Felice Stevens author of The Arrangement

Felice Stevens - The Arrangement

Hi friends! This week I’d like to introduce you to author Felice Stevens. I recently worked on the audio production of her book, The Arrangement.

 
And now we have two new collaborations in the works. I narrate my fair share of MM romance and what I’ve appreciated about Felice’s work is how she draws nuanced and flawed characters. There’s always a bigger challenge at play besides getting into bed – children, mental illness, dogs that need to be rescued, dealing with families and friends who haven’t quite come around to acceptance.

 

Of course Felice does pretty well once her characters get into the bedroom as well. Or the hallway. Or the stairwell. Or the taxi. Or the nightclub. I really, really want a sex life as exciting as what her men get up to!

 

When you sign up for my newsletter you can expect to receive a mix of interviews with authors, filmmakers and actors I work with as well as exclusive photos and video from some of my upcoming work.

 

I’ve shared a little about Felice Stevens and her new book The Arrangement below. She’s even offering the first chapter of the audiobook as a free download when you sign up for her newsletter and select ‘Charlie David’ from the drop down menu of how you found her – so make sure to do that. Then I can do what I love to do – tell you a story!

 

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love, but getting there is oh so fun and oh so sexy.

 

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass (or two of red wine). She practices law but daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

 

Sign up for Felice’s newsletter and pick Charlie David’s newsletter from the drop down menu in answer to “How Did You Find Me.” and you will receive a download link for the first chapter of the audiobook of The Arrangement.

 

Reviewers have called The Arrangement, A sexy, heartfelt and romantic story and a moving MM story with a lot of heart and some angst.

 

The Arrangement is a 2016 Rainbow Awards top ten finalist and received an Honorable Mention. It has a 4.7 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and over five hundred 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads.

CHARLIE DAVID’S CORNER

When asked what my job is, my face generally scrunches up as I try to figure out the best way to describe what it is I do. I write, produce, and direct. Sometimes books, sometimes documentaries, television or films. I think the best description hasn’t changed much from what I wanted to be as a kid – a storyteller.

 

I follow my curiosity in my creativity and it takes me to some pretty awesome places. Right now I’m directing a documentary miniseries on open relationships and polyamory. Up next is a scripted miniseries titled Shadowlands that is based on a book of short stories in the psychological thriller/paranormal world.

 

This week I’d like to share the first episode of a series titled Coming Out that was filmed in Montreal, one of the cities I call home. As you likely know, Montreal is a city woven of many cultures and languages including Greek, Yiddish, Arabic, Russian, and English but the most commonly used is French. I invite you to watch the first episode of our series which spans two seasons. Don’t worry if you don’t speak French – I’ve included English subtitles!

 

 

COMING OUT is a twenty-four episode series following the explosive lives, loves and losses of an intermingled group of Montréalers as they confront the subject of difference. Managing a modern relationship can be a mess.

 

Single? Attached? Married? Divorced? Open? Closed? The most common answer is ‘It’s complicated.’

 

Get ready to come out with these characters as they negotiate acceptance, prejudice and just how much they’re willing to risk in the pursuit of love and happiness.

 

Discover the new books and audiobooks I’m working on now…

 

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Bromance in ‘Forces’, a short film

Forces - bromance

Forces is a short film that captures the intense bromance between a straight military guy and a gay football player.  Friends since childhood, the boundaries of their relationship are forged and tested.

A Powerful & Beautiful Bromance

I like to champion exceptional new talent and director Dominic Poliquin is just that.  He’s masterfully created a short film that captures the combustible friction of a lifelong bromance between straight and gay best friends on the banks of a creek where their backyards meet.

 

 

Forces won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short Film at its premiere at the Image+Nation Film Festival in Montreal, Canada.  Forces is currently on the festival circuit.  It will be released in September 2017 on digital platforms and with select broadcast partners.

 
 
 
Forces 2

 

Forces - LAUREL_jury_2016

‘‘This film perfects the short narrative form
and it is obvious in every moment
and in every shot that it was lovely crafted.’’

 

Roisín NicOireachtaigh,
Member of Jury,
Image + Nation 2016

 

Forces 3

 

Dominic Poliquin directs this captivating short film which crackles with emotional turbulence and sexual tension.  Actors Nicola Tomassini and Benoit Gauvin effortlessly capture the sacred balance in a bromance.

 Forces - Director Dominic Poliquin

Forces Director Statement – Dominic Poliquin

Tell us about your new project FORCES and what message you would like to communicate to young filmmakers and to the LGBTQ community.

 

Where to start? I am generally bored and tired of seeing Queer characters dying at the end of Oscar winning movies.  I could list endless films like Philadelphia, Boys Don’t Cry, Brokeback Mountain, Milk, The Hours and even Black Swan, in which both male and female LGBTQ characters meet disastrous endings, almost like a ‘formula to kill off the queer’ to pass a message to the world.

 

I am not saying they are not great films, but the all too familiar ‘let’s kill them off” recipe has become a self identification problem for those who don’t fit into what society calls the norm.

 

In FORCES, we follows the life of two young men: a straight soldier that is being deployed to Afghanistan who is overly sensitive and his openly gay childhood friend who recently got kicked off his football team, not for his sexual orientation, but rather for excessive violent behavior.

 

My goal for my short was to avoid some clichés and stereotypes. The straight character in my film is a bit like the damsel in distress and the gay character gets to play the part of the savior.

 

My approach to film making is to not make a big deal about the sexuality of my gay characters. Masculinity and friendship are the main themes at play. The spheres of sports and the military are two iconic institutions that I wanted to explore because they heavily influence male culture, education and up-bringing.

 

Even if some ‘out ’ athletes like Brian Sims and Gareth Thomas were important inspirational figures for me, I also used my over ten years of experience working at the military base of Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu where I’ve befriended several straight military, as research, much like an artist doing field work studies for his Masters in film production.

 

Overall the message I want viewers and future filmmakers to take away from FORCES, is that sensitivity in men is strength, a force to be reckoned with and it is certainly not a weakness.

 

Did you know?  There’s also a special friendship between college age best friends in Mulligans.

 

Sharing is Caring…

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HIV+ Youth doc talk with Charlie David

“When the subject of doing a documentary on HIV+ youth surfaced it scared me.  That’s also how I knew it was a good idea.”

What inspired you to make a documentary on HIV+ youth?

I was in New York meeting with LOGO TV network and we were throwing around ideas – when the subject of doing a documentary on HIV+ youth surfaced it scared me.  That’s also how I knew it was a good idea.  I knew it would not be an easy film to make in terms of finding subjects willing to share their life and struggles living with a chronic illness that holds so much stigma in our society.  The most dramatic rise in new transmissions is in our youth – why?  It’s time we re-examine the illness and our ideas surrounding it.

 

HIV+ youth - Charlie David photo by Ronald Tan

Charlie David photo by Ronald Tan

What was your process for choosing HIV+ youth to follow in the documentary?

The face of HIV is the human face.  It does not discriminate.  It was important to me that I show subjects from different socio-economic backgrounds, a mix of ethnicities and sexuality.  It was not easy to find my subjects – I had a lot of people say no which is understandable.  Often HIV positive people face so much stigma within their workplace, families, friends, potential relationships and society at large that the thought of then opening their lives to be in forty-five million television sets in homes across the USA is scary to say the least.  Slowly and surely I found brave young people willing to share and the stories are very powerful.

What separates your film from other HIV related documentaries?

We’ve seen a lot of important retrospective films on HIV/AIDS.  I wanted to do something different and so focusing on the population that is most at risk today and yet facing a very different disease than the epidemic of the last thirty years made sense.  HIV is now a chronic illness meaning that it is manageable with treatment and the likelihood is that a positive person will live a long and healthy life comparable to a negative person aside from the burden of meds and facing the emotional and psychological stress of discrimination.

Do you think it’s harder for people to deal with HIV today than before?

I think overall it’s easier for HIV+  youth and people of all ages now because of the amazing advances in science, medicine and our understanding of how HIV works within our bodies.  We’ve had a shift in the first world from a fear of dying to fear of segregation and potential to find love.  In the end that’s the greatest sadness I witnessed in making the film – the fear these young people had of never finding someone who would accept and love them regardless of their HIV positive status.

 WATCH POSITIVE YOUTH on your favorite platform.

    

Do you think this film will help others better understand the HIV+ youth of today?

In the film we discuss what it felt like to get the HIV positive diagnosis, the fear of disclosure, trying to make sense of all the information, building support systems, advocacy, and hope for the future.  Similar to the movement for racial, gender or sexuality equality – the first step is removing fear and that most often comes in the form of education.  The four stars in the film bare their hearts and souls.  They offer themselves as accessible and relatable and I hope that audiences will be able to empathize, to gain a greater understanding and to start seeing the human faces and not just the illness.

What can people do to help and support HIV+ youth?

I think the most important thing we can do right now is get ourselves up to date with sex education and the current state of HIV as individuals.  Then the individual can begin to marshal and politely correct her/his peers when a stigmatizing comment comes up.  That’s really step one.  We need to embrace positive people in our society and stop seeing them as fearful or the other.  That’s where the healing really begins for everyone.  I think we also need to listen to our youth and find out where we have failed them in terms of safe sex education.  How do we ‘speak’ to them through education more effectively?

Watch Director Charlie David interviewed by NeverApart Creative Director Michael Venus.

FIND OUT MORE WITH THIS IN-DEPTH ARTICLE ABOUT MAKING THE DOCUMENTARY, POSITIVE YOUTH.

 WATCH POSITIVE YOUTH on your favorite platform.

     


 

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