Monday, April 1, 2013

Meeting Gwen Cooper, Author & Giveaway

by Christine Michaels

Update April 9: The winner of the Litter Genie is KIMBERLY EHRHARDT!  Congratulations Kimberly! Please check your email and reply within 48 hours to claim your prize.

Christine Michaels & Gwen Cooper

When the New Year rings in, we look forward to those unexpected highlights in life.  One of those extended fireworks sparkled last Thursday.  It was the date that I met one of my favorite authors, Gwen Cooper.

A native Miamian, Gwen is the author of NY Times bestseller, Homer's Odyssey, the story of a blind black cat she adopted as a kitten. I loved the book so much that I shared a review on both my personal blog and for Riverfront Cats. Gwen is an author and a cat lover, the best combination of qualities in my opinion.

Her book not only entertained  readers but it really helped to educate new and non cat owners about cats in general, that blind cats are not entirely handicapped, and that in having three cats a woman can lead a robust life, thus demystifying the label of "crazy cat lady".

So when I learned that Gwen was returning to Miami to launch her new book Love Saves the Day,  I cleared the calendar and counted the days.

At Books & Books in Coral Gables, Deb Barnes and  I along with fellow Cat Network members, caught up with Gwen before the other fans arrived. She was everything we imagined and more.  While some authors are introverted and develop sweaty palms and jitters before speaking engagements, not Gwen. Or at least she didn't let you see her sweat. She was chatty and perky and we felt like instant friends.

This evening she read from the first chapter of her new book, Love Saves the Day.  For a video introduction to her new novel, please visit my previous post.

Gwen signs book for local fan

We learned that the book was a two year project but rewritten entirely three weeks before the deadline.  The pressures of authoring a book!  So why fictional? For starters, the setting is the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Gwen was drawn by the eccentric trappings of this corner of Manhattan beholden to the art and music of the 70s and 80s.  There are numerous references to Gwen's husband, a music lover.  Sarah (the mother in the book) is a former aspiring DJ.  And the name of the cat  "Prudence" came from? You guessed it! Dear Prudence, a Beatles song Gwen's husband played incessantly during the writing of the book.

"It was fortuitous that the refrain sang 'Dear Prudence won't you come out to play', " shares Gwen.
We love learning these nuggets of information that shape the story for a book.

As she read from the book, I was spellbound.  The first third of the book is written from the point of the view of Prudence the cat.  Gwen portrayed the tone, the attitude of Prudence with red laser dot precision. Gwen knows Cat! Prudence plays an important role in harmonizing a young woman's conflict with her past-- a tumultuous upbringing in her mother's dusty, Bohemian record store.  Later chapters change to the third person and we learn more about the characters and devastating details about housing in the Lower East Side.

After the reading Gwen did advise not to be mislead by the juvenile book cover--the gradient blue background, sparkling stars and young looking brown tabby cat.   Everyone can relate to the moral of the story- the complexity of relationships especially when a parent dies--circumstances beyond anyone's control that leads to a strained relationship, about the things left unsaid, and miscommunications. Pets we know can be the catalyst in bonding people.  The journey and lessons of life are drawn from both humans and animals.

There’s an extra bonus for music lovers of the 1960’s -1990’s especially those that remember the New York music scene in late 1970’s, disco and punk.  Gwen graciously includes an acknowledgement section listing some of the books that served as valuable research material, such as books about music, the Lower East Side, and Alphabet City.

We highly recommend the book and with warmer weather approaching, it's a great summer read on the hammock, under a tree or in your favorite reading room.


Gwen's visit was thanks in part to the makers of the Litter Genie. I was fortunate to win one but knew readers could use it more. Therefore we are giving away one white Litter Genie to a lucky reader anywhere in US or Canada. Contest closes at 11:59pm April 7. The winner will be announced here on this post after April 7. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize.

Here's how to win:

  •  Leave a comment below stating why you would like to win a Litter Genie. If you don't have a Google account, please leave your email on the post so we have a way to reach you. (Required entry)
For additional entries:
  •  Like "Riverfront Cats" on Facebook.
  •  Like our big brother site "Pawsitively Humane" on Facebook
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook. Leave a separate comment here letting us know you posted FB.
  • Share this giveaway on Twitter and leave a separate comment here letting us know you tweeted.
If you would like to order Love Saves the Day, or the Litter Genie for your home, click on the links below to place your order with Amazon. By using these links, Riverfront Cats benefits with a small proceed for our fundraising efforts to pay vet bills.

Good luck! And let Love Save Your Day. 


  1. we love our black male cat Aramis and we are on a very low income...we would love to win this for him...he deserves the best!!!!!!!

  2. I love Gwen. I love Homer, Clayton, and Fanny. And my cats, all 15 of them, and I would love to have a Litter Genie!

  3. It is so great to see pictures of Gwen at the first stop on her book tour! Love Saves the Day was a wonderful story and I'm looking forward to Gwen's next book!

  4. I would love to have one as I have three cats with two litter boxes down in my basement. The only place to put them is by the furnace. I currently have a garbage can that I use, but when the heat comes on no matter how clean I keep the litters you can smell them. Help!!!
    Doreen Fraser

  5. Great photos and I can't wait to read that book! We will pass on the Litter Genie, we have two and they are totally wonderful!

  6. Gwen is such a brilliant writer! Am looking forward to reading her new book!

  7. fantastic post! Please don't enter us because I also reviewed Gwen's book on Cat Chat about a month ago and we don't need the genie...just wanted you to know you did a fabulous job on this!

  8. Glogirly's really been wanting one of these! Not that my *stuff* stinks or anything. She must want it for herself.
    ; ) Please count us in!

    ...and Gwen's book is already on Glogirly's nightstand!

  9. We already like Riverfront Cats & Pawitively Humane on Facebook. : )

  10. OK being outside the US iffen I wins can I donate to a US pal (I has lots some of whom would love this stuff!)

    Dash Kitten

  11. My kitties and I would love a Litter Genie! We live in a 3rd floor apartment, and having to run down the stairs and across the parking lot to the dumpster every time I clean the litterbox is a hassle.

    And I would love to read this book :)

  12. My two kitties would love to check out a Litter Genie. =^..^=

  13. I already liked Riverfront Cats

  14. I had a great time meeting Gwen, and as always, it was a pleasure spending time with you, Christine!

    No need to enter me in the giveaway!

  15. We adore Gwen and all she does on behalf of cats!

  16. I love the sound of that book!

  17. I would love the Genie for my 3 cats! It would be awesome..Your site is so wonderful to keep up to date on cats! Thanks for all you do!

  18. I have 2 cats and would really love a litter genie to make the job of taking care of the litter box a bit easier.

    I'm excited to read the book!

  19. I have 4 feral boy kittens..all brothers from the same litter. I would greatly appreciate a litter Genie. Thank you for all you do for cats. You're an inspiration! ♥

  20. I have 4 feral male cats..all brothers from the same litter. I would be very grateful for a litter Genie!! Thank you for all you do for're an inspiration. ♥

  21. Can't wait to read the book. I need the Litter Genie for my two rescue kitties, Hershey and Peanut.

  22. I would love to be able to donate a Litter Genie to the cat shelter I volunteer for. Bought one a few months ago for myself and love it. I think the shelter would love I too!!!

  23. I love cats. I love anyone else who does.

  24. I shared on FB and tweeted.. When I tweeted one of the cats tried to eat me~!!

  25. The reason I should win can best be described in a Haiku I just wrote...
    Our Place Has 12 Cats
    Glowing eyes and stinky butts
    HELP Litter Genie

  26. I have never read your books, but I'm very interested in doin so. I have 3 fur babies & I love them so much! Life wouldn't be right without them in it. Looking foward to your books :)

  27. I have never read your books, but I'm very interested in doin so. I have 3 fur babies & I love them so much! Life wouldn't be right without them in it. Looking foward to your books :)

  28. We need a Litter Genie because I have five cats who poop.

  29. We'd love to win a Litter Genie because it sounds so much more sanitary and easier than using grocery store bags and constantly going out to the trash. Thank you for the great giveaway and a wonderful post! (Raine at buzzyngabe(at)

  30. (Tweeted @buzzyngabe 4/6) (Raine at buzzyngabe(at)

  31. I an a FB fan of both pages: Raine Dawson (buzzyngabe(at)

  32. (FB share 4/6 Raine Dawson buzzyngabe(at)