On March 14, I gave my second Transanswers presentation. This time, I addressed eighteen pastors and ministry leaders.
They were attentive throughout my ninety minute talk, sprinkling it with their excellent questions and important insights, which brought to blossom the time we spent together.
I mixed in short readings from my book, “A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane,” which served to enhance my talk and demonstrate what is to be found in the book. I was pleased afterward with how many purchased a copy.
Transanswers is where my heart is, to develop my new career of service and education. Based on the two times I’ve presented it, the need is clearly there.
Might I present to you? To your church? Workplace? School? Group?
How far will I drive to do so? For starters, I will gladly go to the states which surround Indiana. If the occasion is such to entice me further away, I will certainly want to discuss it.
I’m writing about it as I continue to demonstrate that my resuming living as a male changed nothing in my quest to educate regarding gender dysphoria and advocate for transgender persons.
It was a year ago when I received an email from my former therapist informing me that the editors of this book on transgender health and aging were seeking short pieces from older trans persons. The book covers every topic imaginable regarding emotional and physical healthcare for trans persons, and the guest essays provide personal insights into the topic.
At this time last year, I was still living as a female, but I was not feeling female at all. No one, outside of immediate family and a few friends, was aware of what I was experiencing. I knew that if the sense of being male persisted I would be resuming living as a male, and then making it known. Indeed, by mid-April I was going back and forth how I presented depending where I was, then in late May I was back to Greg full time, and on July 9 I made it public.
By the time I decided to submit a piece for the book it was mid-April. I wrote an essay and sent it to the therapist who told me about this opportunity. She sent an encouraging reply, so I submitted my piece.
I submitted it as Gina. I felt a bit disingenuous, not acknowledging what was going on with me. I reasoned that I didn’t know what would transpire, and I was still living as Gina, and I was legally Gina.
In early May, they informed me that my essay would be one of ten included in the book. I was not back full time to Greg, so I left that be. They informed me they would send me a book upon its publication. I received it on March 16.
Regardless of my resuming living as a male, everything I wrote remains true. In the essay, I reflect on an event I had attended in April, mere days before writing the piece. My endocrinologist invited me to a presentation to over one hundred medical professionals of IU Health. A nurse, who has a trans son, gave an excellent presentation, educating about gender dysphoria and one’s being transgender. I then spoke to them for a few minutes regarding my experience transitioning in Indianapolis. Then, I sat with a group for ninety minutes, fielding their questions.
In my essay, I focused on the many doctors trans folks see while transitioning, and the variety of specialists I saw as a trans woman—from two eye specialists, to an oral surgeon, to a podiatrist, to a cardiologist. I stressed that even though my providers all are in the IU Health network, and IU Health admitted they were behind the curve with transgender healthcare, I was pleased to report to them that the care I received from this host of doctors, along with the many nurses, technicians, and office staff I saw, took great care of me.
Transgender persons need good healthcare. They need to know they will be treated seriously, and with respect. And, they need people such as myself, who have been there and done that, who are able to speak up, speak out, and speak loudly, to advocate on their behalf.
Don’t be fooled by the silly take on the name of the old soap opera, Lissa and Avery take seriously their work interviewing a variety of folks to “decipher the gay alphabet and bridge the gap between the older and younger gay community.”
In February, they interviewed a trans friend of mine, who, like me, transitioned later in life, and did so as a public school teacher in the Indianapolis area. My friend told Avery and Lissa about me, and my unique story of having transitioned and then resuming living as a male.
I jumped on their asking me to be on the podcast. I long to show that I remain an advocate for transgender folks. I need to demonstrate that I have not disavowed all things transgender, as one trans woman asked me if I had. I will make and take every opportunity to speak up, speak out, and speak loudly for transgender persons.
I’ve had trans women tell me that what happened to me, when I stopped feeling female, scares them, that it could happen to them. Because they have invested so much into transitioning and finally find themselves whole inside and happy with life, it is a jarring notion to think they could lose it all. Indeed, when it happened to me, for three months it rocked me hard, so I get it.
Thus, the importance of my making it known that I have not gone anywhere. That my resuming living as a male was not a disavowing of all things transgender. That I continue to advocate for issues related to experiencing gender dysphoria and living as a transgender person.
For their part, Lissa and Avery are doing important work by interviewing a host of people from a variety of backgrounds. Their winning personalities make them easy to like, a joy to work with, and a pleasure to listen to.
Thank you, Avery and Lissa, for having me on the show. Keep on keeping on with your good work!
If I had a box of caramels for every time I received an email from a person who has been reading my blog for years and is just now letting me know of it, I’d have a lot of sweet treats. In the case of Chana Wood, proprietor of Sugar Wood, I got the caramels!
Most correspondence I’ve had from readers has been regarding issues of transgender. Some of the inquiries I’ve received have been from fellow Christians. But, when Chana wrote to me, it was because I had published my book.
One email led another, led to my going to her website, led to my first taste of her scrumptious delights. Her signature item is this . . .
. . . but there’s more good stuff, each item as good as the others.
I’ve had salted caramel before, but I’ve never encountered it with the salt playing as important a role as it does in Chana’s. When you’re chewing the caramel, and you encounter a crystal of salt, the interruption of salty with sweet is an explosion of flavor.
If one can experience a surprise of joy when chewing on candy, it happens with these:
Chana is a true entrepreneur. She started out as so many folks have, creating in her kitchen and selling locally. Hard work, combined with a great product, has brought success.
Combine a great product with a winning personality, and it becomes easy to decide to purchase from her. I’ve talked on the phone with Chana, and in two minutes I felt like we were lifelong friends. Thus, when my box of delights arrived, and these stickers adorned the carton, Chana shined through:
Image one: Note the nifty quote is from the eminent philosopher, Conan O’brien.
Image two: This reminds me of the St. Pauli Girl logo and makes me crave a beer!
Image three: Cumberland, Wisconsin, is where it all happens.
If you have a bonafide sweet tooth, click the link at the top of this post and make your first easy-to-place order. When you’re there, also make use of the Contact button and tell Chana that Greg sent you!
I’ll send you off with this nifty video from Chana, herself!
Of the few dozen folks from whom I’ve received feedback regarding my book, readers can’t put down my book, they find it riveting, and they state this is a story that needs to be told.
That all is as wonderful as I could possibly ask!
And now I will ask more.
I don’t have a publisher behind me. While I am working on in-person promotion and selling in bookstores, those things will take weeks and months to accomplish.
For now, you can help. If you believe in my story, please promote my book.
Who is A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane for?
It’s for those who have a family member or friend who is transgender, who has transitioned, or who is struggling with gender dysphoria.
It’s for those who are in the midst of the gender identity conflict, who can benefit from a sympathetic voice, who can use a book to share with those they are aching to tell: “Read this. What Greg went through is what I’m experiencing.”
It’s for those who have transitioned, who are dealing with the fall-out, who could hand the book to their loved one and say, “Read how Greg was rejected and cast out. Read how deep goes the hurt. This is what I’m going through, what you’ve done to me.”
It’s for Christians, who could use a faith-lift, to see how a fellow Christian was strengthened by the Lord, who walked through the valley of the shadow of death and now enjoys green pastures.
It’s also for Christians who reject all things transgender, who need to be educated, to have their eyes opened and their hearts poked so that they might realize we’re all in this together.
It’s for the spouses of trans folks, for whom Julie can serve as a model to help them abide with their marital vows.
And, it’s for everyone who enjoys a human interest story, who can identify with a person who’s been put through the paces of suffering, of learning, of growing, of triumphing in the face of adversity.
With that, I kindly ask you to please share with your family and friends.
Click Share on the Facebook post of this, or share one of my several posts regarding my book.
Did you know it is possible to publish your book without spending a penny?
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I wrote for years, regardless of whether or not I would get my book published. Even when I resolved to complete it, I didn’t know how, or even if, I would be able to get it published.
I researched hiring an editor. Expensive! I looked into publishers, submitting a book proposal, and the odds of anyone paying attention to my book. Daunting! I began looking into self-publishing, whether that was within my means. Realistic!
This is when I learned all that Amazon has to offer. First, I saw that I could publish my book as an ebook at no cost. Once on their website, I found they have a print-on-demand for paperbacks at no cost. Having few dollars, and desiring to get my book on the market, I proceeded.
While one can upload a manuscript directly to Amazon, to keep options open for other publishers, such as Barnes & Noble, I used Reedsy for formatting my book. From Reedsy (https://reedsy.com/) I was able to format it both as an ebook and for printing, and I will be able to use it anywhere I might publish it.
Uploading and formatting
I wrote my book on my word processing program. One can write online, but I like my own program. I didn’t concern myself with formatting until I got online. When I did, I used Reedsy.
Reedsy has everything.
Setting up your book by chapters.
Specific spots for a Preface, Introduction, Foreword, Dedication, and Author page.
It arranges those pages and your chapters into a Table of Contents.
A copyright form, where you get to write your own copyright.
When I copied my text to Reedsy, it did not retain text I had in 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.
Amazon’s publishing website is Kindle Direct Publishing, known as KDP ( https://kdp.amazon.com/). KDP covers every last item of the process.
I am blessed to have a son who is highly capable of designing, and he did a great job with my book cover. 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.
If you don’t have a book cover before getting on KDP, they provide the tools for creating one.
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.
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 along the way (which I used a lot) 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. Your manuscript uploaded successfully! is a wonderful message to receive!
You also get a note whether there are any spelling errors (see bottom of pic, above). I had no errors! But, of course, no spelling errors does not mean no errors of all types, such as missing words (I had a few of those), or a wrong word (example: I had an our where I wanted an or).
The good news is that you can make your corrections and reupload your manuscript. I reuploaded to the ebook a few times, as readers found boo-boos. When I published the print edition, after I created it I bought a proof copy (authors buy their books at cost). I read it, found the our/or problem, had my son tweek the cover, and made a few other minor text changes, and reuploaded both the manuscript and cover.
When you have the publishing process completed, you price your book. It’s completely in your hands to set the price. Julie and I looked at prices of lots of books—similar types and number of pages—decided we wanted to price mine to sell while allowing for a respectable profit. $4.99 for my ebook is pretty low, as is $12.97 for the printed version, and both prices, I hope, help make the book appealing.
You’re all done! Now, your book goes to KDP’s review process. They indicate this can take a few days. I received emails within twenty-four hours that my book was approved. Amazon made it live on their website and people could begin to purchase it.
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 it is placed. When you create your cover, you need to leave that space blank.
So, did publishing cost me anything?
I purchased a block of ten ISBNs, because I have my next book in the works and I might be publishing other places.
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 94,000 words took 168 sheets and cost about $21.00 per printing.
How long does it all take?
First, you have to write! I began writing in 2013. In December 2016, I began working those pieces into chapters of the book. I wrote diligently for four months, believing I had my first draft done in April 2017.
My life changed dramatically throughout 2017 and early in 2018. When I finally had the desire to write again last summer, I had to add a few chapters and then write the two concluding chapters.
I had my first draft done in September. I then had two friends read it. I made corrections from their feedback. I then did a hard edit and took out 9,000 words, removing no content but a lot of wordy chaff.
In December, Julie took over as editor. We worked together for three weeks. We had it printed, read it, found errors, and made improvements. I typed those into the manuscript and printed it again, and checked it one more time. I had two other people read this final draft, mostly for how it read, the flow of the subject matter, did it make sense, did they enjoy it, was it helpful.
That all took most of January. I went on KDP and within a few days had it uploaded and for sale!
A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane—One Wild Ride: My Journey with Gender Identity is now available in print. You may order the paperback edition here:
The back cover copy:
Greg Eilers was at the center of privilege: a respected minister in a conservative church, a middle-class male in a rural community, a family man with a wife and kids. But he harbored a deep secret—a lifetime of questioning his gender identity. In 2013, the questioning had morphed into crushing gender dysphoria, and Eilers found himself in a battle to save his life and sanity. He also found himself in a conundrum: gender identity issues don’t fit with a traditional life and conservative values. How could a man who followed all the rules, and made the church his life’s work, be transgender?In 2015, Eilers transitioned to female to resolve the internal struggle. The road to inner peace, though, was rife with sacrifices. Transitioning took him from the job he loved, put his relationships to the test, and cast him to the margins of society. Scorn replaced privilege. Then, 2018 brought a development just as confounding as 2013’s struggle, and Eilers faced yet another transition.Through it all Eilers held firm to his faith, and found room in the Gospel for an outcast such as himself. He resolved to speak out—to share his story so others would know they’re not alone, and to speak up—to educate the public about transgender and bring dignity to a highly misunderstood group of people.A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane is a memoir, a unique transgender experience, and an inspiration to the Christian church to lovingly minister to transgender persons.
What readers are saying
17 of 18 readers have given the book FIVE STAR reviews. Snippets from some of their reviews:
Richard wrote: [Greg’s] superb and very readable style draws you in and tells you stories – important and true stories of human pain and resilience.
Colleen commented: When I started reading this story, I could not put it down. And now, I’m reading through for the second time. I am entranced all the more.
Jocelyn said: I had the hardest time putting this book down. I really enjoyed learning about a condition I don’t know much about and getting to know a genuine and wonderful human.