Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Played! (Shamwell Tales #2) by JL Merrow ~ Release Day Review, Guest Post and Giveaway

Played

YEAH! - It's release day for PLAYED! (Shamwell Tales #2) and this time we get the story of thespian and luvvie Tristan. Yes, it’s drama all the way in this story with one luvvie that turns the village of Shamwell on its head not to mention one adorable pest control man. I loved it. Got me brushing up on my Shakespeare for sure.

JL Merrow is with us and lets us know exactly what a luvvie is,  so be sure to check out her guest post and don’t forget the giveaway.

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You’ve got to love a luvvie

JL Merrow

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here as part of the Played! blog tour.

You’ve got to love a luvvie. Endlessly enthusiastic and affectionate, they’re all part of the larger-than-life spectacle that is the theatre.

Tristan Goldsmith, hero of Played!, is a young man who, while he can be thoughtless and initially makes some bad choices, is a talented actor with a good heart. He’s also undeniably a bit of a luvvie.

But what exactly is a luvvie? The OED defines luvvie as:

British informal, often derogatory An actor or actress, especially one who is particularly effusive or affected

clip_image003I tend to think of the late Richard Attenborough as the quintessential luvvie: he was in the habit of calling everyone darling, which in his defence is a lot easier than remembering an endless succession of names when you’re a jobbing actor. Like the late Baron Attenborough, luvvies are often classically trained and from the upper classes. Often they’re graduates of Footlights, the Cambridge University Drama Society.

National treasure Stephen Fry is a self-confessed luvvie:clip_image002

Acting in a proper grown-up play, being a lovie, doing the West End, ‘shouting in the evenings’, as the late Patrick Troughton had it.

1988 Stephen Fry in Guardian 2 Apr., p. 17

Apparently he forgot all about it, though:

Emma Thompson: You know the word "luvvie"?
Stephen Fry: Yeah?
Emma: What do you all feel about it?
Stephen: [sigh] I mean, I'm not going to get as upset as some actors do — some actors say, "We do a bloody hard job of work, we're serious people, you know, it's a coal face, doing a play! How dare they call us luvvies!" I think that's a bit overdone. On the other hand, it's a bit tedious when the Daily Mail says "luvvie couple XYZ," or something....
Emma: Do you know what the first citation of it is in the OED?
Stephen: No.
Emma: It's you.

- British TV show QI, one of the early seasons

Brian Blessed, with his hearty, sonorous bluster (eg the first series of Blackadder) is also a luvvie, and a fine example of how one can be completely camp and terrifyingly butch at one and the same time. Women can be luvvies too, of course, as is Tristan’s chain-smoking friend Suki in Played!, although she comes across as more arch than camp. Oscar winner Emma Thompson, quoted above, is a real-life example of female luvviedom.

The character of Withnail in the cult film Withnail and I (a favourite of Tristan’s) shows the dark side of the luvvie, with less of the effusive affection and more of the rage and despair.

Of course, despite the stereotype, most actors are not luvvies. So why did I make Tristan one? Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but Tristan definitely has his reasons for creating a persona as a sort of armour against the world.

Oh, and many years ago I was fortunate enough to see a young John Sessions (another definite luvvie) on stage in Moliere’s Tartuffe, and I never quite got over it! ;)

Question: Who’s your favourite luvvie? All those I’ve cited are terribly, terribly British. I’d love to hear about examples of luvvie-dom from other nations!

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Played! by JL Merrow

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Publisher: Samhain

Release: 30th June 2015

Genre: M/M (contemporary)

Rating

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Synopsis

All the world’s a stage...but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart.

The Shamwell Tales, Book 2

Though Tristan must join his family’s New York firm at summer’s end—no more farting around on stage, as his father so bluntly puts it—he can’t resist when Shamwell’s local amateur dramatics society begs him to take a role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The bonus: giving private acting lessons to a local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances. Not only is Con delicious, there’s fifty pounds riding on Tristan getting him in his bed.

A late-diagnosed dyslexic, Con’s never dared to act, convinced he’d never be able to learn his lines. But with Tristan’s help, he takes the chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken. And with Tristan due to leave the country soon, Con is determined not to start anything that’s bound to finish badly.

Just as Tristan thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance for happiness.

Warning: Contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.

Mark’s Review

"Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love."

If you can name the Shakespeare play from which the quote above is taken withot thinking then you obviously have luvvie tendencies – lol!  Tristan is a thespian and my goodness does he have a way with words. His tongue was as sharp as a razor and I loved his camp, sarcastic humour, which got him into a lot of trouble and caused people to misunderstand him. He has to call pest control as he has a frog in the kitchen – lol! Talk about a drama queen, well Tristan lives up to those words both professionally and privately. I laughed my socks off at some of the lines and quips he came out with.

A totally endearing character. After calling pest control……enter Con…… your friendly neighbourhood odd job man, who works with Sean, who we met in the first book in the Shamwell tales.

“There are worse fates. Take me, for instance: a Jewish boy named after a Cornish adulterer made famous by a Nazi composer.”

You couldn’t get two  more different guys if you tried. So introductions are made and Con thinks that Tristan is a complete upper-class tosser and Tristan sees Con as your average uneducated oaf, even if physically he’s very attractive, but can’t spell. We later learn that Con is dyslexic and as usual Tristan always manages to put his foot in the proverbial when opening his eloquent mouth.

Tristan is in Shamwell because he needs to sort out his recently deceased nanny’s house. Thinking he would be the next Lawrence Olivier, she was the biggest fan of his acting talents. Well he did study drama and acting. Con is in the local amateur theatrics group creating, building and painting the backdrops for their productions; the next one being Midsummer Night’s Dream. I loved how JL Merrow worked this into the story. Even the character names from this Shakespeare play lend themselves to a M/M novel marvellously. Well, you’ll have to read the story to find out who plays Bottom in the village production – lol!

So this is a relationship that goes from mild contempt, to mutual respect and finally the HEA – YES! Totally loved it, and with these two characters there are seriously laugh out loud moments. Well, at least it struck a chord with my sense of humour. The relationship is the main focus in this book so it’s rather light on the sex, but that’s fine with me if the story and plot keep me interested and to say the least, very amused. You could feel Con’s exasperation with Tristan and Tristan’s act of on the outside being all happy and carefree, but a character that really doesn’t know what he wants from life, especially as his dominant father is trying to push him a direction he really doesn’t want to go. He finds something in Shamwell with Con and the am-drams that he never expected and sets his life on a completely new path.

This is another thoroughly delightful addition to the Shamwell Tales series, which can be read as a stand-alone no problem and I will be looking forward to who will get their story told in the next book if there is one.

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Meet Jl Merrow

waterhouse_a_mermaid-hiresJL Merrow is a very English writer of (mainly) m/m fiction who finds writing the only way to stay sane, except of course when a plot is driving her crazy. Having grown up on an island, she can’t remember a time before she could swim and prefers to remain close to water at all times. Luckily, the weather in her native land being as it generally is, this is not difficult.

I’m that rare beast; an English person who refuses to drink tea. I’m a writer of (mainly) m/m or f/f romance, mostly contemporary or paranormal, but with a fickle muse that occasionally ambushes me in dark alleyways and drags me off, cackling, to write historical or science fiction.

Some might call all this pillar-to-posting tragic evidence of a short attention span; I couldn’t possibly….er, what were we talking about, again?

I enjoy reading, martial arts, and surprising people who judge a book by its cover.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Contact The Author

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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Purchase Links

1) CAUGHT! (Shamwell Tales #1) ~ Mark’s Review

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samhain

AMAZON BUY LINK

2) PLAYED! (Shamwell Tales #2)

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samhain

AMAZON BUY LINK

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Giveaway

I’m offering a prize of an ebook of the winner’s choice from my backlist to one lucky commenter at EVERY stop on the tour, plus a grand prize of a signed copy of Caught!, the first Shamwell Tale, which comes out in paperback on 4th August. I’m happy to ship worldwide, and I’ll throw in some small goodies as well.

Question: Who’s your favourite luvvie? All those I’ve cited are terribly, terribly British. I’d love to hear about examples of luvvie-dom from other nations!

Please remember to leave an email addy in your comment so I can get in touch with you if you win!

I’ll be making the draws around teatime on Friday 10th July, GMT.

Good luck!

JL Merrow

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48 comments:

  1. LOL! I loved the post. I did not know about luvvies, it is a completely new concept for me! I'm from Spain, and I cannot think about many real luvvies , I guess here we favour more the macho-like kind... Although there is this mature actor, Arturo Fernández, who fits perfectly my idea of a luvvie. As for well-known British luvvies, undoubtedly Stephen Fry is my favourite
    Thank you for the interesting post and giveaway. I love your books. I can't wait to read Played!
    susanaperez7140(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. *googles* Ooh, yes, he does have rather the look of a luvvie - something about those "impeccable suits" and the pocket handkerchief! Thanks for sharing! :D

      Personally, I think Stephen Fry is everyone's favourite - certainly in Britain! Wouldn't you just love to have him as an uncle?

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    2. Oooh! I would certainly love to! ;)

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  2. I have never heard the term Luvvie before. In the US I would guess Bette Midler and Nathan Lane are luvvies. The are both so much fun to watch acting and in interviews. Thanks for the giveaway.
    tkronenw1@gmail.com

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  3. Oh, yes, Bette Midler would definitely qualify as a luvvie. :)
    I don't know Nathan Lane, but from his pics, I can believe it! ;)

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  4. Christopher Biggins, an odd choice maybe, but I've had a soft spot for him since I saw him playing Winnie The Pooh in the mid 70s :-)
    Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. Ooh, yes, Christopher Biggins has definite luvvie tendencies. He must have made a wonderful Winnie the Pooh! :D

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  5. I learn so much when reading things written by British authors. :) I love Emma Thompson, and that exchange above was hilarious. I can't really think of a good example for an American actor. Maybe Johnny Depp?

    Waxapplelover (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Stephen and Emma are wonderful together. :)
      And yes, I do believe you're right re Johnny Depp!

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  6. Ohh Nathan Lane, Liza Minelli and the late (great) Robin Williams often portrayed himself that way...

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    1. Oh, Liza without a doubt! I wasn't so sure about Robin Williams, but then it strikes me I've never seen him except when he was acting. Still love his brilliant turn as the Genie in Aladdin. :)

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  7. Luvvies are new to me as well. I would have to agree with those listed.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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  8. Maybe french actor Fabrice Luchini would qualify as a luvvie?
    Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.
    And greetings from across the Channel ;-)
    foebz (at) hotmail (dot) com

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    1. Oh yes - he has the look of a luvvie, and with all those theatre roles, I think he's clinched it! ;)
      Thanks, Elle!

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  9. omg ..robin william is so a luvvie

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    1. The evidence is becoming overwhelming! ;)

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  10. This is the first time I've heard luvvie but I love it! The first person I thought of was Nathan Lane but I think mentioning Robin Williams is perfect too! :)

    jenndonald00 at gmail dot com

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  11. I'd never heard the term luvvie before, but Stephen Fry and Nathan Lane and Robin Williams are perfect examples. Added Played to my wish list. j dot stonewright at gmail dot com

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  12. Maybe comedian/actor/writer Greg Proops is an American luvvie? (He was on WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? in the UK, too.) He's very erudite, urbane, and funny, but you definitely get that "always on" feeling, even when reading his (pretty cool) book...

    --Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

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    1. OMG, you're so right about Greg Proops! I didn't know he'd written a book - will have to check that out. :)

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  13. Totally new concept. I've been racking my brain to come up with someone but I'm not having much luck. I'm looking forward to seeing a few more examples because I'm really at a loss. :-)
    aelnova@aol.com

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    1. I'm loving getting all these new examples! :D

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  14. Thanks for the great post! This is the first time I've heard the term luvie! amaquilante(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. First time I've heard of the term luvvie. I feel like Bill Murray maybe luvvie but then again it's been several years since I've watched him in anything and what I do remember him from was my childhood years.

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    1. forgot my email: humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

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    2. Ooh, intriguing thought. Like you, I haven't seen him in anything for a while - then again, I think maybe it's more to do with the way actors are off screen, than on.
      Thanks for commenting! :)

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  16. I do love Stephen Fry. Apparently a very, very clever luvvie.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. The OED should also cite him as a reference for both "polymath" and "National Treasure" :D

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  17. Angela:

    I must say i never heard of a Luvvie before so this is all new to me. I love the examples that are posted.
    I would definitely add Jim Carrey to this list :)

    Thanks for the post i enjoyed it and it is fun to learn some new terms LOL.
    Also thanks for the giveaway chance.

    ahpg(at)ziggo(dot)nl

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    1. Oh, yes, I can believe Jim Carrey being a luvvie! ;)
      Loved him in The Mask & The Truman Show.
      And you're welcome! :D

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  18. What a fun post and am enjoying reading the responses. Can't think of a Luvvie that I'm a huge fan of but a great friend LUVs Barbare Streisand and considers her a Luvvie! Thanks for the chance.

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    1. Oh, yes, Barbra is deffo a luvvie! *ponders* There seems to be a bit of an overlap between female luvvie and gay icon...
      And you're welcome! :D

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  19. Well, I am terribly English and am oddly surprised at the unknown aspect of luvvieness! I guess I love loads of luvvie actors - obviously I wished Stephen Fry was my father for many years, Joanna Lumley could be my aunt, Graham Norton my cousin and ironically Jennifer Saunders à la Eddie as my mum (growing up my mother and I practically were Saffy and Edina so.....)

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    1. O_o Congrats for surviving that upbringing! ;) Srsly, it must have cramped your teenage style!
      Joanna Lumley is lovely, isn't she? I feel one could learn a lot from her. And Graham Norton is great!

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  20. Noel Fielding. He's so over the top and fantastic and I have one of his drawings as a tattoo.

    Allesonl at gmail dot com

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  21. don't have a fav

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  22. I'm afraid I am still a bit puzzled by the exact meaning of a luvvie so I would say that I really couldn't name a favorite. Do you mean like Johnny Depp as his character as Captain Jack Sparrow? Thank you for the interesting information.

    ree.dee.2014 (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. Well, a luvvie is more defined by the way they act when they're not actually supposed to be acting a part - think really over-effusive Oscar winner speeches, perhaps? :)

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  23. I'm going to suggest Robert Downy Jr. as a luvvie from the US but as this is a totally new concept to me I'm not sure if that's correct or not. :) aahickmanathotmaildotcom

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    1. Ooh, yes, he'll do! He's always so much fun to watch. :)

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  24. Ok,a latin luvvie example: Liliana Rodriguez, mevalem258 AT gmai DOT com

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    1. Ooh, another one I had to google. She certainly looks like she has plenty of character! :D

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  25. Hmm interesting. I think the term luvvies is quintessentially British and we certainly have quite a few and some of my favourites are: Sir Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Sir Derrick Jacoby, John Sessions and Kate Winslet's Oscar speech comes to mind :) slholland22 {at} hotmail {dot} com thank you for the chance to win some of your books :)

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