Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Welcome, Joyce Hertzoff

Hi Joyce, welcome to my blog, and congratulations on the launch of your book, The Crimson Orb. I’ve read it and highly recommend it to readers of all ages.

Have you always been a writer, Joyce?

No. Well, not a fiction writer. I spent forty-five years in the scientific information field, writing summaries of journal articles and translating scientific papers and books. I participated in the transition from print to digital publication and the development of searchable databases. The last twenty years of that career, I managed groups of scientists doing that work. I only turned to writing fiction when I retired in 2008.

How did you feel when you were offered a contract for your book series?

Elated! Ecstatic! I never thought I'd ever see my writing published. My publisher, Assent Publications, has been a joy to work with, and the imprint editor for Phantasm Books is incredibly knowledgeable about marketing and promotion.

Did you set out to write a series or did it just happen?

It just happened. The story of The Crimson Orb was gestating in my head for years. I finally started writing it in 2010 for National Novel Writing Month. As I revised it, I fell in love with my characters and realized there was much more of their story I wanted to tell.

What is the genre of your book? Would you consider writing in other genres, like romance or even erotica?

My book is high fantasy. It has overtones of a post-apocalyptic world, romance, and adventure, with touches of science. I've written romance/mystery/thriller stories and I'm still working on those. I do draw the line at erotica. I can neither read nor write it.

What genre is your reading preference? Name four favorite authors.

I love mysteries, especially the ones by Lisa Scottoline, Marcia Muller, Leslie Glass, and Susan Dunlap. If I could name a fifth, it would be Dana Stabenow. I also love fantasy and science fiction.

What are you working on right now?

I'm polishing up book two of the Crystal Odyssey series, developing another fantasy series, and as I mentioned, working on a romance/thriller.

How do you juggle writing with family obligations?

My children are grown and live at opposite ends of the country. We spend about a week at a time with them, and I also love to travel with my husband. But I find time every day to work on my writing, usually when my husband is involved with one of his hobbies.

You mentioned Writer’s Village University in your acknowledgements. Would you tell us more about that?

A writing friend of mine suggested we both try the free survey course F2K a few years ago. I learned a lot from it and have retaken it a few times since.  That led me to try the courses and critique groups at the village. What a find! Not only did I learn from others and the course work and texts, but I made many new friends, including the wonderful writer, Leona Pence.

Thank you for the compliment, Joyce.  I truly enjoy the friendships I've made there too.

What makes Joyce Hertzoff tick? Makes her happy? Keeps her writing?

When I was in school, it wasn't cool for girls to like science and math, but those were the subjects I liked the most. Today, girls can choose any career they want. My passion is to encourage them in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs. If I can do that with books about strong females who fight for the right to participate in male-dominated fields, then I'll be very happy. 

One Word Answers:
(a)  Writing area – neat or cluttered?  Cluttered.
(b) Coffee, tea, or Pepsi? Coffee, but at times only a good cuppa tea will do.
(c)  Favorite season?  Spring
(d) Cereal or omelet?  Omelet
(e)  Fiction or fact?  Fiction
(f)   Hosting or guesting? Guesting
(g) Editing or research?  Editing (my proofreader background likes to come out and play)
May we see an excerpt from The Crimson Orb?
I sat on a carved wooden bench in my favorite corner in the vegetable garden, watching the boys at their morning sword practice with my father and wishing I was out there with them. My brother Blane, nineteen years old and blond like Father, was easily besting the Duke's son Kerr, as he usually did.
My favorite of the pure black cats inhabiting the Manor jumped up on my lap, licked a paw, then curled up and promptly fell asleep. It was that kind of warm summer day when, if I wasn't with the boys, I didn't want to do anything more than sit in the shade of the old apple tree, inhaling its sweet scent. Since I was ten I've dreamed of learning to feint and parry, thrust and slice like Blane, Kerr, and my other brother Donal. But I'm a girl and it wasn't seemly.
Girls of ten to twenty were relegated to the sewing room, where Jannet, the governess and seamstress, taught us the fine art of needlepoint. I couldn't sew a straight line to save myself, and I really wasn't interested in learning. Our only other lessons were in the kitchens. Cook, whose name was Bridey although no one ever called her anything but 'Cook', not even her husband, taught us to boil an egg and make soup from whatever was available. That wasn't so bad, because we could eat what we made and no one else was the wiser when it tasted awful.


I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the City University of New York, and spent forty-five years in the scientific information publishing business as a translator, indexer, and, for twenty years, as a manager of other scientists. I saw the business go from printing of paper journals to electronic processing and production. In addition to enabling my staff to be productive and accurate as these changes occurred, I recruited staff, developed training materials, and taught workshops,

After retiring in 2008, I left fact-based writing behind and turned my efforts to fiction. I participated in the National Novel Writing program for the first time that year. I have continued to do that every year since, writing several mysteries and fantasy novels, and even finishing some of them, including The Crimson Orb, which was first written for NaNoWriMo in 2010. It gone through several revisions since.

I perfected my writing skills in classes and writing groups at Writers Village University. Classmates there have reviewed portions of this book. I served as a mentor intern for the F2K survey course on writing at WVU.

My flash mystery, Natural Causes, was published in the anthology The Darwin Murders. A longer short story, Princess Petra, appears in The Way Back.

I live with my husband of forty-nine years in the high desert at the base of the Sandia Mountains, where we can watch the quail, roadrunners and other creatures scamper along the top of the wall around our back patio, and the play of light across the mountain face.

Contact links:

 Buy links:
Amazon print (createspace):
 Amazon paperback:
 Amazon Kindle:
 Barnes and Noble for Nook:

Smashwords (temp for Apple, Kobo,  etc.)


  1. Leo, thanks for interviewing me. And thanks again for your review of my book.

  2. You're very welcome, Joyce. I enjoyed reading The Crimson Orb and I'm looking forward to your next book.


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