What was Debra’s first book?

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 which included 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.

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  Similar to the TV show American Idol, twelve unpublished authors competed for one publishing contract with Dorchester Publishing.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 them. 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 the leap and now calls the book her training wheel self published book. She hired a cover artist from one of her publishing houses, an author friend edited the anthology, and Debra did everything else.  The book is available in print and ebook.

Why has Debra called herself a hybrid author?

A hybrid author has published in traditional publishing through a publishing house with an advance and has also self-published. Debra started out traditionally published and later moved into self-publishing. She self-published her first poetry anthology in 2013. Later she obtained rights from five former publishers and re-released her backlist books through her own label, Belo Dia Publishing Incorporated.

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.” (You may 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 is what works best for her as a writer. Debra is a Gemini , born June 7th (the same day as Prince) Geminis almost always do more than one thing, have many interests and love to juggle things. 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 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 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 other houses, writing different types of books for each one and juggling multiple deadlines.

After she got rights back to those books, she was able to expand them into series.

Debra always has many books started 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 or she works on a different story. As a result, she has more stories started than finished on any given day.  She will jump from one she’s stuck on to a different one. She’s always writing something.