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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Free is a Very Good Price

January 23, 2017
Cleaning out the apartment of a deceased parent can be traumatic, but I’m the sort of person who always looks on the bright side, often finding humor in the most unlikely of places.
           
Mom had some nice pieces of furniture but Mrs. Chatterbox and I already have a house stuffed with furniture, and our son CJ didn’t want much more than a few mementos. ...

 + photos!,  read more

Comparing Apples and Oranges

January 20, 2017
During the election, and later over the holidays, I overheard many conversations about politics. People were comparing presidential candidates. Someone said, “They’re all so different! It’s like comparing apples and oranges.”
           
I’ve heard that apples and oranges reference my whole life and I just don’t get it. When ...

 + photos!,  read more

Toby

January 18, 2017
Years ago I came to the conclusion that animals were not put on this earth to entertain us; they have as much right to exist as we humans. But I have a confession to make. I didn’t always think so.
           
You might have heard that after one hundred and forty-six years Ringling Bros. Circus will soon be collapsing its big top for the last time. If you’re ...

 + photos!,  read more

End of the Trail

January 16, 2017
I mentioned in my last post that Mrs. Chatterbox and I were going to break out of our snow-choked prison and travel to the coast for a weekend get-a-way—and I promised pictures. CJ and his lady, the lovely Andrea, arrived with news that CJ had finally popped the question and the two are now officially engaged. Mrs. C. and I couldn’t be happier.
           
It ...

 + photos!,  read more

Snowmageddon Revisited

January 13, 2017
 
 
Thanks to all of you who heard about Portland's big snow storm and e-mailed to ask if Mrs. Chatterbox and I were okay. We survived the storm quite well, although we've been snowbound since Tuesday night and are now suffering from cabin fever. I'd just finished packing the last of my mother's things into a U-Haul truck when the flakes started falling. They say we haven't had snow like this in a decade.
 
Here ...

 + photos!,  read more

Something Strange in the Neighborhood

January 11, 2017
Something strange is going on at Casa Chatterbox; one room unaccustomed to action is now receiving it—our bedroom!
           
I wish I could admit that I’m responsible for the new level of excitement in our bedroom, but credit goes to the cable man. Sure, there was a time when I was a firecracker in the bedroom, but these days I’m an inconsistent ...

 + photos!,  read more

Snowgaritas

January 9, 2017
Yesterday was a snow day here in Portland—just a light dusting with freezing rain on the way—but the inclement weather reminded me of a time a few years back when our son CJ was visiting for the holidays. We were living downtown and an arctic front had moved down from Alaska. We were snowed in.
           
With little to do, CJ and I decided to sit out ...

 + photos!,  read more

After Christmas Miracle

January 6, 2017
Here is a reworked fictional piece I wrote in 2012 that was inspired by a post Christmas trip to the mall.
 
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The mall was choked with shoppers returning Christmas presents and looking for end of year deals. My sister had gifted me an unsuitable sweater and I’d come to return it. With the refund tucked into my wallet I worked my way to the mall exit. The aisles were jammed with ...

 + photos!,  read more



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