ABOUT

I am the editor, publisher and owner of Sweet as Cotton Candy, an entertainment magazine that covers the Rocky Mountain Front Range and the world. We are based in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I am an entertainment and features reporter. I worked at the Wyoming Tribune Eagle for almost 12 years. During my time there I interviewed thousands of celebrities, some of them are; B.B. King, Naomi Judd, Clint Black, members of KORN, Michael Connelly, David Copperfield, Rodney Carrington, Larry the Cable Guy, John Oates of Hall and Oates, Josh Groban, Kevin Bacon m, Merle Haggard, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, and Taylor Swift. I parted ways with them in March of 2011 to pursue my music and to found Life is as Sweet as Cotton Candy, an online entertainment magazine and now a podcast on Spotify.https://open.spotify.com/show/2fKsyi4yQVjMKY1vjncyRj?si=b8JnCb8xRQyCLdjfjX6Wlw

 

I am also the author of Carol and Santa, which is in the process of being made into an animated TV movie. At one time it was gojng to be an animated series Http://www.carolandsanta.com.I also am the author of the children’s non-fiction picture books “Vedauwoo: Hidden Faces in Mysterious Places” and coming soon in the  Spring 2017, “K9 and Officer Heroes of the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department.” My Vedauwoo book can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, the Depot Museum and the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the University of Wyoming Bookstore in Laramie, Wyoming,  at Wind City Books in Casper, Wyoming and online at http://www.Barnesandnoble.com and www.amazon.com

I also am an award winning musician, songwriter, dancer, artist and photographer. I play the piano, guitar, violin, clarinet and percussion. I dance at Act Two Dance Studios in Cheyenne Wyoming. I’m a member of the Gospel Music Association. I’ve been a member of the Wyoming Writer’s Inc. and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in the Past.

i have an album, “Watch Me Shine,”  that was originally released on AOK Records in March if 2023, but since they never paid me royalties I rereleased it on CD Baby world wide on December of 2023 after I had AOK Records take my music down and pulled a Taylor Swift. “Watch Me Shine,” the title track was written by myself and Brandon Gibbs who is a solo artist now, but has performed in Poison and other projects. https://open.spotify.com/album/0oe1zuYiWYqbEKq4KdoDJA?si=vRvzEFsQTTODx0ff80MDhA

“Watch Me Shine,” is an anthem for mental health awareness and is about shining above and rising above the stigma of mental health. The song was written after I was discriminated against on my former college campus, Laramie County Community College, by a professor and the Dean of Student Services, a disability interpreter and the former Dean of Fine  Arts in April and May of 2022

After my divorce from Don Cotton in June of 2022. I recorded my “Watch Me Shine” album after signing with AOK Records. Their studio musicians such as Amy Grant’s guitarist performed on my cover track “Breath of Heaven ( Mary’s Song)” by Amy Grant. AOK Records came up with the music portion to “Pieces” and “Mr. Christmas” that I wrote the lyrics to. “Pieces” is dedicated to my best friend Gabriel Lane and is about our relationship.

Awards:

In December of 2023 I was awarded with an Individual Artist Professional Development Grant from the Wyoming Arts Council for $1,000 to record an album with Side Three Studios in Denver. Side Three Studios has also recorded Post Malone, Bruno Mars and Ariana Grande as well as many other artists. My new album will be released in June.

Five museums now have collections based on my career as a journalist, photographer, musician, artist and author; The Country Music Hall of Fame has my audio files of all of my interviews as well as my music files from ” Watch Me Shine,” the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center has the Karen Cotton papers, the Wyoming State Archives has my audio files and micro film articles from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the Wyoming State Museum has my wedding dress and other personal belongings as well as my video file of my father Paul Jansen who was the translator for Former President Bill Clinton at the Denver Summit of the Eight World Leaders in Denver, Colorado. And the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum has the Karen Cotton collection of country musician, rodeo cowboys, rock musicians, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, autographed hats and photos, as well as ticket stubs of concerts, photos with artists, backstage passes etc. and my audio files.

in 2021-2022 school year I was awarded an academic music scholarship to Laramie County Community College in music performance. I also was a president’s honor roll student and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. I was a music assistant on a federal work study and unpacked and organized the entire music library, and publicized concerts. I was a soloist in jazz band on vocals and piano.

In 2016 I was awarded an Individual Professional Artist Development grant from the Wyoming Arts Council for my book, “K9 and Officer Heroes of the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department.” This book was released in the Spring 2017 and you can check out the signings and more info at https://www.karencotton.net

I won numerous awards as a reporter. One of those was a fellowship.

I am a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient for the Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater at the University of Southern California Annenberg’s School of Journalism. The link to find out more information about this is https://news.usc.edu/17112/USC-Annenberg-Announces-NEA-Fellowships/

I am still a theater and music critic. That was also a role that I had at the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

You can find the audio files from my Wyoming Tribune Eagle years in the Karen Cotton collection at the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center.

Here’s the link https://rmoa.unm.edu/docviewer.php?docId=wyu-ah12640.xml

In the summer of 2011 I received an Individual Professional Artist Development Grant from the Wyoming Arts Council. The grant was for songwriting. I attended the Gospel Music Association’s conference IMMERSE. http://www.experienceimmerse.com

In the fall of 2011 I received a music scholarship to Laramie County Community College. I was a vocal performance major and I was an editor of the High Plains Register, the school’s literary journal.

In September of 2011 I had a photography show at the Clay Paper Scissors Gallery in downtown Cheyenne. My show, “Rising from the Ashes: New York City 2005″ featured photos of New York City four years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In December my “Rising from the Ashes” show was shown at the Cheyenne Family YMCA. That exhibit is on permanent display in Cheyenne at Cheyenne’s Fire and Rescue building. My photograph, “Robin in the Snow,” was juried into the Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibition.

I also am an Individual Professional Artist Development Grant recipient from the Wyoming Arts Council for my Vedauwoo book and an SCBWI Rocky Mountain Region conference that I attended in the past.

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I’m also the mother of a preemie daughter, who was born ten weeks early. She is now twelve. I plan on writing a book about my three-month-long experience in the NICU to help other parents cope with the ups and downs of being in the NICU.