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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This One Sold #6

September 15, 2013
Not long ago I posted a picture called Money Maze, my most published illustration. This cover art earned the highest price for one of my illustrations—$5,000. At the time it seemed like a fortune. I was contacted by noted economist Nick Murray who’d seen a piece I created combining Don Quixote and a money windmill. Mr. Murray, convinced the economy was about to collapse, had recently completed a new book outlining how people could protect themselves. Crazy man; what was he thinking?

    

A copy of the manuscript was mailed to me and I noticed many expressive adjectives describing a looming banking and housing meltdown, a catastrophe of Biblical proportions that would shake our economy and make people lose their property and savings.

    

The author liked the idea of the financial advisor being a doctor overseeing the financial health of his clients. I drew a few thumb sketches but Mr. Murray wanted more drama, so I floated the notion of Noah as a financial advisor herding investors onto a money ark to weather the coming storm. My idea was to create the ark from photocopies of real money pasted to the artwork and glazed over to create a three dimensional appearance. In the end, both ideas were incorporated into the cover and this was the result.

    

Mr. Murray liked the illustration enough to purchase the copyright along with the original art, although I retained the right to use it for promotional purposes. This was a fun project because Mr. Murray was looking for a fresh idea, something different from the prevailing text-dominated covers of most economic treatises.

    

In retrospect, I wish I’d looked at his manuscript a little closer, studied it a bit more carefully. Had I done so I might have figured out a way to keep that $5,000 from slipping through my fingers.

 

 

 

 



Comments

25 Comments
Excellent! Must have been counterfeit bills, they all have the same serial number.
By: Cranky on September 15, 2013
Fantastic illustration! Isn't it great to make money from something which comes from your mind and then finds an outlet through your fingers? Why, I've made more than $2.00 from AdSense. East Street, here I come!
By: Al Penwasser on September 15, 2013
That's a pretty strong wind there from the way their hair is blowing. And yet the money hasn't blown away. Which reminds me of a cell phone commercial featuring a catamaran made of tin foil. Wouldn't it sink?
By: PT Dilloway on September 15, 2013
VERY clever, Stephen!!
By: fishducky on September 15, 2013
That stinker! The illustration is exceptional. And, you know, if you still owned the copyright, I would give 10x what he paid for it. What a shame.
By: Mitchell Is Moving on September 15, 2013
Another very apt and imaginative illustration. Quite interesting to study, too~
By: Shelly on September 15, 2013
excellent depiction! good eye, cranky!
By: TexWisGirl on September 15, 2013
Superb! A very effective cover. Nice work.
By: Tom Cochrun on September 15, 2013
It would be interesting to see how an artist sees the styles and methods change in illustrative art over the years.
By: Tabor on September 15, 2013
I am always in awe of your artistic abilities but the fact you think of such interesting "takes" on subjects is equally impressive.
By: Cheryl P. on September 15, 2013
I looked up the book on Amazon.com to see when Nick Murray published his book...2001. Interesting. Also interesting to me - his book sells for almost $50. Good for you to have your illustration on such a book!
By: Pixel Peeper on September 15, 2013
I was all ready to hear you say that you read the book and it saved you from certain ruin! Really intriguing illustration - very apt for the topic.
By: jenny_o on September 15, 2013
Investments? I see it as one way of floating a loan.
By: Val on September 15, 2013
Very creative way to sum up the the theme of his book. Nice work!
By: Scott Cody Park on September 15, 2013
Nice! Very creative. I can see why you received such a sum of money.
By: David Walston on September 15, 2013
A cool Noah with jacket and red tie!
By: red on September 15, 2013
If you had to do it over, would you change any aspect of the financial arrangement? Intriguing work of art and a never ending supply of creative ideas. Bravo!
By: Daniel LaFrance on September 15, 2013
That book sounds very interesting, and of course your illustration is great. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on September 15, 2013
I bet he really liked the view of himself on high, as the savior, the king of knowledge. It's a very clever and well done picture. :-)
By: Lexa Cain on September 15, 2013
I love its boldness, and the details are brilliant too. $5K sounds like a huge amount to me now. It'd be hard for most of us to (1) pass up and (2) keep it from slipping away quickly. xoRobyn
By: Robyn Engel on September 15, 2013
An excellent way to show his idea. And if the economy does completely collapse, no one is safe who doesn't live in the boonies, growing everything they need themselves.
By: mimi on September 16, 2013
Love it, and the line of quiffs. :D You've made good money out of your work.
By: LL Cool Joe on September 16, 2013
You are so creative. Nicely done.
By: Hilary on September 17, 2013
What a great piece,
By: John on September 18, 2013
I wish I had read his book also! Great illustation Stephen!
By: Kathe W. on September 20, 2013

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