Apr 15, 2013

Meet Rosebud, the canine star of No Stranger To Scandal

(And a prize-winner announcement!)

File:Female English Bulldog.jpgWhen I was writing No Stranger To Scandal, I decided that my heroine's stepfather would have a dog. The stepfather is the owner of a news network who loves his dog and takes her to work with him every day, and she's just as devoted, spending her days sleeping in a basket under his desk.

For some reason, I could only see this dog as a bulldog.

Next, she needed a name. I wrote some of this book while sitting on the couch at my mother's house, and she has a Rottweiler x Labrador named Roxiana Rosebud who sat on the other side of the couch and kept me company. So it seemed natural to name my fictitious canine after my couch-friend.

Rosebud the Bulldog.

I'd like to share with you the first time the reader meets Rosebud - Lucy (our heroine) has slipped into her stepfather's office while he's on the phone.

From a basket under the desk, Rosebud, his bulldog, lifted her head and, recognizing Lucy, lumbered out to greet her. Lucy dropped her bag beside the chair and crouched down to rub the dog’s velvety, wrinkled face.

“How’s it going, Rosie?” she whispered and was rewarded with a wide doggie smile, complete with a pink tongue almost curled back on itself.

Further on, Rosebud has an even bigger part to play, when Lucy uses her as an excuse to "run into" Hayden and his one-year-old son:

The next day, at half past one, Lucy saw her target. The concierge had told her Hayden Black liked to take a walk in the park across from the Sterling Hotel with his son on his lunch break, but that the time of the break varied. So Lucy and Rosebud had been wandering the park since just after eleven. Rosebud was panting from the exertion, but thoroughly enjoying her day out meeting random people who stopped to pat her.

Hayden was striding along a paved path about twenty feet away, talking to an infant he carried in one arm, holding a brown paper bag in the other. The sight of him trapped her breath in her lungs. Wide, strong shoulders that tapered to narrow hips. Long legs that walked with confidence and purpose. The masculine grace in the way he held his son.

She swallowed hard. “Come on, Rosie, I have a little boy I want you to meet.” Rosebud looked up, her curled tongue poking out as she smiled.

And here's a snippet of the conversation that ensues:

“Goggie!” Josh squealed again, apparently impatient to be getting to the dog-patting action.

Hayden looked from Rosie to her. “Is it okay for Josh to pat her?”

“Sure,” she said, laying on her southern accent thick and smiling innocently. “She’s as gentle as a lamb.”

Hayden crouched down beside her and supported Josh as he found his feet and reached out to touch Rosie’s ear.

“Her name’s Rosebud,” Lucy said to the toddler.

As they watched Josh and Rosie interact, Hayden asked, “How long have you had her?”

“She’s Graham’s dog,” she replied, as if she hadn’t worked out that he’d know that. “He’s had her for six years. Since she was a puppy.”

Hayden leaned forward and joined Josh in petting her. “Nice dog.”

His shoulder was only a couple of inches from hers—if she moved a little she’d bump against him. A mischievous impulse urged her to lean into him, knowing he’d be solid and warm, and it took all her willpower to resist. The scent of clean, masculine skin surrounded her, made everything else fade into the background, made a hum resound through her bloodstream.

Rosie rolled over onto her back, producing her tummy for rubs with no shame at her brazen request for attention. Lucy blinked down at the dog, fully aware she walked a knife’s edge of being just as obvious. She squared her shoulders. Time to move away from temptation and remember she was a journalist working on a story.

I loved spending time in Rosebud's scenes - she totally stole my heart!

Tell me, do you know a dog (or cat!) who deserves to be immortalized in a book like my mother's Roxiana Rosebud? I'd love to hear about them!

And before I go, the winner of my giveaway last week (the Happy Release Day To Me post) is Cecilia83. Cecilia, drop me a line at rachel (at) rachelbailey (dot) com and I'll get the book in the mail. :)


  1. Rachel, I love the fact your bulldog is called Rosie - such a feminine, warm name for a dog that seems so solid and masculine. I hear bulldogs are very loyal and loving so it's a great match.

    I've included a few animals in my stories now and then, but usually only for cameo roles. Nevertheless they're based on ones I know or have at least seen. The epilogue of one book featured a beagle rescue dog who loved to play soccer with the family. Inspiration for that came from our lovely Daisy who was an amazing soccer player. Once she got the ball she could dribble it all the way down our long yard! Not so good at scoring a goal though!

  2. Annie, a soccer-playing beagle? How fabulous! I've always wanted a beagle, and now I want a soccer-playing one. :) Do you have any photos of her dribbling the ball?

  3. Oh, Rosie is such a sweetheart, Rach! I love her already.

    I've never had a dog...yet...but I did have a siamese fighting fish who'd play soccer with me. Well, we'd bat a little rubber bead back and forth which is soccer as far as I'm concerned. I wonder if I could work him into a book somehow. Hmm... :-)

  4. Michelle, you really must work that into a book! In fact, you could create characters and plot around that one snippet, it's that fabulous.

  5. Hi Rachel - I love animals in books. And Bulldogs are my second favourite breed. My first is Dogue De Bordeaux (like in Turner & Hooch)...since I have a pair of them and they are the most loving, loyal dogs on the planet. And my hero in my August release has a Dogue named Jed. I'm pretty sure a Bulldog will turn up in one soon too - I have a friend who owns a one eyed Bulldog name Buddha and she's adorable. My horses often turn up in my books too. Can't wait to read your book. Great post :)

  6. Helen, your August book has a Dogue named Jed? I want to meet him already. As soon as it hits the shelves, I'll be buying a copy. :)

  7. I love the antics played by dogs or other animals in stories and it always leaves me with an awww...feeling. Looking forward to reading your book Rachel!

    Congrats on the release!

  8. I love reading stories that have animals in them- that way I get to enjoy dogs without having them (I'm petrified of dogs having been chased and bitten by a german shepherd when I was younger). Seeing how much my friends love their dogs I can appreciate that I'm missing out. Looking forward to reading Rosebud's story.

  9. Oh my God, Louisa! I was also chased and mauled by a German Shepherd as a kid! Luckily it only got hold of my dress where it ripped a huge hole and not my leg!

    I put a black Labrador puppy called Fonzie in Caring For His Child. Our own black lab Fonzie approved!

  10. Rachel, Rosebud sounds very cute.

    Wow, we also had horrible German Shepherds we (as kids) had to walk past on the way home from school. That fifty metres each day was terrifying.

    I haven't put a dog or cat in any of my stories so far, but we have our very own hero at home, our gorgeous cavoodle, Toffee.

  11. Nas, I love reading about dogs and other animals in books too. They find a direct route to my heart. :)

  12. Louisa, that's awful about your experience with the German Shepherd. What sort of dog owner lets a bitey dog near children, let alone able to run around like that? :(

    I'm glad you at least can experience nice dogs through books. When you think about it, books are pretty powerful magic in that sense. :)

  13. Gah, Amy, how awful! So glad it got your dress, not your leg. Again, what's with people letting bitey dogs roam free????

    Fonzie is in one of your books? Cool! Now I have to track down a copy of Caring For His Child - the real Fonzie is *gorgeous* so I'm betting his fictitious counterpart is well worth meeting. :)

  14. Jen, you knew a scary German Shepherd too? Sad sigh. I think breeds go through phases, in that the people who groom their dogs to be aggressive have 'fashion' breeds. I know heaps of completely adorable GSs now, but they were fashionable as aggressive dogs back then. Now it's other breeds those people are attracted to. :(

    But you *so* should work Toffee into a story! A cavoodle would work well in one of your glamorous settings. :)

  15. Rachel, I'm a huge fan of animals in stories and I adore your Rosebud! It's fun to find out the story behind her name and nice to picture sitting on the couch with your mum's rottweiler cross.

    We had a border collie cross for many years - she used to sleep beside me while I was writing. And she used to snore and snuffle and have interesting dreams and twitches! It used to make me smile and I missed the sounds when she was gone.

  16. Sharon, you should totally put your border collie cross in a book! She sounds like a sweetheart and I'd love to meet her on the page. :)

  17. Rachel, I LOVED Rosbud in No Stranger to Scandal and could totally picture her.

    I have a nasty GS story too. Out postman was hospitalised by one when I was about 7 and I've been a bit wary of them ever since. Now that I have my own dog (who would LOVE to star in her own book) I understand about dogs being a product of their experiences, not their breed.

    I have a dog in my July book. Dudley is a basset hound poodle cross would you believe!

  18. Hey, thanks for loving Rosebud, Barb!

    A basset hound poodle cross would be gorgeous in real life, wouldn't it? And, hey, I have an inkling your July book - including Dudley - is going to be fabulous. :)