Monday, August 31, 2015

Death on Paradise Creek

Meet author Dianne Smithwick-Braden! 


She is a native Texan raised in rural Wilbarger County on the family farm. She is a graduate of Vernon High School and West Texas A & M University. She currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband, Richard. She has been a high school science teacher in Amarillo since August of 1990.

Dianne is an avid reader of fiction but murder mysteries are by far her favorite genre. Death on Paradise Creek is her first novel. She has already begun work on a sequel.

Did you always want to be a writer?
When I was growing up, I wrote poetry and kept a journal. I always dreamed of writing a novel but never thought I’d have the time or the patience. I tried to write at different times but life got in the way. Finally, a story idea and an empty nest coincided.

What were some of your favorite childhood stories/books?
I’ve always loved a good mystery. I remember reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries when I was young. I’ve read so many wonderful books that I can’t pick a favorite even now.

Did you have a childhood hero?
I didn’t have a literary hero. My parents and grandparents were my childhood heroes.

What has been your favorite part about being an author?
My favorite part of being an author is coming up with the murder scenes. It’s a challenge to write something that hopefully surprises the reader.

If you had not become an author, what else would you have liked to do for a living?
I am beginning my twenty-sixth year as a full time high school science teacher at an alternative school. I hope that writing will be my second career when I retire from teaching in a few years.

What advice would you give to your 12 year old self?
The advice I would give my 12 year old self is the same advice I have given my sons and my students. You’ll never know if you can do something if you don’t try.

What would you tell a non-Texan reader about Texas to better help them understand the setting of your story DEATH ON PARADISE CREEK in Wilbarger County?
Wilbarger County is mostly farm and ranch land. The largest town is Vernon with a population of about 12,000 people. It’s situated near the Texas Oklahoma state line. Most families have at least one pickup truck or some sort of 4 wheel drive vehicle. Summers at hot and winters are generally mild. There is only one high school. Kids start school and will go through their entire school life with many of the same people the met in kindergarten. As a result, lifelong friends are made and seem like part of your extended family.

Is there a sequel planned for DEATH ON PARADISE CREEK?
Yes. I finished the first draft of Death under a Full Moon two weeks ago.

What’s next in the writing world of Dianne Smithwick-Braden?
I’ve started making notes for the third book of the series. I don’t have a title for it yet but I do have a few ideas about the plot. I also have ideas for other books with a new cast of characters.


Death on Paradise Creek is a murder mystery seasoned with heartbreak, adventure, a little romance, and a touch of humor. It is the first in a planned three book series.

The Paradise Creek Inn is open for business in rural Wilbarger County Texas. Business is slow except for the occasional parties for family or friends, until a prestigious actor becomes stranded on the property. Suddenly Lizzie Fletcher and her family are booking parties and events left and right – a dream come true.

Things quickly change when the hired hand makes a gruesome discovery. Sheriff Wade Adams and his team are called to investigate. While evidence is being analyzed, another body is discovered. Long kept secrets revolving around these discoveries begin to unravel.

Death on Paradise Creek is a 60,929 word, 205 page murder mystery set in Wilbarger County Texas.

Paperbacks are $15.95 and ebooks are $6.99

It is available for purchase at: in paperback and for Kindle
Barnes and in paperback and for Nook
Black Rose Writing in paperback


Chapter 6

Lizzie woke Saturday morning to the smell of coffee brewing. She hadn’t realized how much she missed waking up to that smell. She always had coffee after she got to work. She went downstairs to find Ellen and Lois sitting at the kitchen table.

“Good morning, Mama. Good morning, Granny,” she said as she planted a kiss on each woman’s cheek. “Where’s Daddy?”

“He had to get started moving the cattle to the east pasture. He said he’d be missing a lot of work since we’ll be in town for Jan’s festivities later this week,” Ellen explained.

“Lizzie, sit down; I want to talk to you about something,” Lois said.

“Okay. It sounds like something serious Granny.”

“Well, it is in a way. Is your job in Chicago the kind of job you always dreamed about?”

“No, it isn’t. It’s a work my way up the ladder and pay my dues kind of job.”

“Would you still like to run your own inn?”

“That has always been my dream, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”

“Alright then. I have a proposition for you. I’m getting too old to live in that great big house all alone. You’re parents and I have been talking about this, and we want to see what you think. We’ll turn the house over to you. You can renovate it and make it into the inn you’ve always dreamed of owning.”

“But Granny…”

“Now, let me finish,” Granny interrupted.” I’ll move in here with James and Ellen. You’ll manage the inn. I’ll fund the renovations, within reason mind you. Your parents and I will help when you need it. The old place needs fixing up anyway, and I see no reason to fix it up only for one old lady. It will become a family business.” Granny paused for a moment, and then said, “Well what do you think?”

Lizzie didn’t know what to say. She wanted to jump at the chance to design and run her own inn.


Texas Association of Authors

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Does A Writing Schedule Matter by Andy Peloquin

Guest Post By Author Andy Peloquin

Does A Writing Schedule Matter?

Most writers make it a point to put in at least an hour or two of work per day on their creative projects. Perhaps their day job and their busy lives prevent them from doing more, but they swear on that 1,000 to 2,000 words per day.
But why? Does it really matter? Why not spend five hours on the weekend writing, instead of just writing an hour per day? What's the difference?
There is a very simple scientific reason to set a writing schedule: it makes it easier to write!
Science still doesn't understand what parts of the brain are responsible for new ideas. All the regions of the brain are connected via synapses and neurons, and all fire together to produce thoughts, feelings, emotions, and ideas.
Did you know that you can train your brain just like you can train a muscle? After going to the gym and doing a curl every day for a year, your body adapts to that exercise. The same with your brain! Sit down and stimulate the parts of your brain responsible for creativity, and your brain "adapts" to it. It's easier to trigger the neural pathways that lead to creation.
It's the same reason that most writers have their "habits"--the things they do before or during their writing time. For example:
  • Charles Dickens wrote standing up
  • Dan Brown hangs upside down to deal with writer's block
  • Victor Hugo wrote in the nude
All of the best writers have their routines, the things they do every day in order to "stimulate" the creative portions of their brains. Do you know why these routines work--or at the very least, appear to work? It's because the brain has linked those habits to creativity over the months/years of writing, so these things stimulate the neural pathways that lead to stimulating the creative part of your brain.
Are these habits or schedules really the most important part of your writing? Probably not, but they certainly help! You have so many other problems to deal with in your writing, so having something as simple as a pre-writing routine or a writing schedule can help you to make the most of your writing time.

Plus, as Bobby Robson loves to say, "Practice makes permanent". Practicing your writing at the SAME time every day will help you to get in the habit of being creative. You'll flex those creative muscles on a regular basis. The more you use your brain (which is basically a high-functioning muscle in many regards), the easier it will be to "flex your muscles" the next time you sit down to write!

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

Andy Peloquin--a third culture kid to the core--has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn't looked back since.

Andy's first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website ( is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings--along with reviews of books he finds laying around the internet.

He can also be found on his social media pages, such as:

10 Things You Need to Know About Me:

  1. Hot wings, ALWAYS!
  2. I never forget a face, but rarely remember a name.
  3. I'm a head taller than the average person (I'm 6' 6")
  4. Marvel > DC
  5. I was born in Japan, and lived there until the age of 14.
  6. Selena Gomez and Five Finger Death Punch are both in my playlist.
  7. Aliens are real, but it's self-centered of us to believe that they would come to visit Earth.
  8. Watching sports: suck. Playing sports: EPIC!
  9. I earned a purple belt in Karate/Hapkido/Taekwondo.
  10. I dislike most Christmas music, aside from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Book Blurb:

The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer
The Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?


"Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark...fantasy addicts will love it!" -- Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates --
"The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you." - Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut
"From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!" -- Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine

Buy Links:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Diverted Heart

Texas summers are no doubt some of the hottest you'll find. The heat encountered during this summer is not at all what Taylor bargained for. She's at a crossroads between childhood and womanhood, rummaging through the emotions of first love versus passion. Two young men tangle a web of needs and desires in her heart. The summer before college begins, Taylor is thrust from her childhood home in Houston to an inherited family farm on the outskirts of Schulenburg, Texas. Eric, her first love, has gone states away to play college football. Low-spirited and merely trying to get through an expectantly boring summer, she is nearly run off the road by her new country neighbor, Maxwell. Ruggedly handsome, devilishly charming and everything Taylor seeks to avoid, Maxwell does something to her emotions she's struggling desperately to interpret, as they spend the summer filled with each other. Boundaries are tested and the scales of lust tip despite hesitations. A final decision must be made. Did she ever truly love Eric? Is Maxwell simply a lustful thought, or is there more to uncover beneath the surface? One thing is for certain, this summer will change Taylor in every possible way: mind, body and soul.



He looks back at me with intense eyes, and I don’t think it’s because of the crazy weather or our inability to cross the road. Whatever’s been building between us is like a dam about to burst, and you can cut the sexual tension in the air with a knife.

“So let’s go back to my house.” I know it’s the only option, and right now I just want to get there—fast, for more reasons that just getting out of the rain.

He releases his lip from his teeth. “Don’t have much of a choice, do we?” He squeezes my thigh with one hand while the other rests on the steering wheel. His touch pulses through me and only leaves me wanting him to touch me in other places.

With great care, he backs the truck up and makes his way down the road the way we came. The rain is relentless as we pull back up to my house. Max reaches for my bag in the back of the truck.

“Let’s get inside,” I urge him. He nods and we both pile out and sprint back to the house. But it’s pretty pointless, as wet as we already are. After leaping to the porch, I unlock the door and open it quickly, allowing us an escape from the wild weather. Max dashes in behind me and drops the bag just inside the door, closing it behind him. His wet, brawny figure meanders towards me. My heart pounds, my body aching with desire. His gaze pierces through me, and I’m out of fight. Max grasps my head and pulls me straight to his lips, kissing me with such passion it leaves me lightheaded, defenseless. Our lips eventually part and I open my eyes. The flaming look in his eyes gives away his thirst for more. I want it, too.

Max’s hand shifts and glides down my back. He pulls me to his firm body after reaching the small of my back. Ablaze with a frenzied lust, all that I’ve withheld from Max suddenly crumbles away.

Beth Ann is a wife, mother, blogger and book lover from Texas. Her passion is writing stories that draw a reader into a world where they can become the characters and experience a gamut of emotions. When she's not writing, she loves to be home with her family and two yellow labs. In addition she's a sucker for super sappy romance movies, loves trying out Texas wines, is an avid hot tea drinker and enjoys checking items off of her ever-growing bucket list.