I’m In the Doghouse with V. M. Burns

In the Doghouse books by Teri Case and V. M. Burns

I’m In the Doghouse with author, V. M. Burns

Dear Friends,

One of the hardest things to do is choose a title for a book. There are many things to consider, but here are two of the most important:

  • Does it convey, aka “sell”,  the story and genre? A buyer only spends 2 seconds on a title and book cover (2!!!) before deciding if he/she will read the book description.
  • How many other books have the title? The more books that exist with the same title, the harder it is for readers to easily find your book on the internet.

Now, I thought the title, In the Doghouse, perfectly captured the story and genre for my second novel because it’s about a couple’s breakup from their dog’s point of view and someone’s been a very, very bad boy. However, my family didn’t love the title, at least not before I explained what the book was about. You see, Ed’s Doghouse Bar was the go-to family bar for my family when I was a child. It’s one of the first phone numbers I memorized as a child. So you can imagine, that after writing my first novel, Tiger Drive, which is actually the name of the street I grew up on, my family was anxious that I was now pulling inspiration from their favorite drinking joint full of, ahem, many stories they’d rather forget. Alas, their secrets are safe . . . for now (wink).

When I searched on books whose titles included “in the doghouse,” dozens came up including many children’s books, an erotica book, and the below, which jumped out at me because I love reading and watching cozy mysteries:

In the Doghouse by V. M. Burns

I immediately did two things:

  1. I ordered V. M. Burn’s first book in the A Dog Club Mystery series. (I give it 5 Bow-Wows!)
  2. Emailed V. M. Burns to see how we might support each other’s efforts and spread the words about our novels. I asked her to write a guest blog.


I’m very excited to share author V. M. Burn’s guest blog now. I hope you enjoy what she has to say about our novels, and I hope you will read her book(s). Her book,  In the Doghouse, is a wonderful escape. I laughed out loud several times while listening to it at the gym over the past week (thank you earbuds and Kindle “Play”).

And now, introducing author V. M. Burns . . . 

V. M. Burns
V. M. Burns

Thanks to Teri for inviting me to guest blog to support her newest book, In the Doghouse. Teri and I both have books with the same title. Her book is women’s fiction about a broken relationship told from the dog’s perspective. My book is a cozy mystery involving lots of dogs and a murder. However, similar to Teri’s book, there is a broken relationship. So, it looks like we have quite a bit in common.

First, let me introduce myself. My name is V. M. (Valerie) Burns. I write cozy mysteries and have 3 series: Mystery Bookshop mystery series, Dog Club mystery series, and RJ Franklin mystery series. I love dogs (especially poodles) and they are featured in all of my books. In fact, if you look at the covers for my mystery bookshop series, the dogs on the covers are my dogs, Coco and Cash (Snickers and Oreo in the books).

Second, I have a confession. I hate coming up with titles for my books. In fact, I’m really bad at titles. Apart from the first two books in my Mystery Bookshop Mystery Series, my editor has renamed all of the books in the series. In my Dog Club Mystery Series, he renamed each and every book. We’re at the point now, where I put a title on the manuscript (primarily because my agent won’t let me send them without titles) and my editor comes up with new titles. Since I’m in confession mode, I might as well go all the way and say, I’m equally bad at cover ideas. Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a great editor and a fantastic illustrator who have created titles and covers that are much more appealing than anything I could imagine.

I will also admit that when my editor came up with, In the Doghouse, for the first book in my Dog Club Mystery Series, I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. Over time, it’s grown on me and now I see his vision. However, in the beginning, I wondered where that title even came from. I tend to be very literal and the titles I thought of were taken directly from the plot of the book. “In the Doghouse” implies being in trouble for something. Which, once I stopped to think about it, pretty much sums up most murder mysteries. In the first book in the series, Lilly Echosby’s husband, Albert, has tossed her aside for younger woman—a much younger woman. Lilly doesn’t take getting dumped laying down and nearly strangles Albert. When Albert is later murdered, the police think she’s the most likely suspect. It’s up to her to find the real killer. I’d say, Lilly was definitely, “in the dog house.”

In Teri’s book, Skip is a dog sharing his owner’s grief over the end of her relationship with John. Interestingly, the story is told from Skip’s perspective and starts with Skip coping with Lucy’s broken heart and tears. In my cozy mystery, Lilly encounters a wise woman on a train who sees Lilly’s tears and helps her realize she’s been holding onto something that died a long time ago. She helps Lilly realize that life is too short to be unhappy which gives her the courage to go in search of her “happy place.” Lilly’s search for happiness leads to her adoption of a small toy poodle. She names the dog after her favorite mystery writer, Agatha Christie (who just happens to be my favorite mystery writer). Agatha, Aggie for short, is able to touch a part of Lilly’s heart and the two develop a lifesaving bond. I won’t give away spoilers for either story, so if you want to know if Lucy and Lilly find their happy place, you’ll have to read the books.

In the Doghouse by Teri Case is available in hardback, paper back, and ebook.

In the Doghouse by V. M. Burns is available in paperback, ebook, and audio book.

V. M. Burns

Back to Teri . . .

Thank you, V. M. Burns for stopping by. We hope to see you again in the future. Until then, I wish you the greatest success with your stories and thanks for being you.

Friends, if you need an escape, read our books, and let me know your thoughts: teri@tericase.com.

Until next time, and as always, thank you for being you and for joining me today.


P.S. I am so excited to share that In the Doghouse has won the National Indie Excellence Award! This is a big deal for me. Last year, Tiger Drive was a finalist. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I could not do any of this without you all.

2 thoughts on “I’m In the Doghouse with V. M. Burns

  1. Jeanie Jackson

    I love that you reached out to Valerie Burns about her book that shares the same title. I LOVE that book and find myself compelled to check out yours. This connect is such a fun way for me to find a new-to-me author. Dogs are a pretty sure sell eye catcher for me but the tie-in makes it a double must-check-it-out. Off to Amazon and nice to meet you.

    1. Teri Case Post author

      Hi Jeanie,

      Wow! Thank you so much for this awesome and supportive note. I hope you love it! Let me know. Thanks for being you.



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