When did I start my writing? My uncle extolled an essay I wrote in high school which surprised me. I didn’t see myself as a writer then! After reading it, I shocked him when I told him my plans after graduation in 1971—business courses. But his compliments lingered in the back of my mind—hiding in my subconscious.
Then on a visit back home a couple years later, my journalism teacher simply said in passing, “Send me a copy of your first book!” Shocked, I just stared at her, but she was serious! So in 2014, I sent her a copy of This Tumbleweed Landed. She had an emphasis on my start.
My Publishing & Writing Timeline
1985—I wrote When Will Papa Get Home? after a visit to the ranch and I found a blue marble at the Phillie homestead. I did nothing with it until 2015.
1987—Working at the middle school as a language arts/literature teacher, I wrote an article for the Raton newspaper, Raton Range, about a flamenco dancer who came to the Shuler Theater.
1991—I wrote This Tumbleweed Landed in a professional development workshop and did nothing with it until 2013 when I started revising it. I self-published it in 2014.
1993—Mom and I self-published Let Me Tell You a Story as a gift for my dad for his 70th birthday. We published it here in ABQ at AlphaGraphics. A friend of mine worked there (manager of the store), and they turned out beautiful. We printed a copy for everyone in our immediate family, and I printed twenty-five extras to use in my classroom.
2007—Tom Cummins, lifelong friend and historian, and I self-published Branson-Trinchera Historic Photos with lulu.com. This was my introduction to online publishing and POD (print on demand). Before POD, you had to print 10,000 copies of a book. POD allowed you to print whatever number you wanted, which made self-publishing affordable.
2012—The year before I retired, I researched self-publishing companies and found the top 3: lulu.com, createspace.com (an affiliate with Amazon and has become kdp.com) and IngramSparks.com. I decided to go with createspace.com and now kdp.com.
2013—I edited and revised This Tumbleweed Landed, adding prose (essays I wrote in the 1991 professional development workshop) because of the Black Mesa Writing Workshop with Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron.
2014—I self-published This Tumbleweed Landed and had a fantastic response to it which so surprised me. Really, I hadn’t planned on doing much more. I still questioned myself as a writer.
2014—For family Christmas presents after mom died, I self-published From Grannie’s Kitchen: Pies, Cakes & Christmas Candy, Volume 1, and family members said I needed to sell them.
2015—I edited, revised and self-published When Will Papa Get Home? Which I wrote thirty years before.
2015—I created another family Christmas present and self-published From Grannie’s Kitchen: Beverages, Bread, Cookies, Meats, Vegetables, Mis. & Records of a Rancher’s Wife, Volume 2. Mom had too many delicious recipes to put in one cookbook, so I created a three-book series.
2016—I re-released/self-published Let Me Tell You a Story, originally released in 1993.
2016—For another family Christmas present, I self-published From Grannie’s Kitchen: Casseroles, Mexican Dishes, Relish, Sandwiches, Salads & Desserts, Volume 3.
2016-2017—Giving myself a couple years after my mom’s death, I edited, revised, and self-published A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir.
2017-2020—I interviewed, edited, revised and self-published Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo.
2021—Because of the coronavirus pandemic, I edited, revised and self-published Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?.
2021-2022—I recorded, edited, revised and released my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story.
2022—Enjoying my first audiobook so much, I recorded all thirty-one chapters of Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?, then I edited and revised six chapters for the audiobook, but shingles stopped me initially and then the neuralgia afterwards.
2022—After learning so much from writing Marshall Flippo’s biography, I started writing I Said Yes!: How I Learned to Write a Biography, but shingles stopped me on this project too.
Looking to the future, I have the following projects lined up:
- A Colorado Country Christmas: A Collection of Memories
- An Extreme Costa Rica Trip: A Travelogue from 2020
- 3 books poetry series
- 1 Haiku poetry book
- Eye Witness to Life—a novel I wrote in 2016
How does a writer start? Kind words, encouragement, years of trying? As you can see, my start came years ago. Have you read any of my books? If so, which is your favorite?
If not, why? Wholesome, family-oriented stories! Country-life, nostalgic stories and poetry about a simpler life—try one!
News, News, News!
~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A
~My new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? WON the 2022 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards in the Body, Mind & Spirit Category. Have you bought your copy yet? Vist my website: laradasbooks.com