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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Blog Archive


Remembering Truckzilla

May 01, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
First Posted 10/9/13     I thought Mrs. C. had lost her mind when she came home from work, excited at having won two tickets in an office pool for an event so outside my field of interest as to be laughable. “You won tickets to what?” I asked.   She beamed. “Tickets to a truck and tractor pull.”   “What the hell is that?” I asked, hoping the name was a misnomer and this event had nothing to do with trucks or tractors.   “As I understand it, trucks and tractors engage in tugs of war, there’s a demolition derby and other events. You can take CJ. He loves cars and trucks. It will be a great bonding experience for the two of you. And Truckzilla will be there. You ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

The Smell of Cut Grass

May 04, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  On Friday morning I took a moment to enjoy the Spring weather while waiting for the pool to open where I swim laps. The light glistened like an Impressionist painting, and the air was heavy with the scent of grass being mowed at the adjacent high school. Few things trigger memories better than smells, and the pungent scent of cut grass reminded me of all the lawns I’d mowed over the years.             To be clear, I’ve always hated mowing lawns. When I was a kid we had a big lawn and the cheapest lawnmower on the block. Even though my dad was a master mechanic, our lawnmower was always covered in rust and when pushed shrieked like a banshee in heat. We eventually p ... read more

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Prom Night

May 06, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  It’s that time of year again when Mrs. Chatterbox and I reflect on a rite of spring, the gathering of high school students in a ritual known as Senior Prom.             The best sightings are in downtown Portland at the marina on the Willamette River. An esplanade bordering the waterfront is crowded with restaurants popular on prom night. For years, Mrs. C. and I have made a habit of parking ourselves on a bench to watch the parade of young people dressed in finery on their special night. Stretch limos come and disgorge self-conscious teens trying their best to look nonchalant and grown up. Mrs. C. and I have fond memories of our prom, which we attended together forty-tw ... read more

 + photos!,  read more


May 11, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Saturday was my mother’s ninetieth birthday, and while she struggled to place a positive spin on the event, I was left feeling pensive. Mrs. Chatterbox and our son CJ joined me in attempting to create a festive occasion, but I’m not sure we succeeded. I’d have preferred treating her to a nice dinner in a restaurant, or bringing her to our home so Mrs. Chatterbox could cook some Portuguese favorites, but Mom has become reclusive; it takes a shoehorn to pry her from her retirement facility. She hasn’t been to our home in nearly five years.             Noticeably absent was my older brother David, who I’ve mentioned several times in stories about my ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Away We Go!

May 15, 2015 :: written in: All Blog Posts
  Away we go!     It’s been a while since Mrs. Chatterbox and I packed our suitcases and hit the road. On previous trips we’ve explored Turkey, Scandinavia, India, Thailand and Cambodia. On the eighteenth of this month we’re heading for the part of the world once referred to as the Romantic Road—Germany (Bavaria) Austria and Switzerland. Mrs. Chatterbox, an Army brat who grew up in Germany, is looking forward to seeing places she vaguely remembers as a child.             We land in Munich, where I’m looking forward to visiting the Alte Pinakothek Museum, one of the few world-class collections of old masters I’ve yet to see. We ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

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