Debra has a short story, The Road to Groom Lake which is part of the anthology, We Know the Truth, Do You? an area 51 anthology of short stories. Though now out of print, the digital edition will be on the moon. For more about these stories on the moon, check out … Writers on the Moon page

What was Debra’s first book published?

A Desperate Journey was published by Samhain Publishing, a small traditional press, in 2008 in ebook and 2009 in print. She had an agent and a traditional contract with a $100 advance. The publishing house is no longer in business, which to Debra’s surprise now makes those first editions collectible. A Desperate Journey was the first novel Debra wrote, after penning short stories. She used to call it her training wheel novel. The original title of the story was Gone to Texas before it was first publsihed. After rights reverted to Debra, she was able to put the story out as Gone to Texas: A Desperate Journey, which is as close to the original story as possible. Now out in eBook, paperback, and large print hardcover.

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

Debra’s first novel, 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  Similar to the TV show American Idol, twelve unpublished authors competed for one publishing contract with Dorchester Publishing.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 Booklovers magazine. Each month two authors were “kicked off the island.” Debra’s book made it to the second round before being kicked off. Before the contest ended, Debra had signed with an agent and a year later the book was picked up by Samhain Publishing. Though the publisher, and 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. She has always loved poems and stories, particularly fairytales and folktales from around the world.

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 focused on selling advertising for the Collierville Herald in TN. As self-publishing became accessible in 2013 she tested the waters with her first poetry anthology, Twilight Dips. Bringing the book out in ebook through KDP and in print through Createspace, she took a leap, hired a cover artist from her publishing house, while an author friend edited the anthology. Debra did everything else.  The book is still available in print and ebook.

Was Debra a hybrid author?

Yes. A hybrid author publishes in traditional publishing through a publishing house with an advance and also self-publishes. Debra started out traditionally published. In 2013 she moved into self-publishing, with her first poetry anthology. After obtaining rights from five publishers, she released her backlist books through her new label, Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated. After her back list books were out, she hired editors to help her publish new stories. Today she is an Indie author and publisher.

What does the name Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated mean?

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

Why does Debra write in so many genres?

This works best for her. Debra is a Gemini , born June 7th (the same day as the recording artist Prince) Geminis almost always do more than one thing, and have many interests. Trying to write in only one genre stops her cold. Writing more than one allows words to flow.

When Debra was first published in 2008, the advice of editors and agents was to pick one genre and stick with it. 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 for her publishing house.  Focusing only on westerns slowed her writing pace down and that, combined with the revolving door of editors she worked with at her first publishing house stalled her career.  She got things moving again by writing in different genres and went on to write for four additonal small presses, writing different types of books for each and juggling multiple deadlines. She does not recommend writing for five publishing houses, even if you are a Gemini and good at juggling things.

Of the six publshing houses, only one is still in business. Once book rights reverted to her, she was able to republish the books and expand some into series. She put four into audiobook, and now has also started putting her books into large print hardcover.

Debra always has many books started (usually twelve or thirteen) and this prevents “writers block” a term she doesn’t like to use. If she slows down or gets stuck on a story, she gets up and moves around to get her circulation going or she works on a different story. As a result, she usually has many stories in the pipeline.  She will jump from one she’s stuck on to a different one. She’s always writing something and finds as much joy in working on one of her stories with an editor as she does writing a first draft. She finds much joy in writing.