cats

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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

 

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

Dream Board Manifest! One Year Later!

Published June 9, 2019 by Maryanne

Dream Board June 2018My Dream Board, June 9, 2018

One year ago today, I created this Dream Board. And it’s astonishing how things manifested.

First, look close, you will see that animals are a priority in my life. Since this dream board, my husband Dennis and I were able to save a feral cat, Bennie, and take care of him for the rest of his months. He was already sick when we took him in with FIV. But we loved him with all our hearts and gave him the best care we could. Five months later, he had to be put down. I collapsed in my husband’s arms. We were both heart-broken. Our vet told us, “He came to you to live out the rest of his life.”

One month later, we took in Sammy. I adopted him from St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter in Madison, New Jersey. Sammy was considered a senior cat, at age 9, but he’s tiny and very kitten-like. He’s a little doll and fits in beautifully with the family. He’s best buddies with our kitty Nicholas, who is now 6 (and came into our lives on this day three years ago!)

At the beginning of 2019, I created a giving journal, keeping track of all the places I give donations to each week. Many of them involve giving to animals, especially cat rescues. Do you see the word “FREE“? I’m always winning things–and I do mean ALWAYS! One of the things I won since creating the dream board was a certificate for a tattoo — I got a cat silhouette on my inner arm.

See “Power of Positive Speaking“? (Upper middle?) THAT is my next biggest goal, to become a motivational speaker. I joined Toastmasters right after my “Best Girlfriend Getaway” (see lower right corner) in October (to “Summit of Greatness” in Columbus, Ohio). Three days of nothing but motivational speakers, including Jay Shetty, Lewis Howes, Amy Purdy, Lindsey Stirling,  and so much more.

And greatness was indeed achieved! Just a few months after joining Toastmasters, I excelled winning “Best Speaker” for a speech on David Bowie. Then I auditioned to do a workshop, “Be Your Own Hero” which was based on my upcoming book, “Be Extra-Ordinary: 10 Ways To Become Your Own Hero.”

Unexpectedly, I’ve also made a few friends at Toastmasters, that I go to lunch with; and some who have come see me speak!

Which brings me to ….

Dreams, Friends, and Love are right at the top … I’m always counting my blessings for the amazing friends that come into my life; especially those that I grow closer to each year. That goes for my husband too. My BEST friend ever — the person I want to spend time with more than anyone else. I’m so blessed to have people in my life I can share my dreams with. People I can cheer on too and watch them grow. My tribe. My high-five tribe!

Which brings me to …

Do you see Bright Ideas? Oh, I have many! Many which didn’t work out — yet. But it’s so fun throwing them out there to friends who believe in you. Going for lunch meetings with minds of greatness. These are my PEERS! I can’t believe it. Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Am I dreaming?”

Do you see the rainbow? Just a few days ago, I saw the first FULL rainbow I ever saw in my life. People hate NJ because of all the rain. But I LOVE it! As a writer, I love spending time inside, writing during a storm. One night after a storm, around dusk, the time I love best. My husband and I were taking a walk — and there it was, a full rainbow! It took my breath away.

The other stuff you see in the dream board is more vague and personal. Some day I may speak about it, but most likely won’t. As honest and open as I am, there’s a side to me that’s insanely mysterious that people will never find out about.

That said, I’m thrilled that I’ve grown so much in my spiritual journey — and have a long way to go; which is why I am pro-aging and you’ll NEVER hear me longing for youth. I’m having such a beautiful love affair with my aging self!

LIFE IS AMAZING. I AM BLESSED! ❤

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

Welcome to the Family, Sammy!

Published May 14, 2019 by Maryanne

DSCF3551.JPGOur little Sammy

One month ago today, I brought 9-year-old Sammy into our family.

I went to St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter (https://www.sthuberts.org/animals-available-for-adoption) with a different intention. They were hosting a spring shopping event, but nothing struck me. Since St. Hubert’s is a half hour from where I live, I wasn’t ready to drive home yet so I asked to see the cats that were up for adoption.

At home was another cat named Nicholas. He was a stray that my husband and I took in about a month after my second cat Derick had to be put down, at the ripe old age of 19.

Nicholas is a dream. He’s smart, cuddly, and loves to play. So I needed a cat that also liked to play and wouldn’t be taken advantage of by Nicholas. Nicholas wasn’t good with our beautiful feral Bennie who recently had to be put down because of a brain tumor. We ended up having to separate them, with Bennie upstairs, Nicholas downstairs, and a gate between them at the top of the stairs. Bennie was too passive, and Nicholas too dominant and possessive. It was heartbreaking. My husband and I wanted a house of peace and harmony. When I met him, I had Billy Cat and Derick. They were 7 and 9 at the time and both lived to 19. They were like brothers. They’d have occasional fights, but they were always together.

So, at St. Hubert’s, I straight out said, “I need a cat that won’t take shit from another cat.”

I was there for hours before I saw Sammy (then named Simba). He had confidence and swagger. Small at 11 pounds, compared to Nicholas at 14. He was not skittish. He was comfortable with being held and kissed.

Sammy was in the shelter — on and off — since he was a kitten. Two people brought him back because he had accidents outside the litter box. Looking back, so did Billy and Derick, so I knew what I was getting into.

St. Hubert’s offered a trial period of a week or two. After week two, I was so proud to officially adopt Sammy!

It was great because he got along with Nicholas from the start! I didn’t have to separate them. One month later, they are buddies and do everything together. Nicholas never used his cat bed, until Sammy started using it. Now the two sleep in their cat beds side by side. They eat together, sleep together, play together. And they both love to cuddle with Mommy and Daddy.

As for the litter box issue. Once or twice Sammy did have an accident. Once we moved the litter box away from the wall and gave it more of a center spot, he was fine. Cats are particular. You have to experiment with them.

All animals have their unique personalities. You have to work with them–what they like, what they don’t like, how you can pet them, how they like to be held. They are more than animals, they are little souls! When you figure them out, you have a friend for life. Sammy is a perfect little angel and we love him so much! ❤

Welcome to your FUREVER home Sammy!

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

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and 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

Bennie: A Cat Worthy of a Radiant Diamond

Published May 13, 2019 by Maryanne

SAM_3266 (1)Rest in Peace Bennie Cat

It’s been almost three months since my husband and I had to put down our beloved Bennie. And it still hurts us.

Several weeks ago, the burden was lifted a bit. I adopted a 9-year-old “senior” cat from St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter, Madison, New Jersey. A little doll of a cat. A small 11-pounder that came with the name Simba (which we changed to Sammy). Sammy is a perfect angel; very kitten-like, which is why I put the word “senior” in quotes. He gets along beautifully with our Nicholas, who is 6. They play together, eat together, sleep together. It’s an absolute joy to have a household with two healthy cats living in harmony. The first time since 2014 when my Billy Cat and Derick, who both lived to 19, were still alive.

Bennie came into our lives last summer. He was a feral turned friendly. Together, my husband and I made the decision to bring him in. At the time he seemed healthy. We got a check from our vet. He had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder, but the vet reassured us Bennie could live a long life. She said he was 3.

We were ecstatic to take in this cat who was not only gorgeous, but the best cat I ever had in my life. He just loved to be pet and snuggle. He preferred strokes along his back over food. He’s stop eating to look up to us as if to say, “Pet me.”

The thing is, it wasn’t harmonious with Nicholas around. Because Bennie was sick, he didn’t want to play with Nicholas. He actually hid from him. We had to separate them, giving Bennie one of the larger bedrooms upstairs as a comfort zone, and gated our upstairs so Nicholas couldn’t fight with him.

It was rough. But what was even rougher was watching Bennie’s health quickly go down hill. We took him to three different vets. He ate but kept losing weight. Then he lost his eyesight and started having tremors. The result was Bennie had a brain tumor and we put him down.

I was incredibly hard because he was young and there was no emotional preparation for this. After we was put down, I collapsed into my husband’s arms. And then I got really sick. I’ll spare my readers the gory details, but I learned the hard way, I needed to manage stress better. With the help of my nutritionist, I am back on track.

Nevertheless, my husband and I still think about how much we loved Bennie. Even with Nicholas and Sammy around to love and entertain us, we miss Bennie terribly. We fell asleep in each others arms last night thinking of Bennie.

This morning I woke up earlier than usual — in fact, I woke up because Nicholas was on my side of the bed purring loudly as he snuggled against me. It must have been fate because I used my extra time to do some enjoyable internet surfing, instead of the usual promoting my work on Facebook and Linked In.

I was THRILLED to come across this site, with examples of diamonds made from cat ashes: https://www.heart-in-diamond.com/pet-ashes-to-diamond/cat.html

I never knew that cat ashes could be made into diamonds! AND according to the color of the cat! Bennie was the only cat my husband and I had that was orange/yellow. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened that way.

Heart in Diamond has the perfect orange/yellow Radiant cremation diamond, which will represent Bennie perfectly, as he always was our sunshine cat. (Coincidentally, the room we had him in was carpeted orange/yellow — the room that had the best sunlight!)

Heart in Diamond offers an authenticity check and an affordable payment plan, without interest. You can order more than one diamond, also. Why not? There are so many cuts to choose from, for both men and women.

No disrespect to the crematory who put together Bennie’s ashes in a most beautiful box, but getting a cremation diamond necklace made from Bennie’s ashes will always keep him close to my heart. Bennie deserves it! In his short time here on earth, he taught me — and my husband — an incredible lesson. The lesson was no matter what life throws your way, keep fighting. Bennie was our little fighter. And in both life and death, he is an inspiration.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and ashes to diamonds. For our Bennie Cat, a true diamond in every sense of the word!

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

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and 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

The Most Beautiful Cat in the World

Published March 4, 2019 by Maryanne

DSCF2770Our Bennie cat, a feral we took in last summer. We had to put him down two weeks ago. He had a brain tumor. 

Our pets love us through life and communicate to us through death. About a week after we put Bennie down, I started reading “Strays” by Britt Collins. It’s a book about how a homeless man named Michael found a lost cat, named her Tabor and took care of her.
Just yesterday I was singing the old Charlie Rich song, “The Most Beautiful Girl” and changed the words to “The Most Beautiful Cat” (about Bennie.)
So, last night I was reading “Strays” and, without giving a spoiler, I’ll just say, Michael heard “The Most Beautiful Girl” (and of course was relating it to his cat, Tabor.
Coincidence? No, they love us through life and death. It was Bennie’s way of contacting me. He’ll never leave my heart. ❤
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513
Contact Maryanne to have “Love Cats” in your book club! (MaryAnneChristiano@Gmail.com) 

Popp, Bennie, and Burns: Sunday Will Never Be the Same

Published March 1, 2019 by Maryanne

sdc13108Sunday at the beach (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Do you love Sundays?

I used to love Sundays.

Sundays were always special for me and my husband. When we first started dating, we’d spend many Sundays down the shore. On our drive down, we listened to our favorite radio show, The Glen Jones Radio Program, Featuring X-Ray Burns. (http://www.wfmu.org/Playlists/GJ/archives.html)

Jones has eclectic tastes in music. You could hear both Frank Sinatra and The Psychedelic Furs in the same set. Then there was the talk segment where Jones and Burns would muse about New Jersey subculture like our local drinking joints and pork roll (or Taylor Ham)? In fact, one time at one of their lives shows, Jones chased me trying to feed me a pork roll (or Taylor Ham) sandwich. (And I’m a vegetarian). That’s the kind of fun this freeform radio show offered. No wonder it was part of our Sunday routine.

Once we got down the shore, on a Sunday, we’d often pay a surprise visit to our dear friends Daniel and Patty Popp. Very special friends; they were our witnesses when we eloped. At the Popp’s home, they couldn’t do enough for you. With Daniel being both a cook and a musician, there was always plenty of food and music in their home—a great place to be on a Sunday.

In more recent years, my husband and I started spending more of our Sundays at home, relaxing in the backyard. Last summer, a beautiful feral cat started showing up in our backyard. We named him Bennie. He was so friendly, we fell in love with him. According to the vet, Bennie had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder, which meant if he got sick, it would be tougher for him to get over it. But we took him in anyway and gave him a happy home. He was only 3-years-old. He was a ginger cat, sunny and bright; our Sunday cat.

They say death comes in threes. Beginning on February 1, our Sunday memories were taken from us, one by one.

Daniel Popp was in his kitchen and just finished cooking food for the homeless, something he did each month. His wife Patty found him lying on the kitchen floor unconscious. He was taken to the hospital and passed. Daniel was a genuine, good-hearted person, who was so talented and so much fun. We were shocked. Absolutely shocked. Not a dry eye at his funeral. And miss him terribly. RIP Daniel Popp.

Sunday will never be the same.

The day after Daniel’s funeral, our kitty Bennie’s health declined rapidly. We had been treating him for an eye infection—or so we thought. He was eating, but not processing the food. He was losing weight quickly and also started having tremors. An emergency trip to the animal hospital and two vet visits later, we learned he had a brain tumor and didn’t stand a chance. Even though Bennie was a little fighter, we still had to put him down—the day after Valentine’s Day, ironically because Bennie was a saint, the best cat I ever had. After we put him down, my legs buckled, and I collapsed into my husband’s arms. We loved him so much. RIP Bennie.

Sunday will never be the same.

The following Sunday, my husband and I were done. Spent. No ambition or desire to do a damn thing. But I had to get groceries. I hopped in the car and as I always do on Sunday, turned on the radio. Glen Jones was playing very sad music. During the first break, X-Ray Burns wasn’t with him to banter. Jones made an announcement that X-Ray Burns was struggling with lung cancer.

Tears started pouring down my eyes.

Jones played some more sad songs, then he came back on to say that X-Ray’s wife called him. X-Ray Burns had passed—and it wasn’t a joke.

My husband and I were already zombies to begin with, and now shared more tears together. Rest in Peace X-Ray Burns.

Sunday will never be the same.

Three lives taken from us, way too soon. Daniel Popp and X-Ray Burns were in their 50s. And Bennie was only 3.

But I’ve learned something from all of them. Daniel taught me to reach out to others. Bennie taught me to keep fighting no matter what life’s circumstances. And X-Ray taught me to stay fun and crazy because life is way too short. And with a blink of an eye, it will never be the same.

That’s it.

SAM_3017.JPGDaniel Popp, Rest in Peace (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

52905284_2210313879190578_8382678320906502144_nBennie Cat, Rest in Peace

Glen JonesX-Ray Burns, Rest in Peace

(Left to right, X-Ray Burns, Glen Jones, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Sunday will never be the same.