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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. 

Too Busy

Published January 4, 2017 by Maryanne

busy-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Wishing Everyone a Sweet ’16!

Published January 1, 2016 by Maryanne

SAM_9440Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta and husband, Dennis

Happy 2016! Let’s make it a sweet one!

For the past month or so, I’ve been slacking off on blogging. Why? Because I am living the dream of being a writer. Last August I was hired as managing editor of DiningOut magazine. And just yesterday I was hired to write for a media group that has 17 New Jersey newspapers!

My career in 2015 was amazing. It was spent book editing (I’ve helped two people publish their books, two others copy edit, and am now working on another), public speaking, and publishing my second book “Love Cats” (available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513). Then by mid-August I was officially hired as managing editor of DiningOut, which is part-time so I have all the freedom to pursue my other creative outlets. Though I’m not sure if I’ll be publishing my third book “The Gypsy Smiled” in 2016 or not.

While some authors love to bang out books left and right, I like to do so when I can have the time to enjoy and nurture them. 2016 may or may not be the time. I spent most of my adult life earning a living as a writer and journalist. Writing a book was never on my bucket list. It just happened — twice. And it bothers me that so many people think of being an author as something “better” or more important than journalism. I think just the opposite. I think articles are fabulous because they are timely and current and give you instant satisfaction. Plus, the fact that in writing articles, you interview so many people. Learning about people is such a great experience and makes anyone a better person, as it’s always a better idea to listen than to talk. That’s why journalism (and book editing other people’s work) keeps the ego in check. In this line of work, I’m rarely asked about my life and that is fine. (And probably why I love to share my feelings via blogging when I do have the time to think something out and express it in words!)

So looking forward to much more journalism in 2016, of course after the nice three-day weekend (though writers are so addicted to their craft, they always sneak a little work in)! Write to live and live to write!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is an award-winning journalist. Her first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

Don’t Ever Friend a “Fan”

Published October 22, 2015 by Maryanne

Selena's MurderFan murdered superstar Selena

A year ago when I published my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X) it was suggested by an author friend that I start a Facebook page. Over the years I’ve had so many problems on Facebook, I didn’t like the idea. However, I started it up once again because it did help sell a lot of books. Then once I started doing book signings, “strangers” started coming to my events and “friending” me on Facebook. I had a very hard time using the word “fans.” It sounded so … so … so old and weird, like I was Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard” and the “little people” were peons buying my product.

Weirded out by “fan” I started calling those who brought my book, my “beloved readers.” It sounded more endearing than “fans.” But deep down, I wanted my readers to really be friends. They were buying my books and I felt I owed them my life. Dumb move. Making friends with fans is the biggest mistake any author, artist, actor, or musician can ever do. Fans are not friends.

Take the extreme case of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, singer, songwriter, fashion designer who was murdered by a crazed fan. Her family told Selena she was too trusting. And her murderer confessed she killed Selena because she was jealous.

I too, was told all my life that I was too trusting. I’m friendly and personable and make friends very easily. Only to get stabbed in the back over and over again. I’m honest. I’m sweet. And I’m vulnerable. Twice in this past week I was told I was “too nice.”

I said to my husband, “I need to harden up.”

He said, “No, being sweet is what makes you special. You just have to remember, these people are not your friends.”

I’ve learned (the hard way) there’s a place for fans — in the audience. Do not exchange phone numbers. Do not friend them on Facebook. Do not let them take you out to dinner. Do not meet them for lunch. If they give you a gift, kindly accept it.

Learn how to be a respected author because you paid your dues in getting there. There is no shame in calling someone a “fan.” You earned the right to say that. You don’t always have to be so humble. Humble means people will take advantage.

As much as we’d like to believe everyone is equal, we are not.

Let’s be real. We’re not in the same league as Oscar winners and rock stars. And on that same note, our fans are not in our league either. Even if we’re just doing book signings in libraries in front of a small audience and getting royalty checks every few months, it’s a helluva lot more than most people are doing and that will provoke jealousy (the root of all evil).

People can be very nice to your face and stab you in the back. They might be excited and honored to be your friend at first. They may introduce you as their “author friend.” They may put great reviews of your product on Amazon. They may come to your events and tell you how beautiful you are. This doesn’t make them a “friend.” It’s like the old saying, “Easy come, easy go.” When people put you up on a pedestal, they’ll be the first to knock you down when they find out you’re human.

Or as the ego always dictates, they’ll knock you down when they find out you disagree with them politically, or spiritually, or even if you eat meat and they don’t.

We live in a crazy ego-driven world; people are control freaks and users. People only love you when it’s working to their advantage. Everyone loved the All American Ricky Nelson until he grew his hair long. That is what his song “Garden Party” is about — not pleasing others. Others don’t want you to have an  opinion of your own. If it doesn’t match theirs, you’ll have hell to pay.

I won’t get into the ugly side of being an author because some fans are so vain they’ll probably think this blog is about them. So let’s just say nasty people are good at it because that’s where their heart is — in a nasty place. If only that energy was directed into doing something creative, they’d be the ones signing autographs too. But they’re not … so the smoke starts coming out of the noses and the eyes turn green with envy.

Though I take my chances in writing this to: #1 bring awareness, as you’ll never know who you are helping (hence my “Why Are Women Catty?” blog I wrote several years ago and is still getting a ton of “hits”); and #2, blow steam. I believe a good vent, even if it’s cryptic, is very healthy. This is why I am 52-years-old and have a beautiful head of natural shiny chestnut brown hair — not dyed! (And this is where people say, “Get the fuck out of here!” and can’t believe it. But, yeah, I don’t lie. I’m honest to a fault!)

But back to keeping fans in their place … This is why my husband advises: “Stick with your peers.”

Those peers are my true friends who I can fight and disagree with, but who will never, ever really hurt me. Those peers are also the super cool acquaintances I’ve made in the creative world — the deejays who will have me on their radio shows or simply give me a shout out; my fellow authors who will surprise me with an email; the celebrities I’ve interviewed who on rare occasions drop me a line — even years after I’ve interviewed them; the librarians who book my programs; and anyone I work with in the art/music/publishing media world. That’s why I love my career so much, it’s about being with your friends and doing a little bit of work — an easy, breezy, enviable life.

So, to any new authors reading, I say, appreciate who you are and be real about it. Don’t humble yourself so much like I did that you put yourself in a vulnerable spot, set up for abuse. (Note: This is why famous celebrities on Facebook and Twitter DO NOT interact with their fans).

Have a little pride in yourself and realize that it’s OKAY to have fans and enjoy the fact that you do. Just keep them at bay. This way when you inadvertently piss them off, the worst thing they can do to you is write you a bad review. And at worst, bad reviews are pretty funny. At best, they are bad-ass because it means people are reading — and that’s just what a writer wants!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta’s second book “Love Cats” is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513). Her former fans loved it!

Gearing up for Book #3!

Published July 11, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8011Me, left, and model friend Ashley

During one of my book signings last year for “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X) I met Ashley. Even though I was 25 years older then her, we had a lot in common: we’re both deep, sensitive, positive, writers, tattooed, fans of the love metal band HIM, and animal adorers.

Two months later Ashley invited me to read at an event she was hosting with her friend Nataly called “Rock ‘n’ Paws” to benefit animals. During this time I started writing my third book, “The Gypsy Smiled” and figured Ashley would be a great cover model. Not only was she beautiful, as you can see, but she was someone I just knew would work well with me. I was so positive I wanted to use her that I when I described my character Lucy, aka Lucretia, I described Ashley: And then there was Lucy, about 5’5” and curvy. She had shoulder-length straight dark hair with long bangs, which she dyed pillar box red by Manic Panic. Her eyes were so dark, they were almost black. 

A fun coincidence was that my character Lucy, who is 26, Ashley’s age, meets a guy who is younger than her — 23. In the real world, Ashley shared with me today that her boyfriend is 23.

During our drive up to the photographer’s home, I shared more of the “Gypsy” story with Ashley and we were laughing because the character Lucy had qualities similar to both of us.

We had a great time working with photographer Zander of Zander Images: www.zanderimages.com

In fact, Zander invited Ashley back to work with him again!

Now if “Gypsy” gets picked up by a traditional publisher, we probably won’t be using my cover idea, but the good news is, it was a perfect hang-out day, never-the-less! As an author I would like at least one of my books to be picked up by a traditional publisher, but if that doesn’t happen, I can bask in the fun of working with people I highly admire, from Ashley as my model, to Zander as photographer, to Cynthia my copy editor chick to Darlene, my cover designer (www.darlenefoster.com) and self-publishing companies (I’m still deciding whether to try someone new or to stick with the same company I’ve worked with for “Guest List” and “Love Cats”). Either way it’s a win win: someone else foots the bill and I’m in their hands; or I foot the bill and have a blast doing the work! A win/win, I’d say!

After the model session, we grabbed a bite at Chilly Willies, in Boonton, New Jersey a fabulous Mexican eatery! Great food, greater conversation. A five-star day!

I love you Ashley! xo

SAM_8009Vegetarian Tacos!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta’s newest book “Love Cats” is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YBGVJQS/

People Are Still Reading

Published April 21, 2015 by Maryanne

writer's quote

The other day I was having an issue with Word Press. There’s some glitch, that when I link to my business page, it says, “Page Not Found” even though everything is A-OK on the Go Daddy side of it. Though not really a big deal because if people want to find me, they will find me. I don’t need to be on Face Book either. Yeah, I’m THAT good and have the confidence to say so.

And that is what I want to encourage writers about with this post — not to let others belittle you into thinking the past is the past. Because it’s not. If you’re good, people will always be reading what you wrote, even if it’s from several years ago.

So, getting back to Go Daddy. The support guy told me, “Don’t go crazy fixing all the links. People will only go back so far.”

Uh, no they won’t.

They will dig until their hearts content if they find your blog interesting enough. Why do I know this? Duh — the stats! According to my stats, people are reading blogs I wrote very far back. And why wouldn’t they? It’s GOOD stuff! And not all of it is “dated.”

Sometimes I’ll go through my old blogs and delete things that are dated. And once in a blue moon I’ll delete a vent, but most of the time I’ll keep a vent up because that is when I get the biggest compliments — when I vent. If it wasn’t for a vent, I wouldn’t be going to Cleveland this October to speak for NotMom. And I once had an editor that told me my best writing was when I was angry or disappointed.

But back to the old blogs … which brings me to old books.

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend about royalty checks. She said that they will fizzle out as the book gets old. On the contrary, it’s been over a year since my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” was published and I’m still selling and having people invite me on their radio shows and to their libraries to promote my book. Yes, even this late in the game. It’s exciting!

My point is … writing is an art that is timeless. It’s like music in a lot of ways. Sure you get that first wave of marketing going after you’re first published, and it seems like the whole world is reading and buying your product … but it’s not over ’til it’s over. And that may be never. Even after you’re long gone. Look at Mark Twain!

One of my former editors said, a few years ago, she was still getting royalty checks for a book she wrote in the 1990s!

A few years ago I found a blog so good, I read the whole four years in one night’s sitting. And not too long ago I found an online diary that was written in the 1970s but published in 2008. That was seven years ago, yet the diary was so fabulous, I immediately contacted the author and set up a lunch date with her! And I can’t wait!

So, keep writing and growing. But don’t ever feel your past is a thing of the past. Savor all you’ve ever written and embrace it. It’s your art, your work, your muse … and there will always be an interest.

Who knows, I just may be reading something you wrote, as you are reading this!

I’ll hit the send button and this post will be brandy new, but if someone finds this post a year, or several years later, give me a shout to let me know, my point is valid! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Writers/Poets Deserve More Credit For Our Imaginations

Published April 16, 2015 by Maryanne

writers strange

As I prepare to self-publish my first work of fiction, it haunts me terribly that the general public doesn’t give creative writers enough credit. And so I hesitate to move forward. I’m not talking about book sales by any means. I’m talking about assumptions people make, mainly that a writer is secretly disguising their God-given imaginative talent with some sort of “cover up” that their creations are not all that, but rather truth in disguise.

Many moons ago, in the early to mid-1990s, I was on the rising poet, spoken word scene. I was so confident, I actually gave copies of my poetry to Allen Ginsburg when I met him! Sometimes I look back and flinch at my cockiness. But that’s when I have to take a step back and say, “Hey, don’t second guess yourself.” Authors and poets do need all the confidence they can get because as great as the praise is, so are the knock downs. The worst being when you don’t get credit for your creativity.

During my time as a live poet, I heard it all. Some guys who were infatuated with me thinking every poem was about them. “That one was about me. I know it.”

“Sorry, no.” That was my honest answer.

And then there were other guys who knew they didn’t stand a chance, chastising me for writing about dark topics such as bondage and discipline, assuming it was autobiographical. Hearing “What kind of guys do you hang out with?” in such a condescending manner from someone I barely respected made me shy away from the poetry scene — at least in New Jersey. And so I started performing in NYC where people were more open-minded.

I wanted to strangle the person who made the assumption that my poetry was autobiographical and scream at the top of my lungs: “I’M A WRITER, DAMN IT! GIVE ME SOME CREDIT FOR CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION!”

The first time I had a fiction story published, I was ecstatic. I saw the magazine on a newsstand at St. Mark’s Place in NYC. It was the coolest thing in the world. How great is my life? What could be better than being in NYC and seeing your story on display for all the world to see?

My bubble burst a few days later when a gym friend assumed the story I wrote was about a friend who was having problems in her love life.

This is what we, as writers and creators, struggle with on a daily basis — the personal end of it. The comments, the critiques, the assumptions. It’s just like being bullied in school. People make up their minds about something and you can never do enough to change it.

As I’m on the verge of publishing my first fictitious book, “Love Cats” — a book that takes place in the 1980s, I have to psych myself up to the fact that many people are going to assume that the story is autobiographical. Even though it’s not. Not even close.

When they say, “Write what you know” — I really only know about three things: music, health and how to have a happy marriage. Only one of these three things is in my upcoming book: music.

For me to create many different characters, I had to dig deep into my imagination. It was very hard work, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that has over 1000 pieces. I also had to do massive research to get certain things right.

This book is truly my baby, my muse, a book I will cherish until I die. I fell madly in love with all my characters whether they were good or bad. So much thought was put into their growth and development. During the writing process I believe I momentarily channeled the work from a higher power because some of the book came to me effortless, while other parts were so hard I had to put it away for months.

So, dear reader, THINK, before the next time you ask a writer or a poet if their work is autobiographical. It’s really a slap in the face whenever we hear such false accusations. Give us some credit for our minds, please? No matter how strange!

And to my fellow writers — this is where I say, not only to you, but as a reminder to myself. There’s always the point where you need to just let go and not worry about what others think. Nothing you do can change that. So don’t go crazy trying to change the worlds’ minds. A simple note inside your book saying, “The characters in this book are  fictitious. Any resemblance to someone alive or dead is purely coincidental” will suffice.