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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Peculiar Picture #23

February 24, 2013

Perhaps no picture I’ve painted deserves to be in my Peculiar Picture File more than this weird version of The Pied Piper. I can’t remember why I painted this image although I recall being happy when I signed my name to it. Art directors were less than thrilled when they saw it in my portfolio. Strange. Odd. Unmarketable; these were some of the nicer words hurled at my poor picture.


This piece has never sold because no one could imagine a use for it. Can you?




Well, the pied piper is the leader and the sheep are following him no matter what. Right or wrong, just blinding following. Have a terrific day. :)
By: Comedy Plus on February 24, 2013
Oh rats, bats and alley cats......I like this. I think I know some of those down on their knees. And the piper is a spiffy little devil in his turned up shoes. Oh I like this painting. That should possibly scare you because I am the matriarch of Casa de Cuckoo. But I think it is wonderful. Are you going to show us more of your paintings????? PLZ, Oma Linda
By: Oma Linda on February 24, 2013
I see the pied piper with all his not too bright followers. This is a fun one to look at-
By: shelly on February 24, 2013
Oh Stephen I am pulling myself up off the floor to write you...oh hahahah who are those strange people on their hands and knees? Lordy this is hilarious- love it! By the way I am up in Portland this week - flying up today and will be bringing up some Lemon Marmalade that I made -extras!!! If you would like a jar I would be happy to mail or bring one to you! Just email me.....! Cheers!
By: Kathe W. on February 24, 2013
Chubby, it's marvelous. Don't listen to those people who have no 'use' for it, it's thought-provoking and original. You're a phenom.
By: Madeleine McLaughlin on February 24, 2013
HHHMMMM can't think of a marketable use for the illustration but I am sure there are plenty of human rats in our world that need to be rounded up.
By: Cheryl P. on February 24, 2013
I think it's obvious-- he's a politician of some sort!!
By: fishducky on February 24, 2013
I think it's very well done, and I really like the costume on the Pied Piper. Maybe the problem is the children are rug-"rats"! Seriously - you're very talented. I'm impressed! lol
By: Lexa Cain on February 24, 2013
I like it too! I can envision it being used as a poster for a musical or an album cover. The latter being my preference. Perhaps a Genesis album back in the day.
By: Daniel LaFrance on February 24, 2013
It's no more weird than most art. I like the magical feel to it, and I can see it as a backdrop for a ride at Disneyland. Maybe? xoRobyn
By: Robyn Engel on February 24, 2013
fishducky nailed it.
By: (not your) Uncle Skip on February 24, 2013
I think maybe you could sell it to a Scientology chapter.
By: Bruce/Catalyst on February 24, 2013
Oh, i agree with the others, i like it! So blindly following, they are awful and hilarious at the same time.
By: mimi on February 24, 2013
Yes, I think he's ridding the town of human rats. Maybe a theatrical costume shop could use it. "We've got it all...from Pied Piper to rats."
By: Val on February 24, 2013
It is a little disturbing. Did you do this when you were working at the bank?
By: Cranky Old Man on February 24, 2013
I could see it being used in an ad for home security systems. "Because magical Pied Piper's don't exist, we're ADT home security."
By: Brett Minor - Transformed Nonconformist on February 24, 2013
I love the painting, it reminds me of politics.
By: John on February 25, 2013
I find it quite intriguing - what about an anti-drug ad - "The lure of drugs - not a child's game" or something similar? or as Daniel or fishducky suggested, something to do with politics, theatre or music?
By: jenny_o on February 25, 2013
I find it intriguing, Stephen! It took tremendous imagination to create this painting.
By: Michael Manning on February 26, 2013
It might make a good political cartoon.
By: joeinvegas on March 1, 2013
It might make a good political cartoon.
By: joeinvegas on March 1, 2013
I think you know from my blog that I practice in psych. I'm a shrink. I love this painting! I have a history of putting thought provoking art in my office space. I can only imagine the stories this one would create. It's fabulous! I agree it makes a great political cartoon but on the basis of somehow drawing closer to death...Those folks on the ground are very grim reaper! I also agree that I would love to see more of your art online.
By: lydia/zoe on March 2, 2013

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