maryanne christiano-mistretta

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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

 

 

Dream Come True!

Published February 25, 2017 by Maryanne

sam_2169Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, author

Yesterday my life changed.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the email that my third book that I’ve been shopping around for almost a year was going to be published — traditionally!

My first two book efforts were self-published, which was an incredible experience in itself. I am forever grateful for making the effort of putting out two of my own books. It was exciting hiring good friends to do the cover and to proofread. And then be in charge of my own marketing experience, getting myself on radio stations, in libraries, and record stores for book signing events. What a ride!

Then it got to a point where I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t go for the instant gratification. What would happen if I shopped my third book around?

“The Gypsy Smiled” is in a unique category, music fiction. I did not invent that genre, as I’ve seen it used before. Last year I sent it out to several publishers and then waited.

And when I least expected it, I was contacted by a traditional publisher! My book will be published and available all over the world in the next three to six months!

So, not to be secretive, but I’d rather stop here and when the book is published, I’ll talk about it — especially how super cool my publisher is!

All I will say, at this point, to anyone — don’t give up on your dreams! Keep believing in yourself and enjoy every bit of the ride. I mean, the chances of being published traditional are pretty slim; and I am so humbled to be one of the fortunate ones.

You just have to love what you do, whether you are successful or not. Love every minute of the process: the writing and the writer’s block; the success and the rejection letters; the praise as well as the bad reviews … and the long days where it seems like nothing is happening, because it really IS; the universe is just getting all the ducks in order for you to start shining.

It happened to me, and it could happen to you!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, now an upcoming traditionally published author, has self published two books, both available on Amazon:

On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X4

Love Cats (in paperback and Kindle versions): https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513

She is also an award-winning journalist, currently writing for Vitamin Retailer magazine and New View Media news publications; as well as proofreading legal ordinances at Coded Systems in Spring Lake, New Jersey. 

Book Signing at Randy Now’s Man Cave

Published December 19, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_1817With my supportive husband, Dennis Lords

It was my honor to sign copies of my two books, “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” and “Love Cats” at Randy Now’s Man Cave in Bordentown, NJ, yesterday (Sunday, Dec. 19, 2016).

Mary Muehleisen was also there representing her late brother, Maury Muehleisen who played guitar with Jim Croce, and died in a plane crash with Jim at the age of 24. She was selling two of Maury’s solo CDs (which are incredible, by the way! What a gorgeous voice he had, and a beautiful guitarist and songwriter).

Interesting story, a customer came in to buy a Jim Croce record for his girlfriend for Christmas. He did not know that Mary Muehleisen was going to be there. What a beautiful coincidence. The customer brought one of her brother’s CDs.

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Mary Muehleisen and Maryanne Mistretta

It was such an honor to meet Mary Muehleisen, as well as selling quite a few books!

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Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta, Randy Now’s Mommy, and Randy Now! 

Thanks so much to Randy Now for hosting such a wonderful, memorable event!

sam_1818

My books on sale in Randy Now’s Man Cave!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta works as a professional journalist and public speaker. Her books are available on Amazon.

“On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

“Love Cats” https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513

For more information on Randy Now’s Man Cave, visit: http://www.mancavenj.com/

For more information on Maury Muehleisen visit: http://www.maurymuehleisen.com/main.html