About Me

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Born Linda Marie Cassells, my named changed over the years. I was called Miki in high school by close friends. My name was changed to Charity while a member of the Children of God in the 70's and then changed to Caridad, while living in Costa Rica. I began writing this Memoir In June 2010. I invite you to join me in the writing, editing, publishing and marketing journey.

Friday, June 22, 2012



House of Hope, Love Without Borders

May, 1986

The thin, twenty-one-year-old girl walked down the stairs from the plane now sitting on the tarmac at the Tijuana Airport. I watched her make her way uncertainly toward the airport terminal, shoulders slumped and her head down. When she reached the double-glass doors, she raised her head to scan the crowd. As soon as she saw me her face lit up with a smile. I ran to her and gathered her in my arms for a long, warm embrace. It had been seven years since I’d seen her—she’d been fourteen at the time. Now, she was grown up, but still so very small.
 Bienvenida, mi hija, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here,” I said as I took in her deep brown eyes and bony physique. “Are you ready to do this?”
I had spent ten years trying to get her from Costa Rica and finally she had arrived. I couldn’t help but see the tiny little girl who’d been given to me by her father when she was just eleven. I’d been working in Costa Rica, at the House of Hope, for nearly a year by then. In another lifetime.
“I’m scared,” she answered. “What happens if we get caught? Will I get sent back?” She looked around furtively, as if expecting someone to take her away.
“I don’t want to think about that,” I answered.
I walked her to the parked car where my three friends, Jasper, Jenna and Ceci waited.  
“She’ll sit in the back next to me, “I said. “Ceci, you sit on her left side. Jasper will drive and Jenna will be in the front passenger seat. Let’s go.”
We left the Tijuana Airport and drove north to the U.S. border station. I held Ana Cecilia’s trembling hand. We were all nervous. Back in Costa Rica, so many years ago, I’d promised to never leave her. But I had. I didn’t want to lose her again.
I took a deep breath, willing my heart to beat normally. “Va estar bien, it will be okay,” I said, to assure her and myself.
Five cars were ahead of us as we neared the border guard’s booth. We’d timed our border passing for rush hour traffic, expecting the guards to be less attentive. As we got close, each of us prayed silently that we would be allowed to pass over the border without being detained.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

House of Hope: Love Without Borders (new title)

     I will confess that I wanted to keep, "Dear Mom and Dad, Please Send Money," as the book's title. I really did. So many of you encouraged me to do so. But every professional involved in the editing and publishing process with me, has counseled me to change the name.  So here it is: HOUSE OF HOPE, Love Without Borders. You'll understand the new title once you begin reading the book. 

     And...I have changed the Prologue. The original prologue has me sitting in a Mexican jail writing home to my parents: "Dear Mom and Dad, I'm in jail.." The new prologue has me breaking the law to rescue a young girl.  As soon as I hear back from the San Francisco attorney, who I have consulted with (to make sure I won't be arrested for admitting to my crime in a memoir), I'll share that with you...

     Trust me that the name change is a good one. It changes the focus from "me" to the girls in Costa Rica who found safety and love at the House of Hope. And, although the book does start out with me and my life choices, it really does end up being about them.

     I know what you're thinking..."WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET THIS THING PUBLISHED?"  According to my new "Editing Coach," I could go ahead and self-publish now and be fine. But...with a little bit of rework, tightening some of the scenes, the manuscript will be more readily accepted by an agent for traditional publishing...or, if I chose self-publishing at the end, YOU will enjoy reading it even more so, with these few final changes.

     So...bear with me. Writing is a process. I just finished reading, "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand -- an excellent, excellent book.  I highly recommend it. It took her seven years to write that masterpiece! Wow.  Mine has only taken two years so far.  And...no...I won't take seven years to complete this.  I PROMISE!

     What's your experience with writing? How long did it take you from conception to completion?