Retiring in 2008 after forty-five years in the scientific literature publishing business, SciFan author Joyce Hertzoff moved from the dreary mid-west to the sunny southwest where she and her husband love their mountain view and spicy food.
Joyce tried her hand at a novel for the 2008 NaNoWriMo, producing a romantic mystery that’s still in the editing phase. Since then, through several more NaNo sessions and classes at Writers Village University, she wrote two fantasy series and several short stories. The Crimson Orb, the first novel in The Crystal Odyssey series, was published by the Phantasm Books imprint of Assent Publications in June, 2014. Last August she self-published A Bite of the Apple, a YA novella. Both The Crimson Orb and A Bite of the Apple are SciFan stories.
Joyce also wrote two flash mysteries: Natural Causes and Say Cheese, which were published in the anthologies The Darwin Murders and Tasteful Murders respectfully. A short story of hers, Princess Petra, also appears in The Way Back anthology.
Currently she works as a mentor and facilitator for online classes at Writers Village University. She’s also a member of Southwest Writers, and participates in two offline critique groups.
Here’s a summary of The Crimson Orb:
While thousands of people travel to Meecham to seek the legendary Crimson Orb, teenage Nissa Day is more concerned about her missing magic teacher, the wizard Madoc, who failed to return after a journey to care for his ailing father. Together with her older brother Blane, she rides east from Holm Manor to look for him, taking two strange books they found in Madoc’s chambers. They secure passage from East Harbor to Fairhaven, the capital of the East Islands. At the Citadel in Fairhaven, they are joined by Madoc’s brother Gareth, sister Carys, and two of Gareth’s men.
Their perilous journey back across the sea by ship, then south on horseback and west through the Frozen Tundra of Sorn eventually brings them to Meecham, a town teaming with Orb seekers. They learn Madoc is being held by four outlaws, who believe he can lead them to the red crystal before anyone else. Through their adventures, Nissa learns how little she knows about her world. She is able to develop unexpected skills, including the ability to mindspeak with Madoc. Will Nissa and her companions be able to use their combined abilities to rescue Madoc? Is the Orb really in Meecham?
In this story, Joyce introduces a unique SciFan Concept where the magic that her world accepts as the norm isn’t truly magic after all. The wizard Madoc explains it well:
“Everything around us is made up of tiny particles, so tiny that no one can see them. They’re held together by various strong energy forces,” he began to explain. “But there are weaker forces between each individual thing, each person, each animal, each bit of earth. Those of us who can focus on those forces can use them to do what we call magic,” he said. “There’s really nothing ‘magical’ about it.”
– This excerpt from The Crimson Orb was used by permission from the author –
Joyce’s story A Bite of the Apple is a Portal Fiction. This subgenre of SciFan incorporates portals into an alternate world as a primary piece of world-building. More specifically, the subgenre includes the use of portals between other worlds, while maintaining a balance of supernatural and technological elements.
Here is a summary of A Bite of the Apple:
Anabet Haines has dreamed about traveling from the family farm to the exotic places her Aunt Gillian described over the years, so when her aunt recruits her as the next portal traveler, Bet jumps at the chance. In the capital of Nokar, Bet begins her training. But when circumstances force Bet to travel alone with little training and equipped only with an ornamental knife and four enchanted apples, Bet must use her wits to retrieve a stolen portal key in the intimidating world of The Big Apple. Has she bitten off more than she can chew?
With the help of new friends, including a young man from another world, and with apples that don’t work the way she expected, Bet searches for the thief and the stolen key. This novella is filled with a variety of characters and locales. The action escalates as Bet learns what it takes to be a successful portal traveler.
Stay tuned for Sunday’s post! With permission from the author, I will be featuring two Sample Chapters from each of Joyce Hertzoff’s books and I will explain how they are infused with elements of Science Fantasy (SciFan).
What is SciFan? Find out here. Do you have a SciFan story to share with the world? Can you think of existing stories that should be properly classified as SciFan? Let’s revolutionize the publishing industry and clamor for the debut of the SciFan genre taking the stage! Come join our SciFan Society to learn how you can participate in this growing movement!