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

Prologue

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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Peculiar Picture #30

October 16, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although my writing has yet to reflect it, fantasy has invaded my artwork over the years. Many of my conceptual illustrations play on familiar tales like The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs and Jack the Giant Killer, and I’ve created several paintings that visualize an imaginary world much different from that depicted in my published illustrations. This painting was created a few years before Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy premiered but it does have a Middle Earth quality to it. I’ve yet to come up with a title for this picture. I’m open to suggestions.

 

 

 

 



Comments

27 Comments
That could be a Hobbit's house except I think their doors are usually round. It also reminds me of the Disney Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons where most of the animals lived inside trees. Anyway maybe you could call it something Middle Earthy like "House in the Shire" and sell it to some LOTR fan.
By: PT Dilloway on October 16, 2013
I got nothing...but it is pretty cool.
By: Cranky on October 16, 2013
the forest monastery.
By: TexWisGirl on October 16, 2013
to me this figure looks like a "keeper". One who knows the where abouts of magical places. I would call it "Keeper of the Kingdoms". One can only imagine what might be "kept" behind a door in a knob of a tree trunk like this. Excellent thought producer for sure...... Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on October 16, 2013
"That's the last time I try to share living quarters with a nut-eating rodent!"
By: Eva Gallant on October 16, 2013
Shrek and the door to door salesman?
By: LL Cool Joe on October 16, 2013
"Gandolf's Mother" :)
By: The Bug on October 16, 2013
When I was much younger, I used to write very dark stories, usually based in a fantasy setting, and when I first saw this picture, it instantly brought to mind one particular story from then. Great illustration-
By: Shelly on October 16, 2013
Really like this and it would be wonderful for the cover of a children's book.
By: Tabor on October 16, 2013
It does suggest mystery, i would love to read a story about him.
By: mimi on October 16, 2013
Having moved to the Mt Shasta area of California we have discovered there are a lot of alternative beliefs folks here.... http://mtshastaspirit.org/msspirit/category/lemurians/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legends_of_Mount_Shasta Your painting would fit right in a gallery here. You could entitle it "Door to Lemuria" ? Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on October 16, 2013
I think you might have to go into your imagination and come up with a story to go with your painting, probably then a title will come to you. It looks to me like a magician.
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on October 16, 2013
The figure looks sinister to me but the tree/door looks very inviting. Either way, they've fabulous works.
By: Bouncin Barb on October 16, 2013
I don't know anything about titles, but I love your work. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on October 16, 2013
The original doomsday prepper?
By: Scott Cody Park on October 16, 2013
Love this picture. J.R.R. Tolkien would be proud!
By: David Walston on October 16, 2013
I'll second the thought that the tree root house looks homey and inviting, like a place where friendly elves would live. It seems the dark figure had to give up going for whatever sinister pursuit it had in mind.
By: Pixel Peeper on October 16, 2013
+Okay, I'll display some ignorance . How about The Claw? The tree root is like a claw that hangs on to things
By: red on October 16, 2013
Under the Pterodactyl's Foot.
By: Val on October 16, 2013
"The Mysterious House at the Base of the Tree"? Nyahhh, too wordy, probably.
By: Bruce Taylor/Catalyst on October 16, 2013
I LOVE Val's title!! Did you intend for the trunk and roots to be ambiguous? My own entry (sadly lacking, after seeing Val's) would be "House of the Heartfull". Yes I made up that word. I wanted to include something to refer to the glowing spot located near the figure's heart. I picture a whole society of figures like the one shown, and I imagine them to be good.
By: jenny_o on October 16, 2013
I really love this painting, Stephen. It is cool! I want to know more about the setting, who lives there and why the robed man is walking away. Please can we have the story in a later post, your thoughts as you painted it?
By: Sharon Bradshaw on October 17, 2013
I haven't a clue about an good title as creativity escapes me but it is a cool picture. I, too would be interested in what your thought were when you painted it.
By: Cheryl P. on October 17, 2013
~ Chubby Chatters Club ~
By: Daniel LaFrance on October 17, 2013
Wow - that's very impressionistic. You were channeling Monet. :-)
By: Lexa Cain on October 17, 2013
The hooded figure is really striking. Don't limit the picture by pinning it with a name.
By: Katy Anders on October 19, 2013
I like this one a lot!
By: John on October 21, 2013

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