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Secret of Old Blood
Pious Pie
About Sandra
Press Kit
 I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and spent summers in Texas with my dad.  Before my switch to writing, I was an executive recruiter in the legal field.

Links to My Work:

"Death & Taxes and . . .Worms" in Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery (Arte Publico, 2009)

"Lana Turner Slept Here" in Latinos in Lotusland (Bilingual Press, 2008)

"Chile Tales"  What Wildness is This (University of Texas Press, 2007), reprinted in Pocho, 2013.

Interviews and Press:

La Bloga

Historical Fiction Book Club

Writers of the West

Latina Book Club

The Examiner

Beverly Hills Weekly

The Dark Phantom

Growing Up in New Mexico

Writers Alive 2012: Southwest Gothic and Santa Fe?


Latina Book Club

"A brilliantly told story of the Sandoval Sisters . . . The book is written with great skill and talent." #5 in the Top 10 Latino Books, 2012.  The Latino Author 

"This was one of the best books I've read this last year. It had everything from great characters, suspense, romance, and an intriguing plot." Amazon

Published Work:

"Mrs. Frye," Best Lesbian Love Stories of 2004, (Alyson Publications). This book was nominated for a Lambda Literary award, and led to my first reading. 

"LA MúSICA," N.O.L.A. Spleen,7, 2004 (Wild Berries Press, New Orleans, LA). Prose poem.

Published excerpts from The Sandoval Sisters' Secret of Old Blood, an historical novel of old Santa Fe: 

"The Devil at the Dance," an excerpt from the original novel, appeared in La Herencia, vol. XXXV, Fall 2002, (Gran Via, Inc.), and was subsequently online at

"Of Nuns and the Demimonde," appeared in altered form on FriGG (summer, 2004).

"The First White Woman," appeared in The Copperfield Review, (Fall, 2004).




There's a tether from my heart to my family in Santa Fe.
Buffeted by dry wind, hardened by the sun, brittle from snow, it endures.
Nourished by my dreams, fed from the font of shared memory, watered by laughter. It's a living thing.


   As the daughter of a Spanish* Catholic and a Texan Baptist, I was introduced to both the self-flagellating Penitentes of New Mexico and the tent show holy-rollers of East Texas. In addition, my hometown of Santa Fe, the city of Holy Faith, is host to state politics and the attendant corruption, artists and their hangers-on, and a thriving tourist economy.


      All of this went into my first book, The Sandoval Sisters' Secret of Old Blood . The issues confronted by three sisters are contemporary: racism, sexual and religious intolerance, and the power of superstition. Finally, it is a story of what constitutes a family, and the myths associated with the blood and bounds of loyalty.


A Short History of Names: 

            My grandmother was a Sandoval, and married a Gallegos.  My mother married the O’Briant.  My father was no sweetheart, but I’ve stubbornly clung to his name.  Growing up in Santa Fe, both my brother and I got the shit kicked out of us for having an Anglo last name.  Yet, my mother had proudly relinquished her own father’s Spanish surname because of the discrimination she experienced for being Mexican.  For her, an Anglo last name was a step up.  She had no idea her future children would experience reverse discrimination.  Hence, my cynical world view.


            So, where did the Ramos come from?  I borrowed it from the slender, bookish part of a widely-traveled lesbian couple who took an interest in me, or my mother*, and gave us a subscription to National Geographic when I was ten.  Yes, the gesture and that magazine opened my mind to possibilities beyond the Santa Fe city limits, but I also wanted to proclaim my heritage, and not from the ground looking up, as I had once done with my childhood tormentors: “My mom is Spanish!”*


*Ms. O’Briant’s mother would like you to know she loves men.  Always has.  Always will.


*Read Mexican.  Spanish was the historically correct term in use in Santa Fe back in my getting-beaten-up days.  In my book, the characters are New Mexicans.