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.

Blog Archive

05/2013

One of Life's Absurdities

May 01, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
On Saturday my back was acting up so I took two pain pills and felt good enough to accompany Mrs. Chatterbox to the grocery store. I don’t generally accompany Mrs. C. on food expeditions because Mrs. C. is a foodie who loves squeezing produce, reading labels and looking for yummy new trends. This usually proves to be time consuming. On the rare occasions when I shop I require a list and I’m in and out as quickly as possible. I was enjoying a delightful buzz on Saturday as I pushed the cart down the aisles.      We were halfway down the frozen food aisle when my wife dropped a package of tilapia into the cart, leaned toward me and whispered, “Be careful. There’s an Oreo behind you.”   ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

It's Back!

May 03, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Imagine your worst fear: spiders, sharks, speaking in public. I’m sorry to say that something wicked this way comes; it’s headed your way and it exceeds your worst nightmares.      I have a method to alert me to the fact that it’s time to toddle off to Perfect Look for a haircut. On weekday mornings when I pull on my clothes to drive to our community pool, my hair is so unruly that it’s necessary to smash a baseball hat onto my head. When my hair grows too long the hat pops into the air, announcing that time has come for a cut. My hat popped earlier this week.      It should not come as a surprise that I’m chatty with everyone, including the person cutting my hair. Be ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Beat Me With A Drumstick

May 05, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
First Posted 10/26/11       Hollywood irks me quite often. Why is it that whenever someone gets into a car they never look in the back seat where a killer is patiently waiting for them. I saw this happen once in a movie and the car was a freakin’ convertible. In spy movies, whenever the main character is suspended from the ceiling by a wire, the bad guys never look up when they enter the room, leaving the likes of Tom Cruise to dangle above them without drawing attention. I can’t remember a time when I entered a room without glancing up at the ceiling.       In action adventure movies when our hero defuses a bomb he’s always forced to make that all-important decision: should I cut the ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Keep It Away !

May 06, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I mentioned in a previous post that Mrs. Chatterbox is a foodie, always looking for the latest food trend. I usually benefit from this. Mrs. C. has worked hard over the years to serve me meals that are interesting and flavorful, but after forty years it’s become a challenge to come up with interesting dishes. I’ve concluded that her determination to please me in the kitchen after all these years is a testament to her love for me.      If you do the grocery shopping in your family you’ve probably noticed a food phenomenon sweeping the country. Grocers are devoting more space to it every week. In fact I’ve just learned that US consumption of this product has increased a thousand fold over the past ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Eternal Love

May 08, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Although the Taj Mahal was the catalyst for our trip to India, I admit to viewing it with trepidation. I’d unwisely made a judgment; without laying my eyes on it I’d concluded that this was the most beautiful edifice ever created by the hand of man. I’d based this opinion on photographs. But I’d been disappointed before and worried I’d set my expectations too high. Could reality match my imagination? I was about to find out.      Mrs. Chatterbox and I left the New Delhi train station at 6:00 a.m. for the two hour ride to Agra. We arrived to a crush of vendors, religious pilgrims, tourists and beggars. I saw a young man wheeling about in a hand-peddled contraption with a grotesque giant foo ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Suprematist Composition

May 10, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
    Last year I was surprised by the response to my post on Magritte’s painting The Treachery of Images—a depiction of a smoking pipe that included the words: This is not a pipe. Comments were sharply divided as to whether or not this was valid art or merely a clever artist’s trick. Of course it isn’t a pipe because, as Magritte pointed out, you can’t smoke it. Magritte was telling us that a painting is separate and removed from whatever it depicts. Anyone missing Magritte’s point will find what follows even harder to swallow.       Years ago when I was an art student at UCLA a professor devised an interesting challenge: paint something that does not exist in the nat ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Spanish Coffee & Mother's Day

May 12, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
This year Mrs. C. and I are taking my mother to Red Lobster for Mother’s Day. I’m sure the experience will provide fodder for my blog, but until then this is what happened last year.   When it comes to eating food she hasn't prepared, Mom is as cautious as Howard Hughes. She doesn’t like breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner unless it’s a slice of meat between two pieces of bread. She hates sauces or condiments, preferring cold meat served the “natural way.” When she says this I imagine meat brought down by a pack of hyenas on the Serengeti, clad in fur, twitching and covered in flies.      Last year Mrs. Chatterbox and I came up with a great idea for Mother’s Day. The only thi ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Graffiti Grandma

May 13, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I’d like to introduce you to my good friend Jo Barney. Jo is launching her latest novel this week. We’ve been writing companions for years, and she deserves much of the credit for improving the quality of my writing. I think you’ll find her latest work extremely compelling, and I hope you’ll take advantage of her free book give-a-way.   *******************************   Hello, All!  And thank you, Steve, for this chance to join your blog for a day. Over the twenty years since I decided to be a writer, I’ve written four or so novels. Right from the first, each of them has come from some aspect of my own life, but each is mostly fiction.    The first is set in an elementary school c ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

King of Dorks

May 15, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
 Many of you have asked for more stories about my friend, Ricky Delgado. This tale is a true account of my one and only childhood confrontation with the law in 1966. Of course Ricky had a lot to do with it.  ************************************   “Is it true?” Ricky asked. “Please say it isn’t because if it is, I’m gonna to have to kill you!”      It’s true,” I admitted. No point denying it.      “If you wanted to be weird, I could’ve brought you some of my sisters’ bras and panties and you could’ve worn them to gym class. But what you’re doing is bad…really bad.”    &nbs ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

King of Dorks Part II - May 17th

May 17, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
This tale is a true account of my one and only childhood confrontation with the law in 1966. If you missed Part I, check it out (here.)   ********************************   The voice with the bullhorn continued. “This is the police! Come down immediately!”      With no other options, we filed down the ladder and were met by the heat. They trooped us outside into the light and took a good look at us. We squinted like cons released from the hole in prison movies. I wondered if Juuuuvy had a hole.      “Well, well, well...”said one of the cops. “Donny Greco. What a surprise to see you here. With your buddy Chris Ferris.” He passed over Ricky, who was ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Finding Richard Paul

May 19, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
First posted 10/3/11      While cleaning out the garage yesterday, I discovered him in a box on a dusty shelf, his leg caught in our old George Foreman grill. His unblinking eyes fixed on me when I reached for him, as if to say, “Where’s everybody been?”       Richard Paul, showing signs of the fierce love our son CJ lavished on him long ago, was once an integral member of our family. Richard Paul is a Cabbage Patch Doll.       I was thinking about him a few weeks back when a distant relative of his showed up on one of those pawn shop programs on TV. It turns out that Richard Paul is actually worth a few bucks. He’d be worth more if he still had his bi ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Peculiar Picture #25

May 20, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
When I posted my last Peculiar Picture I was flabbergasted by the witty comments I received in response to my illustration Chicken Boy. I’m amazed at your clever captions and powerful observations. Many of you point out things I’m unaware of and never intended. Here’s another peculiar picture that has yet to find a home. I don’t generally create spooky images but this one has a decidedly Hitchcock quality about it. Do you have a good caption for this one? Can you explain what’s going on? Again, there is no right or wrong answer so water your imagination and let’s see what grows.   ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Pecan Perfection

May 22, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
I woke up this morning with a hankering for pecan pie. Many of you probably have a special recipe for pecan pie and I’m sure all have merit, but I’m just not interested. You see, I’ve tasted nirvana and it isn’t to be found in fresh ingredients or recipes baked with big doses of love. Nope, not what I’m salivating over.      Years ago Mrs. Chatterbox asked me what I thought of pecan pie and, in a moment of weakness, I told her I liked pecan pie. This was a mistake because my wife will do anything to please me, such as baking and serving me a perfect pecan pie, but her efforts were doomed even before she started gathering together the perfect ingredients. To be sure, Mrs. Chatterbox is a wo ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

How Dumb Can You Be? - May 24th

May 24, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Another true story I’m not proud of. I’ve resisted telling this one because…well, you’ll see:    In the early eighties Oregon was in the middle of a recession. I’d been out of work for months and was finally hired by an art gallery in downtown Portland. Wind & Wings Gallery sold wildlife art. My primary job was to make calls to businesses and make appointments to show portfolios of art suitable for corporate collections. With a recession in full swing, most businesses were too concerned meeting payrolls to consider art purchases.      I made countless cold calls, begging managers and CEOs for appointments, without success, and eventually broadened my search to areas outsi ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Tribes

May 26, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
It seems like every other day a bomb goes off in the Middle East, killing dozens of innocent people. I can easily understand rage against the United States; our foreign policy has historically supported dictators who oppress their people while paying lip service to America in exchange for foreign aid. As Americans we have little cause to hold our heads high in this regard, but this doesn’t explain why people in the Middle East are so angry with each other. The answer can be condensed into a single word more far reaching than nationalism—tribes.      It didn’t help matters that at the end of WWI Great Britain redrew the lines of the Middle East to serve the interests of the crumbling British Empire. Co ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

That Damn War !

May 27, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
First posted 5/27/12 I remember Dad pounding his fists on the kitchen table so hard that his coffee mug tipped over. I watched as he did nothing to clean up the coffee spreading over the table and dripping to the floor. “Damn!”       I’d never known Dad to swear.      He pounded his fists on the table a few more times. “That damn war!” My blood froze to hear the rage in his voice.      It was a Saturday morning in October, 1966, the one and only time I ever saw my Dad lose his temper. His flash of rage was short-lived, quickly turning to sorrow. He swiped his eyes with the back of his hands and dropped his head, mumbling under his breath over an ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Pole Dancing

May 29, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Now that I have your attention, I hope you won’t be disappointed. In America, pole dancing usually involves strip clubs where lovely ladies gyrate around metal poles while drunk men reward them with crumpled greenbacks. (Am I revealing too much?) In other parts of the world, pole dancing is an altogether different activity.      At the entrance to Chichen Itza in Mexico Mrs. Chatterbox and I observed this famous Mayan pole dance called Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers), or Palo Volador (Pole Flying). This ritual, performed by Mayans in both Mexico and Guatemala, was thought to stop droughts in ancient times, but is now a recognized historical and cultural dance that is kept alive by communities to hono ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Peculiar Picture #26

May 31, 2013 :: written in: All Blog Posts
An art director once asked me to paint an illustration of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I wanted to create something different from the traditional images associated with this subject and produced this illustration of a tailor making a fleece suit for his client. I thought the comedic approach a fun change of pace (I’m particularly fond of the lamb chop pattern on his tie) but my client didn’t find this image as entertaining as I’d hoped and rejected it. I still laugh when I look at it so it wasn’t a total loss.     Note:      I’m currently compiling a collection of posts for a book with the working title The Best of Chubby Chatterbox. Writers, like artists, are not alway ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Join 3000+ in the Bull Pen
Stephen Hayes
(a.k.a. Chubby Chatterbox)
has been published!
 

 

Order from your favorite book retailer

Another Easy Way to Follow

Type Your Email Here:

Visit our Store

 

-0001 (1) 2011 (5) 2012 (76) 2013 (200) 2014 (155) 2015 (140) 2016 (140) 2017 (56)