Pre-Order “The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin: the Gilded Age Heiresses”

Pre-Order “The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin: the Gilded Age Heiresses”

Educational donation to Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum for each book pre-ordered. Pre-Order the book on

Book Cover

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/s?k=unforgettable+miss+baldwin+by+gail+ingis&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

What’s that mean? Per-order dessert, that what I like to do, eat dessert first. Raise your hand if you agree. Then you won’t eat as much. I’m not really talking about dessert here, I’m talking about my latest book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin: the Gilded Age Heiresses.

If you pre-order the book, I will make an education donation to Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, CT. The donation will help to support the wonderful winning educational and cultural programs that the museum offers. The programs are for everyone. This mansion was the first of its kind in the country, twenty years before the cottages of Newport, RI. Visitors come from all over the world. The Titanic exhibitions attracted folks from England, France and other countries. At the moment, we are celebrating the Nineteenth Amendment, for the woman’s vote. Did you know that women had been fighting for the right to vote from 1840, maybe even longer?

Allie at the window

Imagine having tea on a Sunday with lady friends, all wearing their fascinators and day-dresses. The museum replicates a day in the life of the society ladies. And then everyone gets to dress in their finest and have a tour of this gorgeous sixty-two-room mansion built in 1863.

Fascinator hat

The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin shouts about woman suffrage and slavery of women. Yes, all those years ago women were enslaved in marriage, raising children, and wifely duties. Any wealth that she brought to the marriage belonged to her husband. If she wanted a divorce, she was forced to make an announcement in the newspapers. Not the man, only the woman. Imagine?

 

~ NEW EXHIBIT ~“From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers”

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum will celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution with the exhibition, “From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers”, May 16-Nov. 3, 2019, 12-4 p.m. Opening Reception on May 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m., $5 for members; $10 for non-members.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM
A National Registered Historic Landmark in Norwalk CT
A National Historic Landmark since 1971, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States.

https://www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com/

 

https://www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com/exhibit/from-corsets-to-suffrage-victorian-women-trailblazers/

 

 

 

 

 

About The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin

Opposites attract in this historical romance when a young suffragette foregoes the obedience of marriage until a handsome detective is hired to protect her from harm.

It’s not that she doesn’t want to marry…

Allie Baldwin is a gilded age heiress—also a journalist at The New York Sentinel. She’s tired of writing about the latest fashions for the society column and wants to write something more meaningful. Attending a rally at City Hall, planning to interview some of the speakers at the event, a situation ensues with Allie barely escaping. Enough is enough — to protect Allie from making poor decisions while fighting for freedom, her parents force a security agent upon her. Not just any agent, but a dangerous and delectable man…one that taunts her decision never to marry.

He’s not ready for marriage…

The dashing debonair Peter Harrison runs Harrison’s Detective Agency, handed down to him by his father. Much to his chagrin, he finds himself following in his father’s footsteps confirming why he’ll never marry until he’s older — because he’ll never do to his family what his father did to him. But when a gorgeous red-haired vixen runs right into him at an event his agency is working, he can’t help but enjoy the possibilities until she runs away leaving him without a trace. When the publisher of the city’s top newspaper hires him to protect his daughters on a short trip, he never imagined one of the ladies would be just who he was looking for.

But as luck would have it, his job is to keep order–she wants the right to vote… but maybe they can meet halfway—without losing their hearts.

“Educational donation to Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum for each book pre-ordered.”

Pre-Order the book on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=unforgettable+miss+baldwin+by+gail+ingis&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

Book Cover

It wasn’t always a museum!

It wasn’t always a museum!

Unlike the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this building wasn’t always a museum, it was the country home, first for the Lockwood’s, then the Mathew’s.

Lockwood–Mathews Mansion is a Second Empire style country house, now a museum, at 295 West Avenue in Norwalk, Connecticut. It was built in 1864-68 by railroad and banking magnate LeGrand Lockwood. The 62-room 44,000 square feet mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978.

It has been described as “one of the earliest and finest surviving Second Empire style country houses ever built in the United States.” It sits at 295 West Ave., in Mathews Park, where the Stepping Stones Museum for Children is also located.

The estate, then called “Elm Park,” was built by LeGrand Lockwood, who made his fortune in banking and the railroad industry. Construction began in 1864 just west of the Norwalk River in Norwalk and was completed four years later. Designed by European-trained, New York-based architect Detlef Lienau, the mansion “is considered his most significant surviving work,” according to the association. Both American and immigrant artisans worked to construct and decorate the house.[6] Prominent New York decorating firms, including Herter Brothers and Leon Marcotte were contracted to furnish the mansion’s interiors. Financial reversals in 1869 and Lockwood’s death in 1872 resulted in loss of the estate by Lockwood’s heirs. The Mathews purchased in 1874 and maintained the country home until 1938 and was sold to the city of Norwalk.

East side of the home seen from the south, showing porte-cochere and greenhouse

“The Museum’s mission is to conserve the building while creating educational programs on the material, artistic and social culture of the Victorian era,” according to the museum organization’s Web site. Built in 1864-68, it is an early example of the style used by wealthy New York City elites such as the Vanderbilt’s in building their Gilded Age mansions later in the 19th century, and set a new standard for opulence.

In a decades-long Christmastime tradition, interior decorators deck out about a dozen rooms in the mansion with holiday decorations. An annual “community celebration” is held in December with Christmas music, refreshments and a Santa Claus. In 2007, 10 interior decorators volunteered their services and materials for the event.

The museum has hosted an annual antique show since 1978. In 2006 the show was held the last weekend in October and attracted dealers from Ohio and Pennsylvania as well as Connecticut.

The home was used as a filming location for the 2004 remake of The Stepford Wives. Paramount Pictures paid the museum $400,000 to paint its central rotunda. The studio also left behind some large paintings (in essence, theatrical pastiches), which serve to emphasize the dramatic size of the rotunda. As a result, the walls look fresh and decorated, and will remain protected until further funds become available for proper, curatorial restoration of the original damaged surfaces.[8]

The mansion was also featured in the movie House of Dark Shadows.

On December 21st, with mistletoe and holly, the trustees celebrated the volunteers who are doing a fantastic job serving as workers for the operations and docents. While the trustees, of which I am one as well as the art curator, work for the preservation and protection of this precious part of history in the United States. Other dedicated people are here below who offer their services unsolicited!!! Ladies, Danna of The Silk Touch and Marcia, interior designer, and two gentlemen, Mike, and David Westmoreland.
If you want to be part of this museum, we always appreciate volunteers. Just give us a call, ask for Melissa. 203-838-9799 ext. 115.

Beating Heart of the City

Beating Heart of the City

New York City Hall, a beauty in classicism with its touch of Palladio! I studied interior design and architecture many moons ago, but my passion has not wained. New York City Hall is featured prominently in my upcoming book The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. The cornerstone of City Hall was laid in 1803. Construction was delayed after the City Council objected that the design was too extravagant. In response, architects, McComb and Mangin reduced the size of the building and used brownstone at the rear of the building to lower costs. Labor disputes and an outbreak of yellow fever further slowed construction. The building was not dedicated until 1811 and opened officially in 1812. The original skin of the building, Massachusetts marble facade, quarried from Alford, Massachusetts, deteriorated and was replaced with Alabama limestone in 1954 to 1956.

City Hall, Park Row and City Hall Park, 1911. The structure on the right is the Manhattan station for the cable cars which ran across the Brooklyn Bridge

Steps of City Hall

The steps of City Hall frequently provide a backdrop for political demonstrations and press conferences concerning city politics. The heroine in my book meets the hero on the grounds of those steps while attending a women’s suffrage rally in 1886.

Rotunda

On the inside, the rotunda is a soaring space with a grand marble stairway rising up to the second floor, where ten fluted Corinthian columns support the coffered dome, which was added in a 1912 restoration by Grosvenor Atterbury. The rotunda has been the site of municipal as well as national events. Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant lay in state there in 1865, attracting enormous crowds to pay their respects. City Hall is a designated New York City landmark. It is listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The area around City Hall is commonly referred to as the Civic Center. Most of the neighborhood consists of government offices (city, state and federal), as well as an increasing number of upscale residential dwellings being converted from older commercial structures. Architectural landmarks such as St. Paul’s Chapel, St. Peters Church, the Woolworth Building, Tweed Courthouse, the Manhattan Municipal Building, the Park Row Building, One Police Plaza, and the Brooklyn Bridge surround City Hall. If you’ve ever watched an episode of Law and Order, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Until next time, Gail.

Thank you, Wikipedia for the facts and links.

City Hall Park

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released when she’s done revising, I’ll keep you in the know. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on Amazon.

http://amzn.to/2j0LXLE

 

 

 

Even Michelangelo Needs Advice

Even Michelangelo Needs Advice

Reprinted with permission from: http://painterskeys.com

Dear Artist,

The following is part of a letter from an artist to an architect friend: “I asked him for some of the money I need to continue my work. He told me to come around on Monday. I went on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and there was no money. On Friday someone else came to the door and threw me out. I’m discouraged about getting paid for this job.”

Michelangelo_-_Creation_of_Adam

“The Creation of Adam” 1512
fresco 280 cm × 570 cm (9 ft 2 in × 18 ft 8 in)
by Michelangelo (1475-1564)

Sound familiar? The date on the letter is May 2, 1506. The artist was Michelangelo and the patron was Pope Julius II. The “job” was a three-story tomb with forty bronze and marble statues. Michelangelo never completed the job because he was never properly paid. Julius, who never got his big tomb, died. After two short-lived popes, Paul III, equally ambitious, took over. He got Mike to finish a ceiling. Then he told him to paint the end wall. This is the Sistine Chapel we’re talking about. Virtually a prisoner for four years, Mike applied what Thomas Craven called, “the compacted fury of twenty years in which the artist’s vision compromised with the world of fact.” This job was “The Last Judgment.” It’s been called “the greatest single work of art that man has ever produced.”

michelangelo_prophet-ezekiel_1510

“The Prophet Ezekiel” 1510
by Michelangelo

We artists are often asked to do something along the lines of somebody else’s ideas. If the subject matter turns your crank, I recommend that you should say “yes.” You should never say “when.” Commissions tend to bend your mind into dimensions where you may not at first be prepared to go. This is good for you. If the job or the patron starts to make you angry, you should pretend the job is for someone else. Even for some higher power. Popes are only popes but art is pretty darned permanent. And another thing, it doesn’t matter who you’re dealing with, get a decent deposit.

michelangelo_the-last-judgment

“The Last Judgment” 1536–41
fresco 13.7 m × 12 m
(539.3 in × 472.4 in)
by Michelangelo

Best regards,

Robert

PS: “Poets and painters have the power to dare, I mean to dare to do whatever they may approve of.” (Michelangelo) “Art is made noble and religious by the mind producing it.” (Michelangelo)

Esoterica: The pope wanted The Last Judgement to be done in oils. Mike thought it would be better in fresco. “Michelangelo did not say either yes or no. He did not lift a finger for several months. He let it be known around and about that oils were suitable only for women, the rich and the slothful. He quietly had everything plastered over in preparation for fresco, and then Michelangelo set to work.” (Giorgio Vasari)

This letter was originally published as “Commissioned artwork” on November 12, 2002.

cistine-chapel_detail

The Letters: Vol. 1 and 2, narrated by Dave Genn, are now available for download on Amazon, here. Proceeds of sales contribute to the production of The Painter’s Keys.

“If people knew how hard I worked to achieve my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.” (Michelangelo)

Gail Ingis Claus is an author, artist/painter and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in spring 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

BEAUTY IN A BOTTLE

BEAUTY IN A BOTTLE

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.

www.beautycounter.com/ourstory

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:

DANCE THROUGH HISTORY

DANCE THROUGH HISTORY

Dance through history . . .

Gail Ingis & instructor Henry Skopp at Foxwoods competition. Gail got 1st place in Waltz and Foxtrot.

Dancin’ feet! Do you know the latest dance? Bet you would if you could . . . dance. “Tom,” I said, “For my birthday, come on, dance with me.”

Now that we got ourselves onto the dance floor, I began to wonder about the history of ballroom dancing. Dance history is difficult to access because dance does not often leave behind clearly identifiable physical artifacts that last over millennia, such as stone tools, hunting implements or cave paintings. It is not possible to identify with exact precision when dance became part of human culture. I suspect millenniums. We do know though, early dance, like 18th century sequence ballroom dancing in Jane Austen’s world, was used as a method of healing and expression. That has not changed.

Dancing with the Stars: https://youtu.be/nTWNrvnm2J8?t=20

Dancing with the Stars, Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough

Dancing with the Stars, Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough

Modern ballroom dance has its roots early in the 20th century, when several different things happened during and after World War I. The first was a movement away from the sequence dances toward dances where the couples moved independently. This was foreshadowed by the waltz which had already made this transition. The second was a wave of popular music that led to a burst of invented dances. The third event was a concerted effort to transform some of the dance crazes into dances which could be taught to a wider dance public in the US and Europe.

Vernon & Irene Castel

Vernon & Irene Castel, early ballroom dance pioneers, 1910-18

Here Vernon and Irene Castle were important, and so was a generation of English dancers in the 1920s. These professionals analyzed, codified, published and taught a number of standard dances. It was essential, if popular dance was to flourish, for dancers to have some basic movements they could confidently perform with any partner they might meet. Here the Arthur Murray organization in America, and the dance societies in England, such as the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, were influential.

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

Later, in the 1930s, the on-screen dance pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers influenced all forms of dance in the USA and elsewhere. Much of their work portrayed social dancing, although the performances were highly choreographed, meticulously staged and rehearsed.

Our Instructors: Henry Skopp and Monika Barska

Henry Skopp and Monika Barska, our instructors at Southport, Fairfield, CT Fred Astaire Studios

Ballroom dance may refer to almost any type of partner dancing as recreation. However, with the emergence of dancesport in modern times, the term has become narrower in scope, and traditionally refers to the International Standard and International Latin style dances. The styles, while differing in technique, rhythm and costumes, exemplify core elements of ballroom dancing such as control and cohesiveness. There are variations that are popular: American Smooth and American Rhythm which combine elements of both traditional Latin and Ballroom dances.

Competitive dancing

Young couple competiting in Chez Republic

Talented children dancing cha-cha-cha at a junior Latin dance competition in the Czech Republic. You should see kids like this dance live, they are terrific. Studying dance is hard work. For these competitions, it takes hours and hours and hours of lessons and practice.

Dance to the music

Dance to the music

Competitions, available for the ambitious, are sometimes referred to as Dancesport, range from world championships, regulated by the World Dance Council (WDC), to less advanced dancers at various proficiency levels. Most competitions are divided into professional and amateur, though in the USA pro-am competitions typically accompany professional competitions.The International Olympic Committee now recognizes competitive ballroom dance. It has recognized another body, the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), as the sole representative body for dancesport in the Olympic Games. However, it seems doubtful that dance will be included in the Olympic Games, especially in light of efforts to reduce the number of participating sports.

dance swingdance

 

Swing . . . one of my favorites. I also love the Waltz, it’s dreamy. We dance three days a week, private, practice and group. An amazing exercise. The benefits are astounding.

My ballroom gave me a surprise birthday party!

Personalized too! Birthday surprise for me at our ballroom dance party! And Tom next to me did it, went from never danced in life, to dancing with his wife. That’s me.

Tom and Gail

What’s your favorite dance?
Thanks to Wikipedia!

Print book, eBook, Audiobook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CENTURIES OF CHANGE

CENTURIES OF CHANGE

greatbigtomorrowJust about the only constant in our world is change. In 2010, by the one-hundredth birthday of my hubby’s mother, she had seen changes no one would have thought possible—  Two world wars, nuclear power, personal computer, antibiotics, television, jet planes, a walk on the moon, the Internet. Change is happening faster and faster.

ASK app

ASK app

Even museums are changing! According to the recent issue of Art in America, mobile apps will keep museum visitors thinking about art even when looking at their phones. For example, the ASK app at the Brooklyn Museum offers a live team, the Audience Engagement Team, with advanced art history degrees, available to answer visitor inquiries. They can answer any questions about the museum collection, and they work in plain sight, so you can see they are live in their open office to the side of the lobby.

General Electric carousel of the future at Disney

Disney’s Tomorrow: General Electric carousel 

storkdeliverbabyLet’s take a stroll in history, when life seemed simpler, and for some relief from the constant changes surrounding us, the so-called technology of progress.

Wheel of Progress Wagon

Wheel of Progress Wagon

For a taste of New England’s beginning, why not visit historic Branford, Connecticut’s cemetery? Walk the grounds of history. Did you know you could still buy a plot?

Pieces of history in Branford, CT

Places and pieces of history in Branford, CT

Entrance

Entrance

branford-lkstaltonstall2Founded in 1645, it’s beautiful, well kept, and at the far end is lovely Lake Stalltonstall. It’s strange to me that there are so many vacancies after 371 years. It’s easier to buy a place in this cemetery than a place in New York City. tombstoneSome of the tombstone relics have almost legible inscriptions that are fun to read. Some date back to the 1700s, maybe earlier if you look around. I was not able to find the tombstone of Richard Harrison Senior, who was a founder of Branford. My hubby’s descendants, the Harrison family had come here from England on one of the early ships after the Mayflower. They first settled in New Haven circa 1635 then founded Branford in 1644.

Back to 2016, although human-like robots are on the agenda of the hot wheel of progress, we can still call ourselves human, but honestly, are we in the same hemisphere as these folks were?

Here’s a little mystic music to soothe your soul.

http://www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/video/collections/mi/ah-marie-bob-grillo

Enjoy music from the met museum while you read my excerpt from my novel:

Indigo Sky

If you like romance, and you like rip-roaring adventure, Indigo Sky is for you! Shopping at Tiffany’s, getting caught up in the New York Draft Riot, the Civil War, and the wilds of the Great Plains. Here’s an excerpt from my book that will curl your toes.

Available in eBook, free audiobook and paperback. Want that audiobook? It’s free, email me for access: gailingisclaus@gmail.com.

Excerpt

Dawn finally broke, and Leila sat listlessly on the pallet. Would today be the day she was raped? Death was preferable.

Little Star peeked through the doorway and crooked her finger. “Come.”

Leila crawled out and blinked against the strong light. Rising stiffly, she stretched, enjoying the sun on her face. She smiled at children laughing and playing between the tipis.

A group of women waited for her. “You bathe.”

Bathe? Leila almost laughed with relief.

The women led her silently to a copse of trees. A stream gurgled over rocks. They stripped her clothes off, urged her into a deep pool and washed her with a chunk of herb scented soap.

She reveled in the cold water until an elder hustled her out, drying her with scraps of soft hide.

Stony faced, the elder worried her gums and mumbled something rubbing herb oils on Leila’s body. Deep crevices on her face sagged in a perpetual expression of discontent. The elder peered over Leila, her small black eyes glittered with malice. She rattled off in an angry tirade.

One of the young women giggled behind slim fingers.

Leila glanced from one to the other. “What did she say?”

Little Star arrived with a hide garment over her arm and handed it to the elder. “She say you white like chicken fat, and don’t know why Red Arrow want you.”

The truth dawned on Leila. This was the moment she’d dreaded. She backed away holding up her palms. “N—no!”

Snarling, the elder grabbed Leila and issued brief instructions. The other women hastily pulled the buckskin dress over her head. Beads and feathers decorated the soft garment. Had circumstances been different, the dress would have delighted Leila. The women took her arms and led her back to the lodge.

Red Arrow stood in the center of a clearing between the tipis, hands behind his back, black eyes impassive.

Leila’s heart pounded and she hung back. The women shoved her and she fell to her knees at the warrior’s feet. “I—I will not be your woman—your whore.” She took his callused hand. “Please, I have a husband.”

He shook her off. “You obey.”

“I can’t—won’t!”

Red Arrow looked at Hook Nose. The leader nodded at a group of warriors. They stepped forward and hauled Leila up, dragging her from the clearing.

She twisted around. “What are they going to do to me?” She cried.

For you viewing pleasure, here’s the Indigo Sky trailer:

Indigo Sky_07_11_15 – Small

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Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1K4GVQA

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/29NYE5w

Artist Page:      https://artist.gailingis.com/blog/

AMELIA ISLAND: A HIDDEN GEM

AMELIA ISLAND: A HIDDEN GEM

Ritz Carlton

Ritz Carlton

A hidden gem, right near the beach, boutique shopping and four centuries of history, why not go there? If you are fortunate enough to find out about Amelia Island . . . it’s worth a visit. Last year, we found it by accident on our way home from Florida. This year, we planned a visit. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway, this unspoiled barrier island is just two miles wide and 13 miles long.

Amelia island sandWith wide white beaches, sand dunes and the oldest lighthouse in Florida, it is a perfect setting to write your next book, paint your beach scenes or sketch the charming waterfront town that serves as an island hub.

Amelia is footsteps in the sandBeachcombing is popular to walk barefoot and feel the cool sand between your toes, gathering shells and shark teeth. Endangered sea turtles are also partial to Amelia Island’s beaches and return every year to lay their eggs in protected nests on the island’s shores.

amelia mapimage

 

 

The 19th century well-preserved Fort Clinch and Park is not the only history to be discovered. With 4,000 years of natural and human history, Amelia Island is the only piece of land in the entire United States that has actually been under the rule of eight different flags, six of which are France, Spain, England, Mexico, Confederate and their own Patriots of Amelia Island. You’ll have to visit to find out more. Or, that pirates once roamed off Amelia Island shores.

Amelia is beachWe stay in Fernandina Beach on the northern half of Amelia Island. Honored by the National Trust for its historic preservation, and home to a 50-block Historic District. Fernandina Beach is a lively town that is popularly described as a “tropical Mayberry.”

gardens in the rear of Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island

Gardens in the rear of Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island

We saw golfers challenged by the oceanfront holes and marsh-view greens. The charm of this city is art-inspiring. We have two favorite places to stay, both Marriott, Residence Inn where you can eat in and have a free breakfast or order the best pizza ever from Towne Pizza, or the Ritz Carlton, depending on your mood and wallet . . . country informal or high-brow formal. Jeans are acceptable everywhere!

SEVERE WEATHER

SEVERE WEATHER

Squall with snow on this Monday morning, 27 December 2010, in New York City, like here, at a crossroad in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We had better stayed at home, by the fireplace... Happy New Year 2011!

Snowy squall in New York City

Weather fascination supersedes fashion, food, and festivals. While in sunny Florida, severe weather covered the northeast. What is severe weather?

severe-weather-weather-250420_1024_768 severe-weather-at-wake2According to Wikipedia Severe weather refers to any dangerous meteorological phenomena with the potential to cause damage, serious social disruption, or loss of human life. As we know, the types of severe weather phenomena vary, depending on the latitude, altitude, topography, and atmospheric conditions. High winds, hail, excessive precipitation, and wildfires are forms and effects of severe weather, as are thunderstorms, down-bursts, lightning, tornadoes, waterspouts, tropical cyclones, and extratropical cyclones. Regional and seasonal severe weather phenomena include blizzards, snowstorms, ice storms, and duststorms.

Each phenomenon is a history lesson. It is interesting to note that forty-mile an hour winds caused the collapse of the Tacoma Narrow Bridge roadway in 1940. With bridge building lessons learned, it was rebuilt in 1950.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacoma_Narrows_Bridge_%281940%29

InclementWeatherFor the tri-state area, below zero temperatures in January/February shocked everyone. And then at the end of February, hurricane force winds, sixty-five mph, knocked down trees, power lines and blew shingles off roofs like they were sheets of paper strewn in the wind.

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Sunset . . .  from the 19th floor of our condo in peaceful contrast. Sun streams at the entry. Florida is the place to be in January and February, even with chilly temps, rain and wind, it’s delightful. The sun sometimes lurks behind the clouds. Did you know that you could still burn when the sun is hiding?

What’s next on the weather channel? Will you tune in?

Dancing in Florida . . .

 

MARCH OF THE PAST: ST. AUGUSTINE

MARCH OF THE PAST: ST. AUGUSTINE

Casa Monica twin towers

Casa Monica twin towers

The Casa Monica Hotel, its history and culture flaunts the visitor to St. Augustine, Florida, where the city is celebrating the past 450 years. The Spanish founded it in 1513, but by1564 the French took over, only to step back in1565 when the Spanish arrived again. They conquered the French garrison on the St. Johns River and held the coast of Florida. The garrison remains, and you are welcome to walk on the grounds of those that came before.

Horse & buggy ride popular

Popular are the horse & buggy rides

The architecture of the Casa Monica, built in 1888, and very much part of the history of this city, was the best of Moorish and Spanish designs. Built to serve as a hotel, it opened January 17, 1888. Franklin W. Smith, amateur architect and entrepreneur developed the poured coquina (shell aggregate) concrete and built the Casa Monica in a layered type of construction.

Ambience of the dining areas

Ambiance of the dining areas

According to my research, what makes this work of architecture interesting is that the material was first used to build forts in St. Augustine in the 16th century. The coquina is made of ancient shells bonded together to form a type of stone similar to limestone. The idea was that because it was a soft material, cannon balls would sink into it, rather than crash through it. I have to wonder about that philosophy, but that’s what I found when researching this material.

Guest room

Guest room

The hotel is recognized as one of the most impressive public architectural complexes of the late nineteenth century of American history.

Street view

Street view

Located on the corner of Cordova and King Streets, Casa Monica is a U-shaped building with five towers, some battlemented, some with hip roofs, where all sides slope gently downwards to the walls. The large corner tower boasts a superb exterior spiral column. There are small hotel shops at street level on King Street.

casa_monica_2013_35When it was built in 1888, balconies were numerous, some with turned spindle posts and small balconets, which in Seville were called Kneeling Balconies, allowing the faithful to kneel during religious processions.

IMG_2664 (3)Tiles, imported from Valencia, Spain, were set in panels in some of the exterior walls. Inside, on the first floor, many rooms were arranged for the pleasure of the guests; sun parlor, drawing room, ladies waiting room, main dining room and private dining rooms. IMG_2637 (8)Three hundred guests could be seated at one time. There were 200 rooms, gas lighting, steam heat and electric bells to call for service and one bath on each floor. Metal rings were attached to the walls under the windows and tied to a rope long enough to reach the ground in case of fire.

Typical fashions

Typical fashions

Casa Monica has gone through growing pains in its 128 years. By 1900 the hotel was converted into an apartment building; in the 1920’s, it served as a low budget hotel. And in 1932, the depression forced its closing and it was idle for thirty years.

Casa-Monica-Hotel-St-Augustine-FL-Nights-of-LightsIn 1962, it was used as a courthouse; by 1997, it was sold to Richard C. Kessler and then restored. Today, Casa Monica is an elegant, upscale luxury hotel, and is included in Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The building has kept its architectural and interior Moorish character. The interior is flanked with mahogany columns, Moorish arched doorways, stenciled beams and wall sconces. The furnishings, gleaming chandelier, fountain and numerous palms and ferns give it that Victorian ambiance.

Casa Monica is listed on the National Register of Historic places and recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award.

Fort photos

Fort photos

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Services in the Casa Monica are exemplary, including the bellmen and parking garage attendants. Thank you goes to  Kayley at check-in and to Holly and Tarrah at check-out. A special thanks to the Assistant Front Office Manager, Matthew.

Our room had strange sounds. Imagine? But I slept well. It wasn’t until the morning . . . when at the bar . . . I met Mr. Parrish . . .

Tune in for more next week . . .

 

 

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