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….

Sign up and read my novel for free.

All Blog Posts


Writer's Blog Hop

March 28, 2014

 

 

Val the Victorian at Unbagging the Cats is one of my favorite bloggers. She is an excellent writer with a penchant for Jerry Seinfeld and the ability to endlessly amuse me with stories about her high-energy family. Val claims nobody wants to read about hillbillies going about their wacky lives in backroads U.S.A., but she couldn’t be more wrong. She recently participated in a blog hop where she singled me out (along with a few others) and said some very nice things about me. Even if she hadn’t I would encourage you to check out her blog. This blog hop requires me to answer these four questions:

 

#1 What am I working on?

     I’m currently working on a collection of stories gleaned from posts I’ve written over the past three years. My working title is The Kid in the Kaleidoscope, the adventures of a chubby chatterbox growing up in the 50s, 60s and beyond.

 

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

     I’ve given up trying to fit neatly into a genre, which might explain why I’ve yet to be published. When I first decided to shift my focus from commercial illustration to writing I tried my best to write action adventure novels. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince an agent or publisher that I was an international man of mystery with the knowledge or skills to pen successful action/adventure novels.

     Three years ago I started Chubby Chatterbox as an outlet for the stories I like to write, tales that are unabashedly sentimental. Over the years I’ve taught Illustration and figure drawing at the college level and I enjoy writing about Art History. My wife and I are also enthusiastic travelers and recently made trips to Turkey, Thailand, Cambodia and India. I love writing about our adventures and bringing my readers along for the ride.

 

3. Why do I write what I do?

     If someone asked me to describe myself I’d say first and foremost that I’m a storyteller. As a kid, few things tickled me more than inventing outlandish tales for the kids in my neighborhood. Many of these kids, like best friend and chronic bed wetter Ricky Delgado, figure prominently in my storytelling. 

     When I grew up I began telling my stories in paint and this led to a career as a commercial illustrator. But lately I’ve resorted to words. I focus on art, humor and nostalgia. Many people are intimidated by art and I enjoy writing stories that making the subject less intimidating. I get a thrill when I write about a particular artist and readers comment that they were inspired to Google the artist to learn more.

 

4. What is my writing process like?

     I wish I were the type of writer who could sit in from of my computer and fill dozens of pages with scorching speed. Unfortunately, I’m a slow writer hampered by the fact that I’m a dreadful speller and never learned to type. Back when I was writing novels I wrote every day, usually only three or four pages. These days I select ideas from a list of potential blog posts; if I can’t find anything to inspire me I take an afternoon siesta and wait for inspiration to hit. Inspiration often arrives after my siesta thanks to a pitcher of sangria. When ideas do come they arrive like batches of cookies. I write until I’m out of dough.

 

Now in accordance with the rules I’m supposed to choose two bloggers to continue this blog hop. There are so many I could choose from but I’ve pestered most of them before. Here are two who might not be perturbed I’ve singled them out.

 

#1 Michael Offutt: Speculative Fiction Author. Michael’s blog was one of the first I followed when I dove into the Blogosphere. Michael is an exceptional writer with several novels to his credit. I always appreciate the insightful comments he leaves on my blog. Michael is also a talented artist and his pictorial work is included on his blog. He is extremely knowledgeable about contemporary trends and I’m always enlightened by his reviews of movies and TV programs.

 

#2 Tom Cochrun/Light Breezes. With words and pictures Tom shows that he is the poet laureate of Central California. His breathtaking views of the California coastline are nourishment for the soul. As a novelist and former journalist, Tom also writes movie reviews and commentaries on current affairs with clarity and unique insight. I usually feel smarter after reading his posts.

 

 

     I hope everyone has a terrific weekend.     

 

 



Comments

23 Comments
I would put your writing in the memoirs category, which can be tough to break into if you're not a celebrity. Though really every category is tough to break into.
By: PT Dilloway on March 28, 2014
I totally understand the not wanting to place our stories in a particular genre. I've battled with it, too. About a year ago, I made a decision: I told myself, "Write short stories and sell them on Amazon. Then work on more specific works and search for a publisher for those. If no one wants to publish them because my style is a little wild, well, I'll sell them myself, too."
By: Magaly Guerrero on March 28, 2014
I especially like your answer in #4. It's nice to see that I'm not the only dreadful speller that never learned to type. You're much more prolific than I am, and I've been on a bit of a drought in the topics department lately, but BOOM, out of the blue 2 ideas yesterday! Now I just need to squeeze in some time to write them out, or have a siesta, or a pitcher of sangrias. I'll be checking out Val and your suggestions.
By: Ken on March 28, 2014
"The Kid in the Kaleidoscope." Oh yeah, I'd so buy that!
By: Al Penwasser on March 28, 2014
Oh yeah, I don't know how to type, either. If I lose the pointer fingers I'm my hands, I'm screwed. I'm a real "hunt and pecker" [insert joke here].
By: Al Penwasser on March 28, 2014
"ON" my hands. See what I'm mean about being a crappy typist?
By: alp penwasser on March 28, 2014
Blog Writers Festival where every one know your name. Is this a sort of coming out party to reach a larger audience?
By: Daniel LaFrance on March 28, 2014
What an exciting post. An the two you have suggested as blogs are going to be where I visit soon! I am amazed that you know your writing style and interests so well. You are a good writer in that you capture me each time when you write one of those stories.
By: Tabor on March 28, 2014
i enjoy your stories - both past and more recent. :)
By: TexWisGirl on March 28, 2014
I enjoy all your posts and love looking at your art work, too. You have the ability to underline your work with your genuine personality. It makes me feel as if I've known you all my life...
By: The Broad on March 28, 2014
I not only gave up on it, I've never tried to fit into a particular genre. The thought of that feels wrong and yucky to me. It goes without saying, I'm not a best-selling author either. Good to learn more about you, and to get some referrals to blogs I'm not yet familiar with. Be well, Stephen. xoRobyn
By: Robyn Engel on March 28, 2014
I love these answers. It gives me a view into the mind of the Chubby Chatterbox.
By: Michael Offutt on March 28, 2014
I think your stories are delightful, and I'd buy your memoir! Thanks for letting us in on your writing process. I loved the quote at the end. Have a great weekend! :)
By: Lexa Cain on March 28, 2014
You need to self publish through Hyperink or similar. It would be an ebook, but it's a start, and no matter how you publish it, i will buy it!
By: mimi on March 28, 2014
Your travelogues are fascinating.You really take a person right along but I also enjoy your early years. Love that title.
By: Akansas Patti on March 28, 2014
I so enjoy reading your blog posts-your stories about growing up are especially poignant- you pay attention and are quite observant- keep on writing- and I'll be lining up to buy your books! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on March 28, 2014
It would be awful if everybody had to work the same way. Nonconformist all the way!!!
By: red on March 28, 2014
You are too kind. I think you have a travel book and an art book in you as well. Maybe like a little gift book kind of thing, such as one might find in a card shop. Wait! Do we still have card shops, or has everyone abandoned them for eCards?
By: Val on March 28, 2014
Reading your blog posts has always been enjoyable for me. They are interesting and informative often, but there is a snappy humor that I like the best. You have the ability to laugh at yourself without being goofy and you always sound sincere which isn't a requirement but it just makes the reader believe what you write.
By: CiCi on March 29, 2014
An interesting insight into your psyche. You're a multi-talented man, Stephen, but I guess everyone knows that!
By: Bryan Jones on March 29, 2014
I love that there is diversity in the things you write about. Trying to stick to just a limited genre would be far less interesting. I also, love the way you describe ideas coming in batches like cookies. I relate so well with that. Thanks for the links to the other blogs. I will be sure to check them out.
By: Cheryl P. on March 29, 2014
I was going to suggest you communicate with Tom. He has self-published several books and could help you if you decided to go that route. But I want a copy of your book no matter how it's published. I think you are a reader's treasure.
By: Catalyst/Taylor on March 30, 2014
What may not have worked out for you yet as a novelist is certainly a big gain for blog world.
By: John on March 31, 2014

Leave a Comment

Name:
Email:
Comment:

Return to All Blog Posts Main Page


RSS 2.0   Atom