Some more reviews for “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” plus perhaps the only bad review I’ve ever written

It would be great if you have read my novel, if you would please write a short review. Two sentences can be very telling!  😉  ❤  These are some recent sample from Amazon!
5.0 out of 5 stars – and unparalleled love among the suffering   51UX4f00CBL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
By MA on March 13, 2016
Secrets and Lies in El Salvador” authored by Sherrie Miranda, is a unique book which could be treated both as an adventurous fiction and a non-fiction travel book. When Shelly, the American girl, lands in El Salvador, she finds a country not only steeped in crippling poverty but in horrendous ravage from a civil war there. However,even within this fractured state of instability, she finds warmth among people, and unparalleled love among the suffering.

The cuisine, which is a part of this journey, serves as contrast to lighten up the dark theme of a convoluted plot of a deeply seated corruption in politics that the country cannot escape from, neither correct it. On the flip side though, there is always hope, lurking in the shadows of the mind.
5.0 out of 5 stars – Immersion
By Matt on December 1, 2015
From the first page of Sherrie Miranda’s book, Secrets and Lies in El Salvador, you are immersed in another culture, another time. Her knowledge of the history and people is obvious and makes you want to learn more. Add to that a love story and some intense dramatic scenes (not for the sensitive) and this book will hold your attention.
4.0 out of 5 stars – While not my usual genre I enjoyed this book
By Teresa T on September 4, 2015
“Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”
Set in a time and place of rebellion and war this story touched me. I had little knowledge of El Salvador’s political history and Sherrie Miranda’s story gave me insight. Told from Shelly’s pov the story reads like a memoir. We read of her discovery of a family history she had been unaware of, her reasons for traveling to El Salvador and the actions of others that affect her life. While not my usual genre I enjoyed this book more than I expected to.

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

San Diego Book Review gave “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” 5*s:
An article about Sherrie Miranda and her debut novel:
An article about the writer’s group Sherrie Miranda started:
An interview by Fiona McVie on her Authors Interviews WordPress blog:

I don’t usually write bad reviews. I just try not to think about the time I wasted reading a book, but Mansfield is long dead. Maybe someone will write the story of HER life. That would be much more interesting.                                                                                                       Peace, Sherrie Miranda
Bliss & Other Stories
by Katherine Mansfield
Sherrie Miranda’s review
1* – did not like it
1.0 out of 5 stars – Sadly Lacking in Substance, March 23, 2016
This review is for: Bliss and Other Stories
I have an older book from 1973 though I am sure there are others much older.
These stories are all about what’s going on in the narrator’s head. Nothing that actually happens is of any consequence. In fact, the narrators’ thoughts are of no consequence either.
Someone else reviewed the book, speaking of Mansfield’s tragic life and how she kept writing. I would have loved to read stories of that tragic life, rather than a bunch of rich people sitting around, eating, drinking or smoking.
Sorry, but this book of short stories did nothing for me. I even skipped through one section, just trying to get to the end. As they say “The truth is stranger than fiction.” Mansfield’s mistake was in not writing HER TRUTH.


National University MFA Program Reading and Reception at the AWP!

National University MFA Program Reading and Reception at the AWP!

Current NU students, Alumni, Prospective students, and the general public are welcome.

Friday, April 1st, 6:30pm-8pm Diamond Salon 10 in the JW Marriott Hotel.  900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015.

                                                       Featuring readings by:

ANN Y. K. CHOI was born in Chung-Ju, South Korea, and emigrated with her family to Canada in the 1970s. She holds an Honours BA from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies’ Creative Writing Program, winning the Marina Nemat Award for top final manuscript. Her first novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety, will be published in May 2016 by Simon & Schuster Canada. Ann is currently completing her final year in the MFA Program at National University. A high school teacher, she lives in Toronto with her husband and her daughter.

WESTON OCHSE is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war.

SHERRIE MIRANDA is an author who writes in order to create more peace and understanding in the world. She is a teacher who has taught students from many countries of the world. She is also a life and writing coach and hopes to soon find a way to help seniors and troubled teens write their life stories. She graduated from National University’s MFA in Creative Writing in 2009 and published the novel she turned in as her thesis Secrets & Lies in El Salvador in 2015. Sherrie loves to travel and first traveled to other countries before finally deciding to see some of the U.S., places that foreigners she met had been to, but that she hadn’t. She is happily married to a teacher who identifies himself first, as a musician. They hope to someday travel together to places where she reads her novel(s) and speaks to people about writing and life while Angelo plays his piano and entertains the audience.

SARAH CARSON received her MFA in Creative Writing from National University in 2009. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Guernica, the Minnesota Review, the Nashville Review, and the New Orleans Review, among others. She is the author of three chapbooks and two full-length collections: Poems in which You Die (BatCat Press) and Buick City (Mayapple Press). Originally from Michigan, she currently lives in Chicago with her dog, Amos.

R.K. JOHNSON is a native Washingtonian and the author of two young adult historical novels, Gilded Girls and Gilded Debutante which explore the lives of elite African-Americans during the Gilded Age. After earning her MFA in Fiction at National University, R.K. went on to work as a technical writer and teach creative writing workshops to children in Washington, D.C. As a child R.K. began journaling and later realized what a huge role it played in self-discovery. It was the author’s passion for reading and writing that led her to follow her childhood dream of becoming an author. She loves sharing her experience with others and works to promote literacy, writing and publishing to girls around the globe. Her hobbies include reading historical fiction by candlelight, visiting local libraries and traveling the world. Visit the author’s website at to learn more about her work.

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:


San Diego Book Review gave 5 *s to my novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”

by Anita Lock in Literary Fiction
Secrets and Lies in El Salvador: Shelly’s Journey 51UX4f00CBL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
by Sherrie Miranda
Released on February 23rd 2015
Pages: 233
On Amazon, in Barnes & Noble & independent bookstores in SoCal & Upstate NY
“You must keep many secrets and tell many lies when your people are at war with themselves.”
American photographer Shelly Smith goes to El Salvador during the Salvadoran Civil War. Making her home among the townspeople, Shelly draws closer to them as she listens to their horrific stories while capturing their portraits on camera. Shelly is asked to take pictures of an imprisoned female American journalist for the purpose of exposing the truth about what is happening in the war to the American public. The assignment is extremely risky. If she chooses to go, there is a high chance that she may follow in the martyred footsteps of her uncle, Leftist poet Roque Dalton.
In her debut book, rising author Sherrie Miranda scripts a story that is not for the faint of heart. Miranda’s narrative tightly interweaves fictional characters within historical environs that zeroes in on the plight of the poor. A mix of injustices that convolutes family relations and Shelly’s personal experiences and struggles, Miranda aptly sheds light on the complicated issues about the smallest as well as the most densely populated country in Central America. A combination of cliffhanging chapter closures and unexpected scenes, Miranda’s novel is certain to be a wonderful addition to Central American history collections.

by Anita Lock

I am a woman of many hats: a wife to a wonderful husband, a mother of three awesome children, a grandmother to an amazing, little granddaughter, and a long-time educator in varied degrees (pun intended!). Starting with a Bachelors degree in Music Education and a Masters degree in Library Science, I have chosen to use my skills to educate others, particularly youth. Whether a preschool teacher, home educator, teacher’s aide, tutor, music instructor, Irish DJ, and now book reviewer, my goal remains consistent: It is imperative that I provide tools to help others succeed in life.

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

I had a review in the Sept. issue of InD’tale!

Secrets and Lies in El Salvador: Shelly’s Journey, by Sherrie Miranda
Genre: Historical
In “Secrets and Lies in El Salvador: Shelly’s Journey,” a young woman seeking solace from personal tragedy travels to El Salvador on behalf of a ministry to take photos of its citizenry. Shelly is warmly welcomed by her host family, the Gonzales, soon becoming a part of their close-knit but secret-keeping family. As she takes pictures of each member, they reveal those secrets and draw her deeper into their world, the struggle of the Salvadoran people, and their personal struggles related to generations of secrets that have molded their lives to its current state.


This is a firsthand journey into perilous El Salvador in the early 1980s, when the country is torn by a war between a rich landholder-controlled government and the guerillas that are fighting for the everyday people who are systematically abused, disenfranchised, and often killed. Shelly has a family relationship to a poet who was a national hero, and as she spends time in the country, she evolves to feel a deep bond to its people and anguish for their sufferings. The narrative is emotive and involving, drawing the reader into what Shelly sees and feels. While the reader is spared gratuitous descriptions, there are moments and happenings that a sensitive reader will find disturbing, and the continual assault of horrors is wearying. This story will make readers feel the anguish and righteous anger at the plight of Salvadorans, as it opens readers’ eyes to the situation in El Salvador in the latter part of the 20th Century.

Danielle Hill

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

Give the gift of Love & Spirituality! “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is an anti-war story with a spiritual message & a message about the power of LOVE!

If you need some gifts for some readers, this is a book that has a spiritual message, as well as a message about family and the power of love!

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:

Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

A Letter Explaining the Reason Behind the Choice of Writing “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” as Historically-Based, Rather than Historical Fiction

Mr. Lamperti,
I very much appreciate your message and am glad that you care so much about El Salvador’s recent history.
When I first began writing “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador,” I wanted it to be historical fiction, but I had t w o very knowledgable people tell me not to write it that way. The first person (who recently passed away with cancer) told me that the story would be better told by moving events around in order to build tension. Karen Aschenbach had written screenplays and lived in Hollywood the last few years of her life. I am well aware that Hollywood doesn’t often tell the complete truth, but I am also hoping that this story will be made into a movie.
The other person who recommended I not call it (or make it) historical fiction is an author of historical fiction herself. She said historical fiction doesn’t sell except to a small group of people who care immensely about history. A few months after she gave me this advice, she pulled her books off the shelf to edit and make changes as some readers had found some errors in the work.
That was a wake-up call for me as I knew I wasn’t being meticulous about the history and especially the time-line.
For these reasons, I call the novel historically-based, rather than historical fiction.
I will make sure my publicist is aware of this so that we do not label this story inaccurately.
My sincere thanks for your compassion toward the Salvadoran cause. My Salvadoran friends and family are very grateful to you and all those who remind the world of this unjust US-funded war.
Sherrie Miranda

A Mourner Remembers Archbishop Romero
A Mourner Remembers Archbishop Romero

Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

Honor Comes Late to Óscar Romero, a Martyr for the Poor

Honor Comes Late to Óscar Romero, a Martyr for the Poor

SAN SALVADOR — María de los Angeles Mena Alvarado knelt at the tomb of the slain archbishop and wept.

She had come to the crypt of the city’s cathedral to pray for a cure for the diabetes that was threatening her eyesight and weakening her kidneys. “I feel that, yes, he can perform a miracle,” said Ms. Mena, 62.

Thirty-five years after Óscar Romero, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated with a single bullet as he said Mass in a modest chapel here, this small country is celebrating his beatification on Saturday, the final step before sainthood.

For many here and in the rest of Latin America, though, Archbishop Romero is already a saint.

His tireless advocacy for the poor resonates deeply in a region where the gulf between those with riches and those without remains vast. He was the champion of impoverished Salvadorans, his homilies and radio broadcasts giving voice to their struggles. And as political violence battered the country and death squads killed any activist who challenged the existing order, the archbishop was defiant.

“I have frequently been threatened with death,” he said two weeks before he was killed. “If they kill me, I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people.”

The decision by Pope Francis to declare Archbishop Romero a martyr to the faith and speed up the long-stalled process toward his sanctification is widely seen as a recognition of the deep pastoral commitment the archbishop demonstrated, at the cost of his life.

“He spoke the truth; he spoke through facts,” said Eva Menjívar, a former Carmelite nun who knew him in the 1970s and continues as a religious worker in poor communities. “We have never stopped teaching the spirit and values of Monsignor Romero.”

For decades, the conservative Vatican hierarchy was suspicious of Archbishop Romero, as it was of many Latin American priests who were influenced by liberation theology, which challenges the social and economic structures that perpetuate poverty. Even today he remains a divisive figure in El Salvador, where some on the right believe he was a communist in clerical garb.

Archbishop Romero never identified himself with liberation theology. But as an advocate for the poor, “he took sides; he was not a neutral bystander,” said Robert Ellsberg, a scholar and publisher of Orbis Books, a Catholic publishing house. “He spoke out clearly without compromise against the violence and injustice of the elite.”

In that sense, he had much in common with Pope Francis, who has said he wants “a poor church for the poor.”

The Rev. Gustavo Gutiérrez, the Peruvian priest whose 1971 book first outlined liberation theology, said Archbishop Romero was motivated by the poverty and suffering he saw in El Salvador rather than by any ideology. “Monsignor Romero now appears to be understood, as he was also very misunderstood,” he said.

Before Archbishop Romero was appointed in 1977, he had not confronted the growing military repression directly. But a few weeks later, a Jesuit priest and friend, the Rev. Rutilio Grande, was assassinated. The archbishop celebrated Mass several weeks afterward and then organized a procession through the rural town where Father Grande had been organizing farmworkers, recalled the Rev. Jon Sobrino, a liberation theologian who became an adviser.

The group suddenly encountered soldiers with their rifles drawn and stopped short. But from the back of the file the archbishop’s voice rang out, urging people, “Forward!” The soldiers lowered their rifles.

In the context of the Cold War, Archbishop Romero’s stance marked him as subversive in the eyes of the United States-backed Salvadoran military, even though he also criticized violence by the guerrillas.

The month before he was killed, Archbishop Romero wrote to President Jimmy Carter to ask him to end United States support for the military. Then, on March 23, 1980, he called on soldiers to disobey illegal orders. “The peasants you kill are your own brothers and sisters,” he said.

The New York Times
Salvador Archbishop Assassinated by Sniper While Officiating at Mass

The next day, a red Volkswagen pulled up outside the chapel at the cancer hospice where he lived, and a shot was fired from the car’s back window through the chapel doorway to the altar, and the archbishop fell bleeding.

A United Nations truth commission found that his murder was planned by a group of officers led by Roberto d’Aubuisson, a former army major who led the death squads. Nobody was ever prosecuted for the assassination, and Mr. d’Aubuisson died of cancer in 1992. Left open is whether he was acting for someone in the oligarchy.

At the archbishop’s funeral, snipers fired on mourners, killing as many as 40 people amid scenes of panic.

In the months after Archbishop Romero’s death, the violence escalated into a brutal civil war in which at least 75,000 people were killed before peace accords were signed in 1992. Under President Ronald Reagan, Washington sent as much as $1.5 million a day to support the Salvadoran military.

The long-awaited recognition for Archbishop Romero comes to a country and a region that is very different in some ways. But the daily reality of the poor has changed little.

Right-wing military dictatorships have been swept away in Latin America. Outright political violence is rare, and in all but a few countries there is a vibrant civil society that is free to criticize governments without fear.

In El Salvador, the warring sides of the civil war now compete in elections, and President Salvador Sánchez Cerén is a former guerrilla commander.

Democracy has proved a profound disappointment, though. Inequality is as entrenched as it was in Archbishop Romero’s time, and the poor of El Salvador — along with those in many other countries in Latin America — now live in the grip of criminal, not political, violence.

“The violence now is of the poor against the poor,” said Roberto Cuéllar, a lawyer who worked with Archbishop Romero to offer legal services to the poor and document human rights abuses. “He would be bitter to see that after reaching the peace accords that we are still in the same place.”

Msgr. Ricardo Urioste, who was the vicar general to Archbishop Romero, said the Salvadoran church had failed to take a role in addressing the gang violence that rages through the poor neighborhoods.

“I think the church should take a more active part,” said Monsignor Urioste, taking a sharply critical view of a hierarchy that has long resisted honoring the archbishop. “I think if Monsignor Romero were here he would talk to the gangs, something no bishop is doing here. And he would be talking about injustice.”

The question now is whether Archbishop Romero’s beatification will prove to be merely a symbol or a watershed for Latin America.

Many Central Americans — almost 50 percent of Salvadorans are younger than 25 — have no direct memory of the wars that racked the region and the role that socially committed priests played.

And a generation of young people who were inspired by liberation theology in the 1970s have moved on, preferring to work in human rights, labor organizing, legal aid or economic development. They have helped to enrich civil society, where the church now plays a much smaller role.

Those who revere Archbishop Romero worry that the long-awaited official recognition may simply be an effort to soften his legacy. “It is an attempt to claim his message,” Lissette Hernández, 42, who works on rural development projects, said after a concert in the archbishop’s memory. “He was correct in the way he lived the Gospel.”

“I have mixed feelings” about the beatification, she said. “Nobody has asked for forgiveness or solved the crime.”

Gene Palumbo contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on May 23, 2015, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Honor Comes Late to Martyr for the Poor.

The assassination of Monseñor Romero is in my novel. Do you know a/b my debut novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”? A young American woman goes to war-torn El Salvador: