Well there's an interesting blog title :) What it boils down to is that, as usual, I'm busy today!
This morning, I helped out at the Detroit's World AIDS Day breakfast, at the fabulously beautiful Filmore Theatre. I *think* I may have been there once before, a million years ago, for a concert (we're talking back in the 1980's--you know, when dinosaurs roamed the earth *grin*)
It was a spectacular event, a chance to look back at how far we've come and to look forward to a goal--a real, obtainable goal--of zero new infections, zero deaths, and zero stigma. Stigma is one of the biggest issues facing people living with HIV--and it's one of the reasons so many people don't get tested. The only way to get rid of the stigma attached to HIV is through conversation, education, and of course compassion.
One of the headings for today's event read 100% Love, 0% Hate. I think that's something we can all agree on. And the big message of the day was to keep the conversations going. Talk about HIV. What it is. What it isn't. The misconceptions--misinformation--that is still floating around out there about HIV and AIDS is staggering. But if we keep having conversations, if we keep educating people, we really can see zero in our lifetime.
Some of you are no doubt here for the Pagan Writer's Press Solstice Blog Hop. Welcome!!
Chances are pretty good that if you're here from the Pagan Writer's site, you don't know me and maybe you're wondering why a writer of sexy gay romance is participating. The simple answer is that I'm Pagan and just as out of that closet as I am out of the other closets in my life ;-) I feel the same way about being Pagan as I do about being bisexual and supporting HIV awareness--the more conversations we can have with people to educate them about who we are, the better. Sometimes, that just means being open and out and letting people judge us by the way we live our lives.
I've always loved the winter holiday; when I was younger, that meant Christmas, although to be honest, not much has changed since my childhood Christmas celebrations and my adult Solstice celebrations (except for the whole 4 fewer shopping days, which totally bites! My daughter, on the other hand, loves getting her gifts four days sooner than any of her friends. When she was little we just explained that Santa visits Pagan children on Yule and Christian children on Christmas, but we still exchange our gifts on Yule, then a few days later visit with my husband's family for Christmas Eve).
As a writer, I've (completely unintentionally) written two stories around the winter holidays. My first book Heart's Home*, which I'm offering a signed copy of to one person who comments below, begins in the autumn of 1889 and ends with a prologue around the Christmas tree--despite the fact that one of the boys is a confirmed atheist and the other is essentially a Pagan. (I never spell it out, but he prays to his Mother Moon and practices a shamanic sort of magic that's only exaggerated a little bit for the sake of fiction). One of the other characters in that story is a demon in the strictest Christian sense of the word--but he's not a bad sort. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when the whole Fall took place and got swept up on the losing side of things.
I enjoy exploring religion when I write. I think regardless of what religion a person follows, it's an important part of the human experience--and for the sake of simplicity, I'm lumping atheism in with religion even thought it's really a lack thereof. The philosophy and/or science that replaces religion is just as important to an atheist as my belief in my Gods is to me.
*Heart's Home took second place in the Ancient City Romance Author's Heart of Excellence Awards; it's an historical, paranormal, and decidedly steamy romance (i.e., there are sexually explicit encounters spelled out on the page). If you'd like the chance to win a copy, leave a comment below; make sure to leave me a way to get in touch with you. To read an excerpt and find out a little bit more about the story, click here.
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