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Sandra Brannan « Sandra Brannan: Author of the Liv Bergen Mystery Series

Tag Archive for 'Sandra Brannan'

Sixth In The Series…

So excited to give birth to my 6th book in the Liv Bergen family!

Jacob’s Descent was released in March, 2016, and I have been so fortunate to receive quick and passionate responses from all my fans.

Growing up Catholic and now a Lutheran, I was somehow surprised to learn that priests in my hometown would choose to spend their free time reading mysteries, shocked to learn they were reading MY mysteries.  A priest who is no longer with us asked me to write a Liv Bergen incorporating a real mystery, the murder of a priest in Deadwood in the early 1920’s.  Because it was true crime and I am nothing but a fictional crime writer, I resisted.

Then, a second priest who was also a family friend, told me the first priest had said I would be writing a book on the cold case of Father Belknap’s murder.  I told him under no uncertain terms would I write a book about a true crime, feeling I could not do justice to the man, nor could I speculate on such a serious matter.  Instead, I write for fun, choose fiction, largely because my mind can’t handle true crime.

When he died, the monsignor asked me to write the book, told me the first two priests had told him about our discussions.  I explained that I had told them no, that I understood that their goal was not to solve the case, but to raise awareness about his death because they were hoping to nominate Father Belknap as a candidate for sainthood, which has a requirement of dying from an extraordinary act of faith at least 100 years earlier.

Monsignor O’Connell was insistent.  So I wrote the book under the condition that he read the first draft, help me get the storyline straight as to the life as a priest, and that he allow me to name both characters after him.  He agreed.

We recently lost the monsignor, but not before he read and blessed Jacob’s Descent.  If you enjoy the book, thank him.  If you don’t, blame me.

Thank you for choosing Liv AGAIN!

Jacobs Descent

Honored To Be On USS Midway

I was so honored to have been selected as one of about two dozen authors invited onto the USS Midway for the Veteran’s Day weekend on Saturday, November 8th, this year.  Veterans and active military personnel alike joined in on the celebration of their service.

I was able to meet fabulous people from all walks of life, from all over this country who have served so that we might be free to blog, text, write, and shout from the mountain tops.  A special thank you to Elise Cooper writing for American Thinker for showcasing 4 generations of my family who have served, along with my husband and two brother-in-laws, covering WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Dessert Storm, Iraqi War, and Afghanistan War.   Because of Elise, I learned even more about them, not surprising that they rarely talk about their service, nor do they have any tendency to toot their own horns.

So let me toot a horn for them… doot doot doot dooooot!  Thank you for your service and sacrifice, to everyone who stood up for freedom.

Four Generations of Heroes

Everything’s Coming Up Rabies

I love finding critters in the woods.  Always have.  From the day I could toddle, I was the kid upending a rock to see what would crawl out from beneath.  Then I’d catch it, study it, and release it back to its environs.  My mom was quite patient with me.  So when my boys were growing up, we had a catch and release system where they could catch and hold whatever they wanted for 24 hours, but then they’d have to release it back where they found it.

Hard to believe but in all those years, I never thought twice about going in for a rabies shot when bitten, scratched, or scraped by various creatures.  And then I found all these wonderful bats under my deck.  Hundreds of them at the most each day this summer and dozens on low volume days.  Of course it was the guano that revealed their hiding place to me.  Of course being the fiction writer that I am and since I had recently used guano as an explosives fertilizer to get my characters out of a cave in the middle east, I was rather excited about finding such a big cache of the practical stuff.

Anyhooo… I was video taping the bats for you all in my “Sandra Brannan’s Backyard” segments I post on YouTube (please do go watch so at least my efforts are totally wasted http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvpTyX4Cmeg ).  And a week later, went out to check on said bats, looked up, and yup… a bat tinkled in my eye.

Apparently 4% of all bats in South Dakota are rabid and with hundreds of bats up there, the doctor was unimpressed by my impassioned defense of the bats as healthy and thriving, not a one of them foaming at the mouth.  So I argued that urine is sterile, right?  Apparently that argument works if rabies is a bacteria, but it’s not.  It’s a virus.  So six rabies shots later and two weeks left of my treatment, I have made a mental note to change my behaviors.  Nope, not going to stop playing with critters, as that’s the fun part of my day.  And the doctor told me now that I have the rabies shots, I can pretty much wrestle a rabid raccoon without worries (my words, not his).  No, the behavior I will most certainly change is to where goggles before looking up when seeking out my bats.  And mouth will remain closed.

As to the rabies shots?  Not so bad.  No longer given in the stomach, which helps.  But they do make me feel thick and sluggish.

Before and after rabies shots…

Sandra Brannan - Before Rabies Shots Sandra Brannan - After Rabies Shots

Please share your comments with me on your rabies shot experience and whether or not you find this story believable.  I need some reassurance that this isn’t the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard a person do… or is it?

Happy Birthday USA!

One of my favorite holidays is the 4th of July!

I just miss seeing the fireworks at Mt. Rushmore, don’t you?  How about if I share with you a few rare photos of Mt. Rushmore from years past… these were taken by me behind President George Washington’s head with fireworks and a rainbow.


I really, really miss setting off those fireworks with my sisters.  Maybe if I get enough of you to comment on this blog, we can let the authorities know you want the fireworks again.  Oh, do comment.   Enjoy the fireworks and rainbows in your life this 4th of July!

Bachelors Of A Different Kind

Living in the Dakotas certainly has its privileges.  Cold, yes.  But who gets to experience what it might have been like in the late 1800’s in the Wild West hunting buffalo?

Twice, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of observing how the unofficial national animal, the American bison, gathers in families and as bachelors during hunts.  Amazing how the matriarch of the family senses danger and spearheads a run, protecting the younger bulls in the center of the stampede.  Elsewhere on the tens of thousands of acres, the older bulls, which hang out as bachelors, respond quite differently when sensing danger.   Aggressive, standing their ground.  As a mother, it was nerve-racking to watch as my “little boy” crept up on the herd of bachelors.

Tatanka, the Great American Bison

Tatanka, the Great American Bison


Tatanka, the Great American Bison

Tatanka, the Great American Bison

We took our youngest son out this weekend to learn how to hunt an older bull and dress him out, just as the pioneers and Lakota Sioux of the old west had to do in earlier days.  Like a modern day John Dunbar from Dances With Wolves, inch hunter’s knife. He’s not so little anymore and it was as much a rite of passage for me —  the mamma, wanting desperately to gather him up and run, rather than letting him stand his ground — as  it was for him, a grown man at 18.

The meat will provide meals for hundreds and for a young man who came from an orphanage in Vietnam where food was limited, he is grateful to call his home America, where the buffalo roam.

No Longer That Fat Kid…

Do you remember in the olden days when the grade school P.E. teacher used to make us climb that stupid rope?  I don’t know about you, but no matter how I tried, no matter how much spit on my hands, I couldn’t seem to get more than one or maybe two handholds up that rope before gravity pulled me right back down to the gym floor as all the other kids moaned.  In fact, I can’t recall any one of us ever able to climb that stupid rope except maybe the thin, wiry kid that everyone envied.  Unfortunately, I was not blessed with that monkey-like ability or a thin-enough physique to accomplish that impossible task that seemed only intended to demoralize.  I felt uncoordinated at best, fat and weak in reality.

If I can do it, YOU can do it!

Sometimes life feels like a series of those stupid ropes, where I find myself facing the impossible task and feeling like that fat kid again.  Getting published was most certainly one of the longest ropes to the highest tree I’d ever stood beneath.  But today, I can say I have successfully beaten the odds and published four books in only three short years.  And I’m ready to climb again and again, no longer feeling like that fat kid.

Don’t give up!  Don’t let yourself feel like that fat kid in grade school facing the rope ever again.  Take hold and climb.  If I can do it, YOU can do it!

May Day is Loyalty Day

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!

Generations of Freedom

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.

Bottle A Mother’s Love For All Things New This Season…

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.

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