Giveaway: Kallie Benjamin aka Valerie Burns

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 You can also find out more about the OEach month, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen gives us a chance to shine. Today, I will introduce you to my latest (and hopefully final) personality. You’ve already met V. M. Burns You can also find out more about the following: Valerie Burns. Now it’s Time to Get acquainted with Kallie E. Benjamin.

My writing career began when I used my initials V. M. Burns to write three series. My reasoning was very simple. I wanted readers to know where to find me. Vmburns.com had been created because ValerieBurns.com was not available. V. M. Burns was the name under which I wrote my Mystery Bookshop Mystery and two other Mystery Series.

Dog Club Mystery by V. M. Burns

RJ Franklin Mystery, (Camel Press), by V. M. Burns

In 2020, I will be closing down my Dog Club Mystery series and RJ Franklin Mystery. At the time it appeared that Kensington would not continue with the Mystery Bookshop Mystery. I needed a fresh start. My agent sent out a proposal to publish a series of culinary cozy mysteries, the Baker Street Mystery Series. At first, it appeared that no publishers were interested. I wrote another proposal to the Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery. After five months, (yes, publishing is slow), Kensington’s editor called my representative and said that he “changed” his mind. I didn’t know what it meant. I thought that they would continue my Mystery Bookshop Mystery, but NO. It wasn’t that. He liked my Baker Street Mystery Series after all. WHEW! I had a contract for three books and was able continue writing. The only hiccup I had was that Kensington insisted on me using a new title. A new series. A new series. A new beginning. Okay, I chose Valerie Burns. (Maybe not very original but it was all I could come up with at the time.

Baker Street Mystery Series by Valerie Burns

I had a contract for a novel, but had written three series. I knew that I could do more. My new Bailey the Bloodhound submission was still in the queue, so maybe I could write two new series. Then I got a big surprise. My agent called me to tell that my editor had “changed his decision, AGAIN.” My first thought was “they don’t wanna do my Baker Street Mystery Series?” Imagine my surprise, when she replied “No. They want two new Mystery Bookshop Mystery novels.” Well, yippy! I love to write about Samantha, Nana Jo and the Girls at Shady Acres. I was thrilled that I would be able to continue to write about them.

Mystery Bookshop Mystery by V. M. Burns

I was happy that I had two series. I received word a few weeks later that Berkley was interested in my Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery, which was still on submission. I had always wanted to get a contract with one of the big five publishers and this was my chance. The only caveat is that they wanted this series to be differentiated and wanted a brand new pen name. 

So I had to think of a new pen name. If I was going use a new name, I wanted it to mean something (at the very least to me). This was the birthing of Kallie E. BenjaminKallie My great-grandmother was named Elvira. E. is the name of my mother (Elvira). Benjamin was my dad’s name. This series is even more meaningful to me as my mom passed away in 2013 and my father on December 21, 2023. That’s just three weeks after the release of my first Kallie Benjamin novel. I hope readers will enjoy meeting Pris, and her faithful dog Bailey. In this series, there are many other family ties that start from the setting. This series takes place in the fictional town Crosbyville, Indiana, which I named after my great-nephew, Crosby.

Bailey the Bloodhound, by Kallie E. Ben

Different series. It may have different names, but the author and the wholesome fun are the same. There are themes that run through all of my books, regardless of the author’s name. The New York Times reported that  Books, dogs and food — and a well-structured sense of fun — connect almost all of Valerie Burns’s cozy mysteries, regardless of pseudonym.” (NYTIMES, December 1, 2023)

Valerie was born and raised on the northwest Indiana coast. She now lives in Northern Georgia, with her two Poodles.

She is also a part-time professor in the Department of Psychology. Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA.

READERSI have poodles, and all my books include dogs. Do you have any favorite dog breeds if you love dogs? Comment below to be entered into a draw for a copy Sniffing Out Murder the first book in the Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery Series (US Only). Please make sure to include your email if you wish to be included in this giveaway. 

Sniffing Out Murder


When a murder unleashes a widespread investigation through Crosbyville, children’s book author Pris and her trusty bloodhound, Bailey, must sniff out the truth before the whole town goes to the dogs.

After deciding that life as a teacher wasn’t right for her, Priscilla found inspiration for her first children’s book in her three-year-old bloodhound’s nose for truth, and so 

The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound was born. After the book’s massively pawsitive response led Pris to move back to her hometown of Crosbyville, Indiana, to continue the series, she’s surprised by how things have changed in the town, but even more so how they haven’t.

Pris is frustrated to discover that newly elected school board trustee Whitney Kelley—a former high school mean girl—is intent on making Crosbyville more competitive by eliminating “frivolous spending” on the arts and social programs, including Pris and Bailey’s beloved pet-assisted reading program. A minor altercation between them isn’t anything unusual, but after Bailey sniffs out Whitney’s body in a bed of begonias, locals start hounding Pris and Bailey as suspects for the crime.

With Bailey’s sharp senses and Pris’s hometown know-how, can they prove to the community that they’re all barking up the wrong tree?



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