AAMBC gives 5 stars!
Crimson Green and her best friend, Chantal, go to Club Panacea for a night out on the town to celebrate Crimson’s big break in the fashion world. Crimson never thought she’d meet the man of her dreams, Isaac Fuentes, that night, nor did she think she’d be lucky enough to find a penny along with other spare change and baubles left abandoned on the ground in the alley next to the club. What she least expected was for her luck to change in a matter of minutes when a visit to Isaac’s place lands her smack dab in the middle of an investigation for the disappearance of Isaac’s ex-girlfriend, local heiress Penny Preston.
Now that she and Isaac have professed their love for one another and are now making headlines for all the wrong reasons, Crimson is determined to find out what really happened to Penny herself. With everyone trying to keep her away from Isaac, including the lead detective on the case, Detective Richardson, who is just as attracted to Crimson as she is to him, Crimson still can’t find the strength to walk away. Instead, she jeopardizes her fashion endorsement, freedom and future all in the name of love and enlists Chantal’s help on her mission to clear Isaac’s name.
Find A Penny is a definite page-turner, with enough humor and action within its pages to keep you intrigued. Cotton Carpenter spins a riveting tale of love, chance and mystery with her debut novel. The characters are likeable and believable, the plot is captivating and the story flows effortlessly, keeping you engaged till the very end. Cotton offers a refreshing brand of storytelling that is comedy-filled and unexpectedly entertaining.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: The Literary Jane Of Erotica: In The Situation Room with Cotton Carpenter
Michelle: First, I have to ask where the name Cotton Carpenter originates? Is that your real name, or a pseudonym?
Cotton: Cotton Carpenter is a pen name that came from a game I played with friends. I just knew that if I ever decided to write erotica that I had to use that name. It’s cute, sexy, and I’m a big fan of alliteration.
Michelle: As a married mother of two, how do you juggle your domestic responsibilities with your writing career?
Cotton: Unfortunately, I’m currently separated. Months ago I would have told you that I’d write whenever I could steal the time; today, I am just trying to find the mojo. Still, the writing will come from stolen moments. Or sometimes, when a story really screams to be written, I just remove myself from my world and get it out. There are a few stories rumbling for attention right now.
Michelle: Where did you get the idea for the storyline in Find A Penny?
Cotton: Find a Penny actually began as a dream. There’s a scene in the book where Crimson finds a lot of loose change in an alley and she keeps picking it up. When she gets around to the front of the building, she finds a purse with a wallet, etc. This happened to me in a dream. I turned the purse and wallet into the club and went on my merry way. Then I woke up, but when I did, I had this feeling: Your fingerprints are all over that stuff. If anything happened to that woman, you’d be the main suspect! Sounded like the making of a great story.
Michelle: You dabble in so many different genres, romance, science fiction and mystery to name a few. Which is your favorite and why?
Cotton: I don’t think I have a favorite. Most of my stories just tell me they need to be told. I guess any story that picks me up and puts me in a different world just to write it is my favorite. It’s just that sometimes, that world is hundreds of years ago, another country, years in the future, or another realm.
Michelle: You have also e-published several short stories. Why did you choose to write the shorts as opposed to full-length novels?
Cotton: I love short stories! I write a lot of flash fiction and experimental fiction that sometimes is only a page long. It means everything that is said or implied is detrimental. It’s great for longer pieces too because, I hope, it gives the reader substance on every page. Also, there are a lot of readers that only read short stories. I have writer friends that feel completely robbed if they invest their time into an entire book and find themselves disappointed on the last page. And, this is the age where everyone wants it now. A lot of people love to sit down and get a full experience in one sitting.
I published a few e-singles to give readers a taste of Cotton. If you don’t know me, I hope you’ll say, “Hmm, an erotic vampire story for 99 cents? I’ll give it a shot!” and then, like people who have done this, to find me on Facebook and ask for the next story. Sure, these are short pieces, but I aim to give you so much and I can’t help but want you looking for more.
Michelle: Charlie’s Urban Angelz: Bubbly, with a Kick takes a look at one aspect of corruption within the police force. What compelled you to tell this type of story?
Cotton: I have a short story, “Trigger”, in Charles Burgess’s anthology, Chocolate Rose 2. The book has a bunch of new female authors and we became Charles’ angels. Bubbly is actually the first installment of a series where different angels will bring a crime-fighting, butt-kicking episode. In my story, I did what I love to do, to show that not every good guy is good, not every bad guy is bad, and you’ll still get a little hot under the collar when you read it.
Michelle: Of Bondage and Freedom sounds very interesting since it’s a story of a love triangle involving Master, his love slave and her slave lover. Tell us a little about it.
Cotton: I like to think of this piece as a love story between two slaves. I always give credit to Pamela Newkirk for compiling love letters that go all the way back to the antebellum in A Love No Less. Reading a love letter from a slave to his wife after being sold away from his family just made me cry: African American love stories rarely have what that letter emotes. I like to think of Curly and Gus, the characters in my story, as the African American Romeo and Juliet. Where were these stories? Generally, if there’s a slave love story, it’s about the forbidden love of the master and the slave. Curly has no love for Master Ralph. Her man is the new slave, Gus, and she imagines being with him when Master Ralph is doing his business with her.
I am probably the most proud of this story. It’s been called too spicy for some historical romance reviewers to write about, but even if I wasn’t the person who wrote it, I’d tell you it is a beautiful love story that anyone could appreciate.
Michelle: Was the popularity of True Blood and the Twilight series the driving motivation for Thick Blood, or did you already have Thick Blood in the pipelines prior to the whole vampire-story phenomenon as of late?
Cotton: I confess that I’ve never seen True Blood. I know of it and will catch up on it one of these days. I’m not the biggest Twilight fan, but I will not hate on it. That said, I’m sure the popularity, or resurgence of vampire popularity, probably had something to do with me writing Thick Blood. There’s that and the fact that Halloween was coming and I wanted to have something fun for my readers. Of course, let Cotton Carpenter get her hands on a vampire story and it’ll be more sensual than scary. It isn’t your every day vampire story, that’s for sure.
Aside from True Blood and Twilight, if you really want to read a good and well-thought-out vampire story, read Octavia Butler’s Fledgling. That story really does stay with you and it influenced Thick Blood more than anything else.
Michelle: As a new independent author, what have you found to be the toughest part of self-publishing?
Cotton: The toughest part of self-publishing for me is the hustle. I’m more the type of person who prefers to let her work speak for itself. I’m also kind of introverted except for the people who know me so it’s hard for me to be IN YO’ FACE all the time with ads and blasts. I know, it’s the nature of the beast these days, but if you’d just read a book or story and then pass it on because you need someone else to talk to about it, that’s priceless to me.
Michelle: What have you been doing to get the word out about Cotton Carpenter, or are you more focused on the writing as opposed to the fame?
Cotton: I would love to be more about the writing, in all honesty. However, I’m going to be in another anthology, putting out more stories and books, and maybe hiring someone to be IN YO’ FACE for me.
Michelle: Will you be self-publishing all of your titles, or are you like many other authors hoping to secure an agent and a publishing deal with a major house? Explain.
Cotton: I am starting my own publishing company, Literary Jane Publishing. It will give me more control over my titles and more responsibility. I won’t say no to working with agents or major publishing houses though. I trust God will take me where I’m supposed to be.
Michelle: What is your writing process? Do you write from the hip or do you outline your stories first?
Cotton: I’m so sorry I don’t have anything specific to tell you about my process. I guess I’m a free spirit. If I outline anything, the story is guaranteed to go in a different direction because the story and the characters are alive for me. That doesn’t stop some stories from coming to me in plot points. I have a few stories-to-be that are outlines right now and then I’m sure another story will just pop up and scream to be written on the fly. I do prefer to plow through and write it all out first and then go back to flesh out the skeleton. It always adds new dimensions to my pieces that I hope many will appreciate.
Michelle: With all the variety in your writing, what can we expect next from Cotton Carpenter?
Cotton: I will be launching Literary Jane Publishing this fall. Since Cotton Carpenter is the Literary Jane of Erotica, you’ll see a very steamy piece about revenge. Of course, because I just love to delve into something, the book is based on an opera so look forward to all the ins and outs of that one. Also, there’s a children’s book in the works, more e-singles, and I will be helping new authors develop their writing and careers. I’m thinking of taking on a few writers and teaching a class.
Michelle: What advice would you give to aspiring authors looking to self publish?
Cotton: Here’s what I tell everybody who is hesitant about writing in general…SNOOKIE GOT BOOKS! No, it isn’t grammatically correct but should Snookie from the Jersey Shore be on the Bestseller’s List? It means there’s a reader for everybody so just go for it. As for self-publishing, if you’re not sure if you’ll like it, start with a short story, learn how to format it, and put it on Amazon. The process alone teaches you so much. And then, after you get started, please, please, please hone your craft. If grammar is not your strong suit, take a class. For $99 you can take an online course that will strengthen your pen. Read, read, read. It’s immersion! It’s how people learn new languages. The more you read, the easier it will be for you to write. Remember that when you quit learning, you die. Evolution equals longevity. Even when I have 50 books out and I’ve taught hundreds of people how to become better writers, I’m still going to consider myself relatively new and keep learning.
Michelle: Tell us a secret. What is something your readers and fans would never expect from Cotton Carpenter?
Cotton: I think it’s sad to see that a lot of people get offended when an erotica writer thanks God or gives Him any glory. Maybe someone would be surprised to know that I’m proud to be a Christian and continue to develop a closer relationship with the Lord. But, as a Christian, I wouldn’t feel that way about anyone, so maybe not.
No, I think the bigger secret/surprise would be that I don’t do all the stuff I write about. I read. I research. I have an over-active imagination. It’s a lot of fun to live inside my head sometimes and when you read my work, you get to take a little visit.
Cotton Carpenter is a native of New Jersey now living and writing in Baltimore, Maryland; who squeezes romance, urban fiction, and erotica writing into whatever moment she can steal for herself. Her short story, “Trigger,” can be found in Chocolate Rose 2 or read her Charlie’s Urban Angelz story, “Bubbly, with a Kick.” Follow her on Twitter@CottonCarpenter or “like” her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorCottonCarpenter.
Cotton also has a variety of smoking-hot short stories available for Kindle and Kindle apps in different genres as she is THE LITERARY JANE OF EROTICA. You’re sure to find something you’ll like, or at the very least, appreciate this writer’s vast talent. And guess what; she’s just getting started!