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!)
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!
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…?
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.
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…