yvonne hertzberger

Review of ‘Altered Destinies’

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Bain, the bastard son of a lord and a healer, is acknowledged by his father and set up a path to make him the eventual inheritor of his father’s estate. Even though he has no desire to rule in his father’s place, he is determined not to let his father, his mother, or his people down. In the domain of Lord Danza, Bain meets Phaera, Danza’s feisty only child, who is more interested in pursuing her calling as a healer than immersing herself in the inanity of court life. When the two meet, sparks fly, but their mutual interest in healing brings them closer. Phaera’s father has promised her that he will never force her to marry, but when the ambitious and unscrupulous young Mathune, who, in addition to his plans to take over all the kingdoms, sets his eyes on her, Danza feels that he has no choice but to betroth her. From here, the plot thickens. Bain, despite his humble, and questionable, origins, is seen as a s suitable alternative to the cruel Mathune. With the help of a young lord whose sexual preferences are tolerated, but not welcomed in the kingdoms, and the indomitable Phaera, Bain organizes a force to confront Mathune.

 

Altered Destinies by Yvonne Hertzberger is a riveting novel that is hard to assign a genre classification to. Part epic adventure, part dystopian future-earth, it nonetheless will grab your imagination, and keep you entertained for page after exciting page. Hertzberger is a master at creating alternate, but realistic environments and characters that you can love—or hate—with equal measure.

 

Although this is billed as perhaps her final novel, one can only hope she’ll relent and thrill us with further adventures of Bain and Phaera.

 

I received a complimentary advanced review copy of this book, and I give it five stars without hesitation. You’ll be doing yourself a great service by snatching it up as soon as it’s released.

Review of ‘Labyrinth Quest’

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M’rain is on the threshold of womanhood, but she is restless and longs to know more than just the desert world in which her village is located. One day, while out food gathering, she wanders far, and after taking shelter in a cave, is taken captive by a band of women who are under the thrall of a mad man who claims to have magic powers. With the help of the enigmatic lizard, Glick, M’rain escapes and makes her way through the labyrinth of tunnels and into a land like known she’s ever known. Glick informs her that she is the chosen one, a Traveler, who can transit the labyrinth and serve as the link between the two people. But first, she must free those held by the mad man.

Labyrinth Quest by Yvonne Hertzberger is fantasy fiction at its best. The author creates a believable world, inhabited by believable creatures. Her characters feel real, and I found myself cheering for M’rain and her newfound love, P’puck, as they jockeyed back and forth concerning their feelings for each other. Hertzberger can put a lot of meaning in a few words, and the images conjured up by her prose were fantastic.

This is a story that begs for a sequel—perhaps the story of M’rain and P’puck’s heirs. Loved it. A five-star book!

Author Interview: Fantasy Author Yvonne Hertzberger

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authorphoto2-1Introducing fantasy author Yvonne Hertzberger. Yvonne came to writing late in life, but with her Pendulum Earth series she’s  making up for lost time. She currently resides in Canada where she uses her skills in observing human nature to create a fantasy world that will amaze fans of the genre. In addition, she shares her take on writing on her blog. In this post, she gives us an insight into her writing process.

1. Tell us about yourself and what you write.

I like to call myself a late bloomer. It seems I did everything positive in my life later than most. Writing is a good example of that. I didn’t begin to write until I was 56 and retired from ‘paid’ employment. So far I have written three novels, a fantasy trilogy titled Earth’s Pendulum. It was really difficult to find a category or sub-genre because it doesn’t fit neatly into any existing ones. Some readers suggested it ought to be historical fiction but as the setting is not real I can’t do that. Others have called it magic realism because the way I use the paranormal would be considered real in many societies. There are no mythical creatures and no big spells, only a seer who gets messages from the goddess Earth and who can occasionally converse with animals and can tell if someone is telling the truth. There are many societies that would not think this strange in the least.

I chose to write fantasy because it allows me to explore human nature free from the restrictions of ‘real’ mores, stereotypes and customs. Yet, I still try to make my ‘world’ plausible and somewhat familiar so that readers can easily immerse themselves in it.

2. What in your life most influences your writing?

My life has not been an easy one. In order to survive I became keenly observant of human behavior and interaction. As a result my writing is very character based. I believe my studies in psychology and sociology have added to my understanding of human nature and have influenced how my characters think and act as well. I have also always been interested in the beliefs and customs of other cultures and religions and how these contribute to both conflict and peace. Those tend to creep into my writing as well, but only as they might affect my imaginary world.

3. What do you enjoy most about writing? What is your biggest challenge?

I have already alluded to the importance of character development in my writing. When I began I thought I was crazy when my characters told me who they were and how they wanted to grow. Since then I have learned that this is quite common. Meeting, introducing and developing my characters has been the easiest and most rewarding aspect of writing for me. I love it when a character does something unexpected. So often it is the characters that help me develop the plot. They know where they need to go. My job is to help them get there in a logical, believable way.

The biggest challenge for me is description. My grade eleven English teacher told me my prose was ‘too terse’. I’ve been told to add more descriptions. The other challenge is fight scenes. They don’t come up often, but when they do I tend to keep the action to the minimum so I don’t show how little I know. Hey, I’m a non-violent person.  Fighting’s not my thing. lol

 

4. Do you outline, or do you just let it flow?

I am mostly a ‘pantser’. I have a beginning, and end point and one or two key events in my head to guide me. Aside from that it’s all by the seat of my pants. If I were to try to plan things out more formally I’d get stuck and my writing would become stiff and artificial.

5. Where do the ideas for your stories come from?

I wish I could answer that. The short answer is “I have no idea”. For the trilogy I thought I would write a short story. Look what happened. It grew – a lot. I have done a lot of reading in the fantasy genre so I suppose that helps, but I like to think my stories are unique.

The new novel I am working on now came to me in a dream. Go figure. ???BFC cover

 

 

6. How do you market your work?

Marketing is the biggest challenge for me. I have a website/blog, a Facebook author page, a Facebook profile, a twitter account and a Linkedin account. I try to keep some presence on all of them. While they have helped me make some wonderful contacts I can’t say they have resulted in many sales. My biggest success has been locally with the actual launch parties. I sell far more paper books than ebooks. Maybe I just haven’t reached critical mass yet. Here’s hoping that happens soon. I also participate in a half dozen closed Facebook groups that deal with writing, publishing, and promoting. Again, these have resulted in a great network of contacts where we all pay it forward for each other.  I have not paid for advertising. From what others tell me their success is largely a crap shoot and I have no money to spend unless it gets results.

7. What are you currently working on?

Yes, the idea for my current work in progress came to me in a dream. I rarely remember my dreams so this is really surprising to me.  The new book will also be Fantasy with even larger elements of magic realism. Where the trilogy was set in an early medieval society, this new one will be in a much more primitive setting. It begins in a Kalahari type desert, moves into a huge cave and then into another agrarian society that is more imaginary. It will be a little grittier than the trilogy but have many of the same character elements. I am not a fan of stories where the characters have few if any redemptive traits. Dystopia does not appeal to me. So, while the characters will go through some rough times, I like them to show what I call some ‘humanity’, i.e. some goodness.

TKE cover

8. Where do you see yourself, in terms of your writing, five years from now?

Why, rich and famous, of course. No, seriously, I hope to keep writing. My sincere hope is that if I do, eventually I will gain some recognition and respect as a writer. I plan to continue to self-publish, as from what I see the trad publishing industry no longer serves either authors or readers well. The entire industry is in a state of major transition. These times are always chaotic but I believe that, in the long run, it will be good for Indies. There are so many great writers that never get a trad contract. OK, so that means I won’t be rich and famous. I guess I’ll settle for respect.

TDC cover

 

 

 

 

9. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I want to thank you, Charlie, for having me here and sharing my story with your followers. I truly appreciate it.  I enjoyed writing this. It seems that every time I am asked to reflect on writing I learn something new about myself. This was fun.

 

Website/blog: http://newfantasyauthor.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/YHERTZBE

Facebook Author page: http://www.facebook.com/EarthsPendulum.YvonneHertzberger.author

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Yvonne-Hertzberger/e/B006X3DEOC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Amazon. UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Yvonne-Hertzberger/e/B006X3DEOC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Yvonne+Hertzberger

 

Review of ‘The Dreamt Child’

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In The Dreamt Child, the final book in Yvonne Hertzberger’s Earth’s Pendulum trilogy, we join the seer Liannis who had been healing for two years since the travails she suffered in Through Kestrel’s Eyes. She is joined by Merrist, and in the meaning of ‘joined’ as used by the author, the two of them become one.

I received a free review copy of this book, and after having read the first two, approached it with a sense of anticipation that was not disappointed. Hertzberger continues to amuse and amaze with her ability to create a fantasy world that makes suspending disbelief an easy task. Crisp dialogue that carries us into the minds and hearts of the characters, and an epic account of the suffering that can ensue when earth’s balance is upset, this is as much a commentary on history, politics and sociology as fantasy. But, first and foremost, it is sheer enjoyment to read. You don’t have to be a fan of fantasy to delight in Hertzberger’s deft prose and delicate touch.

The Dreamt Child, like the two volumes that preceded it, is fantasy at its best!

Review of ‘Through Kestrel’s Eyes’

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Through Kestrel’s Eyes continues Yvonne Hertzberger’s epic Earth’s Pendulum fantasy. I received a free copy of this book for review. Seventeen years of peace have followed the events chronicled in Back From Chaos, but that peace is soon destroyed when the rulers of the kingdoms of Gharn and Leith are overthrown, and their heirs seek help from Lord Gaelen. Thrust into the middle of this mess is Liannis, a gifted young apprentice seer with amazing powers, who finds her apprenticeship ended when her mentor Liethis dies. Now, she must somehow restore the Earth’s balance if the drought and famine caused by the weakening of Earth’s power is to be ended.

Just when things seem darkest, though, Earth sends Liannis a kestrel, through whose eyes, Liannis sees more, and a horse to carry her on her perilous journey. With her ability to mind-speak with birds and animals, these two become her main companions and staunchest allies.

Hertzberger demonstrates her skill as a fantasy writer as she takes us along with Liannis, who must battle doubt in her abilities as she faces test unlike any she’s ever known before. The reader is taken from first person point of view – through Liannis’s eyes – to third person, but in a way that rather than being disruptive, actually makes sense. She has created a fantasy world that seems very real, populated by people we can relate to. Despite her powers, Liannis is someone you find yourself rooting for from the first time she appears on the page. Good novels engage all the senses, and Through Kestrel’s Eyes does just that – and, not just the usual five senses, but the sixth sense as well.

Review of ‘Back from Chaos’

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A good sword and sorcery novel has to be a combination of the fantastic with the believable if it is to work. Yvonne Hertzberger’s Back From Chaos, the first book in her Earth’s Pendulum series, has just that – a fantasy world of seers and magic described in a way that makes suspending disbelief an easy task.

I received a free review copy of Back From Chaos, which I started reading on one of the coldest days of this winter, and just after a March snowstorm and plummeting temperatures left me stranded in my suburban home. Turned out to be one of the best ways to deal with being snowbound that I could have come up with.

Kudos to Hertzberger for creating a totally believable world, peopled by characters we can identify with, love, hate – but, most importantly, believe. From Klast, the spy-assassin, who seems to start out as a supporting character, but is in fact central to much of the story, to Marja, the last surviving member of her family after an invading army kills the rest, we’re introduced to people who feel real.

I reserve five-star ratings for books that impress me deeply. Back From Chaos gets an easy five stars.