Audio giveaway

Hooray! Amazon has finally fixed the glitch that prevented the audio version of HETAERA: Daughter of the Gods (narrated by the fabulous Sherill Turner) from linking up on the book page. Now all versions are listed. Happy days!

To celebrate, I’m offering a FREE copy of the audio release on Audible to three lucky winners. To enter, simply like my author FB page and like the contest post or make a comment by January 15th, 2014.

Good luck and Happy Listening!!

hetaudio

 

Where in the world is….

Thrace! Some readers have commented to me privately that they weren’t exactly sure where Doricha, the protagonist of HETAERA: Daughter of the Gods, hailed from.

Rhodopen_Balkan_topo_de

Originally, Dori was from Thrace, an area northeast of Greece with somewhat nebulous borders. Thracian people were roughly segregated into tribes or villages and are considered by some to be “noble savages” (loud drinking, singing and fighting) and athletic peoples. In the map above, the Rhodopis mountains are highlighted. I tried to depict them as large and lusty, and authentically passionate about their lives and their gods which seemed to fit the story.

Wikipedia has a pretty succinct description of the area:

The historical boundaries of Thrace have varied. Noteworthy is the fact that, at an early date, the ancient Greeks employed the term “Thrace” to refer to all of the territory which lay north of Thessaly inhabited by the Thracians,a region which “had no definite boundaries” and to which other regions (like Macedonia and even Scythia) were added.In one ancient Greek source, the very Earth is divided into “Asia, Libya, Europa and Thracia”.

Typically, Thracians did not think of themselves as such, but in order to define herself as different than the neighboring Greeks, I had Dori making the distinction between Thrace and Greece throughout the book. I don’t consider that to be out of context. Even in modern times, people define themselves by their indigenous culture–whether it’s the country they hail from or the sports team they “pull” for.

And speaking of sports (of a sort!) one of the most infamous Thracians was…Spartacus!

Spartacus was a Thracian auxiliary soldier who deserted from the Roman army, was captured and enslaved, and led a revolt with an army of escaped slaves and gladiators that defeated many Roman legions in the Third Servile War. Gladiators were employed as a common sport of that time to amuse audiences with their physical prowess.

new-spartacus-trailer-released

I loosely modeled Dori’s father Delus off stereotypical “Spartacus” characteristics. Is it any wonder that Dori considers her father to be the finest soldier in the world? Looking at the new trailer for the new STARZ series, it’s no great surprise that Dori’s mother would be moved to join herself to Delus and sneak off from the temple, eh? Sign me up!

In a completely tangential coincidence, another famous Thracian was 5th century Greek physician Herodicus (tutor of Hippocrates) who is considered the “father of sports medicine”. Ha!

The Unlikeable Protagonist

A group of us were discussing characters the other day, and I was gratified to note in some of my reviews that readers really love the HETAERA story–but not necessarily the heroine. At least not at first. Little did they know this was somewhat intentional. *cue evil laughter

There are so many wonderfully complex histories out there, and for some reason the ones that resonated with me were the tales of redemption. Cleopatra, Lucretia Borgia, and Suleyman’s Roxelana aren’t necessarily “nice” girls, but the reader can identify with them after a fashion. Maybe even sympathize, a little.

When I unraveled the tale of Rhodopis, it struck me how young she was when she began a brutal life, and how that life may have shaped her. In the way of egocentric youth, I chose to portray Dori the way many teens strike me–with a vision of the world as it pertains to themselves. Some people called her “selfish”…well, yes! I prefer to think of her as “thoughtless” in the way that only a beautiful young woman can be. It is only in her later years that Dori/Rhodopis gains a woman’s wisdom and is able to see beyond the limits of her own selfish desires. That growth is essential to her story, and it makes the ending far more satisfying, I think, than a saccharine heroine who is too too good from the very beginning.

So, although Dori may not be easily identifiable to readers who expected a more “heroic” heroine, she is exactly as I hoped she would be. Flawed and utterly human. A woman who grows and eventually redeems herself to be the heroic figure we want her to become. A real woman.

In this next novel, I have set my bar even higher, choosing a subject that is admittedly difficult and fraught with controversy. The muse is speaking slowly, so slowly, and I can only hope that I do her justice. I hope I can.

 

Human trafficking

modern-day-slaveryI realize I’m in the midst of a fun contest, but sipping my morning coffee, I couldn’t help but be bowled over by the recent news of three young women who were kidnapped a decade ago and held against their will by a man in Ohio.

Part of the underlying theme of my historical novels are women who overcome adversity.  They are beaten, sold, enslaved…forced into the most mean of circumstances, and yet they were able to rise above and persevere.

A portion of the proceeds of my historical novels is (and will continue to be) donated regularly to PolarisProject–an organization that fights against human trafficking and modern day slavery. Slavery is a very real and disturbing presence in our society. It is not relegated to history books and third world countries.Kat_dc_street_210

Please consider joining me in supporting this organization.  If you were planning to pick up a good histfic novel, or to recommend one, you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that a portion of the proceeds will go to support this fine nonprofit organization. Or you can just enter your information and elect to get involved and contribute here.

Either way, it’s a win-win!

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….

Where in the world is J.A. Coffey?

Although I’m a bit shy….I’m very excited to be featured on historical fiction author Christy English’s blog.  Be sure to drop by next Monday, March 25th for a Q&A with me, including how I got started, what inspired me…and a fabulous giveaway worth over $100!!

This guest blog will also kick off my FREE ebook weekend on March 30-31st!  So, if you haven’t already picked up a copy of HETAERA: Daughter of the Gods, that would be a GREAT time to get your copy for free!

Also, that weekend, friends, family and fans are invited to celebrate the Official Unofficial Book Launch for HETAERA at the fabulous Greek Isles in SouthEnd in Charlotte, NC. Come by for dinner and share a toast.  We’ll be bringing our electronic devices and posting for free books at 6:00pm–and there will be another fabulous giveaway that evening (because I’m all about giving fans some swag!)

Later next month, I will be hosting another special giveaway…to stay tuned.