She is a graduate of Ithaca College, and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. She also spent eight years as an officer in the United States Navy, during which time she lived in Guam, Newfoundland, England, and the United States. She has also worked as a Hollywood assistant, a software instructor, and an English composition teacher. She teaches college composition 1 and 2 at Kaplan University online. She attended the Viable Paradise writers' workshop.
Her short story "The Ghost Girls of Rumney Mill" was shortlisted for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award in 2003. Her first novel, The Outback Stars, was published in April, 2007, and was followed by two sequels: The Stars Down Under (2008) and The Stars Blue Yonder (2009).
The Outback Stars series:
- The Outback Stars (2007), Tor Books, ISBN 0-765-31643-9
- The Stars Down Under (2008), Tor, ISBN 0-765-31644-7
- The Stars Blue Yonder (2009), Tor, ISBN 978-0-765-32041-4
- Sandra McDonald at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Sandra McDonald's official website
- Author's page at Macmillan.com