March 13, 2012

Made It Moment 2: Debbi Mack

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 8:07 am


You know John Lennon’s line about life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans? Well, Debbi Mack’s life–and her Moments–are living proof. You can read Debbi’s first Made It Moment here and I am so glad to have her back on the blog with the third in her Sam McRae mystery series just out, some stellar climbing of lists under her belt, and even some pretty amazing appearances (one is embedded here as a video). I wish ever greater success for Debbi–and that she keeps taking those other plans and making them turn out even better than the original would have been!

Debbi Mack

When my first novel IDENTITY CRISIS was published, so many years ago, by a small press that will remain nameless, I was on top of the world. I felt like I’d finally gotten my big break. I knew the road ahead would be a long and hard one, but I was willing to work hard to market and promote my book.

Not long after I signed the contract, I had a stroke. I recovered fully or so it seemed. A few months afterward, I developed a rare movement disorder called dystonia. As a result, my left hand and foot began to clench constantly.

Then, nine months after my novel was published, the press went out of business. All the authors ranted about how unfair that was. Talk to me about unfair, I wanted to tell them. :)

Years later, I decided to self-publish the out-of-print first novel. After all, what did I have to lose? I had revised the first book to make it a sequel and written the third novel in what I hoped to make a series of Sam McRae mysteries. However, as often happens, things didn’t turn out quite as planned. I revised the third book and made it the sequel.

Then, last year, the most amazing things happened. My once out-of-print novel, IDENTITY CRISIS became a New York Times ebook fiction bestseller. And both novels hit the Amazon Top 100 here in the US. Then they both hit the Amazon UK Top 100. And when my second novel LEAST WANTED hit the Top 10 on Amazon UK, this completely blew me away.

Then I was invited to speak on this panel at a pre-BoucherconSisters in Crime event.

Can you see where I’m heading with this? Life is a journey, comprised of a series of made-it moments.

Now, finally, I’ve reached another milestone. I’ve published RIPTIDE, my third Sam McRae mystery novel. This makes me the author of an actual mystery series, and not just a book and a sequel.

This alone makes me extremely happy. Especially given my condition.

However, I keep looking forward to where life’s journey may take me, because you just never know, do you?

Debbi Mack has published two other novels in the Sam McRae mystery series: the New York Times ebook bestseller Identity Crisis, and the sequel Least Wanted. She’s also published Five Uneasy Pieces, a short story collection that includes her Derringer Award–nominated story “The Right to Remain Silent.” Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies and publications, including Shaken: Stories for Japan, an anthology created to benefit Japanese tsunami relief efforts.

A former attorney, Debbi has also worked as a journalist, reference librarian, and freelance writer/researcher. She’s currently working on a young adult novel, planning Sam’s next adventure, and generally mulling over other projects. You can find her online at her website. She also has five blogs, including My Life on the Midlist, The Book Grrl and Random and Sundry Things. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Hi, Debbi,

    As a struggling writer, I applaud your determination and current success. You’ve clearly worked hard for it. Your efforts will inspire other writers.

    Wishing you continued success.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    THE TRUTH SLEUTH–now available in large print at libraries

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — March 13, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  2. Hi Debbi, very inspiring story.


    Comment by Arthur Levine — March 13, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  3. Amazing story of perseverance and success! I’m so glad you stuck with it and didn’t give up! You’re an inspiration to all us writers.

    Morgan Mandel

    Comment by Morgan Mandel — March 13, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  4. Debbi, this is a very inspiring story, even to someone who is a non-writer. You are showing all of us, writer and reader, that no matter what happens in life to not give up and keep trudging thru no matter what life brings. Thank you for sharing!!

    Jenny, thank you again for this wonderful inspiring story.

    Comment by Kellie — March 13, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  5. Hello Debbie – you are living proof that it takes guts, determination and a passion for writing to succeed. Enjoy the journey and keep writing! We are enjoying your work!

    Comment by Connie J Jasperson — March 13, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  6. Thanks everyone! :) I really appreciate your comments. I’m heading off to have my taxes done. Big fun! :D Will check in later. Thanks again, Jenny, for letting me post here.

    Comment by Debbi — March 13, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  7. Congratulations Debbi, As A small press person I so understand the struggles of that game. The things you have overcome is remarkable! Your ability to become successful in the face of that is so inspiring and I hope others can benefit from your amazing journey. Look me up on Facebook, if you ever need a bump or mention for your book I would be happy too…

    All the best!!!
    J. Darroll Hall
    Fantasy Island Book Publishing

    Comment by JD — March 13, 2012 @ 10:51 am

  8. Hi, Debbi. I was stranded by the same shall-remain-nameless small publisher as you so I know what that’s like. Since then, I’ve followed your career with respect and admiration for all you’ve accomplished. Best wishes for even more success in the future.

    Comment by Earl Staggs — March 13, 2012 @ 11:15 am

  9. Congratulations Debbie on what sounds like an amazing ride and journey. You are inspiring and remind me to keep plugging away because eventually, someday, you never know, something really exciting might be just around the corner.

    Comment by Johanna — March 13, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  10. Debbi, what a great story. I wish you continued success.

    Comment by Anita Page — March 13, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

  11. I so understand your journey. I’m in almost the same situation. Two books out. Publisher GONE! Books in limbo at the moment. Can’t release either book as eBook yet, but that’s the first thing I’ll do after they go out of print.

    So happy for your turnaround success. Here’s to a great future for you and your stories.

    Comment by C. Lee McKenzie — March 13, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  12. Wow! I’m overwhelmed. Seriously.

    Thank you everyone.

    My advice: just keep going, be in this for the long haul, don’t be afraid to fail and be passionate and professional.

    Hard work and luck will win out in the end. That’s the key to happiness, in my opinion. Working hard, doing what you love, and doing for others while you do.

    Comment by Debbi — March 13, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  13. Debbi! I had no idea. I don’t know if you’ll remember me, but a while ago I won IDENTITY CRISIS, signed, and have raved about it since I read it. You were very kind in your inscription. I had no idea you’ve been through so much. Let’s just say I can truly identify. You’re a wonderful woman and fabulous writer who deserves the world! And what cute pictures!

    Comment by SavvyBlue — March 13, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  14. Hi SavvyBlue! I do remember you. :) Thank you so much! I appreciate your support, and I’m glad you enjoyed my book.

    Comment by Debbi — March 13, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

  15. I admire your tenacity and talent. And that’s what it takes to succeed in this crazy business. I salute your continued success!

    Comment by L.J. Sellers — March 13, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

  16. Debbie, I admire your tenacity. But what else did you do to get to the Amazon Top 100 besides writing a very good book? It is very hard to sell ebooks. I know. My book has been published since last October and I have sold so far between 150 to 200 and given away 5500 during a few single day Free promotions. Let me tell you it is such a challenge to get where I’m now. It is such a breakthrough just to sell it to strangers. My book is a book of literary fiction which is not a easy genre to sell online.

    I know Darcy Chan tried a few internet advertising. Thanks

    Comment by Lisa Zhang Wharton — March 13, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

  17. Debbie, I found my answer in the video.

    Comment by Lisa Zhang Wharton — March 14, 2012 @ 12:02 am

  18. Thanks, LJ! :) I appreciate your support.

    And thank you, Lisa! :) I’m glad the video was helpful. I should probably tweet and Facebook it more often, since so many authors have questions about marketing. And what I said turned out to be helpful. Apparently. :)

    Thing is there’s no sure fire way to succeed at this. You have to try things, see what works and what doesn’t, and go with it. As always luck plays a big factor. Some things are simply out of our control. I try things, knowing I may fail, but hope for the best. What’s the worst that can happen, right? :)

    Comment by Debbi — March 14, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  19. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story, Debbie! It’s so inspiring to hear what you were able to accomplish with your writing after a scary health issue. My agent had been pitching my first novel for over a year when I received a breast cancer diagnosis last year. We’d received such positive feedback and near-deals that I decided it was time to make a change of plans and self-publish. I have no idea what will happen in the future, but I’m really happy with this new course. Congratulations with your latest milestone with having a full-fledged series.

    Comment by Gigi Pandian — March 14, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

  20. Debbi, You have no idea how much your story brightened my day. You really are an inspiration, and I applaud your tenacity. You’ve had many Made It Moments and I hope they just keep coming.

    Comment by Marja McGraw — March 14, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  21. Thanks again! :) Boy, you guys are awesome. Hang in there and never say die!

    Comment by Debbi — March 14, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  22. Hi Jenny, Great blog and moment. Great video, thanks…

    Comment by Alex Lukeman — March 14, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  23. Debbi’s right–you are guys are an amazing group! I agree that Debbi’s story is inspirational. Gigi, I am hoping this new route of publishing brings you many dreams come true–and also that you conquer your diagnosis. You will be welcome on this blog any time with your own Moment. Some of you have shared your Moments already, and I look forward to being in touch with those of you who are still working on them. Debbi, I hope this latest Sam McRae brings you ever more readers. Thanks, everyone, for being here!

    Comment by jenny milchman — March 15, 2012 @ 8:47 am

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