May 2, New York City

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Bideawee

7:00pm, Thursday

410 E. 38th Street, Manhattan

The LOVE SAVES THE DAY National No-Kill Shelter Tour has officially launched! Many thanks to the good people of Bideawee here in New York for giving me such a warm welcome and putting together such a wonderful event—a great event made even better by the presence of Gizmo, the kitty who “owns” Bideawee’s third floor, and who clearly decided that if everybody was looking at the front of the room, that’s where he was going to hang out. (As a side note, Gizmo is one of the absolute sweetest, friendliest cats I’ve ever met in my life—and if you adopt him from Bideawee during the month of May, the adoption fee will be waived! If you’re in New York and looking for a pawsome new furever friend, you can’t do better than Gizmo!)

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Laurence has agreed to take a break from his day job interviewing movie stars (soooo boring, no? ;p) to “interview” me about how each tour event goes—so scroll down to read the first entry in our tour diary! And, for all you Texans out there, I’ll be making five stops in Texas next week (one in Houston, two in Dallas, and two in Austin), so I hope to see you there!

If you don’t live in Texas, or in any of the other cities on the tour, tune in to a livestream of me reading to the FIV+ kitties of Shadow Cats in Austin, on Friday 5/17 at 7:00 Central time. Come be a part of the tour without having to leave home!

 

LOVE SAVES THE DAY New York By the Numbers:

45 total attendees

1 adorable kitty also in attendance

40 copies of the book sold (one woman bought 20 copies!!!)

500 pounds of litter donated to Bideawee by Arm & Hammer Ultra Last Clumping Cat Litter

65 blankets, sweaters, and toys donated to the cats and dogs of Bideawee by readers

38 Litter Genies given away free to attendees

3 sponsors and corporate partners in attendance

17 more tour stops and appearances left to go

1 exhausted cat-book author who’s thrilled to have the launch behind her!

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TOUR DIARY: Entry #1

Laurence: So here we are – our first Q & A for your LOVE SAVES THE DAY National Tour!

Gwen: Yes—Here we are!

Laurence: I’m psyched that you asked me to do this!

Gwen: Well, I was planning on doing a tour diary—a regular update on all the shelters and cities that I visit over the next three months. You’re the one that suggested we do a Q&A kind of interview for each stop in the sixteen cities on the schedule.

Laurence: Yes, that was my idea. I think straight Q&As with you over the course of the tour would be a change of pace from diary-styled entries. And a lot more fun for your readers. You can update everyone on how it’s going, and I can grill you on your experiences as you crisscross the country and get yourself in and out of trouble.

Gwen: Fire away, Laurence.

Laurence: “Fire away, Laurence?” You’re kidding, right…?

Gwen: What?

Laurence: What do you mean, “What?” It’s supposed to be a Q&A, right?

Gwen: Did you expect “sweetie, baby, honey” or something?

Laurence: Okay, enough of that. And you know what I mean. You’ve done dozens of these for Homer’s Odyssey and Love Saves the Day, but this time, it shouldn’t just be about you as Gwen Cooper, queen of the cat ladies or Gwen Cooper, writer on the road to promote her book. This time, it can be more about your travels and impressions.

Gwen: Gotcha!

Laurence: Great. And try to keep it brisk. Remember, I’ve got to transcribe all this.

Gwen: I’ll try, but if you’re looking for brevity, then maybe you should stick to yes and no questions.

Laurence: Cute. Well, as the Loves Saves the Day tour kicked off at Bideawee in New York a couple of days ago, it’s going be hard to keep it to yeses and nos.

Gwen: I can’t deny that I’m happy the tour began in the city where we live.

Laurence: Ten blocks away from Bideawee, actually.

Gwen: Right. I have plenty of other cities where I can talk about the whole planes, trains, and automobiles aspect involved in getting there. It was a pleasure to only have to walk up First Avenue for ten minutes to get to the event.

Laurence: And I can honestly tell you that it was a great event.

Gwen: It was, wasn’t it? We had about 45 people attending, along with a bunch of the shelter’s volunteers and representatives from my fabulous sponsor and corporate partner—Arm & Hammer Ultra Last Clumping Cat Litter and Litter Genie, both of whom donated products to the shelters and attendees.

Laurence: Everyone was so into it. I’ve seen you read dozens of times over the past few years and it’s always great to watch you in New York, which has only happened a few times since Homer’s Odyssey was published in 2009.

Gwen: Doing a reading for a hometown crowd is always special. It’s great to see friends in the audience along with readers who’ve taken the time to come and see me. I truly love meeting them and talking about the book and their pets and everything else. And that Homer and Love Saves the Day may have directed more attention to animal shelter makes it all the more satisfying.

Laurence: I forgot to tell you something that one of the Bideawee volunteers was explaining to me. I had mentioned to him that as their building was so close to the East River, they had a great view of the Queens skyline and the UN Building, which is right up the block. He told me that the location of the Bideawee shelter, which is 110 years old, wasn’t selected because of the view—

Gwen: I know what you’re going to say! Back at the turn of the century, all the shelters that opened in New York, uptown and downtown, were located near the river because, sadly, that’s where pets were most frequently abandoned…

Laurence: Exactly. And as horrible as it sounds, back then, there were a lot of people, bad people who just tossed their cats and dogs into the river. And other people, good people, would rescue them and care for them near the river. And so the shelters went up there!

Gwen: Yes. Not a pretty story, but those are facts.

Laurence: Okay, enough of that depressing story. Thanks for bringing it up.

Gwen: You’re the one who started talking about it.

Laurence: Getting home after your reading was as easy as heading up there. Just a nice ten-block walk. But this time, with pizza as a reward!

Gwen: That was great. A branch of Grimaldi’s, the legendary New York pizzeria, just opened in our neighborhood. So we all had pizza afterwards! And the Grimaldis are also well-known ailurophiles, which makes having them as our new neighbors even better. But the best part was watching everyone walking down Second Avenue—there were eight of us, right?—with everybody carrying their free Litter Genies.

Laurence: That was definitely great, but I gotta say that the pizza was pretty good, too.

Gwen: Agreed. Especially the one with peppers, onions and mushrooms. Thanks for picking up the check.

Laurence: My pleasure. Like I said, you don’t do readings in New York every day, so it’s my pleasure to buy a few pizzas to celebrate a hometown triumph.

Gwen: You’re such a good husband.

Laurence: Everything that’s mine is yours, baby!

Gwen: I know. And I want you to know that I feel the same way—everything that’s yours is mine.

Laurence: Hey, wait a minute…

Comments

  • Kumo Sunday, 05 May 2013

    looking forward to photo reportage(? )or video(???)

    Dear Gwen and Bide-a-Wee,
    What a feast to be able to share in the joy, adventure and enthusiasm when Homer's Mom visits Bide-a-Wee.
    We, who live too far to visit, wish that all the good the book tour does will continue and continue and continue to bless you all at Bide-a-Wee and radiate out to other shelters, even those not on the list. Hope you got lots of publicity! And hope the animals got everything they need.
    Looking forward to photos,video or audio reportage.
    Warmest wishes,
    Kumo, the first

  • Susanne Gina Tapley Tuesday, 07 May 2013

    Congratulations on a great first city tour in New York!!!!!

    Hey Gwen!!! This is Susanne Tapley. I just recently picked up your book, Homer's Odyssey at my local library. It immediately caught my eye on the shelf. I picked up the audio version right next to it, too. I started to read it and haven't been able to put it down!!!! It's absolutely fantastic!!! I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder so I know what living with a handicap is like. You make a great mom to Homer and your other two cats!!:) So does your husband, Laurance. I just got to the part of the book when you and Laurance moved in together. I've thouroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to soon reading your latest achievement, Love Saves the Day!!*:) I am also a writer and an avid reader!!!* I also have three cats that I love dearly.* Amazingly, they have the same personalities of your felines, except that my youngest, Jenny, is a girl and not blind. But my oldest, Jasmine, like Scarlett, doesn't like to be touched or petted and thinks she is the boss because, after all, she is the oldest. Jasper, like Vashti, the middle one, is the most friendly and affectionate and is okay with meeting new people.* And the baby, Jenny, is the most cautious and rambunctious, like Homer!!!:) Jenny is also a cuddler, like Homer.* Unlike you though, me and my husband, Don's, cats came into our lives after we got married, not before. Jasmine, who is now eleven years old, was given as a wedding gift to us by our close friends who were also married and knew I had wanted a kitten.* Her daughters had gotten one but couldn't keep her in their cat-free apartment building, so Don and I got her! Jasper was truly a God-send. After five years of Jasmine getting attached only to Don (probably because I played so rough with her as a kitten and she was so sensitive) I prayed that God would send me an affectionate, friendly, more easy-going kitty that I could bond to and keep me company. One beautiful spring day in mid-May, Monday May 14th, 2007 to be exact, God answered my prayer!* Jasper came waltzing and meowing into my life and to this day I am extremely grateful to my heavenly Father for that.* She got lost in our neighborhood and was looking for someone to love and to be loved!!! When I called to her, she came running into my arms, even though she had never seen me before!!!* I was overjoyed but almost dropped her because she was so tiny and skinny. I took her inside and immediately gave her some icecream, since I didn't have any milk at the time. She loved and hasn't stopped eating ever since!!!* I posted signs around my neighborhood in case someone lost her and wanted her back, but nobody responded to them, so after that she was finally mine and my husband's!!!* Jenny, like Homer, was abandoned in a basket full of cats and kittens at the local animal hospital's front door!!! I first saw Jenny in a crate with two other tiny kittens at this animal hospital when I took Jasper in to get spayed. There was an ominous sign on the cage that said "Please adopt me today. Tomorrow I'll hyave to go to Animal Control." My heart skipped a beat and I immediately started thinking what I could do to save these poor, abandoned kitties lives. They were soooooooooooooooo adorable and playful and full of energy, especially the furry brown one, which of course, turned out to be Jenny!!:)* They had temporarily named her Patches. I thought that was more of a boy's name. I immediately felt drawn to her and prayed as I left to be able to adopt her too. After calling everyone in my phone book that afternoon and evening I found a home for one of the kittens. By the next day, a really nice lady who said she had wanted to adopt another cat since hers had run away, called me back when she found out from her Bible Book Study Overseer that someone was looking for a home for three kittens. I had a home for another one!!!!!* I was ecstatic!!! And I was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad I was saving these kittens lives!!* I couldn't live with myself if I didn't! But there was still one kitten left, the medium-haired Black Calico one, my Jenny. Nobody seemed to want her because she was longer haired than the other two. My husband thought of a co-worker's daughter who wanted a cat, and after calling him he confirmed he would take her!!! I was thrilled!!!!* I had found homes for all the kittens and just in time!!!* But the next day we found out that my husband's co-worker couldn't take the kitten after all because he had cat allergies. I almost cried!!! I couldn't bear to think of Jenny spending a really lonely night in her cage down in that basement dungeon they called the kitty hold just to be shipped off to Animal Control the next day to be killed!!! I called my husband at work and begged him for us to please adopt her. He said we'll talk about it when I come home. I felt a little better when I hung up the phone with him, but I was still apprehensive. A half hour later, as I was getting ready to go to my Bible Book Study, the doorbell rang. Now my husband never rang it before he came in so I thought that was strange. I thought he must have his arms full with groceries and can't open the door. So I rushed to the door, opened it and saw the best sight I had ever seen. My husband was standing there holding Jenny, my Jenny in his hands!!!!!! I was totally surprised and taken aback that the first thing I said is "She's not he one!" That nice lady hadn't come yet to claim her kitten, the short-haired one, so I thought my husband had gotten the wrong one!!! But upon closer inspection I found out this was indeed the kitty I wanted!!!!!!*:) I was overjoyed!!!!!!* I think that was the best gift my husband ever got me!!!!!* I scooped Jenny up into my arms and welcomed her into our home and the kitty fold of our house.:) Sorry I rambled on and on like this, but like you, when it comes to talking about my cats, whom I call my babies, I am very passionate!!!!! I hope to meet you and Homer someday, maybe at a book fair. I'm sorry I just missed the one in New York, where I live to. I didn't know you were having it until it was a week over. But I'm sure there will be others since you are already such an accomplished author!!!!*:) All the best and much success to you, Laurence, Homer, Vashti, and Scarlett in the future!!!!*:) What a wonderful family you have, as do I.* I'm sure you'll agree with me when I say "They are truly a blessing from God and a God-send just for us!!!!!*:) Take care!!* And keep those fantastic kitty books coming!!!!*:)

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