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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"When I'm not writing..." with Karen Duvall + giveaway!

Karen Duvall Today's post is brought to you by Karen Duvall, author of the Knight's Curse books. She's here to promote her latest release, a story called "Sun Storm" in a new anthology called 'TIL THE WORLD ENDS. She's sharing the byline with great authors like Julie Kagawa and Ann Aguirre so you know it's got to be awesome.

Please join me in welcoming Karen to the blog!


As much as I love to write, my career toggles back and forth between graphic design and writing fiction. In these tough economic times, I juggle both jobs and I'm lucky to have two careers that are creative and fun… most of the time.


I received my degree in visual communication in 1978, when I graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado. I've been working professionally as a graphic designer for over 30 years. Most of those years were spent as an employee of various agencies, marketing firms, publishers, gift manufacturers, and other businesses that require the services of an artist (including the phone company). However, for the past eight years, I've been working for myself as a freelancer so that I can allocate more time to write.

All of my artwork is created on the computer now. I use a Wacom tablet and pen tool that works very much like a paintbrush, so I can still paint and draw just like I used to in the olden days. It's nice being able to switch creative gears between writing and design. If I feel overwhelmed by one, I can still have my creative outlet through the other.

book scene

I'm a visual person so I take advantage of my artistic background when I write by creating word pictures. And on the flip side, I tell stories using visual media. I've never made a book trailer for any of my books, but I create digital collages that sum up what my books are about. The ones I've made for my Knight's Curse series offer the tone and style of these stories.

Over the past three years, I've become involved in creating 3D art for computer gaming. Virtual worlds are a great way to flesh out characters through roleplay, and I design the clothing and accessories for the characters I create. Then I photograph them in various scenarios and use the images as inspiration for my writing.

gown 2

Now that self-published books are on the rise, I've been designing a lot of book covers for independent authors. This is especially rewarding for me because as an author myself, I understand how important it is for a cover to represent the story, and it needs to entice readers to want more. You can see samples of my covers here: http://duvalldesign.wordpress.com/book-cover-design/

Sometimes it feels like all I do is work, but I'm having a great time doing it. I do other things, too, like watch my favorite TV shows late at night on hulu.com (because I'm never able to catch them when they air). My pets are a great joy in my life and I especially love playing ball with my dog in the park we walk to every day. I also thoroughly enjoy getting together with my writer friends once or twice a month, and though it's true we talk mostly about writing and publishing, it's also my rare opportunity for social time. A girl's gotta gab now and then, right?


Thanks for stopping by, Karen! You have such an interesting (non-authorial) job. :)

For more information about Karen and her books, check out her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


Here's the story on 'TIL THE WORLD ENDS:

'Til The World Ends by Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre, and Karen DuvallNew York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed authors Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre and Karen Duvall imagine what it takes to survive in a world where everything you know—and love—is about to disappear…forever.

Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa

Before The Immortal Rules, there was Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden—as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What's worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she's beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems…

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre

After a catastrophic spill turns the country into a vast chemical wasteland, those who could afford it retreated to fortresses, self-contained communities run by powerful corporations. But for Mari Thistle, life on the outside—in the Red Zone—is a constant struggle. To protect her family, Mari teams up with the mysterious Thorne Goodman. Together, they'll face an evil plot in both the underworld of the Red Zone and the society inside the fortresses that could destroy those on the outside…for good.

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall

Sarah Daggot has been chasing storms since she was a child. But after the biggest solar flares in history nearly destroy the planet, she becomes a Kinetic, endowed by her exposure to extreme radiation with the power to sense coming storms—in the cosmos and beyond. And she's not the only one. Sarah believes the Kinetics are destined to join forces and halt the final onslaught of the sun. She'll vow to keep trying to convince the one missing link in their chain of defense, the enigmatic Ian Matthews, up until the world ends.

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

And here's the scoop on KNIGHT'S CURSE and DARKEST KNIGHT:

Knight's Curse by Karen DuvallA skilled knife fighter since the age of nine, Chalice knows what it's like to live life on the edge—precariously balanced between the dark and the light. But the time has come to choose. The evil sorcerer who kidnapped her over a decade ago requires her superhuman senses to steal a precious magical artifact…or she must suffer the consequences.

Desperate to break the curse that enslaves her, Chalice agrees. But it is only with the help of Aydin—her noble warrior-protector—that she will risk venturing beyond the veil to discover the origins of her power. Only for him will she dare to fully embrace her awesome talents. For a deadly duel is at hand, and Chalice alone will have to decide between freedom…and the love of her life.

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Darkest Knight by Karen Duvall"Betray your sisters or your lover. You choose."

After the warrior she loves saved her from a murderous gargoyle, Chalice watched helplessly as Aydin turned into a gargoyle himself. Now, free from the curse that enslaved her, Chalice pledges to join her sister knights in The Order of the Hatchet—and do whatever it takes to regain Aydin's humanity…and his love. What she encounters within their hallowed sanctuary is pure intrigue.

Someone—or something—is murdering her sisters in their sleep, provoking fear and suspicion among the order. Meanwhile, Aydin, unable to stay away, starts haunting Chalice's dreams, urging her onward. Ultimately, Chalice will be faced with an agonizing choice—one that will tear away at her newfound identity and force her to choose between duty and desire….

Christine's thoughts

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository



Karen is graciously offering one (1) copy of 'TIL THE WORLD ENDS to a lucky winner!

To enter the giveaway, obey the Rafflecopter!

Continental US only

Ends Monday, February 25, 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Do you guys have suggestions for who you’d like to see featured on the blog? If so, you can make your suggestions on this page. No guarantees that your favorite authors will be able to participate but we’ll try!

Authors, would you like to visit and share with us? Please email me at jennblogs (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll set it up!


Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, eight years ago for school. She's still in school (thankfully on another degree!), now trapped in her dissertation. When she's not dissertating, which happens more often than it should, Jenn spends her time reading, watching movies, playing volleyball, travelling, and enjoying the local music scene. Her latest addictions: yoga and Almond Crunch cereal.

13 People left their mark' :

  1. Pickyme is my favorite cover artist.

  2. I don't have a favorite cover artist.

  3. Thanks for the fabulous post and congrats to Karen on the new release! I've been dying to read her series :) Ummm... I really, truly don't know of any cover artists so I don't have any favs.

  4. I don't really have a favorite artist. They're all so great.

  5. I don't have fave graphic artist. Though I can appreciate good artistry. ;-)

  6. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by! :)

  7. I love the cover art of Daniel Dos Santos, he does Gini Koch's Alien series.

  8. This was a very timely post for me, as I'm researching book cover options this week. Good to know! And I'm still looking forward to reading your story.

  9. I admire all different sorts of art, it would be hard to pick an artist or an art form I don't like. Even if I prefer one over another I still have respect and admiration for anyone creative.

  10. Nice work, Karen. Thanks for sharing your creative process.

  11. You do beautiful work, Karen! I really enjoy seeing the work of other graphic artists. As for a favorite, that would be hard to choose. Also very cool that you're getting into 3D art for gaming. Animation and graphic/video books are next on my list of design skills to learn. Looks like great fun!

  12. I can't even pick a favorite cover artist oh my God...there are so many I couldn't even begin to think of one! :P

  13. I hate to admit it but I never really noted the artists for book covers. I only know when I see a cover that appeals to me and/or draws my attention. Your above pieces definitely fits the category. I am going to make a conscious effort to pay more attention to the artists especially for those whose covers I admire. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.