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


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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Music of the Night

February 10, 2016
My mother is being haunted by the music of the night, but not the pellucid notes of Andrew Lloyd Webber. She’s hearing voices. Lately, we’ve been having conversations like this:
“How was your night, Mom? Did you finally get a good night’s sleep?”
“No! I’m hearing that music again!”
“Is it possible you’re imagining it? Could it be in your ...

 + photos!,  read more

Protest II: Finale

February 8, 2016
Over the past few months much has happened at Casa Chatterbox and I just now realized I never posted final pictures of Protest II, my effort to recreate a smaller version of a massive painting I created fifteen years ago. Both versions of The Protest show a group of people on the steps of a public building. Some are actively engaged in a protest while others, like the bag lady with the shopping cart, ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Fill Up

February 5, 2016
Reworked from 2012.
In 1942 he was a lanky sixteen year old and glad to have a job pumping gas, checking oil and washing windshields at a Texaco in Modesto, California. Most of the men had dashed off to war or he wouldn’t have landed this job. He had numerous brothers and sisters. Now he was able to contribute money to the jar on the kitchen shelf to pay for food and a roof over their heads.
He’d ...

 + photos!,  read more

Hair / Loss

February 3, 2016
Mocking the misfortune of others is a good way to invite bad karma, but I was too busy bringing our son CJ home from the hospital yesterday to pen anything worth reading. Instead of skipping a post, I’ll risk bad karma by posting these pictures that made me laugh.  
Karma may have the last laugh since Trump is currently ahead of Cruz in many upcoming primaries. While I dislike ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Lighter Side of Brain Surgery

February 1, 2016
On Friday CJ had a final surgery to clip his aneurysm. The procedure took four hours and went remarkably well. We were told his speech and mobility might be affected for a few days, but so far this hasn’t been the case. When not knocked out by morphine and fentanyl, he’s been good natured and chatty—well, he is a chip off the old block. He does have an incision with fifty staples stretching ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Final Procedure

January 29, 2016
Today CJ is having a final procedure to remove the aneurysm from his brain. Two weeks ago, before he was discharged from the hospital to recover from previous procedures, an angiogram revealed that the coils inserted into his aneurysm weren’t sufficient, leaving CJ at risk for future bleeding. The solution is open brain surgery to clip the aneurysm—a procedure that sounds terrifying yet is considered ...

 + photos!,  read more

America's Michelangelo

January 27, 2016
Frederick Edwin Church (1826-1900) is not a name that springs to mind in a discussion of great American painters, yet there was a time when he was considered the Michelangelo of American landscape painters.
A member of the Hudson River School, Church began his career by painting rural America at a time when our country’s natural beauty was first ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Chatterbox Awakens

January 25, 2016
I’m usually the person whose opinions run contrary to everyone else’s, but on Saturday I realized how far I swim from the mainstream. Perhaps I belong in isolation with other deviants, a chubby cellmate for El Chapo, or maybe I belong in a special camp for like-minded people unable to be assimilated into proper society, aberrant people such as those with a passion for Jerry Lewis or think Sarah Palin a gifted ...

 + photos!,  read more

Stephen Hayes
(a.k.a. Chubby Chatterbox)
has been published!


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