Freedom, time, and sound

I feel like I should be a classic television journalist, because I need to state “sorry, we’ve interrupted this broadcast to bring you an important message….” because my life has been a bit “interrupted” lately.

Those of you who know me are aware that my work situation has been a bit difficult since May, when my beloved director retired. It let a gaping whole that begged to be filled.

I won’t bore you with the details, but this holiday my family gave me early gifts of freedom and time. The freedom to resign from my day job and time to focus on my writing. I have been put off for many months from writing, and this is a very precious and much needed gift! Happy Merry to me!

So, for now, it’s full time author status and a renewed focus. I hope to have something for you to read soon.

hetaudio

In the meantime, I am THRILLED to announce that the audio version of HETAERA is now available on Audible, iTunes and Amazon (should the mighty ‘Zon ever get the metadata straightened out).

British voice actress Sherill Turner has done a simply lovely narration. I’m so blessed to have been able to work with her. Give her a listen!

Dogs vs. Lions!

As I work through some of the earlier chapters in SEMIRAMIS, I discovered a little known fact. Dogs were bred in ancient times as protectors of flocks, herds and peoples—even to point of taking down a fully grown lion! Check out Anatolian (aka Assyrian) Shepherds here. anatolianShep1

 Since the days of Babylon, the large, powerful dogs with the massive heads were living on the Anatolian Plateau. They were used as fighting dogs in the battles, as well as for hunting large animals, even lions and wild horses. This interesting scenes are depicted on the well-preserved Assyrian bas-reliefs, presented at the British Museum in London.

In his homeland The Anatolian Shepherd Dog was not only grazing the cattle, but also he was guarding the flock, walking around it or climbing the high observation posts from which he could better see and sense a dangerous predators. Once Anatolian Shepherds see a moving object, even if it is a car – they are building a chain and run forward like a wind. Such a tactics of attack are naturally developed in this breed.

Anatolian Karabash is a large dog, and a highly reliable keeper!

Since ancient times and until now this dogs are used to guard the sheep herds in Turkey. This is a working breed, a dog, that is enthusiastically defending the family of the owner and his properties, and his cattle.

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog quickly learns, he is faithful and affectionate with his owner, close friends of the family and children. Strangers should be carefully presented to this dog. (taken from Veanimals at http://www.veanimals.com/dogs/breed-encyclopedia/335-anatolian-shepherd-dog-karabash.html)

And Kangals are even larger! They’re currently being used to protect herds from cheetahs, thereby helping to preserve the wild cheetah population from extinction (less attacks on herds means less herdsman killing cheetahs).

The Kangal dog is an ancient breed of livestock guardian dog bred over centuries to protect the flocks of shepherds in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Kangal is an intelligent, noble and hardy breed more than capable of fulfilling its job as a guardian. The Kangal and the other livestock guardian breeds of Turkey are the foundation breeds for the American Anatolian Shepherd. Contrary to the term “shepherd,” Kangals and Anatolians are not herding dogs, but strictly guardians that take their jobs very seriously. (from www.kangalkopegi.org)kangal2

In SEMIRAMIS, the protagonist learns how to survive the delicate balance of nature assisted by a wayward pup from a litter of her father’s favorite hunting dog Kalbatu. I have her naming him Dannu, which means “strength”.

I think it’s pretty apparent from this video that the size and speed of Assyrian shepherds is more than a match for lions. And without the smooth breeding practices, these massive mastiff-like dogs may have been even more fierce, with some reports of them being almost as large as a horse!

Dannu isn’t quite that large, but he’s a constant companion for Semira. Pretty cool, eh?

Independence

While I’ve been busy working on the release of a fun, sexy new book series, I’ve had some time over the July 4th holiday to reflect on what true independence means. As many of you know, a portion of all the proceeds of my historical fiction is donated to a wonderful nonprofit organization, Polaris Project, which fights against human trafficking and modern day slavery.

I’m so humbled and honored that readers have enjoyed my words, and allowed me to send off another donation. Thank you for helping me to help others. In a recent email to donors, Polaris Project released the following:

What does independence mean to you? 

For some survivors of human trafficking, independence means a safe place to sleep… Someone to talk to as they rebuild their lives… The ability to pursue their own dreams. 

This 4th of July, we’re asking you to contribute to our Independence Campaign by July 10.

We work hard to provide all of our survivors with the time and space they need to heal. The women and men we serve know we are there for them, any time of day or night. 

We stand beside them when they walk forward, fall back and rise again on their paths to independence. These individuals had been trapped by a trafficker who preyed on their dreams of a better life. We help our clients find the courage to hope again, so they can finally live their dreams. Your gift supports their path to independence.

Please give today—$50 provides food for a survivor and her children for a week.

How apropos that on the day our nation celebrates achieving independence we should celebrate by giving to those who fight for human dignity and independence. And they are truly making a difference.

Doricha’s father bade her to “live free”. At the time, I didn’t realize what a powerful message that was, even for today. Won’t you join me in the fight for all humans to live freely?

 

 

Happy dancing!

So, I’m very excited to announce that HETAERA is in audio book production!!  BBC trained narrator Sabrina Sterling has contracted to read, and we hope to have it available on Amazon and Audible by the end of Summer. More details to follow….

I’ve been a bit lax in posting, because I’ve been busy completing some other writing projects under a different name, but I’m so very tickled to “hear” my muse in Sabrina’s lovely voice. Interested to hear her?  Click here for a sample commercial.

New News

Well, after a lovely long weekend in Charleston with friends and loved ones, I’ve returned to the working world. The first tidbit of “new news” is that HETAERA: Daughter of the Gods is now available in various formats on Smashwords! Yes, I survived the Smashwords Meatgrinder and successfully uploaded my novel, which is now featured in their catalog.  Hooray! Now readers can find me on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kindle, Kobo and other sundry formats.

I shipped off 5 autographed print versions of HETAERA to some Goodreads contest winners.  Congrats and happy reading to all!

Also of interest is an article featuring me in the June issue of Lake Norman Currents Magazine.  Yippee!  Look for me on pages on Summer reading…

And finally, HETAERA: Daughter of the Gods, appeared in the June 2013 issue of Sacramento Book Review. To subscribe and discover more great reviews, click here.

cover_200wAll in all, a busy month!

 

 

Happy Accidents

A writer friend once recommended that I internet search my own title and author name periodically to gauge exposure.  I’ve been a little lax (imagine that–too much work!) but this morning I settled in with my morning coffee and did a quick browse.

Surprisingly, I discovered myself featured on a diary-style blog by a gentleman named Alfred Snider. Now, let me state that I do not know, nor have I ever heard of Mr. Snider before this morning. So, it was extremely gratifying to read his albeit brief assessment of HETAERA in his descriptive journal entries. It was a mini peek into a reader’s mind. If you are curious, click the link on his name and scroll to May 11-12th. 🙂

I saw no way to contact him, so Mr. Snider, if you stumble across this blog post.  My thanks for taking a chance on me. An autographed print copy is available for you and Bojana!

Rememberance

First, let me apologize for not posting the contest winner sooner.  I did contact him though! For anyone who missed it the winner was….Jayson!  YAY!  Thanks to all of you who played along. 🙂

 

As we near the Memorial Day Weekend, I am going to take a much needed break to spend quality time with my hubby and some friends.  Don’t worry, I’ll be back in the saddle and working on some writing projects, but for now, I need some time to reflect.

And what better time than a holiday where we thank those who have made our freedom possible?

So, my next blog post is going to be from an extra special (at least SHE thinks so) guest who will teach us all what not to do in a book review. Meow! Lovers of snark, humor and books will lap this up like a bowl full of cream.

Did I remember to meow?

Contest!!

I’m a visual person, having worked as a professional artist and educator for years…so my latest contest is one that I hope you will enjoy!

Want to win a $25 Amazon gift card? Of course, you do!

Visit my Pinterest Challenge page for HETAERA and answer 5 of the questions related to the book. (Don’t worry if you haven’t read it yet, some of the responses can be found on my blog!)AmazonGift

Post your responses in a comment below to enter your name in the drawing for the $25 Amazon card.  The drawing will be held on May 25th!

Want more chances to win? I will add your name for each of the following:

+1 – 5 correct answers on the Pinterest Challenge

+1 – Liking my Facebook Author Page

+1 – Following me on Twitter (authorJACoffey)

and + 2 for tweeting about HETAERA by JA Coffey on your twitter feed!

So, that’s 5 total chances to enter your name to win some freeeeee cash to spend on Amazon. Hopefully buying more great things to read! Hooray!

ENTER THE CONTEST BY POSTING A COMMENT TO THIS THREAD:

(For example, if you answered questions on Pinterest, Liked my Facebook page, and Followed my Tweets, it would like a “Reply” to this Comment)

1. Pinterest Challenge: Answer 1, Answer 2, Answer 3, Answer 4, Answer 5

2. +1 Liked your page

3. +1 Following you!

Don’t forget to leave your contact info, so I can reach you to coordinate mailing your prize!

And, as always, your feedback and reviews are vital to any author’s success. If you enjoyed HETAERA, please consider submitting a review/rating on Goodreads or Amazon (reviews are NOT part of the contest, but I will be eternally grateful!)

 

Let Them Eat Cake…or Hot Cross Buns?

At the risk of posting controversial statements and religious commentary on my blog, I cannot help but make mention of my latest novel-in-progress in these days leading up to the Easter holiday.

Let me preface this by stating that I believe strongly in tolerance and acceptance. I will not discuss my personal spiritual beliefs other than to state charity for my fellow man. Whew!  Now, having that out of the way…

Genesis-GiftLife-20-of-65Some many years ago, I stumbled across a gorgeous sculpture while hosting a student tour of the Dallas Museum of Art. It was there the artist’s siren song sang a name to me, a name that inspired countless hours of research. The likeness was attributed to that of a Babylonian queen—Semiramis.Semiramis

She’s been called many things—Mother of Harlots, Queen of Heaven…and like much of my work, I believe the truth may lie somewhere in the human story of the woman who brought adulation (and horror) to the entire known world. She has been called many names- Sammuramat, Shamiram, Astarte, Ishtar, …and as she lived in the time of Genesis, it stands to reason that the same legends would be told and retold in many (confounded?) tongues.

The book is only half-begun, and I feel like I’m wrestling crocodiles on most days—just trying to sift through conflicting legends, stories and embellished historical and biblical accounts.  Only time will tell if I can do the story justice.

So, why bring it up now?

Because Semiramis, for anyone who has made a study of religions, is considered by many to be the origins of Easter.

Her name is everywhere at this time of year.

Don’t believe me?  Try googling “Pagan origins of Easter” and read the first page (and there are many, many pages) of listings for what comes up. And while I’m not a big fan of using internet resources as gospel, the fact is that many of them cite gospel, when stating these claims.

As a historical author, I’m wary of anything proclaimed as “fact”.  But the fact (tongue-in-cheek aside) remains that there may be an interesting parallel between life in Mesopotamia and what is documented in Biblical history.

I actually loved the write up from UK author Heather McDougall who said hot buns

“… early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan practises, most of which we enjoy today at Easter….In the Old Testament we see the Israelites baking sweet buns for an idol, and religious leaders trying to put a stop to it. The early church clergy also tried to put a stop to sacred cakes being baked at Easter. In the end, in the face of defiant cake-baking pagan women, they gave up and blessed the cake instead.”

277px-Shamiram_araMaybe I’ll just stick to a slice of coconut cream pie….

 

 

 

Mmmm….pie.

Of Mice and Men…

Okay, I’m not really going to discuss mice (although I mention a few men) in my Guest Blog Q&A on author Christy English’s website.  But I will be there this coming Monday, March 25th, 2013 for fun, frolicking and a fabulous giveaway.

Ever wonder what got me writing?  Where I find inspiration?

 

Better yet, ever thought about being a writer?

Check out the post, and register to win a free copy of my book HETAERA and a gorgeous bronze beaded necklace from CWC (my favorite place to shop)!

Necklace-for-March-25

I think Dori would’ve loved this….