What a wonderful country we have!
I have met so many people across America — happy, successful people from all walks of life — since I first became published three years ago. From 2010 to today, I’ve met people with such colorful stories and intriguing lives that my mind is swimming with memories. Everywhere I go, the smiles are plentiful.
I started thinking about what all these happy, successful people have in common and I narrowed it down to three things they share as the secret to their success:
1) They work hard at using their God-given talents.
2) They are overflowing with gratitude.
3) They celebrate each day by sharing their joy and kindness with others.
To all of you who I’ve met at conferences & convention, at book signings & book clubs, and in libraries and lounges, thank you all for teaching me so much!
Everyone knows today is May Day. But did you know it’s also National Loyalty Day, a special day designated by our Congressional leaders to remind us to reaffirm our loyalty to the United States of America? Today I will genuinely recognize my heritage to freedom as an American. Because of people like my dad and my husband, not to mention all the family, friends, and ancestors who have fought to keep us free.
My father, an 88-year-old WWII and Korean War vet, calls all his friends on this day each year to celebrate May 1st. All of us enjoy receiving the call where he enthusiastically says “Hurray, hurray, the first of May!” He says his list is growing smaller. Sad. They are great Americans.
Loyalty Day reminds me why I flew half way across the world to adopt my youngest, driven to be a mother (of course) but also desirous of lifting one child from the clutches of communism to live free as a capitalist. And I have never met a more grateful, patriotic American in my life than my son!
As a writer, thank you for giving me the power of speech. I take that right seriously and work to entertain through the stories I tell. If along the way I open some windows to a world some may not realize exist, well then fabulous! Every time I sit at my keyboard, I reaffirm my loyalty to the heritage of American freedom.
Although my books have a terrifying premise, I always work toward a happy ending, finding a way to make all things new again. The Easter holiday season is about making everything new. Spring is here, grass is sprouting, flowers budding, animal babies being born.
I remind myself every year during this beautiful holiday to renew my commitment to my children, to those I love, and to my connection with a power beyond this world. To my God. Many of us become parents sometime in our lives. What a gift! Even if you’re not a Christian, the scene in The Passion of Christ where Mary watches her son suffer is a poweful testament to the bond between mother and child. The expression on this actress’s face, the raw emotion she brings to this scene, reduces me to tears every time I watch. Maybe it’s because I was blessed with the best mother in the world or that I have sons and unfortunately understand the loss of a child. But mostly, I know it’s because the bond between a mother and child is so incredibly powerful that the most horrifying gnaws to a mother’s heart is suffering inflicted on her child.
No matter your religion or spirituality, make all things new this Easter season and believe in everything beautiful. Especially you! Reach out this holiday season and hug a mother.
We could change the world if we could only bottle a mother’s love.
I lost my son 20 years ago today.
Lucky me to have met an angel on earth. My other sons gave me a personalized calendar for Christmas with a quote for each day in 2013 and knowing the week proceeding their borther’s death is difficult for me, they shared wonderful and inspirational messages for me this year, like Heny Wadsworth Longfellow’s quote, “He spake well who said that graves are the footprints of angels”.
I thank God for flicking me onto this path 20 years ago today. I know my son is safe and warm and waiting for me. I appreciate the sons I have, hug them every day, and tell them I love them every chance I get. I love life more than I ever believed possible. And I write so I can manage the monsters who haunt my nightmares. So lucky me, scaring you each day with my Liv Bergen Mystery Series and hopefully my future thriller series, should my wonderful agent John Talbot, find me a home.
The best part about giving birth to an angel? They send me beautiful sunrises on special days like today.
I remember as a kid being asked if I’d ever seen a Norwegian trailer, only to follow for minutes, thinking I was being led outside to see some innovative fifth wheel with a tow bar that was painted in really cool Nordic ice stripes. But being Norwegian and eager to trail this guy, it would be no surprise to you that I was the Norwegian trailer. Fastforward and here I was being asked by my publicity team if I wanted a trailer created for the Liv Bergen series. I bet they wondered why I dug in my heels and said, “I’m not falling for that again.” In response to my bristling, they were patient enough to explain that trailers were a wonderful way to showcase the book in a mini-movie format, designed to entice potential readers to pick up the book. (They don’t get paid enough to work with someone like me.)
So enjoy the latest “trailers” for the Liv Bergen Mystery Series:
First Book, 2010 IN THE BELLY OF JONAH
Second Book, 2011 LOT’S RETURN TO SODOM
Third Book, 2012 WIDOW’S MIGHT
Fourth Book, 9/3/2013 NOAH’S RAINY DAY
… and although Liv Bergen is Norwegian, I promise not to ask you to follow me all around the internet with no other purpose than to tease you. Unless you consider it teasing you to buy the book!
Sandra Brannan with William Joyce, the brilliant creator of 2012 Oscar Winning Short Film “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
With the release of WIDOW’S MIGHT in August, I’ve been touring across this great country of ours on weekends to say ‘hi’ to friends — old and new — who call themselves fans of the Liv Bergen Mystery Series and to thank as many of the independent booksellers for loving books so much. Because of the booksellers’ willingness to heft debut authors like myself onto their weary, yet very broad shoulders, I having been riding a wave of success so beautiful it’s almost hard to believe. I can hardly find the words to properly thank the members of the ABA Independent Booksellers Association
for awarding my newest book, WIDOW’S MIGHT, the Indie NextList pick for August 2012.
I can never put in words how much the booksellers and librarians mean to me as beautifully as William Joyce said it in his Oscar winning short film, “Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” by Moonbot Studios. If you haven’t watched it, please do. Indulge yourself in this 15 minute love affair between us book lovers and the incredible power of story.
So grateful to all of you for spending time with me in bookstores during my 2012 Book Tour. See you next year! (Psst… spread the word about the power of buying books)
The word is out and a series is born!
Widow’s Might, the third in the Liv Bergen Mystery Series, is on the shelves in book stores near you, thanks to the wonderful book sellers across this country who love Liv so much. I had no idea how incredibly lucky I really was in receiving an ABA Indie NextList Notable in September 2010, thanks to several booksellers who appreciated In The Belly Of Jonah, the debut of the Liv Bergen Mystery Series. A special thanks to Maria Uprichard from Boswell Books in Shelburne, MA for the nominating comments. I had heard the Indie NextList was a way for booksellers to pick the top 20 or so of the 12,000 – 15,000 newly published books each month back in 2010. What a thrill to be named as a runner up, a Notable, for September 2010!
Fast forward two years to Widow’s Might. The number of new books published each month has grown to a staggering near 29,000. Can you imagine the effort the bookseller must exert trying to decide what should be carried in their stores?
Honored beyond belief that so many of the independent booksellers would nominate my book once again for an ABA Indie NextList for August 2012. A special thank you to Jo Gilley, Blue Ridge Books, in Waynesville, NC for the kind comments. I’ll be at Blue Ridge on October 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm to say thanks so come join us in Waynesville.
So believe me when I say, “Thank You!” to ABA, the American Booksellers Association, and all the independent booksellers across this great country of ours for naming Widow’s Might as one of the top 20 for August 2012. That makes me a lucky 1 in 1,500 authors to recieve that honor for that month. Crazy, when I think about it.
And overwhelmingly humbled by the support of all the wonderful booksellers.
The world is not as safe after the death Monday, September 3, 2012, of retired FBI Special Agent Mick Sherer. Losing his battle against dimentia, Mick Sherer slipped away from us at age 78.
FBI Special Agent Mick Sherer in the early 1980’s before he retired.
I am left without my best friend and consultant for the Liv Bergen Mystery Series. I’d changed the order of the series, moving forward Lot’s Return To Sodom
, the second in the Liv Bergen series so Mick could know readers and fans had seen the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally through his eyes, the eyes of a dedicated law enforcement officer concerned about the safety of innocent tourists and bike enthusiasts. Some fans did not enjoy the story as much as they did my other mysteries. I understood some wouldn’t, considering how harsh and unflattering the Sturgis Rally could appear from an L.E.’s view of motorcycle gangs who also attend. Yet, I thought his story should be told. And I hope because of Lot’s Return To Sodom and my attempt to show what FBI and other L.E. people do that you’ll appreciate the men and women who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our streets safe while we party the night away in our leathers riding our motorcycles.
Special Agent Mick Sherer spent decades tracking the most wanted and the most despicable criminals who seeped out of the sewers every year to blend in with a half million bike enthusiasts who come to enjoy the Black Hills. Mick had actually attained Top Tenner status by nabbing a Most Wanted criminal back in the 1970’s, a feat most agents only dream of doing. And Mick could have easily found himself a federal case study statistic in 1975 during the American Indian Movement where his friends and coworkers, FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, were wounded and executed by a lawless thug taking refuge amongst honorable and innocent people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The inspiration for the fictional FBI Special Agent Streeter Pierce, Liv Bergen’s love interest, certainly arose from my view of a real hero, Special Agent Mick Sherer, and the people like him who are always there for the rest of us. And my world is a little darker knowing he is no longer here with me.
Widow’s Might released Tuesday, August 7th, a very key date in the third Liv Bergen Mystery series. The response to the newest release is both overwhelming and humbling. Reviewers, thank you for taking the time to request, read, and remark on this gritty, complex mystery. I am so glad I hit the mark for most of you. I can hardly keep up with responding to each and every one of your kind remarks, reviews, emails, tweets, and posts, but please know how appreciative I am that you would spend the time to do so. I am on the road meeting so many of you again this week and for the coming months so please check the Events page on my website if you’re interested in taking time to talk in person with me. I sure enjoy looking you in the eye, shaking your hand, and putting a face with a name. Must be the westerner in me. Must extend a huge thank you to all the book stores around the country who are hosting me for book signings and for those of you who I pop in on occassionally to do a stock signing. Your hospitality is much appreciated.
Fans, mwaaaaahhhhh (air kiss) for buying my books! I would be nothing without you loving Liv so much.
Holy cow, what a great ride this roller coaster of writing has been!
The third in the Liv Bergen Mystery Series, Widow’s Might, is releasing on August 7th, 2012, just two short weeks away. Spoiler alert: The date is key to the storyline, which I hope you appreciate. I am humbled by the reviews from magazines, booksellers, newspapers, and bloggers. Thank you for loving Liv so much! Totally grateful to all of you booksellers, distributors, and associations who have requested books signings this fall. My book tour schedule is robust and I hope to see you when I come to your neighborhoods.
I had intended to stay home with my youngest this fall and work primarily through virtual tours until so many of you requested I visit your towns and stores and book clubs. Thankfully, my son decided not to play football this season so he could heal up for track and field next spring. Family always comes first and I would have chosen not to miss any of his games. He’s my youngest son. I’d choose him over Widow’s Might, my newest baby. You writers out there understand that. As it is, the pre-orders are amazing and thank you to all my fans who’ve enjoyed Liv’s adventures. Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re so inclined.
For those of you seeking suspense, intrigue and a little romance, I hope that Widow’s Might won’t disappoint. Keep your nose to the limestone!