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

10/2016

Back Soon

October 03, 2016 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Mrs. Chatterbox and I are fortunate to have new friends who have offered us their condo in Puerto Vallarta, so we’re off to Mexico to enjoy sunshine, eat fabulous food and shut out presidential politics for a while. Our son CJ will be joining us with his lady friend, who Mrs. C. and I like very much.   In the meantime, I’m thinking about having a Give-A-Way when I return. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I have a lot of paintings. Churchill once quipped that his own canvases were, “—too good to give away, not good enough to sell.” Well, Churchill did give away some of his paintings, and now, if there is enough interest, I’m thinking about raffling one of my framed paintings, and ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Hola!

October 17, 2016 :: written in: All Blog Posts
We’re back from Puerto Vallarta. Although it’s always good returning home from a successful vacation, it was hard leaving balmy weather and returning to a nasty storm in the Northwest that uprooted trees and caused flooding. Fortunately, our home remained dry and undamaged while patiently waiting for our return. Unfortunately, the presidential election isn’t over although we did enjoy a temporary hiatus from the nonsense.   We are indeed blessed to have friends willing to let us enjoy their sumptuous condo in Puerto Vallarta, lodging we couldn’t have otherwise afforded. The deck was enormous and provided the feeling of being on a ship.         View looking down from the balcony. & ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

A Dash for Survival

October 19, 2016 :: written in: All Blog Posts
              Most of us have seen footage of newly hatched turtles racing into the surf while trying to navigate waves and avoid predators looking for an easy meal. I’ve always been intrigued by the sight of these little guys battling the odds as they ventured into the sea.     Early morning fisherman     I’m an early riser and a few days after arriving in Puerto Vallarta I woke before sunrise and headed down to the beach for an early morning stroll. Halfway down the beach I spotted a baby turtle in the sand. It was on its back, dead.   It was a disheartening sight, but as I continued on my way I rationalized that most baby turtles don’t make it ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Rhythms of the Night

October 21, 2016 :: written in: All Blog Posts
One of the big Puerto Vallarta attractions is a show called Rhythms of the Night, a production hawked on most street corners and shops. The last time we were in Puerto Vallarta, Mrs. Chatterbox and I were turned off by all the vendors and took a sunset cruise instead of Rhythms of the Night. We had a fabulous time, but afterwards fellow tourists convinced us we’d missed out on something spectacular. This time we were determined not to miss it and we booked tickets as soon as we arrived.            Drinks flowed freely as we cruised across the bay to the island where the show took place. Clouds were gathering and we were handed umbrellas before leaving the boat. Because of building cl ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Announcing the Start of the Chubby Chatterbox Give-away

October 24, 2016 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Today I’m announcing the beginning of my give-away. Since my goal is to increase readership, I’ll briefly mention what my regular followers already know. I was a professional illustrator for many years as well as a college art professor. The prize for this give-away is a painting I executed of a Victorian lady playing with her cat.   A few words about the prize: Several years ago I did a class demonstration on blocking in an oil painting. One of my students happened to have a greeting card featuring a painting entitled Hydrangeas, created in 1901 by little-known British artist Phillip Wilson Steer. I used it for my demonstration. Throughout history, artists have made copies of works they’ve admired—Titian copi ... read more

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Requiem for a Sandwich

October 26, 2016 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Sign up for my oil painting give-away. Check out the details (here).   ***********************             At the beginning of this year, Mrs. Chatterbox and I decided to pay New York City a visit, but after our son suffered an aneurysm we decided we didn’t want to travel far. We hadn’t been to New York in decades and I’d wanted to see Ground Zero and check out the museums. I had another reason for wanting to visit New York.             In the 80s I won a trip to New York, and a friend told me that I absolutely had to visit Carnegie Deli, where Woody Allen filmed Broadway Danny Rose. I love pastrami and ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

The Ghost of Kilarney Park

October 28, 2016 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Thanks to Janie Junebug, Fishducky and others for featuring my give-away. Check out Janie's blog (here) if you are unsure how to do this. I’ve already received a new follower, thanks to her.   ***************************** I’d thought to make this story from my memoir The Kid in the Kaleidoscope a Halloween tradition, but I haven’t reposted it in years. I hope it helps put you in the mood for ghosts and goblins.   ***************   Haunted houses belong in the realm of goose bumps, foggy nights and old neighborhoods, not pristine suburbs with freshly asphalted streets, unblemished sidewalks and immature trees. But a ghost lingered across the street, in a house where a man died.   &n ... read more

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The Ghost of Kilarney Park: Conclusion

October 31, 2016 :: written in: All Blog Posts
Part One can be found (here).   ***********************************************   Haunted houses and Halloween go together like dots on dice, but the haunted house on our street never did anything to attract trick-or-treaters. So why was there a light burning on Verna’s porch?             My feet began pulling me to the light. My head swirled with thoughts of murder: rat poison, asphyxiation, throat slashing, but I was more interested in candy than safety.              I inched up the front steps to her porch and peered into Verna’s kitchen window. She was seated at her kitchen table, her head resting in her hands. ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

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