maryanne christiano-mistretta

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Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulthood

Published September 2, 2018 by Maryanne

DSCF2687.JPGSo this is 55?! (Photo taken on my 55th birthday) 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an author and a motivational speaker. Contact her at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulthood

I grew up in a time where being “old” began as young as 22. In the 1980s when most of us started working, we were out of the house! No question about it. And if you weren’t married or engaged by 25 you were considered an old maid.

But now things have changed. People are living at home well into their 30s. Marrying later and having children even later. Or having children, then marrying. Even more inspiring are the women in their 70s, 80s, and 90s who are still modeling, dancing, and doing yoga! Don’t believe me? You’ll find them all on You Tube!

Therefore what was once considered “old” has changed.

I like to believe it was my generation that started the change. Everyone was getting married in their 20s, but I decided to wait. Nowadays women in their 50s and 60s who waited have the best relationships with their husbands or long term partners, saying things like, “I married my best friend” or “I met my soul mate.” Parties we throw are integrated with men and women mixing all over the house! But I’m sure we can remember our parents’ parties, segregated with men in the living room and women in the kitchen. Bah to that!

Even those of us who don’t get Botox (I don’t!) look younger than they are thanks to cool clothes and flattering hairstyles. Generation gaps are less “gappy” because we can be friends with women of all ages. I have female friends in their 20s, 30s, and 40s (all younger) as well as older women in their 60s and 70s!

We’re also more in tune with health and spirituality than previous generations, which also helps us to age better. Being in your 50s is a great time to be alive; I LOVE it!

Much younger people have told me I’m “stylish” and  I have “young energy.” I thought long and hard, why that is. Once I figured it out, I decided to make a list of Top Five Things Women Over 50 Should (or Shouldn’t) Do to Seem Younger.

Here’s what I came up with …

  1. Don’t Obsess Over Your Hair. I’ve noticed that the women in my own age bracket who look youngest don’t always have perfect hair. They don’t have hair that is all one color. They are more free-spirited with highlights, even with some gray peering through. They also tie their hair up in a bun, wear hats, ponytails, or braids. And they never use hairspray. I go by this too and I think this is just half the battle of having young energy.
  2. Don’t Obsess Over Your Weight. Over the past decade or so I’ve noticed a very sweet trend among younger women. They love each other just as they are! They tell each how beautiful they are and are oblivious to weight gain. Older women can learn a thing or two from these youngsters! I’m not saying run out and eat White Castles every day. What I am saying is don’t worry about your gut, your boobs, or your thighs. Once you reach 50, there’s no doubt that it is harder to stay at your perfect weight. So why not just embrace your weight gain? Most guys love those extra pounds anyway. Nothing says “What an old stick in the mud!” more than a woman who constantly bitches about her weight and fat-shames other women. Young women have evolved. They don’t shame each other or gossip about each other. Let’s evolve too and be friends; not beat each other up by being catty.
  3. Do Seek Out New Music. When people say there’s no good music around nowadays, I have to laugh. There’s a whole big wide world full of music and if you can’t find something good, maybe you just don’t like music! Instead of scrolling past things on your iPhone, why not stop at something your friend recommends? Sometimes I’ll post new music on Facebook and only one person actually listens to it. This is why you THINK there’s no good music, because you’re too damn lazy to seek it out! I’d challenge anyone on this, but haters can be so stubborn they will find something wrong with something new without giving it a chance. But trust me, if you liked Queen or The New York Dolls back in 1974, there are more than one indie band that sounds just like them. Young people groove on the retro and emulate the ground we grew up on. Don’t discount their ability to deliver!
  4. Do Give Compliments to Other Women. Back in the 1980s when I first started out in the workforce unfortunately people were still homophobic. I’ll never forget being nice and telling another girl her new hairstyle looked “cute.” Then she got all bent out of shape falsely assuming I was hitting on her. (Wow, how self-absorbed was that?!) Thank GODDESS times have changed! Young women of today are extremely supportive of each other and that is acceptable. They are generous with hugs and even hand-holding. Inspired by young women, I do all this with my middle-aged female friends. Why? It’s sweet, it’s fun, and it means we are warm people. We tell each other how beautiful we are and we say “I love you” to each other. Gone are the days, at least in my world, where women are at each other’s throats and giving each other the jealous green-eye. Young girls are kind and sweet. If you smile at a young girl, you’re much more likely to get a smile back than if you smile at a middle-aged woman. Ladies in my age bracket (and a little younger and a little older — you know who you are!) let’s change all that! If there’s one thing the younger generation can teach us is how to be more loving towards each other. Love, love, LOVE!
  5. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulthood. Since I first became really old, at the age of 30, my motto was “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adulthood.” I continued to challenge myself, talk to younger people, do fun things, not worry what others thought about me, dress the way I liked, speak my mind, and so on.  I sing. I act silly. I pose for photographs with toys and on children’s rides at amusement parks. My goal for each day is to do something fun that I could tell my grandchildren (if I had any!) This is the biggest rule of all when you want to stay young at heart!

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 

The Gypsy is Still Smiling!

Published January 15, 2018 by Maryanne

The Gypsy Smiled -- THE COVER!!

My name is Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and I’ve been writing professionally (meaning, being paid to do so) since 1995. That was the year I stood on St. Mark’s Place, in New York City, and was thrilled to see the magazine on display at a newsstand that contained one of my articles. It was one of my life’s happiest moments.

As a writer, the thrills never stop. Your first rejection list (which means people are reading), your first article in print, your first check, your first award, the first time you get to edit someone else’s work, the first time someone asks for your writing advice, and of course your first published book.

My first two books were self-published. Then my third was picked up by a traditional publisher. I was shocked. When the publisher first contacted me, I thought it was yet another self-publishing company hawking business. But, no, it was a real publisher — and wow, just wow!

Within the year, my fictional story, “The Gypsy Smiled” was published.

“The Gypsy Smiled” is music fiction chick lit, inspired by a legendary song by the legendary Lou Christie, “The Gypsy Cried.” I loved the song — and Lou Christie — so much that my book is a tribute to him. The characters who are 1980s goths have a secret passion for the 1960s; so much so that they transform Lou’s music and make it their own.

The lead character, Lucretia, is trying to make it as a musician, but something is holding her back. Then she meets an exotic, positive woman named Gypsy who guides her.

Innocent enough, with no malicious intent.

However, sadly during my time of working out the kinks, a clueless beta who read my work was fixated on the word “gypsy” which she thought was a dig on the Romanian community. (Meanwhile, I have a few friends of Romanian descent who had NO PROBLEM AT ALL with me using the word). I fought to keep the book as is.

After the book was published, I thought my woes with the publishing company were behind me until I was passed on to a publicist who — after the book was published!!! — wanted me to change the entire book because she found it “offensive.”

Do people not get out much? Hallmark Movie Channel had a feature about a “gypsy fortuneteller” not to long ago. And there’s also a TV show called “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.”

When “politically correct” turns to “nit picky incorrect” — it’s not only dumb, but disgustingly “holier than thou”!

I took a private poll on Facebook and people I haven’t heard from in ages came to my defense. The word was used in a classic song, the book is a tribute to that song, and “gypsy” was NOT used as a slur, but in a most glorifying way. (Thus other kick ass gypsy songs like “Gypsy” by Stevie Nicks; and “King of the Gypsies” by Johnny Thunders).

Life can be so ugly when you’re falsely accused for doing wrong, when you work so hard, night and day, to make the world a better place. When I worked at Montclair Times, I made the paper the first in New Jersey to write about gay marriages, followed by the transgender community; I’ve also spent many a day in violent areas in New Jersey to report on a story about the good teens and policemen are doing for the community.

That said, the suggestion by a publicist to change the title of my book “The Gypsy Smiled” was the most asinine thing I ever heard in my life; as the word was by no means meant to be harmful!

I’m no longer going to exhaust myself being defensive to ignorant, judgmental people. Life goes on; and my life certainly isn’t one lived in vain, that’s for sure! I look in the mirror in the morning and say to myself, “I like me” as I await what the day brings. And when someone has to put others down without knowing even five percent of their personality and good doings, they must not like themselves very much.

And not wanting to work with that negative energy, I declined any help from the publicist.

As for the future of “The Gypsy Smiled” without a publicist, the book may just be cult status at best. At least I never compromised myself or my values. I kept my art true.

I refuse to be a sell-out because of someone’s minuscule opinion that is so wrong. In my heart, I feel I created a piece of art that pays homage to someone I highly admire. And that is certainly something to feel proud about.

Like my character Gypsy, I am smiling!

To purchase “The Gypsy Smiled” in Kindle or paperback, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

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.

My Third Book Signing at Randy Now’s Man Cave

Published December 17, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF1105Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

Today was my third book signing at Randy Now’s Man Cave in Bordentown, New Jersey.

It’s always an honor being here. The store is incredible with vinyl and oddities. So many legends have performed here; and signed books here, that I’m humbled, big time, to be among many greats.

I favor doing book signings, but for those who aren’t in my area, the books are available online.

On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist can be purchased here: https://nextcenturypublishing.com/product/on-the-guest-list/

Love Cats can be purchased here: http://touch.kaspersky.com/kis_cup_f8f731b4-629f-4b7c-923c-495d87bf7e09/1513260348

The Gypsy Smiled can be purchased here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

Life and Music of David Bowie at Kinnelon Library

Published September 17, 2017 by Maryanne

DSCF0279From left: Keith Beck, Kim Christian, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Rob Fusari

Sunday, Sep 17, Pear Tree Enterprises (www.peartreeenterprises.com) presented “The Life and Music of David Bowie” at Kinnelon Library, Kinnelon, NJ.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, sole proprietor of Pear Tree, hosted the show, presenting a brief bio on David Bowie’s life, with a Q&A segment and the opportunity for audience members to share their memories of David Bowie. The audience was made up of over 50 people of all ages.

Keith Beck (www.zigmanbird.com) performed over a half hour of Bowie tunes including: Space Oddity, Andy Warhol, Ziggy Stardust, and Starman, which were extremely well received by the audience.

Then three-time Grammy winning producer, Rob Fusari (https://www.robfusari.com/) who had worked with ABC, Adam Lambert, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga … to name a few … performed his killer version of “Young Americans.”

To have this program at your library, contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com 

We will travel! 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist and three time author. Her latest book, “The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9