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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Five of My Favorite Posts

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 when I climbed aboard. I had one of the double seats to myself, but eventually someone plunked down beside me, a chatty morning person with solutions to all of the world’s problems. The next day a woman on the seat beside me applied make-up and doused herself with perfume. And more disturbing, several passengers informed me that I have a face that reminds them of someone owing them money. By the time we’d arrive downtown it was standing room only.

While it’s true that I’m quite a chatterbox, in the morning I need a few hours and several cups of coffee to rev up. I just wanted to be left alone to enjoy a quiet ride. I started bringing books with me; surely I’d be left alone if my nose were buried in a book. But this was not the case. Common comments were:
     “What are you reading?” 
     “Is that book any good?”
     “I liked the movie better.”
     “I read that; the woman’s uncle was the murderer.”

One morning I opened my briefcase to pull out a new action adventure, but in my haste I’d accidentally grabbed our dusty copy of the Bible.  

 As an art history enthusiast, I was familiar with most of the stories, thanks to great painters’ fascination with the Bible, but in truth I’d never actually read it. With nothing else to occupy me, I began to do so. I started with the beginning…literally.

Halfway to work I looked up and noticed something odd. The bus, as usual, was filled to capacity but the seat beside me remained vacant. I watched as additional passengers clamored aboard, eying the empty seat beside me but looking warily at the book in my hand before moving to the back of the bus, where they preferred to stand.

This went on for several weeks. I assumed my fellow passengers were afraid I'd look up from my Bible and start quoting scriptures at them. So long as that Bible was in my hands or on my lap I was spared being disturbed by someone sitting down beside me. No one prattled in my ear or made my eyes water with their perfume. No one said I resembled a person who owed them money. 

No wonder they call it “The Good Book!”


Ive just discovered your blog, which is a wonderful pick-me-up. Thankyou. I'm working through the archives in chronological order
By: on April 9, 2016

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