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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Snow Day

July 1, 2015


The heat has finally caught up to us here in Portland, and today the temperature is expected to pass ninety degrees. I know many of you are experiencing higher temperatures than this, but here in the Northwest that’s pretty darn hot, and we might reach a hundred degrees by the Fourth of July. For all of you who are tired of the heat, here’s a snow day to cool you off—pictures from our trip featuring snow.


St. Moritz is one of the most expensive destinations in the world and a hot spot for wintering celebrities and millionaires, but on Sundays during the off season it’s practically a ghost town. The view from our hotel window was nice, but all the shops were closed and Mrs. Chatterbox was disappointed I wasn’t able to buy her a fat Cartier diamond or twenty thousand dollar watch. Tee Hee!



View from our hotel window



We took a cable car to the top of the Alps and played in the snow for a while.



Our cable car




Mrs. Chatterbox wasn’t amused when this snowball unexpectedly hit her. I can’t throw a straight baseball; who would have thought I could throw a straight snowball?








Glorious snow



More snow







Protest II Update


I’ve been making slow but steady progress on my replica of Protest II. I’m not happy with the main figure yet, but I will be eventually. I’ve added the under painting (dead color) to the fellow without a shirt, and when this dries I’ll start adding color.


I hope everyone is managing to stay cool.



That place looks like a little piece of heaven. Better without all the rich and famous! Painting is coming along and fascinating with this layering!
By: Tabor on July 1, 2015
I love clouds that make snowy mountains look blue. Oh, the heat! Wow! At least we have air conditioning. Last week, we spent a night at Oregon Garden (if you havenât been, you should goâthey have package deals so good that it would be ashamed to stay home), and it was in the nineties there, but not so miserable as we anticipated. Then we visited Mt. Angel, another place I love. Our trips are humble compared to some of yours, but thereâs far less hassle too. So many people travel more as they age, but Iâm just the opposite, and I guess there are quite a few who are like me as well. Maybe Peggy would prefer that I were more like you, but she never mentions wanting to see the other side of the world. I so appreciate you, Stephen. I only keep up with two Oregon bloggers, you and Kerry, and although we might never meet, itâs a kick knowing that you are near, when so many who I care for live far, far away.
By: Snowbrush on July 1, 2015
Poster is coming along great! Looks like a beautiful place. Hope you brought some of that chill back with you. We had our share of hundred degree days last week, thank you very much,
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on July 1, 2015
oooh I love Switzerland- as a teenager I lived up in the mountains for a year-bliss! Thanks for the chilly pics- it's in the 100's here and thanks also for your painting update! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on July 1, 2015
Love watching the stages of your painting!!
By: fishducky on July 1, 2015
Protest II is terrific!. It has energy, passion and is full on engaging. Nice of you to share the progress. It is a masterful work. Also a big thanks for sharing some snow scenes. Hope the high Sierra will look like that this winter. When we lived in the mid-west and "endured" snow I would never have expected I'd say this, but the snow shots look inviting and hopeful!
By: Tom Cochrun on July 1, 2015
We skipped Switzerland on our "grand tour". Figured it was too expensive for our budget at the time. But we did see beautiful snow scenes in the Alps on the train trip from Salzburg up to Innsbruck in Austria.
By: Catalyst on July 1, 2015
What I would give to be there in the cool Alps right now! What a dream vacation. So pretty. :)
By: Scott Park on July 1, 2015
You know, our temps have just not been that bad this summer (it's only 77 right now), but the humidity is suffocating. However, I'll take 77 & humid over 90+ degrees any day!
By: The Bug on July 1, 2015
What is happening to this strange summer. The cool are hot and the hot are cool. What a beautiful place the Alps are and the view from your window was just perfect.
By: Akansas Patti on July 1, 2015
Thanks for the awesome SNOW pics! It's been 103 here all week. That's actually a respite from 115 degree temps in June. It almost feels cool...
By: Lexa Cain on July 1, 2015
Gorgeous mountain scenes. Have you been inspired to paint something you've seen during your trip? My preference are Spring or Fall temps over the extreme heat or cold. Nice to see the progress you're making on your current project.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 1, 2015
Some of my favorite memories are of being on glaciers in the Alps. We have heat here, but it's a swamp, we are used to it. Hope you folks cool off soon!
By: mimi on July 1, 2015
Now you've got me all pumped up, looking forward to the real deal snow days of my last year of teaching! Only six months to go before I can start hoping.
By: Val on July 1, 2015
Gorgeous mountain scenes. Have you been inspired to paint something you've seen during your trip? My preference are Spring or Fall temps over the extreme heat or cold. Nice to see the progress you're making on your current project.
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 1, 2015
It looks like it was fresh snow in the Alps. It does seem cool.
By: red on July 1, 2015
Now I feel cooler.
By: cranky on July 1, 2015
Great pictures, great view! I can't remember it ever being above 100 degrees in the 8 years I've lived here in central Florida.
By: Pixel Peeper on July 1, 2015
Switzerland! Snow! That sounds pretty good right now. A few years ago John and I went to Switzerland , took a cable car waaay high up and I actually got altitude sickness. Did that happen to you?
By: Kerry on July 1, 2015
Thanks for the thought, but this still does not make you cool. Sorry.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on July 2, 2015
Roasting here today too. looking at the snow cooled me down though. Looks a fantastic place.
By: John on July 2, 2015
You had a spectacular view outside the hotel window. It looks gorgeous over thing. Thank you, too. We needed it. It's been in the 100s over here for about one week. Your painting is very intriguing. I look forward to seeing its further development. Happy Independence weekend, to you and Mrs. C.
By: Robyn Engel on July 2, 2015
It's in the 90s here in the north of England (UK) - I kid you not. Super photos. I believe I'm right in saying that St Moritz was the same one as mentioned in Peter Sardstad's old song, "Where do you go to my lovely" The lyric went something like: 'And in the winter you're found in St Moritz' 'With the members of the jet-set' 'Where you sip your Napoleon brandy' 'But you never get your lips wet'
By: Bryan Jones on July 3, 2015
I have always wanted to ride a cable car up in the Alps. These are such "cool" pictures..no pun intented..lol.
By: Bouncin Barb on July 5, 2015
It's amazing how beautiful snow can be!
By: Michael Manning on July 5, 2015

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