Saturday, December 8, 2012

More Stories Pounding in my Head

After an incredibly moving and passionate visit to the ocean I have even more stories crashing like waves through my head. I hope to find the time to, at the very least, put the ideas into words and create an outline of sorts.

If you write, or wish to write, visit a place that moves you, talk to a person that you admire, or simply find a quiet place to listen to your heart, then let the words flow!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Back to the pen and paper

Looking forward to the new year when I will hit the ground running once again, throwing my heart and soul into my latest work in progress, 'In Their Words - Vietnam' a collection of interviews with Vietnam Veterans. Their stories, their feelings, in their words.

Hopefully I will be able to share their words and their feelings with you by the Spring of 2014.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Your words are worthy

Just a bit from my presentation as guest speaker at the Tuolumne Writer's Retreat.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that your writing has no worth because it is not producing an income. Your words, from the heart, are more valuable than gold. Don't ever stop writing. Don't ever give up.

Treasure or trash

It never ceases to amaze me that each time I clean my desk, thats code for coffee table, I find the dreaded black binder.

"What" you ask "could be in the binder that could cause such dread?"

Why...9 unfinished manuscripts!!

Thats right..9. Everything from romance to murder mystery and some humor thrown in for good measure.

When or if I will ever finish these stories in seemingly permanent hibernation...time will only tell.  Though I did cry and laugh out loud when reading one of them. I believe I will tackle that one first. Nothing like a good emotional roller coaster ride when traveling on a literary journey:)

I will keep you posted.

As always...happy reading!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Words are so much more than simply words...

Writing is not simply words streamed together to create a story, they are colors and feelings painted on the awaiting canvas of the readers mind. A reader does not know what corner will be turned next, they await the surprise and expect to be moved.

I can only hope that when people read what I have written they will feel intense emotions of... passion... fear... love... desolation... hope... tragedy....laughter...sadness...

Emotions so real that for a moment my thoughts translated to words, become their thoughts translated to feelings.

Reading is a journey....

Enjoy the journey....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Suicide Prevention and Awareness walk-a-thon Speech 9-15-12

I would like to thank you all for coming today to the 3rd annual Live On Suicide Prevention and Awareness walk-a-thon! Today, you are making a difference… for some, it is a difference between life and death. 
In 2012 Calaveras County has already exceeded the national average in suicide deaths with a total of 15 deaths to date. This is unacceptable.
When I was asked by Kim Molina to speak today I was honored by her request, yet at a loss as to what I would say. Kim gently told me to speak from the heart. That, I can do.
Many of you may know me as a mother, an author, a journalist, a veteran activist, or simply a friend. Some of you may not know me at all, but what none of you know is that I am survivor.
On June 1, 2009 my best friend took her life. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association Ride

On Friday August 24, 2012 I was honored to ride with the Combat Veteran Motorcycle Association in a funeral escort for a fallen Desert Storm veteran.
It was an incredibly moving experience.
At the conclusion, as the veteran's ashes were lowered into the ground and Taps played, we stood in formation holding flags at attention, the last three notes floated through the air on a breeze that had each of our flags billowing out creating a straight line of American flags. Stunning.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Interviews

Each day brings new adventures and new learning experiences. With that said I am currently interviewing a Special Forces Vietnam Veteran for a chapter in my new book 'In Their Words - Vietnam' and am thrilled to be writing his story.

I love my job! I can only hope, upon the books completion, the words I have written will honor each and every veteran that I interviewed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuolumne Writer's Retreat September 2012 - Charity Maness featured speaker

SEPTEMBER 28th, 29th, 30th, 2012


Experience the 1st Tuolumne Writers Retreat in the State Historic Park of Columbia, California. This Gold Rush town orginally founded by miners in 1850, claims preserved brick buildings, historic artisans, period displays, shops, restaurants, hotels, & docents to transport you to another era. While you are embedded in your favorite writing classes, your entire family will be entertained. Stage coach rides, gold panning, climbing rock formations, watching the blacksmith clang his anvil, candle & candy exhibitions, and creamy ice cream cones await their arrival.

Participate in classes, hear featured speakers, take a lantern walk to the Cemetery for a Ghost Poetry Open Mic, enjoy professional Literary Performances, Miners Nuggets of Prose & Poetry Reading, Authors Row. Special events planned for the public & your families including Cowboy Poets & The Devil Mountain Boys Country Band.

For more information CLICK HERE

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More kind words...

I received a warm email this morning from a veteran who had read "It's Lonely Here in Hell" love Letters from Nam, it read in part - " I must say that the story contained within it's cover was nothing less that shocking."

That was a wonderful way to begin a day!!

It is every authors dream to touch people's hearts with the written word. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Travel always inspires me

When I travel, I am always surprised and delighted with what I see, hear and feel. Every experience I have is either turned into a humor column or added to my ever growing list of unfinished manuscripts.

I find people in different areas of the country enticing and exciting. New dialects, sounds and actions...all foreign...yet all American. Amazing.

I hope to have some fun anecdotes for your perusal upon my return:)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Youthful writers

Had a wonderful few experiences yesterday, as two seperate youth asked me advice about writing. One was interested in journalism, the other in novels.
Either way I was impressed and thrilled that some of our youth are still motivated to manipulate the written word to create a moving and passionate piece of literature.
For those of you wishing to it!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why I write

People ask me often, why I write.
It would be easy to say I write because I love the written word, but that would only be part truth.
I write because I love the way words, when they meld together perfectly, become much like the colorful oils on the canvas of a brilliant painting. Each word means something to the author yet when read by another can have so many different meanings and can create different images, some powerful and moving, others gentle and soothing. Words knit together to create a story can take you on a journey you never imagined taking, can teach you things you never knew existed and can stimulate feelings you thought you didn't possess.
That my friends - in a nutshell - is why I write. It is my passion.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Newly revised 'Welcome to the Country' to be released June 25, 2012 on

Welcome to the Country is a collection of humor columns written by humorist Charity Maness from '09 through '12.  Each column pokes fun at the country life as seen through the eyes of city girl transplant.

Welcome to the Country is a humorous look at life in the country, from cow pie bingo to rocky mountain oysters, to the random collection of tractors in our yards that we proudly refer to as yard art. Luckily for us, those  rusty old tractors, discarded comodes bursting with wildflowers, and windmills squeaking in the breeze, have put us country folk on the cutting edge of 'eco art'. Who would have guessed?

My first clue that I had moved to the country was a pageantry of bovine beauties parading across a four lane highway halting traffic for miles. As I stared in wonder at the 'fragrant' display  before me, my eyes  sadly drifted to the beautiful new Manolo heels adorning my feet, wondering just where in the country I would ever wear them. I soon learned they were useless for mucking stalls and tastier to a  country dog than an old rawhide bone.

Many more lessons followed on the heels - no pun intended - of my first introduction to the country life.

Not one to turn from an adventure I learned to embrace the country lifestyle wholeheartedly.  My first order of business... a shopping trip for new duds (aka  Wranglers and Ariats) country style haute couture here I come.

Author Charity Maness lives in the Northern California Foothills with her many children, animals, and husband of 25 years.

Welcome to the country is available on and kindle.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Such a rewarding process...

What a rewarding experience, to interview a Vietnam veteran and to put their words into a story...their story.

I didn't think it could get better, but you see, I can't just write their words without a lot of research. When they tell me a location or a date I need to locate that section and research the conflicts of that time, the manpower on the ground, the artillary usage, etc. All of this research helps the reader understand what the veteran is they all tend to say, "If you weren't there, you don't know." So with research I hope to at least supply some background for a better understanding of the stories. So when I submit my final draft for approval to the veteran I have interviewed and they are not only amazed at how well I captured their words but also the detailed historical documentation that supports their stories I am, to say the least, thrilled!

One vet told me that he was just trying to live to the next day, he wasn't aware of what was going on just miles from him or what had let up to the fight he became embroiled in. Nor did he even consider where the intel he was receiving had come from...just go forth and fight.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From Positive Test to Empty Nest - a humorous journey through motherhood now available

When attempting to navigate the treacherous minefields of motherhood, I found that one must wear gloves impervious to toxic waste and clothing that can withstand repeated bodily fluid saturation. One must also possess the strength of an army, intelligence of a spy, and patience of a saint to raise a child "From Positive Test to Empty Nest."

My memoir, "From Positive Test to Empty Nest", a humorous journey through motherhood, became a reality when my oldest son had the audacity to actually grow up and leave the comfort of my nicely feathered nest. Written tongue in cheek for the mom in all of us and those that are crazy enough to want to or have already experienced motherhood.

After years of solid research on the subject of motherhood, I have found that I am not alone in the world of surprise positive tests, spit up, multiple bruises, flying bunnies, speed dial 911, prepubescent hormonal imbalances and the inevitable empty nest.

Available at

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

From Positive Test to Empty Nest - re-released!!!

When attempting to navigate the treacherous minefields of motherhood, I found that one must wear gloves impervious to toxic waste and clothing that can withstand repeated bodily fluid saturation. One must also possess the strength of an army, intelligence of a spy, and patience of a saint to raise a child "From Positive Test to Empty Nest."

My memoir, "From Positive Test to Empty Nest", a humorous journey through motherhood, became a reality when my oldest son had the audacity to actually grow up and leave the comfort of my nicely feathered nest. Written tongue in cheek for the mom in all of us and those that are crazy enough to want to or have already experienced motherhood. After years of solid research on the subject of motherhood, I have found that I am not alone in the world of surprise positive tests, spit up, multiple bruises, flying bunnies, speed dial 911, prepubescent hormonal imbalances and the inevitable empty nest.

To purchase visit or my e store at

May we NEVER Forget

"Never Again Will One Generation of Veterans Abandoned Another."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sustenance Books in Murphys - now carries my latest release

Sustenance Books in Murphys California now carries "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam.
They will carry a larger selection of my other works in the near future.
Sustenance Books  is located in downtown historic Murphys at 416 Main Street.
Call for directions, hours and book availability - 209-728-2200

VVA 391

Recently I had the honor of speaking at the VVA 391 in Sonora California. What a wonderful group of men and women...all were so positive.
I felt so welcomed, as they understood my passion and my research..they had been there and survived.
It was an honor to be in their presence.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Snippets of Author info from Sacramento and Stockton

Sacramento 365
February 18, 2012
Meet the Author : Charity Maness

Sacramento Bee
February 14, 2012
Sac History Happenings: Love Letters from the Vietnam War

Stockton Record
January 6, 2012
VFW Post formed in the foothills

Union Democrat
September 30, 2011
VFW Post in the works for Copper

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam now available on Kindle

On 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.

"It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam follows James D Piper's journey from draft to KIA. 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, LBJ diaries 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.

To order your kindle version click HERE

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Interviews with Vietnam Veterans .... an incredible journey

Interviews with Vietnam Veterans for my new work "In Their Words - Vietnam" are coming along well. Actually better than that!

Most of the veterans I have had to honor and privilege of interviewing also have photos of their experiences while in Nam. These photos create a crystal clear image of the experiences and hardships these veterans encountered. Putting their words into a format that is comprehensive and gripping, though daunting, is without a doubt one of the most moving experiences in my life.

It is an honor.

This photo was reprinted with permission from the photographer. Reprinting in any form is not authorized without written permission from the author Charity Maness.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A wonderful weekend in Sacramento

Not one to pass up an excellent opportunity to play tourist, my husband and I, along with Micki and Larry Phillips, toured Old Town Sacramento and took in the sites and the variety of activites they had to offer before and after my book signing/speaking engagement.

The California State Military History Museum gave me a warm welcome and taught me a few things about military history and about the lights, camera and slightly uncomfortable clip microphone that come with videotaping a speaker.

Again, I write so that I do not have to speak...yet I survived.

Fielding questions, I have found, is my favorite part of a speaking engagement. The variety of questions challenge my mind and allow me to delve deeper into not only the process of writing but the subject matter.

A wonderful weekend!

Thank you to all who came out in support of my venture....and as always...happy reading:)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Article in the Stockton Record by Dana Nicols

COPPEROPOLIS - 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.

James D. Piper wrote them to his wife, Michelle, during the final months of his life as he went through basic training and then served in the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam. He wrote the last letter on April 9, 1967.

Piper was killed during combat two days later. He was 19.

Michelle, now Micki Phillips, asked Maness to write a book based on the letters.

That plunged Maness into research on the Vietnam War. She was starting from scratch.

Maness said she'd never read works such as Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried" or Michael Herr's "Dispatches," popular non-fiction works on the experience of U.S. soldiers in southeast Asia.

"Before starting writing this book, I knew nothing other than that I was a veterans' advocate," Maness said.

She had assisted the recent successful effort to form a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Copperopolis. Her son, Marine Corps Sgt. Chris Maness, had served overseas in Cuba, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Maness spent months transcribing Piper's letters and producing a book in which the letters alternate with accounts of the war gleaned from government records and media accounts. The result is "It's Lonely Here in Hell," Love Letters from Nam.

The book reproduces the letters in their entirety. Maness said the only thing she edited out were two appearances of the F-word, replaced with an F and dashed lines. She did that, she said, in the hope that eliminating it would mean adults would be more likely to encourage high school students to explore the book.

The book is painful to read. The letters make it clear that James D. Piper, a young man from San Lorenzo, was very much in love with Michelle, whom he married shortly before he got his draft notice.

Maness said she believes Piper did what he could to shield his wife from the horrors of what he was experiencing. Still, before the end, Piper does tell her of killing Vietnamese adversaries, and he uses a racist slur to refer to them.

One of the most heartbreaking incidents comes as Piper is ordered by an officer to beat an elderly woman during an interrogation.

"I had to slap an old woman across the face to make her talk yesterday," he wrote in a letter dated April 6, 1967. "I felt bad, just as if I had slapped Grandma Pacheco."

Between the letters, Maness provides context on the magnitude of military operations. More important, she shows the conflict between official pronouncements that the U.S. was winning and the secret reports that showed otherwise.

Piper, the 19-year-old foot soldier, apparently saw it too. Although he wanted to serve his country, he also noted several times that military operations were almost never as brief and easy as commanders predicted.

Once, he describes counting bodies of slain enemy soldiers, but can't understand why he "considered them as dead animals."

"It's hard to explain, but then again it's a hard war to explain," Piper wrote.

Reading his letters, and government records, was a journey for Maness as well.

"The research, it leads to more questions and more questions," Maness said. "It leads down this path to ... I can't believe my government was thinking this."

Maness said neither she nor her children had been taught about the contradictions between what the government said about the war in Vietnam and the reality portrayed in secret reports.

"I really feel if we had been taught about it, we might have made different decisions now," she said, referring to more recent engagements in the Middle East. "History is bound to repeat itself if you don't learn from it."

So far, about 500 people have purchased "It's Lonely Here in Hell."

To her surprise, some of those who liked her previous writing have shied away from the book of letters.

"The reporter wouldn't return my calls. The library wouldn't return my calls," she said of places in Kentucky that previously welcomed her when she came through for book signings.

Finally, a librarian told her why: "Because it had 'Hell' in the title."

The word came from a line in one of Piper's letters.

New audiences have found Maness, however. She said a number of Vietnam veterans have approached her at book signings and told her their stories.

Now, she's working with a number of those soldiers as well as a psychologist who specializes in post traumatic stress disorder to write a new volume with their accounts of war.

"I really feel these soldiers, these veterans' stories, need to be told."

Contact reporter Dana M. Nichols at (209) 607-1361 or Visit his blog at

To veiw article CLICK HERE

Added a few new speaking engagements

Apparently, though I cannot recall, I faired well at my first speaking engagment at the Calaveras County Taxpayers Association luncheon.
Though incredibly nervous, the subject is near and dear to my heart which helped the words flow a bit better.
But as I said, I don't remember...I was petrified.
With this said, a few people in the crowd felt I presented myself and my story well and asked me to please speak at their organizations functions.
So here I am, signing on for speaking engagements.
I do feel it is important to clarify at this point... I write well I do not speak well.

At the left side of this site there is a section for speaking engagements. I will attempt to keep these updated.

Again, thank you all for your support.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Veteran interviews

Interviews with Vietnam Veterans for my latest work - In Their Words, Vietnam - are coming along very well. I find myself drawn into their world as they relive their much so that time flies by. I am honored that they are willing to share their lives so openly with me, and through me, with you.

Each time I leave an interview I feel I have left a friend, a lifelong friend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New book in the works...

I feel I have found my niche. As those of you who know me will atest, I am an avid Veteran advocate and supporter. This and my love of the written word has lead me to yet another non-fiction work.

"In Their Words" Vietnam.

This book will be a collection of Vietnam Veterans stories, their thoughts, their emotions, their their words.

Working with a PTSD psychologist to form an interview outline and an informed consent I have begun in earnest the interview process. I am careful to honor their words and their memories.

As with the last book, I am adding historical content to help place the reader at that place and time in history.

This will be a page turner folks. A real history lesson, one we should never forget.

I will keep you posted as to my progress.

Monday, January 23, 2012

First Speaking engagement, quickly followed by more...

The Calaveras County Taxpayers Association has asked me to make a small presentation at their monthly luncheon this upcoming week...I said yes.
I am nervous and excited. The up side?   I will know a few people in the crowd....the down side...I really am not good at public speakin. I write well...I DO NOT speak well.
We shall see:)

This will be a good experience for me as I have also been asked to be guest speaker in Sonora in February. All this will lead up nicely to my book signing in Sacramento February 18 at the California State Military History Museum. (Featured February author.)

Thank you all for your support:)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Added new book signing

The Calaveras County Taxpayers Asociation has invited me to attend ther January luncheon to make a short presentation and sign copies of "It's Lonely Here in Hell" Love Letters from Nam.

January 27, 2012 2-4 Murphys Hotel, Murphys CA