Tag Archive | author Charmaine Gordon

Introducing VHP Author Paul Zunckel

Paul and I have adopted this lion. A sweet thing, don’t you think? (Just kidding)Charmaine -10 sATURATED_pp8x10g-72yPaul Zunckel VHP AuthorPaul, 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

Dear Editor,

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 paul@pathofdiscovery.co.za, and my Website URL’s are as follows:








http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/16232-paul-zunckel  www.smashwords.com/profile/view/foxyone56


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.

12/27/15 WEWRIWA

The weather outdoors is delightful. Who can believe 70 degrees in December and yet it’s here on Christmas day. Forget the snow. Let’s take a walk. I love it. I finished My Valentine story with a lot a laughs. Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

Father had said “Daughter, you’re hopeless, too off beat to settle down.”  She drank a cuppa delicious coffee and finished eleven more of ‘Let it snow.’ When the door opened, a nice looking young man walked in.
“I’m Ken from the computer store next to you and I um, shoveled your part of the walk again. It’s kinda cute by comparison since our place is big, we’ve been here for years and carry a whole bunch of electronic gear.You’re a funny chick from the cards I see  so how about dinner tonight?”
“Ken, I’d love it, pitiful describes last night’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
“Cool, I’ll pick you up at seven thirty.”
She smiled, waved goodbye, her heart sang for a dinner date, oh my God, I’m not a loser; ‘What will I wear, do I dare, to wear underwear? She wrote a new card in black, white, and red ink, to my Valentine’s Date, don’t be late.’

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And Then She Said. . .

Her Grandfather never got to hold her and love this grandest of ours. Now she pays honor to him as best she can by singing with her school mates on Veteran’s Day.

Seven and a half, all dressed up and so glam on this day.

46235_4036441625825_953707763_nMy young pilot in the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War. R.I.P.

The following title Farewell/Hello is a true story of love, war and everything in between.

Concept CVR FH 1-1

Amazon | Apple | B&N

Farewell, Hello by Charmaine Gordon

That first kiss… that first incredible, agonizing, bellyache-making first kiss. Soon, Joy and Danny are inseparable, planning a future – a life, together. A kiss goodbye couldn’t prepare the high school sweethearts for all that lay ahead. A family crisis, a tornado, and the Korean War brought their plans to a screeching halt, and changed their futures… but maybe not their forever.

10/18/15 WEWRIWA

Hi Folks, the week continues with ear infections and throat infections for daughter and my grandest. What a week we’ve had. Meanwhile I’ve finished the book about the Costigan twins and I LOVE it. Titled Together Again, it should be released in two weeks.

Moving along with Dr.D and the Dad, we’re up to more fun as they get to know each other.


“After our uh, collision, I’ll need a shower before my next client,” and Tony grinned to indicate his sand covered hard body deliciousness. A six-pack of ab muscles dared to show through.
The only heat between us would be the Florida sun once I stood up.  I also had to be at the clinic before long and needed a shower and a change. And the tide was rolling in fast as I scrambled around on hands and knees to gather my belongings to finally struggle to a standing position.
“You know my name and profession and I know almost nothing about you except that you use vanilla scented shampoo; your neck and shoulders are tense but your skin is perfect.
“I’m Diane O’Rourke, head pediatrician at the walk-in clinic in town.” I stopped in the hot sand, regrouped belief in myself with a few breaths and thought I may be a bit overweight but so what, I don’t know any other woman in town who has accomplished so much. Fortified by the mental shot in the butt, I trudged behind Tony like a bear cub

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10/11/15 WEWRIWA

And the days dwindle down. . .Actually the weather has been wonderful but troubles afoot, my friends, with daughters bunion surgery and a sudden major problem with my precious granddaughter’s blood cells in her dear chin explosion. She needed a bit of plastic surgery and a stitch in time. Frankly, this Granny is weary.

Moving on with the delicious story Dr. D and the Dad, The guy who resembles Antonio Banderas trips over the sand lump of Dr. D. Lets see what happens next.


I just lay there like a lox on a plate and continued to moan.
“Don’t move,” he said.
That’s the moment I fell in love with him, one of the moments.
“Tony Flannigan here, I’m a physical therapist.”
Gentle hands felt my neck and shoulders. He set my straw hat aside and ran fingers through my best feature to press my scalp. Peering through my dark wrap-around sunglasses, he smiled to display the whitest teeth on the East Coast.
“How about your ribs, any pain?”
Panic set in because Tony wouldn’t be able to find my ribs. Mom always taught me to clean my plate and that’s no excuse for a middle aged woman.

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10/4/15 WEWRIWA

Another wild and crazy week, my friends. Daughter had Bunion plus Hammertoe surgery and being the good Granny, I’ve been here all week. Nothing like watching your child suffer. So much pain involved.

Moving on to Dr. D and the Dad. Let’s have some fun. Last week, her small patients covered Dr. D in sand and left when their mommies called for cookie time. Let’s see what happens when she wakes up as the tide rolls in.


When I’d ventured off my veranda onto the sand not too long ago and trudged toward the secluded area where boulders formed a natural barrier, the tide was out. I rolled my terry cloth cover-up into a makeshift pillow and lowered myself to the towel. Big sunglasses covered green eyes and part of full cheeks, a floppy straw hat shaded my strawberry blond curly hair, my best feature, Mom used to say when she wasn’t nagging me about going on a diet. After lathering with sunscreen, at last I was ready to ponder my non-existent personal life and chart a different course for the future. I’d planned to contemplate my navel but the double D cups got in the way, no navel in sight.
Why bother going out in the sun; spend money on yet another swim suit guaranteed to make you look slimmer when it all came down to choices like Chocolate or tofu?  Fifty five, chubby, smart enough to become a doctor, to have a paid-up house on the beach, a. . .
Pain as all the air whooshed out of me when something fell across my body and I couldn’t breathe. “Did I hurt you? cause I was running and something moved
and well I didn’t realize someone was under the sand.”
“Oh,” I moaned and tried to get up and the sand held me down and so did he.  I opened my eyes and through the sunglasses, saw Antonio Banderas, not really the actor but he sure looked like him.

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And Then She Said. . .

Grandest is seven and a half. As you know, I cover for my daughter when she has her stuff to do. The other day, Grandest came home from school where I greeted her with hugs and kisses and she grumped her way into the house saying, “I’m starving.” I checked her lunch box and it was apparent she didn’t eat anything all day so I made pasta an two meatballs and brought the dish into the small office and sat next to her. She had the computer going with an awful program in play.

“How was your day, honey? Are there any kids you know in your class?”

Her response was this. “Grans, why don’t you sit in the living room and write your book.”

In other words, get the heck out of my way while I unwind after my second day in second grade. Too much pressure for a small kid. She ate every drop of food, called out for milk, thanked me, kissed me and sent me on my way.

I did indeed write two chapters in my new story and took a little nap after feeding three cats and going on the porch to feed to huge rescue dogs who love their Grans. When daughter returned she said, “Did you have a nice nap, Mom?”

The mixed joy of being a grandmother.whendoublebecomessingleAvailable in all eformats and Amazon and B&N paperback

                                                                                                                Grandest with friends waiting for the bus first day of school before reality sets in.

9/6/15 WEWRIWA

Hi Gang, what a glorious week. Lots of good news but it will keep for a little while

Continuing with my WIP. This is where the twins are kidnapped from the school where they’ve been kept for many years. They texted their Uncle Stuart in Chicago who gave the word to the evil sister Elizabeth that the cops were after her and drove to the isolated school to kidnap their nieces age seventeen.


They tiptoed down the hall to a small room and one of the girls closed the door cramped for two and now there were five adults packed like sardines, everyone smiling.
“Did you come to spring us ’cause we’ve been waiting for a long time.”
Like a comedy act, the girls had their audience silently cracking up.
Stuart held thumbs up, Eleanor held both thumbs up, and Edgar said, “Break out.”
They packed in one duffel bag, if you don’t have much, it doesn’t take long just like Charlie and Jimmy.
“Wait for us by the front door and we’ll say goodbye and thank you for holding us hostage for too many years.”

The twins never looked back, their green eyes popped wide at the shiny black limousine parked in the driveway.

“We will all be quite comfortable getting to the airport,” as she touched their matching tawny auburn hair glowing in the late afternoon sun. Carey whooped with obvious joy and cartwheeled all the way to the sleek long machine and her sister followed with back flips not missing a beat.

Five minutes later they were all seated in the spacious limousine, the girls apparently subdued by the sudden change in status.

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whendoublebecomessingleat Amazon and B&N available in all eformats and paperbacks

Announcing a 5 star review for When Double Becomes SIngle by Joanne Guidoccio

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Ms. Gordon has written a novel that tugs at the heartstrings. From start to finish, I found myself rooting for Sharon Michaels, the lovable protagonist, who succeeds in inspiring and motivating not only widows and widowers, but anyone who is experiencing an empty nest, divorce, retirement, or other unexpected change of circumstances.

After the death of her beloved husband, Sharon grieves deeply but finds the inner strength to begin her healing journey. As she embarks on a series of adventures, her life becomes a whirlwind, filled with new people and delightful experiences. At one point, a prolific “senior” author makes a cameo appearance, adding to the inspirational tone of the novel.

Well done, Ms. Gordon! This is a book I read in one sitting and simply couldn’t put down.

Ocean Waves Loved my ankles!

So there we were at the beach in Ocean City, Md with waves crashing and grandest with her boogie board having a fine time so I ventured into the edge of the shore. Why not, I thought. So what if I need a cane to keep steady on the sand. That was in the past when I was young, strong and steady as daughter keeps reminding me.

And oh the water so warm and what a pleasure. Then the ocean decided the old lady needed com-uppance and I descended slowly like a suction grabbing my ankles and I couldn’t stand straight and suddenly I was down, on my butt laughing with men and women running to help. Daughter got there first and brought me to my feet. Rule #1. Mother is not to go near the water. Rule #2 Mother must not speak to anyone. and so on. I’m friendly  and affable. They are in a hurry. Well okay. Can they write a book? No. So I wrote in long hand in the warm sun about the Costigan twin sisters left behind from the original book Reconstructing Charlie.

That will fix my little family. Maybe I’ll even sign a copy for them.

Meanwhile daughter just asked me to keep an eye on grandest while she reads my latest release, When Double becomes Single.


7/19/15 WEWRIWA

Summer time and the living is easy. Hi Gang. We’re enjoying some great weather the past week in my part of the North East not  far from NYC. Daughter’s even planning trip to our fave, Long  Beach Island, the Jersey shore. I’ve written some fun, delightful stories vacationing down there.

Meanwhile, thanks again for the exceptional critique every week. When Double Becomes Single is just about finished. With your help, I hope it will do well.


She parked then stumbled toward the hospital entrance to hurry to the third floor. The empty elevator suited her, a ghost town so late at night, dim lit and quiet. Something triggered an impulse to RUN. Down the hall she ran to Barry’s room, hip throbbing, where outside in the hall Doctor Mac Bloom paced. He stopped her from rushing in.
“Sharon, he’s had a heart attack, a bad one. There was nothing we could do to save him.”
She shook her head; snowflakes captured in her blond hair fell to the floor leaving damp puddles. “What do you mean, Mac, you always fix everything; you’re the one. . .” She grabbed his white coat and cried, “You’re saying Barry’s gone, he’s dead?”483903_3560363004157_284637259_nFor more snippets from talented writers: