Audiobooks · Books · Memories · My Books · My Thoughts

When Did I Start Writing?

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.

Larada's graduation picture - start
My graduation picture, 1971

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

Larada's Five books meme - start
Winter meme - Flippo Book

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 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:, (an affiliate with Amazon and has become and I decided to go with and now

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”:

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~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:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marsahll Flippo

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: or at Amazon.

Audiobooks · Books · My Books · My Thoughts

My Adventure Continues—Audiobook!

A young man joins me on my adventure!

My new adventure has taken over! On November 29, 2021, in my blog post, “Audiobooks—My New Adventure,” I alerted you about my new adventure of recording audiobooks. I don’t know if you’re a consumer of audiobooks, but this market is growing like crazy, so I’m jumping in with both feet!

Two months later, I have recorded and released my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story, the nonfiction booklet of how my granddad put our ranch together during the depression when many others were losing theirs. I thoroughly enjoyed the process, and what a pleasure it was to reread this little gem!

Why I picked this one to be my first?

After finishing the audiobook training, I started with the shortest book I had, so this one won! It’s more the size of a chapbook. I didn’t want to do one of my sizeable books, in case the process became too difficult, but it was a breeze, thanks to good training I received.

What was the process like on this new adventure?

At first, I didn’t know whether to record everything and then take the audio through the editing and adding the effects process on Audacity, the app suggested. So, at first, I did a couple of recording and then did the editing and adding the effects. But I realized, once I started recording and got into “the zone,” I didn’t want to stop.

So, then I changed my plan—I finished recording the rest of the book and did the editing and adding effects. As I focused on the editing, I became more proficient at finding the places where I breathed and deleted them more easily.

I had such great instructions on doing the effects in Audacity. It really became a checklist of twelve steps to do for each recording, and it went quickly. I just wanted to make sure I did each step, so I took it slowly and methodically.

As a final run-through, I sat with the book in hand and listened to the audio to make sure it matched the book. It did!

How to get my audiobook out to the world?

My training taught me to put it out to two sites: and, and it warned me it could take three to four weeks for publication.

First, I tried, an affiliate of Amazon, and I had trouble because my book didn’t come up in my list of books. I spent several days and emails before that problem got solved—I could use the ASIN number (Amazon Standard Identification Number) off of the listing.

Each site had a different setup for uploading the files. Because we have a horrible internet connection, I saved each chapter as a file. You could save it as one file if you have a fast speed connection.

Each site warned the files had to be uploaded in the order you wanted them to be on the audiobook. I liked’s set-up for uploading because their system stopped any chance of uploading the files out of order.

For, it took about a week and a half to two weeks to go live! And how excited I was! I’m still waiting for any distributors from to go live.

What is my current audiobook project?

At the beginning of the year, I made a schedule for recording my books:

  • Let Me Tell You a Story—January
  • Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better?—February

I was right on schedule for February, but recording Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? has gone much quicker than I thought it would. Today I finished recording Chapter 25, Christmas 2020 with Charles Dickens, so I’m way early. Last Wednesday, I recorded nine chapters! I couldn’t believe it!  

Since I have thirty-one chapters in the book, I only need six more chapters, Appendix A and the closing credits to finish the recording. I plan to finish the recording on Monday or Tuesday of this week. Then I can easily finish the editing and adding effects by the end of the month.

What are my future plans for this adventure?

Here’s the rest of the schedule I made earlier:

  • When Will Papa Get Home?—March
  • This Tumbleweed Landed—April

With my speed of recording so far and the length of both books, I might record both books in March. I don’t want to rush, but I do want to get as much done before the heat of the summer hits. I can’t stand recording when it’s hot outside in my closed in little recording studio (really our walk-in closet)!

What about my two longer books?

In my November 29, 2021 blog post, I wrote, “Two of my books—A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir and Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo are too long for the audiobook format.”

I’ve rethought that stance. A writing friend suggested I do a set for my longer books. What do you think? Would you buy an audiobook set of Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo, specifically?

What have I learned about this adventure?

Both the audiobook training, Audiobooks Made Easy, by Derek Doepker, and Audio for Authors: Audiobooks, Podcasts and Voice Technologies by Joanna Penn helped me initially. But here are some tips I learned in the actually recording:

  • Take off anything that can make noise while recording. The earphones fit snugly over my ears, so I took off earrings and the chain I use for my reading glasses.
  • Drink room-temperature water before recording. I drank some ice-cold water once and my voice crackled.
  • Use your laptop or iPad instead of paper to read from. When I first recorded, I printed up pages of my script. Then, when I shuffled through the papers, it added a noise I could easily eliminate.
  • Have a file system for your recording files. I created three folders for raw audio files: original recordings, and duplicated edited files, and effects files. Then I created another file for the mp3s to be uploaded to the different sites for distribution.
  • Use an external hard drive. My laptop has limited storage space, so I bought a 2 terabytes external hard drive and save to it.
  • Wear supportive shoes. After standing still in the same place for nearly an hour, I realized good shoes helped how I felt afterwards.
  • If you are going to offer a .pdf for your audiobook buyer, make sure you have the URL correct before recording. For my first book, I posted on my website all the pictures that were in the book so the buyer could go there and see the visuals included in the book. For the Coronavirus Reflections book, I have created a personal reflection journal the consumer can download to respond on.


Elderly woman joins me on the my adventure

I love adventures and this is one for sure. I hope to have four of my six books on audiobooks by this summer, and then hopefully the other two finished by the end of 2020. Do you buy audiobooks? Audiobooks are for any age! If you’d like to sample my first audiobook, you can at

~Valentine’s Day Special at my Etsy Shop, Larada’s Reading Loft. 40% “This Tumbleweed Landed” paperback until February 16, 2022.

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with my interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

~Buy a copy of Flippo’s biography on my website: or at Amazon.

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”:

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Bette? meme

~Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: