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I’m a lover…not a writer?

Published October 19, 2021 by Maryanne
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

I married a very talented musician. And everyone knows it. Whenever we run into people from his past, he’s known for the mark he made on the world, as a musician. Back in the 1980s he had one album, a video on MTV, dozens of articles in noted magazines, and a great following. His creative success came early in life and everyone remembers.

Me, on the other hand…

I was a late bloomer when it came to my creative career. It was always inside me to become a writer, but I was shy about it. I had grand plans of starting a fanzine as a teenager, but when it came time to call management to score interviews with rock stars, I chickened out. Nevertheless I was determined. I took a day job and took writing classes via snail mail. This was in the 1980s, before online colleges. I submitted maybe one article to a magazine and received one rejection slip. I finally got the nerve to perform poetry in front of a live audience. I was great. My poetry was okay, but I had a strong deliverance. The applause and positive feedback inspired me to do it again. And again. I had built my own small following, performing in coffee shops throughout New Jersey and New York City–Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. During this time I began getting articles published in magazines, newspapers, and finally online. I even became an award-winning journalist. I was able to make a career in publishing for decades. I wrote five books. I received royalty checks. I got an advance for one of the books I wrote. And two of them were sold in Barnes & Noble. It doesn’t get much better than that. I did it and I can die happy.

But, to be honest. That is not what I’ll be remembered for. Unlike my husband, when I run into old acquaintances, I’m remembered for who I dated. Is it because I’m a woman? Is it because people pay more attention to musicians than writers? Or is it because some of the guys I dated were cool and that’s how people connect me?

When I write about my writing career, or public speaking career, on Facebook–or back in the day, Live Journal–people barely bat an eye. But put up a photo and all of a sudden it’s major attention. I think the bottom line is, sensory processing. It’s easier to look at a photo than to read an article. It’s also easier to look at art or listen to music. Words are harder to come by. The majority of people don’t read. They don’t even read this blog. They press “like” so I could go check out their pages. (But trust me, if I “like” your page, I read it. I’m an honest person, I wouldn’t want my “like” to support something I disagree with.)

That said, perhaps the art of like, love, infatuation, dating, is more intriguing than writing–to the average Joe. People want to know how I met my husband, or if I ever hear from a certain person I dated anymore, or why a certain relationship ended, blah.blah.blah. It’s so dull compared to legendary articles I’ve written. My all-time favorite article was for New York’s Westsider magazine back in the 1990s. It was a review for the play, “Mercury: A Rock God.” My lead was about how coincidental that Freddie Mercury died of AIDS in his 40s, and he also wrote the song “The Great King Rat” about a man who died in his 40s of another sexual degenerative disease. No one ever talks about that. Or about the legends I interviewed like Tommy James, Henry Winkler, Marianne Williamson, David Avocado Wolfe, Carol Alt, and Oleda Baker, to name a few.

No. They want to get to the dirt. Or keep a woman down.

Not long before the pandemic, I had a book signing event at a library. Afterwards I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some groceries. A woman who was friends with one of my exes was working in the cheese section. She ran after me. I thought it was to say “hello” but she just wanted to talk about my ex. I quickly changed the subject and said, excitedly, “I just got back from one of my book signings!” She didn’t want to hear that. She RAN away from me! A 50+ year old woman was so intimidated by the fact that I was making a living as a writer, she felt the need to get away from me asap, as if I was a leper!

Are we still in the 18th or 19th centuries? Is writing — or anything in the limelight — unsuitable for women? Why are we still being identified by who we are dating and who are husbands are? I’m a rare gem who makes a fellow gal feel comfortable. When I meet a male friend’s wife, I want to know about HER. Not her relationship with HIM. Why can’t others follow suit?

I say this to not only men, but to other women….

If a woman is a writer, it’s because she needs to be heard. Somewhere along the line, she wasn’t. Perhaps she was shy as a youngster. Perhaps she was a late bloomer. Perhaps she was told as a child, “Children should be seen and not heard.” Perhaps she once or twice had a domineering, possessive boyfriend who wouldn’t let her say much. Perhaps she has a circle so tight, not many are invited in, yet she wants to share honest thoughts that some can relate to, even if they live halfway around the world.

Don’t ever belittle a writer. She may be hurting just as you are. Don’t ever belittle a writer. She also is much stronger than she lets on to be. Don’t ever belittle a writer. She did make a career as a writer. You can turn your head to her accomplishments, but deep down you will always know, they happened. Yes, they did. It’s part of her story.

She is much more than just a lover. She is who she is, not who she has been with. And, like it or not, you can’t deny it.

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

She is the author of the following books:

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

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

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

Why Q&A Style Interviews are Not True Journalism

Published February 23, 2021 by Maryanne
Photo by Marcel Straub

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

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

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

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

The Best(?) of 2020

Published December 11, 2020 by Maryanne
Photo by Kelly Sikkema

If we made it through 2020 without getting covid, and worse, without dying, we are fortunate. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to live life to the fullest every day because you really don’t know what is around the corner. It was a crazy up and down year. Surprisingly, there were many outstanding moments for me, but also the most painful news–a very good friend dying on of a heart attack at the age of 56.

Pausing for a moment thinking of my dear friend Vinnie who died last April…

Yeah, 2020 definitely sucked on so many levels, but the eternal optimist in me will keep saying, this is the year to truly count our blessings.

2020 Year In Review

January – The year started off really cool. I actually saw a copy of my book, “Be (Extra)Ordinary” in Barnes & Noble bookstore! (https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/) I was ecstatic! I remember commenting that if I died at that moment, I lived the life I wanted. Little did I know, in just a few weeks I’d hear about so many dying of Covid. Just goes to show how crazy life is.

February – I was going crazy trying to score a deal on Billie Eilish tickets–and trying to decide whether to see her in NYC on a Sunday night; or New Jersey on a Monday night. Oh, the innocence of decision making prior to what was ahead. The decision was made for me…all her 2020 concerts were canceled.

March – Covid was in full force in the USA. It was weird. It was scary. But honestly, my husband and I were loving the lockdown. We took it as a time to be creative. We appreciated staying home with the kitties. We were cooperating with the law; and had a good time doing so. I thought during this time I’d write a new book; instead I focused on my singing. My husband and I made a video of us performing together, he on guitar and we on vocals and sent it to all our friends. As our friends were also sending us videos. We all did our best.

In March my clients, Domenic Lombardi passed away. I helped him and his wife write their memories: “200 Letters, 62 Years, and a War” (https://www.amazon.com/200-Letters-62-Years-War/dp/1949798453). What a loss, he was a very cool guy. Domenic and his wife Antoinette were my favorite clients ever!

In April, my book “Love Cats” which became out of print early 2020 was picked up for a second printing by Pink Flamingo Media! For the first time I used a pen name, Krystianna Mercury. Check it out: https://www.pinkflamingo.com/Love-Cats-PF3089.htm

But then, I learned that my very good friend Vinnie Bordogna died earlier that month. My heart is torn into pieces. He was truly one of my best friends. Christmas will not be the same without Vin at our party this year.

In June, there was another loss, Bob Cat. A 15-year-old ginger cat who was the star of the book, “A Street Cat Named Bob” by James Bowen. I read the book back in 2018. The book was out way before that, but it was an upbeat book that helped me get over the loss of my own ginger cat, Bennie, who had to be put down early 2018. Now to hear Bob was gone too … it was just too much. Many tears. Too many tears.

That summer, life picked up. Social distancing outdoor concerts were all the rage. Groups of friends sat on the grass in a white painted square. They were done so well and people had a great time! Drinks, food, sitting on the grass watching live music and the sun go down. Can’t beat that. It was a glimmer of hope in the midst of the madness. In addition to Covid, we had the George Floyd murder and so many terrible things going on in the news. Music kept us sane that summer, definitely.

In August, I hosted my very first ZOOM lecture for “Healthy Pasta Alternatives.” We had a blast! I had other ZOOM classes for anti-bullying, and “How to Meet Your Soul Mate.” Earlier in the year when all my live lectures were canceled, one by one, it was the biggest let down. But ZOOM saved the day with some of them, so it wasn’t a total loss.

September was a miracle! My husband and I took in a feral kitten who was abandoned by his mama and papa cats. We named him Happy Lightfoot Ferrell. Three months later, he’s adjusting beautifully! He’s my little shadow who follows me all over the house. And what a sweet cat he’s turning out to be. No more shy and hiding. Taking in a little life, giving him not only a home but a HAPPY home is the best accomplishment! I love our little new family member. He gets along so good with the other two cats, Nicholas Gray and Sammy Keane Clemmens. Happy Lightfoot Ferrell was the icing on the top of a year of madness.

I wish everyone a better 2021; we can do it!

BEST OF MUSIC 2020

Since there wasn’t nearly as much going out as usual, the list will be light this year. My husband saw about five or six outdoor social distancing concerts over the summer. Due to Covid, I think they all did an amazing job for us and unlike other years, this year I’m choosing not to pick a “best” for live music.

Favorite new songs/videos for 2020!

  1. Miley Cyrus “Midnight Sky” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aS1no1myeTM
  2. Sierra Ferrell “Jingle Bell Rock” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mWKuQDBkls
  3. Billie Eilish “Therefore I Am” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUQl6YcMalg

Since there was plenty of dining, I’ve added restaurants this year!

Best restaurants of 2020

  1. Greentruth Organic: https://www.greentruthorganic.com/
  2. Cave Bistro: https://www.cavebistro.com/
  3. Clean Plate: https://www.cleanplateclinton.com/

And since retail shopping was non-existent, I’m linking to the last post I wrote, Clothes Shopping During Covid, mentioning the top three clothing subscription box companies: https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/clothes-shopping-during-covid/

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

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

Maryanne is the author of the following books:

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

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

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

2019 – Year in Review!

Published December 20, 2019 by Maryanne

Hustle2019 — The Hustle was real! 

Wow, when I look back at 2019, I have a huge smile on my face! I mean, I am glowing! It was filled with lots of love and stellar career moments. I am forever grateful that it happened. Below, I share just some of the highlights–after all, a girl’s gotta be private about some things!

January 2019 

My year started off on the most amazing note. I was only in Toastmasters a few months and I won “Best Speaker” for my deliverance of a David Bowie Tribute I wrote, which I gave on January 10, 2019 — three years after his sad death.

February 2019 

This was the only month of the year that sucked. We had to put down our beloved Bennie cat. He was a feral who was only 3-years-old. We took him in the summer of 2018. The vet checked him out and we were told he had FIV and wouldn’t live long. Sure enough, a few months later he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It broke our hearts; my husband and I were devastated to lose such a sweet, loving cat.

Shortly afterwards, a few friends passed away too. It was a bad, bad month for so many.

SAM_3266 (1)Bennie Hemingway, Rest in Peace little angel

March 2019 

It’s always a blessing to have great friends around to cheer you up!

Jayne - NYC Cher ShowMaryanne and Jayne (aka Romy & Michele) in NYC! 

April 2019

I was so honored to be a part of an anti-bulling club! Sara Liptack of the Little Free Library, Westfield, New Jersey, invited me to her home to discuss my book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” with young readers in the Westfield neighborhood.

IMG_20190406_172624_591 (1)Say “yes” to acai bowls and “no” to bullying! (Photo by Sara Liptack)

May 2019

During the month of May, my husband and I welcomed our newest family member, Sammy! I adopted him from St. Hubert’s in Madison, New Jersey. Sammy is 9-years-old and he spent most of his life in a shelter. We are honored to have him in our family, he’s a perfect little angel and we love him to pieces!

DSCF3932Sammy, our dear little angel! 

May was also significant because I was extremely honored to present my workshop “Be Your Own Hero” for Toastmasters District 83 Spring Conference. It was an excellent turn out and extremely well received. (Note, The “Be Your Own Hero” workshop was based on my book, “Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” which was published later in the year by KiCam). 

DSCF3631Be Your Own Hero

June 2019 

June was super cool because my book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” became available on audio! You can get all versions here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

July 2019 

My husband and I were thrilled to take some much needed private down-time, both by ourselves and with very dear friends. Hashtag GRATEFUL!

Facetune (4)Dennis and Maryanne (Photo by Jayne DiGregorio) 

August 2019

August is my birthday month. And I do mean “month” because it takes a whole month and then some to get together with everyone who is important to me. So, I say to all of you, Thank you for the LOVE!

DSCF4045I love you! 

September 2019 

Once again, getting away and spending time with our super awesome friends! Hashtag HAPPINESS!

DSCF4128 Dennis and Maryanne

October 2019 

This month was a double whammy of greatness! If it wasn’t cool enough that my book, “Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” (https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227) was released, my fictional book, “Love Cats” which was out of print, got picked up by Pink Flamingo Media! (https://www.pinkflamingo.com/). So look forward to a second printing of “Love Cats” in 2020!

Love Cats front and back cover

First printing of “Love Cats” now out of print. Second edition to be published in 2020 by Pink Flamingo Media!! 

During the month of October, I completed writing the play, “Ain’t Life a Beach” for actor, Jesse Walker! It will be presented during the summer of 2020. Jesse Walker was also the first person to interview me to promote “Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero.” Check out the interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7_O5ZdsVNo

November 2019 

I was honored to perform my poetry at Neighborhood House Association. “All About Eve” was well received! You can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyLorsfQig4

December 2019

While many people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s actually a wind-down time for me. I stay at home, sipping keto cocoa drinks and working on my next projects. I have some great ideas in the works…as well as some super cool surprises for 2020 which involve writing, speaking, and poetry!

I wish everyone a very happy, blessed, and prosperous 2020! 

BEST OF 2019

My husband and I do so much and see so much, it’s hard to keep up. I used to write about all the shows we saw in this blog, but it’s time-consuming especially when I also keep private journals. However, the following are truly stand-outs for 2019.

BEST NEW ARTIST – SIERRA FERRELL

Well, I’ve been picking winners since I was a little girl. I’d watch the Miss America contest with my grandmother and right from the beginning I’d say who was going to win. When I accidentally came across the music of young artist, Sierra Ferrell, my mind was blown. She is truly the bomb! (Do people still say that? Well I do!)

When I first heard her song “Jeremiah” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEYSUpPirJM) I knew she was something special. I spent two hours watching her videos on You Tube (the perks of being self-employed). And, by chance, she happened to be performing, just an hour away from us in upstate New York.

For a mere $10, it was a kick ass show. I got to meet Sierra too, and she’s a little sweetheart. The punchline is, two weeks later, she was signed to Rounder Records! Hell, yeah! Now we can look forward to some new music from her in 2020.

DSCF3957Sierra Ferrell and Maryanne 

BEST NEW ARTIST RUNNER UP – BILLIE EILISH 

Not that I’m going to run out and buy tickets to her show … but then again, never say never … I do have her CDs. Wow, I’m just so impressed with her cool, catchy, innovative, strong-spirited songs. I love Billie Eilish! Thank you for existing!

BEST LIVE SHOW – PETER MURPHY, (le) Poisson Rouge, NYC

Last August Peter Murphy did a ton of shows, performing full solo albums and a few Bowie tributes. I had tickets to see the “Deep” show (and one of the David Bowie tributes, but it was canceled because Murphy had a heart attack — he’s okay now and performing again). Anyway “Deep” was one of my favorite Murphy albums and to see it performed live was nothing short of euphoric. My friend Jayne and I got close to the front and Mr. Murphy was so on the money; always a class act entertainer. As an encore, he did “His Circle and Hers Meet” from “Love Hysteria” — and wow, that just blew me over the top! This was truly the show of the year! I was so bummed that the Bowie tribute was canceled, but a taste of Murphy is better than none at all!

BEST PLAY – THE CHER SHOW BROADWAY

I’m so glad I caught this earlier this year because it ended this summer. It was very cool. There were three Chers (my favorite vocal — and look — was the young Cher, Babe), a Sonny, and even a Greg Allman. It was a fun-filled musical time-line of Cher’s life.

BEST MOVIE – “BLINDED BY THE LIGHT”

I like Bruce Springsteen, but having just one CD, I wouldn’t call myself a fan. But this movie totally spoke to me because it was about a writer who was inspired by music. (I’ve often been judged by  intellectual types who shunned me for being a writer inspired by music not necessarily other writers, so watching this movie it was like, “Ha-ha, fuck you!”)

There were so many moments I related to, especially the frustrations and ripping up your own work and throwing it out the window.

In the movie, there’s a scene where the main character’s father rips up his Bruce Springsteen tickets. Parents in my generation, Generation X, rarely understood their kid’s dreams. Generation gaps were huge and parents didn’t make an effort to know their kids like young parents today do.

I still cringe when I look back at the day my mother got mad at me, jumped on my bed, and tore all my Queen posters off the walls. Queen was the band that inspired me to write and be more creative.

So, this movie isn’t just for Bruce fans, it’s for any Generation Xer who had communication problems with their parents.

Rest in Peace

February was just horrible with one death after another. Our dear Bennie cat, our dear friend Daniel Popp, and WFMU radio icon, X-Ray Burns. Whew, it was a terrible, terrible month. May all these young souls rest in peace.

And of course we lose so many celebrities throughout the year, but the one that hit the worst was Ric Ocasek, who died on September 15. I was a Cars fan when I was just 15 and had their first album. I never saw them perform live, but my husband and I went to one of his art gallery shows.  As we were leaving, my husband said, “Wave to him.” We did, and he smiled and waved back. God bless his soul, he was an original.

DSCF3060RIP, Ric Ocasek (Photo courtesy of Maryanne and Dennis Mistretta)

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“The Gypsy Smiled” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

 

 

Red Flags for Editors and Ghost Writers

Published November 20, 2019 by Maryanne

Ghosts

I’ve been self-employed as an editor and ghost writer since 2009. It’s been a wonderful journey. I’ve worked with some amazing people, who I remain friends with to this day. The written word is such a beautiful thing. Editing a book is as relaxing as doing a puzzle. It just doesn’t feel like “work” to me!

But there is work involved. The three steps are: 1. Finding potential clients; 2. Convincing them to work with you; and 3. The third step, not many think about–but should! Interviewing the client and deciding, do you want to work with them? Back in 2013, I wrote an article, The Four Types of Clients You’ll Encounter (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/the-four-types-of-clients-youll-encounter/) and it still holds true today.

In the article, right off the bat I mention that bending over backward for each client is a big mistake. If you read the article you will understand why. In this blog, today, I’m sharing some of the red flags that will tell you, “DO NOT GET INVOLVED!”

When we’re working for ourselves, we may have a great run of clients. Things are going along so well, what could possible go happen? This is when they “get us.” When we least expect it. Someone comes along with little experience in the publishing world, thinks they know everything, and acts like they have you by the balls because they have money. WRONG!

1. The first red flag to say “no” is when someone is not respectful of your time. If you have an appointment to meet with someone and they don’t show up, it’s bad news. (Note, cancelling last minute is okay, because shit happens, and at least they had the decency to call. But if you have to chase someone down for a phone call or an email–BEWARE!)

Here’s an example of what happened to me just today…

I had an appointment at noon for a phone meeting, which was set up by an Assistant to the Writer. Prior to this phone meeting the Assistant said I was in the Top 3 for candidates. Looking good, right? The day before, I called the Assistant to confirm the phone meeting. All was well.

Today, 12:15, no call from Writer. … Which brings me to #2…

2. The second red flag to say “no” to a client is when they use patronizing speech towards you. Next, I called the Assistant, asking “What happened?” Like a child, he got defensive. He went off on me like a raving lunatic, defending the Writer. He was nasty towards me and said I was acting “desperate.”

WTF? Acting “desperate” because I wanted to know why the Writer didn’t keep his appointment? That’s not about desperation, that’s about respect. Was I supposed to wait by the phone all day long (and diss my other clients?!)  Who is the professional here? I believe it was me. I was waiting for a phone call that never happened.

I showed up. They screwed up. TWICE.

As soon as someone uses condescending words towards me, I call it a day. I simply said, “Never mind, I am not interested.” I hung up without giving him a chance to respond. If someone shows their true colors even before the first phone meeting, it’s only downhill from there. I never got a chance to talk to the writer. Which brings me to #3…

3. When assisting a person in writing a book, it’s best to work one-on-one. If there are more people involved, it gets sticky. There are too many personality conflicts. This happened to me very early in my ghost writing career. I was helping an elderly woman write a children’s book. She hired an illustrator that didn’t see eye-to-eye with me–and was downright nasty whenever I disagreed with her. (She couldn’t take constructive criticism and everything had to be her way).

I’m self-employed because I chose to leave the corporate world in order to avoid the stress of petty personality conflicts. Yet, here was this girl behaving like a child.

When accepting a job, be sure you know upfront who else is going to be involved–including assistants!

4. The final red flag is when a client is notorious for ripping people off. Boy, was I blind-sided by this one! A few weeks ago I was helping a girl write a book about coming to NYC, from another state, on a limited budget. While working with this woman, she shared many stories about hopping from loft to loft because she could never make rent. (The punchline is she felt she was entitled to skip rent because she was down on her luck and the tenants were being unfair!!) As a positive person, it never dawned on me that she was still doing the same thing years later. I was under the impression she was now a successful entrepreneur. Next thing I know, we have a phone session and then she stiffs me for money afterwards. She finally paid me and I told her it was best we part ways.

Now, money is not a big deal for me. When I work with clients, I give them freebies all the time. Free hours for their birthdays and Christmas. I give a $50 referral fee to anyone who brings me business. I direct my clients to publishers, places to do book signings, and help them promote their books. When someone hires me, they have a winner! In fact, 90 percent of the people I work with tell me they “love” me!

When you have a great ghost writer/editor and client relationship, the results are pure magic! A book that looks beautiful because you hired someone who has 20+ years experience. A book that is edited and proofread with no mistakes on the main pages (the cover, the back cover, the special thanks section, the dedication). And a book that is up on Amazon, so you can make money (royalty checks) while you sleep!

Is this something you want? Hire a professional today!

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

Rover’s Relief CBD Salve for Pets

Published October 18, 2019 by Maryanne

Rover's Relief

Earlier this week I helped out at a pet expo for two reasons: 1. To network with those who were possibly interested in my professional blogging services or having me ghost write their books (after all, anyone who is self-employed should have a book no matter what line of work they are in); 2. I LOVE ANIMALS! And nothing beats a good score of new products for my kitties. They truly deserve the best.

When you’re a person like myself, either on the go (driving long distances) or at home plugging away on the computer (writing assignments or my next book!), no matter how much you love your life and what you do, you are bound to get a little stressed and achy.

A few weeks ago I noticed a pinch in my shoulder area. I was right on it with acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. Not quite yet healed, I was starting to feel a little achy in the shoulder area again.

Around this time I met RaChelle Lobre, of Rover’s Pet (roverspet.com). I’m always ready to share the story of how CBD oil made my cat Bennie more comfortable during his final days here on earth. Then I got to talking about my achy shoulder. RaChelle suggested taking a big glob of Rover’s Relief CBD salve and putting it on my shoulder.

I did as she suggested and within minutes, my shoulder pain stopped. This salve helped me more than any of the acupuncture or chiropractic treatments did! I was now able to dress and undress without being in pain.

That night I slept like a baby. I woke up the next day feeling like a brand new person, ready to face the world! Hell, if it’s good enough for Rover, it’s good enough for me!

This premium hemp salve contains 500mg CBD oil, and no THC. It’s easy to use and smells pleasant. I recommend using before bedtime because it truly relaxes you.

If Rover’s Pet worked that good for me, imagine what it could do for a dog?

Our babies count on us to give them nothing but the best. If your pet can use a little relief, this is a product I trust and recommend.

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

And check out her anti-bullying You Tube channel, Be YOUniquehttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA?view_as=subscriber

 

Anti-Bullying Talk and Book Signing

Published October 5, 2019 by Maryanne

Photo by Jayne.JPGMaryanne Christiano-Mistretta (photo by Jayne DiGregorio)

This afternoon I was honored to do a book talk and book signing at The Caldwell Library, Caldwell, New Jersey. The event was sponsored by The Caldwell Library and The Women’s Club of Caldwell. NJ Hills Media Group was also there.

My book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” shares my experiences growing up in the 1970s and being bullied relentlessly.

The moral of the story is that it’s bullies who should be shamed, not the victim! According to psychology, it’s never the victims fault, but the bully’s fault.

How did my experiences end? When I fought back! My sweetest revenge is having an amazing life and a beautiful marriage. But I do forgive the bullies. My wish for them is that they have changed for the better and if they have children they are raising them right; that they have learned from their mistakes.

By sharing our experiences and being vulnerable, we take the “shame” out of bullying. The more we speak out against it, the more we evolve and have something done about it! I’m in my mid-50s, and God willing I’ll have another good 40 years left on this planet. I’d like to see us evolve as a human race to the point where bullying no longer exists.

Let’s make bullying extinct!

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

And check out her anti-bullying You Tube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA?view_as=subscriber

 

The Happy Writer!

Published May 20, 2019 by Maryanne

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Putting down an author just because they are not YET a “best-selling” author is a poor man’s mindset. It’s those who do not give up who win. Even if they don’t become best-selling authors, sustainability accounts for something too. Royalty checks, book signing events, and interviews on radio shows all add up. Getting offers to write blogs from all over the world and helping people write books to make their dreams come true is a blessing. It’s super fun earning money while you sleep too!
I’m living the dream and have been earning a living as a writer since 1995! I’ve been in magazines all over the world. I’ve interviewed some of the most incredible people including Henry Winkler, Tommy James, and Peter Murphy. 
I’ve had free meals in restaurants all over New York City. I’ve been on the guest list at countless concerts. And best of all, it doesn’t feel like WORK because I LOVE what I do.
Unstoppable with no plans of retiring! Because if I stop living my dream, I will DIE inside! 
So, when you meet a writer, do not ask them if they are a Best-selling author. A better question is “Are you happy?” And be prepared for an answer that will give you the greatest contact high ever!

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

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books (which both mention how she was inspired by Freddie Mercury): 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Know Your Worth

Published March 24, 2019 by Maryanne

DSCF3485Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

#sundayblessings So blessed to have created a life I most love — wife, author/writer, speaker, creator, self-employed, cat mommy  🙏

In my last blog I wrote about how the world views artists, creators, writers, poets, musicians. If you’re not super famous, people falsely assume you’re not doing too well, which is incorrect.

Over the past 20+ years as I was making a good living as a writer, I’ve seen it all with friends in my creative circles. People will try to low-ball you to get a service. Some may want to barter (something I will do with good friends, but not with a client). But the worst of all is when another who is also in a creative field will try to downplay your success in order to make himself or herself look “better.”

That’s really sad.

First, since we’re all in the same game of life, we should elevate each other. That is why we are put here on Earth. When the love vibration is the biggest vibration you can offer, it’s absolutely amazing what comes out of it.

I’ve been so blessed these past 20+ years to rub elbows with other creatives in my journey. The ones I remember most, and keep in my inner circle are those who have been incredibly supportive. Those who don’t feel that complimenting me on my talents makes them question their own.

You see, knowing your worth is not an ego thing. It’s a thing of confidence. When you are at a point in your career, knowing that you get the job done–and done right, you are able to charge as much as you want for a blog, for a painting, for a class…whatever.

You stick to your price.

And that said, stick to your confidence too. Don’t let anyone low-ball your talent, or your confidence. Know your worth.

If you work for yourself in a creative field, or any field, I’m sure you may have heard the following snarky, or perhaps ignorant comments from people who don’t get it:

“Self employed…that’s hard.”

“I feel better having a real job.”

“What you do is a labor of love.”

Working for yourself, yes, it can be hard. Even if you’re a famous rock star there are lulls in your career. Sometimes I tell myself I’ve had more comebacks than Cher.

But guess what? I am DOING IT. And I have been doing it. Writing professionally since 1995. And speaking professionally since 2014. It is a REAL JOB and I make a good living.

More important, I am happy.

By now, I’m well past the point of caring what others think of me or trying to impress people. I’ve been waking up every morning with a smile on myself, since 1995, saying to myself, “I’m a writer.”

If I dropped dead over 20 years ago, my life was already complete. It just gets better and better over the years. Every few months something great happens that I would have never imagined.

What others think of me doesn’t count, because I know my worth.

I believe in myself and I feel truly blessed.

And unstoppable.

Don’t let anyone stop you either!

Fellow creatives, share your stories below!

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

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta 

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“On the Guest List” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“On the Guest List” is available directly from my publisher, Next Century! To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

“Love Cats” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“Love Cats” is now available on Amazon! For paperback, go here:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513 and for Kindle, go here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/

 “The Gypsy Smiled” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“The Gypsy Smiled” is now available Amazon! For paperback go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1545447470

And for Kindle, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9

 

 

I’m an Author, Why Would I Want to Be a Sales Whore?

Published March 21, 2019 by Maryanne

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Me, signing a free copy of my latest book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You”

…for a little girl who was bullied.  #givingback

I was definitely a late bloomer, but from as far back as my 30s, I was making a living doing something I love — WRITING!

First, as a journalist, then an author. Am I a best selling author? No, not yet. But am I working enough to make a great living, to have a newer car, to go to concerts, Broadway shows, buy cool clothes, obsess over shoes, and give back to the community? YES. YES. YES!

Friends, I am living the dream! I’m a writer!

I’ve been writing professionally since 1995. Now that I’m an author, I get advances and royalty checks. I also help others write their books. And get a sweet dollar for doing so.

Yet so many people are in denial about me. For example, those who are constantly hounding me to join them in their Isogenix endeavors, their Young Living endeavors…from make-up to insurance policies…All those “get rich quick” things that people are forever pushing in my face. 

Now, let me ask you something? Would you ask Freddie Mercury to sell Isogenix? 

No, you wouldn’t. Because he’s a creative person. I AM A CREATIVE PERSON TOO! And if you’ve read this far, I’m sure YOU ARE A CREATIVE PERSON! So, why on earth would I want to give up my God-given talent to push product? That would be like having a 9 to 5 job. TORTURE! I would not be creatively satisfied. I would not be emotionally satisfied. I just might take a gun to my head and blow my brains out if I had to sell Young Living oils. Even if I did make $15,000 per month like some do. That’s not me!

Making money is easy. Making money as a creative person is a little bit harder, but we do it. Not everyone can be a Mark Twain, but if you get up in the morning and are able to say something like, “I’m an author!” or “I’m a musician” or “I’m an artist” — you, my friend, are so blessed.

Let the sales people be sales people. Good for them. God bless them. But God chose YOU to be one of the out-of-the-boxers. Keep following your dreams. I assure you, the money will follow!

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

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta 

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

“On the Guest List” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“On the Guest List” is available directly from my publisher, Next Century! To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Guest-List-Adventures-Music-Journalist/dp/162903908X

“Love Cats” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“Love Cats” is now available on Amazon! For paperback, go here:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513 and for Kindle, go here:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/

 “The Gypsy Smiled” by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

“The Gypsy Smiled” is now available Amazon! For paperback go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1545447470

And for Kindle, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Gypsy-Smiled-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta-ebook/dp/B074VC7MT9