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.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

From Tears to Triumph has a website!

From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope just came out of the interior book designing stage. YEAH!

Ted Witt, from Pretty Road Press did a phenomenal job on the design. All "widows and orphans" are accounted for, page numbers placed, font type and size selected, headers in, and pictures in the back of the book.

I'll be blogging from the website from now on, so click on over and I'll see you there!

Hugs and blessings! Linda



From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope is being published by Mariah Publishing; www.mariahpublishing.com

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Book Cover Revealed!

Book cover revealed!
I’m so excited to show off the cover for “From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope.” The cover was designed by illustrator, Yoko Matsu, and the typography was created by Sam Duncan. I highly recommend both of these young ladies.

The back cover reads:

 During the summer of 1970, nineteen-year-old Linda stops on the way home from work to talk to a tall, handsome stranger on a San Francisco street corner. That chance meeting changes the course of her life. Linda’s compassionate, gripping, and soul-searching memoir tells the story of her remarkable journey from crushed dreams to the creation of a house of Hope.
Her desperate cry for help brings a spiritual awakening, a two-year life-molding adventure with the controversial Children of God commune, and her decision to escape.
By the age of twenty-two, disillusioned but not defeated, Linda follows a tug on her heart and a voice in her head and moves to Costa Rica, where with faith, defiance, and courage she advocates for runaways, street girls and underage prostitutes.  Read her story of tears turned to triumph.

From Tears to Triumph will be published (Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise) this summer, by Mariah Publishing.
     The book will be available:
From my website: www.lindabelloruiz.com,
At Mariah Publishing: www.mariahpublishing.com,
On Amazon and Barnes and Noble (including e-reading downloads)
Through emailing me: lmbelloruiz@yahoo.com
I will let you know when it’s ready . . . so excited!

    What do you think? Do you like it? Do you have questions? Those of you who have been following my writing journey know that it's been THREE YEARS since I set out to put my story on paper. I'm so glad to see the finish line straight ahead!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It Takes a Village...to write and publish a book


     If someone had told me three years ago when I started writing my memoir, it would take this long to write, edit, polish, rewrite, edit, rewrite and edit some more, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’d have said, “Oh, not me … I can do it faster!” 


     I’ve pretty much completed my work with Linda Joy Myers, from the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). She played a valuable role in coaching, teaching, editing and encouraging me for nearly a year. As I entered her last edits into the manuscript at 4:00 pm on April 28th, I emailed her to say, “I’m done!”


     She kindly emailed back, saying I wasn’t “done.”  In fact, she said I now need to find a line-editor to go through the manuscript again. Yes, AGAIN—to see if there are any grammar problems, misplaced comma’s, em-dashes, elipses out of place…” (And, yes, I now know what em-dashes and elipses are!)

     I about fell off my chair. “THERE’S MORE???”


     So here’s where I am in the process. 

Ø The manuscript (which by the way grew from 86,000 words to 107,000 words during this last year), is in the hands of a New York editor. YES! A New York editor.

Ø My nephew Ric and his company, Superior Website Services, are creating my website—at the family discount rate, thank goodness.  I will let you know when the website is up and running.

Ø My writing friend, Quentin, told me about his fabulous illustrator, Yoko, and she will be working with me to design the front and back covers of the book.

Ø Through a local ad, I found a man who restores pictures and he now has my 37-year-old pictures and newspaper articles from The House of Hope, and is getting them ready so I can include them in the back of the book.

Ø And two friends of mine are reading the manuscript checking for flow, pace, and overall interest.

     Who would have thought all of this went into getting a book written, edited and published?

     There’s more. Although I’ve been encouraged by several professionals to seek an agent and through an agent find a traditional publisher, I’ve decided not to follow that route, at least not right now. From my research, I’ve learned agents seldom agree to represent a new, unknown author who has little or no social media platform—meaning thousands and hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers, FB followers, Blog followers, etc.

     And that’s okay—heart-breaking, but okay.

     The good thing is that in today’s digital world there are lots of ways to get a manuscript published and that’s what I’m researching right now, with the help of my writing buddy, Leo and others.

     Stay tuned. From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope is nearing completion! And yes, “It takes a village,” to write, edit, and publish. 

     What are your experiences in this journey of writing? Send me an email or post a comment. I would love to hear your story.

("It takes a village" picture from cps.regis.edu)

Friday, March 29, 2013

The next step for “From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope.

After nearly three years of daily feeling, thinking, praying, writing and editing I sent my “baby” to my writing coach, Linda Joy Myers (NAMW) for a complete examination. When she’s through reviewing the 418-page, 104,000-word manuscript, I’ll be one big step closer to the end project a book in my hands (and hopefully yours). I see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is bright and shiny, and yet scary.

As you know, this has all been new to me. When I started out to write this memoir nearly three years ago, I really thought it would be relatively easy. I mean, after all, it’s a true story and all I needed to do was put my memories onto the written page.


Each “memory” comes with a feeling and I had to dig deep and hard to surface the feelings and events surrounding the memories. And sometimes I didn't WANT to remember certain events and the associated feelings--it was gut wrenching. That’s called memoir writing. It’s different than fiction.

In writing fiction, the author uses their imagination and creativity to bolster the story percolating in their mind. In memoir writing you need to write the truth or as close to the truth as you can possibly get…and since I don’t have every conversation and event from all those years ago embedded in my memory bank, I need to relate how it most likely happened, staying true to the story. 

The journals, cassette tapes and letter to my parents that I have had in hand during the process, have been incredibly valuable. It wasn’t always easy, but it’s been so worth the journey.

Stay tuned. And thank YOU for joining me in your hearts and prayers during the last three years!  

(Photo by Ciarán Ryan)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Waiting to Give Birth


From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope

I definitely see a correlation between waiting for a book to be published and waiting for a child to be born.

I've been in Santa Rosa this week with my 21-year-old daughter, Patricia, as we wait for her contractions to start and for her first child, Laila, to come into the world. In those moments when I'm not hanging out with Patricia, bonding, laughing, shopping, walking and planning, I'm on my laptop editing and polishing the final chapters of my book.

I started seeing a correlation. 

* Laila is overdue. We all feel she "should have been here by now."

* I expected to have my book finished and published by now…"it feels like it's overdue."

* Every morning I receive calls, emails and text messages from loved ones asking, "Is there a baby yet?"

* Frequently on my Facebook page or in conversations with friends I hear, "Isn't the book ready yet?"

* Patricia is listening to others and researching natural ways to speed up the birthing process--with no luck. As her doctor says, "The baby will come when she's ready."

* I've also looked for ways to "hurry up" the editing and polishing process...but the experts tell me to, "slow down."  

We both have to be patient and let the creative process happen.

* Patricia and Melchor’s baby has a beautiful name.  They thought about names for months, trying out different ones, and then came up with “Laila Daniley.”

* I’ve thought about names for my book for years. At first it was, “Dear Mom and Dad.” Then it became, “Dear Mom and Dad, Please Send Money,” followed by “House of Hope, Love Without Borders,” and then Unstoppable, My Journey to The House of Hope. The most recent book title is, From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope.


And so it continues. There is no hurrying up the process.  I do believe that what is worth having is worth working on and waiting for… but even so…hurry up already, Laila!








Saturday, January 19, 2013



UNSTOPPABLE, MY JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF HOPE continues to occupy my heart, mind and time. I’ve been “cleaning” and “percolating” in preparation for publishing. As I read through the manuscript, I find words, phrases, paragraphs and whole chapters that although interesting, seem to slow the pace of the story, or aren’t relevant.

Some of these paragraphs and chapters (like when the FBI came knocking when I was sixteen, looking for my boyfriend who’d escaped from jail), will be in the back of the book under “excerpts.”   That’s the cleaning that’s been occupying my time.

Then there’s the percolating. My mind and memory run hot as I ruminate over a word or sentence while walking down the street or trying to fall asleep at nightand a new, better, more concise word or sentence will pour forth, begging to be substituted for said less-concise word or sentence. 

Yes, this is the life of an author. I didn’t know this when I started, but here I am, some ten chapters from the end of the arduous editing process.

A new writing friend, Quentin, has read two of the three-part manuscript. Here is his humorous (but oh, too true) summation:
Recipe for a Life…..take one teen-age girl, give her red-hair, excess weight, add a dash of naiveté, and a spoonful of Christian teaching, shake and blend and empty into a street mold in San Francisco, leaving it unprotected until it jells into the first layer.
Next inject a filling of college courses with a syringe to induce a modicum of self-respect, add one boyfriend who sells drugs, be offered a rewarding summer internship as a street hooker working for boyfriend, allow brain to expand like the big-bang to the point of intelligence where internship is summarily turned down, discard empty boyfriend container, mix in a potpourri of doe-eyed religious friends, stir brains slowly until partially curdled.
Carefully pour this malleable cerebrum into a rigid religious cult mold and bake 24/7 until you produce the “I-obey-without-question” second layer.
Saturate layer with a spicy bottle of Spanish language, move concoction 4,000 miles to an open air taco oven deep within Mexico, move dish to different Mexican cities adding local corn and vegetables to fashion the fruitcake-like third layer while praying fanatically and gathering acolytes to help you carry the unique cake of experience-forged-resolve.
Eventually cut a teeny-tiny wedge from the triple layer, feed it to the new Costa Rican President to remind him of his conscience and that God is watching and ask for money to distribute the almost finished layered product, being certain not to disclose individual ingredients of the multi-layer cake, to said President, turn down government offer and move forward looking for guidance to finally co-found and direct The House of Hope for the wayward, adding lavish frosting, sprinkles and candles.
       Win well-earned awards and praise. Reflect often on recipe missteps by gazing into a mirror using the words…what the heck was I thinking?