Tag Archive | books

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.

11/22/15 WEWRIWA

DD ereader with handsThe trees are bare; our lawn is golden instead of green. What a gorgeous time of the year except for darkness; she covers the light and night falls too soon.

Dr. D discovered Tony Flanagan’s secret last week. He’s a good man opening his home and heart to foster children; a man to love.


Hacienda for Tiger and me as he pressed against my ankles in need of food. If he knew how to sing, the Rolling Stones “I Don’t Get No Satisfaction,” would be his choice.  Then I saw a message light blinking on the land line and thought please no emergency.
Tony’s voice and my heart beat faster when he said, “Diane, if you can forgive me, please forgive me, let’s have dinner at one of your favorite places and since I don’t know the area very well, pick somewhere special where we can clear the air and get to know each other.
“Hi, Tony here,” and I laughed, the sound of his voice music, a symphony to my weary ears. “ Pick me up at eight, I know just the place, The Conch House on the ocean.”
A date, what do you think about that, Diane, not bad for starters like a baby learning to crawl, then walk, there’s hope. I weighed myself, not a pound gone; I don’t ask for much so I’ll walk every day, eat healthy and see what happens. If by tomorrow I haven’t lost two pounds, I’ll go back to my slothful lifestyle.

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I’m Honored to announce the following

Download the Updated VHP Catalog with all titles, descriptions, and clickable purchase links to Vanilla Heart Publishing books by Chelle Cordero, Lauren Shiro, Malcolm R. Campbell, Charmaine Gordon, Angela Kay Austin, Tamara Philip, Neva Squires-Rodriguez, Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard, Paul Zunckel, and Namid!

Download the Updated VHP Catalog with all titles, descriptions, and clickable purchase links to Vanilla Heart Publishing books by Chelle Cordero, Lauren Shiro, Malcolm R. Campbell, Charmaine Gordon, Angela Kay Austin, Tamara Philip, Neva Squires-Rodriguez, Gwendolyn Jensen-Woodard, Paul Zunckel, and Namid!


Check us out for a variey of fantastic well written books.
Love to all.

8/23/15 WEWRIWA

We’re off to Ocean City, MD for a few days. Granny, Grandest and Daughter. I will be checking in on everyone’s snippets during the week but here I go with another episode of the twin Costigan sisters, kidnapping, Aunt and Uncle Alfred and their manservant, Edgar up to mischief. They’ve arrived in a limousine at the ranch in Utah owned by sister Elizabeth, who years ago had thrown her four children away like garbage.  She is taken by surprise. They have papers powerful enough to convict her for murder of her first and possibly second husband.


“On the flight, I will show you the completed plan of attack that reads like a script so follow my lead and we’ll be fine.”
“Does Elizabeth know we’re coming?”
“Not an inkling because we’ll arrive in a chauffeur driven limousine.”
“Edgar will be with us.”

Edgar stood on the alert in the dining room where he’d been forever, a part of the household in his black suit; tall, narrow, hair turning a bit gray, he stifled a smile. Edgar never smiled but he stifled a lot.

“Stuart, this is not a cowboy movie,” as she ate a dainty portion of salmon.
The portly lawyer twisted an imaginary moustache and said “Oh yes it is and this time I’m the one who rescues the damsels in distress and slays the dragon at the gate.”
“The girls are not damsels in distress.”
“Oh yes they are, they just don’t know it.”

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Survive and Thrive-the story unveils. . .

The book, When Double Becomes Single, begins on a sad note. Sharon Michaels is suddenly widowed and all alone, she hasn’t a clue as where to begin. Her husband of thirty five years steered their  life and she followed. What’s a woman to do, how does she begin again at age fifty six to learn how to drive at night. All she has are two dear rescue dogs who need her as much as she needs them.

This is a scene I like. A lot.

Work dragged on Monday. Sharon met with customers, made sales and by the end of the day, she didn’t know if working without a partner was the best thing to fill her life. Empty, she felt empty. A change of clothes and she piled the eager pets in the car for fun at the dog park. Spring brought out the best in people with canines. Tongues hung out the back window. They strained at the leashes until Sharon let Tommy and Gracie loose behind the fence. Before long, other folks showed up with different sized canines. Sharon had to laugh at a fierce Chihuahua barking at her large pets. The owner, a man dressed in a suit, joined her.
“Come here often?” His voice deep and musical.
“That’s a line from a bar, right?”
“Yes, it is. I used it a lot in the old days. It worked most of the time.”
“I never bar hopped. I married young and lost my husband a few months ago. How about you?”
“I’m married to this pip squeak pet of mine the past few years. Janis Joplin is her name. She can’t sing but man, can she bark in High C. I was divorced a couple of times before then. I just can’t seem to get it right.”
“Tommy, Gracie, NO!” Sharon’s dogs stopped harassing another canine. “They’ve been in the back yard too long without my attention. I’ll have to bring them here more often.”
The tall stranger smiled. “I hope you do. What’s your name, if you don’t mind.”
She searched his face for a clue as to his personality. How can you tell at first glance? She had so little experience with just about everything.
He touched her cheek rosy with the chilly spring breeze. “I’m Jack Torrance. I sing on Broadway right now in a revival of Chicago. Now it’s your turn and remember, I’m just asking for your name.”
“Sharon Michaels. My husband and I have a business, not very exciting. Now I sell kitchen cabinets and my oldest son and his wife joined the company to help me. Today, Jack,” she tested his name on her tongue, “I felt way out of sorts about visiting customers on my own so I packed up the pups we rescued a few years ago and here we are.”
“Good job, Sharon. We’re having a conversation. This isn’t too painful, is it?”
“No. It’s just different. Tell me about your career.”
He laughed. “It’s checkered, at best. I’ve been a song and dance man forever, sometimes scoring a good part, sometimes chorus. As long as I keep working, have union benefits, I’m good. I live in Tappan, not far from here in a small cottage where I can hit the Palisade Parkway and get to town fast.”
The wind picked up and Sharon shivered. “It’s time to head home.” She called to the dogs and turned to Jack. “Would you like to have dinner at my house now. Monday’s you’re off, right?”
“Why thank you, yes I’d love to. That’s brave of you.”
“Yes, it is. I need company and you’re just the one. Follow me.”
Jack tucked Janis in her little dog house and started up his Volkswagon.
Sharon rounded up her two rowdy pups and home she went with her new friend behind her. “Barry, what in the world did I just do? Is it weird to invite a relative stranger to our home? Yeah, it is. I’ll keep a knife handy. You’re the one in heaven. It’s lonely down here without you.”
Fast, she fed the dogs and sent them out to the yard while Jack waited in his car.
“Now what do we do with Janis?”
“She’ll sleep in her little house in the car while we have dinner.”
Into the house they went where he stopped to admire her taste. “Sharon, this is so cozy and comfortable. I’m guessing you’ve lived here many years.” He ran his long fingers over the piano. “Do you play?”
She blushed admitting the truth to a real performer. “Not often and not too well. Why?”
Color came to his cheeks. “I have an opportunity for the part of Amos who sings Cellophane in Chicago. I know the song so well and the dance but I’d love to have someone help me practice and critique what I’m doing.”
Sharon took a deep breath. “I haven’t played in a long time. Do you have sheet music? Maybe I’d be able to help. I always did for my boys.”
Jack swept her into a dance move and hugged her just right. “You’re a doll. I have music in the car. You fix something easy for dinner and I’ll get my portfolio.” He raced to the door and left her open mouthed surprised.
What a kick to meet an actor and bring him home for dinner. Am I having fun or what? In the fridge she found salad, deviled eggs Mia made with black olives on the side and avocado slices. Sherbet to cleanse the palate in the freezer and some left over crème brulee. Hmm. Just enough for a light meal.
By the time Jack hurried in, the table was set. Excited to show her the music and begin, Sharon told him to calm down and have a bite or two. Then they’d check out what else he carried in his portfolio.
Small eater, she thought, or too anxious to settle down but she enjoyed every bit of the light dinner. When they finished, he rushed to the piano and played while Sharon cleared the table. She joined him in the living room where he apologized for not helping. Eyes sparkling, he handed her the sheet music for Cellophane and stood up ready to sing.
“Hang on a minute, Jack. Let me bumble my way through first.”
To Sharon’s surprise, she caught on right away. Two or three times over the music and soon Jack sang as she played. His voice clear and touching as he sang the words about how nobody knows my name. Dance movement came with it. Obviously he’d worked on the audition for hours.
“So what do you think?”
“Poignant. I’d like to see you relax a bit more in the dance when you kind of shimmy, reach out to the audience; start softer with your voice and build on it. But Jack, what do I know? One thing for sure, you touched me with the way you sang as if it was the truth. Nobody knows your name. You made me want to cry. Sing as if this happens to you on a daily basis, make it believable. You’re not just a song and dance man anymore. You’re special. I mean it.”
“Sharon,” he kneeled at her feet, “you may be the best thing that ever happened to me in years.”
“Let me know what happens, my friend.”
“I’ll send you tickets.” He hugged Sharon and hurried out the door.
“What just happened, Barry? I took the pups to the dog park, met an actor, invited him home and played the piano for him so he’d audition plus I gave him critique on how to perform it better. All the years I spent in your dear shadow and here I am giving advice to an actor.” Sharon laughed and didn’t stop. Maybe she was Cellophane all this time.
Three days later, red roses arrived with two tickets to Chicago. Sharon called Kathy Chambers to invite her to the play.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords


8/9/15 WEWRIWA

Humpty Dumpty went to Long Beach Island and had two great falls. The motto is Watch Your Step, Humpty. Bandaged on my left leg; bandaged on my right arm, I could only dip my left arm and right leg in the ocean and pool but man, could I boogey to the live music at the pool wearing a snazzy glam pink hat daughter selected for me.

Thanks to all of you for the suggestions as I struggled through When Double Becomes Single. My book mentions WEWRIWA in the acknowledgements once again. It will be available for purchase this very week.

I’m excited to share the good news. My latest book is about to be released. Titled When Double Becomes Single and here’s a blurb:
Before that awful night, Sharon Michaels had never even driven by herself at night, eaten alone at a table for one, or made plans on her own.
Alone after losing her husband-her rock-she’s left with a business to run, a great son and his wonderful wife and children -far away in Denmark, a bad son and his nasty wife and two teen age grandchildren she barely knows.
Step by step, she finds her way into the world of singles and learns to Survive and Thrive.

And now, as you all know I never stop writing, here’s an excerpt from a WIP my little gnarled fingers are working on.


About an hour from Salt Lake City, Utah and up a winding road hidden behind a tall fence, was a private religious school. Celia and Carey Costigan, residents since childhood, banished there by their mother, the girls sat next to each other in the computer room texting in twin special codes.
“Time 2 get out.”“U betcha.”“Call Uncle?”“2 nite.”
“hidden camera’s-big I’s alert.”“Not 2 worry. Texting Unc now.”
The cry for help was long in coming for the twins. A sense of gratitude to the Nuns who had cared for them since they were seven years old during the bad old days when they were dropped like garbage at the beautiful school.
“I remember her like a bad dream, the long trip from Minnesota to Utah with Mother hanging all over that guy, what’s his name?”
“Max Calhoun who wouldn’t stop long enough for us to eat or use the bathroom so when he needed gas, Jimmy sneaked us out for food and the toilet.”
“He’s the best brother ever and to think he was only twelve back then.”
“We were just about seven years old so never forget or forgive her, the bitch who abandoned us.

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7/26/15 WEWRIWA

We continue with splendid weather up here and hope for the best. Thanks again to my friends at wewriwa for all the good constructive advice last week. I’m almost at the end of my story When Double Becomes Single.

Last week, Sharon is told by the doctor that her husband Barry died of a massive heart attack. Before he can stop her, she runs into the room where just hours before they kissed goodnight.


One big shove at Room 304 and she flew past the doctor and in where her husband lay still, hazel eyes closed, gone forever from her life.
His checked robe hung in the open closet, slippers tucked below, forlorn and shabby without Barry. His toothbrush showed blue toothpaste she’d seen an hour before. Sharon used the step stool to climb on the bed; she needed to be closer, to touch and caress his face. Already he felt cool to her lips.
“Barry, come back to me,there’s still time to return.” She wrapped her slender arms around his big frame but the longer she held her husband the cooler he felt.

She shivered with grief and spoke to God, “Take me instead, my husband’s the brains of the outfit, he’s the leader and I follow.” Her fists clenched knowing it’s too late, too late.

Sharon was left to wonder how she’d ever survive without him.

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Mother and daughter

Mother and daughter

Dynamic Authors Chelle Cordero and Charmaine Gordon at Palaia Vineyards July 31

Dynamic Authors Chelle Cordero and Charmaine Gordon at Palaia Vineyards

 July 31 … 6PM to 8PM

Chelle 2     Charmaine CD -3 sATURATED_pp8x10g- CD

Multi-published Vanilla Heart Publishing Authors Chelle Cordero and Charmaine Gordon will be at Palaia Vineyards on Friday night, July 31, 2015, 6:00PM to 8:00PM to read from their books, interactive discussion of the stories and the writing process, and sign book copies. Copies will be available for purchase. There is no cover fee; participants must be at least 21-years old.


Chelle Cordero is an award-winning author who writes stories of Passion and Suspense; VHP has published ten Cordero novels including Final Sin, a murder mystery based in the Hudson Valley. You can find more information about Chelle Cordero at her website http://ChelleCordero.com.


Charmaine Gordon is a former actress who writes books about women who Survive and Thrive; Charmaine’s first novel with VHP, To Be Continued, has been optioned for a television movie. More information about Charmaine Gordon is available at https://AuthorCharmaineGordon.wordpress.com/.


Kimberlee Williams, Managing Editor at Vanilla Heart Publishing, said “Our VHP Dynamic Duo certainly promises to be entertaining and make for a fun-filled evening at Palaia Vineyards.” Vanilla Heart Publishing is an independent publisher based in Washington State .


Palaia Vineyards is named for the winemaker’s grandfather, Angelo Palaia, who emigrated here from  Italy and passed his winemaking skills on to his son and grandson. Over ten acres of vineyards are situated on a 200-year old Hudson Valley former dairy farm. The old barn has been restored and is now a beautiful, clean winery on the lower level, with storage and a tasting room above preserving the look and feel of the historical building.


Palaia Vineyards is located at 10 Sweet Clover Road in Highland Mills, Orange County, New York; it’s easy to get to by car, the vineyard is five miles north of the Woodbury Commons Outlet Stores on Route 32.



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:


6/14/15 WEWRIWA

Welcome to the best blog hop in town where writers post 8-t0 sentences in a snippet and are bombarded with sincere constructive critique. Yes, you heard me, folks, because we all want to help each other improve our writing. So here goes.

Lat week in my story Spreading Her Wings, a family problem is resolved. Wealthy father realizes daughter has plans of her own and agrees to respect her ideas. Ah fiction. Don’t you love it!Intrepid reporter Sally Kirkwood calls her lecherous boss on the way back to River’s Edge. She has an idea for a story to use on his cable television station. Little does she know he still has a thing for her.


Lance Jordan, the smooth talker picked up, his sensual voice reminding her of last spring when they almost got involved and she said no.
“Are you ready to say yes?”
“Let’s talk business, boss, because I just witnessed quite a scene at the Shubert Theatre with a major backer for the new production, his daughter, and the producer with threats and just about everything.I learned that Johnny Epstein’s the producer and he needs a major backer or a conglomerate interested in investing in the show so he’s not beholden to this other backer with the kid.”
“ I’ll call my connections and get back to you, now what’s your angle on an interview?”
“I’m thinking about what goes on backstage, how it hurts the talented kids when a backer pushes a girlfriend or someone close with no talent into the lead.
“And the name of the play is. . .”
“Damned if I know.”

The voice of Lance Jordan could be heard saying, “Damned if I Know is a terrible name for a play.”

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SHW ereader with hands

Spreading Her Wings
Kindness to Strangers in River’s Edge rubs off on all who live there. Sally Kirkwood responds to an emergency call from a friend one early morning. A daughter is missing and with Sally’s skill as a reporter, she finds her at an audition in NYC. Thus begins an adventure of show business, unfaithfulness, forgiveness and success.

Also Available as Singles for all Ebook reading devices!