on the guest list: adventures of a music journalist

All posts tagged on the guest list: adventures of a music journalist

My Guest Slot on “Health & Wellness”

Published June 26, 2018 by Maryanne

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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 

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

 

 

Make Way for Happiness!

Published July 8, 2017 by Maryanne

SAM_2842Hello Happiness

This is why I’m more a believer in pronoia than karma …

First, I must explain “pronoia” since everyone knows what karma is. According to Wikipedia, here is the definition: “Pronoia is a neologism that is defined as the opposite state of mind to paranoia: having the sense that there is a conspiracy that exists to help the person. It is also used to describe a philosophy that the world is set up to secretly benefit people.”

Blessings in disguise are necessary to one’s evolution. It really sucks to be going through a bad time, but that’s what moves you to a better time. A quick example would be my career. Thanks to always trying to escape nasty people and office gossip, I’ve advanced myself to places I’ve always dreamed of. Starting out as a shipping clerk right after high school, I’ve learned all aspects of the working world — A/R, A/P, credit/collections — then went on to more creative venues, from typing, to proofreading, copy editing, writing features, learning design programs, and authoring three books. (As well as helping other people write their books). I am now superwoman. The more I learn, the higher my rates become; and the more I can pick and choose what work I want; and the more concerts I can go to, the more clothes I can buy, and the more vacations I can take. Go me.

Had I been someone who thrived on negativity, I would have stayed put. Fortunately bettering myself, away from back stabbers, always meant advancing in my career. Thank you Universe.

But pronoia doesn’t just work in career, it works in just about anything. A prime example happened a few weeks ago. I got hooked on a particular eatery and was spending much time (and money) there. However, I realized, being a health fanatic, the options were limited once I got bored with the dish I enjoyed most.

I also had to coach them to let them know there were certain items they put in their foods that I didn’t consider healthy, such as grains; almond or coconut milk from a brand that uses cane sugar; and bananas, which are extremely high carbs.

One day there was a new counter girl, having a hard time with my order. I was extremely patient, with a smile on my face. Fifteen minutes later, the grand finale was that she put granola on top of my finished product. (I do not like granola at all!)

I told her I was allergic, which gets you more compassion than just saying you do not like something — sometimes. But not this time. The owner was very snippy with me and said, “You’re allergic to nuts?!” as if I bothered her.

Right then and there I made up my mind that I would never step foot in that place again. I never really felt comfortable there to begin with. It was just an all around bad vibe as they tended to cater to people they knew personally, making it clique-ish. Plus, that day I saw fruit flies on their samples. It was no longer an inviting place to eat.

Is this the universe speaking? You bet! Read on …

I spent 45 minutes on the internet looking for another healthy place to eat in the area. Well, I found one that was much healthier — all raw vegan foods with no processed sugar, no grains, and many items minus bananas! I’ve been going every day since. The service is better. The owner even came out to shake my hand for writing a good review about them. That’s the way to go!

But wait, there’s more!

You get “points” for your purchases! Now, not only is this place, healthier and friendlier than the first place, but less expensive. And with the points, I’ve already had two free healthy desserts (made from natural, organic fresh fruit and cacao).

Then the real reward is that going to this place takes me through the back roads, avoiding all traffic. So instead of just looking at cars, I can see deer (and fawn!) romping, rabbits, swans, etc. It’s an all around prettier trip.

If you pay attention to pronoia, you will see how it happens often. Bad things almost always push you in a better direction. If you feel uncomfortable in your place of worship,  job, or the person you are with, it’s definitely the universe (or God!) telling you that you belong somewhere else, or with someone else.

While “pronoia” is the official term, I like to call these things The Parable of Sonny & Cher. As the story goes, Sonny and Cher were so down on their luck, they had to sell all the furniture in their home to make ends meet. This is when Sonny Bono wrote their hit “I Got You Babe.”

Did you ever lose it all, then get your dream job? Or win the lottery?

Did someone you love deeply die recently? If so, watch how many great things start happening to you almost immediately afterwards. Whether it’s the universe repaying you for your loss; or your loved one, now in heaven, taking care of you from above — it’s a given that tragedy leads to precious gifts.

Did you ever have a horrible day, followed by a fantastic evening? That is also pronoia at work. Bad things motivate you to grab the good. It’s a survival mechanism.

How has pronoia worked for YOU? Feel free to share your stories; I’d love to hear them!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of three books, including “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” available on Amazon. If you like positive, fun, silly books that don’t go in a downward spiral, this one’s for you: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

Her third book “The Gypsy Smiled” will be published by GenZ later this year.

 

 

 

 

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!

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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

“On the Guest List” Book Reading/Signing

Published June 16, 2016 by Maryanne

Cover proof 4

Tuesday, June 21, 2016, 7 p.m. I’ll be doing a book reading/signing for my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” at Fairfield Library, 261 Hollywood Ave., Fairfield, NJ.

“On the Guest List” is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

“On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is a fun, upbeat memoir about a girl who loves music and life in general. Maryanne paints a vivid picture of being a teenager in the 1970s and young woman in the 1980s — and how the punk, new wave and rock scene was from a young fan’s viewpoint. Life truly comes together for Maryanne once she creates a career for herself reporting on the music she loves, writing for publications such as The Aquarian Arts Weekly, music.com and Punk magazine. Unlike other music memoirs, there is no downward spiral into drugs and addiction. Nor is it a groupie “tell all.” “On the Guest List” is simply a compilation of mostly happy memories straight from the pages of Maryanne’s diaries — and of course, her heart.