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About Dianne

   Dianne Smithwick-Braden is Texas gal who loves a good mystery. Her favorites include suspense, adventure, humor, and little romance. She strives to inlcude those elements inher work.

   Her stories are fictional. However, she uses real-world settings and information to make her fictional characters and plot lines as realistic as possible.

   When Dianne isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends as often as possible. She knits to relax and think about characters and plots.

Dianne's Story

   Hello and welcome to my website! My name is Dianne Smithwick-Braden, but you can call me Dianne.   

   I was born long, long ago in a galaxy…okay, okay, Fort Worth is a city not so far away. I grew up on the family farm near Vernon. I've lived in Amarillo for more than four decades (I wasn't kidding about the long, long ago part).

   Like everyone else, I've experienced ups and downs in life. I dropped out of college and got married. I went back to college and earned my degree in education. I taught high school sciences for thirty-one years in Amarillo Independent School District's dropout recovery and prevention program. I retired at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

   During those thirty-one years, I adopted a child and gave birth to a child. I went through a divorce and spent ten years as a single mom. I remarried and became a stepmom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother.

      I believe the love of reading inspired my writing. I recall writing poems and journaling while in school.

   In my adult life, I wrote the occasional poem when my children were babies and when emotions needed an outlet. I began journaling again during my divorce. I could release all the feelings of anger, hurt, and frustration onto those blank white pages and let them go.

   I often dreamed of writing a book...someday.

   Eventually, a story idea and a rare weekend alone coincided. Once I decided to write a murder mystery, everything fell into place.

   As I wrote, the characters came alive. I heard their conversations and felt their emotions. I saw their surroundings. The story unfolded as though I were watching a movie reel in my mind. I discovered that I thoroughly enjoyed writing.

   Two or three years later, Death on Paradise Creek was finished. My family, friends, and my new husband encouraged me to have it published.

   I researched publishers and how to write a query letter and synopsis. It took several days to get an email ready with the required files. All I had to do was press send.

   My hands shook so badly that I had to step away from the computer. I walked around for a few minutes, trying to calm my nerves. Sharing my work with family and friends was one thing. Sharing with total strangers was another.

   I was scared to death. It wasn't fear of rejection; I expected lots of them. It was fear of the unknown.

   I had let fear keep me from following my dreams in the past. I wasn't going to let fear stop me this time. Taking a deep breath, I sat down at the computer. My hands still trembled. I closed my eyes and pressed send.

   The first publisher rejected my submission. Eventually, I submitted it to another publisher.

   I had the same fear and shaking hands I had the first time. But I sent the query letter and synopsis anyway. This time, I was offered a contract.

   My life as a published author began. A small independent publisher originally published my first two books.

   The more I learned about writing and publishing, the more I wanted to know. I decided to try self-publishing before my third book, Flames of Wilbarger County, was complete.

   I have more options and know more about the business than I did when I signed with the independent publisher. I'll continue self-publishing until a better opportunity comes along.

   Would I like to be an award-winning, best-selling author? Of course, that's every author's dream. But that isn't why I write.

       I write for the challenge and the joy it gives me. I write to entertain my readers. I have no hidden messages or agendas. My work is intended as an escape from the real world—an escape to different places and times with characters we love and love to hate.

Dianne Smithwick-Braden
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