(DG refers to Captain Daniel Gregg, CM refers to Carolyn Muir.)

DG: "Madam, I have an idea for a story."

CM: "You do! I'm tapped out at the minute, so give!"

DG: "There's a lovely blonde woman, a widow . . ."

CM: "Her name had best not be Carolyn Muir."

DG: "As you wish, my dear. Her name is Jane. Perhaps Jane Jones."

CM: "A little common, but nice alliteration. How'd her husband die?"

DG: "It's not necessary to the tale. He left her with two charming children, which is all that matters."

CM: "A girl and a boy by any chance?"

DG: "Of course not! Two lads in dire need of masculine influence."

CM: "So will it be a romance?"

DG: "Who is providing the story, Madam? Just follow me."

CM: "So we have this lovely widow in dire need of a man . . ."

DG: "You said it, not I."

CM: "I meant the boys are in dire need of male influence."

DG: "As you wish. She moves from the city to a small coastal community . . ."

CM: "And rents a place named Gull Cottage haunted by a dashing and heroic ghost of a sea captain!"

DG: "No! She BUYS a small nameless house that overlooks the sea."

CM: "That's nice that she has the money to buy a place. Does she have a housekeeper and a dog?"

DG: "No, my dear. She has two cats and a lizard."

CM: "A lizard?"

DG: "She has two sons who like that sort of thing, besides which she's eccentric herself."

CM: "Does she actually like the lizard?"

DG: "She's creative, an artist in fact. It's a chameleon and she likes to watch it change color."

CM: "So she has a lizard but no housekeeper. What kind of art, and does she sell what she makes?"

DG: "She paints beautifully and occasionally sells portraits."

CM: "So she paints people."

DG: "No, she paints pictures of people. And don't stick your tongue out at me like that."

CM: "There's no ghost in this story?"

DG: "She's looking out to sea when a ship passes closely to shore, manned by a virile Captain."

CM: "An actual man, not a ghost?"

DG: "Precisely. She sees him and knows she must paint that magnificent man."

CM: "It is a love story! She falls in love with him when she first sees him!"

DG: "Oddly enough, she doesn't. Eccentric she may be, but not foolhardy."

CM: "I don't think I like her."

DG: "You're the writer, my dear. I'm sure you're talented enough to make her likeable."

CM: "Maybe she has a limp from rescuing a child from a burning building."

DG: "No, her legs are perfect."

CM: "Why thank you, Daniel."

DG: "Madam, I am talking about a character! Now attend to the story!"

CM: "Aye, aye, Captain. So she meets this virile specimen of manliness in town and is disappointed to

discover he constantly gives orders, even when he's not commanding a ship."

DG: "Not at all. In fact, she finds him charming and quite likeable. She had tracked him down to ask if

he'd pose for a portrait."

CM: "Accustomed to strange women asking him to pose for portraits, he kindly agrees."

DG: "Unaccustomed to beautiful female artists, he's quite flattered and agrees. Over time while posing for

her in the room she had handily converted to a studio, he comes to admire her despite her lapses in

manners and taste."

CM: "Lapses in manners and taste? Maybe I do like her after all. What sort of lapses?"

DG: "The lizard, my dear. Sometimes she might bicker a bit, being a bit headstrong, and perhaps once she

stuck her tongue out at him."

CM: "Right. And the captain is always a perfect gentleman."

DG: "Always, although he tends to get carried away in regaling her with tales of his brave exploits. He

might even have a bit of a temper."

CM: "No, a bit of a temper? Never!"

DG: "He might even, on rare occasion, stare at her in a longing fashion that could be misconstrued as


CM: "She of course never notices those looks."

DG: "She does notice, as does he notice her longing stares which are well covered by the alibi of an artist.

Suddenly the taxes on her seaside home are raised beyond what she can afford."

CM: "Naturally he saves the day."

DG: "He does indeed, Madam. He offers to take her, the boys, and her zoo on board his ship. They will

travel to exotic ports and she'll expand to painting beautiful pictures of scenery. He will experience

bliss just to have her by his side in his element."

CM: "Oh, I do like that story!"

DG: "That's chapter one, my dear, it should end on his invitation to board ship. After you've typed that up,

we'll move on to chapter two."

CM: "They're deeply in love, right?"

DG: "As you wish."

CM: "They're your characters! Are they in love or not?"

DG: "A man and a woman like that, both in their prime, I'd have to say they are. Why else would he have

asked her to come with him, and why would she have gone?"

CM: "I might need a pen name for this."

DG: "Zade (short for Sheherezade) Daniels."

CM: "Your first name as the surname sounds good. I'm not sure about Zade. Do you have a 1001 more

tales like this?"

DG: "I have no ship and no body but an illusion. These tales are all I have to give you."

CM: "Perhaps after I type it up I should keep it rather than try and publish it. Perhaps some tales are too

precious to share."