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All posts for the month April, 2015

People Are Still Reading

Published April 21, 2015 by Maryanne

writer's quote

The other day I was having an issue with Word Press. There’s some glitch, that when I link to my business page, it says, “Page Not Found” even though everything is A-OK on the Go Daddy side of it. Though not really a big deal because if people want to find me, they will find me. I don’t need to be on Face Book either. Yeah, I’m THAT good and have the confidence to say so.

And that is what I want to encourage writers about with this post — not to let others belittle you into thinking the past is the past. Because it’s not. If you’re good, people will always be reading what you wrote, even if it’s from several years ago.

So, getting back to Go Daddy. The support guy told me, “Don’t go crazy fixing all the links. People will only go back so far.”

Uh, no they won’t.

They will dig until their hearts content if they find your blog interesting enough. Why do I know this? Duh — the stats! According to my stats, people are reading blogs I wrote very far back. And why wouldn’t they? It’s GOOD stuff! And not all of it is “dated.”

Sometimes I’ll go through my old blogs and delete things that are dated. And once in a blue moon I’ll delete a vent, but most of the time I’ll keep a vent up because that is when I get the biggest compliments — when I vent. If it wasn’t for a vent, I wouldn’t be going to Cleveland this October to speak for NotMom. And I once had an editor that told me my best writing was when I was angry or disappointed.

But back to the old blogs … which brings me to old books.

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend about royalty checks. She said that they will fizzle out as the book gets old. On the contrary, it’s been over a year since my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” was published and I’m still selling and having people invite me on their radio shows and to their libraries to promote my book. Yes, even this late in the game. It’s exciting!

My point is … writing is an art that is timeless. It’s like music in a lot of ways. Sure you get that first wave of marketing going after you’re first published, and it seems like the whole world is reading and buying your product … but it’s not over ’til it’s over. And that may be never. Even after you’re long gone. Look at Mark Twain!

One of my former editors said, a few years ago, she was still getting royalty checks for a book she wrote in the 1990s!

A few years ago I found a blog so good, I read the whole four years in one night’s sitting. And not too long ago I found an online diary that was written in the 1970s but published in 2008. That was seven years ago, yet the diary was so fabulous, I immediately contacted the author and set up a lunch date with her! And I can’t wait!

So, keep writing and growing. But don’t ever feel your past is a thing of the past. Savor all you’ve ever written and embrace it. It’s your art, your work, your muse … and there will always be an interest.

Who knows, I just may be reading something you wrote, as you are reading this!

I’ll hit the send button and this post will be brandy new, but if someone finds this post a year, or several years later, give me a shout to let me know, my point is valid! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Make Art Out of Recyclables, Millburn Library, April 20, 2015

Published April 21, 2015 by Maryanne

fabric flowerFabric Art by Bridget Briant

Bridget Briant and I had a most wonderful time presenting our “Make Art Out of Recyclables” program at the Millburn Library. The children and their parents were awesome and we saw some true talent!

Thanks, so much, to librarians, Pat and Sue, for having us!

To have us at your school, library or children’s party, please contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Bizarre Taurus Magic and Numerology

Published April 20, 2015 by Maryanne

Taurus

I swear, you can not plan these things or make them up.

When writing my upcoming fiction book, “Love Cats” I used two songs that were significant to move the story along. Of course, one was “Love Cats” by The Cure. The other was “Mass Production” by Iggy Pop.

In order to use these songs, I had to get legal permission from Hal Leonard Music, which I did. It cost me $100 to use the lyrics to “Love Cats.” And $43 to use “Mass Production.”

Now, last year, when my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” came out, it was during the cycle of Aquarius — my favorite sign. Many of my friends are Aquarius. And I married an Aquarius.

I wanted my baby “Love Cats” to be an Aquarius too, but it just didn’t pan out that way. “Love Cats” is going to be a Taurus, published in early May.

Sharing this with my friend Shaolin, a zodiac fanatic (name a friend or celebrity or famous musician and she will know their zodiac sign off the top of her head — incredibly impressive!), she immediately told me that both Robert Smith and Iggy Pop are not only Taurus, but their birthdays are on the same day!

I looked it up on Wikipedia and yeah, she’s right!

Then I took it a step further and went the numerology route. I added up the numbers of their birthdays.

Iggy Pop – 4-21-1947 (4+21+1947 = 1972, 1+9+7+2 = 1) #1 is a powerful force that doesn’t let anything stand in it’s way.

Robert Smith = 4-21-1959 (4+21+1959 = 1984, 1+9+8+9 = 1) #22 is a master number, where dreams manifest.

With the power of numbers, astrology, music (and cats!) this baby of mine is sure to be something else! Stay tuned for “Love Cats” — Coming May 2015, from Next Century Publishing.

Love Cats Cover 5

Janey Peyton is filthy rich, but also a down-to-earth goth chick. She lives in suburban New Jersey during the 1980s. Janey has it all, including an Italian live-in housekeeper (who sometimes drives her batty with overbearing dated love advice).

Since Janey’s status symbol-driven parents are absent in her life love-starved Janey desperately seeks a soul mate as she cruises the new wave nightclubs.

Enter Beck Stewart, also a workaholic, but for all the right reasons. The working class hero wants to make a better life for himself. Beck falls hard for Janey and turns a blind eye to the immediate red flags: she’s a snoop and obviously hates his beloved old cat, Morticia.

When Janey discovers Beck can’t resist overtime hours, she mistakes his job loyalty for neglect. For “revenge” she takes on other lovers and is careless when it comes to hiding her conquests. What happens when Beck feels enough is enough and the couple who had their ups and downs finally hit an all time low? And what happens when a stray kitten shows up on cat hater Janey’s doorstep?

If you love the’80s, alternative wave, sexy chick lit, and of course CATS, this book is for you!

Endorsements

“Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta draws you in from the very first page. This book will make you find yourself yelling at the characters. I laughed out loud, I cried; my emotions were all over the place. With engaging characters and a unique story-line set in 1980s New Jersey, ‘Love Cats’ is a story that will captivate you and stay in your heart long after you read the last line.” – S.C. Miotto, author “Moonstone Dreams” and “Diamond Love.”

“Maryanne’s zeal for life and passion for creativity shines through in all of her work. Here in her first book of fiction she gives us multidimensional characters mitigating love and growing pains as they manicure their pop culture lifestyle at the tail end of the ’80s. It’s romance — Gen X style! I could not get enough of Janey and Beck.” – Scott Schiaffo

In “Love Cats,” Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta really takes you there, to the fun and electricity of running around, being young in the 1980s, in New Jersey, but enough universal magic so we all can relate: the spontaneity, adorable flirting, daring and exploring, making mistakes and finding your way. Maryanne treats tricky, sensitive and intimate topics with the most refreshing honesty. – Zaphyrella, fashion designer.

 

“Danny Collins” Starring Al Pacino

Published April 19, 2015 by Maryanne

ImaginedPhoto swiped from movie promo

My husband and I ventured out to see “Danny Collins,” a movie we both waited several weeks to come to the theater. We both love Al Pacino. Actually, I just discovered him recently when I watched “Dog Day Afternoon” for the very first time (yeah, late bloomer in everything, including movies).

Al Pacino is a fabulous actor. He’s just got it all, looks, charm, natural humor. In the role of Danny Collins, he’s an aging superstar musician who has it all. Even at this stage of the game he’s singing to a packed house of adoring fans. (And, hey, Al Pacino can sing! The “hit” song “Sweet Baby Doll” is still stuck in my head). And at this stage of the game, along with the rock ‘n’ roll, sex and drugs are still a big part of Danny’s life.

It’s during a surprise birthday bash, when his friend/manager/confidante Frank Grubman (played by Christopher Plummer) gives him a gift — an undelivered John Lennon wrote to Danny Collins 40 years ago. Right then and there Danny starts reflecting on his life and thinking about making major changes. And the real push comes when he catches his girlfriend Sophie (Katarina Cas), who is supposed to be more than half his age, cheating. Though, ever the class act, Danny appears okay with it, encourages them to go back to what they were doing and that he’s leaving town indefinitely.

Danny goes out to find his grown son — who he never met (played by Bobby Cannavale) and lives in New Jersey. Danny checks into a hotel and makes it a temporary home — going as far as bringing a Steinway piano into the small room.

Immediately Danny starts falling for the hotel manager, Mary Sinclair, played by the ever beautiful Annette Bening. Mary is a younger woman, but closer to age-appropriate than Sophie was.

Mary is friendly, but not too impressed with Danny’s star status. She does note that her ex-husband was a big fan. Eventually they develop a strong friendship and Danny plans on making her his new girl.

Within a few days, Danny finds his son. His son is named Tom Donnelly. He took his mother’s name, for Danny was never in the picture. Tom Donnelly’s wife Samantha is played by Jennifer Garner. And Giselle Eisenberg is absolutely scrumptious as their little girl, Hope. Like her granddad, she can sing!

Danny tries to make up for lost time, but Tom won’t have it. Danny insists and even gets his granddaughter Hope into a school for children with ADHD, surpassing the 6-year waiting list.

By now Tom is warming up to his dad. Hope is told that Danny is her grandfather and things seem to be going on the right track. Meanwhile Danny’s been writing new music, which is different, more mellow, showing his growth. Mary likes the new song and agrees to let Danny take her to dinner if he plays it onstage.

Danny gets a gig in a small New Jersey night club. Everyone is there — his family, Mary and even the college kids he made friends with at the hotel. It’s more intimate and personal for Danny. He gets on stage and sits down at the piano to play his new song and the crowd starts screaming for his hit “Sweet Baby Doll.”

This moment reminded me, as a big music fan, of the story of Rick Nelson and his song “Garden Party.” No one wanted to hear his new songs, they were expecting “Hello Mary Lou.” In “Garden Party” there’s a reference to John Lennon when he sings, “Yoko brought a Walrus.” And throughout “Danny Collins” there is about 80 percent John Lennon songs used. It was definitely a powerful scene as Danny freaks out and goes with “Hey, Baby Doll” instead of his new song, then goes back stage to find Sophie with her boyfriend. She refers to Danny as her sugar daddy and they all start doing coke. Meanwhile Tom, Samantha and Hope go backstage. Hope screams “Grandpa!” and runs up to him, but once Tom sees what is going on, he immediately pulls Hope away from Danny. Once again Tom decides not to be in his father’s life.

I’ll end here because I was always taught not to give the ending of a movie. But if you want to laugh AND cry, go see this!

SAM_7118Me and my husband enjoying the movie

My first fiction book, “Love Cats” will be published in May!

Published April 18, 2015 by Maryanne

Love Cats Cover 5

Hey Gang!

I’m thrilled to share that my first work of fiction, “Love Cats” is now with the publisher and will be available on Amazon (and Kindle!) in May!

SYNOPSIS:

Janey Peyton is filthy rich, but also a down-to-earth goth chick. She lives in suburban New Jersey during the 1980s. Janey has it all, including an Italian live-in housekeeper (who sometimes drives her batty with overbearing dated love advice).

Since Janey’s status symbol-driven parents are absent in her life love-starved Janey desperately seeks a soul mate as she cruises the new wave nightclubs.

Enter Beck Stewart, also a workaholic, but for all the right reasons. The working class hero wants to make a better life for himself. Beck falls hard for Janey and turns a blind eye to the immediate red flags: she’s a snoop and obviously hates his beloved old cat, Morticia.

When Janey discovers Beck can’t resist overtime hours, she mistakes his job loyalty for neglect. For “revenge” she takes on other lovers and is careless when it comes to hiding her conquests. What happens when Beck feels enough is enough and the couple who had their ups and downs finally hit an all time low? And what happens when a stray kitten shows up on cat hater Janey’s doorstep?

If you love the’80s, alternative wave, sexy chick lit, and of course CATS, this book is for you!

Endorsements

“Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta draws you in from the very first page. This book will make you find yourself yelling at the characters. I laughed out loud, I cried; my emotions were all over the place. With engaging characters and a unique story-line set in 1980s New Jersey, ‘Love Cats’ is a story that will captivate you and stay in your heart long after you read the last line.” – S.C. Miotto, author “Moonstone Dreams” and “Diamond Love.”

“Maryanne’s zeal for life and passion for creativity shines through in all of her work. Here in her first book of fiction she gives us multidimensional characters mitigating love and growing pains as they manicure their pop culture lifestyle at the tail end of the ’80s. It’s romance — Gen X style! I could not get enough of Janey and Beck.” – Scott Schiaffo

In “Love Cats,” Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta really takes you there, to the fun and electricity of running around, being young in the 1980s, in New Jersey, but enough universal magic so we all can relate: the spontaneity, adorable flirting, daring and exploring, making mistakes and finding your way. Maryanne treats tricky, sensitive and intimate topics with the most refreshing honesty. – Zaphyrella, fashion designer.

 

To Say “Don’t Judge” IS Judging

Published April 17, 2015 by Maryanne

judge

I’ve noted in the past how much modern lingo annoys me, which is why I love watching television shows from the 1990s like “Beverly Hills 90210” and “Melrose Place” — the last time English language really was hip.

Over the past year, maybe a little longer, I’ve been hearing a phrase that makes me cringe: “Don’t judge.”

Other writers friends have agreed with me that it’s just so condescending. Oftentimes I feel like I’m walking on eggshells. Because in this day and age of everyone being in competition with each other, you are just not allowed to speak freely of what annoys you or it’s translated as “judging.”

The first time I heard this phrase, a client was sharing a quality about herself that wasn’t too attractive. And immediately afterwards said, “Don’t judge.”

I immediately felt belittled. (And as I always say, “To belittle is to BE LITTLE.” But a lot of people still have to learn this.) What did I do? I didn’t say anything? And who the hell are you to assume I’d be judging you?

I am the most open-minded person in the world and freely accept people as they are, as long as they are not breaking the law or hurting others — or themselves. I’ve always been of the live and let live mindset, which is probably why so many people share their secrets with me. They know that I understand that people make mistakes and that life isn’t always a bed of roses.

But if someone thinks of me as a friend and asks my opinion — he or she is going to get it. There are things I feel strongly about and the biggest one is to not put yourself in a complicated situation. That is when you definitely make your own misery.

For instance, if a woman wants true love and keeps dating someone who is obviously unavailable, I will tell her that she’s making a big mistake and wasting her life. Or if someone comes to me asking for my permission to cheat while they are in an unhappy marriage, I’m sorry, you’re not going to get it. Get out of your unhappy marriage first. Then you can do whatever you please.

It’s not a matter of morals, but a matter of common sense.

And if someone wants to “judge” me for what they feel is “judging” then it’s the pot calling the kettle black.

Can we please go back to having heart-to-heart discussions where we can learn and grow from each other without using hipster cliches like, “Don’t judge.” If someone is sharing something with you, hear him/her out first. Maybe you’ll learn something if you, yourself, “don’t judge.”

Writers/Poets Deserve More Credit For Our Imaginations

Published April 16, 2015 by Maryanne

writers strange

As I prepare to self-publish my first work of fiction, it haunts me terribly that the general public doesn’t give creative writers enough credit. And so I hesitate to move forward. I’m not talking about book sales by any means. I’m talking about assumptions people make, mainly that a writer is secretly disguising their God-given imaginative talent with some sort of “cover up” that their creations are not all that, but rather truth in disguise.

Many moons ago, in the early to mid-1990s, I was on the rising poet, spoken word scene. I was so confident, I actually gave copies of my poetry to Allen Ginsburg when I met him! Sometimes I look back and flinch at my cockiness. But that’s when I have to take a step back and say, “Hey, don’t second guess yourself.” Authors and poets do need all the confidence they can get because as great as the praise is, so are the knock downs. The worst being when you don’t get credit for your creativity.

During my time as a live poet, I heard it all. Some guys who were infatuated with me thinking every poem was about them. “That one was about me. I know it.”

“Sorry, no.” That was my honest answer.

And then there were other guys who knew they didn’t stand a chance, chastising me for writing about dark topics such as bondage and discipline, assuming it was autobiographical. Hearing “What kind of guys do you hang out with?” in such a condescending manner from someone I barely respected made me shy away from the poetry scene — at least in New Jersey. And so I started performing in NYC where people were more open-minded.

I wanted to strangle the person who made the assumption that my poetry was autobiographical and scream at the top of my lungs: “I’M A WRITER, DAMN IT! GIVE ME SOME CREDIT FOR CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION!”

The first time I had a fiction story published, I was ecstatic. I saw the magazine on a newsstand at St. Mark’s Place in NYC. It was the coolest thing in the world. How great is my life? What could be better than being in NYC and seeing your story on display for all the world to see?

My bubble burst a few days later when a gym friend assumed the story I wrote was about a friend who was having problems in her love life.

This is what we, as writers and creators, struggle with on a daily basis — the personal end of it. The comments, the critiques, the assumptions. It’s just like being bullied in school. People make up their minds about something and you can never do enough to change it.

As I’m on the verge of publishing my first fictitious book, “Love Cats” — a book that takes place in the 1980s, I have to psych myself up to the fact that many people are going to assume that the story is autobiographical. Even though it’s not. Not even close.

When they say, “Write what you know” — I really only know about three things: music, health and how to have a happy marriage. Only one of these three things is in my upcoming book: music.

For me to create many different characters, I had to dig deep into my imagination. It was very hard work, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that has over 1000 pieces. I also had to do massive research to get certain things right.

This book is truly my baby, my muse, a book I will cherish until I die. I fell madly in love with all my characters whether they were good or bad. So much thought was put into their growth and development. During the writing process I believe I momentarily channeled the work from a higher power because some of the book came to me effortless, while other parts were so hard I had to put it away for months.

So, dear reader, THINK, before the next time you ask a writer or a poet if their work is autobiographical. It’s really a slap in the face whenever we hear such false accusations. Give us some credit for our minds, please? No matter how strange!

And to my fellow writers — this is where I say, not only to you, but as a reminder to myself. There’s always the point where you need to just let go and not worry about what others think. Nothing you do can change that. So don’t go crazy trying to change the worlds’ minds. A simple note inside your book saying, “The characters in this book are  fictitious. Any resemblance to someone alive or dead is purely coincidental” will suffice.

 

 

“Make Art Out of Recyclables at the Sayreville Library” April 15, 2015

Published April 16, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7108Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta (left)

All photos used with parents’ permission

Children were thrilled to make flags that represented their favorite countries out of chopsticks, recycled paper and origami paper. This program was created by Bridget Briant, of YogaToGo (http://www.yogatogonj.com/) and available through Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/).

SAM_7109Lorraine Brown (far left, standing)

All photos are used with parents’ permission

SAM_7110Diane Barros (standing)

All photos are used with parents’ permission

Bridget Briant and myself give special thanks to Lorraine Brown and Diane Barros for their extra hands. Lorraine will be creating new recyclables programs beginning April 27. Diane will also be on board as a fill-in.

Find out which libraries we’ll be presenting at for the rest of the month in New Jersey by visiting Pear Tree (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/). All events are free and open to the public. There are many bookings this month in celebration of Earth Day.

Our program is available to schools and for private children’s parties. For pricing and availability, contact Maryanne at maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Happy National Dolphin Day!

Published April 14, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_4230May 2014, Outer Banks, North Carolina

Happy National Dolphin Day!

Dolphins are probably the one animal that we can all agree are absolutely the cutest. I’m so lucky to live on the east coast and see them often, swimming along the beaches, in their natural habitat, as well as the few times I went on boat cruises specifically to view dolphins (and whales). Seeing them always makes me feel happy. Even seeing a dolphin in a picture or on a piece of jewelry makes me smile.

Dolphins symbolize: friendship, playfulness, harmony and gentleness.

I wish everyone the happiest dolphin day ever!

SAM_1842Drawing by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, 2005

My Interview in the Observer (Regarding the Paleo Lifestyle)

Published April 10, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_5886Grass-fed beef chili w/avocado

The other night I presented my lecture “Paleo for Beginners” at the Washington Township Library in Long Valley, New Jersey.

It’s an awesome group, and many thanks to librarian Jane Gold for having me.

Coinciding with the lecture, I was interviewed by the Observer. Check it out:

I present “Paleo for Beginners” at many local libraries and am willing to expand to church groups, senior groups, rotary clubs, etc. The presentation includes a paleo dish.

If you’d like to have me, please email for rates and availability: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

I am willing to travel.