Chuck Storla has mastered how to write a Christmas letter.

The Mitchell native has been told for years how well-written and hysterical his Christmas letters are, so he put his talents to the test.

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"I thought ... 'Maybe it's time to see if they really mean it and if they'd buy a book based on it,' " said Storla, who two weeks ago published his first-ever book.

"Zen and the Art of Christmas Letters" teaches readers how to put humor back into the holidays, Storla said, and it provides templates of paragraphs and a letter that can be modified.

Storla, who lives in Georgia, began working on the book this past summer and continued writing into the fall. After several years of jotting down ideas now and again, he quickly wrote the self-help, humorous book within a matter of months.

And since publishing earlier this month, Storla said he's felt very accomplished, his only regret is not publishing sooner.

"I thought about doing it for number of years, and never got around to completing one, and just getting this first one out the door has felt really good," the 64-year-old Storla said.

Storla, who moved away from the Palace City after graduating from Mitchell High School in 1971, attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. There he earned degrees in philosophy, mathematics and computer science. Following graduation he eventually earned a job with Hewlett-Packard, where he worked for 22 years.

After years of working, he still remembers the humorous writing class he took in college, as well as the many jokes he recalls during high school. And thanks to early retirement, he now spends his days writing and he's already working on his next literary work - and he hopes it'll be just as humorous.

Storla writes jokes he knows he and his friends would laugh at. And if he gets enough laughter, Storla said the jokes typically work with a larger audience.

"It's a lot of work and there's certainly frustrating time trying to get a sentence or paragraph to work, but in the end it really feels really good," Storla said. " ... This is my vocation now."

Storla is working on a novel, but will still focus on the release of his first book, which is available on Amazon.