Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Background on My Novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore

Hi all,

People always wonder where ideas come from for novels so I wanted to share how the idea for my novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore came to me and why I chose the title. 

The Characters

Widow, Virgin, Whore is about two sisters, Denise and Darla, who are complete opposites and Denise’s best friend, Katherine, who has known her since they were twelve-years old.  The three women are in their mid-30s and at different stages of their lives but all of them are starting their lives over for one reason or another.  This is how they end up living together in one big house along with Darla’s daughter Chelsea and Katherine’s son, Christopher.

The idea of this story started with the idea of the relationship between the two sisters.  Everyone who knows a family with two or more sisters also knows that in most instances, the sisters are complete opposites.  Even though they grow up in the same household with the same parents, rules and education, they can be as different as night and day.  Sometimes, it seems, one sister’s behavior is the complete opposite of the other just to garner attention.  With Denise and Darla, their differences come out in their views of morality. Because Darla, the older sister, is so free with her sexuality, salty-language and provocative clothing, Denise is the complete opposite in her behavior by being the modest, conservative and prim-and-proper sister.  Darla is the party girl, Darla is the unwed mother and Darla is the one who is not responsible.  Denise, on the other hand is the one who never parties, hardly dates and who is actually still a virgin in her 30s.

Along comes Katherine who is the equalizer between the two.  Katherine and her best friend Denise are also complete opposites but in a way that compliments each other.  Where Denise is shy, quiet and doesn’t have much self-confidence, Katherine is able to stand up for herself and exudes confidence in her abilities.  Katherine is the friend who helps give Denise the confidence she needs when she needs it the most and Denise gives Katherine the unconditional friendship that Katherine, who was an only child, needs.  Unfortunately, when you mesh all three women together, it is a disaster in the making.    

The Story

Placing these three very different personalities into one household is where the story begins.  Katherine, recently widowed and left to raise her son alone, decides to leave her old house and buy one where Denise, who is single, can share the house and expenses with her.  Darla, once again needing a place to live with her daughter, Chelsea, moves in only because Katherine wanted to give twelve-year old Chelsea a stable living environment – something Darla has never done.  Of course, it doesn’t take long before sparks fly when Darla does and says anything she can to make Katherine angry – and Katherine isn’t afraid to spar with Darla like Denise is. 

When Darla is diagnosed with AIDS, the balance in the household begins to change and soon Katherine is the one who is immersed in Darla’s life.  Katherine, a writer for a local newspaper, begins writing about Darla’s experiences with AIDS, the support group she is involved with and the fundraising group she volunteers at.  This brings on a new set of problems but begins to bring Darla and Katherine closer.  During this difficult time, Denise finds love for the first time but feels guilty for being happy while her sister is dying of AIDS. 


It would have been easy to have Darla sick with some form a cancer, but I didn’t want easy.  At the time I wrote this book, knowledge of HIV/AIDS was about 10 years old and the media no longer talked about it and everyone seemed to be ignoring it.  This made me angry because AIDS was still going strong and needed to be discussed.  I researched the disease, how it was treated, how people died from it and what was being done to stop it.  I included what I learned from this research in the book.  I wasn’t out to make a statement or educate people – I just wanted the story to be as real as it could be. 

Why the Title Widow, Virgin, Whore?

Again, it would have been easier to name this book something easy like “Three Women”, but the title Widow, Virgin, Whore stood out from the very beginning and I just had to stick with it.  After all – the title says it all.  Katherine is the widow, Denise is the virgin and Darla is the whore.  You can’t get any clearer than that!  I knew when I chose that title that there would be people who didn’t like the word ‘whore’ and that may make it harder to sell the book, but I didn’t care.  It is what it is.  Today that word seems more acceptable and fewer people are offended by it, so hopefully the title draws more people to the book than away from it.  It was just the perfect title.

I loved writing this book – I had thought about it for so long in my head that when I finally sat down to write it, it was as if someone else was putting the words to paper.  It is a heart-felt story that I think any woman would enjoy reading. 


 Widow, Virgin, Whore is available in eBook Format on Amazon for only $2.99.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Self-Publishing eBooks on Amazon

Hi all,

This past week I managed to place both of my books in eBook format on Amazon through their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program. If you don't already know what KDP is, it is where you can turn your manuscript into a Kindle-friendly eBook and sell it on Amazon.  I struggled with deciding to do this because, even though Amazon is a great place for your books to be seen and easy for people to download, Amazon can also switch your prices around if your book is available for a lower price elsewhere and you can't do anything about it.  I decided, in the end, that the exposure and easy access of Amazon for readers made it more than worth placing my books on their site.  Here are some answers to questions you may have.

Was it Easy to Publish on Amazon?

I have to say, if I hadn't already gone through the extensive changes on my manuscripts for Smashwords, I think I would have been a bit lost publishing on Amazon.  For me, Amazon's instructions were not as in-depth as the ones you get at Smashwords, so I may have ended up with some formatting problems if I hadn't already formatted my books for Smashwords.  Because I had copies of my already formatted manuscripts for Smashwords in my files, I simply did a "Save As" and made the few changes that Amazon wanted in order for my manuscripts to become eBooks.  I believe the only changes I needed to make - other than the ones I'd already done for Smashwords - was to do page breaks at the end of chapters (something Smashwords doesn't want you to do so your manuscript will flow) and add a couple of bookmarks showing where the cover photo is, where the beginning of the book is and where the table of contents is ( if the book has one).  I then ran it through the Mobi Pocket Creator program that I had to download and everything went through well.  I also downloaded the Kindle Previewer, which let me see how the file will look on a real Kindle before submitting it.  Amazon gives you links to all of these programs in their instructions.

Am I Happy with the Result?

Yes, I am. My books were already on Amazon in Trade Paperback format so when the eBooks joined the site, the information and reviews of the books was automatically linked to the eBooks as well as links to the paperback books.  Amazon made this very easy.  Now, if Kindle users want to easily download one of my eBooks, they can do it directly from their Kindle instead of going to Smashwords, registering and downloading a copy.  This will hopefully increase sales.

What About Pricing?

Amazon lets you set the price of your eBook, however they will lower it if they find there is a lower price on another site.  Percentages that you earn from sales on Amazon vary - so instead of me trying to explain them, go to the KDP link above and read the FAQs before publishing your eBook.

Check out my eBooks on Amazon! Outlaw Heroes and Widow, Virgin, Whore.


Author Interview for My eBook Outlaw Heroes

Hi all,

I want to give a big Thank You to Becky Flansburg of Frantic Mommy and Lakes Area Moms Squad for the author interview and promotion of my book, Outlaw Heroes. Click the links above to see the interviews on both of her sites. I've known Becky since I began blogging here on Write Moms in 2009 and have followed her progress through the years. She has two very successful blogs and I'm happy that she honored me with this interview. Be sure to check out both sites and place them on your list of favorite blogs to read!

Also - don't forget that through the month of December, my eBook Outlaw Heroes is available for 50% off by using Coupon Code: BN72H at Smashwords. Click here to download a copy or download a free sample copy here too.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Giveaway! Free Fridays eBook Giveaway Contest

Add to your
To-Read List
on Goodreads!
Hi - The Giveaway is now over but you can still purchase Widow, Virgin, Whore at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. See links below.

Hi all,

That's right - every Friday starting on December 23, 2011 and going though January 27, 2012, I will give away 5 free ebook copies of my women's fiction novel Widow, Virgin, Whore.  All you have to do is:

Click this Link and sign up for my "Update List".  Please sign up only once - I will pick from all the names that sign up for the entire length of the giveaway.  

You may also sign up in the box provided on the sidebar, but I would prefer if you signed up through the link so I know for sure you are interested in winning a free copy of my book.

How will I receive my free copy?

If you are a winner, I will e-mail you a coupon code and link for one free copy of Widow, Virgin, Whore at Smashwords.  Smashwords supports nearly all e-readers so you are sure to find the ebook format you need.

How will winners be chosen? 

Each person listed is numbered on my sign-up sheet. Every time someone signs up, I will place their number in a bowl. Each Friday, I will choose 5 numbers and the winners will receive an email from me with the information necessary to download a free copy of my ebook.

About my Update List

My Update List is not a newsletter - I will only send emails to subscribers when I have published a new book, if I am having a contest or if I am reducing the price of a book or giving away free books for a time period.  You can always choose to opt out of the list at any time.  I will never share or sell this list or use if for any other purpose other than to share information about my books.

You do not need to do anything except sign up to try to win a free copy.  However, if you read the book and wish to help me out, please leave a review of the book on one of the following sites:



Sign up now and on 12/23/11 I will be choosing the first five winners!


12/23/11 - Here are the 5 winners of my eBook Widow, Virgin, Whore for Friday 12/23!

Siti Aishah A.
Ruth B.
Dianna K.
Crystal M.
Mireille D.

12/30/11 - Here are the 5 winners of Widow, Virgin, Whore this week:

Christina A.
Dede M.
Sheila S.
Leann M.
Pushpnedra S.

1/6/12 - Congrats to the 5 winners of Widow, Virgin, Whore this week:

Archana M.
Amanda L.
Ellen R.
Susan R.
Debbie W.

1/13/12 - Congrats to the 5 winners of Widow, Virgin, Whore this week:

Lisa S.
Naomi L.
Sue K.
Heather B.
Carol F.

Congratulations to the 5 winners of the eBook copy of my novel Widow, Virgin, Whore for Friday, 1/20/12.  The winners are:

Bridget O.
Patricia B.
Eliz B.
Rachel C.
Carlene D.

Thanks for signing up - I hope you enjoy the book! If you didn't win this time - don't worry.  Your name will continue to be in the drawing for next Friday.  If you haven't signed up, then you should do so now. I'll be giving away 5 books each Friday until 1/27/12.

(If your name is on this list of winners and you didn't recieve the e-mail I sent you - leave me a message in the content section and I will resend the information to you.



Widow, Virgin, Whore is available in ebook and trade paperback formats in the following locations:

My Women's Fiction eBook Now Available on Amazon

Hi all,

After much thought, I decided to also publish my ebook, Widow, Virgin, Whore on Amazon in their Kindle Store.  (Click here to see it.)  Because Smashwords publishes ebooks in almost every format, I originally wasn't going to also publish on Amazon, but then I found that adding a book to Amazon does give it more exposure.  On top of that, it makes it more convenient and accessible for Kindle users to download a copy if it is on Amazon.  However, I will still be running specials over the next few months for the Smashwords version - because they make discounting it so easy with coupons - so be sure to check back for specials. 

Today I am working on adding Outlaw Heroes to Amazon as an ebook. I'm finding the process fairly easy - not nearly as time-consuming as it was when I had to format books for Smashwords. I'll write more about that later.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Buy My Women's Fiction eBook for .99 cents for Limited Time

Hi all,

Sorry - this offer has expired but check out this link to learn how you can win a free copy of WVW.  Look for more deals in the future, also. WVW is also available on Amazon for Kindle for only $3.99. Thanks for stopping by!
I have just self-published my women's fiction novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore on Smashwords and am now able to sell it for the new low price of $3.99 a copy.  In celebration of publishing my eBook - I want to offer you a copy of this eBook for only .99 cents!  For a limited time - until Thursday, December 15th at midnight - you can purchase WVW for only .99 cents with the following coupon code:

Coupon code: VE27T

Go to this link to purchase my book: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/113695  You will have to register for a free Smashwords account before you can purchase and download the ebook.  If you love reading books - having a Smashwords account will be useful for finding great self-published books for affordable prices.  All e-reader formats are available - so whether you have a Kindle, Nook or iPad - or even if you just want to read it on your computer - there is a file type for you. 

You can read more about this book on the My Books pages listed in the tabs at the top of this blog page.  Don't be fooled by the title - this is a heartwarming story that you will enjoy.

If you do download a copy of WVW, I hope you will take the time to write a review so others will know what you think.  You can leave a review of this book at any of the following sites:

I hope you will take advantage of this sale price and read my book - I think you will really enjoy it!



Friday, December 9, 2011

Three Important Points to Remember when Self-publishing an eBook

Photo: Tina Phillips
Hi all,

If you are an author of a book and are considering self-publishing an ebook, then there are three important things you should consider before placing your book with a company.  Of course, there are many other important points to consider, but these are three key points you should be adamant about.  After all, you worked hard on your book and you don't want to find out you lost your rights to control it in any way. 

You Retain All Rights to Your eBook

Retaining all rights to your ebooks is the most important point you should remember no matter who you self-publish with.  This means you retain all rights to your ebook so you can publish it at other locations or - God willing - a major publisher comes along and wants to buy your book - you own the rights to sell it.  This also means you continue to own all rights to the characters in the book, the film rights, audio rights, merchandising rights, foreign rights and so on.  Read everything on the publishing site - even the find print in the Terms -  to make sure you are not giving away any of those important rights you may want in the future.

You Can Set Your Own Price

This is very important because some self-publishing sites set prices that are far beyond what most people will want to pay for an unknown writer.  The ability to set the price for your ebook, and even change the price as many times as you want, is what will help you sell your book faster and to more people.  There are several self-publishing sites for ebooks that do allow you to set your price and change it as often as you like, so don't go with one that won't let you do this.

You Can Discontinue Publishing with the Site at Any Time

When you self-publish your ebook, you don't want to be locked into a time frame where you have to stay with that publisher.  Many allow you to take your book off the site at any time, so stick to those publishers.  If you find you don't like publishing with a particular site or that you want to upgrade to a different self-publishing site, you don't want to be locked into a contract. 

These are only three things that I find extremely important when self-publishing, but of course there are more factors you should look at before choosing a self-publisher.  Just remember, you worked hard to write your book and you should be able to call the shots when you self-publish it.  Don't give away rights to your book unless a publisher is paying you big money for them (and even then, you never give up all the additional rights, but that's another article).  

I ran into an article by David Carnoy titled "Self-publishing a book: 25 things you need to know" that I think you will find extremely helpful.  He is referring mostly about publishing a print-on-demand book, but the information is still very helpful.  Check it out.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Goodreads: Isn't it Time You Joined?

Come visit my page at Goodreads.
Hi all,

Are you an author? Are you a reader? Do you love reading books of all types? Do you love reviewing books? Are you always looking for recommendations for books to read?  If any of these questions apply to you - why haven't you joined Goodreads yet?

What is Goodreads?

Goodreads is a site for all things reading and writing. On Goodreads, authors can post their books and readers can write reviews of those books. Readers can find new books to read, read reviews, and socialize with other readers. Readers and authors can connect and communicate with each other. Authors can also advertise their books.  Basically, it is a "Facebook" style site for readers and authors - only better.

Goodreads is Free and Easy to Join

It doesn't cost a penny to join Goodreads. You will have a profile page and be able to control who is your friend and who can read what is on your page. Many new and established writers place ads for their books on Goodreads and often they offer discount prices, coupons or contests for free copies. If you read a lot - it is the perfect place to find new authors to read - especially 'indie' authors you may have never heard of but who have written interesting and fun books.

If you are an author - self-published or big time publisher - Goodreads offers you a free Author's Page which has additional elements as compared to a regular page. You should sign up with your published name in order to be offered an author's page so they know who you are.

Come visit my page at Goodreads to see what it is all about.  It's a great site to be on if you are an author or a reader. If you join, become my friend - I will be happy to see you there!



Monday, December 5, 2011

Self-publishing eBooks on Smashwords

The eBook is taking over!
Get on board now.
Hi all,

If you haven't already noticed, I recently published an ebook version of my book, Outlaw Heroes, through the self-publishing site, Smashwords.  It was fairly easy to do, it was free and it was quick. Honestly, when was the last time you were able to say that about anything?

If you are an author of any style of book, be it fiction or non-fiction, self-help or how-to, you should consider using Smashwords to publish and distribute your ebook.  Even if you already have an eBook available through another self-publishing site, (and you still own all rights, of course), you may be able to increase your sales and distribution through Smashwords.

Why Self-publish on Smashwords

To begin with, it will not cost you anything to publish your ebook on Smashwords or to have them distribute your ebook to other outlets like Barnes & Noble, Sony and Apple iBookstores. Smashwords publishes your ebook in a variety of formats, like MOBI (for Kindle), PDB, PDF, ePUB, RTF and HTML, as well as others, so your ebook can be read on almost any e-reader device.  Other reasons to publish with Smashwords are:

  • You set your own price - and can change it anytime you want.
  • You receive 85% of your sales if purchased directly from the site - the percentage drops to 60% if your ebook is purchased through an affiliate site. 
  • You have complete control of the publishing process - no one tells you your book is not good enough to publish.
  • You can create coupons for percentages off of your book's price for promotions.
  • Smashwords has an affiliate program for authors so your friends and fellow bloggers can help sell your book for you and earn money too.
Why I Decided to Self-publish with Smashwords

My books had already been self-published in paperback and ebook formats at another publishing site but the cost the publisher set was so high that it was almost impossible to sell any books.  After checking out many other ebook self-publishing sites, I decided that Smashwords was the right site for me because they offer so many different formats.  That way, I can reach almost everyone, no matter what type of e-reader device they use.  I also liked the control I had over setting the price and the fact that I can change it any time I want.  For me, Smashwords offered the most options. 

Can You Publish On More than One Site?

The answer to this is yes, IF you still retain all rights to your work and IF you had originally published through a self-publishing site - not one that paid you money up-front.  Check your contract with your publishing site to make sure there is no fine print stating you cannot republish your work anywhere else.  I not only am able to keep my books on the original self-publishing site (since I have the paperback version there) but can also place them on Smashwords as well as any other self-publishing site I want to.

Is it Easy to Upload a Manuscript onto Smashwords?

Smashwords offers you a free download instruction manual on how to format your manuscript so it will be compatible with all file types. If you follow the manual instructions carefully, you shouldn't have a problem uploading your file.  It took me about 2 hours to completely fix my manuscript to the proper format and it uploaded fine.  If you aren't comfortable doing it yourself, you can hire someone for a reasonable cost to format it for you.  I did it myself - so if I can, so can you.

Other Requirements to Publish on Smashwords

In order for your upload to work properly, you need to have a well-written short and long description of you book and a professional-looking cover.  You can create the cover yourself or you can pay someone to create one for you.  I created my own but that is only because my daughter has all the right design programs and knows how to use them. I purchased the rights to use high-resolution photos for my covers and added the text.  All of the information you need is in the Smashwords Style Guide which you can download for free.

Be sure to check out Smashwords if you plan to self-publish an ebook.  If you've already published one somewhere else and are not happy with it, try Smashwords.  I think you will be happy with the results.

(This is my opinion, I did not receive payment for this post nor do I receive any money if you sign up for Smashwords.)

In my next post, I will give you some pointers I learned when I prepared my manuscript for Smashwords.


Do you want to learn more about Smashwords? I first learned about them from Lindsay Buroker's blog so stop over there and check out her experiences in self-publishing.

Until 12/15/2011 - Get my new ebook from Smashwords for only .99 cents! Go to this link to get coupon code: http://www.deannalynnsletten.com/2011/12/buy-my-womens-fiction-ebook-for-99.html

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Free Download of Outlaw Heroes for 24 Hours!

Hi all,

Sorry - this coupon has expired. However, you can buy this book for 50% off the list price with the coupon code in the ad on the sidebar of this blog. (Code is: BN72H) This code is good for all of December. Thanks for stopping by!

In celebration of publishing my fiction adventure novel Outlaw Heroes in eBook format on Smashwords, I am offering a free download to all of my blog readers for the next 24 hours.  All you have to do is go to my book page at Smashwords - Outlaw Heroes Book Page - choose the e-reader format you wish to download and then enter the following code prior to completing checkout for your free download.

Free Book Download Code: EP29R

This code is good for 24 hours, - until midnight of 12/5 -  so hurry and download a full copy of Outlaw Heroes right now!

Outlaw Heroes is a fiction adventure novel for kids ages 10 & up - although I think adults may even enjoy this fun adventure!  Read more about Outlaw Heroes here.

If you download my book and enjoyed reading it, I'd appreciate if you leave a review at one of these sites:

Don't let the different style book covers fool you - it is still the same book - I just added an updated cover look to the Smashwords Edition.



New Edition of Outlaw Heroes Available at Lower Price!

Download a copy
for only $2.99.
Hi all,

Just wanted to let you all know that you can now download an eBook copy of my fiction adventure novel, Outlaw Heroes, at Smashwords for only $2.99.  I am working hard to get my other novel, a woman's fiction novel, ready to send to Smashwords so the eBook price for that is also more affordable.  If you've been interested in downloading Outlaw Heroes for your kids but didn't like the price, now it is affordable and available for all brands of e-readers. Also, notice the new cover for Outlaw Heroes.  It was designed by me and created by my daughter, Deborah, who just happens to be a computer design major in college and has all the right programs.  College is paying off - for her and for me!

The trade paperback copy is still available at the publisher - check out the My Books page at the top of this blog.

Download your copy today!