Mpreg is a popular sub-genre in M/M books

Charlie David on narrating Mpreg books with Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast


Mpreg is a popular subgenre in gay romance books. Charlie David discusses narrating the popular Mpreg Omega Celibacy Club series by Angel Knots.

Will: Well, right now I am sitting across from multihyphenate, Charlie David. He does absolutely everything – writes, produces, directs. He’s an amazing narrator. And I wanted to quickly talk about one of his recent projects. Charlie, you have lent your voice to an amazing series by Angel Knots, the “Omega Celibacy Club.”

What did you think when the manuscript for that first book came across your desk?

Charlie: I was excited, nervous. A little bit shocked. A little bit taken aback because I mean, that whole universe building that’s going on around Mpreg, I didn’t know a lot about and I hadn’t narrated, you know, other work like that before.

I think learning the rules, the expectations around the sub genre were, were definitely important for me, but I was excited. I was excited because it’s so whimsical and wonderful and silly and ridiculous, but, you know, at the same time, the characters themselves, everybody they’re living their life. And what they care about and their motivations, they take very, very seriously, which is, I think, you know, imperative to a good story at the same time. So, it’s fun. Like you, like you mentioned, there are a lot of characters, and I never claimed to be a voice actor, you know, a person who can do a bunch of very nuanced, specific voices. I kind of say, I can kind of do a Southern, I can kind of do a British, I can kind of do, you know, an alpha and omega, you know, in timbre for you. But that is the challenging thing in doing voice work is how do I take this story that’s not always written with it becoming an audio book in mind, right?

Like often the writer is there, they’re just writing. Right? And then that’s our job to come in and try and make sure that there’s correct pauses, breaks, inflection, speed, timbre differences. That can be little clues to the, to the listener.

Will: Because the author is primarily thinking of the reader. But you as the narrator need to think about the listener in that particular aspect.

Charlie: And it’s not always as simple as, you know, Jake said, and then Simon replied to flag to the listener. Okay, this is who this is, who’s speaking now. Often, especially as, as you get into an exciting or dynamic scene, people are going back, you know, very quickly without those qualifiers in place.

But it’s super sexy. Like I love, I mean, all these ideas of kind of the, you know, anamorphism that goes on too, with the swelling of a penis inside, and then it stays in there and Oh my God, I need your seed and it’s going to do this and that. And then, you know, all the pregnancy stuff that, you know, these young guys are going through. It’s hilarious and wonderful. And I think it’s a fun exploration as a dude, to go through to read about and to imagine as well, because, I think we all tried to be empathetic with the women in our lives. But reading something like this just kind of helps take it to that next level where you go, Oh my gosh. Like what you do is amazing.

Mpreg Omega Celibacy Club 'Make Me Give In' by Angel Knots

Will: Exactly. Well, from what you’ve just said, I think you seem to be pretty open about the experience. I mean, before, you read Angel Knots’s work had you ever even come across any Mpreg before or was it a completely brand new concept?

Charlie: It wasn’t brand new because let’s see. I think it was about 2015 I did a film. I acted as in a film, a titled “Paternity Leave,” and it’s a comedy by Matt Riddlehoover’s the director and screenwriter of that, and in it, my boyfriend on the one night, we switched sexual positions. A drunken night and he ends up pregnant, and then it’s happening everywhere.

Then suddenly men all over the planet are getting pregnant and we’re trying to figure out what’s going on. So that was really fun and ridiculous as well. I use ridiculous in like the very highest praise, best, best context in both Angel Knots work and, and Matt Riddlehoover, because I think it’s fun. Why not go to these places that are outside the norm.

Will: Exactly. I think specifically when it came to the books and the characters in the “Omega Celibacy Club,” I have the hardest time saying celibacy.

Charlie: I can’t do it either. I tried really hard to try to live it. I tried to say it. I can’t do it.

Mpreg Omega Celibacy Club 'Make Me Let Go' by Angel Knots

Will: Exactly. I think what that particular, series has that makes it kind of special is that it has a lighthearted whimsy, but, also there is a kind of an authenticity to the way these young men are trying to make it in the world and live their lives. And, also it’s like a crazy smoking hot.

When it comes to work that has so many different elements to it, how do you tackle something like that? Do you just take it page by page?

Charlie: Yeah, I mean, definitely as I get into the subsequent books, it’s easier to do that because we have a lot of recurring characters and a lot of, you know, I kind of understand the world that’s been built, right?

But at the beginning, I definitely need to do some reading ahead and really like understand what is going on, who are these people. Even the power dynamics, right? Because a lot of gay romance is written in a much more kind of equal partner – we come to either side of the table and decide to get into this.

Not, not everything, right? I don’t want to generalize, but a lot of it is done in that way and in this alpha/Omegaverse there really is, you know, there’s, there’s the alpha, right? And what does that mean? And that it’s, it’s desired and wanted. And it can still be, you know, there can still be equality in a relationship there, but, I think it explores different nuance, in a way that, that maybe isn’t always touched on in, in other gay romance.

Will: Well, Charlie, thank you for sitting down and talking to us about this. I’m so glad that you are here at GRL and experiencing all the wonders that our wacky literary community has to offer.

Charlie: Well, thank you. Thanks for having me again. Really appreciate it. Now, I’ve got to go do my job and make sure the guys in this club are all Mpreg. 😉

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Shadowlands Pygmalion Revisited

Shadowlands Charlie David & Marc Devigne

My heart is full today.  We just wrapped Shadowlands episode 2 Pygmalion Revisited.  You’ve likely heard athletes, actors or artists talk about being ‘in the zone’ and this whole episode has felt that way.  Perhaps through a mix of focused preparation and a little bit of luck I felt like every day of this shoot my team was in the zone – supporting each other, rooting for each other and contributing creatively to make the best show we could.

Shadowlands miniseries is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

Shadowlands is a book of short stories that I wrote several years back.  For the TV miniseries I selected stories for the initial three episodes – The Hiker, Pygmalion Revisited and Narcissus.  Definitely three very disparate stories but they thematically interweave and all touch on the theme of love.  Negotiating relationships, mourning the loss of a star-crossed love and never having experienced it. 

Shadowlands Charlie David
Charlie David as Rudy in Shadowlands

We filmed episode 2 Pygmalion Revisited first which is the story of an artist who has lost the love of his life and is compelled to paint his lover in an attempt to find communion with him again.  The story was inspired by the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea in which Pygmalion is a sculpture who creates a statue so beautiful, so life like that he falls in love with it.  The goddess Athena takes pity on him and brings the statue, Galatea to life. 

 

My take on the classic myth isn’t quite as succinct nor does it result in a happily ever after.  In fact it may be the most tragic piece I’ve written to this point.  Since the first drafts of the short story and then the script I’ve always felt compelled to play the painter.  His words, his love, his losses felt intrinsically mine.  Though I wanted to act again, I’ve also been anxious about it.  It’s been a while since I’ve been in front of the camera and this role has so many challenges.   For instance, the painter is in every scene.  Half of those scenes are just him with no other actors.  How would I bring to life a whole world; a whole life alone on screen?

Shadowlands Marc Devigne & Charlie David
Marc Devigne (Xavier) & Charlie David (Rudy) in Shadowlands episode 2 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’

The answer for me in many ways was in the casting of Marc Devigne as Xavier, the painter’s lover.  Over the course of a month and a half prior to filming we spent time together in rehearsal or discussion and built our collegial acquaintance into a friendship.  Marc is so special.  He is a truly gifted singer, actor and is thoughtful and gracious in both his creative endeavors and everyday life.  In essence he made falling in love easy. 

Shadowlands - Marc Devigne & Charlie David
Shadowlands – Marc Devigne & Charlie David

We filmed all of the scenes for Shadowlands episode 2 when the painter is alone first over the course of four days and though I hadn’t shot with Marc yet, I had all the richness I needed to shape our relationship in my mind because of his generosity of time leading up to the shoot.  I witnessed how he walks on the balls of his feet when excited, the joys of a road trip with him singing the soundtrack, his predilection for flat ginger ale, his dedication to family, how he looks when excited by a phone call and how it’s impossible not to catch his smile when he throws it in your direction.

Shadowlands Marc Devigne
Marc Devigne as Xavier in Shadowlands episode 2 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’

Marc and I got together yesterday to watch the footage from the shoot and make some selections together.  Since this is a story about a relationship, I wanted to continue to share the film making process with him.  Marc has a great instinct and his opinion has been invaluable throughout this journey.  We’re so excited to share the film with you on the film festival circuit and on TV in Spring 2018!

Charlie  

If you like romance and drama, explore some of our other titles here.

Find out more about the cast and crew of the Shadowlands series on IMDB.

Shadowlands miniseries is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

If you enjoyed this post about the song My Buddy, explore other chats with cast members of the Shadowlands series.

Marc Devigne (Xavier in episode 3 ‘Pygmalion Revisited’ of the Shadowlands series.

Oscar Moreno (Matteo in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Sean C. Dwyer (Alex in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of the Shadowlands miniseries)

Nicolas James Wilson (Will in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of the Shadowlands gay series)

Vasilios Filippakis (Daniel in episode 2 ‘Mating Season’ of Shadowlands)

Brian Woodford (Drew in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands gay series)

Natasha Balakrishnan (Thalia in episode 1 ‘Narcissus’ of Shadowlands

Learn about the hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ in the Shadowlands gay series

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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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