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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Do Women Smell Better Than Men?

August 22, 2016
Of course women smell better than men, but pheromones aside, do their noses work better?
Mrs. Chatterbox is often saying to me, “What’s that smell?”
I seldom know what she’s talking about. I have a terrible sense of smell. She’s in the habit of saying, “Time for that shirt to go into the wash.” Or, “I think you left ...

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The Hammer

August 19, 2016
This story about my childhood best friend is one of my favorites. It’s languished on my menu bar for five years. I’m posting it here in case you missed it.
Ricky Delgado nearly turned inside out the summer of ‘62 when ten rusty carnival trucks rattled onto the fresh asphalt parking lot of the new shopping center ...

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Remember Customer Service?

August 17, 2016
As I grow older I’m starting to feel grumpy about changes in our society. I remember being a kid and marching into a bank with my little bankbook to add a few dollars to my account. Back then, schools encouraged kids to open savings accounts as a means of fostering an awareness of money—an awareness lacking in too many children. Walking into a bank as a child was a positive experience; I was always treated ...

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Can't Please Everyone

August 15, 2016
A well-used adage reminds us that you can’t please everyone, a fact brought home recently by a letter received by Mrs. Chatterbox.
Mrs. C. is the volunteer coordinator for our local police department. Among her many duties is planning our city’s National Night Out, a summer event designed to bring communities and police departments together ...

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Color Me Red

August 12, 2016
When budget cuts prompted our son’s school to slash funding for its art department, I volunteered to teach an Art Literacy course. As a professional artist/illustrator, I felt well prepared to share my enthusiasm for art history and figured instructing middle school kids would be fun. This was my first time teaching and what I lacked in experience I intended to make up for with enthusiasm.
I knew from my ...

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Much Better !

August 10, 2016
Last year I wrote a post about a questionable statue of Lucille Ball erected in her hometown of Celoron, NY. The statue, nicknamed “Scary Lucy,” was the subject of much ridicule. You can read my original post (here). The sculptor offered to fix the statue to provide a better, more acceptable, likeness of the comedian but the offer was denied. Another artist, Carolyn Palmer, was ...

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My Favorite Brazilian Artist

August 8, 2016
The Rio Games are finally here and this seems like the perfect opportunity to introduce my favorite Brazilian artist—Moi!
A few years before retiring from illustration to focus on writing, my agent contacted me to ask how much more work I could produce. There’s a lot of down time being an illustrator so I told her I could churn out twice as many illustrations as I was currently producing—if she ...

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The Happiest Picture Ever Painted?

August 5, 2016
Most people have heard of the artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the Impressionist painter famous for painting naked women in flickering sunlight. Monet and Renoir are the most famous Impressionists, but lately Renoir’s reputation has taken a hit, with emphasis on many of the terrible pictures he painted in his later years when his hands were crippled with arthritis and he was hampered by an overabundance of geriatric ...

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5th Blogiversary

August 3, 2016
Today is my 800th post and marks five years since my first Chubby Chatterbox post. Sometimes it seems like I started blogging yesterday, yet at other times it seems much longer. Back in 2011, I felt it would be quite an achievement if I could keep it going for five years, all the while wondering if my ideas would dry up, if I’d run out of things to write about. Many of you have been supporters since the beginning, ...

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Ball's Pyramid

August 1, 2016
It’s an understatement to say the world is a fascinating place. I’ve traveled to many exotic locations and the diversity of lands and peoples is truly amazing. Recently, I was surfing the Web and my attention was drawn to an island I’d never heard of, not that I profess to be an expert on islands, but they’ve always held a fascination for me ever since reading Robinson Crusoe as a kid.
The ...

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