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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The Center of the Universe

March 2, 2015
Thanks to everyone for your condolences. I didn’t know Bette Fletcher, my sister-in-law’s mother, that well but I know she had a long happy life. She was a devoted grandmother and loved being in the company of children. She’ll be missed by family and friends.
This past weekend, Mrs. Chatterbox and I drove to Medina, Washington, ...

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A Lot of Bull

February 27, 2015
It’s hard to look at The Bull, painted in 1647 by twenty-one year old Dutch artist Paulus Potter (1625-1654) and understand how this painting was ever held in higher esteem than Rembrandt’s Night Watch. In fact, when this painting was exhibited in Paris during the Napoleonic Era, critics commented that there were only four canvases in the Louvre’s entire collection ...

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Portrait of an A*#hole

February 25, 2015
First posted 5/11/12
I saw someone familiar in the obituaries today. It took me a while to place the face but it finally came to me. Years ago she came regularly to the mall jewelry store I managed. She never bought anything, but she was a pleasant widow and I always offered to clean her jewelry. Being a chatty fellow, I let it slip ...

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About Face

February 23, 2015
I don’t discuss regional politics and this post is no exception, but something has come to my attention that makes me shake my head. I feel safe mentioning this because my own state is currently experiencing a gubernatorial scandal prompting our governor to resign in the face of a Federal investigation. If the issue I’m about to discuss occurred in any of the other forty-nine states I’d ...

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Bull's Eye

February 20, 2015
After graduating from the University of Oregon, our son CJ was eager to land a job. He couldn’t find anything in Eugene, but managed to secure a position as a financial consultant for a bank in Lebanon, Oregon. Lebanon has about 15,000 residents, and is approximately fifty miles north of Eugene—Oregon’s second largest city.
CJ described ...

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Edith Emerges

February 18, 2015
Jo Barney is a wonderful writer and one of my dearest friends. Several years ago, I hosted her to help launch “Graffiti Grandma,” which went on to earn a stellar Kirkus review. Jo is back to discuss her new novel,“Edith.”
Hello, again. As Steve knows, I’ve been chained to my desk for the past few months, ...

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A Stimulating Read

February 17, 2015
Some of you might have noticed the saucy picture added to Chubby Chatterbox’s sidebar announcing a new anthology produced by Publishing Syndicate: On SEX: 69 Hilarious Stories About Everything SEX. I was honored when two of my stories were accepted for publication, and surprised when one, Peeping Toms, was selected to help launch the book on the publisher’s blog Laugh ...

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Was That Love in the Air?

February 16, 2015
Was that love in the air on Saturday, or something else? Even though Mrs. Chatterbox and I agreed not to exchange Valentine’s Day gifts, she presented me with one anyway. Perhaps she grew tired of me coming home from hardware stores empty handed. Now there’s a new addition to Casa Chatterbox. He doesn’t look like a Johnny; more like a Brad.
If ...

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Stephen Hayes
(a.k.a. Chubby Chatterbox)
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