After forty-five years in the fact-based scientific information business, I retired to the sunny Southwest and began writing fiction. My short story, Natural Causes was published in the anthology, The Darwin Murders, and Say Cheese appeared in Tasty Murders. Another story, Princess Petra, appears in the anthology, The Way Home.
The Crimson Orb, the first novel in the Crystal Odyssey series of high fantasy novels, was published in mid-June 2014 by the Phantasm Books imprint of Assent Publications. Searching for her mysteriously missing magic teacher, the wizard Madoc, teenage Nissa's adventures reveal how little she knows about her world, and how resourceful she can be.
For more details, see my resume information.
Jan. 16, 2014 - PITTSBURGH -- Phantasm Books, Assent Publishing’s fantasy imprint, announces that we have signed Joyce Hertzoff, author of The Crimson Orb. Joyce Hertzoff earned 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 and indexer. For twenty years, she was a manager of other scientists and watched as the business evolved from the printing of paper journals to electronic processing and production. After retiring in 2008 and moving to the southwest with her husband, she left scientific writing behind and turned her efforts to fiction. She participated in the National Novel Writing program for the first time that year and has continued with the program every year since. She is a member of Southwest Writers and Writers Village University. Her short mystery, Natural Causes, appears in the anthology The Darwin Murders and a fantasy short story, Princess Petra, will be included in the anthology The Way Back.
April 30, 2014: Albuquerque resident, author Joyce Hertzoff, announces that her fantasy novel, The Crimson Orb, will be published by the Phantasm imprint of Assent Publications on June 17th. The first novel in the Crystal Odyssey Series, follows the adventures of Narissa Day as she searches for her mysteriously missing magic teacher, Madoc. Mrs. Hertzoff's website joycehertzoffauthor.com includes a media room. Also visit her book website, fantasybyjoycehertzoff.com.
My interview with Penny Ehrenkranz about my book The Crimson Orb appeared on her blog on February 19, 2014.
On May 14, 2014, Mysti Parker featured me on her blog
My interview with Leona Pence appeared on Leona's Chatter June 26, 2014
My interview with Adam Baca appears in the October 2014 issue of Albuquerque the Magazine
In 2014 and 2015 I was a Mentor for the F2K writing class associated with Writers Village University.
Reviews: Here are some of the first reviews of The Crimson Orb
5.0 out of 5 stars
By Leila Lodencraft
The Crimson Orb is the story of a Quest. Two siblings, a brother and a sister set out to find their mentor, tutor and friend who not only knows about the world but also knows a bit of magic. Nissa, our heroine, is longing to do more of what the boys do, fight with weapons and go on adventures. Little does she know that she's about to do just that. When her friend and mentor, Madoc fails to return from a journey, she and her brother go in search of him. Together they traverse land and sea, meeting and overcoming obstacles as well as meeting and becoming fast friends with Madoc's siblings who join there search.
As they search for Madoc, others are searching for the Crimson Orb, a magic item that does ...something. No one is certain but the legend of what the orb can do grows as does the lust of those who want it to gain power.
As their search takes them far to the north, the grow in both experience and in character, find out about themselves and others in their world around them. Some of what they learn is happy, other lessons are sad.
This is a great start to what promises to be a fun series for the younger set. It's filled with excitement but also things that you can learn at the same time you enjoy NIssa's adventure.This is also a book that you can give an older child without worrying about inappropriate content..I recommend it highly for anyone who likes to "go walkabout."
5.0 out of 5 stars Eminently Readable Otherworldly Adventure, Well Told... June 18, 2014
By Cynthia Reed
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought the Kindle edition of this book to pre-read on a long weekend away before gifting my book-hungry grandchildren with a hard copy. I wasn't quite certain which of them would enjoy it AND I wanted to make sure it was suitable (fairly stuffy parents lol). I've concluded that it's bound for two out of the three of them, one a teenage boy (the swordplay! the wizard!} and one a pre-teen girl (the heroine! the cat! the magic!). I suspect that the third one, who's just nine and still utterly soccer-crazy, will be along to read it in due course.
The fun begins on page one, when our heroine, Nissa, sitting and petting her cat whilst (jealously) watching her brothers practice swordplay, is joined by Holm Manor's wizard, Madoc. Need I say more? A girl who yearns to master the sword, and wizardry? And probably some rapid beating of the young heart along the way? And pesky sisters, too? Yes, you've got it.
By the end of Chapter One, I'd learned the difference between magic and wizardry and that, even in Nissa's world, girls haven't been allowed to do the same things as boys. Bah! But is she going to put up with that? I think not, would you? The story of Nissa and Master Madoc, the wizard (and more), was definitely my favourite part, and central to the story. When Madoc goes missing, the quest begins.
Ever wonder if a wizard is a such a good wizard, why he can't free himself when the baddies get him? Yeah, me, too. Now I know; I think that was somewhere along about Chapter Twenty-Four.
By the end of Chapter Forty-Three, I'd learn how to turn a skirt into wide-legged riding britches, who didn't make it across the Frozen Tundra, where the Crimson Orb was (but how to get it???) and what the swamp inhabitants were doing with it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyce Hertzoff Has Real Talent June 23, 2014
What does the Crimson Orb do? We aren't sure and no one else is either, but everyone knows it does something. We follow our heroine, Nissa, on a grand journey to find her mentor and, along the way, the Crimson Orb. She finally gets her wish, to be the equal of the males in her group. Nissa has a lot to learn and faces many battles and challenges along the way. You fall in love with her pluck and intelligence. This is a good story for everyone, but a great story for girls and women. Very empowering.
Joyce Hertzoff did a wonderful job developing the characters and giving us plenty of people to cheer and several to boo. I liked this story a lot and can't wait for the sequel...which I hope will be soon.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Crimson Orb June 17, 2014
By Leona Pence
I thoroughly enjoyed the Crimson Orb by Joyce Hertzoff. The quest of Narissa and her brother, Blane, to find their friend Madoc the wizard, was fraught with peril. They braved the inclement weather of The Frozen Tundra, kidnappers, people obsessed with the Crimson Orb, and yet knew the pangs of budding romance.
This book held my interest as an older person just as much as it will for the younger generation. Kudos go to Joyce for an amazing first novel. I’m looking forward to book two of the series.
The launch of The Crimson Orb, first book in the Crystal Odyssey fantasy series, took place on June 17, 2014 at Smallcakes, a Cupcakery, in Albuquerque, NM. Here are some photos:
In July I participated in the dealers room at Bubonicon, the yearly science fiction and fantasy convention in Albuquerque.
The October 2014 issue of Albuquerque the Magazine included an interview:
I was also interviewed by a reporter from the weekly Alibi paper at Bubonicon in August 2015 and quoted in his article following the convention.
In January 2016 I facilitated a class at Writers Village University on Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich.
I had a busy April in 2016:
On April 9th I participated in the Writers Conference: From Start to Sales XII at the University of New Mexico
On the 10th I presented an online chat at Writers Village University on Alice Munro's short story collection The Moons of Jupiter in preparation for facilitating an eight-week class on the work beginning later that month.
On April 23rd I participated in the 10th Annual Authors for Literacy Event in Moriarty, NM
In August 2016 I self-published the YA Novella A Bite of the Apple
August 26-28 Bubonicon 48 I sold copies of The Crimson Orb and my new novella, A Bite of the Apple.
The 2016 session of F2K began September 7. I'll be the mentor in the Hemingway room, assisted by the fabulous Gail.
October 28, 2016: I was the featured author on Science Fantasy Fiction
Chapters from my books were featured on Sunday, October 30.
2017: Another busy year:
I attended the Moriarty Author's event in April, along with Battle of the
Books in Los Lunas, NM. In August I sold books at the first Moriarty
The Crimson Orb was republished, followed by the sequel
Under Two Moons.
A Bite of the Apple won the New Mexico Press Women's prize for YA fiction.
It also came in second in the National contest.
In August of course there was another Bubonicon.
In March 2018, the third book in the Crystal Odyssey Series was published: Beyond the Sea. Then in April 2018, my kids' book was published.
Also in April I sold books at the New Mexico Gem and Mineral Show at Buffalo Thunder resort near Santa Fe followed a couple of weeks later by Battle of the Books in Los Lunas, NM
Next came Duke City Comic Con, followed by Amacon in Amarillo, and Bubonicon rounding out a busy spring and summer.
2019 began with another Duke City Comic Con in January.
A short story, A Woman Hobbles Into a Bar, was selected for inclusion in the charity anthology of stories about wounded warriors called Challenge Accepted. The anthology was published in March.
In the spring, I sold books at three farmers' markets and did a signing at Organic Books in Nob Hill, followed by another signing at Treasure House in Old Town in June.
After that, the pandemic put a halt to all events. But in the fall of 2020, my remembrances of 9/11 were included in an anthology. Then in December 2020 I published the ebook version of the fourth book in my series, Homeward Bound. The print version came out in January.
Despite the pandemic, I sold my books at the Artisans Bazaars held at the Sawmill Market in Albuquerque in July and August and then at Holiday Shows at La Cueva High School and St. Pius X High School in December.
The first half of 2022 included book sales at another St. Pius X High School Arts and Crafts Fair, an event at Casey Optical and also Moriarty MiniComicon.
A Bite of the Apple, called Winds of Change was published in August.
Albuquerque Comic Con started 2018 off right.