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What was Debra’s first book?

A Desperate Journey was published by Samhain Publishing in 2008 in ebook and 2009 in print. The publishing house is no longer in business, which to Debra’s surprise now makes those first editions collectable. A Desperate Journey was the first novel Debra wrote, after penning short stories.

How did Debra get published back in 2008 before there was self publishing? 

Debra’s first book, A Desperate Journey, was part of a contest called The American Title II.  Similar to the TV show American Idol, twelve unpublished authors competed for one publishing contract with Dorchester Publishing. The contest was put on by Dorchester Publishing and Romantic Times magazine. Each month two authors were “kicked off the island” and Debra’s book made it to the second round before she was kicked off. Before the contest ended and the winner was declared, Debra had signed with an agent and a year later the book was picked up by Samhain Publishing. Though both publishers as well as the magazine have since closed their doors, Debra will always be thankful to them for launching her as a published author.

When did Debra first start writing?

As a child, Debra, made up sing song rhymes and fairy tale stories on the school playground before she could write words. She has always loved poems and stories, particularly fairy tales and folk tales.

When did Debra start self publishing?

For years friends and family had asked Debra when she would come out with a book of her poems. She’d had poems published in literary magazines while in college, but after graduation had focused on selling advertising for the Collierville Herald in TN while writing short stories. As self publishing became more accessible, in 2013 she decided to test the waters with her first poetry anthology, Twilight Dips. Bringing the book out in ebook through KDP and in print through Createspace, she took that leap and now thinks of this book as her training wheel self published book. She hired a cover artist she’d worked with at one of her publishing houses and an author friend edited the anthology. Everything else she did herself.  The book is still available in print and in ebook. There is a possibility she might bring it out in audio one day.

Why does Debra call herself a hybrid author?

A hybrid author is published in traditional publishing through a publishing house as well as self publishing. Having been with five traditional publishers, Debra branched out into self publishing with her first poetry anthology in 2013. Later she obtained rights from five former publishers and re-released her back list books through her own label, Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated. Debra believes in doing what’s best for each story as well as for the author. She knows there are pluses and minuses to each way of publishing and doesn’t criticize either one. She believes the goal should be to put out good books and to get them into readers hands.

Why did Debra choose Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated as the name of her publishing company?

Belo Dia is Portuguese for “Beautiful Day”. Debra believes “Every day we are alive is a beautiful day.” (Friends often hear her say this.) This forms the bedrock of Debra’s belief system and her publishing house, and her goal is to contribute to each beautiful day through publishing stories and poetry.

Why does Debra write in so many genres?

There are several reasons but the number one reason is that this is what works best for her as a writer. Debra is a Gemini and Geminis almost always do more than one thing. Geminis love to juggle things and have many interests.

Back when Debra was first published in 2008, the advice of editors and agents was to pick one genre and stick with it writing only that one. Debra had written two novels, A Desperate Journey (western historical romance) and Aboard the Wishing Star (contemporary romance with a Marine hero) when the first one, A Desperate Journey sold. She followed that up with Dangerous Ties, which she wrote for a western anthology her publishing house was putting together. Trying to focus on westerns only during those years slowed her writing pace down and that, combined with the revolving door of editors she worked with at that house finally stalled her career.  Until she got things moving again by writing in a different genre. She then went on to write for four other houses, writing different types of books for each one and juggling many deadlines.

Now that she has rights back to all her books, she’s able to expand several of these books into series and a trilogy.

Debra always has multiple books started in different genres and this prevents “writers block” which is a term you will rarely hear her use. If she slows down or gets stuck on a story, she either gets up and moves around or she works on a different story. Staring at a screen is not something Debra does. As a result, she has more stories started than finished on any given day and as she will jump from one she’s stuck on to one in a different genre to change things up,  as it is a natural progression of her writing practice to write in many genres.