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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The Perfect Crime?

September 18, 2017
While most of this story is factual, some of it is speculation. It’s up to you to decide how much to believe.
Take a look at this face. Do you see a mastermind? A patriot? An idiot? This post is about the theft of the most famous painting in the word, a theft that caused this painting ...

 + photos!,  read more

War Games

September 15, 2017
The war is over.
It began a year and a half ago when my mother overpaid on her DIRECTV account. She tried to get her refund but DIRECTV dragged its feet until my mother passed away. I spent hours on the phone trying to resolve this issue. We were only talking about $31.90 but you’d have thought I was asking for the keys to the kingdom.

 + photos!,  read more

A Fun Psychology Test

September 13, 2017
There are scores of psychology tests but to my knowledge this is the shortest, the only test that’s actually fun to take, and in my case the only accurate one. Take a moment to answer these five questions honestly and you might discover something you didn’t know about yourself. Feel free to write down your answers, and don’t over think your responses; your first thoughts are the ...

 + photos!,  read more

A Special Project and an Update

September 11, 2017
My thoughts this week have been with the folks in Florida facing Hurricane Irma, as well as the people in the Houston area still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It’s hard to know how best to help those affected by these tragedies and sending money seems cold and heartless, although the authorities say this is the best way we can help those in need.
This past week I’ve been working on ...

 + photos!,  read more

Unleash the Dogs of War!

September 8, 2017
You might recall that I’ve been fighting with DirecTV over a refund owed my late mother, a refund of $30.90. My mother spent hours on the phone trying to get her refund and died without receiving it. She’d often complain about the incompetence of the people on the other end of the phone, and since she could be a cantankerous old soul I assumed she was the one responsible for the problem. Sorry Mom, it wasn’t ...

 + photos!,  read more


September 6, 2017
Thanks to Tabor at One Day at a Time for allowing me to use her photograph as inspiration for my painting. I’ve been busy the past few months, and this will be my eleventh canvas this summer. I haven’t posted pictures of all of them but perhaps I will when this one is completed.

 Blank Canvas


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Say Yes to the Dress

September 4, 2017
Female rulers have experienced problems their male counterparts haven’t had to deal with. Rulers like Henry VIII used court painters like Hans Holbein to make them look more “kingly,” concealing weight, broadening shoulders and fashioning massive codpieces to promote masculinity, but women have also used clothing to cement their rule in a world dominated by men. Elizabeth I was no exception. Her challenge ...

 + photos!,  read more

My Magic Lunch Box

September 1, 2017
Lately, I’ve been prowling junk shops and Goodwill stores on a quest for frames for the growing number of paintings in my garage, and yesterday morning I spotted something that brought back a flood of memories.
When I was eight, a Drug King opened nearby, and as part of the grand opening they were selling a few Army Surplus items. Strange that a drug store would sell Army surplus, but such was the case. ...

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Stephen Hayes
(a.k.a. Chubby Chatterbox)
has been published!


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