Even after a decade, the life that journalist Brent Walsh and Milwaukee homicide detective Shawn Mackey have made together is far from boring. But when a new case cuts a weekend getaway short, they aren’t quite prepared for how it will impact their personal lives. Suddenly there’s too much to juggle: Shawn will be working the case of the sharpshooter who is trying to infect random people with HIV, Brent needs to cover the story but fears a conflict of interest, one of Shawn’s colleagues is attracted to him, and Brent sincerely needs to mend the painful break with his childhood best friend, Ollie, and heal their broken hearts.
Though the case comes to a close, it’s not the end of their troubles. Shawn and Brent still face a past of old white lies, a present possibility of inviting another man to their bed, and a future with children, not to mention health issues and national fallout from the case. It’s enough to make them want to run away—until they realize they have to face those challenges head-on so they can get on with the life of love they’re hoping for.
HIV isn’t going away
That’s the sad truth. It’s World AIDS Day, and I’m here to promo a book. Why this book and why today? We’ll get to that shortly, but first, I have some bad news.
It’s kind of odd, really, to think about the news I read the other day about HIV and AIDS being on the rise among young gay men. My first thought was “Haven’t we learned anything?”
Why is this true? Have we taken “Oh but it’s not the death sentence it used to be” too seriously, which means we’re taking the risks too lightly now? Are we in denial? Why now?
There are no definitive answers, or at least I don’t have them. I can only speculate and try to come up with something that makes sense on some level.
Let’s think of the demographic of “young” gay men. Let’s say you’re a gay man in his late teens or early twenties somewhere in the US. Now, take a look at the straight counterparts to see the bigger picture.
Maybe we’re expecting too much of the gay ones, just because they’re gay. I mean, who is surprised of teen moms or twenty-year old dads of several kids anymore? There are parents too young to be parents, ones who didn’t want the children in the first place, for the same reason there are HIV positive youth out there: they didn’t use protection. An accident happened. It was a heat of the moment kind of thing. Maybe they were forced by someone? The scariest possibility is this: They did not know any better.
Yes, I realize I’m comparing Human Immunodeficiency Virus to getting pregnant by accident. It’s not the best comparison, I know that, but have you thought of it in those terms before?
When we look at who is making the laws in the States, who are deciding things like women’s rights to their own bodies, doesn’t it look a lot like a bunch people who might not understand or accept the importance of informing the young people who are having sex of the consequences?
Will that gray-haired old man with old fashioned, conservative views understand the importance of getting the information out there? Whether the teenager who is going to have sex for the first time is gay or straight, they need to know what they should do to protect themselves for any kind of negative repercussions. They need to understand the significance one wrong (or right) choice can make with their whole life.
Yes, teenagers use the internet and know a lot more about things than we did even fifteen years ago. Does that mean they’re safe? The statistics show they’re not.
So what if the worst happens and you find yourself or a loved one having contracted HIV? You will find your way. There is help. There is support. But mostly I hope you’ll have that special someone that stays by your side, no matter what. And that right there is what my novel Positive is about.
3: Howl Sweet Howl by Tia Fielding
Life at the Jarvela farm hobbles on when the new year rolls in. Losing his wife and co-alpha in the storm of the decade emotionally paralyzed Sean, though he tries to cope and attempts to pick up the pieces with their children. Rider, another alpha, could give him the love and comfort he needs, but Sean is too depressed to recognize the possibility of having a male partner, and he goes into mental tailspin.
Rider makes the hard decision to leave for a while, and Sean turns his energy and sadness into working on the neighboring Metsala farm with the other members of their farm family. But Sean isn’t really getting better, and that won’t change until he can let his wolf out again. If he doesn’t, he might lose his sanity too.
Tia Fielding is a 30-year-old Scandinavian. She is a self-proclaimed “queer girl”, lover of everything pretty, witty people, words, cats, sarcasm, autumn, and caffeine.
She uses her nights with her head in the clouds and her feet on the coffee table, right next to her laptop. Her days? She uses those by sleeping way too much.
Tia started writing stories early on, almost as soon as she learned how to write. The early stories about horses and ghosts have changed into romantic tales about people in love. She stopped writing at some point in her late teens and early twenties, but began again a few years ago, after finding fan fiction. Tia is not ashamed of her past of borrowing other people’s characters, but has found creating her own much more satisfying.
Social Media Links: