Author Archives: Karen Duvall

Talk to the Paw: Mud Puppy

Mud Puppy

Look, Mom! I found a puddle!

As some of you may know, I was out of town last weekend and left the furkids home while I attended the Colorado Gold Conference in Denver. We had a pet sitter stay at the house with them, hoping that’s all it would take to keep them out of mischief. The cats did very well, same as they always do. They’re easy to care for: Food, water, litterbox cleaning and that’s about it. Catitude aside, all three of them are fairly self-sufficient.

My dog, on the other hand… Well, Kinsey is both bright and spirited. Her behavior can be unpredictable so we never know what to expect. As my husband and I packed for our Colorado trip, she knew something was up. We spied her having heart to heart conversations with our Sammy cat. And sure enough, she made sure we’d know her displeasure at being left behind.

Me: Really, Kinsey? Did you have to?

Kinsey: Holds chin up and blinks. Yes, yes I did.

Me: Shakes head. You know how I feel about tracking mud in the house.

Kinsey: So? You weren’t here to see it.

Me: Obviously.

Kinsey: And the sitter wasn’t always watching me very well.

Me: Don’t blame it all on her.

Kinsey: What’s important is that I had fun.

Me: Breathes in an exasperated breath. Now who do you think has to fill the hole you dug in the yard?

Kinsey: Dad can use the exercise.

Me: Smiles. How did you like your bath afterward?

Kinsey: Hangs head. No comment.

Me: Okay, the mud hole is one thing. The quilt on our bed is quite another.

Kinsey damage

After Kinsey gutted our quilt.

Kinsey: You know I can’t resist pulling the stuffing out of things.

Me: You have toys for that.

Kinsey: Shrugs. I had to show you I didn’t appreciate you leaving me.

Me: Sighs. It was only for a few days. And you weren’t left alone.

Kinsey: Promise you won’t leave me again.

Me: I can’t promise you that. But if you keep digging holes and gutting my quilts, I promise to put you in a kennel next time.

Kinsey: Wails.

Me: Stop being such a drama queen. If you can prove to me you’ll behave, we’ll get you a sitter again.

Kinsey: Pants. Okay. I’ll behave.

Me: Long pause. Now uncross your paws and say that.


Karen DuvallKaren Duvall is an award-winning author with 4 published novels and 2 novellas. Harlequin Luna published her Knight’s Curse series last year, and her post apocalyptic novella, Sun Storm, was released in Luna’s ‘Til The World Ends anthology in January 2013.

Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four incredibly spoiled pets. She is currently working on a new contemporary fantasy romance series.

Talk to the Paw: The Great Chase

by Karen Duvall

It’s been very busy in our household lately and our pets sense a change is coming. My husband and I will be leaving for our much-anticipated trip to Colorado next week and of course our fur babies don’t want us to go. To top it off, my husband just had minor hernia surgery so he hasn’t been as active with Kinsey as he usually is. She’s jonesing for more ball playing time.

Sammy         Kinsey

Sammy: Would you please sit still?

Kinsey: Panting and twitching. I am still. I’m sitting down. Maybe I should stand. No, sitting is better. On second thought, if I stand next to the couch where Dad is sleeping he might throw the ball for me.

Sammy: Cool your jets, Kins. Dad’s not up for playing ball right now. Even walking is a challenge.

Kinsey: Sits down again. Oh, yeah. Right. Then I’ll go drop my ball on Mom’s keyboard.

Sammy: I wouldn’t do that if I were you.

Kinsey: Why not?

Sammy: She’s kind of stressed.

Kinsey: So? What else is new.

Sammy: She’s been taking care of Dad and she has lots to do before they leave on their trip.

Kinsey: Moans. Don’t remind me.

Sammy: Have some catnip. That’ll fix you right up.

Kinsey: Grabs the ball in her mouth and drops it in front of Sammy. Here. Push the ball with your nose. Just a little. Make it roll and I’ll fetch it.

Sammy: Eewww, no way! It’s got drool all over it.

Kinsey: Starts twitching again. If I don’t get my ball time I’ll go crazy.

Sammy: Ask Teddy. He could use the exercise.

Kinsey: He’ll just sit on it and I may never see it again.

Sammy: Yawns. Not my problem.

Kinsey: Stares at Sammy.

Sammy: What are you looking at?

Kinsey: Cocks her head to one side. You’re not exactly round, but you’ll do in a pinch.

Sammy: Stands and backs up a few steps. What do mean?

Kinsey: The only time I ever chased a cat was when the neighbor’s cats got in our yard. It was kinda fun.

Sammy: Narrows her eyes. You’re not chasing me.

Kinsey: Aw, come on. Be a sport.

Sammy: Backs up some more. No.

Kinsey: I promise not to slobber on you. Not much anyway.

Sammy: Turns around and launches herself down the hall until she’s only a black blur.

Kinsey: Runs after her. Hey, no fair! I wasn’t ready!


KarenKaren Duvall is an award-winning author with 4 published novels and 2 novellas. Harlequin Luna published her Knight’s Curse series last year, and her post apocalyptic novella, Sun Storm, was released in Luna’s ‘Til The World Ends anthology in January 2013.

Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four incredibly spoiled pets. She is currently working on a new contemporary fantasy romance series.

Talk to the Paw: Fighting Tooth and Claw

By Karen Duvall

Kinsey was very sad when I told her we didn’t have a guest for her this week. She’s super friendly and loves meeting other dogs even though she likes people better. I told her she might have someone new to talk to next week. If there are any writer’s pets out there who’d like to be interviewed for Talk to the Paw, please contact me.

There are always accusations flying between my pets. In my home, the blame game is a regular sport. There are no winners, and everyone calls each other a loser. Things were no different this week. I’ve been busier than usual getting ready for the Colorado Gold Conference, and the animals are nervous about my husband and me leaving them behind. They’ll have a sitter here at the house while we’re gone, but like all children, they’d rather have Mom and Dad. Point is, they’re a bit on edge. More hissing and barking than normal, and usually at each other.











Kinsey: Admit it. I know it was you.

Sammy: Narrows her eyes. Was not.

Kinsey: Was too.

Sammy: Was not.

Kinsey: Was too.

Sammy: How do you know it wasn’t Cody? Or Teddy?

Kinsey: Because you puke more than they do.

Sammy: It wasn’t my puke.

Kinsey: I heard you make that sound you do when you throw up. Like a drowning vacuum cleaner with hiccups.

Sammy: Was there a hairball in it?

Kinsey: Pauses to think. Yes! There was a hairball! And it was black, just like your fur.

Sammy: Bristles. Liar! I’ve never thrown up a hairball. Neither has Cody or Teddy. It was YOU that threw up on the carpet!

Kinsey: Looks around and clears her throat. It was YOU that killed the cute little bird in the back yard the other day.

Sammy: Me? Puh-leese. I’m not allowed outside.

Kinsey: But you got out. I watched you. Dad put you in your cat walker in the yard and you pawed the latch until it sprung. I saw you!

Sammy: Shrugs. So I got out. So what. That doesn’t mean I killed the bird.

Kinsey: You were the only one loose.

Sammy: YOU were loose, too, you know.

Kinsey: Why would I kill a bird? That’s what cats do, not dogs.

Sammy: I’ve seen you nearly trample the birds around the feeder when you’re chasing your ball.

Kinsey: But I’m not trying to kill them, and I never do. That’s the difference. You want to kill birds.

Sammy: In my defense, it’s my natural instinct to go after birds. I get excited when they move fast like that.

Kinsey: Points an accusatory paw. So it WAS you!

Sammy: Looks around before starting to groom herself. Maybe. I plead the fifth.

Kinsey: The fifth what?

Sammy: I don’t know. It’s what the humans say on those TV shows Mom always watches.

Kinsey: Blows a raspberry. Bird killer.

Sammy: Carpet puker.

Long pause

Kinsey: I guess Teddy could have killed that bird. He’s allowed to go out in the yard alone now that he’s too fat to jump the fence.

Sammy: Well, I guess Cody could have puked on the carpet. The puke was yellow. That’s his color.


Karen DuvallKaren Duvall is an award-winning author with 4 published novels and 2 novellas. Harlequin Luna published her Knight’s Curse series last year, and her post apocalyptic novella, Sun Storm, was released in Luna’s ‘Til The World Ends anthology in January 2013.

Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four incredibly spoiled pets. She is currently working on a new contemporary fantasy romance series.

Talk to the Paw – Cat-astrophes Waiting to Happen

We’re happy to welcome a new guest today on Talk to the Paw. Thea Hutcheson has graciously allowed Tom the Office Cat to Skype with my cat, Sammy the Troublemaker. Our two kitties share a fondness for keyboards, chatting at the top of their lungs, and absconding with valuable office supplies.

Tom the Office Cat

Tom the Office Cat


Sammy the Troublemaker

Both these kitties were rescued as kittens. Thea tells me her Tom, only four weeks old at the time, showed up three years ago in the cat condo she has on her outdoor deck. When my Sammy was six or seven weeks old, she was found crying while wandering through a shopping center parking lot late at night when my husband was working in a store there. Now our furbabies are all grown up and making valuable contributions to our writing lives. 

Sammy: Pats computer monitor. Hey! Tom, is that you in there? How do I get you out?

Tom: Pats his monitor so their paws touch. I thought you were the one in there.

Sammy: Nope. I’m in my house.

Tom: I’m inside my house, too.

Silence as they both disappear behind their computer monitors and then come back out.

Sammy: That’s really weird. I can hear you and see you, but I can’t touch you.

Tom: Bummer.

Sammy: Anyway, I heard you like office supplies. So do I!

Tom: Turns in a fast circle. They’re the best! Especially tape. Give me lots and lots of sticky tape. Yumyumyumyum.

Sammy: Ugh! Are you kidding me? I hate getting that sticky stuff on my paws. I have to run all over the house to get it off.

Tom: Then you’re not doing it right.

Sammy: How about rubberbands? Man, those things are awesome. Very chewy.

Tom: I haven’t tried those yet.

Sammy: You should. You’ll love ‘em. You can fling them and chase them and then eat them.

Tom: What do they taste like?

Sammy: Rubber. Giggles. The best part is when my mom finds them after I’ve pooped them out. I’m pretty sure they’re still useable, too.

Tom: Makes a disgusted face. Pens and highlighters are my favorites. I like to carry them around and drop them in the hallway for my mom to pick up.

Sammy: Yeah? I should try that. I have fun knocking pens and stuff off the desk though. I like to watch them bounce on the floor before Kinsey eats them.

Tom: Who’s Kinsey?

Sammy: Our dog. Do you have a dog?

Tom: No.

Sammy: Want one?

Tom: No.


Sammy: I also heard you manage your mom’s printer.

Tom: Nods. Yep. I’m in charge. I inspect every piece of paper that goes in and every one that comes out, and I make sure it doesn’t get jammed.

Sammy: Wow, that’s an important job. I get excited by the sound the printer makes. I’ve tried to grab the paper when it comes out, but mom gets mad at me because it does something she calls “misfeed.” It looks perfectly fed to me, but it spits out everything it eats. That’s just wrong.

Tom: Do you like boxes? They make great beds for napping. You have to chew all the edges though so everyone knows it’s yours.

Sammy: I have two boxes on the kitchen counter that mom calls my “Petting Boxes.” I’m not allowed on the counter unless I use a Petting Box to sit in. I love getting petted. It makes me purr.

Tom: I love it too. I demand lots of petting while my mom is working.

Sammy: Do you help your mom write?

Tom: Absolutely! She’d never type a coherent word if not for me. I tap the keyboard or walk over it. I’m the best editor she’s ever had.

Sammy: Holds paw up to the monitor. High five!

Tom: Places his paw on his monitor to match hers.

Sammy: Oh! I think I hear that whirring noise of a printer running.

Tom: Yeah, I gotta go. It’s my job to make sure it prints properly. Disappears from view.

Sammy: Looks sad while staring at the empty screen. Was nice meeting you! Don’t forget to try the rubberbands!


Karen Duvall

Karen Duvall is an award-winning author with 4 published novels and 2 novellas. Harlequin Luna published her Knight’s Curse series last year, and her post apocalyptic novella, Sun Storm, was released in Luna’s ‘Til The World Ends anthology in January 2013.

Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four incredibly spoiled pets. She is currently working on a new contemporary fantasy romance series.

Talk to the Paw: MacGuffin and Riley

By Karen Duvall

Talk to the Paw is for all writers and the pets that own them, so I’ve invited a couple of guests for one of my furry darlings to interview. Today’s honored canines are two adorable dachshunds, MacGuffin and Riley, that own a remarkable author by the name of Yvonne Montgomery.






Please pardon the fuzzy photos of Yvonne’s cunning canines, but they’re both too quick on their feet to stay still long enough to snap a picture. As befitting of their mystery author mom, these two are experienced in the art of slippery investigation. At least that’s what my dog Kinsey tells me. Kinsey got to Skype with her two new friends and what follows is a peek at their conversation.

Kinsey: Taps computer monitor with her nose. Hey! Guys? Can you see me?

MacGuffin: Kinda fuzzy through your nose snot, but yeah, I see ya okay.

Riley: If Mac would move his fat butt over, I might see you too.

Kinsey: I think its great that our moms are letting us Skype. Though I’d rather sniff your butts to get to know you, this will have to do.

MacGuffin: Sniffs the monitor.

Riley: Tries to push MacGuffin out of the way, but he pushes back.

Kinsey: You guys are wiener dogs, right?

MacGuffin: Looks insulted. We’re dachshunds.

Kinsey: So, MacGuffin, I hear you’re the alpha dog in your pack.

MacGuffin: That’s right.

Riley: Huffs and yawns. You wish. You should see how he gets when there’s a fly in the house. Some alpha.

MacGuffin: Hey, flies are dangerous. They can sting you.

Riley: Bees are the ones that sting, not flies.

Kinsey: Riley’s right, you know. I eat flies all the time and I’ve never been stung.

MacGuffin: Flies are dangerous. End of discussion.

Kinsey: Look, Mac, I get it. I feel the same way about big stuff in the sky. Kites? Man, those things will KILL you. So will airplanes and helicopters. You have to get out of sight fast or you’re a goner.

MacGuffin: Is that right? Where do you hide? Maybe I’ll try it the next time I’m attacked by a fly.

Kinsey: I have the best hiding place ever. Behind the toilet.

Riley: You look too big to hide behind a toilet.

Kinsey: Bristles. Are you calling me fat?

MacGuffin: Don’t mind him. He has no manners. He’s too hung up on rules to care when he hurts someone’s feelings.

Riley: Growls.

MacGuffin: See what I mean?

Kinsey: I heard you guys live with cats.

Riley: Lifts his lip. Four of them.

Kinsey: We have three. One of them in particular is a real pain in my ass.

MacGuffin: We used to have only two, but then our mom’s daughter showed up with two kids AND two cats. Double the trouble—

Kinsey: Double the fun?

Riley: Snorts. Not bloody likely.

Kinsey: Cats are at least good for one thing.

Riley and MacGuffin: In unison: What’s that?

Kinsey: They leave us treats in their litterbox.

Riley: Looks disgusted. That’s gross.

MacGuffin: A cat turd has never crossed my lips.

Kinsey: Then you don’t know what you’re missing.

Awkward silence.

Kinsey: Alrighty then. I guess that concludes today’s interview. It was lovely to meet you both and I’m sure you’re very helpful to your author mom when she’s writing. I know I am to mine. A strategic placement of my ball on her keyboard makes all the difference. Hey, guys? Do either of you play ball? I’d be happy to give you some pointers…


Karen DuvallKaren Duvall is a multi-published author with Harlequin Luna. Her current project is a fantasy romance that features lizards, birds, Dodos, pigs, a tiger and a cat, but no dogs. Her own dog is not happy about this and is thinking about going on strike.

Talk to the Paw: Being Helpful

My catI have conversations with all my pets on a regular basis. They’re great listeners, especially when you need to read your work aloud to an attentive audience that will cheer you on. Well, maybe not so much cheering as yawning, ear scratching, grooming, barking… And if they could respond, I have a fairly good idea what they’d say. I can read it in their eyes. It’s amazing how a furry face can express so much emotion.

I had a conversation with one of my cats the other day. You met Sammy last week, when she and Kinsey were having their… discussion. Sammy has no filters and always speaks her mind. And she talks. All. The. Time. Despite her catitude, she really is a cuddly kitty when she wants to be, and quite the purr-baby. She melts in your arms when you pick her up (she loves to be held). But you know how it is with cats. They tend to know when you want to be left alone, and that’s when they make it their personal mission to get up in your business.

Me: Sammy, we need to talk.

Sammy Cat: Twitches her tail and licks a paw. Oh? About what?

Me: I’ve told you over a dozen times not to walk across my keyboard, especially while I’m writing.

Sammy Cat: Hey, I was just trying to help.

Me: Deleting a paragraph from my manuscript is not helping.

Sammy Cat: I beg to differ. After you read that part to me, I knew it had to go.

Me: Pauses. It was that bad?

Sammy Cat: slfkdakglalnblknsdlgglsfn

Me: It’s your fault, you know, that the word “delete” is worn off my delete key.

Sammy Cat: Yawns. Always happy to help.

Me: Speaking of helping, I could have used some of that when I brought Teddy home from the vet last week. He was very woozy after getting his teeth cleaned and all you did was pick on him.

Sammy Cat: He smelled funny. Besides, making him hiss let you see how white his teeth are now.

Me: They are nice, aren’t they? You’re next.

Sammy Cat: Eyes grow wide with shock. No way. If I promise not to pick on Teddy any more, can I skip the teeth cleaning?

Me: You can’t help yourself, Sammy. You pick on everybody.

Sammy Cat: Lifts nose in the air. Then I promise not to… uhm… I promise to stop leaping onto Kinsey’s back when she’s running through the house with her ball like a crazy dog.

Me: Oh, I don’t mind when you do that. It slows her down.

Sammy Cat: Then how can I get out of getting my teeth cleaned?

Me: You can’t. Unless you teach yourself how to use a tootbrush.

Sammy Cat: You’re not serious.

Me: I’m not. Okay, here’s the deal. I won’t take you to the vet to get your teeth cleaned if you start using the litterbox like everyone else.

Sammy Cat: Looks horrified. What? Share a litterbox with Teddy? And Cody? They’re boys! And they stink. Go ahead and pull out all my teeth, I don’t care, but I will NOT use their litterbox.

Me: Sighs. It was worth a try.

Sammy Cat: I much prefer the pee pads Dad puts out for me. They’re always clean and fresh.

Me: Until you get to them. So I guess this means a trip to the vet for you.

Sammy Cat: Twitches her tail. You knew I wouldn’t take the deal, didn’t you?

Me: Yep.


MeKaren Duvall is a multi-published author with Harlequin Luna. Her current project is a fantasy romance that features lizards, birds, Dodos, pigs, a tiger and a cat, but no dogs. Her own dog is not happy about this and is thinking about going on strike.

Talk to the Paw: Say it with Catitude

By Karen Duvall


I have three cats and one dog. My diva-dog, Kinsey, you’ve already met. She’s the most demanding of the bunch, but my other fur-babies put her through her paces. Sometimes they have… disagreements. Ironically enough it’s the youngest and the smallest of the crew that has Kinsey’s number. My little tuxedo cat, Sammy, weighing in at a little over eight pounds, has catitude. She never gives Kinsey a break.

My dog            My Tuxedo cat

Kinsey: Paces back and forth in front of the back door.

Sammy Cat: Relax. Mom’s gonna be back any minute.

Kinsey: How do you know?

Sammy Cat: She always comes back.

Kinsey: I saw her put on her leave-the-house clothes. She’s going far, far away and won’t be back FOREVER!

Sammy Cat: You watched her get dressed?

Kinsey: I always watch her get dressed. How else will I know if she’s staying home or leaving me?

Sammy Cat: Stalker.

Kinsey: Am not.

Sammy Cat: Are too.

Kinsey: Curls her lip. She’s supposed to be writing today, but she left the house. I saw her take Teddy with her. She never takes that tub of lard anywhere, and he didn’t even want to go.

Sammy Cat: How do you know he didn’t want to go?

Kinsey: Smiles. Because he scratched her and peed all over her when she carried him to the car to put him in the cat carrier.

Sammy Cat: You told him to do that, didn’t you?

Kinsey: So what if I did?

Sammy Cat: Pauses to think. He’d never do that without a bribe.

Kinsey: Lifts her nose in the air. I promised to give him back the little yarn pom poms he likes to play with. I have them hidden in my crate.

Sammy Cat: That’s extortion.

Kinsey: So what? Mom shouldn’t leave me! I thought she’d stay home after getting peed on. Teddy didn’t want to go anyway. It was supposed to be a win-win for everyone.

Sammy Cat: Twitches her tail. Everyone but Mom.

Kinsey: Hangs her head and tries to look guilty.

Sammy Cat: Faker.

Kinsey: Am not.

Sammy: Are too.

Kinsey: I’m the only one who should be allowed to leave with Mom. You cats have to stay inside the house.

Sammy Cat: Twitches her tail harder this time. Are you saying you’d rather be the one riding in the car?

Kinsey: No way. I hate riding in cars. You know that. I only like to chase them.

Sammy Cat: Dogs are supposed to love riding in cars.

Kinsey: Well, I don’t.

Sammy Cat: I bet that’s why Mom doesn’t write about you. Because you’re weird.

Kinsey: Am not.

Sammy Cat: Are too.

Kinsey: Long pause. I am?

Sammy Cat: Bats her favorite jingle ball toy across the floor. You are.

Kinsey: Resumes her pacing and starts to whine. Mom’s left us and she’s NEVER coming back!

Sammy Cat: Rolls her eyes and shakes her head, swishing her tail as she leaves the room. Pathetic.


Karen Duvall is a multi-published author with Harlequin Luna. Her current project is a fantasy romance that features lizards, birds, Dodos, pigs, a tiger and a cat, but no dogs. Her own dog is not happy about this and is thinking about going on strike.


Talk to the Paw: A weekly column featuring writers and their pets

My name is Karen Duvall and I’m a writer. And a pet owner, or a slave to my pets, depending on your perspective. I work at home and my animals are my constant companions.

Writing can be a lonely endeavor, and many of us have pets to keep us company (or to distract us) as we work. I have four wonderfully spoiled animals whose antics inspire and infuriate me, so I thought it would be fun to share as it applies to my writing life. But it won’t all be about me, I promise. I plan to invite other authors to share their pet stories and interviews with their cats, dogs, lizards, mice, spiders… Pets come in a variety of species and I don’t discriminate when it comes to the creatures we choose to bring into our families.

Karen's Dog

Meet my dog, Kinsey. She’s a four-year-old border collie/pitbull mix (aka border-bully) and quite the character. Kinsey hangs with me 24/7 so it’s no wonder we get on each other’s nerves sometimes. She’s self-absorbed and stubborn and too smart for her own good.

My dog has grudgingly agreed to be my first guest. You’ll be hearing a lot from her in the coming weeks. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes wonder what my pets are thinking and what they might say if they could talk, especially if they talked with each other. First let’s see what my dog has to say to me.

KD: Kinsey, say hello to the nice people.

My Dog: She yawns and an orange Chuck-it ball drops from her mouth.

KD: Can’t you put that away for just five minutes?

My Dog: No. Life is all about the ball, man. Wake up and smell the Chuck-it. Play with me. Now.

KD: Maybe later. I’m still wiping the slobber off my keyboard from last time.

My Dog: Rolls her eyes. You were supposed to grab it and throw it before it landed.

KD: You ambushed me. Look, we’ll have our ball time, I promise. This is my time now.

My Dog: No. It’s MY time. Play with me.

KD: First let’s talk about the writing life and the part you play in mine.

My Dog: Seriously? What does your writing have to do with me?

KD: You’re my inspiration. I always include animals in my stories.

My Dog: But you never write about ME. You never even write about a dog. You include cats, a mongoose, dodo birds, a coyote—

KD: A coyote is like a dog.

My Dog: No, it’s not. You write about Chimeras, even gargoyles of all things, and most recently I saw a tiger in the book you’re writing now. And a pig! Never any dogs.

Awkward silence.

KD: You ready to go play some ball now?