Free Book – No Fooling!

Check it out on Amazon

To celebrate the release of the second edition of Painted Black, I’ve decided to offer the Kindle version for FREE this weekend only, April 1-3.



Watch for 2nd Edition Coming Soon | Painted Black

I will be upgrading the cover on Painted Black soon.
Watch back here for more news.

cover final-245px335pI just wanted to tell everyone that I will be releasing Painted Black, edition 2, sometime in early March. The content will be the same, so don’t feel you have to run out to buy a new copy to compare text, but it will have a new cover, thanks to the artistic talents of the amazing Annie Walls, who did the cover for Box of Rain There may be a short transitional period during which neither version will be available as Amazon and other sites remove the old and replace it with the new, but check back here and I’ll be sure to let you know when version 2 is available. Cover sneak peak available soon!

Source: Watch for 2nd Edition Coming Soon | Painted Black

Split Personalities: Painted Black

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This week, instead of continuing my blogging theme discussing my three books in one project, I wanted to comment on what happens sometimes when you search Amazon for an author’s books online. When I search Amazon for “Painted Black Borys” I find two results, one of which is a whopping $19.93 and is sold by some company named Wisper Books (see Images 2 and 3).

In Image 1 next to the $5.20 there are also 28 new and used offers you can click on.  These are an assortment of odd sellers offering Painted Black as a new or used book.  This often happens to authors. Their book gets listed for odd, sometimes exorbitant, prices from resellers.  While many of the companies are legit, you should also be cautious since it is possible you might get more than you bargain for if you try purchasing.  This is especially true if they claim you can download the book for free.

The only way you can download any of my books for free is if I or my publisher set up a special sale. If you see an offer too good to be true, check here on my website or my Street Stories site .  I will always tell you about special sales.  The exception to this is that anyone who subscribes to Kindle Unlimited can download some of my books for free.

See images 2 and 3 as examples of what a non-primary seller’s page might look like.

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Ebook Prices Reduced

My publisher realigned their pricing structure and decided to reduce the cost for all their ebooks that have been released for at least six months.  This includes the e-versions of both Painted Black and Bend Me, Shape Me! The books will now sell at $2.99, a price which is already reflected on the site and will soon show up on Kobo, iBooks, and B&N.

This is a PERMANENT price change, not just a limited sale. Enjoy!

Ebooks NOW selling for $2.99 STARTING TODAY!

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Download from the following e-stores:

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Praise for Painted Black

Jo Sullivan’s search for a missing street kid unearths a bizarre collection of freeze-dried corpses.

“Full of suspense and intrigue.”

“The characters were true to life and leapt out of the page at me, at times their pain was tangible.”

“There isn’t a part of this book you don’t feel, it reaches into your core.”

“Dark, gritty and suspenseful this is a seat of your pants ride that you won’t soon forget.”


 Praise for Bend Me, Shape Me

Meet Snow Ramirez.  She’s convinced psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide, and may be targeting her brother Alley as his next victim.

“A fantastic follow up to the first ‘Street Stories’ book.”

“Another heart wrenching look into the life of kids on the street.”

“Borys is quite the master at not only creating believable environments, but thrilling tales.”

“Bend Me, Shape Me is definitely going to deliver a jolt.”

“Snow is strong, brave, troubled and incredibly fierce.”

“Often chilling, always entertaining”

It’s good to know Painted Black is still pulling in new readers and admirers.

Painted Black

5 star review Timing is everything.  During October, reviewer Angie Mangino is giving away her print reviewer’s copy of Painted Black in a contest on Facebook.  Then today, I received notice that Gary Stout posted a review of Painted Black on Amazon.  A five-star review, no less!  So after you read HIS five-star review, go to Angie’s Facebook page to read HER -five star review, and then comment in her post to possibly win your very own print version of the book.

Here’s What Gary had to say:

5.0 out of 5 starsOften Chilling, Always Entertaining, October 5, 2013
This review is from: Painted Black (Kindle Edition)

Borys has written a story from the streets of Chicago. She has developed consistent characters, used excellent imagery, and captured a glimpse of youth viewpoint of life on the streets and lost innocence. It’s easy to get behind the plot and want to follow along…

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“Authentic and Moving”

I got a nice 4-star review on and Goodreads. Judith compares the book to Willard Motley’s Knock On Any Door. Pretty cool!

Jo Sullivan helps a homeless boy, Chris, look for his missing girlfriend, carrying us deep into the Chicago’s underbelly where street kids struggle to survive. Their quest carries them deep into the macabre, where the homeless are fed into the sick ambitions of the rich. The stories of neglect and abuse that people her world are as real as the mystery of Lexie’s disappearance, and in the end, Borys creates not only a page turning mystery, but an authentic and moving picture of a bitter, harsh and cruel world, reminiscent, for me, of Willard Motley’s 1947 Chicago epic, Knock On Any Door, a story that moved me greatly back in the Fifties.

–Judith Kirsch, author of The Inheritors

via 4-star Review | Painted Black.

Author Interview on Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog

Painted Black

MorgenI’d almost forgotten about this interview I did for Morgen Bailey.  Morgen is a prolific writer with a website that offers fresh material daily.  You should check it out.

Most of Morgen’s questions are related to the writing process itself so if you want to see my take on that, here’s a small excerpt from the interview:

Creating main characters usually just happens–I often have a character in mind before I really know what their story is.  If a name doesn’t just come to me, I might go to a baby book, but that’s only if I’m really stuck or need a name for a less important character.  For developing and keeping track of those characters, I find some kind of form helps–one where you fill in things like hair color, strengths and weaknesses, what kind of car they drive, etc.  For more in-depth characterization I like free writing…

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“See these teens in a different way”

Angie Mangino gave Painted Black another 5-star review!

What do you see when you think of teens living on the streets of a city? Do you get angry, compassionate, or think it’s a shame, but not your problem? Be ready to see these teens in a different way.

Jo comes to care about Chris, as do readers, with Borys painting a picture of life on the streets of Chicago that will absorb and involve readers as the reality shocks and captures them.

via ANGIE MANGINO Reviews Painted Black | Painted Black.

“Pulls No Punches”

Thanks to Snow Wolf for this 5-star Goodreads Review

Engaging, fast-paced, and thought provoking. The author pulls no punches when portraying the life and trials of street kids. The pacing comes from the use of multiple main characters, with their very varied viewpoints on life or the situation. Also nice to see was how the author only revealed a little about a character’s past at a time, instead of sudden deluges of information I’ve seen elsewhere.

I look forward to other works from this author, particularly if they fall in series with this book.

via Goodreads

“A compelling storyline”

GoodBookshelf Painted Black got another 4-star review over at My Good Booskshelf. Nicola had some wonderful things to say about the characters and the pacing and is looking forward to my next Street Stories suspense novel.

Read what she has to say below and visit her page to see what else she recommends as a great read.

An eye-opening character-driven suspense novel

Some of the themes in this book were quite dark (drugs, abuse, prostitution- amongst others….), but the author does a great job in weaving them together into a compelling storyline. I found Sidney, a funeral home worker to be inherently creepy, yet that was what made him so interesting to read about. I suppose my only criticism is that we never fully find out just why he does the weird things he does. Then again, with someone like that, perhaps it is best not knowing and it all adds to the overall mystery!

I have to say that I found all of the main characters to be really engaging and definitely felt that as a reader I could get into their heads; not Jo especially, though she was certainly well written- I just felt for both Lexie and Chris. They (and their situation on the streets) was vividly brought to life, along with a realistic, grittier side of Chicago that not a lot of people get to learn about. Often I find that teenagers voices don’t feel particularly ‘realistic’ in fiction, but thankfully it wasn’t the case here and they definitely came to life during the course of this novel. It is evident that the author has invested a lot of time in getting to know young people just like those she writes about in this book, and Chris and Lexie have both made an impression on me. Chris especially, seemed jaded for one so young, but considering his circumstances it is hardly surprising- it did make me think about how fortunate I am to have grown up in a stable home with the upbringing I have had and how other young people aren’t so lucky. Some of the aspects of this book were really hard hitting and the author should be commended for tackling such important, relevant subjects in the plot and not shying away from some of the grittier details.

via My Good Bookshelf

“Full of suspense and intrigue”

Heather Boustead at Reflections of a BookWorm reviewed Painted Black on her blog, on Amazon and on Goodreads and gave it four stars. Here’s a bit of what she had to say. Click the link below to read her whole review and visit her website.

Thank you, Heather. And there will be more Jo Sullivan novels. Book two, working title Bend Me Shape Me, is scheduled for release in March 2013.

This is such an interesting story, though this is not for everyone, there are moments when it is crass and takes an unforgiving look at life on the streets. That being said, this is a fantastic novel full of suspense and intrigue. Each character comes to life in these pages making it almost impossible to put it down for even a moment as you wonder what is going to happen to Chris and Jo. I think the author has come across an interesting setting for an entire series of novels featuring Jo and hopefully Chris as well, at least I hope so. The only thing I must say that it does need a bit of editing other than that the author has certainly struck gold with this novel.

via Reflections of a BookWorm:

“A real page turner”

Wistfullskimmie Kim over at Wistfulskimmie’s Book Reviews gave Painted Black a 5 star review today. I’m so excited because she had such nice things to say. It is so gratifying to have reviewers applaud the very elements I tried so hard to do right.

Thank, you, Kim. I will certainly let you know when the second Street Stories novel is ready to read.

I enjoyed this immensely, but it was also quite gritty at the same time and made me think of the fates of others, especially the ‘forgotten’ homeless. Whilst on the one hand highlighting the fate these teenagers have to face, it was also a good mystery at its heart. Jo and Chris are damaged in their own ways and must put aside their mistrust of each other to work together. It is a gripping story. A real page turner but also very sad. The characters were true to life and leapt out of the page at me, at times their pain was tangible. The ending was sad but right for the book. A great mystery that highlights the problems facing the homeless more or less every day. I shall certainly look out for more by this author.

via Wistfulskimmie’s Book Reviews:

“Definitely one to read”

James Ewing, author of the soon to be published crime comedy novel FRESH SQUEEZED, just posted a four star review of Painted Black on Amazon. I love what he has to say, especially the part about the Kafkaesque villain and “a good story with a wicked twist.”

If you’ve read Painted Black, I encourage you to go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads and leave a review. I’d love to hear everyone’s feedback, both good and bad. That’s how authors make the next book even better.

Painted Black is the fast-paced story of the nearly invisible people living on the street, and the people who prey on them. Set in Chicago, Painted Black gives a gritty look at the hidden reality of homelessness, and the lengths these pariahs are forced to go to, just to survive. The story follows street-beat reporter Jo Sullivan in her obsessive search for a missing teenage girl. As she uncovers clues to the girl’s whereabouts, Jo comes face-to-face with gutter-level hardcores, social working soft-hearts, and a truly Kafkaesque villain. A good story with a wicked twist, Painted Black is definitely one to read.

via James W Ewing’s review

The Importance of Libraries

In today’s digital age, some people may never even go into a public library.  Never experience the awe of standing in a huge room filled with hundreds of books that go all the way up to the ceiling in some cases, and down long rows of shelves in others.

I remember sitting on the floor in the corner of my public library as a child with A Wrinkle in Time in my hands, lost in the world Madeleine L’Engle created while I waited for my Mom to pick me up.  The yellow brick building was just a block away from my grade school and sometimes when she was not able to meet me right as school let out, I would go there to wait instead.

I could have waited for hours.  The place held almost as much awesome holiness to me as the church I attended on Sundays.  It was certainly filled with just as many mysteries.

Today I found out a friend requested my novel Painted Black from their local library.  Due to his initiative, his library system purchased a copy and told him it was ready to borrow.  I know my book doesn’t approach the appeal and mystique of A Wrinkle In Time.  But there is an intense satisfaction in knowing that somewhere within the walls of the Kitsap Public Library, someone could be sitting in a corner flipping through the pages of a novel that I’ve written.

The thought fills me with as much pleasure as my first Madeleine L’Engle books did.

If you want to read Painted Black, ask your local library if they have a copy.  Or you can buy a copy of your own by asking at your local bookstore or going to


Painted Black

Jaidis Shaw,  author of Destiny Awaits, recently highlighted Painted Black on her blog Juniper Grove and offered a contest to win free copies of the e-book version.

I just emailed their prizes to Jennifer and Kelly.  I hope they enjoy the book and will review it on Amazon or Goodreads.

This makes eight books that have been won on various online contests.  if you want to host a giveaway on your blog or website, please contact me here and we can set something up.

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“Dark, gritty and suspenseful”

When I emailed an epub version of Painted Black to Jenn’s Review Blog on May 8, I did so hoping she’d be able to get to it by the end of June. Reviewers are swamped these days with review requests and Jenn had only been able to tell me she would get to it as soon as she could.

So I was very surprised to get her email May 31 saying she was already done and had posted the review on her blog. According to her email: “Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down! Review is posted on my blog and I am posting to Amazon, B&N and Goodreads also 🙂 I hope you will consider asking me to review your next book, I loved the character of Jo Sullivan! Thanks again for the opportunity.”

Click the link below to read her full review.

This is one of those stories that really opens your eyes. Homeless street kids are everywhere but do we really stop and notice them as we go about our day to day lives? Jo Sullivan is a reporter writing a Street Stories column who after a brief meeting with Lexie Green becomes embroiled in one of the most unique mysteries I’ve read in a long time. From drugs, hustling, and child abuse to the seedy and disgusting desires of a strange and twisted man this story keeps you reading from page one to the last word. Dark, gritty and suspenseful this is a seat of your pants ride that you won’t soon forget.

via Jenn’s Review Blog: Painted Black.

“Successfully creepy”

citiesThis review slipped by my notice until yesterday. Connor Rickett tells his views about the good, the bad and the–well, there isn’t really anything ugly in his review, so I’m counting it as a big win. See what you think–click through to read the whole review.

Debra R. Borys is a good writer, and Painted Black keeps the pace up throughout. The characters come across as real, and the at times disturbing reality of the way she portrays the lives of the homeless lend the entire book a visceral feel. She clearly mines her own experiences working with the homeless community to bring the streets to life. The gritty realism that surrounds the protagonists gives them a flavor, and Borys does not seem to feel burdened to tie up every loose end and personal issue in a nice little happy bow. That simple accession to reality is one a lot of writers refuse to make, invested as we are in our characters.

Another item particularly well done was the dialog. Borys must have an ear for it, because it flows naturally, and mimicking the slang of the inner city is something very good writers often mess up painfully.

The villains are certainly intimidating, and, however twisted, far from incompetent most the time. There is nothing that drives a story forward quite like villains suffering from competence and a tendency towards intelligent action. There are some elements that are almost creepy, and some elements that are incredibly successfully creepy. A good villain can make a book, and though I wish they had been given more page time, these guys did their job: They made you think the protagonists were in real danger.

via  Cities of the Mind.

“Gets you hooked”

SeattleWroteNorelle Done from Seattle Wrote posted her 4 star review review on Amazon and Goodreads today. The review will also be posted on her website. Here’s an excerpt of what she had to say.

Thanks, Norelle! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Painted Black is easy to follow, interesting, and gets you hooked. . . Borys depicts the street life and struggles in an engaging, interesting way that draws you in and helps give a little perspective into the lives of the homeless. Maybe the next time you see someone huddled in a door frame or sleeping on a park bench, they won’t be quite so invisible.

via Norelle Done’s review of Painted Black.

Postcards From the Streets

Suspense Magazine gave me a chance to share two “postcards” of real people I knew on the streets of Chicago and reflect on how they impacted my writing.  I hope you will click through to read the entire post and get a glimpse of Chris and John.  These people influenced my portrayal of Cry and Samuel Walker in Painted Black.

In my years of meeting street people in Chicago and Seattle, I was struck by how their lives could seem like fiction, their world some dystopian underworld, if you didn’t actually experience it physically like they do. We prefer it that way. We enjoy being readers and observers of the dark and scary, but prefer them in the form of a noir detective novel, perhaps, or a gritty action movie. By doing that, we can remain, for the most part, untouched by the reality of the darkness.

via Suspense Magazine’s Blog Site » Blog Archive » Guest Blogger Debra Borys “Postcards From the Streets.”.

Book of the Month Finalist

Today has been quite a day. My publisher sent me an email telling me a 5 star review of Painted Black had been posted at TBR Books. Then before I could come down from that, TBR books posted on my Facebook page that Painted Black had been selected as an entrant in their Book of the Month contest!

I’ve never been lucky, so I won’t be surprised if I don’t win, but on the other hand, this contest doesn’t depend on luck. It depends on the quality of my writing and its ability to be understood and appreciated by my readers. So maybe I do have a chance to win this thing after all.

If you’ve read Painted Black, or want to show your support, lend me some of your luck—-and votes! Cast your vote at To Be Read Pile – Home.

This is a book that is very far from my own sheltered reality and it certainly makes you think. I can´t usually take too much harsh reality when reading fiction, but this was such a well told story, that in all the misery it still focused on the positive.

via TBR Pile