Tuesday, February 2

Update: Bill Houskeeper

Bill Houskeeper has been busier acting than ever, since we first interviewed him in November, 2013, and again, in March, 2014.  According to the Internet Movie Database, he appears in ten films which are schedluled for release in 2021 or later. As part of his recent Holiday Greeting, he has written to tell us about yet another film for which he has been cast:

I know that these times can be rough with the virus going around, and I hope you, your friends, and your family are safe.

As for me, even in these times, I still can't stop acting, and because of this I just wanted to let you know about my next project.  I have just been cast in the film New World Order as Aaron Dykes from director Mitchel Cole.

UPDATE:  Bill has been cast in the film It’s On You, as Officer Adam Skiles; this film will be directed by Keishawn Blackstone.

UPDATE: Bill has been cast in the film The Man on Sunset; this film will be directed by DeShawn Hill.


Updates by Bill Houskeeper

Introduction by William Mortensen Vaughan

Monday, December 28

Interview: Yo! Majesty

 Josh Mitchell, a publicist at PUB.LIE.SIZE, introduced us to Yo! Majesty as "a fun Tampa female rap duet." This is the interview that they granted us.

 La Libertad:  Where are you from?

Yo! Majesty:  Jwl B is from Tampa, and Shunda K is from Plant City - both based in Florida.

[At left, Shunda K (left) and Jwl B (right)]

La Libertad:  How did you get your start in music?

Yo! Majesty:  Shunda K wrote her first song at the age of fourteen out of love for R&B [Rhythm and Blues]. Jwl B got started when she joined Yo! Majesty in 2000.

La Libertad:  What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Yo! Majesty:  Signing a deal with Domino Records was the peak of our career, in 2008. Now we are looking to make it happen again, this time on our own label GMEQCA/Matriarch Records.

La Libertad:  Where did you get the idea for your new single "Bumpin' Too Hard"?

Yo! Majesty:  We got the idea from the track produced by the Basement Jaxx which was originally called "Buffalo."

La Libertad:  How did you meet each other?

Yo! Majesty:  We met at a gay club in Tampa, and [were] introduced [by] a mutual friend.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Yo! Majesty:  Life inspires us. Our gifts are amazing, and we look forward to sharing them with the world once more.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of being a musician during the CoVID-19 [Corona Virus Infectious Disease 2019] pandemic?

Yo! Majesty:  Touring and not being able to see our fans face to face is a bit tough, but we are grateful for our upcoming virtual tour until things settle down - T.B.A. [To Be Announced]

La Libertad:  What are your overall career goals?

Yo! Majesty:  Releasing our second album, in 2021, and it being successful, as well as touring again [are] at the top of the list for Yo! Majesty.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Yo! Majesty:  

Yo! Majesty  Biography 

Yo! Majesty on Spotify

Yo! Majesty on YouTube

Yo! Majesty on Facebook

Yo! Majesty on Instagram

Yo! Majesty on Twitter

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?  

Yo! Majesty:  I know it's hard out here dealing with the covid, however never give up on your dreams. Keep pushing forward until you reach your goals. Also, look out for Yo! Majesty and our upcoming collaborations with the top producers worldwide. Peace & Love.


Monday, December 21

Interview: Josh Mitchell, Author of Germ of a New Insanity


Josh Mitchell is a publicist at PUB.LIE.SIZE; he is also the author of a book, which he apparently started selling this month (December, 2020). It's titled Germ of a New Insanity.

La Libertad:  What is your new book about? 

Josh:  The story follows the turbulent journey of an underground writer from Boston who launches a revolutionary new movement called "s***-house poetry." As the leader of "The Dukes of Damage," his mission is this:  to spread his art onto every open square inch of public space (restrooms, walls, bus shelters) he can find, and, in so doing, change the world. As he ranges through the streets of the city and applies twisted literary vines dressed in urban code, he morphs into the next great media darling but quickly sinks in a cesspool of his own making. 

This is A Confederacy of Dunces meets Tropic of Cancer.   

La Libertad:  Where can people buy the book?

Josh:  To not line the pockets of Amazon and Jeff Bezos, I decided to go the independent route, and release the novel on my own. 

You can buy a $10 digital copy or a signed, first edition paperback directly, through me, by sending $20, via PayPal (Friends & Family) [to] mitchmitchell24@hotmail.com 

La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about your early life?

Josh:  I spent my younger years in an urban apartment complex called Rockland Place, twenty-five miles south of Boston. This shaped a lot of who I became as a person. Me and my friends didn’t have a lot of money, so we recycled cans, and used the cash to play games at the carnival. One time, I won a small basketball, so we stacked the rusty carriages behind K-Mart, and created our own rustic court. After my parents split, I moved to an affluent town named Hingham. My life became more stable; I turned to athletics as an outlet, and I was crowned Homecoming King in high school. 

La Libertad:  How did you end up in entertainment? 

Josh:  My journey started over fifteen years ago when I made a zombie action film called Roid Rage, in Massachusetts, and traveled out to the Sundance Film Festival, to promote it. I learned how to navigate the festival circuit, and network with the biggest trailblazers in the indie film world. 

My experience led me to launch a P.R. [public relations] company, and I have represented a wide range of talented filmmakers from across the globe. My niche is securing interview opportunities, pitching projects to studio executives, and encouraging working synergy and creative collaboration.

La Libertad:  What's the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you began your career? 

Josh:  I’ve had several run-ins with Harvey Weinstein at the Sundance Film Festival and I’ve had to dodge him like a Covid-infested game of Frogger

La Libertad:  What's the biggest mistake you made, and what did you learn from it? 

Josh:  I learned my biggest lesson at the West Coast launch party of my company, at The W Hotel, in Hollywood. I had the sketchy owner of a modeling magazine reach out to be a part of it, and I didn’t do my due diligence. He invited a celebrated soap star, and tried to pin her limo costs on me. I confronted him on it, and the next day this anonymous post appeared on this incredibly unconstitutional and anonymous site called “Rip Off Report.” It was a blatant and vindictive attempt to cut me out at the knees, right out the gate - right from the start of my plight in Los Angeles. It didn’t work, though, because of my Harvey dodging skills, and because “those who throw mud, lose ground.” Oh, and because I made a movie about the whole experience:  Helen Keller Had a Pit Bull

La Libertad:  Why do you think it's important to have diversity represented in film and television?  

Josh:  Films and T.V. need to be a mirror to society. If we want to attempt to capture the complexities of the world in an authentic manner, we need to showcase and highlight diversity in our content. It’s important to reveal the intricacies of different cultures so we can transport to lands we have never traveled to and empathize with people we have never known. For instance, take the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. It whisks you away to [a] Louisiana bayou, and reveals the challenges of a community, the uniqueness of their cuisine, [and] the reliance on trusted neighbors. It’s a journey and an educational escape you can have from your living room and, at the end of it, you come back as a more well-rounded and compassionate person. 

La Libertad:  What do you wished you knew before you started your career?

Josh:  It has been a challenging yet rewarding excursion in Hollywood. I haven’t been able to take my foot off the gas pedal since I arrived. I wish someone told me that it would be a constant battle, and that you must be constantly creating and networking. I’ve seen L.A. spit people out in a New York hot minute. It’s imperative to be a renaissance person. You must find multiple streams of income, cultivate supportive friendships, and do whatever it takes to stay afloat while you chase your dreams like one of those intrepid ghosts from Pac-Man

La Libertad:  What advice do you have for other people in entertainment? 

Josh:  It’s imperative, no matter where you live, to find a solid balance in your work life. Fortunately, there’s no better spot in the country than Los Angeles in terms of being able to beat the street for a much-needed road trip. In less than a few hours, you can watch the “pink glow” in the spiritual vortex of Ojai, or channel the spirit of Sinatra as you eat fresh sushi from Sandbox in downtown Palm Springs. If you are ambitious, you could ski Big Bear and head down the mountain and jump in the Pacific Ocean off the Santa Monica Pier. The only peace you find on mountain tops is the peace you bring there. 

La Libertad:  If you could inspire a movement, what would it be? 

Josh:  I would be president of the Passion Project. Do what you love, and do it in the most exciting way possible. [Help] people, as that will help you feel good about what you are doing. Without passion, we are a tree without bark, a house left undone when the financing dries up. Take your space and own it, even when the world doesn’t want to make space for you. Be that rebellious rose that blooms between the crusty cracks of the pavement. 

La Libertad:  What is your favorite quote? 

Josh:  My mantra is: Good things come to those who initiate - not wait. Your creative savior is not coming, so don’t wait for a knock on your door; knock doors down. Everything good that has happened in my life is because I wasn’t afraid to go out, take a chance, and see what unfolds. If you do it from a point of passion, you will not regret your decision. 

La Libertad:  Who would you love to have a private meal with, and why?

Josh:  I’m trying to convince Ben Affleck to partner with me on my new, dramatic T.V. series “Brood Stock.” I have Apple TV on the hook, but I need final packaging to get "the green light."

[Colt] is the owner of Brood Stock Seafood, a thriving lobster wholesaler that's been operating on the Maine Coast for over twenty years, [but it has fallen] victim to the international trade war with China. He used to sell one out of five lobsters to Beijing, but once the President implemented a tariff (and China retaliated with their own twenty-five percent tax), they stopped buying immediately.  

The blow is significant for Colt and for Maine, the country's top producer and exporter. The state's lobstermen had found a lucrative market in China, where consumer demand had grown exponentially in recent years. Often called "Boston lobster" it is featured as a special treat for Chinese New Year or the mid-autumn festival, stir-fried in a chili-crab sauce, or eaten raw as sashimi. 

The president has handed Canada the United States' $1.5 billion lobster industry. 

With his profit margin cut out at the knees, and a recent opiate epidemic decaying his community, Colt is forced to rethink his business model so he can continue to support his family's lavish lifestyle. But before he can pivot and digest his changing landscape, tragedy strikes and causes him to abandon all ethics, and to follow his patriarchal instincts. 

This is “Ozark” meets “Breaking Bad," and it has the potential to be the next water cooler show.

La Libertad:  How can our readers follow you online? 

Josh:  You can follow me on my main website (www.publiesize.com), and learn more about my new novel on its official Facebook page:


Introduction by William Mortensen Vaughan

Wednesday, December 2

Interview With Angie McMahon

Josh Mitchell of PUB.LIE.SIZE introduced Angie McMahon to us as the "creator" of Wisecrackin, "the new Virtual Interactive Comedy Game Show," in which comedians "are pitted, head-to-head, in a challenge to come up with the best punchline to a set up they have never seen." Members of "the audience can interact in the chat, accept challenges, vote live for [their] favorite responses, and crown the champion."

Josh invites everyone to "join the free fun" this Friday, December 4th at 8 p.m. C.S.T. (6 p.m. Pacific; 7 p.m. Mountain, or 9 p.m. Eastern) online, at www.wisecrackin.com 

Josh informed us that Angie McMahon, "the creator, is a comic performer from Chicago who teaches sketch comedy writing, stand up, and storytelling at The Second City," and that she has appeared "on Netflix’s hilarious baking show 'Nailed It.'" - www.facebook.com/mcmahonangie According to Josh, she "got the idea for 'Wisecrackin' while playing the Jaxbox game Quiplash, with her family, on Zoom."

Angie says that she “took the idea of 'American Idol' and 'Hollywood Squares,'" and "mushed those together to generate unpredictable comedy!"

Readers can learn more about the show on its official Facebook page, at:


To catch up and watch past episodes on its official YouTube page, at:


For interviews, sponsorships, or questions regarding Wisecrackin, contact 

Josh Mitchell, at:


La Libertad:  Where are you from?

Angie:  We are mostly based in Chicago.

La Libertad:  How did you get your start in comedy?

Angie:  I was a Theater major at Columbia College in Chicago has such a strong influence from Second City at Columbia that as I was graduating I was advised by the amazing Martin DeMaat that Second City was a good option for me after I graduated. So that is how my undying love for comedy started. And today I teach Stand Up, Storytelling, and Sketch Comedy Writing at The Second City today.

La Libertad:  What accomplishment are you the most proud of?

Angie:  Losing on Nailed It on Netflix's first episode of the first Holiday season show.

La Libertad:  Where did you get the idea for your new show "Wisecrackin"?

Angie:  I was playing Quiplash via virtual Easter this past year with my family over Zoom.  I found out that you can customize the game with your own content. So I thought...lets do a show. We write a new show every week.

La Libertad:  When and where can watch "Wicecrackin"?

Angie:  Best place to watch is:


on our site; you can watch, vote, and chat live, all in one spot.

You can also watch us on Twitter, Twitch, Facebook, and YouTube.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Really well constructed jokes. Surprises that grab you in the deep part of you belly and makes you laugh so hard you can't breath.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of being a comedian during Covid?

Angie:  No work. Also Zoom comedy shows are pretty awful. They are not shifting to this medium for this time. So options for well constructed show to get on are limited. Even Hollywood hasn't figured out how to make entertainment for this moment.

La Libertad:  What are your overall career goals?

Angie:  Have my own show that I host.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?


RECENT SHOW www.youtube.com/watch

TWITTER twitter.com/wisecrackin

FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/wisecrackinlive

INSTAGRAM www.instagram.com/wisecrackinlive

TWITCH www.twitch.tv/wisecrackinlive

YOUTUBE www.youtube.com/channel...

WEBSITE www.wisecrackin.com

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Angie:  The best shows are the ones that the audience really gets involved with. We hope you might hang out with us.  The show is EVERY week - Friday, at 8 p.m. C.S.T., at:


[and] the show is FREE!

Josh:  [The show on November 27th] was really funny, and the next show is this Friday, December 4th. Hope you had an awesome turkey day!

Introduction by Josh Mitchell 


William Mortensen Vaughan

Monday, November 9

Interview With Veronika Esslinger

Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity introduced Veronika Esslinger to us as his "actress-author client."

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Veronika:  I was born in Novosibirsk, in Russia. The city lies on the banks of the Ob River, in the West Siberian Plain. 

La Libertad:  What accomplishment are you  most proud of?

Veronika:  I am very proud that I never gave up on believing in my dreams and goals, no matter how hard the road was. Of course, I am very proud of my published book, which I have published in German and English.

I moved to Germany when I was five years old, and I grew up there, so it made sense to write the book in German, and translate it into English, but the Russian translation can still easily follow.

La Libertad:  What is the film world like, in Germany?

Veronika:  The film world in Germany is fascinating, especially in Berlin. I was lucky enough to be on sets with major personalities from whom I learned a lot for my own future career as an actress. It was motivating and tough at the same time. But in the end, I "pulled out" the positive and great energy that I was able to experience on set.

La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about how your latest book, The Script of Your Life?

Veronika:  As the title suggests, the book is about which role, or a script you create for your life, and whether you live according to it and pursue your goals and dreams. It is a book that shows that there are certain obstacles on the way to success, and that not everything seems as it initially is. It is about making smart decisions, overcoming the inner pain, and going your own way despite all the hurdles in life, and holding onto your dreams. The book also tells a love story, which does not have a happy ending because another woman comes into play. As the subtitle Dangerous Liaisons reveals, the story takes place in three different time intervals and cities. It starts in Paris, and continues in Los Angeles, with a dream to become a successful actress.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Veronika:  There are so many things that inspire me! Mostly, it comes out of a spontaneous situation and whim. I think you can`t plan inspiration. There are certain places, people, and life situations that inspire me. Sometimes it is very simple things, like a beautiful painting that tells a story, expressive art, or small things in everyday life that I come across.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of being an actress?

Veronika:  The hardest part of being an actress is that you never know what`s coming tomorrow. You must work hard on yourself and your mindset every day and never give up striving for greater things.

La Libertad:  What was one of the most significant things you learned at the New York Film Academy?

Veronika:  I learned to be more secure in front of the camera and I met a lot of talented people who helped me evolve as an on-screen talent.

La Libertad:  What are your overall career goals?

Veronika:  My career goals are to play strong and dramatic characters and to showcase interesting stories of interesting personalities and to tackle many future projects worldwide. To write more books, tell inspiring stories, and to help people with their own way of life. I am also a passionate dancer and I would love to continue to improve and evolve as a performer.

La Libertad:  Tell us about your upcoming projects?

Veronika:  I have three exciting new projects in the pipeline: a genre fantasy film, a crime-based TV Series, and a dramatic TV Series.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Veronika:  I recently started a YouTube channel with a few short sequences from my past projects. In addition to expanding my followings on my Facebook and Instagram, I would be happy to have an expanded readership worldwide to increase my book sales and adapt into a feature film one day:





La Libertad:  What else if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Veronika:  No matter how hard the road is, in the end, it`s worth it. Every beginning is difficult, and you must believe in yourself so strongly, that the words of others don`t hit you. It`s not easy, but anything is possible. It all starts with a thought, a vision, and hard work until it becomes a reality.

Edited by William Mortensen Vaughan

Saturday, October 10

Update: Bill Houskeeper

 We interviewed Bill Houskeeper in November, 2013, and again, in March, 2014.  We also posted an update, when he had been cast in his seventeenth film, The Big Ticket, in which he co-starred, in the role of Steve, with Sarah Marshall.  Since then, he has accumulated a total of three dozen film and television credits, and he has written to tell us the following:  

I know that these times can be rough with the virus going around, and I hope you, your friends, and your family are safe.

As for me, even in these times, I still can't stop acting, and because of this, I just wanted to let you know about my next project.  I have just been cast in the film Jack Be Nimble, as Frank, from director Steve Wollett

[NOTE:  As of 12:45 p.m. E.D.T., Saturday, October 10, 2020, this comedy, starring Bai Ling, is listed on the Internet Movie Database as in "post production," to be released on the Fourth of July, 2021.]

I also have interview articles on The Huffington Post, AND CNN's websites. [See links below.]

My demo reel is on my IMDb page:


([N]one of these jobs are background or extra work.)

I have [been] cast in all of these projects without the help of an Agent or a Manager... I...have three great industry referrals.  One is from Lynn Guthrie.  Lynn has won FOUR D.G.A. [Directors Guild of America] Awards, and has been nominated for an Emmy.  My next referral is from Rob Walker.  Rob has been nominated for the B.A.F.T.A. [British Academy of Film and Television Arts] (British Oscar Award), and Producer Steve Beswick.

I'm a S.A.G.-A.F.T.R.A. [Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists] member, as well as an A.E.A. [Actors' Equity Association] member in good standings.

IMDb link:


I'm not producing or directing any of these projects; I'm just acting in them.

[These are] some [of my] P.R. [public relations] interviews:















Bill Houskeeper

Edited by William Mortensen Vaughan

Sunday, October 4

Interview With Kristen Danielle Santos

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Kristen:  I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area.  When I was sixteen, I moved to Placerville, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  I went from being a city girl to become a country girl overnight.  We had llamas, alpacas, horses, dogs, cats, chickens, and even a couple Guinea hens.  

La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about your Olympic documentary?

Kristen:  My documentary has two parts.  It begins comparing the parallels...  In the beginning, it compares and contrasts the parallels between the 1918 flu and the current CoVID-19 [Corona Virus Infectious Disease 2019] pandemic.  Then it examines how the Olympics handled the 1918 flu, and what steps Japan is taking now to ensure that their high stakes investment in the Olympic Games succeeds, that the Games take place, and that athletes and spectators are safe and protected.  The documentary also examines the historical aspect of the Olympics with Germany (the last time the games were postponed due to a pandemic), and how Japan is handling today’s culture (gender, race, politics, civil unrest, et cetera).

La Libertad:  How did you get involved with sign language?

Kristen:  One night, at a Sacramento Kings basketball game, when the singer sang the National Anthem, I was struck by its beauty.  I wanted to ensure that the hearing and hearing impaired could both equally enjoy everything the song represents.  So I approached the Maloof brothers, and made them this proposal.  I would learn to sign the anthem if they would let me come to their games and sign the anthem while the singer performed it at the beginning of the games.  They said they would be honored for me to sign at their games.  Three months later, after I learned to sign the anthem from a local professor at my local junior college, I was performing!  The feedback from the fans was so positive that the Maloof’s made me a regular.  Soon after, I made a “sizzle reel” of my performances and submitted it to the NFL for consideration for the Superbowl.  And on February 3, 2009, at the Superbowl XLIII, I signed the national anthem on national television while Jennifer Hudson sang.

La Libertad:  What inspires you?

Kristen:  For me happiness, peace, and gratitude inspire me on a daily basis.  How a smile or kind word from a stranger can change the day and maybe even the life of someone else.  I believe that everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to bring kindness into someone’s world, especially in this day and age.  There is enough turmoil and loneliness in the world today, but if we can control this little part of our lives, we may all feel better.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of being a performer?

Kristen:  For me the hardest part of being a performer, especially for the hearing impaired, is that when performing for the hearing impaired I want every move to be correctly and accurately interpreting words as nonverbal movements.
La Libertad:  What foreign languages, if any, do you read, write, and/or speak?

Kristen:  I speak no other languages; I only know a few essential words in A.S.L. [American Sign Language], like "friendship," "toilet," and "beautiful face."  I would love to become more conversant.  

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Kristen:  I have been to the Hawaiian Islands, Mexico, and, of course, many States within the United States.  Someday, I would love to travel to the Middle East, Italy, Greece, and, of course, Portugal.

La Libertad:  What are your overall career goals?

Kristen:  My goal is to go into producing full time, and eventually have my own production company.  I want to create documentaries that inspire and teach people at the same time.  

La Libertad:  What projects are you working on?

Kristen:  I am currently writing three different screenplays when I am able to get into the creative process.  I admit it can be a struggle at times.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?

Kristen:  I would like to encourage your readers to visit my friend’s beer company in Staten Island by the name of Rubsam and Horrmann.  They have been around for eighty years, and he has a great product, and has kept with the original recipes. I encourage your readers to visit his website at:


La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Kristen:  Always follow your dreams, and watch where they take you.  If you listen to the world very carefully, it will guide you in the right direction.  Always have faith that things will work out for the best, and that things do not happen by accident.  There are clues and occurrences that happen to us every day, and all we have to do is read the signs, and have faith that everything will work out.

Interview by Kristen Danielle Sants

Edited by William Mortensen Vaughan

Tuesday, September 29

Chezzmaster Lord Vaughan's Top Five Chezz Tactics

1.   Play alone to avoid distractions.

2.  Keep an eye on the entire Chezzboard.

3.  Obtain and wear the Commander Crown.

4.  Upgrade your Chezz pieces in this order:  Pawns, Queens, Knights, Rooks. 

5.  Only move your pieces short distances.

Bottom Line Up Front:  If you want to improve your Chezz game, it would behoove you to incorporate the above five tactics into your strategy.  They are the ones that I used to rank among the top one percent of Chezz players in the world, on all four of my Chezz accounts. My player names are Lord Vaughan, AUSXmasCarol, XMasCarolUS, and Infidel.

For those of you who don't know, Chezz is a form of Chess without being required to wait your turn.  It's a free, online game which has been downloaded more than one hundred thousand times from the Google Play Store, and has a user rating of better than four out of five Stars. It has two single-player, offline modes, as well as three online modes. Chezz has plenty of bots to play against in online mode.

By the way, you don't need to be a Grandmaster of Chess to do well at this game. My E.L.O. rating for Chess is around 1300 - a "beginner," even though I've been playing Chess for almost fifty years. Chezz also comes with a tutorial for those of you who don't even know how to play Chess (let alone Chezz) yet.

I recommend playing Chezz alone, because playing Chezz requires concentration, and the slightest distraction can cost you a game, and perhaps a dozen points on your ranking. I don't know the exact formula for the Chezz application's ranking system, but I have learned from experience that you lose more points per loss than you gain per win.

An application that I recommend for use in conjunction with Chezz, is Game Launcher. This facilitates turning off all notifications during game play, and recording video of your games.

I lose less often than I win, but when I do lose, it's usually because I'm distracted, or neglect to keep an eye on the entire Chezzboard. It's often tempting to focus on capturing or avoiding certain pieces while neglecting your King.

Although Chezz is based, primarily, on the rules and movements used in Chess, it does have significant differences.  One such difference is the choice of Crowns your King can wear.  You start out with the Gold Crown - "your regular crown."  As you work your way through the offline, Adventure mode, you can earn other crowns, which include the Commander Crown, the Horseman Crown, and, finally, the Mad King Crown.

The Commander's Crown allows you to "order" your pieces to move or attack about a second in advance, so you can quickly order more than one piece to move at a time. The down side to this is that, as far as I know, there's no way to rescind these orders. Even if there were, there would rarely (if ever) be enough time to do so.  

After moving a piece, a timer appears on it, counting down the tenths of a second until it "cools down" and becomes available to move again. This "cool down" time of each piece can be upgraded in the Upgrades section of the game, as well as the speed of each piece, as upgrades become available. You can assign and reassign upgrades whenever you want, but you are limited to the number of upgrades in your possession.  Upgrades are awarded as you increase your Level - not to be confused with your Ranking. Unfortunately, as far as I know, it is impossible to obtain enough upgrades to upgrade all of your pieces with all possible upgrades. None of my Bishops have any upgrades; my Rooks have only two. The maximum number of upgrades is twenty; each piece, except the King, can be upgraded six times - three for speed, and three for cool down time. Five times six equals thirty, so it's up to each player to decide which ten upgrades are the least important.

Personally, I recommend upgrading Pawns first, because, since there are usually eight of them, upgrading them is usually tantamount to eight upgrades. 

I say "usually," because Chezz is played on a variety of boards with various sets of pieces. In the offline Training mode, the board always looks like a normal Chess board, with the pieces set up as they would be for a normal game of Chess. In Adventure mode, however, and Online, unusual boards with unusual obstacles and set-ups appear. In Adventure mode, you can choose the board you like, as long as you have beaten all of the previous boards, except the Chess tutorial, which may be skipped. Online, the boards and setups are generated at random. Obstacles include holes into which any piece that attempts to pass over them disappears, and fires which consume the first piece to land on or pass over them. Sets include various numbers of pieces, sometimes placed in unusual starting arrangements. One board has Kings surrounded by Knights, but no other pieces.

Another reason I upgrade my Pawns first, is the potential element of surprise. Opponents tend to under-estimate them. I often win Chezz games without ever moving anything except my Pawns - often, without the necessity of promoting them to Queens.

Queens are my next choice for upgrades, of course, and I enjoy seeing how many of my Pawns I can get promoted before delivering my coup de grĂ¢ce. By the way, Pawns who reach the farthest rank are automatically promoted to Queens; you don't get to decide if you'd rather Knight them.

Because of the Kings and Knights only table I mentioned above, I would upgrade my Knights next.

Finally, I upgrade my Rooks' "cool down" with my last two, available upgrades. I do this because Chezz bots' tend to attack them in their corners with Bishops and Queens, and it's very satisfying to simply move them aside, "cool down," and "hunt" these "hunters."

Which brings me back to the last of my top five Chezz tactics:   Only move your pieces short distances.

Perhaps the biggest mistake I see my opponents make is attacking my pieces with pieces from long distances. Because I don't have to wait my turn to move my pieces in Chezz, I, often, move them out of harm's way by the time the attacking pieces reach their previous locations. 

This is particularly vital with regard to the King, which takes me back to what I consider the third most important Chezz tactic:  Obtain and wear the Commander Crown.

 The Mad King's Crown causes the King wearing it to be able to move like another, RANDOM piece, such as a Knight or Queen, the next time it's moved. I place as much emphasis on the word "RANDOM" as I do, because this is crucial when planning exit strategies. While this crown provides an element of surprise, I feel it is out-weighed by the inability to predict what moves will be available to my King after I move him, if he's wearing the Mad King Crown.

A tactic I use when playing against a Mad King, is to always assume that he can move like a Queen or a Knight, avoiding the places he could move if he were a Queen or a Knight, unless I have another, good reason to move one of my pieces within their range.

The Horseman Crown is also, in my humble opinion, a bad choice, because it causes the King who wears it to only be able to move like a Knight. Moving like a Knight is ideal for an expendable Knight who can be upgraded to move and "cool down" quickly. It is unthinkable for the invaluable King, whose speed and "cool down" times are slow, and can not be upgraded. I have discovered that it is impossible for a King with the Horseman Crown to prevent a King with a Golden or a Commander Crown from killing him. Often, for sheer entertainment value, when I find my opponent's King wearing the Horseman Crown - I kill every piece he has, move the rest of my pieces to the edges of the board, and hunt him down with only my King.

Another tactic involving the King is an invaluable move that I've discovered, which I call "the bait and switch." This is a very dangerous move, but, if executed with skill and precision, is, as I've said, invaluable. When enemy pieces cross paths at the same time, the piece which was in motion first usually stops where it encounters an enemy piece, which is killed. This comes in handy if you don't have time to move your King out of the way of an attacking piece, but you do have time to intercept the attacking piece with another piece.

However, it is also possible for the King to switch places with an attacker at the last moment. When an attacking piece is adjacent to the King, the King can be moved one place in the direction of the oncoming attacker. 

It is safer, of course, to simply move the King in another direction, or intercept the attacking piece with another piece, but this trick is a good one to keep in mind, especially when the King is in a corner, with a piece in front and beside him, and a Queen or Bishop coming after him on the diagonal.

When moving the King out of harm's way, it's important to land on a place the attacking piece isn't able to move to, because the King will almost certainly not be able to move out of harm's way if the attacking piece attacks again. The other option is to kill the attacking piece with another piece before it "cools down." 

It's also important to keep an eye on the entire board throughout the game, in case your opponent has a piece or pieces lying in wait on your King's escape routes.

I should also inform you, the reader, that Castling is possible in Chezz, but only when the random board and set-up are "normal." To do this, once all the normal requirements for Castling are met, tap on your King, and an animated circle will appear on the Rook or Rooks which is/are available for Castling; tap on the Rook, and the King will Castle on the side of the Rook you tap.

I suspect that capturing en passant is possible in Chezz, but I've never seen it done. And, as I've proven with four Chezz accounts, it isn't a tactic needed to become not only a Chezzmaster, but one of the top one per cent of the Chezz players in the world!

Article by William Mortensen Vaughan

Monday, September 21

Interview With the Author of Floating Twigs, Charles Tabb

  Josh Mitchell of Wickid Pissa Publicity introduced Charles Tabb to us as his "new, award-winning author," and told us that Floating Twigs is his debut novel, the first few chapters of which are available at: www.amazon.com/Floating-Twigs-Charles-Tabb-ebook/dp/B07HYGQ5JZ

La Libertad:  Where were you born?

Charles:  Topeka, Kansas. My father was in the U.S. Air Force and stationed there. I grew up in the Panhandle of Florida.

La Libertad:  Where did your love of writing begin?

Charles:  When I was eight years old, I realized that the things I read and enjoyed were written by people and wondered what it would be like to write stories. I have loved reading my entire life, and often, when growing up, read books that were beyond the typical books for people in my age group. For instance, I read Catcher in the Rye when I was eleven. 

My early efforts at writing were rebuffed by magazines and agents, of course, so I decided to teach English instead. After I retired from teaching, I made the decision to finish some of the books I had started writing, and polished the stories. My first published story was a flash fiction piece, "We Need to Talk," published online by Ariel Chart. I was proud that the acceptance took less than three hours to arrive in my inbox.

La Libertad:  What writers inspired you?

Charles:  Stephen King, J.D. Salinger, Harper Lee, Michael Connelly, James Patterson, David Baldacci, T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, and William Shakespeare.

La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about your debut novel, Floating Twigs?

Charles:  The following is the jacket blurb from the novel. I will follow that with some history as to how the novel came to be written, and some of my thoughts on it:

            "It's 1968 in the rural coastline town of Denton, Florida, and the only thing with a tougher life than twelve-year-old Jack Turner is a starving dog named Bones. When they meet while Jack is fishing, Jack knows that he and Bones are meant for each other, and he promises his oft-absent alcoholic parents that he'll somehow get a job to pay for his new dog's food and care.

            "In the process of finding work, Jack meets Hank Pittman, a middle-aged man who lives in a dilapidated school bus at the harbor, and Mrs. Mary Jane Dawson, an eccentric but kind older woman in need of gardening help. As Bones nurses back to health, Hank and Mrs. Dawson become the caring parents Jack never had.

            "But gossip and lies about Jack's growing relationships lead to an attack on Bones' life and questions about secrets in Hank's past. When Hank is put on trial for a crime he didn't commit, everything Jack holds dear is set in the balance of that small-town courtroom.

            "Floating Twigs is a timeless coming-of-age story about a boy and his dog, the responsibilities that come with loving others, and how sometimes one small moment can change a life forever."

        The seed of this novel occurred when I was two weeks short of turning eleven years old, on Labor Day of 1966. I remember the date because my first day of Sixth Grade was the next day. Two friends and I went fishing on a barge that had been beached for some time, across from the harbor of the Florida Panhandle town where I lived at that time. The novel begins by describing this fishing adventure as well as I can remember it.

        As we were fishing, a pathetic, starving dog came upon us from over the sand dunes of the area where the barge had become mired in the sand. We were fascinated by the horrible condition of the dog, and one of my friends decided to adopt him.

        This friend's parents, I later came to realize, were hopeless alcoholics. Both of them were drunk not long after sundown, if not before. We took the dog to my friend's house, and his father, claiming the dog was suffering, went inside, brought out a rifle, and shot the dog right in front of us. It was an experience so traumatic I never told my mother about the incident. I recall crying myself to sleep that night thinking the dog wouldn't have been suffering if someone had adopted and taken care of him.

        As I grew older, I would wonder what might have happened if my friend had been allowed to adopt the dog. The story grew out of that. As I began writing it, I realized I needed more than just the story of a boy's adventures with his dog. I needed a bold conflict. I landed on the idea of having the man who befriends Jack be accused of a crime he didn't commit while also making him a former war hero, signaling that our past is easily forgotten by those around us, especially an honorable one.

        The title comes from the childhood game Jack plays, that of floating twigs along the road wash either during or after a storm. In his imagination, he endowed the twigs with consciousness, a common childhood practice, and would follow the twigs to the gutter if they made it that far. If they didn't, he would assume that getting stuck in the debris along the roadside was by choice, so he left them there. If they made it to the gutter, which led eventually to the Gulf of Mexico, he wondered if they made it far enough to float freely in the vast waters. There are two episodes of Jack floating twigs, one early in the book and one near the end. The metaphor of the twigs symbolizing people becomes obvious by the time the second episode is finished. It is also made clear in the story that this was the last time he ever played the childish game, indicating he was no longer a child once the book ends.

La Libertad:  What is the hardest part of being a full-time writer?

Charles:  Also being a full-time marketer is definitely the most difficult part - something I never thought was part of the job until I began writing in earnest. I end up spending as much time marketing and dealing with the business side of writing as I do actually composing my books. It's a reminder that there is no up without down. I sometimes feel like one of those jugglers who spins plates on thin rods, rushing from one to the other to keep them spinning to prevent them from falling to the floor.

La Libertad:  What foreign languages, if any, do you read, write, and/or speak?

Charles:  I took two years of Spanish in high school, and some of that has stuck with me over the years, but I'm afraid I am not multilingual.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled?

Charles:  I've been to all but nine of the fifty States, all but seven of the contiguous States (all north central). I have also traveled to Mexico, England, Germany, The Netherlands, and Iceland. Each country has its particular appeal. I long to return to Iceland and London. My favorite cities to visit in the U.S. are New York and New Orleans.

La Libertad:  What would you like to tell our readers about your upcoming detective series?

Charles:  I have written two of these books so far, with more coming. The series concerns the life and career of Detective Tony Pantera, a flawed man who, like the rest of us, is doing his best to be the best person he can be. He is divorced with two daughters who are coming into adulthood themselves. He still carries a bit of a torch for his ex, but she is remarried and happy.

        The stories take place in the Richmond, Virginia, area where I now live. In the first book of the series, Hell is Empty, Pantera must solve a kidnapping with almost no clues at all.

        Samantha Dobson, a fifteen-year-old, rebellious teen, is taken by a man who has grown obsessed with her. She is held prisoner in a small room where her every move is monitored by camera. Meanwhile, her mother does her best to hold her remaining family together. Her husband escapes into his work, and Samantha's older brother and sister deal with the loss in their own self-destructive ways.

        Pantera, whose only other kidnapping case not committed by a parent ended with the death of the victim and no suspects, works against time to find Samantha before she goes missing forever or is found murdered, which was how his previous case ended.

        The title is taken from Shakespeare (all of my detective novels have titles taken from his works). His play The Tempest has a line, "Hell is empty and all the devils are here." My premise in the book is that evil surrounds us on all sides - sometimes seen, sometimes not, and it's up to the virtuous people in the world to make the difference between chaos and caring.

        The second book in the series, The Purger, concerns Pantera's first serial killer case, though it's a serial killer who never read the list of what a serial killer is supposed to be. There are no sexual reasons for the killings, and financial gain is not a motive either. Yes, our antagonist is insane, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason for what he does and whom he kills. The only pattern is that the killer urinates on some token taken from the victims, wrapped in discarded paper and placed on the victim's chest. They are both male and female, young and old, wealthy and poor. The reader finds out the reasons behind the killings in chapter one, but Pantera must figure it out.

        This title is taken from Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.

        And let our hearts, as subtle masters do,

        Stir up their servants to an act of rage,

        And after seem to chide 'em. This shall make

        Our purpose necessary and not envious:

        Which so appearing to the common eyes,

        We shall be call'd purgers, not murderers.

        --William Shakespeare

         The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, II, i

        My next Detective Pantera book, The Whirligig of Time, will hopefully come out in the early summer of 2021.

La Libertad:  What are your overall career goals?

Charles:  Like every writer, I want to pen a bestseller or five. Over fifty-five thousand people have enjoyed Floating Twigs, some claiming in reader reviews that it is one of the best books they've ever read. I want to keep writing books until I no longer can.

        I have a second literary novel similar to Floating Twigs that I am currently working on. I hope to have it out by Christmas. The working title is Canaries' Song. It is about a recent widower raising three daughters. The oldest loves horses; the youngest is headstrong, angry, and rebellious; and the middle daughter is a "special needs child" who loves listening to her canaries. It is about finding happiness where it is. I also have the basic plots of the next two books in the Detective Pantera series ready to begin writing.

        Next fall, the as yet untitled sequel to Floating Twigs should come out. Yes, I am busy writing all the time.

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?




La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

Charles:  Thank you for taking the time out of your day to learn about me and my work. It is sincerely appreciated. I also hope to have a book of short stories coming out next year sometime. The working title is Stories I Told Myself.

Interview by Charles Tabb

Photos by Dee Tabb and Addie Johnson

Edited by William Mortensen Vaughan

Saturday, September 19

Nine Ways to Hell Interview Nine: Tai-Lynia Jones, Writer/Director, "​Limbo"

Tai-Lynia Jones is the Writer/Director of ​"Limbo."

My name is Tai-Lynia Jones; I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I currently live in Alhambra, California. During the week, I am a Veterans Benefits Coordinator at CalState L.A. [California State University, Los Angeles], but, on the weekends, I am a freelance grip and Director. 

I love gripping because it allows me to learn about lighting and lighting techniques. 

I love to direct because I love working with actors, and telling stories. 

 If I am not working, I am either reading or pretending to be Beyonce. I love to sing to myself. 

I am inspired the most by life in general. There are many things that I want to do in this life, and not having done any of them inspires me to do more. My career goal is to become a notable film Director.

I wrote, produced, and directed the "​Limbo"​ segment in ​9 Ways to Hell​. When I think of being in limbo, I think of being trapped, as you have nowhere to go. When I wrote the "Limbo" ​segment, I took the idea of being trapped into consideration. I thought of all the ways that a person can be trapped mentally. So the main character becomes trapped by his own doing. 

I am a fan of horror when it's done right. ​9 Ways to Hell ​was my first time dealing in horror, so I felt like a fish out of water. I am not a huge fan of gore, but I know you can't have real horror without some form of gore, so I made sure to get the fake blood and tongue-ripping in there. It was such a great challenge and learning experience producing "Limbo"! So I am hoping that as many people get to see it and appreciate the work that we put in... It was a truly rewarding experience.

Interview by Tai-Lynia Jones

Edited by William Mortensen Vaughan