Category Archives: my writing life

Wisdom for writers & artists


Live on video: talkin’ about The Buddha & the Bitch

Video talk on The Buddha & the Bitch

Greetings from Gurgaon, India! With two days to prep for this Facebook Live talk (sponsored by Indic Book Club and Indic Academy), Rashma and I did it.
Saturday 26 May over 400 viewers watched/listened to our first presentation and video book launch.

I am so proud that we’ve come this far! The Buddha & the Bitch has been five years in the making, starting with Google chats across the world. Well, I won’t attempt to share the story here because our book tells it all. Do know that there’s a trip to South India involved–Pondicherry, Mahabalipurma, Auroville, and more. Our sub-title describes it more: 2 Women 2 Worlds 1 Practice. That practice is writing, a passion we share.

I am visiting greater New Delhi from Cincinnati, Ohio to help promote the newly released book with the co-author Rashma N. Kalsie. NOTE: If you live in or near New Delhi, we will be at Habitat Centre 4 June 7pm along with Prof. Bharat Gupt moderating. Come hear us!

Going to India to promote the book

Me with Kwan Yin & Kali before trip

I leave the day after tomorrow. I’ll join my co-author Rashma and she and her family are housing and feeding me. Rashma, being the self-defined bitch of our book The Buddha & the Bitch, is da boss and will lead me to bookstores in the New Delhi-Gurgaon area. We need to convince the bookstores to display our book, display our book more prominently, have us do a reading & signing, and more.

I will be posting our adventures in marketing. I am excited about visiting Hay House India and meeting our editor and the marketing guy. We’ll sign some books for their use in marketing. We’ll have pictures taken.

Watch for it. As I’ve been saying “I’ll be famous ….. in India!”

Update: Rashma tells me that Amazon US will have our ebook available soon. Meanwhile, Cincinnati area peeps–you can buy a copy at Women Writing for (a) Change or from the trunk of my car. I will be bringing more copies back in my checked luggage.

The Buddha & The Bitch!

A return to India!

I have karma with India for sure. But what is this every five years cycle about?

I am happily returning. It couldn’t be better: stay with my friend and writing sister Rashma Kalsie and her family (once again). Nothing like having your own personal tour guide. But this is a working vacation. Rashma, self-described bitch, I a reluctant Buddha, have a book to promote.

The Buddha & the Bitch: 2 Women, 2 Worlds, 1 Practice is soon to be available from Hay House Publishing (India). Rashma and I will visit bookstores in greater New Delhi and give talks and workshops. This book, you see, was my reason for the trip five years ago in 2013. We had a plan to create a book of the story of how we met along with two years of discussions about our different lives as women and, most importantly, women captivated by words, i.e., that special species known as women writers.

So I traveled to New Delhi Thanksgiving 2013, saw the Taj Mahal, honored the memory of Mohatma Gandhi, shopped for souvenirs, shared roads with cows and other creatures. After a week with her family, we took a plane to Chennai in South India. Pondicherry was where we began work on our book.

Now it has come to fruition. I owe it to Rashma; she is the assertive one who got Hay House to notice us. I swore her name should go first on the book.

As I sit here writing in Cincinnati, Ohio, I await a long distance delivery of a carton of 50 copies of the book. It might come today, certainly by the end of the week. I have orders already from my Thursday Morning writing class at Women Writing for (a) Change plus others via Facebook. Once we have all the details, I will have an ad via FB and also alert readers here on my blog.

I also plan to blog my trip to India with the adventures of two women promoting their book.

But back to this five year cycle to India: it began with the holiday of Holi in Varanasi. Two of us accompanied a professor who wanted to return. We paid her way and she was our Western guide. The Goddess temples drew me and the Mother protected us along the journey. But that’s another story.

If I return in another five years, I’ll be 73. I just don’t know. Already I must bring medication I didn’t require five years earlier. But I will no longer think–I won’t go back–since this obviously doesn’t work!

Jay Mata Di! Victory to the Mother! May she bless our book and all who read it.

My heart memoir may be a project for awhile!

For those of you who don’t know me in person or follow me on Facebook, you don’t know what happened after that post about my chest pains and upcoming hospital procedure. Obviously, I lived! (Phebe lives & isn’t Spring beautiful is my current mantra).

What was totally unexpected was that I needed open-heart surgery. I was told the stents would fight each other, that I had multiple blocked arteries. As fate would have it, one of the best surgeons in the City, evidently (Dr. Answini) had an opening the next day.

The test was Monday, my surgery was Tuesday, I left the hospital Sunday afternoon. My friend and colleague in the arts, Bev Bowers, began rounding people up to spend nights with me, bring me meals, help in those daily ways. My friend Vic Ramstetter quickly made calls that Sunday morning to line up that first week–back home. And my sister Linda Sutton was a true bodhisattva, giving up much of her life for a week to be at the hospital, communicate with the nurses, buy me a recliner, and keep me company.

So it all happened so fast. This is a good thing! I didn’t have much time to be scared of dying, make arrangements, and process it all until these past few months. February 10th was the triple bypass, February 17th my birthday, and I am now taking my coronary heart disease seriously. Cardiac rehab is great, so helpful. I am throwing a party/celebration in two weeks to thank my helpers and honor my 65th birthday three months later.

I will share some of my stories here, from time to time. Plan to publish my heart memoir (Angina Monologues, anyone?) at some point, even if it’s self-publishing just ‘cuz.

“When I’m 64”

That Beatles song has been in my head lately. “When I’m 64” has finally come true. This is my day, my 64th birthday. Hard to believe I am this old.

Yesterday I celebrated by going to a poetry reading. I bought a chapbook of poems from one of the poets, Susan Glassmeyer. She is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League which meets once a month. I like the poems I’ve heard from her! I believe we are kindred souls. So when I read what she had signed-thanking me for my support “and lovely poems,” it made my day!

My lovely poems are lurking inside waiting to see the light of day. I have a strong feeling that once they start coming through, there will be a lot of them. But Susan’s vote of confidence will keep me going.

This morning for my birthday, I ordered some poetry chapbooks from Finishing Line Press. I ordered poetry by Kate Fadick and Karen George. I know these two women, sister poets, from the GCWL. I admire their words and commitment to the craft of poetry. I am glad to support them. They, also, will serve to keep me on my path as a poet.

My lunch with two friends was postponed due to impending freezing rain. It’s tough to be a February birthday “goddess babe.” But I have my two dogs napping on the bed next to me and the profound art of poetry.