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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Our Personal Florist

July 27, 2016


Many people enjoy gardening, but I’m not one of them. I don’t enjoy the feel of dirt between my fingers, don’t enjoy the bugs, don’t care for the whiff of fertilizer or dragging a hose around the yard. And there’s all that nasty weeding. Yuck!


People who enjoy all this deserve to be surrounded by wonderful flowers, the fruit of their labor. Mrs. Chatterbox likes gardening even less than I do. Neither one of us deserve credit for the fabulous flower bouquets that lend their scent and colors to our home.


Those of us who haven’t lifted a finger to cultivate flowers don’t deserve to benefit from their soul-lifting beauty, yet there are often glorious flowers in our home. Why? Because we know someone who has a passion for flowers. Tina, our good friend and travel companion, is a master gardener. In addition to giving me tennis lessons, she’s constantly bringing us beautifully arranged bouquets from her garden.





Mrs. Chatterbox took this picture of Tina’s latest creation. I’ve been staring at it these last few days. It takes great skill to manipulate colors and textures, and while some artists excel at capturing the evanescent quality of flowers, I’m not one of them.


Instead, I marvel at my good fortune at having a personal florist in my life.


Thanks Tina.



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I hate dirt and bugs as well. Sounds like you have a sweet deal there.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on July 27, 2016
Not an avid gardener, I do enjoy puttering around with landscaping and stuff, but I am very excited about my tomato plants the miracle of fruit from a tiny seed is reminiscent of child birth in that it somehow reaffirms the existence of a greater power. Flowers are beautiful, but what a lot of work!
By: cranky on July 27, 2016
Tina is definitely an artist -- in the garden and out -- and you and Mrs. C are very deserving of the soul-lifting beauty that Tina shares. I'm sure you both share plenty of soul-lifiting beauty yourselves.
By: Mitchell is Moving on July 27, 2016
By: The Bug on July 27, 2016
I used to love working (playing) in the garden. It was very uplifting in a communing with nature kinda way. Now,my intolerance of the heat is greater than my desire to be outside. Oh well. Your friend did a fabulous job with those flowers. Her garden must be something else.
By: Susan Swiderski on July 27, 2016
This bouquet is so attractive and beautiful. I love the soft colours. It takes a knack to arrange flowers nicely and i am not that good in it. For years I would take care of the garden, first at my parent's home and then, mine but I always thought the flowers were at fault for not blooming as vibrantly as others could. When my met my current hubby and he took over gardening, i realized it was not the flowers but me! I suck at it:) He never gardened before so I would tell him what needs to be done and the flowers just became vibrant. Now, due to my joints, I have too hard a time to garden but, that's OK, my hubby has banned me from touching any plants
By: Birgit on July 27, 2016
I wish I had a Tina in my life!!
By: fishducky on July 27, 2016
The only thing better than being a gardener is having one for a friend. Lucky you.
By: Arkansas Patti on July 27, 2016
oh, i need a tina!
By: TexWisGirl on July 27, 2016
Tina definitely has the talent for flower arranging. I'll bet she could land a job in any florist shop in your area.
By: Catalyst on July 27, 2016
There are gardeners and then there are gardeners like Tina. she not only grows great flowers but knows how to arrange them.
By: red Kline on July 27, 2016
You are lucky to have such a skilled friend!
By: Pixel Peeper on July 27, 2016
YOU DON'T LIKE TO DO GARDENING??? How can you live :) Those are beautiful flowers. Your friend is gifted. R
By: Rick Watson on July 27, 2016
That bouquet is breathtaking! And I mean that in the good way.
By: Val on July 27, 2016
oh my.....I worked for YEARS at the phone company.....but when I retired I worked for 10 years in the flower business....I loved it! Smelled good- all our customers were happy with what we created- what more could a person want? I love sneaking into your home- I like what I see! xxoxoxo
By: Kathe W. on July 27, 2016
Just as you love to tell stories and paint pictures and share them with the world, she loves to garden and share her art. It's the same, just different media.
By: messymimi on July 27, 2016
Tina does lovely work. You are fortunate to have your own florist. Here on our ridge in California however we have a master gardner and her grateful husband, me.
By: Tom Cochrun on July 27, 2016
How lucky you are. I like gardening but here in London I don't have the chance to grow acres of flowers so my home grown bouquets are usually rather small!
By: Jenn on July 28, 2016
All us brown thumbs could use friends like Tina.
By: scott park on July 28, 2016
My mother arranged flowers beautifully, she had a great eye for colour and composition. I myself hate flowers, the smell of them reminds me of funerals and death.
By: LL Cool Joe on July 29, 2016
Ya can't expect to be great at everything! :) You're already gifted in so many areas.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 29, 2016

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