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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Five of My Favorite Posts

Single-Ply Miracle

April 23, 2012

Last Friday I got up at 6:00 AM to go swimming at our public pool. I usually celebrate this rare act of exercise by bringing home pastries from the Albertsons I pass along the way. Mrs. Chatterbox has Fridays off and sleeps in. She works for the local police department and is always telling me where crimes occur, such as the local swim center. She’s made me promise to leave my credit card at home before heading ...

 + photos!,  read more

The Bird And The Bees

March 9, 2012
Excerpt from my memoir The Kid in the Kaleidoscope:
 
When I was thirteen my best friend Ricky Delgado asked me, “What do you think of Sally Perkins?”
 
“Sally Perkins? I dunno. Why do you ask?” Sally lived three houses down. When she was five or six, she pulled her pants down over by the lamp post. I hadn’t thought about her much since then.
 
“Do you think she’s ...

 + photos!,  read more

Stand All Ye Faithful

September 30, 2011
Not long ago I realized a bitter truth; I’d been turning a blind eye to our environmental problems. I did very little recycling and took my gas guzzling car to places I could have, and should have, walked. My studio was downtown and I decided to take the bus to work. Leaving my car in the garage made me feel like part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
That first day, the bus was only partially full ...

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Near Death By Chocolate

September 23, 2011

Ships this size don’t sink, I told myself. Sure maybe in movies, but I wasn’t Leonardo De Caprio and this wasn’t the Titanic. More than two thousand souls were on board and we couldn’t possibly be facing the unimaginable. Still, the storm was strengthening and waves were getting pretty darn high, breaking over most of the decks. The ship was plunging into deep troughs and moaning when she rose ...

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Gentlemen's Club

August 11, 2011

When our son CJ turned twenty-one his mother and I wanted to do something special for him. We didn’t want him to drink and drive, so we flew him and a buddy who’d already turned twenty-one to Las Vegas where they could celebrate without the need for wheels.
After checking into their hotel, our son’s buddy went to the concierge desk and said, “Today is my best friend’s twenty-first birthday. ...

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