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Editor’s Letter February is the month for love. I am a hopeless romantic. I love to go out on dates! I love to get all dolled up and dress really pretty. I am a girly girl for sure! It will be nice for springtime. So I can start wearing all the spring trends. That will be so fun!


Table of Contents

Page 29 Haute Men’s Fashion Button, Button...Who Has The Button? By William Maltese Page 39 I May Be Scarred But I’m Not Broken By Cheryl M. Smith Page 59 Interview with Singer Tim White By Wanda Julian Page 77 So Dahlink By Brenda Burgett Page 82 Editor in Chief ’s Faves for February Page 97 To-marrow … To-marrow By William Maltese Page 127 Alexander At Bagdaloon Page 143 Interview with Screenwriter and Producer Jean Maye By Wanda Julian Page 157 Finding Hope Movie Review By Wanda Julian Page 172 Goddess Divine Circle Group Review By Wanda Julian


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Haute Men’s Fashion BUTTON, BUTTON … WHO HAS THE BUTTON? William Maltese I have several designer sports and suit coats in my closet. There is often something about wearing a designer piece — maybe just the snob-appeal in having paid big money for a big-name (Brioni, Bill Blass, Versace) — that can make someone feel more special. Then, again, maybe it’s because a designer piece can be counted upon to have superior craftsmanship, provide an exceptional fit, have a distinctive “something” about it that’ll have you looking so exceptionally well-tailored that someone will actually step up and ask (as has happened to me in the past), “Is that a Brioni you’re wearing?” That said …there is a disadvantage to designer wear that I experienced recently, and it has to do with buttons. More specifically … with losing one. In my case, from a Versace sports coat. Not one of the smaller buttons from one of its cuffs, because I could have replaced that by pilfering one of the mirroring buttons found on the adjoining cuff; or, I could have removed all the buttons from both cuffs without anyone likely to notice, since such buttons are usually decorative anyway. I’m talking about losing one of the functional larger buttons that fasten the coat’s front. Sometimes a designer will oblige by providing a replacement button sewn somewhere to the inside of the coat lining, but sometimes, as in my case, that courtesy, by Versace, wasn’t provided. With this particular designer coat, as with many others, it’s never just a case of running down to the nearest retail button store, or checking for “buttons” on the internet, to find, successfully, an exact replica, as I likely could have done with a non-designer coat. Designer coats, including my Versace, are often fitted with unique “designer buttons”, exclusive to the designers by way of additionally branding the exclusivity of their merchandise. I snail-mailed a query to the “House of Versace” for information on obtaining a replacement button, with no response. I snail-mailed a request to Donatella Versace for information on obtaining a replacement button, with no response. I followed up with emails, with no responses. (NOTE: Having met Gianni Versace, before his horrible death, I judge him as someone who would have been gracious in not only providing a response but, likely, providing me with a gratis replacement button; obviously things have gone downhill since his demise). To make a long story short, my lost button was found, purely by accident, and returned to me. If it hadn’t been recovered, though, I would have been confronted by the need to replace all of the coat’s remaining Versace buttons with non-Versace buttons, making my Versace coat less the designer Versace garment I’d originally purchased. The moral to this story: Make sure you’re always provided with at least one extra designer button at the time of any of your big-money designer sports- or suit-coat purchases.


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倀爀漀甀搀氀攀礀 䠀愀渀搀洀愀搀攀 椀渀 匀瀀漀欀愀渀攀Ⰰ 圀䄀 ㄀  ─ 吀栀攀爀愀瀀攀甀琀椀挀 䜀爀愀搀攀 䔀猀猀攀渀琀椀愀氀 伀椀氀猀 倀爀漀搀甀挀琀猀 䤀渀挀氀甀搀攀㨀 䈀愀琀栀 䈀漀洀戀猀Ⰰ 䈀漀搀礀 䈀甀琀琀攀爀猀Ⰰ 匀挀爀甀戀猀Ⰰ 䘀愀挀椀愀氀 倀爀漀搀甀挀琀猀Ⰰ 圀攀氀氀渀攀猀猀 䬀椀琀猀 ☀ 伀椀氀猀

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I May Be Scarred But I’m Not Broken By Cheryl M. Smith

Coming up March 24th 1-2:30 at Couer d’Alenes Silver Lake Mall is the third annual, “From Haute Mess to Hauteness.” This is a very special brainchild of Cheryl M. Smith of Positive Presentations, a local personal stylist as well as Producer of fashion shows and local events. She tells us she has loved fashion from a very young age following all things fashion and has modeled for Boutique Owner friends in Anchorage where she hails from. We are told she is magical when it comes to dressing her clients as a personal stylist. When we went on her biz page Haute4Less on FB we saw a solid 5 star rating with reviews like, “Cheryl has the best fashion instinct, I’m lucky to have her sharp eyes out shopping for me, retail therapy at it’s best, and she has a way of making you feel so good about yourself.” She is passionate about being as she terms it, “a maker”, someone who makes a difference in both others lives as well as her local communities. That, we are told is exactly what this show is all about making women feel fabulous in their own skin, at whatever place, point they are in their life. She tells us, “ I always wanted to do a makeover type of event sort of like a “What Not to Wear,” revision of a before and after. That is what she has done with this show. She went to work taking her idea to actual concept, and this year is going to be an amazing production from what we have seen and heard. In addition to the usual entertainment her shows include like a choreographed jazz piece by Tia Moua Miss Spokane Outstanding Teen 2018, we are told we are in for a real treat as she has brought on board local CDA choreographer Monica Milhelm. Monica has been modeling since the age of five. Her professional training includes freeze, runway, catalog and commercial modeling and her extensive experience extends to acting in soap operas and a national spokes model for many large brands. She is an incredible choreographer with numerous productions under her belt as well as a costume designer extraordinaire two talents that will be showcased at this years show. We are told Monica’s choreographed piece is going to have a strong message speaking to coming from a bad place into a much better place. Which is really what this show is all about ; before and after.


You see, women who have been through cancer, loss, great traumas are the women that Cheryl and Monica want to empower, make feel beautiful, and bless and they are with the support of the Mall merchants at Silver Lake Mall and the Mall management who make this show for the third year possible. This year ten women have stepped up to nominate themselves for a total makeover, we have shared a little about their stories here. The winner is picked through a polling vote and will be announced the day of the event. Because of the generosity of the Silver Lake Mall stores a first prize winner will win an entire outfit along with a gorgeous piece of jewelry from Harry Ritchies, second and third prize winners will take home some gifts as well. All of the nominees will get to mark one thing off their bucket list, and that is first the opportunity to be pampered by the awesome folks at Toni and Guy Hair Academy of Couer d’Alene and secondly to walk the runway in an outfit provided by Macys, Macy’s Jr and or JC Penney. We would like to introduce you briefly to the nominees, and we are sure you will be touched by their stories as we were. We know you’ll want to join us to celebrate these brace women for Positive Presentations third annual show. It is family friendly and open to the public,make it a point to put it on your calendar to come see these strong amazing women strut their stuff. “Hi my name is Mara I haven’t had a makeover for as long as i can remember....a year ago yesterday I was in surgery from a car wreck at Standing Rock 12/2/16. I fractured the ball of my humerus bone and dislocated it for 5 weeks before surgery 1/11/17. I now have 13 screws and a plate in my arm was in another small re-injury car wreck with my Caregiver on Oct 13th this year and am now going thru testing because they think the car wreck caused MS.” “Hi! My name is Carie Lynn. I want to nominate myself for a makeover because this last year I have almost died several times, a devastating divorce, job and income losses as I had to resign from one of my jobs, due to my decline in health. I left almost everything, except my personal items to my now ex husband resulting in a severe financial hardship to endure on top of everything.” · 


“ Hi, my name is Teri, I would like to nominate myself for the makeover. 17 yrs ago I had bilateral knee implants and seven other surgeries ensued. That took me down the road of depression. Then I lost two sisters within 3 yrs of each other. Medication has taken a toll on me also. Now I am working on being myself again. I have already lost 40lbs and working on another 40lbs and the last 40lbs to go.” “ My name is Shannon. I’m 43, married with two boys. The last year and a half has just worn me down. First, my mother unexpectedly passed away. She was my best friend, rock and was someone I could talk to about my depression. Just a few months later my father in law passed away. Among that chaos and heartbreak we had to up and move due to our neighbors constant harassment.” “Hi my name is Rachel I’m nominating myself as well! I moved to the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my kiddo in the summer of 2013 as a single parent with my only child. In October 2016, at nine years old, my kiddo started losing weight and feeling fatigued, having stomach aches every day, not wanting to be away from me JUST as I started letting her spend more time with her friends. I thought she was having a growth spurt or going through a more sensitive phase. She finally ended up with a terrible pain which is why I took her to urgent care and she eventually was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I didn’t realize it at the time but her body was beginning to shut down.” “Hello my name is Lynda, I am nominating myself. I am 53 years old. I have had 9 cancer and/Ortho related surgeries in the past 3 years. On September 25, 2015, my breasts were taken from me in a battle against breast cancer. On December 20, 2017, I had a mastectomy revision to even out my chest wall. I’ve had a losing battle with weight gain related to all my health issues. I’m currently looking at a knee replacement....my knee keeps me from doing many things that I want to do. I


“My name is Shakira, I’m a single mom of two beautiful kids. I am a cancer survivor. I battled cervical cancer for 5 years. I am also a survivor from a domestic violence relationship. I was in that bad relationship for 6 years and then I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, knew I had to get out so my daughter could have a better life. My youngest kid has been battling many medical issues ( white matter disorder in the brain, seizures, and more) since the day he was born.” “My name is Renay, I was diagnosed with cancer in February of 2009. I am a survivor! I have had several issues with recurrences but am almost a full year with no issues. I struggle with what my counselor calls survivor remorse. I have lost many family members and friends to the disease and felt like I shouldn’t even bother anyone with my issues since I was “beating the odds”. I just survived the 30th anniversary of the loss of my son at 5 weeks old and have watched my marriage go from stable to almost divorced back to stable (sort of) again.” “My name is Joy, I have been at home with my children and never do anything just for me. I am a SAHM and don’t really have the time to ever do anything other than put on a coat of mascara nowdays. Being pampered would be wonderful.”

“Hello, my name is Krystine,I have been in recovery from heroin for 26 years I am now 1 year free from breast cancer also 6 months ago I finished my treatment for Hep C with all this going on my daughter fell into a deep depression so she is living with me so I’m trying to help her get through it I haven’t had much time for myself so a makeover would really lift my spirit https://www.facebook.com/events/144954112871285/


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Interview with Singer Tim White by Wanda Julian

Tell us about yourself Listen to my music. It's all there. My music is my story and you can know me better then anyone by listening closely. My songs are honest, about real situations and real people. I don't hold back. Why did you become a singer? I became a songwriter first. Singing just seemed like the next step. My music is personal and I've always felt weird when I let other people sing my words. I want to be honest, and I have so much to say. I feel like my fans deserve to hear me say it. Of course I'm still open to writing for other artists, but those songs should be in their voice. Not mine. I love your new song. What inspired you to write it? I've been in a LOT of relationships. I was even in one when I wrote this. But even when I was the happiest in relationships it's never felt right to me. Maybe I'm just an idealist but I have this girl in my head. The one I dream about. I wish could draw because I'd make her the album art. I guess to me she's the idea of "the one". But I haven't found "her" and I'm quite literally terrified of never finding her. Loneliness is pretty common theme in my music and so when I say "They're all about you" ...I'm writing these love songs, but I really haven't met the subject yet. If that makes sense?


Where can we find your music? Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, YouTube, I get around. Where can people see you live? No immediate tour dates but you can "track" me on bandsintown or songkick and that's the best way to find out about tour dates. We'll announce some soon. I think there's a NYC date being announced in the next week or so. Do you live stream? If so where can we find you to watch? Yes! I love to periscope is my favorite: itstimwhite but I've also done a bunch on instagram: timwhite What are some goals you would like to achieve? Right now I just want to keep making music and be able to share it with as many people as possible. That's my vision and I'm open to any path that gets me further in that direction. I try not to define goals that are too specific, because I want to be open to opportunities that I might not be able to foresee. What are you passionate about? Music, Women, Coffee, & Beaches. In that order. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? On a beach with women drinking coffee and writing songs about it.


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So Dahlink

by Brenda Burgett If this time of year is valentine cards, beautiful boxes of great chocolate, and romantic episodes, this may bounce off your happy place. So just skim this and maybe I’ll have something for you in the next article? For those of us who wait and have waited in anticipation, that this might be the year someone will appear with love wrapped in chocolate and beautiful words. That will inspire that warm fuzzy feeling you either vaguely remember or are waiting to experience. Warm Fuzzy Could be Warm Magic Glue - Dog Hair or dust! Why in the world would those things be an alternate to candy and romance? Well, actually that is a stretch for even me to imagine, but since I am on a roll with this concept lets see where it goes? It used to be the thing to say “Humor Me.” Beginning with the warm Magic glue: Having dropped my favorite jades necklace, my heart shattered with it as it hit the tile floor. I imagined that it was destroyed. Feeling heartsick, I wrapped it in a soft cloth. Eventually I let the problem solver part of me kick in. Magic glue! Magic glue would repair anything. My current husband had laid tile throughout our entire house with the magic elixir. I had learned that the glue was hard to work with if it were cold. Aw - ha! now the warm glue makes sense? If a not so adorable or loving person would be wise enough to see that to fix my precious necklace, then the chocolate, card and potential romance, would fade away. Why would dog hair be ok? I lost one of my fur babies. He was a stubborn little dog whose dad had been a traveling man and his mom a chihuahua. He was gone without a trace. My heart ached... Not knowing where he was, and if he were even alive. He had spent most of his life on my lap. It was assumed that if I was home I would hold him. I was usually sprinkled with fine, short, blond Weezy hair. (Weezy was the name he had evolved into.) I complained but continued to provide a lap for him. Eventually I had Thor, the wonder-dog on my lap. He had been waiting for his turn! I don’t complain about the hair these days maybe it has become my Chocolate and flowers? Maybe? Dust, is the alien fuzz particles which mysteriously appear when one doesn’t sweep for a while. It is a sign, to some, that the domestic goddess of the house has not been attentive to her job. To some it is as comfortable as the stack of magazines waiting to be read. To make any sense of this it should be told that I care for my mom, who is in her nineties. I have been known to swoop into her house and vacuum, mop and what ever needs to be attended to. I was surprised one day when Ruthie, the mom, said, “I want to see you, talk to you and be heard. Don’t fly in here and think you are doing your duties. Sit with me and be company for me. My eyes are not good enough to see the lint but I want to see you.” Chocolate, cards, romance, warm glue, dog hair or lint, take your pick! It all can fill our happy places! I want it all, my small island where I reign as Queen - eating chocolate, reading my gushy cards, and waiting for the visiting King to appear. If I find myself with a repaired jade necklace and a Weezy dog on my lap, I will have the housekeeper take the day off and forget the dust!


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We are doing a new segment called Contessa’s Court Corner started last October. Where Wanda Julian will fill us in on what is hot in fashion.

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Editor in Chief’s F

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Sedalia Designs was founded in 2009 when CEO Marcy Schoenborn moved to Sedalia Colorado. After a long history or being in the wholesale jewelry industry supplying boutiques in Michigan and Colorado Marcy decided to take the company to Direct Sales. There are many reasons for this change. Marcy has a background in Direct Sales and worked with several companies, promoting and doing well but always felt she wanted to do more than the companies offered to others. As an example; Sedalia Designs offers a completely free business start up so people who can't afford to start a business but want to work can have a business. The company offers training to teach anyone interested how to run their business on line. The move to Direct Sales was also inspired by the need and want to help more charities. With every sale their is an allotment set aside that helps any legitimate charity that asks for help and this is growing all the time with the obvious growth of the company. In 2017 the company celebrated 3 years as a direct sales company and launched in several countries adding Australia, New Zealand, UK and ROI to our list of USA and Canada. There are many things that make us unique, we are wholesale to the public while most direct sales companies charge more than store pricing. Marcy didn't see the need to increase pricing as she has always had an issue with the very high mark up on costume jewelry. We also stock over 2000 designs and plan to be known as the best place to shop when you need gifts or jewelry for a new outfit that won't cost a fortune. Our line boasts many styles and we have a few catch phrases; "any style and every budget", "friends don't let friends pay retail for jewelry", but the most important one is; "who can we help and how can we help them?" As this is written we have a consultant roster of only 1500 across the countries we sell in. Our goal is to reach into the hundred thousands and we know this is possible because everyone wants a great price with great quality. Marcy considers everyone in the company, from the jewelry designers to the consultants part of he Sedalia Designs family. In her own words "nobody is more important than anyone else, including myself! We all contribute important components that add to the success of this company!" If you have been looking for a company with huge potential and a great foundation based on hard work, dedication, honesty and integrity; look no further!

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To-marrow … To-marrow William Maltese

Just taking into account the benefits of bone-marrow soup — gut-health restoration, immunesystem support, bone-strength increase — I’d make it more often if bones from animals born and bred in chemically free environments were more easily accessible. So, as luck would have it, when my sister commissioned just such a calf, from a local “green” rancher, I ended up the gracious recipient of its bones. Immediately, I began to prepare a batch of the beneficial but much-neglected-by-me soup. ***

Pre-heat regular oven to 400 degrees. Place 3.5 – 4 lbs of beef bones on a baking sheet; salt and pepper them. Roast bones for 60 minutes, flipping midway through the bake.

While the bones are baking, place the following in an (8-quart) crock pot— 3 unpeeled medium-chopped celery stalks 2 unpeeled medium-chopped carrots 2 garlic cloves 1 unpeeled medium-chopped onion 1 bay leaf 2 T apple-cider vinegar


Fill the crock pot almost to the brim with water. It won’t boil over on slow-cook. Add 1 – 14 tsp of salt (preferably Kosher). Let slow-cook for 18 – 72 hours. After the slow-cook, thoroughly strain and discard bones and soggy vegetables. Place strained liquid in the refrigerator overnight. After overnight cooling, remove broth from refrigerator and skim off the fat (which you can, if you want, use for future cooking). Re-heat liquid before serving. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley. *** NOTE: For those who simply see all of this as way too time-consuming for the resulting satisfaction, health benefits, and good taste, you can find commercially made canned bonemarrow soup in many local grocery stores. *** All seven of William Maltese’s cookbooks can be found in book stores everywhere


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ALEXANDER AT BAGDALOON Finally, after several frustratingly unsuccessful queries, one of the questioned indigenous populations was brought to admit that an oracle of a unique equine god did exist within the vicinity. Thereafter, Alexander and some of his men, set out to find it, because Alexander’s once-again conquest-weary army needed yet another bolster, by way of favorable blessing from whatever the available deity, as had been the case on each step of the expedition’s lengthy journey toward the end of the world.

Having succeeded in reaching the Oracle’s gates, Alexander was informed by the presiding Priestess that it would be in Alexander’s best interest not to advantage the god’s prophetic gift at that time. But Alexander, who, after all, had broken into the Oracle of Delphi, when told that shrine was, at the time, closed to all pilgrims, and had grabbed its Pythoness by her hair to cajole a favorable blessing from Apollo, was not to be denied.

The Priestess of this latest oracle led Alexander to a waterfall-misted forest glen, within the sacred compound, where she pointed out a thick bed of moss upon which Alexander should spend dusk-till-dawn, and count the number of manifestations in which the equine god made an appearance … if and when he made an appearance at all. At no time, though, should Alexander make any physical contact with the god or risk facing dire consequences.

Two hours after sunset, Alexander came awake, no awareness of having ever gone to sleep, and saw, but feet away, a magnificent creature, horse-like but for its long, narrow, and bony projection from its forehead. The beast was so marvelous to behold, and so close, that Alexander was mightily tempted to reach out and touch it.

Three more times, during the next few hours, did the god of the Oracle appear to Alexander, the latter continuing to be tempted to touch it until, at last … having by then, reminded himself that he was, after all, the reputed son of Ammon, and was so often referred to as god-like that he would assuredly be immune to any mortal-related negative consequences … Alexander risked physical contact. His resulting handful of thick and silky horse hair, along with the manifestation of which it was a part, suddenly dissolved into mere mist, and there were no additional appearances during the remaining time before sunrise.

With his count of four, Alexander asked the Priestess to confirm the god’s blessing, and, later, proclaimed to his troops, that the divine auspices had been favorably inclined for their undertaking. Except, he and his invading army were turned back by Porus and that king’s troops, at the river Hydapes; Alexander’s forces mutinied; and, after having reached Baghdad, failing to conquer India, Alexander unexpectedly and mysteriously died. —Hindu-Kush Folk Legend Unicorn Artwork by William Maltese from artist’s private collection.


Interview with Screenwriter and Producer Jean Maye By Wanda Julian

How long have you been writing? I’ve always been writing. When I was at school, an English teacher told me she believed that I would become a writer. She always gave me the highest marks for my stories, even though my spelling and grammar were questionable and a challenge for me. Also, because of a severe speech impediment, a constant stammer, learning to read out loud was just unbearable, so this was something, I rarely did. It wasn’t until I was a young adult, self-learning and enroled in a night school class that I realised just how many words I couldn’t read out loud or pronounce correctly! I still get stuff wrong. In my thirties, when managing a Child Protection of which seven were Dyslexic, I went and got myself assessed. For me, although I was already published in social care books, this sort of gave me the reassurance and acceptance that I needed, and that it was ‘okay,’ not to always get things right. This gradually removed my barrier to the world of creative writing so when a few years later I became very ill and had to retire early from that career, I returned to university and completed an MA in Creative Writing. It was there that the zest and desire to write screenplays came into force. What does it feel like to be a best selling author? This was in the year 2001 with a book titled My Life and Me. It was my second publication. In all, I have four. My first was published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. A working draft that I sent off and expected to finish it, but they released it as sent. BAAF, now known as Corum BAAF Adoption and Fostering Academy, published the others. All are interactive workbooks to help children and young people to express themselves in a way that is unobtrusive. My Life and Me was born out of my frustrations of being a social worker hit a point of despair between government policies and legalisations. I felt they were not directly meeting the needs of children by actively listening and giving them the opportunity to really voice their concerns, wishes and aspirations, even though everything was set up structurally, to do just that, social workers and management were failing. When we are adults, if we have not been adopted or fostered and still have our birth parents, we have the luxury of asking them questions about our childhood.


Children fostered or adopted have very fragmented lives and many moves. This causes confusion and bewilderment often creating further anxiety. They had at that time, very little information about themselves which they could hold on to. My Life and Me is a life story book which provided an opportunity for children separated from their birth parents to keep a record of their life and journey. My most cherished moment of having this book published was a letter that I received from the head of healthcare in Ireland. The letter was sent to my publishers thanking the author for helping so many of their children. A few years later, a university in Japan started using the book as a training tool, then later, Japan brought the Rights to translate and publish the book into Japanese, so I now have a version of the book that I wrote, but cannot read! The book was a best seller for approximately ten years. Interestingly, after moving away from interactive workbooks, I do have another fabulous book titled ‘When My World Changed.’ For this, I sought a co-writer and found the most amazing friend and writer from Sri-Lanka, Fahima Sahahdeen. It’s a book to help children and their families cope with the aftermath of living through a natural disaster. Sadly, although we’ve had two publishing companies love the book and interested in publishing this, it was their concerns over distribution and marketing it which held them back. Both Fahima and I have experienced natural disasters, and each time we see more happening, we wonder how this fantastic little book might help them to recover. Perhaps, one day, we will find our publisher. What do you love about screenwriting? At the moment I feel I am still learning the craft and science of screenwriting. In fact, I hope I never stop developing these skills because it’s this pure determination to ‘get it right’ that keeps me motivated and inspired to tell a great story and see this visually on the screen. So, perhaps it’s not so much the love at this stage on the screenwriting front, but rather the inner drive that I have to get my first feature Shadows’ End, off the ground and to enjoy the delights and privileges of seeing my short films on the screen on the way. However, within the process of actual storytelling, there is that installed love that my school teacher picked up on. My constant obsession to tell stories and to develop interesting and complex characters and situations. Even simple ones which can be portrayed in visually stunning ways to capture an audience. What I’ve been asked many times is how do I find a story to tell for a screenplay and what research strategies do I use to get ideas from? I don’t. For some weird reason unexplainable to me, I visually see a huge chunk of the film in my head before I start to write. This then brings the treatment and the research to develop the story.


From there, what I love about having a completed screenplay is seeing the transition from script to screen. In my previous career in social services and as a published author, I am used to collaborative working. What I most love is seeing the director in action taking the story to another level of creativity and then the editor. My first experience of this was when I filmed the Shadows’ End promotional trailer with the director, D. James Newton. We had such fun working on this, and we had such an amazing team, it really cemented my love for filmmaking. Strangely enough, almost three years on, I have just embarked on another revision of this script, implementing new knowledge of the craft. I still don’t expect to get it right because I’m still very much in the early stages of this career, but it’s always worth a go. What is it like to produce a movie? A breeze – I wish! For me, this leads on nicely from your last question about screenwriting, but it cannot be answered in a straight answer because there are so many complexities from absolute nightmares to joys when producing. What I mostly love is the collaboration and interaction with other skilled professionals and those not so skilled and the working in partnership then seeing everything come together at the end.

What is it like to have a production company? Full-on. There’s not a day or an hour that goes by when I shouldn’t be doing something. What’s important, is to acknowledge your limitations and practicalities because there is I’m afraid a risk of letting the demands consume you. If this were to happen, my ability to think creatively and to write would deteriorate and diminish. Being honest? This is my greatest challenge but setting up Mouse Chased Cat Productions Ltd, was the only way I could see me actively getting my stories out there and demonstrating my commitment to this and making films. On the more positive side of owning a production company is that I get to choose which projects I develop and who I get on board to help. That is until I attract a director for a project then I like to work with them and share some of these decisions. My greatest obstacle? Funding - but then this is the same for probably 75% of the filmmaker’s population!

I am looking for people to finance my next film to get an Executive Producer credit


Tell us about Finding Hope. Years ago, while working as a social worker, I also became a respite foster carer for disabled children. This meant having children with complex health needs, physical and learning disabilities coming to stay with me in my own home during the weekends. This enabled their birth parents and siblings to enjoy a rest and to participate in activities that other families would be free to do, without having the constant worry or demands of caring for their much loved disabled child. Parrell to this, it provided the disabled child the opportunity of friendship outside of their home and to experience new adventures. During this time, I looked after a baby girl with very complex issues. We all knew she had a limited life-expectancy, but we were all shocked at her passing so early in her infancy. For a while, everything seemed lost. Even for me as her carer. Neutering and caring for a child so poorly cement the most unique and precious bonds. If a carer can feel so lost, I could not imagine what her mother was going through. Years later, Emma’s mother went on to have a little boy. Amazingly, he’s currently at university studying film. During my working life as a social worker, I supported many families and children through death. Sadly, I have been to many funerals of children. What I wanted to do with Finding Hope, was to tell a story of a young couple who lost an infant child to cancer but who later found hope which enriched their lives again. I felt that by using cancer, it was a scenario that people could identify with because it’s a terrible illness that affects all of us in some way during our lives. It seems to me that there is always someone you know or hear about with the disease. But also, I perhaps telling a story too close to Emma’s just didn’t feel appropriate. What I learned from my own experience of loss and from all the parents that I’ve worked with who have lost children is how their world is entirely crushed by their death. All of their hopes, wishes, aspirations and dreams for their future is snatched in an instant. There’s no coming back. But, life continues, and there is nothing they can do to stop this. The question is, how A bereaved parent cannot change what has happened, but in time, with the support and love from others, they begin to see other things in life that can make them feel happy again or make them smile. The feeling of loss of their child is something they can’t change, but they can find ways to manage this and to embrace new changes and opportunities by refinding hope. Just like Emma’s mother did, characters Jenny and Matt eventually find hope, and they start living their lives again.


SOUNDTRACK – ENTWINED – One of the extra joys of making Finding Hope was the opportunity to produce a soundtrack. One of the film extras, Duane Claridge, emailed me and asked to read the full script. A few hours later he sent me a song. It was a song he’d tinkered with years back, but after reading the Finding Hope screenplay, he said he knew instantly that this song was destined for this film. He quickly finished it and a week later we were at a studio in London and I was producing it with the help of John Merriman of Crown Lane Studios and assistant producer Pete Cooper. How did you feel about winning awards for Finding Hope? The strange thing about winning these awards is that I had not even considered that this film would. That’s not to say that we didn’t do a fantastic job because cast and crew all put their heart and soul into this film, but although I had made the earlier promotional film trailer for Shadows’ End, this was my first complete short film. Also, through the editing stages, director Krysten Resnick and I had a tough decision to make. In the end, we decided to cut a complete scene removing another character and plot point to the story. The reason for this, was because the film had developed a particular atmospheric tone to it and having the other scene was like having a jigsaw puzzle completed with a wrong piece. This scene untipped the balance and no matter what we tried to do to make it work, it simply didn’t. Finally, the scene was cut, and Krysten jiggled with other footage and me with the story and to be honest, it’s almost the same, but told in a slightly different way. So, winning the awards has given us confirmation that sometimes the hardest decisions to make are the right ones. They have given credibility to the director, cast and crew and basically everyone involved or who has helped with this film. For me personally, the awards have given me to confidence and affirmations in my storytelling and my ability as a new producer in her fifties. On reflection, perhaps I’m not that bonkers after all! www.mousechasedcat.com ____________________________________________________________________________

ALSO – SEE THIS REVIEW FOR FINDING HOPE http://www.shortstopfest.com/promotional-reviews/


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A list of the awards for Finding Hope (This does not include festivals where the film was selected) Los Angeles Film Festival Winner – Best Indie Film & Inspiring Woman in Film (Character/Actress). Festigious Los Angeles Best Director Best Cinematographer Official Selection – Best Film & Actor Oniros Film Festival Finalist – Best Producer & Best Indie Short Film (Final results August 2018). Marina de Rey Film Festival, California Semi-Finalist – Best Film (Final results October 2018). W.I.N.D. Semi Finalist – Best Short Script Rising Star Producer Cardiff International Film Festival Official Selection International Women’s Film Festival Best Short Film Open World Toronto Film Festival Best Sound And Music Worldwide Women’s Film Festival Official Selection


Finding Hope Movie Review By Wanda Julian

Finding Hope is magnificent!!!!! The music is incredible! The visual story telling provides excellent insight on the characters’ thoughts and feeelings. This movie tugs at my heart-strings! It is thought provoking. I love the wonderful ending! This is a must see movie! Kevin Leslie is fabulous, Crystal Leaity is amazing, and Paul Butterworth is great!


Goddess Divine Circle Group Review By Wanda Julian

Marianna Smith has been amazing to work with. She is very gifted and I am blown away by her talent. With her help a lot of my pain from losing my mother is just gone now. I had been struggling with the pain for over three years. So since the middle of January all that pain and sadness is just gone now and I feel amazing. I also wanted more money coming into my household. Various ways have just opened up for me. I was asked to edit a book by an author. Also my creativity is off the charts. I am working on my own books again and I am accepting freelance editing jobs. All this has happened since the Zoom call on January 31st. I am so glad I took the chance and attended the Goddess Divine Circle Group. I am worth it and it has been life changing for me! I feel like my normal self again. Actually, better than my normal self and I am elated about that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Marianna!

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Contessa's Court February 2018  

Contessa's Court is an international fashion and luxury lifestyle magazine focusing on fashion, beauty, travel, entertainment, food, and hom...

Contessa's Court February 2018  

Contessa's Court is an international fashion and luxury lifestyle magazine focusing on fashion, beauty, travel, entertainment, food, and hom...

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