Teaching Advanced ESL using my novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”

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Hello,
I recently have realized that I could use my novel to teach ESL/ELD 3 (3rd year/Advanced) or what the district might call ELD 5/6 or 7/8. I could also use it to teach Reading.
What really helps is 1) The relevancy of a) war b) poverty & oppression and c) the family stories and finally d) the fact that I am the author.
I was subbing again for Ms. G at CVHS and her seniors were fascinated with the story and with me as a writer.
Both this year or last year, Ms. G’s students have cheated in order to try to win the raffle & win my book. What a compliment for me to see how badly they wanted to win my novel!
I also covered Mr. P’s English 12 class. It had a special category which I believe was what they used to call SDAI (At least that’s what it was called when I was English Learner Coordinator at Venice High School in LAUSD). These students did not know a lot of English but when I read them the prologue, they enjoyed that there were Spanish words and phrases in it.
I recently discovered that there are two Mexican nuns that live across the street from us. Their church is Monte Maria in Tijuana. After meeting them at the monthly Mexican Breakfast fundraiser, I have begun a conversation to begin teaching Advanced ESL to adults in their home.
I will let you know how that goes so you see I have experience in this area. But, you also should be aware that I have 20 years experience teaching English Learners and I always had a captive audience in my high school classes. This is because of my understanding of the Affective Filter and other issues that often prevent students from learning.
I will also be in touch when my husband’s band plays for the fundraiser here in Chula Vista for Prop 58 (The LEARN Initiative). This is supposed to happen in October. The August fundraiser at Cristina Alfaro’s home was a HUGE success.
I look forward to hearing from you all.
Paz y justicia,
Sherrie Miranda
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:
tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
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:
http://www.sandiegobookreview.com/secrets-and-lies-in-el-salvador/
An article about Sherrie Miranda and her debut novel:
http://www.thestarnews.com/entertainment/war-torn-el-salvador-is-setting-for-cv-novelist/
An article about the writer’s group Sherrie Miranda started:
http://southbaycompass.com/the-scribes-south-bay-writers-have-their-own-group/
An interview by Fiona McVie on her Authors Interviews WordPress blog:
https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/here-is-my-interview-with-sherrie-miranda/comment-page-1/#comment-5917
The San Diego Public Library’s 50th Annual Local Authors Exhibit featured Sherrie’s novel:
http://online.flipbuilder.com/tyny/sair/#p=64
GoodReads Author page:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13490857.Sherrie_Miranda
Sherrie’s WordPress blog:
https://sherriemiranda1.wordpress.com

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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:
http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
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:
http://www.sandiegobookreview.com/secrets-and-lies-in-el-salvador/
An article about Sherrie Miranda and her debut novel:
http://www.thestarnews.com/entertainment/war-torn-el-salvador-is-setting-for-cv-novelist/
An article about the writer’s group Sherrie Miranda started:
http://southbaycompass.com/the-scribes-south-bay-writers-have-their-own-group/
An interview by Fiona McVie on her Authors Interviews WordPress blog:
https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/here-is-my-interview-with-sherrie-miranda/comment-page-1/#comment-5917

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.

Reviews of Three Books Written by Latino/a Writers

4.0 out of 5 stars A Muli-Layered Complex Piece of Fiction, March 23, 2016
By Sherrie Miranda
Verified Purchase from Amazom
This review is for: In Evil Hour   51BqUklY9IL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
I bought this book a while ago when I realized that there still was at least one book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that I hadn’t read.
I understand that this may have been his first published novel, long before his infamous “100 Years of Solitude.” Garcia Marquez is never an easy read though his short stories are best if you are new to his writing.
“In Evil Hour” is a layered story of a town in turmoil. Someone is the town is making billboards with the townspeople’s secrets on them. It is a fascinating idea, but it is the kind of book that needs to be read in a class or a reader’s club in order to capture all the nuances of the story. One reviewer said it needs to be read more than once. Although I agree, I am not the kind of person to re-read anything.
I enjoyed all the interesting characters, but sometimes had trouble remembering who was who. If I find anymore of Garcia Marquez’s books that I haven’t read, I think I will look for someone to read along with me. Someone to help me get all there is to get from this author of complex, multi-layered fiction.
RIP Sir Gabriel Garcia Marquez. You deserve it!
Sherrie Miranda is the author of “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador”

3.0 out of 5 stars
Rich in Metaphor & Nuance, Probably best read in a class or readers’ group, March 23, 2016
By Sherrie Miranda
This review is for: Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real
This book was a real mixed bag. Although many of the Latina writers have published novels that are excellent, their short stories often left you wondering about their skills in this arena. Or maybe it is the reader who needs more skills or understanding of life in Latin America? I can’t discount them for my possible lack.
There were a few very well-written stories that I enjoyed immensely. Then there were the horror stories you wish you hadn’t read, like “Death And Transfiguration of A Teacher” in which the female students killed, cut up & ate their sensitive and poetic teacher! I get the allusion. As a teacher myself, I often referred to the fresh new teachers as being eaten alive by the students, but still, it was not the kind of story one wants to read before going to sleep.
Most of the stories were quite rewarding, though I would have preferred to have discussed each story in a classroom or group situation as I think I would have gotten more out of them.
Such seems to be the way of Latino authors, both male and female. They are so rich with metaphor and nuance that they are meant to be read in a group where they can be discussed.

4.0 out of 5 stars
The (Super) Reality of This Story Makes It Very Disturbing  41f9DtwhADL._AA160_.jpg
Reviewed By Sherrie Miranda
This review is for: Distant Star by Roberto Bolaño
This novel is so surreal (super real) that it makes it very disturbing to read. We, North Americans tend to want stories that have a clearly happy ending. We prefer not to know about evil people, and certainly don’t want to know that evil people can go on and have a great life where no one knows how evil they have been.
Such is the case with Alberto Ruiz-Tagle (AKA Carlos Weider) who the narrator follows around and slowly learns that Weider did Pinochet’s dirty work. He tortured many people who ended up in mass graves. The unnamed narrator becomes more and more obsessed with proving who this man is, even if only to himself. He, in fact, becomes so disturbed and paranoid with who Weider is and who he has become that he no longer trusts his best friend with the knowledge. Despite the fact that his poet friend, like he, are the opposite of Weider: they believe in justice and freedom and abhor the Right’s idea that those who have their own mind, should be killed.
The narrator seems to be unable to go back to being that innocent, loving poet, especially after he realizes that Weider killed the beautiful twins that had parties for the Leftist Poets.
Weider (going by Ruiz-Tagle) tricked the women because he was a poet and they innately trust the poet as a person of great depth and beauty.
Personally, once I knew this man could kill two such kind souls, I hated the guy so much, I wanted him to die. I hoped the narrator would kill him, but alas, he does not have a murderer’s heart so instead, he becomes more and more obsessed.
I almost wish I could undo what I read in this book. Sadly, many Latinos live with this knowledge everyday: Knowing a murderous torturer may be their neighbor, yet unable to do anything about it. This was a story that needed to be told.
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:
http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
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
Secrets and Lies in El Salvador: Shelly’s Journey 51UX4f00CBL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
five-stars
by Sherrie Miranda
Released on February 23rd 2015
Pages: 233
ISBN: B00T6EI1UW
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.

http://www.sandiegobookreview.com/secrets-and-lies-in-el-salvador/

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:
http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
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.

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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:
http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

The Times of My Life Or How I Came to Write This Novel

Originally Posted on March 26, 2015 by The Story Reading Ape

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Sherrie Miranda is the name I have now & plan to keep.  😉  ❤

I was born in Northern Pennsylvania and grew up in Upstate New York. I have two brothers and two sisters. (Okay, maybe you don’t want me to go that far back?)

I studied Art and photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The photography studies ended up being important for writing the novel.

From there, I moved to New Orleans for no other reason than some people from Iceland and Norway were looking for someone to drive their “Drive-Away” car. I stayed there for seven years, and was very active in the anti-war movement, esp. protesting the U.S. funded war in El Salvador. I got back in school at the University of New Orleans and was studying Communications and Latin American Studies.

Later, I married the Salvadoran that I had gone to all the CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) meetings and protests with. When he moved to San Diego, I followed him, and worked at San Diego State University for the Latin American Studies dept. I went on to work with the homeless and undocumented at St. Vincent de Paul Homeless shelter and then with teens who had gotten in trouble with the law. Finally, I went back to school to get my teaching credential and began teaching Art, English and even Health. Eventually the Salvadoran and I got divorced and I moved to Los Angeles.

In LA, I continued teaching English and ESL, but also started working on my own spiritual growth. I became the English Learner Coordinator at Venice High School and ended up contacting a man who I had worked with back in San Diego. He proposed and I moved back to San Diego (Chula Vista) and started working on my MFA in Creative Writing with the intention of writing the story of the Salvadoran civil war.

Of course, I didn’t have time to work on the story until it was time to write my thesis. I wrote a draft that spanned fifty years and then had to find a way to tell the story in a way that was not an epic tale. That is when I decided to make my protagonist, Shelly, a photographer so instead of the story being a series of vignettes that had little relation to each other, I ended up having Shelly hear the secrets and lies of the Salvadorans while she photographed them. The majority of these people were part of one family.

This first novel was a long, hard road, not just because it was about a horrendous war, but also because it was very hard for me to make changes. I was happy with each version and it took a lot of research to decide to change the story into something that was easy to follow. I wanted to get it right so I continued to study Story Structure and other aspects of storytelling. Despite hiring two writing coaches who made many suggestions, I couldn’t make any changes that I didn’t absolutely decide that was what I felt in my heart needed to be done.

At every stage of the writing, I was sending out queries and did get a request for a partial, but I sent that partial in more than a year later (I thought I had deleted all dates, but later found a date was left in there.) I had almost hired several editors, but one was ripping people off. Another was charging too much and another got sick of my questions and told me not to contact him again.

Finally I decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for the editing. At that time, I didn’t realize that editing was only one of several expenses.

In truth, had I known the journey would be so long and difficult, I probably would have quit so I guess my obsessive optimism was a good thing, in this case.

Another writer who had published seven books took me under his wing. He gave me the name of an excellent Canadian editor whose prices were lower than most editors’ prices. He gave me the name of an Australian woman who did cover design who also did the formatting for me. Both of these people were extremely helpful. They answered my incessant questions, sometimes reminding me that I already had those answers in previous e-mails.

Now that I am finished, I am glad that I independently published the novel. It allowed me to tell the story my way and though I have a lot invested in the book, I will also make the bulk of sales should it take off.

SaLiES  51UX4f00CBL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

“Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is a love story between a young American woman and the Salvadoran people. It is a work of love and passion. It wasn’t until I finished it that I realized I have other stories to write, including the prequel to this novel and a couple of sequels.

I continue to live with my Filipino Hippie husband who is a teacher and a piano player and we have a great life together.

I hope that “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” will be used to teach history through literature in 10th grade high school classes or at the college level. I also hope to help seniors and troubled teens write their story.

There is so much to do and so little time! But I will do my best to make my dreams come true.

Sherrie

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:
http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

Best Christmas Present Ever! ;-) <3

Hello everyone,

I trust you all had a lovely Christmas. I know some of you did as we have been in touch, either by e-mail or in person.

My goddaughter was here in CV to see her grandmother and for all of us to meet her beautiful 3 mo. old baby girl. I had given her a card, when she was pregnant, where I mentioned something about translating my novel but didn’t want to bother her about it. When I was ready to leave, I said “I guess you aren’t interested in translating the novel?” She said, “Yes, I am! My mom and I were arguing about how to translate something just before we left!” I told her about crowd funding sites (surprisingly she has never heard of them!). That got her even more interested! The cool thing is that both her parents lived through the war & can help her with all the Salvadorismos. She has a masters in law from El Salvador, but has been unable to get any job other than salesperson jobs so I think she sees this as a chance to do something at her level of training.

I am very excited, as you can imagine! I am also currently having a cover made for my prequel “Crimes & Impunity in New Orleans.” I plan to use the cover to help me raise money to edit & publish the story about Shelly before she goes to El Salvador. I plan to use a different site (Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated) as KS was quite difficult and I almost lost the entire amount. It was only because I had minor surgery & had to stay home that I was able to make my goal.

Wishing you all love, health & joy in the coming year!

Peace, respect & justice for all,

Sherrie

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: http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y

Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P11Ch5chkAc