Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Episode 43 and Announcement

Happy National Novel Writing Month to all you writers out there! If you're not familiar with NaNoWriMo or want to write a novel in a month, visit http://www.nanowrimo.org to learn more!

Also, I have a big announcement. The Adventures of Cynical Woman has officially moved!! This will be the final post to this blog. From here on out, you can find the webcomics at http://www.cynicalwoman.com. I will leave this blog up for a year before taking it down, just to make sure the word gets out. But if you need your weekly fix of Cynical Woman, visit the new site!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Episode 41 - Halloween!

Oy, I hurt. I had this brilliant idea that I could do the text for the cartoon in Adobe, which would look much better than my own hand lettering. But then I got the cartoon scanned in and I thought, "Hey, if I can do the lettering in Photoshop, why not do the screen tones too? I know I've got a tutorial on that somewhere!" Several hours later…

I'm kicking myself because I should have just done the lettering and let it go at that, but nooooooo! I had to do the screen tones. And then I made the mistake of resizing the image down and then I saved it over the larger version of the file!! That hurts because now if I ever want to edit this particular episode again, I'll have to start all over from the beginning, scanning in the line work and then adding the text and then adding the screen tones…


So anyway, I have a question. Right now, I'm resizing the cartoon to 1200×410 pixels. This is the size you see after you click on the thumbnail. I've got a giant flat screen monitor, so I have no idea really if this is too small or too large for anyone else viewing the cartoon. Let me know if you'd like to see the cartoon a little larger, or smaller, because the size I shrink things down to affects how the screen tones work (and yes, I'm just stupid enough to try that technique again, because in spite of the time I wasted this evening, I really like how this turned out).

Enjoy your Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Episode 40 - Occupational Hazzards

Yes, this really is a problem around this household. Finding time for... well, let's just say finding time for what's important.

It's hard for me to find time alone with the Hubster. In addition to the kids, we both put in a lot of hours at work, and since I'm usually up two hours before Hubster is, I'm usually out cold two hours before he is. We really do have to schedule sex if it's going to happen. Oh, and buy a nice bottle of wine so I can relax, because between work and chasing after the kids, I'm wound tighter than a cuckoo clock by the end of the day.

Anyway, speaking of work, I have four new stories for sale with Logical Lust. These stories originally ran on the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast, they are scorching hot, and I think you will enjoy them. Check them out here!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Episode 39 - Who's Yo Mama?!

One day, this is going to happen to me. It just has to. In addition to reading my stories aloud to catch mistakes, I also record most of them for the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast (which is a free weekly audio show I do that you can download to your MP3 player or listen to on your computer, and if you're not listening you should be!). Most days I only write or record when the kids are in school or in bed. When they're home and awake, I'm so busy taking care of them, I don't have time to do anything else. But mark my words, one of these days they're gonna walk in on me while I'm working...

You may have noticed that this cartoon is done "old style," which is to say I did it on the computer using Manga Studio 4. I still love MS4, and much prefer the way the cartoons look when I do them on the computer, but the fact is, it takes too long to do the cartoons this way. This particular cartoon was penciled back in April, and then inked yesterday morning. Had I done this by hand, it would have taken me an hour at most to do the inking and then the cartoon would be finished. In Manga Studio 4, the inking takes longer, plus there are extra steps I do to add the tones and text balloons, which is part of what makes the digital cartoons so pretty. What to do? Continue drawing by hand, but draw better! It'll come with practice. Meanwhile, I'll just use Manga Studio for other projects, since I'd really like to do some Manga style artwork, and this is the best program I've got for inking.

Anyway, here is this week's cartoon, and I hope you enjoyed it ;)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Episode 38 - Mom's day off

All I'm gonna say is, "Ugh. Urgh. Bleeeeergh." It's been that kind of week.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Episode 37 - Something smells funny around here.

True story. Honest to god, Pixie came up to me one day and said exactly this. And it does not surprise me to hear this news, given the amount of stinky accidents we've had in the last couple months.

First, there was the poopie incident at the pizzeria in Chicago. Then we had an accident last week while she was home sick from preschool. Then yesterday, I hear a bunch of yelling coming from the upstairs bathroom. It wasn't clear what was going on until I got halfway up the stairs and smelled that smell. Sure enough, there was a turd the size of a dinosaur egg sitting in the bathroom floor. Less than a foot away from the toilet. And there was a tiny little shoe print in it. With matching little brown shoe prints all over the bathroom.

According to Pixie, she did not reach the potty in time because it was dark in there. Yes, dark, as in the light was off. Of course, this happened in the middle of the day, which means the upstairs bathroom was dim, at most. Sigh. I just keep reminding myself that she will not be pooping her pants when she walks down the aisle on her wedding day.

I hope.

So how's things with you all?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Episode 36 - What I didn't do on my summer vacation

So, how was your summer?

Honest to god, I thought I would get so much more done this summer, but I feel like I barely managed to limp to the finish line. I was sooooooooo happy when school started and I finally had all day to myself. That was two weeks ago, and I am only now catching up on everything I didn't get done while I was busy chasing after two kids.

I'm finally settling into a regular schedule, and I hope to be a little more productive with this cartoon. I also hope to start work on building a new website, combining all my various sites and blogs into one easy to find spot where you can get all the cartoons and blog posts and other goodies at once. There will be the usual Cynical Woman madness, plus maybe some new stuff (i.e. some ADULT stuff). So stay tuned. I'll get that done. One of these days ;)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Episode 35 - I Can Haz Karate Skillz!!

Ya know, I think this is the best Cynical Woman cartoon I've drawn yet. Lettering still needs work, but it's getting better.

Yes, I am really and truly a black belt, which means I know the basics of karate and am most deadly to myself. I do train with various kobudo weapons, including the nunchaku, and I'm testing for my 2nd degree black belt in weapons this coming September (I'm already a 2nd degree black belt in open-hand karate).

I'm going to two classes a week right now, and those usually last 2 1/2 hours (thus the reason why I'm only doing two classes a week; I think more would kill me). I have on occasion hit myself - in the elbow, the leg, the back, and yes, the head. Others have hit me as well. In fact, the Hubster once mistook me for a 6 foot tall, 1200 lb gorilla during a sparring drill and to this day my right knee still has not recovered. Somebody else took out the left knee a few months later, so if I walk funny, you know why.

I'm heading to Chicago this weekend, and I'm taking a small drawing pad with me. Don't know what I'll draw, but it will probably show up here. Meanwhile, if you must see more of my work, I have set up a Deviant Art page. It's at www.cynicalwoman.deviantart.com. There's various things there, including a few odd cartoons that have nothing to do with Cynical Woman beyond the fact that I drew them.

One final note, if you love me, if you really really love me, take a few moments to visit my podcast and enter my contest!!! I'm running a listener appreciation contest over at www.heatflash.libsyn.com. I'll be giving away t-shirts, boxers and thongs, and print copies of my fabulous short story collection, Future Perfect. It's all naughty stuff, and it's good fun. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on the Heat Flash blog at www.heatflash.libsyn.com or send me an e-mail at heatflash.podcast@gmail.com. Contest runs between now and midnight EST, 26 August. Go here for specific details.

That's it for now. I'll see if I can't get some funky doodling done while in Chicago. Hubster's at a conference so I will be schlepping the kids around the city on my ownsome. Something painfully funny is bound to happen, I'm sure. Keep your fingers crossed that I survive.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Self-portrait of the Artist With Her Favorite New Book

No, this isn't about a book I wrote. It's one I bought on July 9th from Amazon. This is Crescent, by Phil Rossi. I first listened to the podcast of this book last year, and fell in love. It's a creepy cool science fiction/horror tale about a haunted space station where all sorts of nasty things lurk in the dark. When I heard Crescent had been picked up by Dragon Moon Press for publication, I was very happy. When my copy arrived on my doorstep earlier today, I was jumping with joy. And to show you all how ecstatic I am over my newest addition to my library, I drew this picture.

See? Don't I look happy? If you're into horror and sci-fi, if you like a sexy, scary read, give this book a try. You can find out more about the print book and the free podcast version over at www.crescentstation.net.

PS - that gorgeous cover art is by Neil Aschliman.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Episode 34 - Summer Fun!

Yes, Princess actually said this to me.

For the last couple of summers, I've tried to have a theme for our fun time activities, something the girls can dress up for and act out. The first two summers, it was princesses or fairies. The girls get to choose, and I'm kind of stuck with whatever they come up with. Naturally, princesses and fairies aren't exactly my cup of tea (in spite of the fact that I am mother to a Princess and a Pixie, but that's a little different). I tried last summer to get them to play pirates or zombies, but no dice. This year, though, Princess surprised me. She wants to be a ninja. We haven't made ninja costumes yet, but if I can just get to the craft store and find a pattern, we should be good to go.

We've also been playing zombies a lot, and Princess has recently discovered another princess she likes, perhaps even more than Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. She now wants to be Princess Leia. I can not tell you how happy that makes me.

You may have noticed that I'm doing things much differently this week. This week's strip was drawn, inked, and lettered entirely by hand. I only used Photoshop to add the titles. But everything else is as it came off my drawing pad. I didn't even use the zip tones in Manga Studio, relying instead on cross hatching to shade things.

Much as I like Manga Studio, it's simply faster to draw the cartoons by hand. I've been practicing inking with a brush pen and have been pleased with the results. I still need to work on the lettering a bit, but today's strip came out well enough that I can live with it. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Episode 33 - School's Out! (But Is Color In?)

So it's taken me a couple weeks to get this one done, and I'm a little irritated about that.

To get things done faster, I've switched to pencilling and inking by hand. This works better because I can carry a drawing pad with me wherever I go, and if I have a few minutes where I'm sitting and waiting for the kids, like I did the last couple of weeks, I can whip out the drawing pad and get to work. I even bought a shiny new mechanical pencil for this purpose, along with some red leads to go in it. Using a red pencil lets me scan in the drawing without having to worry about erasing the pencil marks. I just drop out the red in the channels palette and voila! All I'm left with is my ink work. Pretty neat, huh?

But then I got to thinking (and this is where the trouble usually starts)...

Maybe, just maybe, I should try doing the cartoon in color. Yeah, it might require an extra step or two, but wouldn't that be cool?!

No, it turns out it would not. Manga Studio Debut is not cut out for colorizing cartoons. I tried to get it to work, and had lotsa problems. First off, I want to be able to publish these cartoons as a collection at some point, a print collection, and there are very few webcomics that come out in print in color. Black and white is far easier and cheaper to print. Fact of life. So I would still need to prep the cartoon for black and white as well as color, meaning I'd still need to put in all those gray scale tones I've been using. I though I could kill two birds with one stone by doing the tones in color, but no matter what I tried, I couldn't get the tones to come out in the colors I wanted them too. You can see that this week's cartoon is pretty washed out. It looks like a hand tinted photograph, almost.

So not sure what to do. I'll keep exploring my options, but hopefully won't allow it to interfere anymore with production. Meanwhile, you guys let me know. Color? Or no color? There are ways of getting that vibrant color I wanted, but I'd have to skip the toning to get things out fast.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Just Doodling

I'm schlepping Princess to camp at a local museum all week. The place is just far enough away, and her time at camp just short enough, that there's no point in me coming back home to do anything. So Pixie and I are spending the day hitting ALL the local museums and parks in that area. There are quite a few.

Yesterday, while Pixie ran amok in the Virginia Living Museum (where Princess' camp is being held), I squeezed in a little doodle time, experimenting with a new tool in my art kit - a mechanical pencil with red lead. I just can't drag myself to the computer anymore in the evenings to cartoon, so I am once again switching to doing things the old fashioned way, by hand. A friend suggested I use a mechanical pencil with red leads to do my sketching, then after inking and scanning in the artwork, I can just drop the red channel from the image, and voila! No erasing to do to clean up my artwork. This page has both red and blue pencil in it, and I can't get rid of both (it doesn't work that way), but I was able to experiment in Photoshop long enough to confirm that I can do what I want with the red pencil. So without further ado, here's my random doodles with the fancy new mechanical red pencil!

When you click on the image above, you'll get it in full size, which will be HUGE, but then you can see all the nifty detail. Yeah, I know, whatever. And yes, that is a talking toilet in the lower left corner. That was Princess' suggestion to draw.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Episode 32 - Laundry Karma

I know, I know. It's about damned time, isn't it? All I can say is I've been swamped... by laundry, among other things.

It seems to be a rule in my house - if there are piles of laundry waiting to be washed, dried, or folded, my world must be in total chaos. If, however, I can manage to get the laundry done and folded and keep up with it every day, then life goes smoothly. I call this laundry karma. It's sort of like feng shui, only instead of rearranging the furniture, I have to deal with detergent and dryer sheets and dirty socks.

So while the laundry has been piling up these last several weeks, I've been doing my damnedest to churn out stories for the Heat Flash Erotica podcast, make cover art for one of my publishing clients, and attend various conventions. I wrapped up convention season on Memorial Day weekend with Balticon, and what a blast that was! Viv and Chooch from Into The Blender hosted a webcomic/podcast novel party where people where invited to come dressed as their favorite cartoon characters. Guess who I went as?

Since Balticon, I've been going nuts trying to keep up with work and Princess' school. I swear, her class had more parties in the last two weeks than a high school graduating class on a trip to Cancun! Today was the last day of school though, and that means no more having to quit work at 3PM to be at the bus stop for a few weeks. We do have two weeks of afternoon swim lessons coming up, but I can deal with that because I can take the netbook or my drawing pad with me and knock out some work while Princess swims (Pixie will go into the nursery so I can have an hour of peace and quiet). But after that, we are home free of obligations. I'm keeping summer simple this year, with plans to garden, hit the local swimming pool, visit a few local museums, and in general get back on track with writing and cartooning. Here's hoping I can get into a cartooning groove and stay there!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Episode 31 - Inspiration

Ya gotta take your inspiration from wherever it comes, I tell ya.

This is something that often happens in our house, at least on the evenings that Michael is home. He takes the kids off my hands for a while so I can squeeze in a little more work. He's good like that. He gets the girls ready for bed and reads them stories and sings them songs and hands them monsters (we've been pulling imaginary monsters out from under the bed and handing them to children ever since Princess first started sleeping in her big-girl bed).

But the girls do not make it easy on him, and quite frequently there's lots of squealing and screaming and giggling and misbehaving, and that always leads to Michael shouting at the top of his lungs, at which point I usually step in to intervene because I honestly believe that only one of us should ever have to traumatize our children for life and that has been my job since day one.

Anyway, all of this is just the long way of saying this week's cartoon is drawn from real life and yes, I have actually heard Michael shout, "Get that bucket off your head and get into bed now!"

But only once was he saying it to me };)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Episode 30 - Obey Me!

File this one under "things that actually happened." In real life, it was a two-year-old Princess, not Pixie, who ran around butt-nekkid, refusing to squat on the pot and do her duty. It was one of those hair-pulling days where no matter how many times you yell, your kid still doesn't listen. After believing I finally had Her Royal Tookus ensconced on the potty-throne, I called up my best friend, Mary. Wouldn't you know it, just as Mary picked up the phone, Princess came streaking through the kitchen in her all-together. It's a phone call Mary says she'll never forget.

But Mary understands. Mary's been there with her own darling little boy (he has the cutest brown curls!). And many times when she calls me, she gets just as distracted by her offspring as I do while on the phone. Our phone conversations usually run something like this...

Mary: "Hey Helen, what are you up to?"

Me: "Just getting dinner to-- Will you put that down? No, Daddy did not say you could play with the steak knives! Go play in the living room! Sorry Mary, what did you ask me?"

Mary: "I forget. Probably wasn't important. Hey, have you seen the ads for the new display at the museum? I was thinking-- Young man! Get down off that table! I swear, you're going to crack your head right open and I'm just going to point and laugh when you do! Sorry Helen. What was I saying?"

Me: "Uh... The museum! Yeah, I saw the disp-- Pixie! Quit hitting your sister with the frying pan! And take that spatula out of your underpants! I need it to cook dinner!"

Mary: "No, you may not have ice cream for dinner. No, not for breakfast either. Because we don't have any ice cream! Mommy got so stressed out after you tried to feed the cat to the dog that she ate it all in one sitting!"

Me: "Princess! Quit swinging your sister around by the ankles like that! You're going to smack her right into the wa--"



Mary: "--and quit sticking your finger up your brother's nose! There's no ice cream up there either!"

Me: "I don't care if you didn't mean to do it! She's your sister, not a crash test dummy! And look at the size of that hole in the wall! Could it be any bigger?"

Mary: "Helen, I have to--"

Me: "--go. The kids are completely out of--"

Mary: "--control. I swear I'm gonna--"

Me: "--pull out all my hair if they keep this up! I'll talk to you--"

Mary: "--later, when things quiet down. Maybe in about--"

Me: "--fifty years or so?"

Mary: "Yeah, that sounds about right. Talk to you then. Young man! Put that hammer down!"

Me: "Bye. Princess! Pixie! Put those scissors down NOW!!"


And that's what a phone call is like when you have kids in the house.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Episode 29 - Thunder Pants!

We are actually mostly finished with Pixie's potty training. She's been in "thunder pants" for a few months now, only wearing a pull-up at night. Potty training is one of those things that as a parent you never think is going to happen, and in Pixie's case I was starting to wonder if she'd still be in pull-ups on her wedding day, but we eventually got things straightened out. It seems that so long as she was in a pull-up, she'd pee in it no matter how many times a say I sat her on the potty. Once I switched her to underpants, that quickly stopped.

Regarding the potty, does anybody else have a singing potty? Ours sings all sorts of little songs depending on what the occupant is doing. There's one song for lifting the lid, another for sitting on the pot, a third for actually making a deposit in the pot, yet a fourth song for rolling the faux toilet paper roll attached to the pot, and then a final song for closing the lid and pushing the little fake handle. It's all a bit much, in my opinion, and the whole singing potty thing really started to creep me out when the potty developed a short circuit of some kind and started randomly singing in the middle of the night while the Hubster was away on business. Nothing like waking up in the dark to the eerie strains of "Let's all sit on the potty!" Needless to say, I didn't bother to switch out the batteries when they died.

I'm headed out this week for a visit to Arkansas to see my folks. We're really looking forward to the trip, but alas I'll have no internet access while I'm there, which means yet another wait for the next cartoon. I'm starting to clear stuff off my plate however, and hope to get back to a schedule where I can turn out a cartoon a week, or at least every ten days. I'll get there by this summer, I promise.

In the meantime, you'll be seeing some changes around this site and my other sites as I merge all three blogs and websites into one mega-super site. I'm just spread too thing between the mommy blog, the cartoon blog, the writing blog, and the supporting websites. I figure if I get it all into one place, I'll be better able to keep up with blogging and you'll have an easier time keeping up with all the crazy wacky fun I have to offer (insert canned laughter here).

Have fun over the next week or so, and I'll be back with another cartoon as soon as I can!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Episode 28 - Misadventures in Sex

This cartoon originally ran over on the Oh Get A Grip blog, where I post every Friday on various topics of sex and writing. Last Friday was my turn to talk about sex and humor, two things I know nothing about. If you want to know the details behind this particular cartoon (it's a TRUE STORY!!), check out my post at OGG.

This particular cartoon marks the first time I've drawn a toon on my desktop computer as opposed to my laptop computer. Manga Studio Debut 3, the first version of the comics program I use, wouldn't play nice with Vista (which is to say, it wouldn't work AT ALL!). But MSD4 works quite nicely on my desktop, perhaps even better than it works on my aging laptop. And with my Bamboo Fun drawing tablet hooked up to the desktop, that made for a really nice clean drawing experience. Hell, I didn't even have the usual crash and burn problems I've been having with the word balloons! I may make a permanent switch and draw on the desktop from now on.

It's been busy as usual over at la Casa de Madden. I went to EPICon and returned, more or less in one piece, and was totally freaked out by the number of people who saw my name tag and shouted, "I know you! You're Cynical Woman!" In fact, I wore my devil horns on Thursday night to the EPICon mixer, and then got scolded for not having them on during the day on Friday. I made sure to correct that error and wear them all day Saturday.

The most interesting thing to come out of EPICon 2009, for me at least, was a chance to sit and talk with Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. I managed to snag a consulting appointment with her, and confessed to her that I'm suffering from blog schizophrenia, i.e. I have too many blogs and can't decide easily what content I should put on which blog. The fact is, I have three blogs - one for the cartoons, one for my day to day life as a working mom, and one for the explicitly erotica stuff. My life as a stay-at-home mom is so entwined with my work as a writer, that there are only very rare instances when I can separate the two, and most of what I do day to day as a stay-at-home mom who writes erotica could easily go into one general blog. It's just that occasionally, I really do like to stray into the very adult territory. Some days I like to blog about how I create erotic artwork, and I want to use explicit images for examples. Some days I like to blog about very specific topics on sex that aren't really appropriate for the general, albeit adult, audience that I think frequents my day to day blog. But these sexually explicit posts aren't nearly frequent enough to justify me keeping a full-blown erotica blog when 95% of what I blog about would actually appeal to work-at-home parents in general.

So Penny advised that I consolidate the blogs, as much as possible, AND she advised that I go with the brand name I have managed to make for myself - Cynical Woman. It's good advice and I intend to take it. Over the next few months, I'll be setting up a new website over at www.cynicalwoman.com (and getting rid of the flash site that's currently there), and I'll be putting the cartoons, the mommy blog, and everything else over there. I will offer separate pages for the adults only stuff, like the art gallery and the free reads I have at www.helenehmadden.com, but everything will be coming under one roof, hopefully by June.

So if you see a little construction going on around here, you know what's up!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Episode 27 - Now We Are Forty

My birthday was yesterday, but my warrenty ran out a looooooong time ago. In the last forty years, I have...

  • Split my scalp (I was jumping on the bed, missed, and landed on my noggin; I know, explains a lot, doesn't it?)

  • Smashed my middle finger in a weight machine (not fun)

  • Ended up in the emergency room puking my guts up four times over a gall stone no one could find (but my mother knew it was there!)

  • Had surgery to remove gall stone no one could find (damn thing turned out to be as large as my thumbnail)

  • Broken my nose

  • Broken my ribs... twice

  • Screwed up my right knee (my husband's fault - he mistook me for a 900 lb. gorilla and attacked me)

  • Screwed up my left knee (someone else's fault - apparently they also thought I was a 900 lb. gorilla)

  • Screwed up my right knee again (completely random sparring accident - my opponent did NOT think I was a gorilla, but did get her leg tangled in mine during the match)

  • Fractured my sternum (once again, someone mistook me for a gorilla, only this time I must have weighed 1800 lbs. given how hard I got hit)

  • (BTW, these last six injuries all happened during martial arts classes, in case you haven't guessed.)

  • Had a c-section (for Princess)

  • Had a VBAC - Vaginal Birth After C-section (for Pixie, and I split right up the front into the naughty bits when she came out!)

I'm pretty sure I've done some other things to myself, or been injured by others who have feared my inner gorilla, but these things are too numerous to be recalled. In any event, what I'm trying to say is, I'm damned lucky to still be alive!!

There will probably be a two-week break between this episode and the next. It's not that I don't love you all, but this weekend I've got a 3-day karate camp to attend (yay! more opportunities to get injured!) and the next week I'm headed out to Las Vegas for EPICon 2009. If you're planning on attending EPICon, I should be doing a panel on podcasting for writers. And yes, I will be wearing my horns, so you'll know me when you see me };)

Until the next episode, see ya!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Episode 26 - I Have A New Book! AAAAUGH!


Seriously, I've spent the last few months running around like a chicken with my head cut off AND my ass on fire, trying to get ready for the release of "Future Perfect: A Collection of Fantastic Erotica." Final edits, cover art, announcements, promo, conventions, more promo... I've pulled more all-nighters than I have since Pixie was a new-born, maybe even more than I have since grad school (and that was a loooooooong time ago). It's been a lot of work, and I hope you all find that it's worth it.

Future Perfect will be available both in digital format and in print from Logical Lust. It will also be listed on Amazon.com, and I believe there will be a Kindle format for it as well.

I will be at Farpoint this weekend, the 13th-15th of February, in Timonium, Maryland. I'll be there as a writing and podcasting guest (and that feels so good to say - I was INVITED to be a GUEST!). I plan to have 20 copies of Future Perfect, plus copies of "Coming Together: With Pride," "Cream: The Best of the Erotica Readers and Writers Association," and hopefully a few copies of "Demon By Day." I'll also have some swag - bookmarks and postcards, and maybe even some nifty looking buttons for the Heat Flash Erotica Podcast.

I have to thank Michael for everything he's done through all this. No kidding, that man really does have a halo. He's taken the kids more evenings and weekends than I can count, caring for them while I lock myself away in the office to work. He's put up with my weird schedule (weekends off? Who the hell gets weekends off?). He's fixed computers, built computers, bought computers, and probably executed a few computers for me (the last I'm sure he did as humanely as possible). And he's taking the girls again this weekend as I take off for three days of pimpin-- er, promoting the new book up at Farpoint.

I still have a lot to do after the convention. I've got to get promo put together for EPICon 2009 and prepare for a panel I'm doing on podcasting there. Plus Michael and I have a three-day karate camp to attend, and Princess has a birthday coming up this month (so do I, but we really don't want to talk about how OLD I am, do we?). But, come March, I'm hoping that things finally start to settle down a bit. I won't be taking on any more new deadlines, but instead plan to concentrate on what's already on my plate.

Any other news? Oh yeah! I'll have a story in the upcoming "Coming Together: Al Fresco," edited by Alessia Brio. This is another charity anthology, which means I'm donating the story, but I have to tell you, competition to get into these anthologies is fierce, so I'm happy to be given the opportunity to participate.

I'm sure there's lots else going on too, but right now I've got a slippery Pixie fresh out of the tub and I need to catch her and slap a pull-up on her before we have an incident. Have fun this week! And don't forget to...


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Episode 25 - This Is My Life!

Yes, this has been my life the last several weeks. Since November, I have struggled to survive the holidays, a convention (9 panels, 1 reading, an all-day author table!!), final edits on my new book Future Perfect, creating the cover art for said book, getting set up to join the "Oh Get A Grip" group blog (read us - we're fun!!), keeping up with the Heat Flash erotica podcast which now airs on Thursdays at 8PM on Radio Dentata (streaming internet radio with teeth!!), clean the house, feed the kids, help the Princess with her homework, potty train Pixie, and somehow find a few moments to have sex with my husband.

Yeah, it's been a little busy.

Things are starting to slow down a bit. I got my last major deadline out the door on Friday. I submitted a short story to Alessia Brio's Coming Together: Al Fresco, and regardless of whether or not I make it into this volume, I highly encourage everyone to buy a copy of any of the Coming Together books (I do have a story in Coming Together: With Pride, if you're interested). Coming Together is a charity anthology and all the proceeds go to the organization of choice for each volume. It's doing good while being bad, and ya gotta love that.

So this week's cartoon is just a glimpse into what's been going on at la casa de Cynical Woman. I'm tired, but things are evening out and I hope to be back on some sort of regular schedule in the next couple of weeks. I'll be at the Farpoint science fiction convention on Valentine's Day weekend, the same weekend as the release of Future Perfect, so I will be gearing up for that, getting promo ready and preparing for the panels I'm on (only six this time, I believe). Otherwise, I'll be turning my attention back to the podcast and this cartoon, putting in a little more time on my two favorite projects for a while. Hopefully, I'll have another cartoon ready within the week. See ya then!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ephemera 01 - I Am a Baaaaaaad Cartoonist

I did not forget you guys. Seriously. And no, I have not died. I have simply been too dang busy for words. Honestly. Right now, I'm trying to finish edits on my next book, get the cover artwork done for said book, get my podcast out the door, prep to participate in TEN panels at a science fiction convention coming up this weekend, and put together a workshop outline on podcasting for EPICon 2009 (Vegas, March, be there, baby!). Not to mention trying to recover the house from the holidays, recover the kids from the holidays, and oh, I've been sick the last week and a half.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Whine, whine, whine. Quit being such a big cry-baby, Helen, and get with the cartoons already! Well, I don't have a Cynical Woman cartoon done right now (although I already have the next few episodes scripted out and they will be funny, I promise!). What I do have is this…

I know, it's freaky, but this comes from my current sketchbook, which I carry around with me and doodle in whenever I get a free moment (free time? Ha! What's that?). This was mostly done in the dojo our family attends, during Princess' karate classes. The Saturday morning classes, that is, when Saint Michael the Magnificent takes Pixie shopping so I don't have to keep an eye on that hyperactive little busybody who gets into everything.

So, every now and then, when I get a sketch done (or as I find a few old ones I've got lying around), I'll scan it in and present it here. These will be called 'Ephemera' and they will be a nice little bonus to the usual comics. Or they will be a way for me to buy some time when my sorry ass gets behind in my work again.