Secret of Old Blood
Pious Pie
About Sandra
Press Kit

  ***  New: The Sandoval Sisters' Secret of Old Blood received first place at the 15th annual ILBA, 2013: Best Historical Fiction and Best First Book.***

Merchants have always loved the Santa Fe trail. The Mexican-American War was fought to gain more land, but it was also about controlling trade, and that meant controlling Santa Fe:  it was the first foreign capital captured by the U.S. An unbelievable influx of men occurred, but nary a word has been written about how that affected the New Mexican women.  Until now.

The war is the backdrop for the Sandoval sisters' individual coming-of-age stories in which they cope with racism, sexism, political intrigue and the power of superstition in that time and place.

When Alma flees with her young lover to Texas to escape an arranged marriage with a much older man, she sets in motion a drama that will put the sisters and their legacy at risk. Pilar, a 14-year-old tomboy, is offered as a replacement bride, and what follows is a sensuous courtship and marriage clouded by the curses of her husband's former lover, Consuelo. She will stop at nothing, even the use of black magic, in her effort to destroy the Sandoval family. The Mexican-American war begins and the Americans invade Santa Fe. The sisters are caught in the crosshairs of war from two important fronts-New Mexico and Texas. Their money and ancient knowledge offer some protection, but their lives are changed forever.

"My love of history, sensuality and the old west made it a perfect read." Amazon

 ". . . a delightful historical romp set in New Mexico . . . fits into literary space created by Anaya's timeless Bless Me, Ultima." La Bloga                                  
"Full of drama and unexpected turns. Captivating till the end. 
What surprised me about this book, besides the feisty female characters and multi-generational saga, is that I realized I've never read a fictional account of the war that brought New Mexico into the United States and what it meant for the people who had lived in New Mexico before the Anglos arrived." Amazon

"An outstanding family saga."  Historical Novel Review and History and Women

The Sandoval Sisters is a book that tells about women with tremendous personal power." Amazon

. . . [The] three extraordinary Sandoval sisters . . . are both fascinating and disturbing.” Claire Carmichael, author of Leaving Simplicity, and twenty other novels.

"Woven among the stories of love and life is eroticism, mystery, witchcraft, folktales, superstition, political intrigue, corruption, and violence. Told with a fluid style that grabs you from the first page and leaves you hungry for more at the end."  Dr. Michele Shaul*, Co-Editor of the e-journal Label Me Latina/o
Dr. Shaul's complete review 

Erotica in Old Santa Fe

We don't know what those Latinas of yore did, now do we?

Obeyed their husbands?  Check.

Fathers and brothers? Check.

Priests?  Mothers-in-law? The list just grows.

The Sandoval sisters did exactly what they wanted while living on a rough frontier at the juncture of three cultures.


“Are you worried about Texas becoming a state?”

“It’s sure to happen and Texas wants New Mexico. Will the Americans keep Texas from our doorstep, or will the Texans encourage the Americans to conquer us?” He was quiet, and then he said, “Either way, they will come and they will hammer at your door to marry you—”

I put two fingers over his lips. A flash of light cut through the darkening room, followed by a grumble of thunder. “I want you inside me during the storm,” I said. Geraldo ran his hand under my skirt. I stopped its progress up my thigh. “Remember when we spoke of me dressing as a man—”

“A boy!”

“I have a few things, a pair of knickerbockers—”

Geraldo laughed. “Knickerbockers! You want me to undress you in order to dress you as a boyish dandy? You learned more than I had imagined at the Maison Carondelet.”

“Perhaps I could teach you a few things,” I said, and stood. Geraldo followed me to our bedroom, ever the eager student.


The story is true. The accent is not.

Sandra Ramos O’Briant grew up in Santa Fe and spent summers in Texas. Her short stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.  A complete list is here 

Scene Read at the Autry on September 15, 2012

May 30,2013, in NYC for the ILBA, before the ceremony: Fernando de Aragon, Caridad Pineiro, me, Sylvia Patino.

Time change: 1:00 pm This Saturday

Sunday, 4/13/14
Los Angeles Festival of Books, Booth 464:  Signing @ noon

Private Reading, 1/23/14

Saturday, September 28, TAOS, Somos Taos

more »

Sunday, September 29, 2013
Bookworks Albuquerque, New Mexico

 3:00 pm

4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW,


May 31, ILBA, NYC!

May 25, private event New Hampshire

May 18, Tia Chucha's Celebrating Words

April 20 & 21:  Los Angeles Festival of Books, signing at Women Writing the West


November 3, private bookclub signing

November 10, Historical Novel Society, Fairfax Branch of the L.A. Public Library.

I'll be on two panels at the Latino Book and Family Festival Saturday October 13.

October  22, private bookclub signing

Book Launch:  Join me at Vromans Bookstore  in Pasadena, Sunday October 7, at 4:00 p.m.

September 15, 2012 Autry, Western Heritage Center