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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Edith Emerges

February 18, 2015


Jo Barney is a wonderful writer and one of my dearest friends. Several years ago, I hosted her to help launch “Graffiti Grandma,” which went on to earn a stellar Kirkus review. Jo is back to discuss her new novel,“Edith.”




Hello, again. As Steve knows, I’ve been chained to my desk for the past few months, writing my fourth or fifth or sixth novel, depending on how I count.


Since July (it is November as I write this), I have been getting acquainted with the woman who has made an appearance on my computer. She’s a bit like me, only bitchier, at least at the beginning of the book. Not her fault. She’s been married to a bully of a husband for forty years and for some reason, she’s hung in there. Not my problem, but I can identify.


One morning she wakes up next to him and discovers that he’s dead. She closes his eyes and wonders, what now?


The what now? is, of course, the story, and now, a fourth of the way into it, Edith hasn’t much of a clue. But her hair is now blonde, not gray, and she’s thinking about doing something about her chin. And she’s confused by the coroner’s report about the contents of Art’s blood. Anti-depressants in a man who wouldn’t swallow an aspirin?


I have no idea how this story will end. That’s the best part of all. The writing adrenalin is spurting, invigorating my dreams. I wake up and try to remember why Art’s pockets contain receipts from local rib joints when he wouldn’t touch his food with his fingers, ever.


I love writing, getting to know people I never knew existed, and which don’t exist except in my imagination and on my computer screen. And in my midnight fantasies.


This morning, over a cup of coffee, I worry about my other good friends, the school counselor in Wednesday Club, the hockey player in Mom, the sorority sisters in Uprush, and the old lady and her runaway friend in Graffiti Grandma. Had I done all I could to get their stories out into the world? I had been advised that I should promote them and my books on the internet, that I must blog on any number of electronic destinations created for writers like me, ask for reviews and pats on the back from other writers who will expect the same sort of support from me.


I become exhausted thinking about all that busyness.


I go back to my desk and to Edith. Edith is learning to swear a little and to reflect for a moment on the black man with clipped gray hair she finds at her table at the rib joint. Who knows what’s next? I don’t.

This will not be a YA novel. This is an OA novel. It will appeal, first of all, to its author, and then maybe, to other folks for whom vampires, dystopia, walking deads, and rumpled sheets have little appeal. Well, maybe not the rumpled sheets. Edith is open to new experiences.


Postscript: I just celebrated Valentine’s Day by publishing this novel and EDITH is now living a good life at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in local Portland bookstores as both an ebook and a paperback. I’m glad she’s finally made her way out of my computer and out into the world. I like her. You will, too.



You can find her at: www.jobarneywrites.com http://www.amazon.com/Edith-Jo-Barney/dp/1505300886/ref=la








Note: Thanks to those of you who left a comment yesterday at the Laugh Until You Pee Site. Many of you left comments at Chubby Chatterbox instead of following the link, but there's still time to help me out. I'd greatly appreciate it if you'd leave a comment at the link below, if you haven't already. Thanks in advance.
















It seems like a nice novel.
By: izdi on February 18, 2015
Sounds like Edith will get a chance at a second life. And the sky will be the limit. Good luck with it, Jo!
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on February 18, 2015
congratulations to your friend! i like her description of getting to know people she never knew existed. :)
By: TexWisGirl on February 18, 2015
Congratulations Jo! I admire the vigor in which you approach writing. It is an adventure, isn't it?
By: Michael Offutt on February 18, 2015
intriguing.....I've put it on my must read list! Thanks!
By: Kathe W. on February 18, 2015
I just bought it!!
By: fishducky on February 18, 2015
This sounds like my kind of book. I will head over and check it out now. Thanks.
By: Akansas Patti on February 18, 2015
Sounds intriguing. As do the titles of her other works. I'm off to take a gander.
By: Val on February 18, 2015
It sounds like a great book! I love stories about people who keep growing and changing throughout their entire life.
By: Pixel Peeper on February 18, 2015
I can help Edith with her swearing. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on February 18, 2015
I am glad Stephen allowed this space for you to acquaint us with your work! Congratulations on completing your books and sticking with it. That is a very admirable discipline!
By: Michael Manning on February 18, 2015
It is so refreshing to read your words and about how you work I like when the story evolves as you go rather than having it all planned out. It brings a freshness to the characters. Sounds like you are a star! Good lock and great success with your work Jo.
By: John on February 19, 2015
I had seen Graffit Grandma and wondered about it. Now that my blogger friend recommends this, I am all on bored for both titles.
By: Tabor on February 19, 2015
Congrats .. wishing you much success.
By: Hilary on February 19, 2015
Congratulations, Jo! I love the book title. It carries a special place in my heart.My Mom was Edith, though she was a very intelligent one. Thanks, Jo and Stephen.
By: Robyn Engel on February 19, 2015
Sounds very interesting, will have to take a peek! Cat
By: Cat on February 19, 2015

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