Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste


Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Away We Go!

May 15, 2015


Away we go!  


It’s been a while since Mrs. Chatterbox and I packed our suitcases and hit the road. On previous trips we’ve explored Turkey, Scandinavia, India, Thailand and Cambodia. On the eighteenth of this month we’re heading for the part of the world once referred to as the Romantic Road—Germany (Bavaria) Austria and Switzerland. Mrs. Chatterbox, an Army brat who grew up in Germany, is looking forward to seeing places she vaguely remembers as a child.


We land in Munich, where I’m looking forward to visiting the Alte Pinakothek Museum, one of the few world-class collections of old masters I’ve yet to see. We’ll take in Fussen’s Neuschwanstein Castle and other Bavarian highlights, Oberammergau, Vienna, the Wachau Valley, Salzburg, Innsbruck, St.Moritz, Lucerne and Zurich. Our good friends the Nelsons will be traveling with us. I usually serve as a guide in the museums by identifying and commenting on important artworks, while Tina, who you might remember is a master gardener, provides details on all the flowers. She’s excited to explore the Habsburg gardens.


I might actually lose weight on this trip because I’m not fond of German food and can’t stand the taste of beer, which I understand is a strong component of any Rhineland tour. We’ll be back in early June. Take care and I’ll see you when we return, hopefully with dozens of new adventures to share.


See you in three weeks.





If you haven’t had the opportunity, check out the new Portfolio Pages on the Chubby Chatterbox menu. I’ve created a page for Illustrations and another for Fine Art Paintings. Since posting these pages, I’ve already received an inquiry for a portrait. Maybe my art career is growing second legs.



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Happy Trails, Steve!
By: Linda on May 15, 2015
Bon Voyage, look forward to your special brand of adventure stories
By: Oma Linda on May 15, 2015
Safe travels and have an awesome time!
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 15, 2015
that's awesome! safe travels and enjoy 'the diet'! :)
By: TexWisGirl on May 15, 2015
By: cranky on May 15, 2015
I've always dreamed of going to Austria and Switzerland. I hope you take lots and lots of pictures. Of course you know Ray is jealous of any art you may see!! Lol. Be safe and enjoy yourselves.
By: Bouncin Barb on May 15, 2015
Be safe and have a wonderful time! I'm jealous of your trip and opportunity to view the Old Masters' pieces. The only time I got to see them was when a large collection toured the US and landed in Philly. Breathtaking!! Take care and take PICTURES.
By: Cherdo on May 15, 2015
Be sure to see the water park at Hellbrunn Palace in Austria--check it out in Wikipedia!!
By: fishducky on May 15, 2015
You will love this trip! Those were my favorite places to go when i went to Europe in high school! Enjoy, and come back with lots of photos!
By: mimi on May 15, 2015
Have a wonderful, safe trip and I will be looking forward to reading about your adventures which you always seem to have.
By: Akansas Patti on May 15, 2015
Oh, do enjoy yourself! Maybe a pastry, if not the food? Cat
By: Cat on May 15, 2015
Now THAT is a vacation that piques my interest. Have a great time! :)
By: Scott Park on May 15, 2015
I think our favorite part of Munich was the Viktualienmarkt in the center of town. It's a daily food market the likes of which I had never seen and have yet so see since. 'Course, I've never been to Portland. But check out the outdoor market if you get a chance. It's fantastic.
By: Catalyst on May 15, 2015
You guys are so adventurous. By contrast I'm going to Kentucky this weekend. Where there's baseball bats, horses, and fried chicken I guess.
By: PT Dilloway on May 15, 2015
Have a great trip.
By: red on May 15, 2015
I hope you, your wife, and the Nelsons have a wonderful time! I've only been in Germany once, but I loved the food - especially the desserts! Take lots of pics and show us everything when you get back. :)
By: Lexa Cain on May 15, 2015
Oh, I hope you have a great time - Bavaria is the state in Germany where I was born and grew up! My sister lives in Munich, and I've been to quite a few of the places you mention. Please take lots of pictures! And if you don't like German food, you may be pleasantly surprised by the fact that German cooking has become quite sophisticated and international in the last few decades. And the Rhine Valley, I believe, is more about the wine than the beer. Just get used to drinking bottled water (Germans tend to look down on tap water) - and it'll be carbonated, unless you specifically ask for it without carbonation ("still water"). Have fun!
By: Pixel Peeper on May 15, 2015
Bon Voyage! You two always have fun traveling! Time tomake more foind memories! xoxo
By: Kathe W. on May 15, 2015
I hope you have a great trip. I confess I would not want to visit the other places where you've vacationed, but this trip is probably one I would enjoy. The Hurricane has a video from last summer on her Facebook page. She was in the Swiss alps and had a beautiful encounter with a darling creature-- a well-educated marmot who worked in a bank. She deposited a carrot with him. He put it in his burrow and came back for more. He allowed her to pet him. She also enjoyed Germany, especially a museum that focused on East Germany. Instead of being sad, she said it had an air of nostalgia. I wish you a happy visit. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on May 15, 2015
I hope you see some castles! I find them fascinating. Have a blast. Do a Julie Andrews spin in a mountain meadow.
By: Val on May 15, 2015
Sounds wonderful. Hope you all have a fantastic time, safe journey!
By: John on May 16, 2015
Bon Voyage! Have a fantastic time.
By: Tom Cochrun on May 16, 2015
Haben eine wunderbare Zeit zu Besuch in Deutschland , Ãsterreich und der Schweiz.
By: Daniel LaFrance on May 16, 2015
I hope you-two have a wonderful time!
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on May 16, 2015
Have fun!
By: The Bug on May 16, 2015
Stephen: Have a safe and enjoyable vacation! See you after you return.
By: Michael Manning on May 16, 2015
Have a great time! Good grief though, man. You don't like the taste of beer? I guess the Hofbrauhaus is out of the question then? Although they do sell pretzels as big as your head.
By: Al Penwasser on May 16, 2015
Have a great trip. I love Bavaria and Austria. Shame you don't like beer, it is the mainstay of the Bavarian diet, fulfilling the role that fruit & veg does in other parts of the world :)
By: Botanist on May 16, 2015
have a great time. I myself have never been anywhere except Mexico.
By: Ellen Abbott on May 17, 2015
Have a wonderful time, you two! Be safe.
By: Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines on May 19, 2015
Have a wonderful trip. I look forward to reading all about it in the future! How can you not like the taste if beer!
By: LL Cool Joe on May 20, 2015
See I was so shocked by you not liking beer I made another typo too!
By: LL Cool Joe on May 20, 2015
I hope it's a great trip for you and your sterling lady. (But you are missing out by not trying the local beer).
By: Bryan Jones on May 21, 2015
I hope you're having a wonderful time. I can't wait to hear (and moreover, see) about it. Cheers.
By: Robyn Engel on May 22, 2015
I love Germany---such a beautiful country. Have a great time!
By: marcia @ Menopausal Mother on May 23, 2015
I hope you are having a great time. I love German food, especially german chocolate cake. I know you are a fan of chocolate because, chocolate tequila. Mmhmm.
By: Michael Offutt on June 1, 2015

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