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….

Sign up and read my novel for free.

All Blog Posts

This One Sold #2

July 29, 2013








 Illustrators rise or fall depending on how many regular customers they have. One or two high-paying clients a year doesn’t pay the bills or put food on the table. I was fortunate to have a dozen regulars over the years, art directors who channeled work to me consistently. Paul Nickell, the art director and editor of The Oregon State Bar Bulletinwas a client who became a friend. I produced dozens of covers for him over the years, and this is one of my favorites. Paul was always looking for interesting angles to capture a reader’s attention, especially when an article was rather dry in content. He was a joy to work for.


I’ve always been fascinated with luminous skies and this acrylic illustration reflects that interest.  



Very nice!
By: mindy halleck on July 29, 2013
I'm amazed how you can beautifully illustrate something as boring as the law. After your cover anything they could possibly write would be a let down.
By: Scott Park on July 29, 2013
Great symbolism, balance, composition, room for text and attractive colors. No wonder it sold!
By: Tabor on July 29, 2013
VERY clever use of a gavel & Justice--I love it!!
By: fishducky on July 29, 2013
Even if I had artistic talent, I wouldn't have the imagination to come up with such great imagery. Terrific pic!
By: Shelly on July 29, 2013
oh, you are clever!
By: TexWisGirl on July 29, 2013
That is so cool. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on July 29, 2013
Impressive artwork, as always, Stephen.
By: Bryan Jones on July 29, 2013
You do wonderful work!
By: Eva Gallant on July 29, 2013
Yeah, the cover art might just get me to read that article ... which given the subject matter is quite an accomplishment!
By: tom sightings on July 29, 2013
He picked a wonderful artist to have as a regular.
By: mimi on July 29, 2013
The creative process has always been a fascination of mine. Especially when you're attempting to capture the imagination and expectation to the individual(s) providing the broad and likely vague description of their ambiguous needs. The fact you used the sea as its liquid foundation underpins the justice system. Two thumbs up!
By: Daniel LaFrance on July 29, 2013
It positively glows! When I saw the inset, I tried to conjure up a caption. You know, in case this was a quiz, and you asked us how we thought this illustration was used. Here's what came to mind: "Blind Justice, adrift in a sea of corruption." Perhaps I'm projecting.
By: Val on July 29, 2013
Excellent cover. You do captivating and masterful work. So good of you to give us a glimpse of your portfolio.
By: Tom Cochrun on July 29, 2013
I like it. It's interesting because I actually just gave away a similar looking oil painting... of just a ship though. The background colours were very much the same. I took the offered painting from my cousin when she was downsizing her house a few years ago. I really liked the colours but it never looked right at my place. So now that I'm downsizing, I offered it up on Freecycle and a naval family requested it.
By: Hilary on July 29, 2013
Very clever - the gavel as a sailing ship!
By: Pixel Peeper on July 29, 2013
It's very interesting, but I find myself desiring more detail or at least more clarity/focus from the acrylics. I don't like fuzzy/blocky images. They tend to bug me. I like things with fine lines where everything comes in crystal clear.
By: Michael Offutt on July 29, 2013
You bet that one makes you think. The guy really knew who could produce good stuff.
By: Red on July 29, 2013
By: Cranky on July 29, 2013
I love it! It's clever and beautiful. You're so talented! :-)
By: Lexa Cain on July 29, 2013
Love it! :) Thanks for stopping by and leaving such kind words for a MB :)
By: Hey Monkey Butt on July 29, 2013
What an interesting perspective. Very cool!
By: Cheryl P. on July 30, 2013
I love luminous skies too. Wow. This is absolutely stunning. You sir, are very talented.
By: Carrie on July 30, 2013
I love how you created a ship using a gavel !
By: Kathe W. on July 30, 2013
Excellent illustration, CC.
By: Catalyst/Bruce on July 30, 2013
Well that's just really fabulous! I love the sky - but the gavel wins. What a great way to use it!
By: The Bug on July 31, 2013
I like this a lot!
By: John on August 1, 2013

Leave a Comment


Return to All Blog Posts Main Page

RSS 2.0   Atom