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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 

The Four Types of Clients

Published June 22, 2018 by Maryanne
The Four Types of Clients You'll Encounter

By Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

This article originally appeared in the Verona Patch online on March 20, 2013. 

Bending over backward to keep each and every client is the biggest mistake small business owners make.

When you run your own business, having more clients doesn’t always mean more profit. In fact, some clients can be so detrimental to your business having them onboard can make you lose business.

The key to running a successful home based business is identifying which clients to keep and which to pass on. There is nothing wrong with having a “pecking order” when running your own business, putting the more desirable clients at the top.

  1. High Profit/Low Maintenance. These are obviously the clients you want to keep because they pay well and are easy to work with. In other words, a small business owner’s dream! They are organized. They are easy to communicate with. They pay on time. They utilize your talents to the best ability. There is a mutual trust and respect. They may even give you a Christmas present or bonus! If you can develop a great relationship with these clients and keep them, you are so ahead of the game as you’ll be making money almost effortlessly.
  2. High Profit/High Maintenance. Whether you choose to keep these clients or not is up to you. The high profit/high maintenance client may drive you up a wall. There may be drama, unexpected phone calls when you’re on the beach vacationing, a ton of stress, disorganization and so forth. But the pay will be well worth it. To me, high maintenance can be amusing if you keep your sense of humor. Unless high maintenance goes too far by crossing the line of respect, eating up all your spare time, making you cry or reach for a glass of vodka after working with such clients, I say “go for it.” After all, sometimes big money comes with a small price.
  3. Low Profit/Low Maintenance. Sometimes a client may come along who doesn’t have a large budget or is asking for a task that doesn’t require too much skill or effort so the pay is lower than usual. But I say to keep these clients on board because it’s easy income. And you never know when you’re going to hit a slow period. Also note that sometimes a low profit/low maintenance client can eventually become a high profit/low maintenance client. That happened to me a few times. I did such a great job at a low profit level, a client willingly increased my rate!
  4. Low Profit/High Maintenance. I’m not afraid to say these clients are the worst and should definitely not to be kept. They will expect you to jump through hoops while paying you peanuts. There will always be stress, tension, misunderstandings, frustration and possibly tears. The hours will add up and you’ll have nothing to show for it but aggravation. You may find yourself passing up work from other clients because you are so wrapped up in this nightmare of a project, which isn’t fair to you, your other clients or your business. Just say “no” and move on.

By immediately recognizing a low profit/high maintenance client you can let him or her down easily by saying that you are currently over-booked and can’t take on a new client at this time.

Or just be honest and tell them their rate is too low. But try to keep the working relationship positive, as you never know what can change in the future.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the proprietor of Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/). She’s an award-winning journalist, book editor, ghost writer, blogger and more. She can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com or call 908-276-1514.

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.

Too Busy

Published January 4, 2017 by Maryanne

busy-2

Last night I was reading my old diaries from 1993. I was only 29-years-old and really loving my life. At that time I was living in a beautiful world people can’t even imagine today. Even as a very good-looking young woman, I had my dateless, lonely nights. The difference was, if you had the blues back then you could count on a phone call from at least five friends in one night! So being sad was not an option.

Today, other than my husband who I could always count on, I can’t imagine conversing with any of my friends without first making an appointment to speak with them. People are always so “busy.” Picking up the phone is no longer an option. So, I just cry instead.

The first of the year usually means new beginnings. As someone who is self-employed, this is usually the time when my business takes off. People always come to me for ghost writing, book editing, and public speaking engagements because they know they can count on me. There’s an old saying, “If you need something done, ask the busiest person you know because he/she will get it done for you.”

That said, I have to question everyone else’s version of “busy.” Because even when my version of “busy” gets so crazy, I’m glued to my desk for hours without getting up for a drink or to go to the bathroom, I ALWAYS sincerely answer an email from a friend who is in need.

This week started out as one of those busy weeks. Then one person cancelled an appointment — at the last minute. So not cool. And another just totally stood me up — no email, no phone call, no explanation.

I was heartbroken for being slighted. This is not the way I do business. This is not how I’d treat somebody. For all the technology we have in this day and age, this should not be. In this modern world, no one can be too busy to type three simple words in an email: “Can we reschedule?” And, I might add, at an appropriate time, not at the last minute unless someone very close to you died. Even so, I think back to when my father-in-law, who sometimes lived with us, passed away three months ago … I still was able to conduct business in a professional manner. And I still listened to problems from friends who needed a friend. Is it so much to ask the same in return?

It is not narcissistic to expect to be treated with respect. My time is just as important as anyone else’s. But here I am, crying my eyes out in the middle of the day, waiting patiently for my husband to get home so I can cry on his shoulder.

It is far from being “unprofessional” when you are disappointed by how so-called professionals treat you. There really needs to be a book on manners in this day and age. What happened to the Miss Manners column that ran in newspapers on a daily basis? Oh, I know, no one reads newspapers anymore.

No one does a lot of things anymore that they should. It’s a sad world we live in. A world without manners. A world without consideration. A world where people do whatever they please as long as it suits them.

And nothing can be done about it either. Just wait for the good karma you’ve been owed … so then things will turn around … and you’ll get everything you’ve ever deserved … because you already have a lot of it … Like a husband who truly adores and loves you. Because you were never “too busy” to find someone you adore and love.

So, hooray for demystifying the “too busy” myth! For those who are “too busy” will never seep the rewards that come from making time.

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

 

 

 

Mention in Florham Park Eagle for Helping Senior Couple Write Book

Published March 22, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9246Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta with Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi

Last year I helped Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi write and publish their book “200 Letters, 62 Years and a War” which was their love story. Soon after they started dating, Domenic went to serve in the Korean War. During that time, he wrote Antoinette 200 love letters. The couple recently celebrated their 62nd anniversary.

I sat with them as they told me their story and I ferreted through 200 love letters Domenic wrote Antoinette, as well as his diaries. The book was published by Next Century Publishing last year, followed by their book release party, which I blogged about: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/book-party-for-antoinette-and-domenic-lombardi/

On March 17, 2016, the Florham Park Eagle published their story in print and online. I’m honored and humbled that Domenic and Antoinette gave me such a generous mention: http://www.newjerseyhills.com/florham_park_eagle/news/florham-park-couple-s-book-tells-love-story-amid-korean/article_ca1c2158-4ed1-5328-9ec1-55401512b5d1.html

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta has been helping clients write (and publish) their books since 2008. In addition to Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi, her clients include Clerks actor, Scott Schiaffo and soap opera writer, Scarlet Cassadine, to name a few. She can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

CONTEST/GIVEAWAY! Happy Customer Appreciation Day!

Published March 3, 2016 by Maryanne

pear tree buttonsPear Tree Enterprises loves YOU!

Hey Gang!

It’s Customer Appreciation Day and in honor of such great support since 2008, I’m having some giveaways on all my Facebook business pages. Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) has been in business since 2008. I’m an author, ghost writer, book editor, and public speaker. I am also the founder of ROAR (https://respectouranimalsrights.wordpress.com/) and a Young Living Oils distributor.

Giveaways/Prizes include:

Young Living Valor soap

Nature goat’s milk shea soap

My first book: “On the Guest List Adventures of a Music Journalist” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

My second book “Love Cats” (over 18 only please!) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513

So, you got to be in it to win it!

Here are my four business pages on Facebook. All you have to do is “like” the page and on the page leave a comment why you want to win! You can enter one or all! CONTEST ENDS March 4, 2016 sometime in the morning, which is when the winners will be randomly chosen!

Pear Tree Enterprises: https://www.facebook.com/maryannepeartreeenterprises/?fref=ts

Roar: https://www.facebook.com/respectouranimalsrights/?fref=ts

On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist: https://www.facebook.com/On-the-Guest-List-Adventures-of-a-Music-Journalist-266002553560468/?fref=ts

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta (author page): https://www.facebook.com/maryannechristianomistretta/?fref=ts

“Going Going Gone: What the Next Generation Won’t Remember” at Florham Park Senior Center

Published February 24, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_5528Do you remember cassettes, 8-tracks, bubble gum cards, drive-in speakers?

I was thrilled to return to the Florham Park Senior Center today to present my lecture “Going Going Gone: What the Next Generation Won’t Remember.”

Here is the synopsis for the program:

Since the year 2000, we’ve gained iPhones, GPSs, Twitter, Facebook and many other services and devices.

However, we’ve also lost some things that we’ve grown up with. In “Going Going Gone” Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta will take a walk down memory lane and talk about products that are either on their way out the door, or absolutely obsolete.

Some may actually surprise you!

Items included are: VHS video tapes, phone booths (and making phone calls in general!), travel agents, bookstores, newspapers and classified ads, wristwatches, maps, dial-up internet, encyclopedias, CDs, landline phones, film cameras, yellow pages and address books, and hand written letters.

Which of these items do you miss?

Christiano-Mistretta will also jolt your memory remembering some cool products of yesteryear such as the typewriter, the record player and Polaroid cameras.

Come share your views in this interactive lecture! Audience participation is greatly encouraged.

SAM_9655Very cool sign promoting my program!

Today was extra special because Domenic and Antoinette Lombardi were there. I helped them write and publish their book, “200 Letters, 62 Years, and a War,” which is about Domenic’s time in the Korean War and the 200 love letters he wrote to Antoinette while she waited for his return. At the time the book was written, they celebrated their 62nd anniversary.

I was very touched by their card and gift they gave me today.

And as always, I love meeting the seniors and was happy to be part of their meeting and pizza party today!

Thanks so much to director Olga!

SAM_9653Maryanne and senior director Olga

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a ghost writer and public speaker. For more information, visit her website at: https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/