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Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero

Published January 9, 2019 by Maryanne

kicam cover

I am ecstatic to reveal the cover, and the landing page of my upcoming book Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways To Become Your Own Hero, published by KiCam!

Release date is October 2019, and you can order yours today here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an international author and speaker. She is available for events. For availability and pricing, contact: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

She is also a professional blogger, book editor and ghost writer. Contact today for rates: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Best of 2018!

Published December 29, 2018 by Maryanne

DSCF29105-4-3-2-1 HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

Looking back a year ago, I was sad to see 2017 go, because it was a great one, mainly because no one close to me passed. However, 2018 was a year of visiting loved ones in the hospital; therefore not the best. But me being the eternal optimist, I’ve once again compiled a “Best Of” because so many super cool things happened. Mainly with my husband, Dennis, as we’re always seeking out music of old and new; great friends; and always something cool is going on in my career. Let’s take a peek back at the highlights, shall we?

January 2018

My popular library program, The Learn & Listen series, kicked off the year right as I had the opportunity to work with Charlie Fusari. We gave the presentation, “The Life and Music of Michael Jackson” at the Elmwood Park Library, Elmwood Park, NJ. I spoke about the career of Michael Jackson, followed by a stellar performance from Charlie, which even included moon walking!

February 2018

The Learn & Listen series continued on it’s full force when I gave the presentation, “The Life and Music of Freddie Mercury” featuring Rob Fusari at Kinnelon Public Library, Kinnelon, New Jersey. This was a dream come true, to not only share my feelings about my favorite band’s front person Freddie Mercury, but to work with three-time Grammy Award winning producer, Rob Fusari. A great time was had by all!

June 2018

June was unbelievable! I was thrilled to be a guest on the Health & Wellness Show! You can view the show here on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS3w8p-4nIk&feature=youtu.be

And Sunday, June 9, 2018, I was incredibly honored to speak on anti-bullying at Montville High School, Montville, New Jersey. I was invited by teacher Anthony Sia who started the Coalition for the Human Condition (https://www.facebook.com/Coalition-For-The-Human-Condition-209170233169424/) with Alus (https://www.alusofficial.com/).

I was up first, then followed by a powerful performance from Alus, and later, the incredible Montville School of Rock (https://www.facebook.com/msorrocks/).

Supported by my husband Dennis and some friends, I was happy to speak for the first time in front of a high school. Prior to that engagement, I’ve done mostly libraries and senior citizen groups. I didn’t have much time to get into how I was bullied as a child and teen (though I am writing a book about it!) but I did get to speak about teen spirit. And that the one most important thing we need in this world today is love.

August 2018

My birthday month! Yes, birthday MONTH! Celebrations for my 55th happened all month long, being spoiled by good friends, family, and my amazing husband!

September 2018

September I was ecstatic that my fourth book was published by Higher Ground! It’s also available on Amazon and is climbing the charts! My book “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is my memoir about being bullied as a child. You can get it here, from Higher Ground: https://highergroundbooksandmedia.com/product/i-dont-want-to-be-like-you

And, once again, I was invited to read my poetry at the West End Arts Festival, in Long Branch, New Jersey.

September was also the month, that my husband and I took in another cat. A beautiful feral we named Bennie. He’s just the sweetest thing! He loves, loves, loves to cuddle! The vet told us he has feline auto-immune disorder, but we promise to give him the greatest life for as long as he lives!

BennieBennie

October 2018

There was so much movement in October! It all began with a road trip to Columbus, Ohio, with my friend Jayne for “Summit of Greatness.” Exploring the town, and spending full days being inspired by great motivational speakers was a life-changing experience. In fact, I ended up joining Toastmasters as soon as I got back home, so I could also hone in on my speaking skills and become greatness myself!

I also launched my anti-bullying channel Be YOUnique on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA?view_as=subscriber

December 2018

The year ended in a bang, career-wise, as I got invited as a guest, once again, to the Health & Wellness Show. Here’s another great time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U3OIu7as40

And in addition to all of this, so many beautiful times spent alone with each other and with our great friends. These things, my husband and I choose to keep private.

ALSO, a major book publishing company gave me an advance to write my fifth book! It will be published early 2019–STAY TUNED! AND, I continue to help people edit their books, blogs, and websites; as well as ghost writing, memoir writing, and book editing. Clients include: Brute Force!

AND WISHING EVERYONE A VERY HAPPY 2019! 

The Best Acts We Saw in 2018 

In no particular order: Jackknife Stillettos; Tommy James; Sheila E.; No Future; “Ladies of The 1980s” with Rob Fusari, and Taylor Dayne; and Cher in Oxen Hill, Maryland. (As of writing this we also have tickets for Felix Cavaliere and Gene Cornish’s Rascals, with Carmine Appice on drums!)

Also, John Cusack  Live -“Q&A: Say Anything” was amazing!

Ric Ocasek, in person at his art show, Short Hills Mall, New Jersey.

Favorite Movies of 2018

“Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Mr. Rogers: Won’t You Be My Neighbor”

Rest in Peace

In 2018 we’ve lost so many in the media, but the one that most hit home was author and spiritual guru, Shatki Gawain. The date of her death was November 11, 2018 –11/11/11 (2+0+1+8=11).  Eleven is the most intuitive of all numbers, a master number associated with faith and psychics. I always kept her books at my bedside, my favorite of all “Creative Visualization” which I first read in the 1980s. I had the book so many times, and gave away so many copies. Yet another copy always finds its way back to me. 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an international author and speaker. She is available for events. For availability and pricing, contact: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

She is also a professional blogger, book editor and ghost writer. Contact today for rates: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

Debut of Be YOUnique, The Anti-Bullying Channel

Published October 28, 2018 by Maryanne

DSCF3078

Left, Gina Bellando of Frames & Framers; right, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

With a little help from my friends, Be YOUnique, The Anti-Bullying Channel on YouTube recently made it’s debut.

I was fortunate to have friends Gina Bellando of Frames & Framers, Glen Jones of WFMU’s “Glen Jones Radio Show featuring X-Ray Burns,” and Joan Bunda of R.O.A.R. (Respect Our Animals’ Rights) all speak out AGAINST bullying! YAY!

Please tune in to my station, subscribe, and “like” the videos to get the message out, that Bullying is NOT COOL!

I’ll have updated videos once or twice a week with many special guests.

Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA?view_as=subscriber 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” traditionally by Higher Ground and available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is available for speaking engagements throughout the USA and overseas. Email for pricing and dates: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

‘I Don’t Want to Be Like You’ Published

Published October 2, 2018 by Maryanne

I don't want to be like you cover

I’m ecstatic to say my fourth book has been traditionally published by Higher Ground and is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

It’s my true story growing up in the 1970s and having to deal with bullying–both physical and verbal–on a regular basis. This book is bold and honest. It’s also positive, written with no resentment and only growth.

Thanks to this book, I am now available for speaking engagements on anti-bullying in schools, conferences, libraries, or any groups. I will travel!

Contact me for pricing and availability at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

My Guest Slot on “Health & Wellness”

Published June 26, 2018 by Maryanne

DSCF2377

Above, left to right, Dennis Lords, Ryche Chlanda, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and Maryann Castello.

Last week I was honored to be a guest on Maryann Castello’s “Health & Wellness” show. Maryann was an awesome host. We spoke about my career, my three books (and upcoming book), music, health, and so much more! You might even hear your name mentioned!

The show was 1.5 hours long, but it went fast. Enjoy the You Tube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS3w8p-4nIk&feature=youtu.be

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist, author, and public speaker. Contact her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 — Happy New Year!

Published December 28, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF1213 - fun

Unlike prior years, I’m almost afraid to say “good-bye” to 2017. It was certainly a memorable year; and a true blessing that for the first time in a long time no one very close to me passed away. (And I beg the universe to keep it that way for at the very least the next three days. If we can have an equal 2018, I’ll be forever grateful!)

In addition to many book signings, radio shows, library lectures, a great big elevation in my career, my private time with my beautiful husband, cherished moments with great friends (you know who you are!) and more concerts and lunch/dinner dates than I could keep track of, there were five outstanding moments that 2017 offered. Here they are, in date order:

  • February 2017, I got the word that my third book “The Gypsy Smiled” was to be traditionally published! By September, it was available on Amazon! https://www.amazon.in/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9
  • September 2017, during my “Learn & Listen: The Life and Music of David Bowie” series, a special guest showed up to perform the encore song. Three-time Grammy winner, Rob Fusari wowed the audience with his version of “Young Americans.” And I am now in the process of filming a documentary about the “Learn & Listen” series, with Rich Timberlake and Jayne DiGregorio working hard behind the scenes.
  • October 2017, I was chosen by the NJ Poet’s Society to read my poem “All About Eve” for the All About Eve Art Festival. It was an incredible honor and a night I’ll never forget!
  • October 2017. From June through November I worked as editorial assistant, then associate editor for a magazine. In October I was honored to go on a business trip to Atlanta, Georgia for a few days. Always mixing business with pleasure, I took it upon myself to check at Peter Noone (for the 5th or 6th time) at the City Winery. Atlanta was a beautiful place to visit, especially in late October while their daylight still goes strong until around 8 p.m.
  • November 2017 was the icing on the cake! Renna Media hired me as editor and writer for their 21 publications. Now over a month into this gig and I can honestly say I am ecstatic! With plenty of time to work and play, I can still handle my Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) business on a part-time basis. After working for a magazine for five months, it feels like I got my life back again. I get to work at home in my pajamas, but also go out and about to meetings, to cover hyper local news, and was extremely honored to write the tribute about Pat DiNizio when he passed, which made the cover of his hometown newspaper.

While no one close to us passed, I was very sad to see the following go (in no particular order): Pat DiNizio, David Cassidy, Adam West, Glen Campbell, Gregg Allman, Tom Petty, Chuck Berry, author William Peter Blatty, Jerry Lewis, Mary Tyler Moore, Erin Moran, Jim Neighbors, and Charles Bradley. (Yes, there were many more, but these are the ones that were most dear to my heart; may they rest in peace.)

On a happier note, I’ve always believed that how you start the year is the prediction of how the year will be. With an old fashioned tradition of “dinner and a movie” my husband and I ended 2016 by going to see “Why Him?” Setting the tone of the new year with LAUGHTER was the way to go, followed by fine dining, and that extra special kiss at midnight made 2017 unbelievable. We create our own magic — and this is what it’s all about!

 

 

Author Versus Journalist

Published December 27, 2017 by Maryanne

sam_3971 - book signing2014, at my very first book signing

If you are reading this, chances are you do not know me as a writer. I’m not a famous writer and probably will never be. Nor will I ever win a Pulitzer Prize. I know my limitations. But I can say, for most of my adult life, writing has been my “day job” and I make a comfortable living as a writer and editor. Yeah, I beat the odds. I get to work in my pajamas.

As I wrote in my first book, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” it took a long time to earn my bragging rights. Coming from a single parent family, I never had the opportunity to go to college. But I know many people with degrees that don’t follow their dreams as I did! I always wrote here and there — and finally got published. It was sweet extra income while I worked in offices for publishing companies or music businesses. I never took a job I didn’t have extreme passion for.

When I first started writing full time as a journalist, it was because I made my way into the door. I was first hired as a typist at a NYC publication. While there, I told a few editors that I like to write. Then bam! Eventually I was writing about everything — food, theatre, advertorials, features, business, and even sports. I was officially a journalist — in New York City!

I’ll never forget how long it would take me when I first began writing articles. I’d be up until 4 a.m. Then, the more I learned, the faster I got. I take pride in the fact that I could write a 500+ word article, that needs minimal or no editing, in less that an hour.

Back then, seeing an article I wrote hanging up in a restaurant in Chelsea, NYC, was a thrill. Having actresses and rock stars write me letters thanking me for my articles was euphoric. I ate at restaurants for free; got guest-listed more times than I can remember; and received hundreds of gifts and freebies just for acknowledging someone in an article. And this went on for years — now decades.

Writing an article is instant satisfaction. You write. You get published. You get praise. Writing an article is fresh and current. But when you’ve been a journalist for as long as I have, it’s natural to go the next step. No, not author — editor.

As an editor, I started my own home based business and helped dozens of people pen their memoirs and fiction books prior to publication. During this period it dawned on me that I should write a book. I gathered my thoughts together and in three years wrote three books — two self-published and the final was picked up by a traditional publisher.

What came with published books was equally as satisfying as journalism. Anyone who has had a successful book signing knows what it’s like to feel like a star. Anyone who has received a substantial royalty check has that feeling of arrival. Anyone who has had someone they admired endorse their books knows what it’s like to have butterflies in their stomach. And it’s the most surreal thing in the world to wake up in the morning and say to yourself, “I’m an author” and you know your life will never be the same from that moment onward.

But the thing is, writing a book is harder than writing an article. That’s why I didn’t want to write a book to begin with. Work shouldn’t feel like work. There’s a saying, “If you do what you love, you never worked a day in your life.” Writing articles isn’t work for me. It’s a need; a desire. I must write articles, like I must have food and sex and music and love and all the good things life has to offer. Writing a book is like having a slice of pizza. I enjoy it, but it’s not necessary to my being. I’d much rather edit someone else’s book.

Currently I am in the process of writing two more books and will use any excuse not to work on them. Last they’ve been touched was over the summer. And the only time I feel a bit of guilt is when a fan of my books approaches me at a signing and asks when my next book is coming out. It breaks my heart to tell someone, “Probably 2019,” but that is the truth. If that! It could be 2020. Or never.

While I’m writing a book, and really getting into it, I can’t stop talking about it. When you’re in a groove, you’re in a groove. I’ve completed books quickly during afternoons of drinking a few glasses of organic wine. Then comes the hard part. Shopping it around to publishers. Or negotiating with self-publishing companies who prefer you use their packages rather than hire your own copy editors and book designers.

Honestly, the best part is the rejection letters. They do not accept your material, but are encouraging that they are sure you will find the publisher who is a perfect fit.

Then once you find that publisher, who is supposed to be a perfect fit, it’s anything but. Whether you self-publish or are published traditionally, beware of several months of headaches before, during and after the process. Be prepared to be persecuted by clueless betas, to re-do work that editors have fucked up, all the cover “do overs,” marketers who fall short, and those dreaded bad reviews.

Let me pause here for a second to say that a bad review for a journalist is a good thing. It means people are reading your work, which is good for advertising. It’s also humorous when you can share with your co-writers a letter to the editor bitching about you. My biggest laugh was when I wrote an article about tattoo parlors and an irritated reader pondered if I had a tattoo myself. (I have three). Or the times when I wrote about a band and you’d get a member who felt he didn’t get as much coverage as the others and go on an egomaniac rant via email — or even a phone call. (This has happened more than once).

As an author, it’s more personal. It’s your work, not the property of a magazine or a newspaper. You are no longer the reporter. It’s your baby. Like poetry. While a bad review is expected, doesn’t make it easy on you. You have to be able to take it.

I once gave a refund to a client who wanted me to help her write a book. She said, “I don’t want people to judge me.”

I told her, “Then you’re not ready to write a book. Because people will judge you.”

Not only will they judge you on the content of your work — but on the fact that you are an author. Other authors are competitive. Non authors will say things to downplay you. I’ve had an ignorant person ask me, “Do you actually make money off of those books?”

Uh, yes, I do. Especially at book signings or literary clubs. I make a killing.

I also make a killing by touching people’s lives with my books. One of the best compliments I ever received was from a woman who read “On the Guest List.” She liked that when I spoke about being part of the stage show for The Nuns that I had to work and diet to get my body in shape. She wrote me, “You didn’t make it sound like it was easy because it isn’t.”

Sometimes I’ll Google myself and see a glowing review for one of my books and it brings a smile to my face. I just want to hug the stranger who got me!

However, with all the pluses and satisfaction a book brings to my life, I’ll forever be a journalist in my heart. And here’s why:

  • I get to meet more people, especially children. (Nothing is cuter than a little kid jumping up and down screaming, “I’m going to be in the newspaper!” after you interview him/her.
  • The quickness of the truth. It takes about six months to write a book. You are focused on researching, reading it over and over to make sure you’re accurate. In writing an article, the truth is right there for you. You simply write the facts — who, what, where, why, and how.
  • The instant glory. You write, you get published, people are reading!
  • Getting out of the house. While it’s everyone’s dream to work at home in their pajamas — and writing a book will give you that luxury — life is short and it feels good to get out and meet people. As I wrote earlier, there’s free concerts and free meals; but there’s also tree lightings, winter walks, fashion shows … around every corner there is something to write about. And that’s a beautiful thing!
  • Sometimes people do your work for you. No, that doesn’t mean someone is ghost writing my stuff. It means if you get a kick ass interview with someone, the story practically writes itself.

But then again, a book is forever; and years down the road I’ll still be collecting royalty checks and doing book signings for a book that was written years ago. And someone on Amazon or Ebay will be selling my book for much more. Well, that’s book business.