Saturday, December 10, 2011

Upcoming book signing at the California State Military Museum, Sacramento

I will be the featured author at the California State Military Museum on February 18, 2012.

Front and Center

The Monthly E-Newsletter of the California State Military Museums

Part of the United States Army Museum System
Issue 27, December 2011

February 18: 1:00 pm: Meet the Author: Charity Maness author of "It's Lonely Here in Hell": Love Letters from Nam.

"It's Lonely Here in Hell": Love Letters from Nam

by Charity L Maness by CreateSpace


List Price: $14.99

Our Price: $12.55

Buy Now

Prices shown are for online sales only.. Prices at the event may vary.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nashville....what an amazing adventure

I can't thank my hosts, Janet and Gary Piper, enough for all they did for Micki and me on our visit to Nashville. The booksignings, flights, parties, dinners, touristing, and all around fun time was beyond my expectations!
The following is a link to the excessive amount of photos I took while on this trip:)

Nashville 12-11

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Nashville Barnes and Noble booksigning

Vanderbilt University
November 29, 2011
Barnes and Noble Book signing in Nashville, Tennessee
'Love Letters from Nam' booksigning

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

One more day...Tennessee Here I Come!

I am so excited to be heading to Tennessee tomorrow to meet Jim's younger brother Gary and his wife Janet.
Venderbilt Barnes and Noble will be hosting a book signing for me!
I hope to see amazing sites, meet interesting people, and share my written work...Jim's story.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Amazing words for "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam

I am so impressed with your treatment of this so very dear to me subject but over and above my feelings I applaud you for finally bringing the human aspect of an actual soldier to life and showing the world that there truly were real live members of our military that gave their lives, not in vain but to protect us at all cost. Jimmy was only 4 years younger than me when he first came into my life but I was a married woman at 19 and he was not yet driving. I remember how I so loved who he was at the moment I first met him and how special his relationship was with his family. I have such fond memories of swimming in the pool with the boys and playing games with them. Mostly I remember the special depth and spirit of this young man. He, as you know was always, from a very young age a very very special person. This family was so blessed to have had the Blessing of knowing him. My children grew up hearing of Jimmy and he has always been a special treasure to us. Thank you for this precious gift and your understanding of the need of your respecting Michelle's need to find a special tribute to this very special human being who put his life on the line and knew more at his age about love and commitment than most any other human being I have ever known.

Thank you and God Bless You!
Toni Rhodes Glover

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Photo at radio interview

So, as you can see, an interview on the radio is not conducive to eye contact communication...thats me back there behind the mic and other assorted radio station stuff:)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Radio interveiw to air Sunday 11-13-11 9 am

I was interviewed this week by Linda Fields from KVGC 1340 am about my book. The interview is set to air on 11-13-11 at 9 am.
I must confess, I write so much better than I speak....I hope I didn't say too many "um"s.
If you miss it, soon it will be archived and I will post a link.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement:)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More good words for my latest release....

Hi Charity,
I would like to thank you for giving Ken a copy of your book. I started to read it and could not put it down. Filled with true feeling and passion. I feel as if I know Jim from this reading. . . touching! He shared such beautiful emotion in his letters to his young wife Micki. Thank you for the rendering for us to share. I know when Ken was in the Army in 1964 to 1966 (we were engaged) and we always lived with the fear that he would have to serve in Vietnam. Fortunately, he did not have to. I feel blessed that here we are 45 married years later and still together - many were not so fortunate. It makes your heart ache for those young soldiers and their loved ones that were then and even today are going through these same feelings. Thank you for the energy and time you put into this book. A true love story.
Jeanette Recio

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Flight is booked!

Heading to Tennessee early in December for two book signings and hopefully a quick tour of Nashville...I hear the Grand Ol' Opry is not to be missed.
Micki will be joining me on this trip, her first in many years without Larry by her side, but I think she will have a good time. She is so proud and excited to have Jim's story told, reiterating every chance she gets that she feels its not only Jim's story, but everyl soldiers story...the lonely reality.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tennessee, I hear you calling me

I have been invited to hold a book signing in Tennessee.
Jim's brother Gary, younger by 14 months, and his wife Janet have invited me to their home for a short stay, and hopefully a whirlwind tour of Nashville, so that they can host a book signing event for "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam.
I am so looking forward to meeting the two of them and having my creation read by more. Hopefully with this work, the generations that were not taught of Vietnam will have the opportunity to learn, absorb, and never forget.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Booksigning at Micki & Larrys an AMAZING event!

Book sales reaching over 60 was not the highlight of the evening, it was the outpouring of love and support from family and friends.
Two of Jim's brothers, Tom and Dennis, with their wives and families attended along with cousins and lifelong friends.
A heartmelting event occurred early in the evening when Swanee and Abel, high school friends of Jim's and Vietnam veterans arrived surprising Micki and bringing her to joyful tears. Quietly speaking to Micki, Abel slowly pulled a torn dollar bill from his billfold and explained that when he and Jim had deployed to Vietnam, Jim in the Army, Abel in the Air Force, Jim had torn a dollar in half and said "when we get home we'll have a beer." 44 years later Abel still carried the torn bill....on October 23, 2011 he gifted the torn bill to Micki.
Micki said she will frame it and place on the wall at her business, Micki & Larry's Sports Pub, beneath Jim's rubbing from the Vietnam Wall in D.C.  a gift from Marine Vietnam Veteran Ric Ryan.

Wonderful words from Jim's brother Gary


First, let me say that you have done a wonderful job putting this book together. I truly appreciate your compassion for Micki and my family as well as the research you did to put the chronological references of events in place. Thank you so very much. I regret that I was unable to attend this celebration of my brother's life and the completion of this project. While the spoken word is strong in its own right, the written word immortalizes. Jim's brief life and his love for Micki, his family and his country has been thrusted far beyond the granite etching on the wall in DC to the entire world because of you. I wish you much success with this book and thank you again for immortalizing Jim's life and love.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wonderful feedback!

Charity, your book is an absolute masterpiece!  Excellent organization, great presentation that builds drama even though we all know the outcome.  I can envision this being a movie script.  There's more to come in your future!  Keep writing.  You handled this just right.  Warm regards, Kyran

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Interesting observation

I found that when visiting a state within the 'bible belt' of the US...a title that has the word 'hell' in it is not readily accepted.

Reporters, book stores, and libraries alike so far have shied away from my book, all stating basically the same thought, the word is not acceptable.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Feedback on new book from a Vietnam Vet

I finished the book this morning. I couldn't put it down. I feel so bad for Micki and all her family and James family. Those weren't the best of days for anyone, whether you were there or back home and had been there. I think the public would have "tolerated" the war a little better if it wasn't in your home every day on TV. It brought the death and destruction into your house, you couldn't avoid it. It's just like the present, when the fighting in Afghanistan is intense and you know there are service men dying and your natural instinct is to want it to stop, for the death and injuries to stop, why can't we stay out of it. I know some of the reasons, but it's still hard.

I really, really, loved the book, it helps.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Received an amazing note from Jim Piper's youngest brother Tom

I was only 12 years old when Jim died. Although I remember my big brother because of our age difference I never really had the chance get to know him. This has haunted me all these years. Thanks to Mickey for shareing these very personal letters and to you for putting them together. I now know my brother. I can now tell people what he was like. This book has healed a huge hole in my heart. I will be forever grateful. TOM

The great feedback keeps coming in...

 I just finished reading Charity Maness's book "It's Lonely Here in Hell" (a quote from James Piper in one of his letters). It is incredibly poignant, incredibly intimate and incredibly heart-rending. Charity has created a remarkable medium for revealing the emotions of a soldier in the field. If you are a contemporary of that time it will definitely expose feelings you may not have dealt with in years. I've never experienced anything like it in any book (and I've read a lot of military history). Hooray for Charity!

Randy B.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Receiving positive feedback for "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam

Jim's Pipers niece, who he never had the opportunity to meet  send me a very nice facebook message after reading "It's Lonley Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam:

We received our copy of the book "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam. This book was written about my uncle Jim, and the love letters he sent home from Vietnam to his new, young bride, Micki (Michelle). I'm only 50 pages in so far and I am amazed. I never got to meet uncle so reading his handwritten letters helps me see the kind of man he was. I cannot thank the author, Charity L. M...aness enough for doing this for our family. She is an amazing person with a huge heart who would stop at nothing to make sure this book was the best it could be, full of history, pictures and memories. I cannot wait to finish the whole book and cherish it forever!
P.S. The book is available on if anyone is interested :)
Jim Piper's sister-in-law commented:
 just finished reading the book, still wiping away tears. WOW

And a heartfelt note from Jim's cousin:
You don't know me but I want to thank you very much for putting together such a wonderful book about my cousin Jim Piper's life in Viet Nam. I will cherish this book. I was very close to my cousin and felt so close again reading this book. I received it in the mail this afternoon and already finished it tonight. Thank you and Micki for putting it together..Billie


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Upcoming book signings for "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam

Book signings by local author Charity Maness for

"It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam

will be held:

October 23, 2011 4:00 pm at the Micki & Larry's Sports Pub
Jim Piper's family will be at this event as will his widow Michelle, now known as Micki Phillips.


November 11, 2011 11:00 am at Snaps Coffee House and Wine Bar in Copperopolis Town Square.

There will be a limited number of books on hand for sale at each event, but if you would like to purchase yours before the event please visit

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It's Lonely Here in Hell, Love Letters from Nam, is NOW available!!!

"It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam is NOW Available!!

Due to an expedited publishing and editing, my latest book is now need to wait until November.

To purchase immediately visit my e-store click

It will also be available on within 7-10 days and will be coming out on Kindle before Christmas.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sample Query for "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam

“It’s Lonely Here in Hell” Love Letters from Nam, By, Charity Maness

April 9, 1967, in a letter from Jim Piper to his young bride Michelle, he wrote, "I thank God each night for my wife and my life and also enjoy each breath that I take and praise every morning I wake up too. It means another day gone, another day I'm alive and another day closer to being home with my wife forever."

PFC James Dennis Piper was in killed in action two days later on April 11, 1967 in the jungles of Vietnam.

Each handwritten letter from Jim to Michelle has been carefully transcribed and historical documentation has been added. Cross referencing and correlating data from sources such as declassified CIA documents, Pentagon Papers and unrestricted use of Weider History Group archives has created a historically correct and profound journey through eight months of the Vietnam War. Chronologically juxtaposing Jim's personal and tender letters written to his young bride with public facts and documents of the war on each of those same dates allows the reader an intimate and compelling snapshot of that time in history.

The book is complete at 245 pages in a 5 x 8 binding, containing all letters written to Michelle from August 30, 1966 to April 9, 1967, snapshots of Piper, his awards, the Vietnam wall, copies of documents, and interviews with his brothers and his widow.

Charity is the proud mother of a United States Marine and active in Veteran programs throughout her community and beyond. This work is just the beginning of her journey into the hearts, the minds and the souls of Veterans who have seemingly been forgotten.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Received my copyright today...the book is MINE ... ALL MINE!!!

Now just to get it printed up and out there:)

Thank you all for your support. I guarantee that this creation is well worth the wait.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Perusing my site

Well, I just finished perusing my site and found it to be an adventure.

For those of you that have traveled about within the pages of this blog you will no doubt notice the variety of genres my writing encompasses. While some are wonderful romances of second chances at love, others are simply the musings of a city girl involuntarily turned country girl. But none has stretched my emotional fabric and mental strength as much as "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters form Nam.

As I unfolded each musty letter, some stained from jungle mud, Jim Piper quickly became my friend and my brother, and hauntingly the voice of my own son as he lived through the same experiences 44 years later in a different country, a different war, with parallels undeniable.

Jim's voice is the voice of so many young men that have gone before him and will fall long after his story is told, boys that became men serving our country, in the face of grave danger and unforgiving lands, boys that need to be remembered for not only their service, but for their irreplaceable existence in someones life.

I hope as this story is read and shared, people will begin to see each Veteran that proudly wears the Vietnam Veteran hat, pin, patch, or scars- seen and unseen- as someone's son, friend, brother, father, someone that fought when their country called upon them, someone that deserves our respect and honor.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book release coming soon

An e-store has been set up for "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam.
As soon as the title is released, (anticipated release date 11-11-11) this e-store will have copies on hand, may be a few days behind, as will Barnes and
Here is the link to get your copy as soon as it is released.

If you live in Copperopolis, Once Upon a Time on the Square will be carrying copies as soon as they become available.

If you think your local bookstore would like to carry my title please have them contact me at

Again I thank you all for your support.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Comment from Editor

In “It’s Lonely Here in Hell” Love Letters from Nam, Charity Maness has masterfully met the challenge of presenting PFC James Piper's letters from Vietnam and his all-too-early death into a book resonant with his character and truthful to all time.

Chronologically juxtaposing the personal and tender letters nineteen-year-old Jim wrote to his young bride, Micki, with the public facts of the war on each of those same dates, Maness artfully lets the materials speak for themselves. And they do--powerfully. You won't be able to put it down.

Michelle Piper's courageous move to entrust these letters to Charity Maness' care is abundantly rewarded. The author has created a heartfelt and insightful tribute to Jim Piper, the hopeful and loving young husband, and the resolute soldier he must become. What an achievement!

Judy Hewett, MFA, Professor of English

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Received my first edited proof back!

Recently I send out five proofs to editors and critiquers. I have been on pins and needles since. SO nervous.
I received my first edited copy back the other day and suprisingly very few corrections!! Yipee!!!
But the best news? The proof received rave reveiws and kudos. This from a person I respect and admire greatly, oh, and an English Professor:)

As soon as the rest of the edited versions come back I will be able to pin down a pre-release book signing date.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Proof four off to editors

My fourth proof, yes I make that many changes, of "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam, is off in the mail to the selected editors and critiquers:)
I am so nervous, I can't wait for their feedback.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back cover of "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam

April 9 , 1967, in a letter from Jim Piper to his young bride Michelle, he writes, "I thank God each night for my wife and my life and also enjoy every breath that I take and praise every morning I wake up too. It means another day gone, another day I'm alive, and another day closer to being home with my wife forever."

PFC James Dennis Piper was killed in action two days later, on April 11, 1967 in the jungles of Vietnam.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"It's Lonely Here In Hell" ...progress report

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jim Piper's family the other weekend and hear their memories and stories. They brought amazing memorabilia such as ; Jim's flag, his medals, letters of condolences from his commanding officer and others as well as the original "we regret to inform you" telegram.
An amazing day with some incredibly strong and resilient people.
The book is in its final stages now, hitting , hopefully, my last proof before it goes off to be critiqued by a few special individuals.
After will go to final printing!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Proofs ... proofs...and more proofs!

I have submitted my second proof for editing...

There are still interviews to add, yet the main body; letters and historical content, are complete!

What a journey!!!

Release date

The tentative release date for "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam is November 11, 2011...Veterans Day.

Soon there will be an opportunity to sign up for a pre-release copy at a discounted price.

The books price will be $14.99. There will be a limited amount available and the pre-release date has yet to be stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Interview with the Calaveras Enterprise

In the spring of 1967, James Piper told his wife he loved her for the last time.

“I thank God each night for my wife and my life and also enjoy every breath that I take and praise every morning I wake up ...” the Army private wrote from Vietnam on April 9, 1967. “It means another day gone, another day I’m alive, and another day closer to being home with my wife forever.”

Piper never made it home to his young wife, Micki. He died from small-arms fire just two days after writing that letter. The couple, who married June 18, 1966, planned to vacation in Hawaii and try to start a family when he was scheduled to return home to San Lorenzo later that summer.

On April 4, 2011, Copperopolis resident Micki Phillips took the letters out of storage, deciding it was time to share her late husband’s story and the stories of other Vietnam veterans.

“I picked that letter up – first two words into it and I already knew which one it was,” she said, even though she hadn’t seen it in nearly half a century.

Phillips, who co-owns Micki and Larry’s Sports Pub in Copperopolis, decided friend and author Charity Maness was the perfect person to pen the story.

Without reading any more, Phillips handed the letters over to her friend.

“They were so musty and old, I felt like I was holding history,” Maness said.


Friday, July 1, 2011

More Reading....

I figure I have digested about 400 pages of information that our government has kept "secret" for 44+ years...and believe it or not, I am not bored in the least. Though it has created an extremely long list of questions that will most likely be left unanswered I am still plowing through.

My hope in writing this book is that people will walk away from reading it with the realization that Vietnam Veterans are NOT simply a statistic, they are real people with real fears, hopes, dreams, and a memory of a time the world should never forget.

To all you veterans out there...THANK YOU!!!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pentagon Papers - hmmm

So interesting ...

Its official, I really enjoy the research aspect of writing.
History unfolding right before my eyes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Clearance to use CIA Docs!!!

I just received clearance and authorization to use declassified CIA docs pertaining to the Vietnam war for my book!!!
Let the swimming through political mud begin!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Interview with the Calaveras Enterprise

This week, reporter Kate Gonzales from the Calaveras Enterprise made the trek to Copperopolis to interview Micki and me regarding the collection of love letters and the book in progress. She was so thorough! 1 1/2 hours later I think she received more information than she planned on:)

The memories for Micki were as crystal clear as if it was yesterday. The first time she saw Jim; their wedding; his Christmas leave; the feeling of utter despair when the freshly pressed uniformed soldier stood on her doorstep informing her of her loss; the overpowering fragrance from the flowers at the memorial; the numbness; then the emptiness.

Again I need to thank Micki for allowing me the honor of writing this book. The particular trip down memory lane will be a long and difficult one for Micki but as she says, "This is not about me, its about telling the true story of our boys, young men, not the Hollywood version." These letters show how the men dealt with what was going on around them, their intense need for contact from home, living just one more day on the fuel that letter from home gave them...the hope.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

April 9, 1967

I thank God each night for my wife and my life and also enjoy every breath that I take and praise every morning I wake up too. It means another day gone, another day I’m alive, and another day closer to being home with my wife forever.

Every ounce of love to you sweetie,


Preliminary Book Cover for "It's Lonely Here in Hell" love letters from Nam

Final Letter from Nam

I just finished entering the final letter from PFC James Piper to his wife Micki, written on April 9, 1967.
Now to complete my research.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thoughts of love and homecoming pervade each letter

On March 5, 1967 Jim wrote:

“I think of you and dream of you constantly through my limited days in hell on earth.

Please expect me for dinner on Feb 18, 1968 because I will be there alive and well."

Loving your enormously,


(Excerpt from book titled "It's lonely here in hell" love letters from Nam)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"It's Lonely Here in Hell" love letters from Nam


In 2010 Michelle (Micki) Phillips (previously Micki Piper) approached me and asked if I would be interested in writing a story based on love letters from the Vietnam War era. While my writing at the time leaned toward romance novels and cub reporting my interest was piqued. When she informed me the letters she was referring to were letters written to her from her husband who died from small arms fire in the Vietnam War leaving her a young widow, my heart broke.
To be allowed the intimate glimpse into her life, the life she so briefly shared with her young husband, and to then share his letters with the world was without a doubt an honor I would not take lightly.
How better to honor, not only her husband’s memory, but the memory of all the servicemen that never made it home to hold their wives, their daughters, their sisters, their mothers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interview by the Stockton Record

By Dana M. Nichols

Record Staff Writer

January 19, 2012 12:00 AMCOPPEROPOLIS - In April, Charity L. Maness received a battered shoebox of 44-year-old love letters that changed the direction of her writing career.

Maness, who lives in Copperopolis, until then had specialized in romance novels such as "Prince Charming," published in 2010, and humor such as "From Positive Test to Empty Nest," published in 2009.

The letters in the shoebox had no happy ending.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome to the Country - Kentucky Style

Welcome to the Country- Kentucky Style
So normally, my little humor column would start something like this….
So you’ve decided to move to the country where cows aren’t what they seem….or something as silly as that, but today I’m simply going to tell you of my Christmas vacation…Kentucky style.

Being a wise and thrifty traveler I always look for the cheapest tickets to my destination. That being said, apparently the cheapest tickets for travel over the Christmas break are on Christmas day. That’s right, when everyone else was ripping open their presents, plundering their stockings and hugging their loved ones, I was waiting in a security line at an airport full of people that were not jolly. Hohoho, was not uttered, not once. I had made sure to double check my carry-on prior to arrival for fear of the public humiliation at being pulled aside into that secret room made of four glass walls for possession of a deadly fingernail file. However, my diligence seemed to have gone unnoticed by mini Wyatt, for he had the felonious plan of sneaking a Gatorade onto the plane. Not just any Gatorade, one of those 24 oz Gatorades. I guess he figured if he was going to enter a life of crime he better start out big.