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Turning My Back on Age 55

Published August 18, 2019 by Maryanne

IMG_8479Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Today is my last day of age 55.

It’s been an incredible year. My fourth book was published and I wrote a fifth (which will be published later this year). I’ve helped two other people write their books, while I tried to help even more who have given up on the process. Yet I never give up.

It’s been another year of growth, spiritually and creatively. I joined Toastmasters to become a better speaker. I not only won a spot to present a workshop, “Be Your Own Hero,” but I’ve won “Best Speaker,” “Best Evaluator,” and “Best Table Topics.” I’ve continued to present speaking engagements in libraries.

I also started an anti-bullying You Tube channel. And blogging, lots of it for major companies and small businesses.

I’ve loved hard; and I’ve lost hard. Last summer my husband and I took in a beautiful feral cat, Bennie, who chose us to live with during the final months of his short three years. We gave him a happy last few months, then he was put down due to brain cancer. We’ve also lost some friends who died way too young. As well as some high profiles like Shakti Gawain, who has been inspiring me since I found her book in the late 1980s, “Creative Visualization.”

As always, it’s been a year of much fun. Friends, concerts, trips, and lots of laughter. And yet, another cat we adopted back in April–Sammy, with the full name, Samuel Keane Clemens.

I end the year in good health, for which I never take for granted. Young people still tell me, “You look so young” when I share my real age, for which I am always proud of. Many do not make it to 55, so I am so grateful for each day on this planet, and thank the energy we call God or the Universe.

It’s a great life and I’ve manifested it; being in harmony with the universe. Being myself. Being YOUnique. God bless everyone who is a part of my own little world.

Bring on year number 56! I am ready!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Did You See the Movie?! Yes, But Real Life is Better!

Published July 30, 2019 by Maryanne

SAM_2908Me, in front of Queen tour bus a few years ago

I loved the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody.” But ever since it came out, I hesitate to wear my Queen t-shirt. Before the movie, if I wore a Queen t-shirt, true fans would speak to me about the band I loved so much since I was 12. And I’d have a conversation I’d truly enjoy; especially if fellow Queen fan was a little older than me and saw an earlier version of Queen. Or better yet, when they did the double bill with Mott the Hoople! I’m all ears to hear about that!

These days, when I wear a Queen shirt, it’s no longer about the rock band Queen, but the Hollywood movie about Queen, played by actors.

A typical conversation will go like this:

“You like Queen?”

“Yes, I saw them perform many times! Even with Freddie Mercury!”

“Did you see the movie?”

What’s wrong with that conversation? I share with you that I saw Queen perform with Freddie Mercury and you ask me if I saw the movie? I’m sorry for being a music snob, but this is just not right. A similar conversation happened regarding Elton John a few weeks ago. The song “Rocket Man” came on the radio in a store and a woman in passing said, “I love it!”

I said, “I saw him perform in concert twice. Once in Central Park, 1980; and in the ’90s at Madison Square Garden.”

I should have seen it coming…

“DID YOU SEE THE MOVIE?!”

I quickly walked away to avoid further conversation. YES, YES, YES, I SAW THE MOVIE! I thought to myself. It was a great movie! But why, all of a sudden, is a movie about an artist, played by an actor, more interesting than an live concert with that very artist performing?!  

Years ago I was working at a magazine. The vice president was an older gentleman, who happened to see Elvis Presley perform, as a warm-up act to Hank Snow! My mind was blown. I wanted details, details, details! And more details! Can you imagine seeing Elvis Presley as a warm up act?

Now imagine if I was to ask, “Did you see ‘Elvis and Me’?” What a conversation killer, right? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Don’t get me wrong, over the years I’ve seen many good movies about the lives of musicians, singers, and even criminals. But can I inspire you? Don’t stop at the movie. Instead, explore.

After I saw the movie “Man on the Moon,” I purchased anything I could get my grubby hands on about Andy Kaufman. I didn’t go around talking about the movie for months. I wanted MORE. Much more than a movie could offer. I read books written by people who knew him. I watched all the old “Taxi” shows that he was featured in. I watched Andy Kaufman in action on various television shows.

All this stuff took time to accumulate because back then it wasn’t as easy as it is today with all the internet access. Back then the internet was just taking off. Which brings me to being a young Queen fan and searching for months in the mid-1970s just to find their album Queen II in a record store. There was no Amazon back then.

But that was part of the fun! Digging for stuff about the real thing was cool. And uncovering real truths is cool. Like finding out that the REAL Mr. Arnstein wasn’t quite the charmer he was in “Funny Girl.” Like finding out the real Bonnie Parker wasn’t nearly as hot as Faye Dunaway. Like finding out the real Andy Kaufman was even more crazy than he was portrayed as in “Man on the Moon.” Like finding out the Doors concerts were much more mild than portrayed in Oliver Stone’s “The Doors” movie. In fact, I was told by a person who went to a Doors concert that they were boring.

See, this is why you can’t rely on a movie alone. Movies are often Hollywood-ized. They take snippets of a life and put them into a 2.5 hour film. It’s entertaining, but it’s not the complete picture.

When I read on a Queen Facebook page that a fan saw “Bohemian Rhapsody” over 50 times since it came out last November, I cringed. Why not spend that time exploring the real work of Queen? They have a grand library of studio albums from 1973 to the time of Freddie Mercury’s death. Plus several live albums, videos, and books. My favorite is “Mercury and Me” by Jim Hutton. I loved the book so much that I reached out to Jim Hutton, via his publishing company. This was back in the 1990s, before everyone had email. I forgot I wrote the letter and about three weeks later I received a handwritten letter from Jim Hutton himself! The letter was actually a homemade card, featuring his new kitten in a Christmas tree, since he didn’t get to keep any of Freddie’s cats after Freddie passed away.

The takeaway here is, movies are all fine and good. Yes, we all love movies. Even me.

But, don’t stop there. You can start by getting out of the theaters and going to a live show. It’s fun and exciting. Explore more of a band; not just the greatest hits. Take movies with a grain of salt. See it once or twice. If you have to see it again, wait at least a year. In the meantime you can learn more from reading books, watching interviews on You Tube, and purchasing full albums or CDs, not just the songs you like. You might just surprise yourself and say, “Real life is better!”

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (in which she mentions Freddie Mercury in both, and how he inspired her as a child, teenager, and still today!):

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Love Cats Now Out of Print — Seeking Traditional Publisher for New Edition!

Published July 30, 2019 by Maryanne

Love Cats front and back cover

Love Cats by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

It was the ’80s and it was hot! The romance of Beck Stewart and Janey Peyton took place in the new age dance clubs. They bonded over their love for books and music; and of course their intense sexual chemistry.

But major red flags were revealed when Beck brought Janey home for the very first time. He not only discovered that she was a snoop, but that she wasn’t fond of his beloved cat Morticia.

Then the drama truly reared it’s ugly head when Janey’s jealousy got the best of her. You see, Beck was a hard worker. Janey was a trust fund baby who didn’t have to work. Janey began spending her lonely days going on sexual escapades to “get back” at Beck for “neglecting” her.

Will this couple make it? And what happens when a kitten shows up at Janey’s doorstep? Can she learn to love cats?

Love Cats was my very first work of fiction. Making a living as a journalist most of my adult life, I only knew how to speak of the truth. When creating these characters, I did so much research to “re-live” the 1980s through them. I wanted the book to be as authentic as possible. I wasn’t going to use phrases people use today in my book.

I also had a good friend, Todd Gordon, who is a screenwriter, go over Beck’s words. Is this how a guy talks? I asked him.

In Beck, I wanted to great a guy who was cool, but also a bit of a pushover. In many romantic novels, you see the woman as a victim. I wanted to illustrate that men can be victims too in the world of romance. Throughout Love Cats Beck remains hopeful for the relationship, until Janey pushes his button to the max the time she comes home when the sun comes up, wearing a completely different outfit she wore the night before.

With Janey, I wanted to create the most selfish character possible. As a late bloomer in social media, I started using Facebook in 2013, against my better judgement. One of my clients, who I helped ghostwrite a book, sold me on it. She said that she was able to sell many books thanks to her presence on Facebook. When my first book, On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist, was self-published, my publishing company said that I sold more books the first day than the average author sells in a year! Anyway, being on Facebook, I witnessed firsthand how selfish people could be. You can’t blame social media. People were always like this, but social media magnifies it tenfold.

For example, in my article for Gasm, “Selfish Sex” I explain how I believe most of the population are takers: http://gasm.org/article/and-now-back-to-me/

When I see selfishness taken to the maximum level in real life, I can only imagine how bad these people are in bed. With that, I created sex scenes where the lead character Janey Peyton takes. She’ll get her rocks off and not reciprocate.

But as a humanitarian who believes people are truly good, I give Janey’s character much room for growth. And how else can that happen but through making a major connection with a little animal. In this case, a kitten who shows up at her doorstep.

Throughout the book, I keep the 1980s element, in both music and style. For example, nose rings were far from popular back then, but every now and then, you’d see some cool person wearing them. I also featured Betsy Johnson fashions, and some throwbacks who still wore featured hair in the 1980s. There’s a major fashion upgrade when Janey Peyton gives Heather makeover tips and she emerges with her blonde hair slicked back like the ladies in Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video.

While it was the 1980s and ’80s music was a stand-out, I didn’t ignore the fact that there were 1960s bands doing reunions, like The Monkees.

And what would a book about cats be without some reference to the play, Cats? Lyrics by both Robert Smith (The Cure) and Iggy Pop were purchased (and used by permission) from Hal Leonard Music publishing.

My all time favorite review from a reader spoke volumes about the novel: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-cats-maryanne-christiano-mistretta/1122001262

Since Love Cats was published May 2015, I’ve donated portions of proceeds to various animal groups. Now that it’s out of print, it seems to be more popular than ever as it’s climbing the Amazon ranks! Just last week, I received a phone call from a stranger asking, “How can I purchase Love Cats.” Knowing that it was now out of print, I told him he could try Amazon. I only have two copies left for myself. I noticed that Amazon was selling two books for $44.17. With some poking around, I discovered they were bought by another book selling company and you can now purchase them for over $80!

I’m determined to make another great go of it in a second edition, so readers do not have to pay extraordinary prices to feel the love that is Love Cats!

Love Cats was my second self-published book. Since then I’ve published three other books, traditionally. This is why I am turning down self-publishers who have been soliciting me ever since Love Cats first became out of print (and will continue to do so).

There is now a  Love Cats Too in the works. It’s the conclusion with characters from Love Cats and my other work of fiction, The Gypsy Smiled (not yet out of print and available on Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following traditionally published books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

Love

Published July 9, 2019 by Maryanne

Facetune (4)

Photo of Dennis and Maryanne by Jayne DiGregorio (https://www.jaynedigregorio.com/)

This year is my eighth year married to my husband, and 14 years together in total.

We are still so in love; still in the honeymoon stage. This is not something I just realized, nor is it something I take for granted. It is real, and we are blessed.

As an independent woman who wasn’t in a hurry to get married, I knew from our first date my husband was “the one.” What made him different than others were three things: 1. He was supportive of my career. 2. He’s not a jealous type. 3. His love for animals and music. These were the top three things on my list for love and I wouldn’t settle for anything less.

But then, there is so much more, as we continue to live, learn, and love. I can honestly call my husband my best friend. Around him I feel safe because he loves me unconditionally. Around him I feel growth because there’s never dull conversation I’m seeking to avoid. Around him I feel entertained because together we are fun, funny, and never boring! Around him I feel happy because from day one, every single night we’ve spent together, we wake up with a smile on our faces. Around him I feel deep because our shared thoughts are always that way.

We both have incredible energy and are always up for a fun time.

We both love our kitties with all our hearts and miss them when we are far from home.

We connect on the four major levels: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

And we miss each other when we are apart, even if it’s just for a few hours.

We’re amazing people and we deserve each other. Together we attract the greatest friends too. We collect other rock ‘n’ roll couples to share the good times. Even our single friends are unique people we adore! We’re in our own little world with the select few, and we love it!

This is why I say to all people — men and women alike — do not settle. Wait for the one who is worth waiting for. I met my husband later in life and never gave up on the fact that I’d meet my special someone; my forever person.

When I was young, in my 20s, I had this theory, that whoever was in unhappy relationships (settling)… if they would just leave, that would open up the door for the right person to show up.  And that, I did!

I was told I was “fickle” and “too picky.” And the most insensitive (and WRONG) was when someone once said, “You think you are too good for anyone, that’s why you are single.” No, I was just waiting for it to be RIGHT before I got married.

Love is not something that happens on command, in your ego’s time. It happens in God’s time; or the time of the universe or a higher spirit. When you wait, you reap the all the beautiful rewards a relationship has to offer. As time goes on, your love continues to grow. It doesn’t disappear or fade, as some may suggest if you are with the right person.

There we are, the middle-aged couple happily holding hands. Someday we will be the old couple happily holding hands. And that’s all I ever wanted, someone to grow old with.

My biggest dream came true! ❤ Thank you, Dennis, my forever love!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (in which she mentions Freddie Mercury in both, and how he inspired her as a child, teenager, and still today!):

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Freddie Mercury, Bullied as a Young Boy

Published July 3, 2019 by Maryanne

Freddie Mercury as a BoyFarrokh Bulsara (photo found via Google Search)

The other night, my husband and I once again went to see our favorite Queen tribute band, Almost Queen (http://www.almostqueen.com/). Note that they have been around long before the successful Bohemian Rhapsody film. That said, if you’re a true Queen fan who loves the deep tracks, as well as the hits, be sure to check them out, as you will definitely hear some rare gems.

Anyway, before the show, I thought about how I’ve heard the stories of Freddie Mercury being bullied as a young boy because of his overbite. He was called a donkey by school bullies.

But did that stop him from becoming Freddie Mercury? Absolutely not.

If you’re having a hard time and being bullied, perhaps you have that special something that you can bring to the table by being YOUnique!

Check out my new video, where I speak about Almost Queen, Freddie Mercury, and how being bullied didn’t stop him from becoming a household name! (And if you like it, give me a thumbs up).

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (in which she mentions Freddie Mercury in both, and how he inspired her as a child, teenager, and still today!):

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Youngsters Do Vinyl

Published June 30, 2019 by Maryanne

SinglesMy tattoo of the 45 rpm spindle

If I had a nickle for every middle-aged or old person who stopped me in the street and commented on my tattoo, “I bet young people don’t know what that is,” I’d have a hellavu lot of nickles. It’s almost as bad as people asking me, “How’s Gilligan?” whenever I say my name is Maryanne.

I’ve never been a fan of redundant comments, especially when they are incorrect.

Allow me to school MY generation (Generation X), and those who are slightly older (Baby Boomers)…

YOUNG PEOPLE LISTEN TO VINYL.

Yes, they do! This is not something I am making up. It’s a fact.

My husband and I are vinyl listeners and buy on a regular basis. We score records online, in record stores, and in antique/vintage shops. We always see young people buying vinyl. On Record Store Day there are more young people around to buy vinyl than older people. Young bands put out vinyl records. And they’ve been doing so for some time now.

Here’s a link to a recent article about the vinyl revival: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/millennials-are-going-nuts-for-vinyl-revival/

But I didn’t need an article to tell me that. In my line of work (writing/journalism/speaking) or even shopping for groceries, I chat with many young people who share their love for vinyl with me. Most of them get their vinyl/music passion from their cool parents. We’re living in a time where the generation gap is closer than ever. Kids are no longer at war with their parents. They bond. They do things together (especially going to concerts). So of course they share the same taste in music. That’s not surprising at all. Thanks to tribute bands, rock movies, radio stations that didn’t cave in to modern music yet, Sirius, You Tube, and many music stream stations, kids are exposed to the good stuff. Plus, there are so many bands around that emulate music from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Like all good things, you may have to dig for it, but it’s there.

Maybe 15 years ago young people disrespected parents, and older people in general. When I was in my late 30s and early 40s, I truly felt a gap from those 15, 10, and even seven years younger than me. It was uncomfortable and not fun. But young people today are the best younger generation ever. As a 50-something adult, I have to say I’ve never enjoyed talking to 20-somethings as much as I do now!

From those 30 and younger I’ve heard amazing things like:

“I’m sick of texting and considering giving up my phone.”

“Don’t underestimate me because I’m young. My parents have a record player in the basement.”

And in response to me sharing my story about oldsters commenting on my spindle tattoos, saying that young people don’t know what it is: “Of course I know what it is. How old do they thing my parents are?”

Young people checking out vinyl is also a matter of curiosity and exploration. During evolution, we have set backs, but life becomes full circle again. Young people have ears just like we do. They want to explore the sound on a record. Young people see a movie about Queen and they want more than what is just spoon-fed to them. Like it was when I was young, they want the records, they want the liner notes. It’s not just about Freddie Mercury and Queen’s greatest hits, they want to hear the deeper tracks.

For a very long time, we were experiencing a me-me-me generation. But that’s now a thing of the past too. In a month, I’ve had several young people ask me questions about my life, rather than just talk about themselves. This new generation is flipping the switch to something more positive and genuine. So why wouldn’t they listen to something more authentic like vinyl?

So, to all my middle-aged peers…

If you see someone cool in your age bracket with a 45-rpm spindle tattooed on them (and there are many — since I got mine in 1996, I’ve met at least three people with the same tattoo!) think twice before inserting foot in mouth…

  • I’m not dating myself. Young people know what a spindle is. And I predict within the next three years you’ll see young people getting spindle tattoos themselves.
  • Young people are COOL. Give them a chance and pay some attention to them!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

Overnight Success Is Not a Real Thing

Published June 26, 2019 by Maryanne

Monkey AroundIs it business or monkey business? 

During my years as a journalist, people contacted me to publicize themselves. (Or just for a great story in general). It was a dream come true writing about bands (both famous and up and coming). I shared the story many times about how I interviewed The Jonas Brothers before they were a household name.  Those years were an amazing run in my life.

Then I started getting into writing books. And public speaking.

All of a sudden, publicists were coming out of the woodwork wanting to make me a “star.” Five years later, none of them impressed me.

Finding a good manager/publicist is like figuring out who to give your virginity too. It may take a long time. It may not happen at all. But whatever the case, don’t just give money to anyone.

I didn’t settle for love and ended up with a very happy marriage. So, why should I settle for a publicist/manager? In the end, I want it all — including a dream publicist/manager!

My goal in finding one would be:

  1. Someone who doesn’t lead with money. When someone (like the last scam artist) suggested that I create a Go Fund Me page in order to use her $7K per month services, I ripped her. I told her, if I was interested, I’d pay CASH in PAYPAL. And that Go Fund Me pages are to support those in real need, like people with cancer or hurt animals … Not publicists. Her plea of desperation for money was a major red flag. She spoke about money before she spoke about what she could do for me. Our phone consult lasted a mere five minutes while she put me on hold several times to talk to her friends at the restaurant. How can you ask for money when you barely spoke to someone? She didn’t even purchase one of my books, so how could she promote me? SCAM ARTIST ALERT! Another one said he could get me to warm up for Tony Robbins if I paid him $50K. He said Tony Robbins always wants him to be his opening motivational speaker act, but he’s too busy with his own stuff. I researched, and asked around. Nothing told me there was any truth in this man working with Tony Robbins.
  2. Someone who believes in me. Several years ago I exhausted myself interviewing potential managers. During one interview, a retired guy said, “Are you any good?” I ended the interview quickly. Why? Because he didn’t do his homework before the interview. If he read my newsletters and saw that I was consistently working for myself since 2009, he’d KNOW I was good. To me, being at the top and not lasting isn’t a good thing. But being somewhere in the middle and having longevity IS! I interviewed a woman who was putting me down while wanting the job. It reminded me of the “Sex and the City” movie when Carrie Bradshaw is interviewing potential assistants and asks, “So, why do you want this job?” It’s mind-blowing that people would want to work for you, but don’t get you. It makes no sense and is sure to go nowhere fast.
  3. Someone with a great track record. Yes, I know a few people like this. They are so good they don’t have time to work with me — yet! I say YET in high hopes that someday these women/men may have a window of opportunity for me. This could be another pipe dream–kind of like how some women wait for their dream guy to divorce his beautiful wife. But when you have in mind something special, it will manifest. It always does. Just don’t force it.

The thing is, when it comes to publicity, just like anything else that is good, stable, and successful, I say, do not rush your muse. Cherish your precious creative talents like you would your body and soul. Do not give them up to just anybody.

What you have is a GIFT from God and the Universe. Slow and steady is the key. Overnight success is not a real thing.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261