Happy 2019, everybody! (Can we still say that? I’m making an executive decision that we can.) I'm returning to the blog for the first time in a while to share with you the cover to my newest book baby, Bad Bella!
Before we get to the good stuff, though, I want to tell you a little more about the book, which hits shelves on September 4th, 2019. This fuzzy-tale is extremely close to my heart because it’s based on the true(ish) story of my doggy soul-mate, Bella.
My BFF is furrier than your BFF!
One October day nearly ten years ago, I convinced my now husband, Aki, to go to some dog adoption fairs with me. “Just to look,” I said. But fate said otherwise, and three hours later, we stood in a PetSmart parking lot, meeting Bella for the first time.
Bella had a joy that was immediately infectious. Her tail wagged so hard her whole body wiggled, and she had a smile that was almost human. There was a twinkle in her eye, too, like she had some mischief up her sleeve. When the adoption coordinator asked if we would take her home then and there, we said yes. And just like that, Bella was ours.
On the drive home, I examined Bella’s paperwork and found her pound intake form. It had been filled out by the man who had taken Bella to the pound. He had owned her, he wrote, for seven months. According to the form, he had abandoned her on December 23rd. I looked back at Bella—curled up in a sunny spot in the back seat—and down at the form again. My heart hurt thinking about her being abandoned just two days before Christmas. Sure, dogs might not strictly understand what Christmas is, but wasn’t it supposed to be the season of joy and family and goodwill to men? Didn’t that goodwill extend to dogs too?
The first picture we have of Bella--on the car ride home from the adoption fair.
We loved Bella instantly, and our love only grew as we got to know her more and more. But all the time, this question rattled around the back of my head. Why had Bella—sweet, goofy, mischievous Bella—been abandoned? Who could own her for seven whole months and not fall completely in love with her, like we had?
When our first Christmas together rolled around, Bella seemed downright terrified of the Christmas tree. Was it because she remembered that it had come into her old home right before she had been taken out of it?
Knowing that I would never be able to truly answer these questions, I decided to imagine some answers instead. And that is how Bad Bella was born. It’s the story of a rescue dog (also coincidentally called Bella) who is abandoned by her owners at Christmas time, and who embarks on a journey to find a forever family and a true home. I wrote this story for Bella (sure, dogs might not strictly be able to read, but it’s the thought that counts!) but I also wrote it for anyone who has ever loved a dog or had to search for their own place in the world to belong. I can’t wait to share it with you all.
But first, let me present…the cover!
Scroll down to see…
Ta-da! If I had a tail, it would have been wagging hard the day this cover by Melissa Manwill arrived in my inbox. I love the bright, playful colors, the cozy feeling you get when you look at it, and all the wonderful little details. Oh, and did I mention how much I love Bella?? Of course, it’s no coincidence that this Bella resembles my Bella so closely. Melissa had a few pictures of her to work from, and she did a wonderful job of capturing the real Bella’s spirit while also transforming her into the character readers will meet in the book. I think Bella’s expression says everything you need to know about her—there is joy there, and love, but also a good dose of mischief and a hint of fear.
I am so grateful to Melissa for this heartwarming cover, and for all her wonderful art (yes, there is more to come!). You can visit her and see more of her art on her website: http://www.melissamanwill.com/
That’s all for now, folks! I’ll be back soon to talk more about my April releases, August Isle and The Climbers!
Meet Bella, the very best dog a family could ask for.
Only her family, the McBrides, don’t see it that way, at least not anymore. Ever since Mrs. McBride’s belly started growing, they don’t seem to appreciate the way Bella cleans the crumbs from the kitchen floor, or how she’s always willing to play fetch after a long day. And when Bella’s valiant attempt to save the Christmas tree ends in disaster, she finds herself being swiftly abandoned at the pound.
As the reality sinks in that she is unwanted, Bella is heartbroken. Where did she go wrong? Things look bleak until a kind couple, the Roses, take Bella in. Her new life is filled with wonderful things like parks and snowballs, vanilla ice cream and National Geographic channel. But as the weather turns cold again, the Roses start acting strangely, and Bella wonders if she can really trust them. Do they actually love her, or is history about to repeat itself? And will Bella be able to find a true home in time for Christmas this year?
A remarkable and heartwarming tale from award-winning author Ali Standish, based on her real-life dog Bella, about one extraordinary pup who yearns to belong.