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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Blog Archive

05/2017

Pope Paul III and His Grandsons

May 01, 2017
When I was an art history instructor I often told my students to check out “unfinished” paintings because they reveal far more secrets than finished ones. Like trees laid bare in winter, unfinished paintings reveal the architecture of their creation, illusionary tricks making the effects possible.   Titian was arguably the greatest painter in Western art, certainly the one who pushed oil and canvas beyond anything previously accomplished, so much so that his methods continue to influence artists four hundred years after his death. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I’ve written about Titian more than any other artist.   In 1546 Titian, regarded as “The Prince of Painters” by ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

A True Story of Kindred Spirits

May 03, 2017
  A fellow blogger recently asked if anyone has had a psychic experience, reminding me of this reworked post from 2012.   **************   In 2002 when we bought our house it was nearly a hundred years old. We’d only lived in it a week or two, not long enough to learn about the neighborhood or meet our neighbors. We’d arrived in the fall and the golden leaves on the old maple trees lining the street were falling with urgency.             One evening we were bundled up for the brisk walk home after dining at a popular neighborhood bistro when we rounded a corner and approached our house. I was so busy taking in the autumn colors and crisp fall air that I ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Tools and Taborets

May 05, 2017
  My dad must have been smiling in heaven the other day over something that, while alive, he wouldn’t have anticipated —his mechanically challenged son walking into an auto parts store. My dad was a professional mechanic who retired from the City of Sunnyvale after twenty-five years of servicing fire trucks, ambulances and patrol cars. I did not inherit my dad’s aptitude for repairing things. At our house, if it can’t be fixed with a screwdriver, butter knife, rusty pliers or duct tape I get on the horn and call someone.   Backing up a bit; it’s spring, the weather is turning warmer and, as usual for this time of year, my thoughts turn to painting. Our house doesn’t have a proper place for me ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Two for One

May 08, 2017
Yesterday morning while Mrs. Chatterbox was cracking eggs for breakfast, I was reminded of something I hadn’t thought about since childhood.   My dad liked his eggs cooked “blindfolded,” where hot frying pan oil is flicked over eggs with a spatula. Like Dad, I preferred my eggs blindfolded. My mother was a good cook but she always broke the eggs, and even though I was a chubby kid I wouldn’t eat fried eggs if the yolks were broken or rubbery. Mom would just smash them and call them scrambled, and Dad would say it didn’t matter what they looked like, they all went to the same place, leaving me to wonder where he was implying they went.   Yes, Dad liked his eggs blindfolded but, unlike me, he’ ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

Hitting the Road

May 10, 2017
 It’s that time of year when Mrs. Chatterbox and I dust off our suitcases and prepare to hit the road. This time we’re headed to the south of France, the lavender fields of Provence to be specific. I was a bit worried about our trip because of the French election, but the French seem happy with their selection for president and, fingers crossed, there won’t be terrorist attacks or angry protests. If anyone starts ranting about Trump, who actively supported the losing Trumpesque candidate, we’ll tell them we’re Canadian.   We fly to Seattle and then on to Paris, where we won’t be spending much time since we’ve been there several times. We’ll be traveling to Dijon, mustard capital of ... read more

 + photos!,  read more

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