Writing during a pandemic

Hey readers, how are you doing? We’ve all had a rough year haven’t we? School is around the corner. I’ve been praying for teachers, students, social workers in schools, dietitians in the schools, all of those amazing people who make sure our kids are educated. Our hope for the future.

I’m a mom and my eight-year-old daughter sure is a trooper. I have been working hard helping her have a summer full of happy memories. We have kept our friend circle small. But those friends we have been seeing the most are like family to us. From nights looking for comet Neowise, to watching Space X/NASA astronauts head to the International Space Station, following their mission above us on Twitter, NASA TV and Facebook, watching out for them above us with our notification from NASA at night, and watching them touch down from the International Space Station into the ocean off of the Florida coast and get removed from their capsule, alive and well. How incredibly amazing. And why news outlets aren’t talking about this more baffles me. I sure have one inspired astrophysicist in the making, though, and that’s all that matters to me. We have been snacking on space ice cream from Hobby Lobby, we have been looking at planets with our telescope from Hobby Lobby,

My daughter and I have always loved space and everything NASA 🙂 so has her daddy. We are geeks. Space nerds, whatever. Star Wars, Star Trek loving people who can’t get enough of space.

We lost my mom last year After a long battle with COPD and pneumonia, I had a miscarriage when my husband was on business in Boston in the summer, and our 14-year-old dog passed away from lymphoma cancer right before Thanksgiving. At night I look up into the heavens, and I wonder if any of those stars are them.

There’s not a day that goes by that I wish I could talk to my mom. Tonight I wanted to ask her mom, what should I do in-person, online school, mom what would you do ?

A huge part of my heart wishes I could feel confident in a decision to let my child go to school in person. My child loves art, music, P.E., going to the library, recess, her nurse at school, her social worker who helped her through losing her Gma and her beloved dog, but my daughter also has asthma. That same daughter of mine is worried. Worried to the point that she doesn’t go to sleep easily at night. She is worried she will lose me or her daddy to the scary virus.

Who knew that a minuscule virus, organism, disease could divide so many people, scare so many people, including me? But hey I am a mom of a preemie girl who was born at 10 week and has struggled with asthma her whole life, and I am also a former care taker of a mom who got really sick with upper respiratory viruses that require hospitalization, CPAPs, ICU visits, oxygen, nebulizer treatments. I swear you guys I could be a respiratory therapist easily. I could tell you how much Inogen machine’s cost, what is the difference between low flow and high flow oxygen, and on and on.

Why do I get upset when the flu wasn’t a big deal? Because it killed my mom.

Look guys, I have been wearing masks a lot longer before they were cool, fashionable, uncool, a topic for debate, whatever. There has been a flu vaccine for years. Not everybody gets it. The flu vaccine isn’t required for attending public school. But my family and I always get the vaccine. My mom, was a public health nurse. I have known about diseases, the CDC, etc. for a very long time. Am I comparing SARS 2 coranovirus COVID-19 to the flu. Yup, yes I am. Why? Because just because there is a vaccine for the flu, it doesn’t cover every mutation of that virus. Influenza is an upper respiratory infection. It can cause pneumonia and in some people it can cause death.

I have always made sure we don’t have play dates with friends who are running a fever, or if we are running a fever. I make sure to keep my family away from their workplace or out of school, or myself away from other people, quarantined.

You know though, America needs to be changed. Our healthcare system is broken. Broken in so so many ways. We should be able to stay home if we are sick and rest. We should be able to stay home with our kids if our kids are sick and not be punished for it. There’s this phrase that is called dope and drop, which means if your kids have a fever but you need to work you give your kids some Tylenol and drop them off at daycare, or school because when they take their temperature they don’t have one.

At one time I thought about running for public office, for president, seriously. I could promise you all I wouldn’t have let a deadly virus sneak into America. I have been a journalist for 26 years and as much as I hate it I can’t shut the news hound part of myself off. We have friends who own a Chinese restaurant in town and they have family in Wuhan, China. Family that were locked down in January. For two months. At that time I was like that’s scary I feel bad for them, but wait, why isn’t our president doing anything about this? Why are we letting planes into America from China ? So I tried calling the White House, the number is on the website, no luck. Tried Tweeting Trump, who am I? Nobody. Just a mom, a person who owns a magazine with 10,000 readers, but I am nobody. Who is at fault? The media, the democrats, Trump? Our president was on an impeachment trial in January through early March when he was acquitted. Covid-19 was back page news in January. It was in the news. But not front page news. And guess what guys? Covid-19 was in America back in December 2019. Because people were flying into America internationally. Where I live in Wyoming didn’t have testing capabilities until April. In February I told my husband to wear masks on the airplane on his trip to and from Boston. He thought I was crazy. But I wasn’t.

My family plays this board game called Pandemic. I absolutely hate that game. Why? Because this kind of stuff freaks me out. Outbreaks, an incurable disease. Sometimes you win that board game and other times you just don’t.

My friend from New Zealand reconnected with me during this pandemic. She was bored. Locked down and figured out how to find my email and she emailed me. She and I have been Skyping quite often ever since. The Holderness Family on Facebook has a parody song on there called New Zealand is a wonderland. And my friends and readers. They don’t have Coivd-19 in their island country. They are back to work, back to school, back to enjoying life as usual. How I wish I lived there in New Zealand. How I wish America was like New Zealand.

As a writer. It is so so very difficult to write about fictional topics right now. Like I wish my brain could focus on my children’s books, or my romance I have rolling around in my brain. But my factual facebook, newshound, twitter, email reading self the reporter in me can’t figure out how to write about being able to travel overseas when right now it isn’t possible for Americans to fly anywhere. That the Hallmark Christmas in July specials make me sad because that was 2019 and earlier and well here we are in 2020 Jumanji, and life is just weird. Like a crazy sci-fi movie. One that I would totally change the channel to, to a cheesy romance movie on Hallmark, or Netflix that I adore. and I have been doing that. Watching a lot of Hallmark, watching a lot of Superhero Girls with my daughter, but we have also spent a ton of time outdoors!

I am super blessed I live in Wyoming. We have been gardening, golfing, running in the sprinkler, making smores in a fire pit, watching the sky at night, going to the botanic gardens —- a lot, and we have been taking pictures of flowers, and of rainbows after every rain storm,

I have a new office and my daughter has a new bedroom.

I have been doing everything virtually. virtual author visits, virtual readings, virtual writing and business conferences, virtual school, virtual paint and wine with friends and family all over the country, virtual art, writing and music classes and I even auditioned for NBC’s The Voice. My daughter has been video chatting with all of her cousins and aunts and uncles. So thank God for technology or not? Because seriously I have been doing so much better without Facebook, Twitter and news alerts. On the days I shut that all off I am more relaxed and able to just focus on tasks at hand and the most important people in my life my daughter and my husband, as well as our fur kids.

You guys, readers, how can I pray for you? It just seems like everyone is struggling with something right now. Deployments, stressful jobs, job loss, marital strife, anxiety, depression, anger, racial injustice, hate, political division, safety of our schools, teachers and our children’s lives —-and why aren’t we still honoring our frontline workers? You know the healthcare workers, postal workers, online shopping warehouse workers, retail and restaurant workers, our police, firemen and women and EMTS, that save our butts when we need them most. Where are the concerts that took place in March when everyone was in their homes and ordering Amazon and stocking up on too much toilet paper? We still need music, we still need healing. God do we need healing right now.

Well, I guess I just wrote a lot. I have only been able to write my thoughts down during this time. I haven’t been able to work on fun stuff. My coffee shops might be open in some places, but writing with a mask on isn’t fun, and I can’t even sit inside the Botanic Gardens like I used to be able to, or go to the library and stay all day and write, there is a two hour limit at ours, and you have to wear a mask. So, I write in my office, sometimes in my backyard, sometimes out on my front porch on my little table.

But there are distractions everywhere In my house, husband working from home, kiddo home for the summer and when school starts still at home virtual schooling, there are books and magazines to read, crafts to do, house work yard work, stuff to watch on TV, tablets, phones, friends in crisis, friends who just need to talk, appointments, bills to pay, you know fun adult stuff. My daughter taught me how to play with Barbies the other day because she is lonely and she is like “ See mommy Ariel will call Barbie and tell her she is coming over to watch a movie, so you try it mommy.”

Sometimes I wish we could just not do school for 2020. We could just have fun, do crafts, and hang out. This summer has been a blur. And we haven’t had any out of town company this summer, which is just odd. we have had some play dates but only with close friends and we have been monitoring everyone’s temperatures etc. like we always do.

Everyone thinks I think Covid-19 isn’t serious. I know it is. But I also thought the flu was serious. And I still do. We should have been taking these kind of precautions with the flu. But we weren’t. Maybe my mom would still be alive?

Look nobody is to blame, the Sars2 cornovirus is here. It is causing lots of strife, people are losing their lives, and there is a brand new vaccine. I am just trying to keep my family safe. Like I always have. And here I am back with the Covid19 talk. It’s heavy on my mind and why it is so so hard for me to sit down and write about fun things. To be able to work on my rhyming in picture books, to be able to take you all on a journey with my new romance I want to write under my pen name, and ha you don’t even know what my pen name is …. so anyway ,,,,,and there’s my memoir. Hey guys, it is so hard to look at childhood photos and I have boxes of those, boxes, stacked in photo boxes in my closet. i have digital picture frames, no idea how to use them, and I know there is Legacy Box, but I don’t have a ton of money and you guys, did I tell you about all of my pictures. I used to scrapbook. I have all of that stuff. And was thinking about doing that this fall. My daughter loves to scrapbook.

I finally got the courage to show her my wedding photos because my 19 year anniversary was Aug. 4. And she wasn’t born until much much later than 2001 when we got married. So many lovely people in those photos have passed away since then. My daughter said she saw some of them in heaven before she was born. There are friends in my photos who I have lost touch with and I have no idea how to find them again. But, we had an amazing wedding. And my husband is really awesome. He has worked really hard during this whole pandemic, and I haven’t been able to make a lot of money and it has been frustrating beyond belief. Believe me I have tried. But maybe, right now, God just wants me to be a mom, be a wife, a home maker, and an author. Man everyone it is 2:13 a.m. and I am not even tired. So, so weird.

I have been avoiding conflict with people, and drama. I am just done with drama. I have had this horrible tension head ache now for two weeks off an on. And it just won’t go away. When I am all relaxed it isn’t around, but right now it is back. And I can feel it in my shoulders. It’s tough to sleep at night you guys. But once I am asleep I sometimes have nightmares that wake me up. And then I sleep in, and I need to stop this. it has helped writing it all down. It helps reading. But I haven’t been able to focus. As you can see this bounces from subject to subject. So so much on my mind lately. Why am I sharing it? Well maybe you are feeling like me? A little bit done with Covid-19 and maybe there is an end in site with this vaccine? I just wish it never existed. I wish we were back in 2018. When my mom, my dog were still alive and I still had the hope of having another baby.

If you go to my author Facebook page, Http://facebook.com/karencotton I do live updates and occasionally you can watch me read from my books. I will be on Wyoming PBS this fall and I will also be on the After School Kids program, too reading, virtually. Man Halloween is going to be all kinds of weird this year. I think we should do it in reverse and just drive around in costumes and throw candy at everyone we pass by out the windows. …. everyone will be in masks anyways !!!! Ok ha that was pretty funny. I think that will make a new meme on Facebook Hahahahaha …. anyway everyone in my house is asleep, the cat, the dogs, my hubby and my kid. And right now my kiddo has taken over my entire bed in the master bedroom with her dog, and the cat has reserved my office couch, my husband is asleep in his recliner downstairs, so as to not wake him and the pup down there I have the option of kicking my cat out of my office bed. lol or sleep on the couch ….

And as I have been writing this tonight I have been listening to Steven Curtis Chapman radio on Spotify. Everyone needs God in their lives right now. Even if they don’t believe in him. God is love. Purely and simply.

I will be featured on Wyoming PBS this summer

I am one of a few Wyoming children’s book authors who will be featured on Wyoming PBS’s Facebook page and Youtube channel this summer reading from my books.

The recordings will still play every Wednesday at 10:00 on the WyomingPBs facebook page and youtube sites.

Here is the schedule of authors

Story Time Schedule:
June 3rd–Karen Henderson ​Floating
June 10–KW Bunyap (Kenneth Wells) ​Wyoming from A-Z June 17-Reva Lobatis-​Hadley’s Hats
June 24-Casey Rislov-​Imagination Bigger Together
July 1- Mary Fichtner-​Rusty Under the Western Skies July 8-Gene Gagliano ​Is it True Part 1
July 15-Jamie Cannon ​That Pesky Pickle
July 22-Mary Fichtner ​Rusty Goes to Frontier Days
July 29-KW Bunyap-​Where is the Dog Where is the Cat August 5- Casey Rislov-​Love is Forever
Aug. 12-Mary Fichtner-​Rusty and his Saddle Aug.19-Gene Gagliano-​Is it True Part II
August 26-Casey Rislov-​Time Together Well Spent
Sept. 2-May Fichtner-​Rusty and the River
Sept 9-Ann Marie Wells-​Mommy Why am I a Bird
Sept. 16-Karen Cotten ​K-9 Deputy Heros Part I
Sept. 23-Karen Cotten ​K-9 Deputy Heros Part 2 Sept.30-Karen Cotten ​K-9 Deputy Heros Part 3
Oct. 7-Karen Cotten ​K-9 Deputy Heros Part

I have exciting news about the CFD Old West Museum

I have exciting news to share with everyone. My collection of audio interviews, photos, meet and greet passes, Frontier Editions, articles, autographs, ticket stubs and autographed cowboy hats from over 21 years of covering Cheyenne Frontier Days as an entertainment reporter has been accepted as a collection into the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum.

The collection includes entertainers such as Chris LeDoux and the Western Underground, Ned LeDoux, The Judds, Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Clint Black, Merle Haggard, Journey, Lady A, and many, many more. It also includes interviews with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Pilots, photos of the Thunderbirds and one trip in particular that country star Chris Cagle took with the amazing pilots!
The CFD Old West Museum is partnering with the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center to share audio files of interviews in the Heritage Center’s Karen Cotton collection. In the future the CFD items will be on display for the public at the CFD Old West Museum. Stories about these items will be in my memoir that I am hoping will come out in 2021 or 2022.

Thoughts on the coronavirus and how to escape the fear; read good books, Skype with your favorite author, and if you’re healthy make sure the elderly neighbor of yours has everything they need right now and that kid where they cancelled school has meals they can eat

Hey everyone! Sorry for the long absence. I was lost in my own world of being sick last month, February, tending to a stick kiddo, and at the beginning of this month, March 4, was the one year anniversary of losing my mom. Time doesn’t ease the pain so much. It still hurts and yeah, I still miss her like crazy. But I am a survivor and I made it a year without one of the most important people that I’ve ever had in my life.

Right now many people are dealing with anxiety and fear of the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Welcome to my world. I have lived with anxiety my whole life. This whole pandemic just amps it up tenfold. However, I have always coped with my bipolar, anxiety and depression, with the arts. Whether it is reading, music, dance, art, photography, writing, songwriting, theater, cooking, organizing, home decorating, scrapbooking, or doing crafts. And guess what? SO CAN YOU!!!!


This is the perfect time to read books by authors you may have always wanted to check out but didn’t have time to. There are Kindle and NOOK apps on your phone, or tablet, or there are audible books on iTunes and audible.com. In fact all three of my children’s books are available in ebook and my K9 book is available in audible format. Many of my author friends would love for you to escape in their books, too.

And I will be offering Skype sessions for online schooling, as well as if any of my fans would like to chat with me for a minimal fee I would love to set aside time. It is quite possible however that I may have to home school my daughter, but I will make time for my fans and my writing.

Speaking of my fans I have exciting news, depending on how things shape up in the future I have been asked to speak to two schools in Cheyenne, Wyoming this Spring. And if worst comes to worst I will do an online presentation for the schools and I will set time aside for kiddos to ask me questions over SKYPE and they can share their writing with me.

More exciting news that I have is Carol and Santa’s animated movie is anticipated to come out this December for TV or Netflix, and is in the works with Mighty Fudge Studios and Boulder Community Media.

I also will be one of the local authors in Rock Springs, Wyoming in June at the local author event depending on world events, but by then I hope the COVID-19 whatever pain in the nasty, yeah, Lots of choice words to use, is gone.

And yes, I am working on the sequel to Carol and Santa. Max and Katie and the Run Away Reindeer is the title of my next book and it is a blast. You guys are gonna love it !

I haven’t ever revealed this before, but I also operate under a pen name and I have a sweet Christmas romance in the works. And my alter ego pen name self has her own website, and email and Twitter and facebook account. So HAH! Try and figure out who else I write under ! That will keep your mind off of this awful news.

And in honor of my mother and father and all of the family and pets that I have lost I have decided to write my memoir. It is Christian in nature and encouraging. I have been writing about trying times, happy times and some of the most memorable people in my life and In my career as a journalist.

I also have a cook book in the works. I was hoping to have it out this spring, but after buying a frozen ham, a turkey, a family sized lasagna, a family sized enchilada bake and you know other essentials including Legos and Barbies for my daughter, before real panic buying happened. I can’t afford an ISBN or Barcode for it. But the cover and pages are partially done. So anticipate that. It’s good, too. Original recipes that my grandma actually created herself. Nope they aren’t in Betty Crocker or the Joy of Cooking, they are hers. And they are AMAZING and a taste of my childhood.

In the meantime, if you have kids have fun with them. Make this play time, learning time and fun at home. Teach them about the stars, or how to sing, or how to dance, or how to write a book, or letter, or email to a cousin or grandma or granddad they haven’t talked to in a while. Make play dough out of salt, water and flour. Pray to God. Read the Bible. Watch church online. Stay home and healthy and be wise.

Or I own a smart TV and there are how to play the guitar lessons and how to draw lessons on the apps, there is also YouTube and online classes at universities. For now I think online shopping is still happening. I belong to this amazing Wyoming Women Gifting each other on Facebook group and Amazon is getting LOTS of business right now. There are at least 5,000 women in Wyoming on this facebook group. But you can find anything online, too. Luckily we live in a digital age and have the INTERNET, TV, phones, video chatting capabilities.

I plan on writing more songs and practicing the piano, guitar and violin. Heck I may even play my Native American flute and Irish tin whistle, or my clarinet, if it even works. I also can continue teaching my daughter how to play instruments and hey if any of you want to learn, if I have time I may start offering skype lessons? Who knows?

When life gets back to normal, and hopefully it does. I hope it does, I trust in God it will. I will be working part-time with the After School Kids program at the school my daughter attends. I will be doing art, music, writing, reading and photography with the kiddos. and the beautiful thing is she will be right there with me in that program. I just spoke with the director of that program this morning.

I will also get back to my volunteer duties at my daughter’s school library where I shelve books, read to the kids and help them choose books.

And I own a magazine, so I will be posting articles on there once in a while. Www.sweetascottoncandy.com

I’m also a Color Street consultant.

But mainly, as always, I will be busy being a mom and a wife and focusing on my family. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of my two fur babies, bills, taxes, taming the garden and yard, household repairs. And decorating for the holidays. And perhaps I may even paint my walls a fantastic color like red or royal blue or something. Hell I may be stuck in my house for a long time so I better like the color of my walls, which I don’t right now. They are boring. Boring white walls. I have been looking at houses, too, online tours are amazing. Then there are all of those great HGTV shows like The Property Brothers, Chip and Joanna Gaines‘ show, Love it or List it, My Hometown. Then there is Food Network. Shark Tank on MSNBC. Tru TV’s Impractical Jokers (you guys the movie is the best) and the Carbanaro Effect. As well as Discovery Channel’s Forged in Fire.

See, so start a list everyone. Take this opportunity of being at home away from crowds etc. to regroup. Focus on your family, yourself, your friends, your neighbors, be loving, help each other out. Even if it is just making a phone call, or delivering a gallon of milk to a friend because they are sick and have lots of kiddos depending on it and you are well and dropping it on the doorstep and calling them when you are in the car letting them know it is there.

I mean come on. COVID-19 is a virus. And all winter we have been dealing with viruses. The common cold, the Flus, Strep, Croup, Bronchitus, Sinus infections, pneumonia, RSV, you name it. And now even more so than ever the world is more disinfected. Hopefully everyone is using the hand sanitizer and soap they have been stock piling in their homes. And I bet people even smell better now that they are using more toilet paper than ever. I mean come on.

Let’s be civilized and not act like animals. Let’s take care of our neighbors, and be mindful of the elderly and the people who have immune systems that are compromised, or underlying health issues. Let’s make sure the kids who rely on school meals get a chance to eat. Let’s make sure that The military, nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, EMTS, fire fighters, and police officers, sheriff’s and Highway Patrol officers all have what they need. Whether that is childcare, or meals, masks, and everything they need to stay healthy. They are our heroes even more so now than ever. So let’s stand behind them.

Let’s make sure that military spouses who have kids at home with them and their better half is deployed, make sure they are well taken care of and that we help them out.

Because you guys. I think with the election, with this panic about the virus, we need to remember to take care of one another. Every person on this earth is special and has talents and now more than ever we need God and God wants us to use our talents. Whether that is as a mom taking care of your family, or as a nurse taking care of your patient or your coworkers, or as a doctor reassuring your patients, or on the front line on this war on this crazy virus, and panic, as a member of the military. We just all need to love each other and trust in God.

If you’re sick with anything, just stay home and read, rest, and do art, or do online school, or home school your children, watch TV.

I’m here for you. Feel free to message me on my contact form and follow me on my Facebook Page. And read my books. Leave reviews and just enjoy being home. IF you live in Wyoming where I live we are supposedly in for a nasty snowstorm this weekend. Time to hunker down 🙂

New book signing event with Santa at Barnes and Noble of Cheyenne on November 24th, 2019!

Come and meet Santa and I at Barnes and Noble Book Sellers of Cheyenne, Wyoming on Nov. 24 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

This is a book fair fundraiser for Sunrise Elementary School. Mention Sunrise at the register and they will receive part of the proceeds from your purchases the day of the signing. In order for them to receive their proceeds you must mention them. Thanks! The money raised at the book fair will help fund their library needs.

You can bring a camera or use your cell phone to get your photo with Santa. Bring your wish list for Santa and tell him all of your Christmas wishes. He also likes getting drawings from children, too. He hangs them back at the North Pole.

At the signing I will also have an excerpt of Katie and Max and the Run Away Reindeer available. That book is the follow up in the Carol and Santa series. It hopefully will be out in the Christmas of 2020 or 2021.

For more information about the movie that is in production with Mighty Fudge Studios and Boulder Community Media for Carol and Santa go to Http://www.carolandsanta.com

KUGR and Wyoming Public Radio

I was on Al Harris’ Let’s Talk show live on KUGR this week.

I will be interviewed on Wyoming Public Radio today and it will be recorded and will air at a later date. I will let you know when.

I’ve been discussing my new book, Carol and Santa and the movie deal that is in the works. Tune in!


Exciting news ! I have a movie producer and an animation studio in talks with me …

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for supporting my latest book, Carol and Santa. My book has caught the attention of movie producer, Alan O’Hashi of Wyoming Community Media and Patrick Malek of Mighty Fudge Studios.

Alan and Patrick will be sending me a contract next week.

Alan and I were on KGAB radio yesterday, Nov. 20th, and I was on KGWN News Channel Five that evening on the 5:30 p.m. news.

If you would like to learn more about Mighty Fudge Studios here is their link http://www.mightyfudgestudios.com/

Here is the link to Wyoming Community Media’s website: http://www.wyocomedia.com/

Below are the two media interviews that I did on Nov. 20th.



I have a new exciting event! Lunch with Santa and I at Red Lobster of Cheyenne, WY! Dec. 1, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come and have lunch with local author, Karen Cotton, who will be on hand to answer questions about her new children’s chapter book, Carol and Santa. She will also answer any questions about publishing or writing that you may have. A book signing will follow the lunch.

Her friend, Santa, will be on hand to listen to last minute Christmas wishes and for photos that parents can feel free to take of their kids on their cell phones. Lunch includes everything on the Red Lobster menu that is paid separately. This is a non-ticketed event. It is free. Red Lobster manager Chris Ginete asks that patrons RSVP by Nov. 30 to get an official headcount, so he can set up the tables accordingly. People can also bring an unwrapped gift for Toys For Tots. There will be gift baskets raffled off at this event and proceeds of the raffle will also go to Toys for Tots. Gift baskets will include books of your favorite local and regional authors like Josh Walker and Steven Bates, as well as other local prizes.