coyote shivers

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Why Q&A Style Interviews are Not True Journalism

Published February 23, 2021 by Maryanne
Photo by Marcel Straub

One of the benefits of being a self-employed writer is you get to pick and choose who you want to write for.

As a professional writer, mainly trained in news journalism, I include the subject’s voice in the content of the story. For example, see my recent articles here: https://maryannechristiano.contently.com/

That’s the preferred way to write for news publications. Oftentimes magazines opt for the Q&A type of interview. I did it myself a few times via blogging, or by special request of an editor or publisher. In this feature blog I wrote a few years ago when I conducted an interview with Coyote Shivers, it was done via email due to time constraints, with him being on the west coast, and me being on the east: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/dont-believe-a-word-interview-with-coyote-shivers/

That somehow worked, because you can’t go wrong with Coyote Shivers. But often it doesn’t. And here’s why….

When I used to copy edit for The Aquarian Arts Weekly, I wasn’t a fan of reading the Q&A style articles. It cheapens the subject the journalist is writing about and comes across as cold and not as informative. It’s an easy way to get “holes” (missing information) that leaves the reader questioning. This is why I don’t like when subjects say “Email me the questions” unless you’re interviewing a professional who is using medical terms and formulas that only other medical professionals will understand — for example, a trade publication. To chop up an article to a Q&A format so readers can look at it on their phones is not true journalism. I won’t work for any publisher who promotes tainting the art of true journalism.

When “journalists” resort to Q&A “journalism” they think it is cute to insert “um” or “uh” into the article if that is what the subject said. It’s not cute. It’s no fair. Your job, as a journalist, is to bring forth the subject in the best light possible. It’s also your job, as a journalist to ask the subject “Is this ‘on the record’ if they get comfortable with you and share very personal information. Journalism is a responsibility to your subject and your readers. Do it right. Just say “no” to the Q&A format.

I recently wrote a few articles for a publisher. It wasn’t until AFTER I interviewed the subjects and submitted my work that he bitched that it wasn’t in Q&A format. Wow, thanks for telling me that I worked too hard after the fact and that I could have slacked off a bit and you’d be happier with my work. (Note my sarcasm). I told him to “call me.”

When I got him on the phone, I was told that his webmaster said that Q&A format is better for SEO search engines and that people can read articles on their PHONE better with Q&A format. That’s a new one on me. Now journalists have to write in that tacky Q&A format to cater to those who only read on their phones?!

Uh, no. Writing is my art. Tell Freddie Mercury to cut “Bohemian Rhapsody” down to cater to the dullards with weak ears and a short listening span. DUH.

After that conversation, I agree to cut ties with this particular publisher. Yes, I am self-employed, but that doesn’t mean I am desperate. Telling me to write in Q&A style to suit those who read on their phones would be like telling Joe Dispenza to write for the National Enquirer. It would be going backwards. Way backwards.

I worked so hard to make a career in writing. I write because it’s in my heart and soul. I write because it’s in my blood. If I’m going to write articles in Q&A style for a living, I might as well go all out and start getting paid to write product descriptions for Walmart. How heartbreaking would that be?

They say when you do something you love, you never work a day in your life. I stand by that wholeheartedly. But “never working a day in your life” doesn’t mean doing sloppy, easy work that you are not proud of. I could never be proud writing article after article Q&A style. It would be like cutting my arm off. Just thinking about it brings a tear to my eye. That’s why I’m a writer. I am sensitive and protective of my muse. And I always will be. When publishers hire me, they will get my best. If they want me to perform my worst in order to get their SEO searches up, I am out the door.

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements (via ZOOM during covid). She is now coaching aspiring writers via ZOOM.

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats

“Don’t Believe a Word” – Interview with Coyote Shivers

Published September 1, 2015 by Maryanne

Coyote Shivers Don't Believe a Word

Fans have waited a long time for something new from Coyote Shivers. Now the wait is over. His new single “Don’t Believe a Word” will be released Sept. 8, 2015 – the first day of Shivers’ nine-month jail sentence.

The single will appear Sept. 8 on https://coyoteshivers.bandcamp.com/track/dont-believe-a-word with the legal disclaimer: “All characters and events portrayed in this song are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. If anyone has a guilty conscience and sees similarities to their own actions, well, that speaks for itself.”

It will also be available on iTunes and other online stores, but on the bandcamp link the funds go directly to the Legal Defense Fund working to free Coyote Shivers from jail, and also it allows people to pay “one dollar or more” so if they want to contribute more than the one dollar minimum they can.”

The following is an interview in which Coyote spoke to me about his case.

For people who don’t know what happened, tell us in a nutshell.

COYOTE: “Pauley Perrette’s own words give the best insight. I cut off all contact and filed for divorce from Pauley Perrette in 2004, and began dating another girl, Courtney Washburn. As Courtney testified at the trial, Pauley then broke into my residence in the middle of the night, yelling at Courtney calling her a ‘slut’ and a ‘whore,’ and threatening to ‘Star Crazy’ me if I divorced her. Pauley was confronted on the stand with her handwritten notes for ‘Star Crazy’ and was forced to admit to her own writing, which outlined how a female TV star could use her fame combined with restraining order abuse, to have an innocent man who rejected her, jailed and defamed. Pauley’s handwritten notes included the steps ‘Get Restraining Order’ and ‘Stalk Him.’ So I don’t need to comment on that further. I will let Pauley Perrette’s own words and subsequent actions speak for themselves.”

In hindsight is there anything you would have done differently? For instance, were there any red flags during your relationship with Pauley Perrette or did this incident totally blindside you?

COYOTE: “There were red flags for sure. Our first date was at Kinkos, because she was falsifying some restraining order paperwork and cat food receipts to use in court against her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Rivas, because she had stolen his pet cat. She freely admitted the cat was his before they even met, but somehow convinced me he was an ‘asshole’ and the cat would be better off with her. Clearly I should have known everything about this was wrong, but she is very good at playing on sympathy. Still, I should have known right then and there. When things started getting crazy in court with Pauley, Daniel Rivas sent me an email saying ‘History repeating itself, big time,’ and he was originally going to testify on my behalf, but when Pauley found out she suddenly decided to make up with him and got him a job on NCIS playing her brother. Yes for real. Suddenly, he won’t testify for me, even though I still have the email. And the court case between them is still on file in Los Angeles Superior Court.’

She also has a long history of falsely accusing ex-boyfriends and ex-lovers, and being overtly vindictive after a relationship is over. This is also on public record. She has even publicly falsely accused something like four or five ex-lovers of rape, although she subsequently admitted that was just to protect her own reputation.”

How is this ordeal affecting your career?

COYOTE: “It has consumed a lot of time and energy, for one thing. For another thing, as a condition of bail I was not allowed to speak truthfully about my life, which is part of what art is really about. Also, I will be writing a book in jail, which wouldn’t be happening if I wasn’t in jail, so although it has stifled some of my work, some art does come from it all. There is also of course, my single, DON’T BELIEVE A WORD, which will be released the day I enter jail, and is sort of an anthem dedicated to the falsely accused.”

It’s so obvious you are very much in love with your wife, Mayra. During your jail time how often will you see Mayra? How is she holding up?

 COYOTE: “This is absolutely the most cruel thing anybody can do to me, separate me from my wife. Jail itself is nothing, except boring. But tearing me from my wife is torture. But that is exactly what Pauley threatened she would do if I ever remarried. It’s kind of like a ‘if I can’t have you nobody can’ scenario.”

 How are you staying strong and positive?

COYOTE: “I’m not positive at all really. This is a terrible thing being inflicted on my family. I am just staying strong for my wife, and for our mutual belief that we are righteous and will prevail in the long run, that being, no matter what Pauley Perrette does to us, our hearts remain together, and sooner or later we will be reunited and live happily, and there is NOTHING Pauley can do to stop that.”

What advice would you give to men in similar situations?

COYOTE: “Immediately take it seriously and get attorneys on the case. My situation was so utterly ridiculous, and it was so plain for everyone to see what was going on, that I didn’t take it seriously enough. I also didn’t realize how easy it was to ‘Star Crazy’ somebody, because I didn’t know how easily the laws can be manipulated, but they are ripe for this kind of exploitation, one of the things I’m learning about the law now that it’s too late.”

Tell us about the book you’ll be writing while incarcerated.

COYOTE: “It will be the story of how I found myself in jail, how ‘Star Crazy’ was threatened and executed upon me. But I have a pretty odd sense of humor, so it won’t be some dark ‘woe is me’ tome. If I’m writing it you can count on it being pretty funny. Humor has always been a part of my writing and has always gotten me through life. Also, it will be a lot more positive than you might imagine. It may seem like a thriller. It’s being sold as a real life ‘Gone Girl’ based on celebrity events, but it is actually a love story with a happy ending. You have to remember that I met my beautiful wife six years ago, because she was a journalist writing for the largest newspaper in Brazil, and she was interviewing about my ongoing legal troubles with my ex Pauley Perrette. So the very thing Pauley was trying to prevent, she actually caused. That is the ultimate in poetic justice.”

When you get out of jail is your nightmare over? What is next for you?

COYOTE: That would be up to Pauley Perrette, but she has already made it clear to me as long as I am happy, she will continue in executing thethreats she made when I divorced her. She keeps talking about me, rather obsessively, on Twitter, over a decade since I divorced her, so I think that speaks for itself.”

In conclusion, is there anything you want to say to your fans and Mayra’s fans that supported you?

COYOTE: Yes, THANK YOU. It is just incredible and heartwarming the amount of love and support we have received. Those who made #FreeCoyoteShivers a worldwide trending topic; and especially those that have contributed to the Free Coyote Shivers Legal Defense Fund THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!!!

mayra-coyote-3Coyote Shivers and Mayra Dias Gomes

For more information Google “Coyote Shivers” and phrases like “star crazy” or “restraining order abuse.” Or visit following links:

http://nypost.com/2013/03/24/ncis-star-accused-of-waging-vindictive-campaign-against-ex-husband/

http://gotnews.com/exclusive-top-ncis-star-caught-perjuring-harm-ex-hubbie-radaronline-censorship/

http://gotnews.com/pauley-perrette/

http://ncfm.org/2013/04/action/restraining-order-terrorism-the-pauley-perrettefrancis-coyote-shivers-case-the-beginning-of-the-end/

http://www.avoiceformen.com/misandry/star-crazy-the-dark-side-of-pauley-perrette/

Coyote - Free

“Free Coyote” t-shirts can be purchased via: http://www.freecoyoteshivers.com/

 

Writer + Musician = Love! Love! LOVE!

Published June 13, 2013 by Maryanne

Mayra & Coyote 3

Mayra Dias Gomes (writer) & Coyote Shivers (musician)

Last week I was reading my old diaries and recalled my DJ sets at Pyramid Club. I always began the nights spinning the coolest song ever, “Plus One” by Coyote Shivers. Since I have two of his CDs already, I was searching online for more Coyote Shivers music and came across his Twitter and Instagram social media pages and saw that he married a beautiful girl — a writer named Mayra Dias Gomes.

It’s fantastic to read about love and happy endings especially when I have a little something in common … like Mayra, I’m also a writer who married a musician. And like Coyote and Mayra, my husband and I are very much in love, even after seven years (and hopefully none of you are sick of hearing about it, ha-ha). In fact the loving chemistry expressed between those two on Instagram reminds me a lot of my own happy marriage which is why I enjoy tuning in to their world. Happy people just LOVE to see other other people in love. It’s no wonder that once a couple is happily hooked up, right away we start to think about which one of our single friends can we fix up with another single friend. When it comes to love, we want more, we want more! Love is on the brain 24/7.

Then I got to thinking, what is it about a musician/writer marriage combo that makes the relationship work so gorgeously?

First of all, both careers are very free-spirited and creative, so there is never a dull moment. My husband’s brilliance never ceases to amaze me with the creative ways he surprises me and his out of the box thinking.

Both careers do not have a set pattern, neither are a typical 9 to 5 (although I aim for that so we can have our nights free together, except when he’s in the studio or having a band meeting), so there can be times where a musician/writer couple can be like two ships passing in the night, therefore time is always so very precious. Like the other night when I came home very late and then had to make a deadline. Dennis sat at my side to keep me company as I typed away.

Both careers have you in contact with zillions of different people. So both writers and musicians understand the important of trust in a relationship, which to me is a very important element. Nothing is more rewarding than knowing that your man trusts you with all his heart and soul. The word TRUST sends chills up my spine and puts tears in my eyes. I know I am my husband’s angel and he counts on the fact that I would never, ever hurt him, nor would he hurt me. There is a lifetime comfort in knowing that.

The marriage between a musician and writer can mean great opportunities for collaboration. I have no musical talent, but it was a thrill writing lyrics for a children’s Christmas song. Not only did Dennis put music to my lyrics, we had it recorded on a Christmas CD and then were interviewed on a college radio station that played the song. This was just one example of quite a few cool things we’ve done in the studio together over the years. Just one of many dreams come true since I met Dennis.

Both careers have great perks. Between my husband’s connections and my connections, we’re always going to some event or other —  free! Since we’re not rich and famous, it definitely helps financially that entertainment doesn’t cost us a dime. Our careers definitely fill up our social calendar. And while my hunny adores me even if I’m just sitting home watching TV in pajamas with my hair up in a bun and no make-up, it’s so great to hear him say how pretty I look when I’m dressed for a night on the town and how lucky he says he is. (But, really, I’m the lucky one!)

I also think that a musician who is attracted to a writer (and vice versa) is a person who embraces change, someone who doesn’t stay stagnant in life. There are always new things to learn and it keeps you young and vibrant. And both careers are ones you can grow old with. I can’t imagine a life without writing. If I was to retire, I’d rather be dead. And if there ever was a day my husband wasn’t picking up one of his 20 guitars, I’d know something was seriously wrong with him. I would definitely check his pulse to see if he was still alive. One thing for sure is, we’ll never be the couple that just wants to stay in the house and rot. We’re always up for an adventure, for meeting new people, for a road trip, for growing and growing old together. We will eventually be that old couple walking on the beach still holding hands.

And before I end this post, I want to add a little side note in regard to the music of Coyote Shivers (cool punk with incredibly funny and clever lyrics). One night when Dennis and I first started dating, I threw on the CD “Coyote Shivers Gives It To Ya Twice.” We were in my old apartment, drinking a bottle of unfiltered pearl sake, making out and laughing like hell because Coyote’s lyrics were so hilarious. Coyote’s funny songs were the back drop to us falling in love — because laughter/humor is KEY to a great relationship. Seven years later, we’re still laughing — at anything and everything. (Even the dumbest stuff like me making up silly songs about women with chipped toe nail polish, sung with a hillbilly accent).

I’ve yet to read Mayra’s books/articles, but I saw some of her interviews on You Tube and I favor the interview with Michael Monroe since I’m a big Hanoi Rocks fan. Mayra seems so down to earth, fun and a true music fan. (Plus she’s also a gorgeous print model!)

I tried Googling “writers who married musicians” and “musicians who married writers” and couldn’t come up anything more to add to all this. So, tell me, are there more happily married writers and musicians out there? Or are there other careers that seem to be a perfect match for couples? I know the musician/photographer coupling works beautifully too, as Paul and Linda McCartney were my favorite rock ‘n’ roll couple ever — just like our friends Tommy (musician) & Darlene (photographer) who have been together over 20 years and are absolutely adorable together.

Happy couples, please come forward, and tell what your careers are.

If we get enough people to participate in this research, we can ditch the whole zodiac compatibility thing and start a new trend about perfect career compatibility love matches. Linda Goodman, look out!

Eternal love and happiness!

Maryanne and Dennis by JeffMaryanne (writer) and Dennis (musician) – 2010