Thursday, March 16, 2017

Amy Rivers measures her life in a book giveaway

Introduction by Melissa Amster

Amy Rivers is a woman after my own heart. When you see the number one spot on her top five favorite musicals list, you'll know why! (And yes, it's what I was listening to in my car this week. I do "take a break" from Hamilton sometimes!)

Today, Amy is here to talk about musicals and celebrate the recent publication of her latest novel, Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters. Thanks to TLC Book Tours, we have one copy to give away! Visit all the stops on Amy's tour.

Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado with her husband, kids and cat. She has a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics, two topics she loves to incorporate into her personal essays and novels. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, and Splice Today. Her first novel, Wallflower Blooming, was published in August 2016. Best Laid Plans is the second book in the Cambria Trilogy, but can be read as a stand-alone. Visit Amy at her website, Facebook, and Twitter.


A year after she is elected mayor of a prosperous Colorado city, Gwen’s career and life are fully on track, all according to plan. So why is she in such a slump emotionally and physically? New conflicts keep boiling over in city government, and her earlier allies no longer support her. She and her boyfriend have an ideal relationship, which she finds inexplicably dissatisfying. Without telling her, he decides to take a new job that has him traveling out of state every week. Suddenly unexpected developments turn everything topsy-turvy, and Gwen is forced to re-examine her carefully-planned life.

“Witty, warm, and compulsively readable. Rivers has deftly created lovably flawed and relatable characters you don’t want to miss.”
 –Amy Avanzino, author of Wake-Up Call and From the Sidelines

The Magic of Musicals

If I could get away with bursting out in song throughout the day without being arrested or committed, I would. Since I was a child, musicals have always resonated with me. Growing up in a musical family, it just made sense that we express our emotions and tell stories through song. I grew up on The Sound of Music and Annie, but also on Labyrinth and Hair. If there was singing, I was nearby singing along.

Some musicals are just good clean fun, but others address important historical, cultural and social issues. When watching (or listening to) Rent, I never ever fail to sob uncontrollably when Collins sings I'll Cover You (reprise) at Angel’s funeral. I always think, “that’s what love sounds like.” Imagine, tackling homelessness, homosexuality, and AIDS in song? The creators of Rent are revolutionaries, bringing topics that are often taboo to a broader audience.

I have a copy of the 25th Anniversary celebration of Les Miserables on my phone. I listen to it when I need to hear raw emotion. My favorite line is where Fantine (played by Lea Salonga) sings, “You let your foreman send me away,” to a mortified Jean Valjean. Her voice cracks, the look on her face is pure agony, and I think to myself, “if I can convey that kind of emotion in my writing, I will have achieved my dreams.”

OK, so I’m going to attempt to give you my top five favorite musicals (with the caveat that this is my list as of 12:33 MST, Monday, March 6, 2017 and is subject to change at the slightest whim). Here goes:

1.      Rent. That’s right. Despite being absolutely in love with Les Mis, I’m putting Rent at the top spot because it’s hard to imagine a more perfect combination of music and storytelling. The story of these people, brought together one night under a common cause, and of course, friendship. They love. They hate. They struggle. The story examines the brutal realities of homelessness and AIDS. And yet, there are tender moments of true friendship and love that move me each and every time I watch this musical.

2.      Les Miserables. I’ve seen this musical twice on stage. The first time was in high school. I saw it at the Abraham Chavez theater in El Paso, Texas. The stage revolved, and from our balcony seats, we watched as the scenery and cast floated around below us, the barricade being erected in a whirl. That image has stayed with me, and every time I see a musical performed live on stage, I can’t help but compare it to the magic of that first night. Les Miserables is a tale of redemption and the endurance of the human soul despite the foulest of circumstances. Love, love, love.

3.      Meet Me in St. Louis. Because, Judy Garland. I grew up watching every Judy Garland movie I could get my hands on, from her Andy Hardy days on up. But Meet Me in St. Louis is one of my favorite movies of all time, musical or no. I own it. I watch it more than once a year, singing along the whole time. And the red dress at the end of Wallflower Blooming was inspired by Judy’s ball gown at the Christmas dance. It’s a great story about a family at the turn of the century and the things that are important to them. It’s got one of the funnest and funniest Halloween scenes of all time AND one of the greatest Christmas carol performances ever: Judy singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

4.      Mary Poppins. What can I say? You’ve got Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. There’s woman’s suffrage, the importance of charity AND personal responsibility (a clean room! – kids, take note).  There’s magical tea parties, penguins and siedwalk art. There’s chimney sweeps dancing on the rooftops for heaven’s sake! I love a good musical that both children and adults can enjoy together. Stage productions that I’ve seen of this musical are equally good, but I’m going to stick with the Disney film for the purposes of this list.

5.      and, finally,  Purple Rain. Yes, siree. I saw this movie when I was probably WAY too young to see it and thus began a lifelong love affair with Prince. Musical in the tradition sense? Maybe not. But luckily this is my list and I can do what I want!

I was going to make an honorable mentions list, but it got out of control and, quite frankly, included every musical known to man because, as I’ve stated before, I LOVE MUSICALS! Also, you’ll probably have noted that all the musicals above are movies. Because those are the musicals that I (and all of you) have most ready access to, they’re the ones that come to mind first. That being said, I implore you, NEVER pass up a chance to see a musical performed live. Sweeny Todd is just so much more amazing on stage (sorry Johnny and Helena). Elton John’s musical Aida took my breath away and I still go on binges listening to the soundtrack. And an amateur production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring a high school classmate (way back in the day) was maybe one of the best productions I have ever seen on stage. They did such an amazing job!

In closing….a few guilty (sorta) confessions: I will watch High School Musical (the first one) about a million times in a row. And the Frankie and Annette beach movies are also on my list of musical fav’s. AND my husband will probably snort when he sees that I haven’t included a single Gilbert and Sullivan. Sorry honey, I’m out of space.

Thanks to Amy for visiting with us and to TLC Book Tours for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here

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Giveaway ends March 21st at midnight EST.


Janine said...

I'm not a Star Wars fan, but I bet that movie being made into a musical would probably be a huge hit.

traveler said...

A musical of the movie, The magnificent Seven.

jean602 said...

I don't know what movie would make a good musical.

Rita Wray said...

You've Got Mail would be fun.

diannekc said...

I really can't think of any movies that I would like to see made into a musical. I would think a movie is hard to make into a musical.

diannekc said...

I really can't think of any movies that I would like to see made into a musical. I would think a movie is hard to make into a musical.

Mary Preston said...

A swashbuckling kind of movie into a musical would be fun. Pirates of the Caribbean?

Aire para respirar said...

Love Actually

djnbjnon said...

I think the movie Steel Magnolia's

bn100 said...


rubynreba said...

I think it would be interesting to see Star Wars as a musical!!!

tarafarah7 said...

I would love to see Now You See Me on stage as a musical!! Wow...if that happened, people wouldn't know what to do with themselves!! You would have it, dance, magicians, mystery, crime, exposing the corrupt, rewarding the audience...YES, PLEASE! :-)