because this particular tiny ninja was created to help out a fellow writer and his daughter. Many of you have probably already heard that Tee Morris, author of Morevi and Billibub Baddings and the godfather of podcasting, lost his wife at the beginning of the year. I never met Natalie Morris, but I know she must have been very special and wonderful because Tee obviously loved her so much. Tee and Natalie have a daughter, Sonic Boom, and a group of writers and podcasters are working together to raise money for a trust fund for this little girl. The Pocket Ninja you see above is one of my offerings for this auction. The other will be a signed copy of Future Perfect. Or unsigned, if you don’t want my autograph. It’s no skin off my nose, so long as you put in a bid at the auction.

The auction for the Boom Effect will be held online 27 February, 2010. You can bid that day or place a proxy bid in advance. There’s a ton of stuff available for the auction, not just my little offerings, so take some time to look through the site. You’re bound to find something you’ll like.

Tee is a wonderful guy. He inspired me to start podcasting my work, and he’s always been there to help out others. Now it’s time to help him and his daughter. Visit theboomeffect.org and help out. And remember, for the right price, that adorable little Pocket Ninja could be yours!

Pocket Ninja says, “Make the highest bid and I’m yours! Hi-yah!!”

Writing Wednesday – Ebooks, oh ebooks!

Since I’ve been snowed in the last few days, I decided to take some time to do a little book shopping over at Fictionwise.com. I love reading ebooks on my netbook. It’s ideal for me in just about every setting (except the tub, because I’m afraid I’ll drop my netbook in the water!). There were a few ebooks I really wanted to get and I was so happy once I’d paid for my ebooks, knowing that I could download them instantly and be able to read them right away.

Except that I couldn’t. Fictionwise prefers to use the Barnes & Noble eReader software, which has been fine with me. But when I went to download my books and open them in in the B&N ereader, I got a message telling me to upgrade to the latest version of the software.

What followed was 45 minutes of downloading, installing and lots of swearing as I struggled to open my ebooks, any of my ebooks, on the latest version of the B&N ereader. For some reason, all the books I had previously opened had become locked again. I had to dig out my credit card to unlock some of these books as well as the new ones before they all suddenly became open again. I have no idea why I had to re-unlock these books, and why only some of them, but I couldn’t get a damn thing to open until I did.

It’s the DRM, of course, that’s causing this problem. Barnes & Nobles is trying so hard to make sure I’m not stealing the ebook, they demand I enter the number of the credit card I used to buy said ebook before I can open it and read it. I understand the concerns about piracy. Really I do. I’m a writer. I’d prefer people pay for my work. But as a writer, I’d also prefer that people not have to struggle, fight and swear to open the book once they bought it! It’s no wonder so many people are still resistant to the idea of ebooks. You can’t just pick up and ebook and read it; you have to jump through some hoops first.

It’s ridiculous. Put even one obstacle between a customer and the thing they want to buy and chances are you’ve lost a sale. Make it difficult to open ebooks and you will not convert people to the cause of ebooks and ereaders. I say get rid of DRM, even if it does put my books at greater risk of being pirated, because quite frankly pirates are going to do what pirates are going to do regardless of whether the books have DRM on them or not. Other folks will buy the ebooks if they’re for sale. Don’t believe me? Consider that the music and movie industry have also been through this, and there are plenty of songs and movies online that people can easily — illegally — download for free. Yet many of us still pay for the music and movies we want to enjoy.

How many folks do you think will pay for a book they can’t open?

Writing Wednesday – Lessons from Marscon, part 2

Once again, I’m looking at at what I learned from my most recent public appearance as a professional writer. I spent the weekend of 15-17 January at Marscon in Williamsburg, VA, and in addition to having a great time, I learned a few things about going on the road. You can read lessons 1-5 here. But right now, let’s jump into #6 and go straight through to the end.

Lesson #6 – Take care of yourself at the con! I can’t emphasize this enough. I had to man my author table from all during then day then turn around and spend three hours each night participating in panels. Not that I’m complaining! But that’s a lot of work and an exhausting schedule. Most of my panels were scheduled to start at 10PM and didn’t end until 1AM, so I was up very late both Friday and Saturday night. Between that and the hours I needed to spend at my table actively selling my books, my chances of going out for a meal were mostly screwed. However, I was smart enough to bring a few groceries to the con, so I always had some healthy snacks on hand (a lot of people kept asking, “What are you planning to do with that bannana, young lady?” “Oh, it’s part of my act,” I’d reply). I also made sure I had plenty of water with me, since hotels get pretty dry. So I managed to eat and drink no matter how crazy my schedule was, and that went a long way toward me not passing out around 11PM during a panel. Very important to keep in mind.

Lesson #7 – Bring a power strip. I really could have used one of these this weekend. I brought both my cell phone and my netbook, expecting to use them both. Problem was, my hotel room didn’t offer much in the way of electrical outlets. They were all tucked behind large pieces of furniture, making them damned near impossible to reach. The one I could reach without rearranging the room was cracked and warped so badly I couldn’t plug either the phone or the laptop into it. That meant I had no cell phone and no netbook for most of the weekend, which sort of sucked. Next year I’m bringing a power strip with a surge supressor so that I can be certain to have outlets that I can reach and thus have a charged netbook and cell phone. ‘Nuff said.

Lesson #8 – Bring a friend along! When a friend of mine heard I was going to Marscon, she mentioned she wanted to go too. I just happened to have an extra bed in my room, so I offered it and she accepted. This worked out really well. Jett not only bought me dinner Saturday night, she also helped me lug around my box of books and promo and helped me set up and break down each day. Plus she showed up to almost every panel I was on, which gave me the warm fuzzies like you wouldn’t believe. It’s nice to have friends who support everything you do, and Jett just made the weekend so much easier and nicer than I ever could have imagined.

Lesson #9 – One author can do a little, 6 authors can do a lot. I was not the only erotica author at Marscon last weekend. J.M. Snyder, Treva Harte, Kathryn Lively, and Sapphire Phelan were there too. I made sure of it. For the last three years now, I’ve coordinated with Marscon and EPIC Virginia to ensure that there are a group of e-published authors at the convention. It means a little more work for me than if I just went on my own, but the benefits more than make up for it. For starters, one erotica author by herself wouldn’t warrent an entire track of adult-themed programming. But six authors, especially when two of them are publishers of spec fic erotica and erotic romance? That definitely deserves a special track. By going as a group, we were able to do a series of panels on e-publishing and writing speculative fiction erotica and romance. In return, we got guest status at the con, our bios in the program book, a chance to talk to readers, and a late night reading. We were also able to split the cost of author tables to keep expenses down, and by sharing the tables we were better able to fill them, making it look like we really meant serious business (which we did). Together, we were just bigger and better than we would have been on our own.

Lesson #10 – Stuff happens. There was actually supposed to be one more author with us at Marscon – Beth Wylde. Beth is one of the best I’ve seen at public appearances, and we had a blast working together last year. She had signed up for this year, but had an unexpected emergency the night before and couldn’t make it. In years past, I might have panicked, but I’ve learned that something will always go wrong at a convention. Rather than pull my hair out, I talked to the other authors and we made arrangements to fill in for Beth’s panels. It’s a shame she wasn’t able to make it, because she really would have been a hit again this year. But we were able to work around that. And Beth, if you’re reading this, I hope everything is going well now and I’ve already got you on the list for next year!

Writing Wednesday – Lessons from Marscon, part 1

I love going to conventions. I especially had a great time last weekend at Marscon in Williamsburg, VA. Being a guest at a convention is one of those things that really makes me feel like all the hours I spend huddled over the keyboard are more than worth it. I get treated like a minor star, I get to sell my books and talk to fans (yes, I have a few!), I get to do readings and moderate discussion panels… It’s all very heady stuff.

But conventions are real learning experiences too. I’m pretty comfortable with what I do by myself at home — sitting down to write, coming up with story ideas, hunting for markets and sending out submissions, etc. Public appearances are all together different. Here’s a list of things I learned last weekend about being a writer on the road.

Lesson #1 – Pack early. The day before the convention started, I had all my promo material scattered in fifteen different boxes. There was no rhyme or reason to where things were stored. I had an author table to run at the con, and so I started pulling out all those boxes to take stock of what I had and organize it more efficiently. I wish I had done this sooner, a lot sooner! It took all day to sort through boxes of bookmarks, business cards, post cards, buttons, and posters. I was a little surprised at what I did and didn’t have to take. It never occurred to me to put together new business cards for the new website. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that, but when I pulled out my old business cards and saw the old URL, I smacked myself hard in the forehead. On the upside, I discovered I still had enough bookmards for Future Perfect and Heat Flash, and one of my publishers had sent me plenty of promo for the books by other authors that I had offered to take with me to the con. He even got me a t-shirt with the cover art for Future Perfect on it and a huge banner that said, “Meet the author, Helen E. H. Madden!” Made for a very full, very nice table.

Lesson #2 – Make sure your luggage has wheels. I had to dig to find a storage container big enough to hold all my books and promo. Unfortunately, said container did not have wheels. That meant I had to lug around a 70 lb. box of stuff at least twice each day I was at the con. Sometimes I was able to snag a luggage cart from the hotel, but at least once I had to carry that damned box from my author table on the first floor all the way up to my hotel room on the third floor. I’m damned lucky I didn’t rupture myself. Before the next con, I’m getting a sturdy box with wheels and a handle!

Lesson #3 – Chocolate is a great way to lure readers in. This is a trick I learned from Beth Wylde. Last year I shared a table with Beth, and she brought a bowl of chocolates to give out to everyone who walked by. I brought my own chocolates this year, and every time someone came within earshot, I called out, “Have a chocolate! It’s free!” Even the one person who didn’t like chocolate stopped to take a look at my table (and tell me why they didn’t like chocolate), and more than a few people actually hung around for a while to talk. Which leads me to my next lesson learned…

Lesson #4 – Conversations lead to sales. I actually knew this from years prior. If you can hold a conversation with someone, you have a good shot at getting them to buy your book. I had a lot of conversations with people that lasted 10 minutes or longer, and seven of those conversations ended up in sales. Others at least ended with people taking my card, some bookmarks, and the catalog for one of my publishers’ books. I made certain to do two things in every conversation. The first thing I did was mention that all my books were available for purchase online, in print and various digital formats, in case people wanted to buy later. The second thing I did was make sure I let them talk while I listened. I’ve seen more than one author go on and on without listening to the people they were talking to. In fact, I’ve been one of those people being prattled at, and sometimes it’s like being trapped by a vicious predator who will only let you go if you BUY, BUY, BUY! I never buy from those people, ever. So rather than push too hard, I let others do the talking for a bit while I listen, so as not to turn them off me and my books forever.

Lesson #5 – Dress up your table. Take another gander at the picture at the beginning of this post. Go on, I’ll wait. Okay, what did you see? Nice table, huh? While hunting for something to carry all my books and promo in, I found a long piece of black and gold lace cloth that I decided to use as a table cloth for my author table. Most author tables are either plain, bare folding tables or plain folding tables with some yucky standard issue hotel tablecloth. The lace fabric transformed my table from old and ugly to nifty and neat, and it went really well with all the bright covers of the books I had on display. I tell ya, I looked like a pro!

I’ve got another five lessons from this past weekend that I’ll post next Wednesday. So be sure to come back next week! It’s all good stuff, I promise.

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 http://twitter.com/kathleenbradean. Visit her blog at KathleenBradean.Blogspot.com, and find her stories in these anthologies:

Sweetest Kiss: Ravishing Vampire Erotica

Sensuality: Caramel Flava II (Eroticnoir.com Anthology)

The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 9

Best of Best Women’s Erotica 2

Writing Wednesday – Writing Resolutions for 2010

Once upon a time, when I had more time on my hands, I used to make a list at the beginning of every quarter of what I had accomplished the previous three months and what I wanted to do in the next three months. I also wrote up a detailed plan on how to do just that. I don’t have that kind of free time any more, and besides, the detailed plans never really worked like I thought the would, nor did I accomplish everything I set out to do. But I still like to stop and take a look at least once a year at where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Last year, I hit over 100 stories written for the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast. Story 119 airs this Friday. That’s a hell of a lot of stories to have written in 2 1/2 years. And that doesn’t even include things I wrote that didn’t air on the podcast. I think all in all, in the last 2 1/2 years I’ve written nearly 130, maybe 140 stories. That’s a LOT of writing.

I started up the Cynical Woman cartoon back in 2008 and kept it going through 2009. Since the start of the school year, I’ve been able to get back into drawing one cartoon a week, and now have 50 cartoons under my belt. That’s a lot of cartooning.

Also this past year, I released two short story collections – Future Perfect and Welcome to Mundania (see the sidebar on the right for buy links *hint, hint*). Again, more writing, and more publication credits to my name.

I had a handful of short stories published this year. One in Coming Together: Al Fresco, one in Wired Hard 4, one in Nerdvana… I’m sure there were others, but with so much writing going on, it’s hard to keep track. Oh, and my first book, Demon By Day, finally got pirated. Nothings says “I’ve made it” in the writing business like having someone steal your book and distribute it to the masses without paying you a dime.

Fact is, I did a hell of a lot last year. Enough to make me think that I really have reached the next level of my career, the one where I’m past the unknown starving artist phase and am now just a starving artist. With that in mind, I now turn my attention to 2010 and the next stage of my career (i.e. not-so-starving artist). Here’s what I’d like to do for 2010…

Resolution #1 – Continue to produce the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast for at least one more year… then do something new. I’m to the point where I’ve written so many stories for the podcast, I’m having a hard time keeping track of them all. That tells me that maybe it’s time for a change. Come the end of September, I’ll have reached the 3-year mark, and will probably have more than 150 episodes written and produced. That would be a good time to change gears, I think. Heat Flash won’t go away entirely, but it may go on hiatus for a couple months and then come back as something a little different.

Resolution #2 – Continue to draw one Cynical Woman cartoon a week. I love the cartoon. It’s a lot of work, an entire work day out of my week in fact, but I keep hoping that if I continue, I’ll get faster and the work will get easier. Even if it doesn’t, I still love doing the cartoon. Plus I think it’s a great way to promote all my other work.

Resolution #3 – Start writing in the evenings after the girls have gone to bed. Sunday through Thursday evenings from 8-10PM are now officially designated as writing hours. I’m still getting into the habit so I haven’t gotten very far with it yet, but I do plan to have those two hours set for nothing but writing by the end of the month. November’s PerNoFiMo challenge showed me I could turn out quite a bit of writing in the evenings if I set my mind to it, and I have books I want to write. Speaking of which…

Resolution #4 – Finish the first draft of Whip It! by August 2010. I would like to have it done sooner, but I need to do a lot of research on this project. It’s a contemporary erotica novel about a chef named Lucy who has serious self-esteem issues. Of course, she also fantasizes about being a dominatrix. Oh, and she’s been framed for poisoning a food critic. I’ve written almost 80K words so far, and parts of it are hysterically funny. I really need to finish it, because then I can move onto…

Resolution #5 – Finish writing “The Little Death” or “The Cup Bearer” this year. Two more erotica novels I started but didn’t finish. “The Little Death” is more sci-fi noir than erotica (think Blade Runner meets Wuthering Heights). “The Cup Bearer” is a retelling of the myth of Ganymede, the beautiful boy Zeus stole and made his personal servant in Olympus. I love both stories, and want to get to one of them some time this summer.

Resolution #6 – Send out to 4 review sites on the first Friday of every month. I’ve gotten a couple of good reviews recently, and need to put in for more, especially now that I have three books to my name. I try to do this weekly, but it never happens, so I’m just making that first Friday a promo day for the month and getting all my reviews sent out that day.

Resolution #7 – This is one I’m already working on. I’ve been asked to write a novella for an anthology, and am already in the reading/researching/planning stage. This is what I’ll be spending my evenings working on for the next two months. I’m very excited about this, since this was a direct invitation to write for this project.

Resolution #8 – Write another short story for Coming Together. I’d like to submit at least one short story a year for Coming Together, because I think what Alessia Brio is doing is wonderful. I don’t know of anyone else who does what she does. All proceeds for the Coming Together books go to charity. I have a special story in mind for one anthology, and it’s so naughty I think Alessia will like it 😉

Resolution #9 – Promote where the readers are. I’ve said it before. I hate Yahoo groups for promotion. I’d rather find other forums to get involved in, where I can meet people, get to know them, let them get to know me, and maybe get them interested in my work. This kind of promotion is a serious investment of time. It means becoming an active part of a community. I’ve got one place in mind, Y! Gallery, which is a yaoi art forum. I can enjoy the artwork, make comments, talk to other artists and writers, etc. I see no bad in that. This would also give me a reason to do more artwork as well, and maybe indulge in some fun writing that has nothing to do with the drive to get published. Again, I see no bad in any of that. I’ll see what happens with Y! Gallery this year (and yes, I’m limiting myself to just the one forum, because with 9 resolutions, I don’t need to add anything more to my plate).

So there you have it. My New Year’s writing resolutions. Quite a list, ain’t it? But I think somehow it will get done.

So, does anyone have any writing resolutions they’d like to share? Let me know in the comments section!

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 www.heatflash.libsyn.com. 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.