Category Archives: How’s the Writing Going?

Watch for reviews coming soon

So far,  the following book reviewers have agreed to read and review Box of Rain. Watch this site for links to the reviews as they come in.

 Jenn’s Review Blog: Jennifer Zuna reviewed both Painted Black and Bend Me, Shape Me and gave them excellent ratings, so I’m hoping she will like BOR too.  She also reviews products on her site.

M. J. Joachim’s Writing Tips: MJ not only found Bend Me Shape Me to be worth mentioning on both her blogs, but she asked to see all future books in the series and seemed eager to read BOR.  She has a second website, also, called Effectively Human, which recently published an essay by me about a young man I met on the streets of Chicago.

Windy City Reviews: This site is a book review service offered by Chicago Writers Association.  Last year, reviewer Starza Thompson did a lengthy and thoughtful review of Bend Me, Shape Me and has agreed to read BOR, too.

Kathryn’s Inbox: Kathryn published an interview of me earlier this year and has agreed to let me write a guest post, too.  Watch for that soon, and her review of BOR.

Portable Pieces of Thought:  Bridget Koch is a new reviewer to the Street Stories family, but sounded eager to read BOR since the issue of homelessness is important to her.  She won’t have time to do a review until early 2015, but I look forward to hearing what she thinks of the book.

Wistfulskimmie’s Book Reviews: Kim Tomsett feels like an old friend, thanks in part to her awesome reviews of the first two books in the series.  If you visit her site you will find a huge assortment of reviews to help you decide what your next read should be.

Juniper Grove: Jaidis Shaw has been a faithful supporter since the start of the series, having reviewed Painted Black and posting one of my first interviews. She released a YA paranormal romance this past summer and has some short stories in anthologies available.

Author Dayna Leigh Cheser: This is actually the pen name of Julie Jordan, the author of three books. Her website also posts interviews and features for other writers, and will be posting an interview of me later as well.

To see reviews of the first two Street Stories books, click the following links:  Painted Black or Bend Me, Shape Me.

If you are interested in reviewing Box of Rain, either on your own website, on,, or Goodreads, please contact me using the form below.  The book is available in mobi or epub formats.


Omnimystery News: Enter to Win — Box of Rain by Debra R. Borys

Yesterday, the babe was born. Box of Rain is now officially downloadable on and Barnes and  To celebrate, Omnimystery is sponsoring a giveaway contest. Enter today through Dec. 22 to win your free copy. today.

Enter to Win — Box of Rain by Debra R. Borys

Omnimystery News invites you to Enter to Win a copy of Box of Rain by Debra R. Borys, courtesy of the author.

One (1) winner will receive a choice of epub or mobi digital format of …

Title: Box of Rain

Author: Debra R. Borys

Series: A Street Stories Suspense Novel

Publisher: New Libri Press

Format: eBook

List Price: $5.99

Follow the link below to submit your entry. One entry per person; US residents only. Entry period ends Monday, December 22, 2014.

via Omnimystery News: Enter to Win — Box of Rain by Debra R. Borys.


Box of Rain Book Launch Event

wpid-boxofraincover.pngTuesday night, December 16 at 6:30 the Princeton Public library will commemorate the e-book release of author Debra R. Borys’s novel, Box of Rain, with a program about homelessness awareness.

Box of Rain is the third book in Borys’s Street Stories suspense series about homeless youth living in Chicago. Borys spent over 15 years volunteering with service organizations in Chicago and Seattle. Her books combine quirky suspense plots with realistic portrayals of what life on the streets looks like for the unsheltered.

Borys will read from her new book and talk about the conditions she encountered in Chicago, then introduce three local representatives to talk about services available in LaSalle and Bureau Counties for those who find themselves without shelter and in need of assistance.

Carol Alcorn, Executive Director at the Illinois Valley PADS shelter, will emphasize the importance of having a safe place for the night and explain what resources they offer in addition to beds and meals, such as referrals, service plans, and assessments. IV PADS partners with local communities to offer resources and case management free of charge to achieve results through support and opportunity.

Dr. Rebekah Dees-McMahon from Freedom House in Princeton and Kelly Carlson, their medical/legal advocate, will discuss the services they offer to those who are homeless due to domestic abuse. Freedom House is both a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence program that offers counseling and therapy in addition to shelter and prevention programs. All their services are free of charge for women, men, teens and children.

Steve Graham of Tiskilwa will speak about informal homelessness networks. Homelessness is a fact of life for many in Princeton and the surrounding area due to a variety of circumstances. Listening to people’s stories and getting to know them helps alleviate any misunderstandings and prejudices that might exist.

The Princeton Public Library is located at 698 E. Peru Street in Princeton, IL. All programs at the Princeton Public Library are free and open to all. For more information on upcoming programs and on Princeton Public Library services, go to or call 815-875-1331.


Life is a battleground – b-boying battle, that is

I’m just finishing up proofreads of Box of Rain and thought I would share this scene about Booker in action at the break dance battle his cousin Shorty set up in an effort to win some money to pay off a debt.Sf_hiphop

Wobble by V.I.C. jammed so loud Shorty’s ass couldn’t stop bouncing to the beat. The sound drowned out the pellets of rain falling on the aluminum canopy overhead. He could barely see anything in the dark beyond the ring of light aimed between two lines of broken down gas pumps. In the background, white like a ghost with plywood eyes and graffiti for a mouth, the empty Shell station was the only sign there had ever been prosperity anywhere nearby.

The neighborhood was mostly abandoned, the three-block radius about the only place in Chicago considered neutral territory. Which is why tonight’s crowd consisted of a mix of college stiffs, street kids, gang bangers of all affiliations, and the occasional shifty-eyed pervert.

The whole crowd pressed close to the performers. Everyone rolled with the music like scum on waves of water. With a scuffle and jump that set off a roar of approval, the new kid hopped off the square of cardboard to give Booker T his shot at pleasing the audience. Booker started off with a tail-feather shake that earned whistles from the ladies in the front.

“Go T! You can beat him.” Shorty leaned way in like his shoulders could help his cousin win the battle. He turned to Vato, standing next to him. “Better ante up, if you in. Or it be too late to shit in the pot.” He motioned to the scrawny ten-year-old waiting to take their bets over to the banker.

The dark eyes turned on him and Shorty felt a twinge in his gut where he’d taken the worst blow the night before.

The girl Vato had brought with him, in a short skirt and makeup so thick she looked like she was in drag, leaned close and rubbed Vato’s arm. “You sure, baby?” Her voice sounded as sickly sweet as melting cotton candy. “You dance better than either of those clowns.”

Vato ignored her and handed the kid the cash. “You remember what I tell you before, yes?” he told Shorty. “Your boy no win, you lose, too. More than money, understand?”

“Lose? T ain’t gonna lose. Look how he’s slapping that board, man.”

He tried to sound more confident that he felt. He’d seen his cousin shake it dozens of times before and he could tell something was off. Booker seemed to be favoring his one ankle, and had not yet made some of his best moves.

Vato must have noticed it too. When Booker gave ground to his rival and stepped back, Vato shook his head and said, “The other gringo is good, very good.”

Shorty blew out a snort of disgust. “He got no moves at all compared to my boy T there.”

Still, there was a stitch between his shoulder blades as he watched. Just another round to go and it was over. The competition did an aerial cartwheel and turned the floor over to Booker again, but instead of showing how he could flip even higher than the other guy—usually his best move—Booker started a series of flares and floats and windmills. Nothing that would put pressure on that bad leg he seemed to have.

Shorty’s throat felt so tight he thought he was going to choke. Glancing left and right from the edges of his vision, he looked for a clear spot to run if he had to when this was over. Then someone yelled “Yeah, man! Go!”

Booker had the crowd whooping with joy with his last spin and backward bronco jump, bouncing to a halt on the balls of his feet with a limp but also a grin wide as a trucker’s ass-crack. Money started changing wallets, Booker’s arm was lifted by someone in the crowd, and the loser shook hands with a good word about it being a kick-ass run.

Here is my interview with Fiona Mcvie

From the interview linked below:

“I’m excited to announce that my third Street Stories suspense novel, Box of Rain, will be released as an ebook on December 15. Right now, in fact, it is available to pre-order on I expect the print version to be available by spring of 2015. The series is about throw-away kids striving to survive on the streets of Chicago, and a reporter who is the only one willing to help them when they get in a jam. Box of Rain is the story of two cousins who grew up in pretty much the same circumstances, but one turns to violence to try to rise up from the ghetto and the other chooses education. When one of them finds a decapitated corpse in an alley dumpster, reporter Jo Sullivan steps in to try to find out why all the evidence seems to point to the kid least likely to have committed the crime.”



Name:Debra R. Borys

Where are you from: LaSalle Illinois in the U.S.

A little about yourself `ie your education family life etc.

I just moved back to the small town I was raised in after over fifteen years of living in Chicago and Seattle.  I miss the bustle and opportunities the big city has to offer, but since I couldn’t convince my family to move to me, I came back to them.  I have two sons, one of whom just got married.  They had the ceremony in Greece where his wife’s family is from so I was able to visit that wonderful country with my mother, sister and both sons. I recently took a part-time job at a library because, you know, what better job could a writer have than either a library or a bookstore?

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m excited to announce that my third

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Cover image and pre-order date confirmed


My beta readers and editor and I are finishing up the final edits in preparation for a December release date. 

Annie Walls has designed a great cover and my publisher will be making the pre-order option available on Amazon by October 25, so you  could soon line up to have your very own e-copy.

Print release is still expected to be sometime in Spring 2015.

Editing Progress Update


After meeting my word count goal August 1, I took a hiatus to attend my son’s wedding in Greece, which was just enough time and inspiration to prepare me to begin edits. I am almost completely through with the second draft, just six more chapters to do and I now have a total word count of 72,568.  Once I get through these last chapters, I will be sending the draft out to my publisher and select beta readers to get feedback before moving into the second editing phase.

Wish me luck!

The Literary Chain Letter – aka ‘My Writing Process’

If you are curious about the writing process I am using to complete the book, this article I posted on my author blog might be of interest to you. Click through to read the whole thing.

If you don’t want spoilers for Box of Rain, though, don’t read the text in the images too closely.

Viewing only the timeline cards

Debra R. Borys

Chain letters don’t scare me.  My soul has been damned dozens of times if you count how often I have deleted or ignored an email, Facebook post, or tweet that has warned me to repost or forward a “blessing” in order to avoid certain dire consequences.

Except, when Jill Nojack tagged me in a literary chain I’d never heard of before, it pushed a button that I cannot, apparently resist–my vanity.  You see, Jill is from @indieheart and did a great review of Bend Me, Shape Me last year when it first came out, so her calling me out along with Catherine Lea and Peter Maughan tells me she thinks enough of my work to want to call it to the attention of her readers. Or at least that’s what I choose to believe.

Most of the writers I’ve looked at who participated in this chain have answered four basic…

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