Paul and I have adopted this lion. A sweet thing, don’t you think? (Just kidding)Paul, you devil, taking over the page.
My journey into the world of writing happened quite by accident, so I guess you could call me the accidental author.
It all started in August 2014, I was struggling to find employment in South Africa, but my age went against me, no matter what qualification I had, and I was one of those guys wondering around the house, not knowing what to do with myself. I suppose I was getting on Lucies nerves so she suggested that I sit down and put an idea that I have carried around with me for years onto paper and write the story.
She then had the cheek to tell me that I would not finish it…well…I sat down thinking that it would end up as a three page story that I might be able to sell to a local magazine, but once I started, it was as if a tap had been opened…I worked solid eight to ten hours a day until Blood Moon over Africa was born…two days later I started on Blood Spoor in the Dark…the words just flowed…my characters spoke to me and a whole new world opened up and before I knew it Blood Demon-Revenge was completed…and I had a Trilogy on my hands
.It was as if I went into another world…and I had no control over it…if I was not making notes, I was writing. If I was not writing I was dreaming the stories, and if I was not dreaming…well then I was writing. I have always loved Africa, the bush, the wild life and have always been fascinated by the myths, superstitions and fears of the local people, and I have now found a platform to build on.
Lucie is and was the driving force behind me…she designed the first covers for the books as well as proof read, edited, spell checked and most of all encouraged me to write. She started sending out feelers to varies publishers but all we ended up with is vanity publishers.
I started looking for more reputable publishers and was pointed towards Vanilla Heart Publishing by a gentleman on Face Book. By then I had already completed The Devil in Eden, Whispers in the Wind, & Man in the Shadows. I was just starting out with Mask of Deceit
.Anyway to cut a long story short, I went to the site, and printed out the requirements needed in order to submit my query letter to them and sent in my very first correct query letter with regards to Whispers in the Wind…anyway I was turned down as all the books had been published as an Indie…so it was back to the drawing board.
Here is the copy of my second query letter to VHP
According to the Vanilla Heart Publishing Website, you are currently open to queries and actively seeking new authors in the Thriller genre. My name is Paul Zunckel, my contact e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my Website URL’s are as follows:
The working title of my manuscript is: Mask of Deceit. The total word count is 43000 and it falls into the Thriller/Romance genre.
I am just a typical boy next-door, but I have a dark side that only comes out in my writing, and the worlds that I visit in my imagination.
Reviewers have said that I paint pictures with my words, and I talk to them. My stories cut to the chase, and end up being page turners, rather than page skippers as I write my tales without any filler being used to increase my word count. This is my seventh novel on the road to dark places and for each one that I have self published, I have received 5 star ratings and some wonderful reviews from the reading public on Smashwords.com, Goodreads.com and Amazon KDP. My characters come alive in my head when writing and they lead me down the road until I type in, “The End”.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Juliana Du Luca, newly married to her soul-mate, a man she wants to spend the rest of her life with has everything that she holds dear ripped from her when living her childhood dream, and attending The Masked Carnival in Venice, while on honeymoon. Juliana’s world is turned upside down when her husband, Paul is brutally kicked to death in the darkness of an alleyway, she is gang raped and left for dead, lying in the spreading pool of blood and remains of what was their unborn child.
Juliana fights back from a coma, and with the memories of a perfect love lost, sets out on a trail of vengeance, with the memory of Paul, as her Guardian Angel. With the help of her father, the killers that changed her life are tracked down, and one by one, on the anniversary of Paul’s death, during The Masked Carnival, Juliana slips the Mask of Deceit into place and each killer learns that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and pays the ultimate price at the hands of a woman who is dead inside.
I am approaching your Publishing Company, Vanilla Heart Publishing in the hopes that you will find my work intriguing with a possibility of working together in the near future, and I feel that Mask of Deceit is the perfect platform to start a relationship that will be beneficial to both of us.
I would like to leave you with a few quotes taken from reviews…
“As I stated before the stories are great! A good author will make you enjoy a good story but a GREAT Author will draw you in and leave his/her mark on you for the rest of your life. Mr. Zunckel has done just that, and if you take one moment to read his works you may find yourself agreeing with my assessment.” (Review for Whispers in the Wind).
“Short, pithy chapters driven by fast and furious dialogue . . . Zunckel’s plot is as engaging and brilliantly executed as a few of his characters are . . . a must read – and this is his debut novel Wow, keep it up Mr. Paul Zunckel, I’m a fan for life” (Review for Blood Moon Over Africa).
“This is a fictional story about a man eating lion and its pride. Well written with no exaggeration normally associated with works of fiction. The happenings in the books are plausible which keeps you rooted to the story. Highly recommended.” (Review for Devil in Eden).”
A superior story, well told, and definitely not for the faint of heart! So creepy, I’m not sure I could read this book again. If you really want to be scared, and enjoy the fear adrenaline, then this book is for you. The story starts out thrilling, and ends in the same way…. you can’t put it down.” (Review for Man in the Shadows).
Thank you very much for your time.
I signed my first contract with VHP on the 13/6/2015 and it has been awesome. I am still finding my way in the wonderful world of writing but I have such wonderful support from my family as well as the VHP family
The rest they say is History. I was welcomed into the VHP Family with open arms, told to hold on for the ride, remember to breathe, and believe me, I am enjoying this ride. I still can’t believe that I am a published author…and the best is that I love what I am now doing.
The stories are just lining up to be told…and not a day goes by when I am not writing. I have been very blessed with this gift…my mind will just not shut down, but Lucie makes sure I take a break…walk the dogs…go shopping…etc etc etc…She looks after me, after all she is my biggest fan.
I am very Thankful to K’lee and the team at VHP for their faith in me…and I am having a blast.
To answer your question about my characters. No they are all a figment of my imagination…and have grown with me as the stories unfold. Veronica was originally based on Lucie…but the rest are all in my head.
When you begin a story do you have one in mind before you start?… Yes, I do, no matter how small it is…There is a spark burning; just an idea and I let it build from there. When I wrote Mask of Deceit, all I was doing was looking at the different types of masks they wear during the Masked Carnival, and suddenly I ended up with the story. I have another four stories lined up once I complete the one I am busy with at the moment. I know that I am blessed as the words just flow…I am driven to write…it has become a passion with me and I suppose one of the reasons behind the driving force is the fact that I am unemployed and this is now my full time job.
What did I do before I started to write? I was involved in Air Traffic Control for just under 20 years. I was retrenched due to us being “top heavy with whites”. We took my pension and bought a farm which we turned into a guest farm…we lost it all in fires, and started back at ground zero. We got involved in a NPO doing workshops for people with low self esteem, drug and substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and gangs, but were unable to obtain funding….that is when Lucie suggested that I write my story…the rest is history.
I started to write in August 2014…received a lot of interest from Vanity Publishers…until I signed with VHP ON THE 13/6/2015….So my friend I am not only blessed, I’m damn lucky as well. Thank you so much for your praise saying that I am a fabulous success…I hope that is the case.
Paul, we could go on and on. Next time I’d like to display your covers. Thanks for being my guest and a great friend all through this nasty illness. Best wishes. Hmm. I think my next story may be one about Africa although I’ve never been there.