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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Peculiar Picture #36

April 29, 2015


When time hangs heavy and assignments are scarce, a professional illustrator creates “spec” art, pieces painted on the speculation that someone might buy them in the future. The trick is to anticipate what art directors or graphic designers might need. This can be a hit and miss process, but I was fortunate to be able to sell many of my spec pieces.


This picture seemed like a good idea at the time, and I’ve seen several similar pictures that managed to find buyers. Mine, however, did not. Of course you never know. Maybe an art director is lurking around my blog and will see it and want it. Stranger things have happened.  





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That's a great image. Hope it finds a home one day.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on April 29, 2015
An invisible bridge? Genius!
By: Al Penwasser on April 29, 2015
I like it.
By: cranky on April 29, 2015
rather eerie!
By: TexWisGirl on April 29, 2015
Now- if those were women ....that could be the "glass ceiling" !
By: Kathe W. on April 29, 2015
I'm thinking it's construction people and they forgot the most important part of the bridge...seriously- it's a nice painting. I hope you find a buyer.
By: Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines on April 29, 2015
So how come they are all wearing hats?I hope someone buys it!
By: LL Cool Joe on April 29, 2015
It's a shame that one didn't find a home. It says a lot.
By: mimi on April 29, 2015
Kathe's remark about the "glass ceiling" tickled me. Surely it will find a home. Still think you should open a gallery site for your paintings.
By: Akansas Patti on April 29, 2015
The word lemmings comes to mind!
By: red on April 29, 2015
I like it! There's so much that it can be used for in my opinion. Ray would love to see more of your artwork. Do you have a place where they can be viewed?
By: Bouncin Barb on April 29, 2015
Ha - "The Manager, deep in thought!"
By: Pixel Peeper on April 29, 2015
Nope, ain't got nothing. I thought I did, but now it's gone. Sigh.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on April 29, 2015
My take away thoughts on this piece: Architects, Construction Manager/Engineer, blueprints, sales of this firm show determination and confidence they CAN overcome any obstacle. Just sayn' :)
By: Daniel LaFrance on April 29, 2015
To me, that says you can't go wrong by following the confidant man with a plan.
By: Val on April 29, 2015
Of course I meant that to be spelled "confident." Not that you couldn't tell him your deepest, darkest secrets if you wanted...
By: Val on April 29, 2015
I just got lost in it for a while - that's how good it is.
By: Robyn Engel on April 29, 2015
A great piece, I hope it finds a great home!
By: John on April 30, 2015
I've managed a fair enough living on commission work though at this point in my life I don't do much self-promotion and so work is hit or miss. I'm not very successful at selling my spec pieces.
By: Ellen Abbott on April 30, 2015
Fascinating image. It could lead to several interpretations. I hope it finds an application. Stepping out like that reminds me of when I started a business at 50.
By: Tom Cochrun on April 30, 2015
For the insurance company that uses a rock as its logo? Or, fall into the Gap? Any way you look at it ... very clever.
By: Tom Sightings on April 30, 2015
Stephen: Fascinating! I've never heard of spec-art, only spec houses. I can see this on either a new book or an album cover! Very nice!
By: Michael Manning on April 30, 2015
Whoa - cool!
By: The Bug on May 1, 2015

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