Regina Seltz: a wonderful Christian

Dear Regina, my buddy~

I’ve been going through our Facebook messages this morning . . . this mourning because of your leaving us . . . constantly clearing my tears so that I can read the screen.

I’d forgotten how much we chatted. How much we shared. And laughed. And prayed.

Since I’m posting this letter on my blog, others will read it, so I’ll recap how we met. I became your pastor in 2006, when Zion’s minister took a call to another congregation. Those were two frantically busy years for me, but they were the best. Of all the wonderful people I got to know at Zion, you were among the dandiest.

Then, I enjoyed another fourteen months serving Zion. It was great going back to a place and people I loved.

Our Facebook messages began in 2013. You were going through a lot. You didn’t know it until two years later, but so was I. You were a light in my darkness. Of course you were, because you never hid your Jesus-light under a bushel. No, you let it shine, let it shine.

Who knew we would one day share a name?

You messaged me the night of the final service before my retirement. Our next message was after my news shocked and offended many (both are in the next screenshot), but not you. You never wavered in your kindness toward me.

When a person is rejected, those who hang in there become even more beloved. Respected. Valued. You, dear Regina, were among the best. I think I know why—at least to a degree. When I read our messages from 2013, I was reminded. Thank you for sharing personal things with me, for trusting me. Then, for hanging in there with me.

After asking me for my address, you wanted to know about things I like, my favorite color and such. You were making me something. When it arrived, I took a picture and sent it.

Understandably, I don’t wear it these days, but I still have it—one of very few items I’ve retained from those years.

On Sunday, when I saw the news that you were called home to heaven, I retrieved the necklace and took it to Julie. I said, “Remember who made me this?” And then I couldn’t talk.

My tears as I write this are not for you, as I trust you are with the Lord, around His throne, removed from this vale of tears. My tears are for your husband and daughter, your family and friends and coworkers. The loss for them is too big, too stark, too awful. I’m confident your family rejoices in your eternal gain, yet the earthly reality just hurts so deeply.

One day, this too shall pass. We will join you through faith in The Faithful One, our Lord Jesus, and then there will be no more of this lousy mourning—no more crying, no more pain, no more death.

How I long for the eternal reunion! When there are no more goodbyes! When our days will only be filled with joy and laughter!

When I will once again see that smile of yours—the one with which you always greeted me.

Thank you for being my friend—my unwavering friend.

I love you, Regina.

Greg

Certain birthdays

Age 65. I’ve been thinking about it a lot as it’s been approaching.

4.29.22, 9:00 a.m. Julie, concentrating on her work, never looked up as I walked into the living room, took this picture, and left.

When I turned 30—an age I wanted to hit as, working in the business world, I sometimes felt less respected because of my youth—I decided most gladly-anticipated birthdays—in my book, they are 5, 13, 16, 18, and 21—were behind me. Because 65 is the typical retirement age, I thought that was the next, and probably only one I would ever again look forward to.

Changing careers in my 30s, I was ordained into the ministry at 39. Turning 40 was barely a blip on the radar screen of my mind, because I was so happy to have achieved the goal of uprooting my family, leaving my hometown and job, and doing well as a second-career student. I and my family had safely arrived at career number two.

Then 50 was bearing down. I hated it. It bothered me from the day I turned 49 and kept haunting me after I passed 51. I loathed that I was aging.

Looking back at those days, I now can see I was on the slow descent into self-hatred because of the gender conflict that had pestered me ever since my youth. Gradually and methodically, it sought to destroy me.

Because I was ordained at 39, my thought was to be a pastor at least thirty years and, if I reached age 69 and was healthy and still loved the work, I would keep going. The sense deepened after marrying Julie, who is fifteen years my junior—I was determined to hit 70 and keep going.

When in 2013 I crashed with gender dysphoria, I was forced to retire the next year at age 57. I did everything I could not to retire, pushing the date back three times. I was going to therapy, went on depression medication, and begged the Lord to heal me.

I was suicidal. I had to get out of there. “Maybe, retirement will help,” I thought. Pish.

The years heading toward 60 were the hardest of my life. When 2017 arrived, in the months leading up to my birthday I’d resigned myself to being a transwoman. Two weeks before my 60th birthday, I went into bottom surgery with confidence.

Turning 60 was akin to turning 40. My life was changing because I’d accomplished a huge goal. I was content.

As I’ve documented in my memoir, “A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane,” before I hit 61 I ceased experiencing myself as female. Because I’d fully transitioned, that nearly destroyed me. After months of struggle and returning to a therapist, I was finally able to trust that I would continue to experience myself as male, resume living as Greg, and settle in.

That was four years ago.

Early in 2022, I realized something. It began in May of 2021, after I took up writing fiction: I am at peace with myself.

The psychologist I saw in 2018 told me that people need three things in life to be happy and content. They need love, fun, and meaningful work.

I’ve always been blessed with love, from the home of my youth, to my marriages and children, to good friends. Surrounded by love, in a family of good-natured, fun-loving people, fun has never been in short supply.

But, since retiring, I still missed being a pastor. After I published my first two books, I struggled with finding meaningful work that I love, outside of making supper and gardening. I remembered the novel I started in 2006, so I found the file and began reading. Not only did I like the twelve chapters, inspiration struck for how to proceed.

The rest of the book flew out of my brain and into my fingers. As I approach the one-year mark since I restarted writing fiction, I’ve published the first book, have a second in the editing process, and two more that are almost done. I love the creative process!

I write seven days a week. I can’t wait to get up in the morning, to start my routine, then to write, to go jogging, to have lunch and take a nap, write some more, make supper, and enjoy the evening with Julie and our favorite shows.

I am healthy and strong. I can’t stop the ever-growing numbers in my age, but I can keep myself from growing old. That’s one reason I decided to work myself hard so I could mark my 65th birthday with my longest run ever. Sure, I only beat my 22-year-old personal best by 1/10th of a mile, but I did it.

I needed to do it as a symbol of how I’m feeling these days. I am strong and healthy. I am happy and content. I have love and fun and, once again, I have meaningful work.

Each day, I thank the Lord for everything He’s given me. I have no intentions of slowing down. I’m enjoying life as much as ever.

As much as ever.

I am healthy—mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.

That makes me smile . . . and kind of amazes me.

Walk! Jog! The benefits are many!

2022 means I’m in my 43rd year of jogging and walking—these days, I mix in walking days as rest days. I go out five, six, seven days a week.

A typical outing is five to six miles. I’ve run seven many times, and eight a half dozen. In 2000, I decided to run ten once and did it. I run by myself; I don’t care to enter events.

I’m turning 65 the week I post this. Six weeks ago, I got the crazy notion to better my ten-miler, to prove to myself that, though I can stop the numbers in my age from increasing, I don’t have to get all old and moldy.

I began upping my miles and increasing my pace. Today, with the temperature in the low 40s, but with a brisk wind from the northwest, and after a rest day because of a lot of rain, I took off forty minutes earlier than usual.

The video tells the rest.

I began distance running in 1980. I was 23. Living near the high school, one day I decided to run the track. After a few times on that, I hit the streets. I never stopped. Even more, since I retired I put in more miles each year than ever, averaging over 1,000 per year since we moved south, from Michigan to Indianapolis, and I became a year-round runner.

Why do I do it? First, I’ve always enjoyed running and walking. Second, the benefits are too many and important not to get out and move every day that I can.

Don’t just believe me. Reader’s Digest recently ran the following two pieces.

Folks sometimes say that exercising wears out the body. The opposite is true, and the benefits of getting out and moving are exactly what we need as we age. And, to read that we can help protect ourselves from cancer? Wow! To me, it makes sense: the better our bodies work, the more equipped they are to fend off diseases.

The benefits of exercise are physical and mental/emotional. Many are the times I’ve been depressed, or down about something specific, and I went out and ran. It has always helped.

Of course, when you feel lousy, it’s hard to motivate yourself. That’s where experience comes in for me. I tell myself, “You know that after you get a few blocks under your belt you’ll be glad you’re out here.” And I am. Every time.

Also, we need sunshine. Being exposed to the sun creates vitamin D. Check out the article from healthline.com, where you’ll see how vitamin D especially protects us from cancer, depression, and osteoporosis. Here’s the link:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-from-sun#overview

Don’t wear sunblock, and don’t go out in the middle of the day. I do my running in the morning. From late spring to early fall, I get done by 10:30, and on the days I have to go out in the afternoon I wait until 4:00. The rest of the year, I’m not concerned about what time I go out, because the angle of the sun keeps it from being harmful—I like to go out from 10 to 11:30.

My blood pressure is splendid. No concerns about my blood sugar. My knees and everything else are strong and work well. For 65, I’m pleased with my body and health.

I encourage you to get out there, to get the benefits, and to enjoy good health!

Do I appear triumphant because I just ran six miles? Or because I know the health benefits I’ve received? Or because I’m glad to be done? Yes. Yes! and YES!

Harmful transgender discourse (III)

The latest meme that only exists because of the great divide in how transgender is viewed:

This was posted by a female Facebook friend. I can’t determine who created it, but she posted it.

On its face, it’s not a post regarding transgender, but about potential child abuse by a parent. The set-up to the meme is that a mother might force her daughter to transition against the child’s will. Can you imagine such a thing? I sure can’t.

The current lay of our land is what makes this meme harmful transgender discourse. Because of the great divide in our nation, one can easily find in this post the accusation that there are those who believe

  • some kids are being forced to transition;
  • that parents might be so influenced by the so called “transgender movement” that they feel pressured to act against their child’s will;
  • that if they only were to take the first step—see a therapist—the parent would be counseled/encouraged/bullied into taking their child to a doctor to begin the process against the child’s will;
  • that (whacko leftwing) doctors would would push the mother into taking medical steps in transitioning the child against the child’s will;
  • and that none of these adults would ask the child why she likes “boy” things, listen to the child’s answers, or do anything in a reasonable manner for the child.

I have a good sense of humor—no, a great sense of humor: My POST-IT war failure. If we were not so bitterly divided as a country, I would have taken this meme as a joke, with a chuckle, and moved on.

But, because of where we are, I didn’t laugh. Rather, I shook my head at those who reacted to it with likes and ha-ha’s and comments of approval of the meme—some who are members of the congregation I served, who are aware of my struggles—and I wondered if they care about those who experience gender dysphoria, who often are afraid to reveal their struggle.

They are afraid to reveal it—as I was—because of the awful, hateful reactions and rejections they fear—reactions and rejections I received from many—which are exemplified in this meme and the ones in my first two posts on harmful transgender discourse.

To make a joke is one thing. It is quite another to make a joke that serves to deepen the divide between groups of people.

United, we stand.

Divided, we fall.

We Americans just keep falling.

We need to wake up to it, and change it before it’s too late for our nation.

Harmful transgender discourse (II)

The statement in the box was posted by Albert Brown on his Facebook page. He is a conservative Christian, with a fairly large following.

A Facebook friend of mine shared this. I posted my comments there, which follow below, and also to Albert Brown’s page.

My Reaction

What about women with male XY chromosomes? It’s called Swyer Syndrome. It’s real, as are the numerous other conditions of the chromosomes, hormones, and sex organs in which people might experience an incongruence of body and mind, sex and gender.

The problem or question has nothing to do with God and His perfect wisdom, but with Original Sin and the many afflictions to us in mind and body.

Was I confused, when I suffered from gender dysphoria? Was that my problem, that I was only a confused mess of a person who only needed to get his head screwed on straight?

What about now that my sex and gender are unified and I am healthy – YET I INJECT ESTROGEN ONCE A WEEK, produce as much testosterone as the average female, my estrogen and testosterone levels reflect those of a female my age (in my sixties), and I now experience myself as fully male.

So, where was the confusion? IT WASN’T MENTAL, IT WAS PHYSICAL. And, in the same way we use medical means to heal our many diseases, illnesses, and maladies, a medical means has provided me with healing. Hallelujah!

The transgender topic is not about God and His creating us male and female. It is about the harmful effects of the Fall into sin. Simplistic posts such as this are harmful. They entrench people in their fears and rejections – even their hatred. I see many people have liked this post, who were people for whom I was pastor. Do they think I just went nuts? That I sinned?

What if a child or grandchild or sibling or spouse of any of you were to reveal their struggle with gender dysphoria? Would you simply say, “Your gender was assigned by God, and He wasn’t confused,” and, “Male and female He created them”? Or would you listen to them, care for them, get educated about this topic, and strive to help them in whatever help they need?

The last thing I wanted to do was to reveal my gender dysphoria. I wanted to overcome it through faith, talk therapy, and shear will. I wanted to remain the pastor in Port Hope. Sadly, I was trying to use tools against gender dysphoria that would no more work on cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or a broken leg. I had to take the plunge and reverse my hormones in order to be healed. I chose to go public about it in order to educate.

My blog – eilerspizza on WordPress – is filled with hundreds of posts on this topic. I’ve published two books on it. I am educating pastors and parents, family and friends, across the globe. Praise the Lord!

I beg all of you – especially you who are fellow Christians – to cease with simplistic statements that only serve to divide us, statements that do not even address the actual issue.

The Lord be with you all.

My books

Harmful transgender discourse

Ignorance is never more harmful than when uninformed persons do not listen to those by whom they are offended. Rather than seeking to educate themselves, they sometimes, perhaps often, elect to put down those by whom they are offended.

Social discourse over transgender persons is today’s poster child in the arena of harmful discourse, much of it hateful nonsense.

Exhibit A

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) hung the above sign outside of her office in 2021. The message displays ignorance. Here’s how.

I know hundreds of transgender persons. I’ve had conversations and online interactions with dozens. I have yet to encounter a transgender person who argues with there being two genders.

How many genders there are is not the point. Signs, such as the one Rep. Greene hung, only serve to deepen the divide in the transgender conversation, entrenching those who reject transgender as a true condition and embittering those who are striving to be heard, understood, and rejected.

Transgender persons want the world to know that they do not deny there are only two genders, two sexes. They long for you to hear their struggle, that they experience a true, physical disconnect between their biological sex and their experienced gender. Their goal isn’t to be countercultural; it is to be understood. Their hope is to have their vexing condition to be respected in the way society regards autistic persons, those battling Alzheimer’s, the ones who need to use wheelchairs. They strive to find wholeness of being, prosper in life, and enjoy peace—just like everyone else.

Exhibit B

The Babylon Bee is a Christian-news satire magazine. This article begins, “The Babylon Bee has selected Rachel Levine as its first annual Man of the Year.” Of course, Dr. Levine, who is the U.S. assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a transgender woman. So, ha ha, Babylon Bee, you sure got her good!

The Bee writes, “We applaud this precious and perfectly made child of God for all his accomplishments and hope he stays true to who God made him to be.” This statement, “perfectly made child of God,” ignores the truth of the fall of humanity and the harmful effects meted on all of us in many and various ways.

I don’t know Dr. Levine. I suspect her story sounds like those I’ve heard from other trans persons—indeed, my own story. She didn’t choose this vexing condition, where she experienced herself as female but she possessed the body of a male. And, I am confident because it is the virtually-universal story of trans persons, she didn’t want to have to tell anyone about her conflict, and she didn’t want to face the hateful and ignorant who had no interest in hearing her or being compassionate toward her. She surely longed to live a peaceful life, just like the next person.

But she couldn’t shake the gender dysphoria that plagued her. Since I can’t speak for her, I’ll now explain how I tried to quell the fire in my brain—my story aligning with countless trans persons.

As a Christian, I confessed my sex/gender incongruence as a sinful desire. I did that for five decades. Where I experienced cleansing and renewed spiritual strength confessing sins of thought, word, and deed, I never experienced spiritual healing for my gender dysphoria.

I underwent talk therapy with the goal of “getting my head straight,” which is what uninformed people wanted me to do. Try as I might, I was a failure.

So, I worked at good old sheer determination. I accomplished as much with that as a person would who tries to get rid of his cancer by force of will.

Babylon Bee: your story is satire, that is for sure. As for funny, it is not. But, offensive? You nailed it. Unhelpful? You betcha. And serving only to make the transgender conversation divide greater? You’re a grand success!

Exhibit C

A Facebook friend posted the Babylon Bee article. This man is a member of the clergy in the church body where I served as a pastor, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). Posted comments are from LCMS laity and clergy.

A woman posted twice:

  • Since when is THE TRUTH wrong? Let’s just say Levine is a MAN who want’s [sic] to THINK HE is a WOMAN. THAT is the truth. HE can think that but I do not have to agree or play the game.
  • I do not want to be a part of someone else’s delusion. I do not care what you want to believe you are. Reality is that you are not what you want me to believe. I refuse to accept your lie.

A pastor posted:

  • Just a bit interesting how everyone, EVERYONE, lives according to alsolutes [sic]–bodies must have water, brakes on one’s car, fire burns skin, etc, yet in matters of identity, it’s fluid? Hmmmmm …

My reactions, taking the three comments in order:

  • I am confident Dr. Levine didn’t “want” to be a woman. Rather, she experienced one of life’s great challenges: the real, physical phenomenon which is gender dysphoria. By transitioning, she strived to achieve the same healing of mind and body sought by those who have cancerous tumors, broken legs, or clinical depression.
  • How does the woman, who posted this, know Dr. Levine is delusional or living a lie? Where is the Golden Rule in this comment? We Lutherans hearken to the Eighth Commandment, that we are to explain things in the kindest way. Is there kindness in this comment? Is there anything of a helpful nature?
  • Yes, we live according to absolutes. Another absolute the pastor could have used is the brokenness of every human being due to Adam’s original sin. That a person should experience an incongruence of sex and gender should surprise no LCMS minister, who is well versed in the atrocities meted on every human because we are born with Original Sin. There are intersex conditions of the genitals, DNA conditions such as Swyer syndrome where females have male chromosomes, and of the hormones (androgen syndromes)—all of which are absolutely real, and all of which the person has to figure out how to live with them.

It’s easy to be offended, to remain uneducated, to put up walls so we can live in the safety of those with whom we identify.

It’s hard to reach out, to listen to those we don’t understand—even those by whom we are offended. For us Christians, we have no permission from the Lord to disparage others.

We are to treat others as we would have them treat us. I know zero human beings who would be happy to be treated unfairly, cruelly, and hatefully by even a single person.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I wrote the following in 2016, when I was living as a transgender woman. It serves to enlarge the concerns expressed above.

My most unique run ever

I’m in my 43rd year of jogging. I’ve seen some weird things and had some unusual experiences. On March 2, I had not one, not two, but three that I’d never had before.

Before getting to those, none of them were these, which I’ve experienced:

  • The car accident I witnessed last year, or the two others I heard as they occurred (all in Indianapolis).
  • The ambulance that was coming up behind me, which I didn’t know was an ambulance until, just as it reached me, turned on its siren—which nearly jarred me off my feet and into the ditch.
  • While jogging in the country, the deer that had been dozing in a ditch. I didn’t see her. She heard me. Alarmed, she jumped up, which nearly jarred me off my feet and into the ditch.
  • On the same road, but another time, the pheasant or partridge that was in a small tree next to the road. Alarmed, it took off. The drumming sound of the wings surprised me so that I was nearly jarred . . . you know the rest.
  • Finally, the weirdest thing I’ve ever witnessed. I was returning on the road on which I’d started. There had been no roadkill when I began my run, but as I returned I saw something up ahead. As I neared, I could tell it was a possum. But, it was moving. Or, rather, something was moving. When I got up to it, I saw she had been pregnant. There lay a couple of dead joeys—the name for baby possums and a great Scrabble word—while a live one was wobbling about as another was working its way out of mama’s womb.

Onto March 2.

1. A bird pooped on me

It wasn’t the first time a bird pooped on me—I think it happened twice before. But it was the first time I saw the poop coming

I saw the bird flying near, maybe fifteen feet above me. By the time I saw the poop descending, it was too late. I noticed it about four feet before it hit my sleeve. Since objects fall at 32 feet per second, that means I had 1/8th of a second to react.

Or not react, as it were, until after it hit.

After I took the photo, I rolled my sleeves up so that I wouldn’t wipe my sweating face on it.

2. A lady trying to give away her dog

I have a lot of encounters with dogs—I wear an air horn for those that run into the street after me, which I use five to ten times a year—but I’ve never encountered an owner trying to pawn one off.

The woman in the black SUV slowed down as she approached me. She rolled down her window.

Woman: “Would you like a huskie?”

Me: shakes head, trying not to break stride.

Woman: “He’s real nice.”

Me, waving hand, “No, thank you.”

3. Have you seen a woman in pajamas?

On the same road, maybe two minutes later, a black SUV turned around in a driveway just ahead of me, then pulled up near me. I thought it was the dog lady, and feared she was going to pester me. It wasn’t. It was a younger woman and a young girl. I paused my running app.

Woman: “Have you seen a woman in pajamas?

Me: “I sure did.” (It was a warm morning, so I didn’t think anything of it. I see women in pajamas and house coats in the residential areas.)

Woman: “Do you remember where?”

Me: “Gosh, I’ve been all over this neighborhood…”

Woman, nodding: “I know you have.”

Me: “Are they blue pajamas?”

Woman: “Blue or maybe black, with large flowers all over.”

Me: “Yes! I didn’t look real long. When I see folks in pajamas I don’t like to appear to be staring.”

Woman: “Do you remember where you saw her?”

Me, motioning my arm toward the side streets behind me: “I think she was on one of those up and down streets. But it might have been north of 46th. It’s been a bit since I saw her.”

Woman: “Thank you very much.”

They took off. So did I. I had a bit more than a mile left on my 5.75 for the day.

It was uneventful.

How I published my novel

Did you know it is possible to publish your book without spending a penny?

You can do so by publishing it yourself—and it’s not hard to do.

Here’s how I recently did it with my novel, “John Z,” and previously with two non-fiction books.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

1. Write your book

I prefer to write in my word processing program. You can write online, including on Reedsy, which is the site I use for typesetting.

2. Typeset your book

Since I use Reedsy, here’s what you can do with it:

  • Set up your book by chapters.
  • Format everything you desire: use chapter titles or not; put words in italics, bold, or underline them.
  • Create your own copyright page from their suggestions or write your own.
  • Write a preface, introduction, foreword, dedication, and author page.
  • When you download the finished book, it arranges those pages and your chapters into a Table of Contents.

When I copied my text to Reedsy, it did not retain text I had specialized—for me, that means italics. I had to locate each one in my word document and italicize those things on Reedsy.

When done uploading and formatting, you proceed to typesetting. Reedsy allows you to choose from a few formats, book sizes, and typefaces. It typesets ebooks and printed books separately.

Typesetting happens quickly. Within a minute or two, they send an email with your file to download. Once downloaded, you unzip the file for uploading it to your publisher.

3. Publishing online

I use Amazon’s publishing website: Kindle Direct Publishing, known as KDP ( https://kdp.amazon.com/). KDP covers every last item of the process.

Publishing on KDP takes place on Bookshelf.

4. Book cover

My son-in-law is an artist, and he did a great job with the book cover for my novel. If you don’t have that option, fear not. You can create your book cover on KDP.

Ebooks require only a front cover. Formatting is easy. Printed versions require front, spine, and back. KDP provides a template, which is created by the book size you choose and the number of pages of your book. The template is created after you upload your manuscript. They provide everything you need, including options for art.

5. The publishing process

KDP takes you through the steps:

  • First, you register your name, address, and everything needed for them to pay your royalties.
  • Next, you select your format and upload your manuscript. Then, you either upload your book cover or create it on KDP.
  • Then, you peruse your ebook online, or order a proof of your paperback.
  • Finally, you set your selling price, marketplace, royalty options, etc.

KDP is easy to use! Any time you do something that doesn’t work right, or you forget a step, they catch it and provide clear information so you can get it right and proceed. If you aren’t sure of something, their Help menus (which I’ve used a number of times) provide every answer.

When uploading your manuscript, it takes several minutes for it to be processed. The same goes for the book cover. If there is a problem with your upload, you get a message. When you have it right, “Your manuscript uploaded successfully!” is a wonderful message to receive!

A screenshot from my first book. What a great feeling to see this!

You also get a note whether there are any spelling errors (see bottom of pic, above). I had no errors on my first two books. In my novel, I created some words, so when they were caught as errors I was able to check each one and approve them.

Of course, no spelling errors does not mean no errors of all types, such as missing words (I’ve had those), or a wrong word (example: I had an our where I wanted an or). Or, perhaps you simply decide you want a different word or to change a sentence or entire paragraph. The good news is that you can make your corrections and reupload your manuscript.

I’ve reuploaded my books numerous times.

You have the opportunity of getting a proof copy. Do it. Reading your book in hand, off the printed page, is different from off a screen. I always find errors and things to change, including with the cover.

When you have the publishing process completed, you price your book. It’s in your hands to set the price. They provide a range—the lowest- and highest dollar amounts. I look at prices of lots of books—similar types and number of pages—and set prices that will make my books competitively priced and provide me an acceptable profit.

You’re all done! Now, your book goes to KDP’s review process. The initial publish takes two or three days to be approved. If they detect a problem, they send an email with details as to what needs to be addressed. All revisions return to the review process, but are approved within hours.

6. ISBN and bar code

An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is not required for an ebook. KDP assigns a unique number for ebooks.

When publishing a printed version, KDP will provide an ISBN.

They also provide the bar code for the back cover. Note, on the template, above, the yellow rectangle where the UPC goes. When you create your cover separate from their cover creator, you need to leave that space blank.

7. So, did publishing cost me anything?

I had Staples print my manuscript twice, to be able to read it off the page and mark it up. On 8″ x 11″ paper, my approximately 87,000 words cost about twenty bucks.

8. How long does it all take?

As with gas mileage, your writing time will vary. As for the other steps, I can load a book onto Reedsy, format it, then load it onto KDP in a few days, working four- to six hours a day.

9. What have I forgotten?

Surely, I’ve not covered everything. Oh! Here’s one I forgot: KDP will print as few as one book at a time. That’s important, because I often sell only one book in a given day.

If you uncover anything else I’ve missed, post it in the comments and I’ll reply quickly.

Now, back to writing my next novel, so I can add to my Amazon book page:

“I’m going to sue!”

After my brother Jim was severely brain-damaged from being improperly medicated for whooping cough and encephalitis, my parents were asked many times, “Why didn’t you sue the doctor who mistreated your son?”

Christmas 1975: Mom helps Jim open a gift.

After my son died, because I was the one who noticed him struggling to breath in the hospital nursery, a number of people asked why we didn’t sue the hospital.

The reason I never considered suing was because of the reason my parents didn’t sue.

Mom spoke of it numerous times. She said, “It wouldn’t change anything. The doctor didn’t mean to do it.”

I was telling my sister, Susan, that I was thinking about those days. Sue remembered more: “Mom said the doc was young and it would have ruined his life when it didn’t have to as he didn’t do it out of neglect.”

Hearing this growing up, it formed a strong impression in us kids. So, when my son took ill, I had the same attitude.

I know there are times that people need to sue. And, there are times it is necessary to right a wrong that has been maliciously perpetrated on an individual, a group, a town, and the like.

But, if we wouldn’t start there. If our home base would be that of giving the other guy a break, of practicing the Golden Rule—treating others as we would have them treat us, especially in challenging situations and the conditions were reversed.

If my mom were a doctor, might she have erred in treating a baby? If I were a nurse, might I not have noticed the baby who was struggling to breath?

An event from my years at MasterTag, in my hometown, horrified me. A car in MasterTag’s parking lot was hit by a vehicle when the driver lost control.

Thanks, Google Earth, for allowing me grab shots such as this!

The speed limit drops to 25 approximately where the top arrow is. The driver didn’t slow down, a typical move by many. Hitting the curve, he lost control. Overcorrecting, he went off the road and hit the car (the green blob).

We in the office ran outside at the sound of the crash. The young woman, whose vehicle it was, went inside and called her husband. They lived nearby and he was home. He arrived soon after the police.

This was over thirty years ago. I can still hear the man as he got out of his truck. He screamed, “I’m going to sue!”

When his wife called him, we didn’t yet know what had caused the crash. So, when he arrived, he was flying blind with his rage.

He didn’t ask if his wife was okay.

Or the driver.

He had no regard for anything else.

“I’m going to sue!” was first and foremost on his mind.

His wife worked to calm him. She was embarrassed by his behavior. The police took over. The rest of us went back to work.

I never was a fan of the man before that. Now, I was less so.

After I became a minister, one winter a member of ours slipped on the sidewalk in front of church. He sprained his wrist.

In a church meeting, I learned that he sued our congregation. When I saw him, I asked about it. He said, “I needed to do it because the church was responsible. My insurance shouldn’t have to pay the doctor bill. The church needs to.”

Do you know what I said? “Instead of suing us, why didn’t you just give us your doctor bill? It would have been easier and less expensive.”

As I recall, he replied, “I needed to do this the right way.”

He won his case, though, in my estimation, our sidewalk had been properly shoveled. I always wondered if he’d been paying enough attention. A lot of other members walked the same path that morning, and no one else fell.

Finally, I had to recognize that it was his right to sue. It is important that we have this right. There are many situations in which the greater good has been accomplished through lawsuits, to the benefit of us all.

Yet, as a starting point—a mindset—I long for us to be like my parents. When we begin with, “They did their best,” there will be far fewer lawsuits.

And there will be far more peace among us.

“John Z” – available now!

I am delighted to announce the publishing of my first novel: “John Z”!

Available as a paperback and ebook. Scroll down after the cover images for the link for purchasing.

Underneath the image of the front cover is the back cover, which provides a teaser as to the story.

“John Z” is available exclusively through Amazon. The paperback is 8″x5″, 360 pages, and attractively priced at $10.97. The ebook is $4.99.

After you’ve read it, would you consider giving it a star rating, and even leaving a short review on my Amazon book page? Thank you!