HISTORY IMAGINED: Hank Dempsey, Villain

HISTORY IMAGINED: Hank Dempsey, Villain

Hank Dempsey (Villain)

The antagonist featured in Indigo Sky pens the driving force of his addictions

After realizing his need for drugs, alcohol and money was all he cared about, Hank Dempsey tried to run, but trouble met him at each juncture. His birth, life and death reveal his path of destruction. Addictions controlled his life. Part of my book is loosely based on the real life of Fitz Hugh Ludlow, syndicated columnist, lawyer, art critic and addict.

GI: Where did you grow up and who loved you?

HD: Dubbed Hank Dempsey when I was born on September 11, 1836, in New York City, I was the pride and joy of my father, Reverend Henry Dempsey, abolitionist and my mother Abbey Wells Dempsey. At six-years old, father considered me a bright boy because I had learned to read almost without help.

GI: What influence did your birth family have on you?

 HD: My father was an outspoken abolitionist minister at a time when anti-slavery enthusiasm was not popular, even in the urban North. Father was also a ticket-agent on the Underground Railroad where escaped slaves were safely transported to safe cities. The moral lessons learned at home were principles hard to maintain among my peers, especially when expressed with my father’s exuberance.

GI: How do you feel about your family, and your father who defies most of societies attitudes about slavery?

HD: I tried my hand at haranguing a multitude upon the subject of Freedom, with as little success as most apostles, and with only less than their crowd of martyrdom, because, though small boys are more malicious than men, they cannot hit so hard. These experiences inspired me to write about the ‘truth’ of freedom. Mother was ill for years and died when a few months after my twelfth birthday. My mother’s suffering may have brought out in me an obsession with mortality. She seemed to have an indescribable dread of death, as of the dying itself. Mother had an appalling sense of the fearful struggle, which separates the soul from the body. 

GI: Where did you get schooled?

My literary skills followed me into the Poughkeepsie Collegiate School where I had my debut as editor of the College Hill Mercury, a student publication that showed my creative literary bent at the age of fourteen. I was expelled for insubordination and eventually ended up in Union College, Schenectady, New York. I took some intensive courses in medicine. And in 1857, I had been an anesthesiologist during minor surgery and remember being asked by surgeons for my opinions on the actions of various courses of anesthesia. There, having been asked by the University President, Rev. Nott, to write a song for the commencement ceremony of the 1856 class, I wrote the Song to Old Union. I understand they still sing that song.

GI: What is your favorite occupation?

HD: Writing. I am known as an American author, journalist, and explorer; best known for my autobiographical book that I wrote in 1857, The Hasheesh Eater. I was also the author of many works of short fiction, essays, science reporting and art criticism.

GI: How did you meet your wife?

Leila Osborn Dempsey

HD: Leila and I met at the Catskill Mountain House, in the New York Mountains, when she was only seventeen. In the woods one day, she passed by my group and stopped to listen to the stories I was telling. I said that this was only for children, but the kids hollered to let her stay. Afterwards, I walked her back to the hotel, and found her charming. I pursued a relationship. When I discovered that she had a dowry, and that her father would give her an allowance a husband would handle, I asked her to marry me. I thought my love for her was real, but after thinking it through, it was the money motivation that drew me in, not her beauty. Although I made a good living with my syndicated column, her allowance gave me more luxuries than I could afford on my salary. I depended on that extra money for my busy life and excesses.

What are your excesses?

HD: Already plagued by a history of frailty and ill health, I self-administered one or another treatment of drugs regularly used for relief of pain and various other symptoms. My curiosity, if not my health, was nurtured by these treatments.  It was my friendship with Mr. Anderson of the Poughkeepsie Apothecary that opened the door to active experimentation with a variety of drugs, not for cure but for exploration. But he warned me of the dangers, and to prove it, he showed me one bottle with a skull and cross-bones. He emphasized not to play around with these poisons, that they could kill me. With a disregard to my own safety, I made upon myself the trial of the effects of every strange drug and chemical that the laboratory could produce. Mr. Anderson had no idea of my obsessive behavior. Drugs and alcohol lured me. Time seemed endless, when it was only a fleeting thirty-seconds. I sensed the knowing nods of my audience, who judged that I had merely underestimated the lure. The memory wooed me continually like an irresistible sorceress, as did the occasional drink of alcohol with women of the night. Then with the ingestion of the drugs all became habitual. I shared with my school buddies by supplying them with these horrendous so-called medicines. My friends unwittingly migrated to me like swans to water.

 GI: Who are your best friends?

HD: I thought my best friend was Rork Millburn. He invited me to join him to go across the country to Yosemite. The plan was for me to journal our adventures while he gathered resource material to create paintings when back home in his studio. We were vacationing at the Catskill Mountain House, in the mountains of New York, to rest up for the trip. When we got to the Mountain House, Leila went out for a walk alone. Rork was out painting and heard her scream. He ran to her aid, and saved her from drowning. From that moment on he was infatuated with her. He had no idea who she was.

GI: What did Rork do once he discovered Leila was your wife?

HD: I introduced Rork and Leila before dinner that evening. Then I found out that Rork apologized to Leila if he had done anything offensive when he pulled her from the water. Rork knew I had a drug and drinking problem, and also knew of my relationship with my lady friend, Sissy Lanweihr. Unknown to Leila and Rork, I invited her to the Mountain House. At dinner, Rork was appalled at my blatant flirting with Sissy. His final stamp of disapproval came when I was verbally abusive to Leila. As drugs and drinking took an increasing toll on my life, Leila turned to Rork for comfort. Rork encouraged Leila to divorce me.

GI: When and where were you happiest?

HD: I can’t remember when I was ever happy. Maybe when I was a boy, but I was always in trouble at school. The only friends I had were the druggies, and crazy like me. Maybe when Leila and I married, I could have been happy, but alas, unfortunately for me, I could not give up my habits and addictions.

GI: Do you pay someone back for hurting you, or getting in your way?

HD: I did just that. I shot Rork when he was out for a morning stroll on our visit in New York City, and left him for dead. But he lived. Leila then had compassion for him. It didn’t do much good to shoot him and commit a crime that would destroy my marriage and perhaps even get me hung. That’s when Leila put an ad in the paper requesting a divorce. My lady friend, Sissy, was waiting for me at the St Nicolas Hotel. I sent for her, and we ran. On our way to St Joseph for supplies, we bumped into Rork and Leila at the home of Rork’s friend, Alex Major, who was an acquaintance of mine. When Rork and I argued and got into a scuttle, I pulled out my gun. Alex shot me. As I lay on the ground, Alex said, “It’s only a shoulder wound, we’ll get it fixed up.” Leila had asked me to sign the divorce papers. I begged Leila not to divorce me and screamed at Sissy, who had began to whine and holler about my getting shot, to get out of my life. I said that I first loved Leila and if I could make a choice today, I would choose Leila. Sissy shot me in the face . . . dead.

Author’s Notes:

My book, Indigo Sky, is a story loosely based on the love affair of 19th century Hudson River artist, Albert Bierstadt & debutante Rosalie Osborn Ludlow, wife of syndicated journalist, lawyer, critic, womanizer, alcohol and drug addict, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, who died at the age of thirty-four from drug abuse and tuberculosis. Albert & Rosalie married, they never had children. Rosalie died a few years later from tuberculosis.

Albert Bierstadt worked on immense paintings of the landscapes he had sketched in the new West. One of his masterpieces is his “Domes of Yosemite.” 10 feet high by 15 feet wide. Originally commissioned for $25,000 by LeGrand Lockwood for his country home in Norwalk, CT. The painting was sold when Mr. Lockwood died and his home was mortgaged, his wife sold the painting to a New York Auction gallery for $5100, then sold to Horace Fairbanks for $5000 who trucked the painting to his home and business (Platform Scale) and built a gallery for the work. The painting was hung in the gallery of the St Johnsbury Athenaeum, Vermont in the rear of the building of the library.

Domes of Yosemite Oil by 19th century Hudson River painter, Albert Bierstadt (who is known as Rork Millburn in Indigo Sky) 10feet x15 feet wide

Domes of Yosemite 4×5 feet oil






Indigo Sky Trailer: Preview YouTube video I#36491CE

Indigo Sky for reader who enjoy historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA


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“A beautifully spun tale of love, heartache, adventure and sinister perils….” – David S.

Indigo Sky book cover

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This is a blog about beauty, buildings, dance, décor, design, dogs, food, graphics, health, history, makeup, music, painting, style, writing – you name it. Hello, I’m Gail.

Guess where I’ve been?

Mixed tulips, my fav




So, guess what? I’m never lost, about what in the world to write for my blog. Except, after I took Jane Friedman’s workshop on writing blogs, I thought that focusing on one subject would be a great way to grow my readership, get some comments other than spam. I did that for a couple of weeks and realized that there’s no way I would have fun anymore. I love writing my blog. Why? Because I have had a lifetime of fun. Like dating, marriage, babies, grandchildren, school, interior design, architecture, oops, you are probably bored, really, who cares what my fun has been. But, no not me, never lost, never bored.

Yup, I did that too! Danced on roller skates at Park Circle Roller Rink that was located on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Oh that organist played some pretty cool dance music.

There’s more, like roller skating and dancing on those wheels. Like ballroom dancing on my own wheels. You’ve all seen that picture when I won a dance competition last November at Foxwoods, right? Like gourmet cooking and baking fancy cakes and cookies, you should taste my lasagna.

Ronnie’s Bagels, Hillsdale, NJ My watercolor. Hubby Tom and daughter Linda are sitting on the bench.

Like painting in watercolor and oil, like writing a book, and then writing more of them, like beautiful choirs at church, like helping young couples to fix up their houses. Like working with architects designing buildings, like learning, like teaching and sharing, like car trips, like going on safaris in Africa.

Happy elephant under that waterfall

Like walking through Antonio Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia Church and his wicked buildings and apartments in Barcelona with dragons on the roof, or Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion. Like the tulips in Holland, so beautiful and on every street corner for a thimble full of change. Like walking across that Bridge Ponte-Vecchio in Florence, Italy, and be dazzled by the jewels in every little boutique. Like springtime in Paris and Monmarte with artists everywhere.

Bison on the road in Yellowstone . . .

This email message and bison photo came from our son Todd Claus and family who were on a car/trailer trip:  “Thought I’d share some pics of the bison we ran into in Yellowstone when exiting the park late (9:30-ish) one night. We sat parked for about 8-9 minutes while this herd of probably 300+ Bison took over the road on their way to somewhere! As they passed and we took pics, we also laughed like little kids at the sight- just amazing creatures. We were so lucky to have this experience, could have reached out and touched several, they were that close.”

Springtime in Paris



Gail Ingis (I’m using Beautycounter products)

Beauty in a bottle has been around 6000 years. From the copper and lead ore that the ancient Egyptians used to create the world’s first cosmetics to the scientifically advanced products of today that can do everything from hide pores, smooth complexions, and turn the pale green of your eyes a vivid shade of emerald, makeup has been an integral part of humankind for thousands of years. Over the centuries, women used burnt matches to darken their eyes, berries to stain their lips and young boys’ urine to fade their freckles. They even swallowed ox blood in some misguided attempt to improve their complexions.

Women throughout history put their health at risk with many of their homemade cosmetics. In some cultures, for example, women used arsenic, lead, mercury, and even leeches to give themselves the pale appearance deemed beautiful in the old days. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way from the days of using toxic and deadly mixtures to enhance our looks. Or have we?

According to the Scientific American Magazine, the government knows just about as much as you do about what you’re putting on your skin—that is to say, not much. My recent encounter with Beautycounter has answered the many questions I have had about women’s health and allergies that have become prevalent over the last thirty or forty years. Has women’s health been affected by what they use for their face and bodies? BeautyCounter’s Gregg Renfrew has answers:

Gregg Renfrew, Founder of Beautycounter

Like many of you, I’m a wife and mom—and, like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I applied sunscreen, lotion, and any number of beauty products on myself and my kids, I never thought for a second they might not be safe: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything. So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety. And so I started Beautycounter, a company devoted to progress. Here you’ll find a wealth of empowering information about ways we can all make the world healthier, along with safer products you can trust. Because we all deserve better. Our vision is bold; real answers are never timid. Help us put truth back in beauty.

Our Mission To get safer products into the hands of everyone. Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including but not limited to asthma, cancer, and infertility) are on the rise and are due in some part to our ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals—whether it’s in the shower, on our commute, while we eat lunch at a local restaurant, or when we clean our kitchens at home.
There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today. Many don’t have any safety data. This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry. What’s worse is that the Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics in the United States) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids’ bodies every single day, day after day, and to make their own judgments about safety. It’s time for a change.
The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938. Over the past two decades, the European Union has banned more than 1,300 chemicals in the product formulas of personal care products and restricted the levels of over 250 more in such products. The United States has only partially banned 30 to date.
We deserve better, and we’re doing something about it. At Beautycounter, we’re committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what’s required by U.S. law: We’ve banned the use of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals through our “Never List”— all while ensuring our products perform and that they’re as indulgent as any other shampoo, lipstick, or oil in the market. It’s not easy work, but it’s well worth it. This is about progress—not perfection. Because every little bit counts.

Learn more about the impact the environment is having on your health.


The prestigious and reliable Scientific American Magazine speaks: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-safe-are-cosmetics/

Finding Beautycounter has been fantastic for me. I asked a friend what she was doing these days, she told me she found this company that was doing amazing work like developing safe products for face and body. According to the FDA, an average U.S. consumer uses about 10 cosmetic products in a day, including makeup, soap, shampoo, lotion, hair gel and cologne. Join me in treating your body well with Beautycounter products. I love their makeups and creams and feel safe using them.

Check out www.beautycounter.com  to see what’s available.

Let me know if you want to sample any: http://beautycounter.com/gailingis. According to the FDA, a cosmetic is anything used for “cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance.

June is Audiobook Month! Try out Whispersync with INDIGO SKY. Audible: … Amazon:



Teaser Tuesday banner

Welcome. Yes, you are at Gail Ingis’s blog. I invited my friend and colleague, Samanthya Wyatt, to post her Teaser Event to share with my readers. Feel free to visit her website to sign up to win book(s) from many different authors who she has sponsored over the last three years. I was fortunate to have been one of the visiting authors and be included in this event. You will find my book, Indigo Sky, on the list.

Samanthya Wyatt Author

A teaser from the newsletter                             June 2017

Samanthya Wyatt

Wel­come to Teaser Tues­day!  Where we can get a snip­pet of a story that arouses the reader — hints at mys­ti­fi­ca­tion — a quick­en­ing that stirs the blood. Once I decided to cre­ate a newslet­ter, I had to give it a name. Teaser Tues­day sounded great for guest authors reveal­ing a para­graph or two of their book.Then I thought I’d like to fea­ture other items as well. Like: What’s hap­pen­ing in the world today? Are you an author — or do you just like to read?  What’s going on in your life? Sea­sonal changes —work­shops — con­tests – pitch opportunities.

On the first Tuesday of each month, my hope was to generate, prompt, motivate — all the things to inspire authors. And I thought it would be great to feature a guest. I ended up with at least three each month, posting a morsel of each guest author’s book. Don’t you just love it when you get a tidbit? You read faster, your heart races, and all of a sudden … cliffhanger.These authors, writing many different genres, are helping me celebrate by giving away copies of their books to romance readers.

TO FIND OUT MORE – Visit my web page and sign up to be entered for free books: http://samanthyawyatt.com/likes/

Indigo Sky for reader who enjoy historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA



Whitespace . . . Is this about silhouettes or goblet?

Whitespace is a fundamental building block of good design. It’s the first design aspect that any visual designer is taught. What is whitespace? Let me say that it’s not always white. This space may be a color or texture. For authors, white space is the space between blocks of text. Author reviews often mention that the book had lots of white space and they loved that, it gives the reader an enjoyable journey through the story. In this post I explain why whitespace matters.

Design, a critically important element authors often overlook. Words on the page need balance, structure and white space. Maria Connor, Published Author and Author Assistant

Improved legibility

The most obvious benefit of whitespace is that it increases legibility. You only need to compare the examples shown in Mark Boulton’s superb article on whitespace to see how a good use of whitespace can make an enormous difference to legibility.

Before – without whitespace




After – with whitespace

Higher comprehension

Believe it or not whitespace between paragraphs and around blocks of text actually helps people better understand what they are reading. According to research in 2004, this kind of whitespace increases comprehension by almost 20%.

Architecture with negative space, fresh and open

Creates the right tone

Finally the use of whitespace can be a powerful way to communicate elegance, openness and freshness. Obviously this isn’t always the design look and feel you wish to communicate. However when it is, you can’t do better than having loads of whitespace.

For the visual arts, the phrase refers to negative space.  In my work, I have found the old adage, “Less is more,” to be true. A phrase used by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1947 as a precept for Minimalist design and architecture. The phrase has been used in other applications by the design community over the years. I use it in designing and painting all the time. It is part of my philosophy. The negative is as important as the positive.

Extra Whitespace Information: Did you know that your business card should have  at least one whitespace the size of a quarter?And the backside should have a flat finish so the recipient can write who, where and when.

Not everyone thinks whitespace is important. As the volume of content on the web grows, how do you stand out from the noise? Website owners find whitespace to be a waste, they fill every open spot on the page. Websites have become a way to market and promote product with lots of noise. Website owners demand that every space say something. I never know where to look and cannot find anything on those busy websites.

Starbucks clever use of good graphic design with lots of whitespace

Thanks to Paul Boag, click whitespace to see his blog and be sure to click Mark Boulton’s article on whitespace.

Do you give whitespace a thumbs up?


How about you? What do you think about whitespace?

Indigo Sky for reader who enjoy historical romance! @AmazonKindle http://amzn.to/2nWqbcq Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link: http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE
Author page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

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