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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Blog Archive

2011

Bugs and Bistros

August 03, 2011 :: written in: Five Most Popular Posts
My wife and I recently dined at her favorite bistro in a fashionable part of town not far from where we live. After being seated, I placed my napkin on my lap. When it dropped to the floor, I bent down to retrieve it and noticed a dead cockroach under our table. I’m not particularly squeamish—little over the years has prompted me to lose my appetite—but the sight of that cockroach conjured up another incident in another restaurant years ago.      In 1976, Sue and I had only been married two years when we decided to backpack our way through Europe. We’d just landed in Athens. With a copy of Frommer’s Europe on Ten Dollars a Day in hand, we sought a place to sample the local cuisine. We gambled on ... read more

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Gentlemen's Club

August 11, 2011 :: written in: Five of My Favorite Posts
When our son CJ turned twenty-one his mother and I wanted to do something special for him. We didn’t want him to drink and drive, so we flew him and a buddy who’d already turned twenty-one to Las Vegas where they could celebrate without the need for wheels. After checking into their hotel, our son’s buddy went to the concierge desk and said, “Today is my best friend’s twenty-first birthday. Can you suggest an interesting way for us to celebrate?” The concierge said, “Dress in the best clothes you have and be in front of the hotel at ten p.m. I’ll send a limo to pick you up.” So that’s what they did. At ten p.m. they climbed into a limo that drove them out into the desert. Twenty m ... read more

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Near Death By Chocolate

September 23, 2011 :: written in: Five of My Favorite Posts
Ships this size don’t sink, I told myself. Sure maybe in movies, but I wasn’t Leonardo De Caprio and this wasn’t the Titanic. More than two thousand souls were on board and we couldn’t possibly be facing the unimaginable. Still, the storm was strengthening and waves were getting pretty darn high, breaking over most of the decks. The ship was plunging into deep troughs and moaning when she rose up to catch the wind, and from the window of our cabin I could see crew members preparing lifeboats. We had been ordered to stay off the decks and balconies, and told to have our lifejackets ready. Our ship was Holland America’s Amsterdam, a full day out of Glacier Bay when the storm caught us in open water on The Bay of ... read more

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Stand All Ye Faithful

September 30, 2011 :: written in: Five of My Favorite Posts
Not long ago I realized a bitter truth; I’d been turning a blind eye to our environmental problems. I did very little recycling and took my gas guzzling car to places I could have, and should have, walked. My studio was downtown and I decided to take the bus to work. Leaving my car in the garage made me feel like part of the solution instead of part of the problem. That first day, the bus was only partially full when I climbed aboard. I had one of the double seats to myself, but eventually someone plunked down beside me, a chatty morning person with solutions to all of the world’s problems. The next day a woman on the seat beside me applied make-up and doused herself with perfume. And more disturbing, several passengers infor ... read more

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Failure To Yield

November 30, 2011 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Yesterday I drove into a traffic circle where three streets converged. I slowed down for the yield sign before entering and had just completed the curve to another street when a traffic cop appeared from nowhere, lights blazing. Being pulled over was a new experience for me and I was curious to learn what I’d done to deserve it.      “What seems to be the problem, Officer?” I asked, sounding like a tweeker on Cops.      After requesting my driver’s license and proof of insurance he said, “You failed to yield before entering the traffic circle.”      “But I slowed down,” I explained.      “You didn&r ... read more

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