And the Winner is…

the Winner is….

Congrats, Susan!

You will receive this handmade gift!

A batik tissue box featuring Orange Carp.

(Carp are good luck, BTW.) If you are interested in seeing pics of the batik process click HERE.

Thank you to all who bought the book AND who wrote a review. We are up to 45 now! Just 5 more and Amazon will start recommending the book. So, if you haven’t written one (Sorry to CARP ;o) but I promise you it literally takes three minutes) please consider helping me out and posting a review.


Also, I have been featured in The Tullahoma News. Click HERE to take a peek. And I was recently a guest on Carol Cork’s blog “Rakes and Rascals.”

Now that my son has been deposited at College, I will be concentrating on my apartment renovation in upper Manhattan (still so much to do!) And getting back to finishing the second book in the Reluctant Hearts series which features Nora Havermere and an American Hero, Farren Cavanaugh.

Stay tuned for more Trash to Treasure, more give-a-ways, and updates on my apartment progress. (The Lipstick on a Pig Project)

Thanks again to all! I know everyone is so busy but I would be so grateful if you would please take two ticks and write a review. :o)

Romance is in the Air ~ Breathe Deep
Mad for the Marquess ~available @ Amazon BN Kobo iTunes
The Dressmaker’s Duke ~ available @ AmazonBN.comiTunes
Jess Russell bestselling, multi-award winning romance writer 
1498421269701_cover 1498421299247_Cover
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Best Seller!


One of Amazon’s Top Picks!

NRCA Icon Best 1st book NRCA Icon Historical


Already have it?

Then Spread the Love and gift the book to someone in need of a little steamy romance!

Don’t have a e-reader? Download the kindle app to the computer!

So many ways to love!


Barns and Noble


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We are up the 30 reviews!

Thank you!

Just 20 more and Amazon will start to recommend the book. So I’m adding one more week to get to our 50 goal.

Now for our glitzy gown.

Most of you wanted to add MORE “stuff” to our frock. A few of you clicked “other.” (I would love to know what you would like to see!) So, as if my heroine, Anne, is not tortured enough, let’s heap on a few more gewgaws.
 I added a swag to the hemline and an underskirt of the purple fabric (embellished with a “rose” of lace.) I also added MORE of the pink sparkly fabric to the panniers, AND…Feathers! (If you recall in Mad for the Marquess, Anne is tickled by feathers as she makes her social debut.)

So, we went from the Sublime~

  to the (perhaps??) Ridiculous~

I’d love a Fashion Police version of “Who wore it better?” except instead, which dress looks better???

If you were to attend a ball, which gown would you prefer??

One more week to get a review in and be twice as eligible to

win a hand-made prize!

If you haven’t picked up the book yet, please click one of the sites below!

Amazon BN Kobo iTunes

Thank you!!!!


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Schmaltz and more Schmaltz!

Schmaltz: cloying or exaggerated.

(Also means, rendered chicken fat. Well, our dress is definitely getting fatter!)

We are up to 23 reviews!

Again, thanks so much to those who have posted.

It is a rather longish book, and I know folks are really busy, so I am extending our deadline to next week in the hopes of getting to the magic 50.

But what about our ball gown? A few folks voted to STOP the embellishing, but most wanted MORE

You asked for it, you got it!

I added roses and swags to the ruffle around the neck. Then I added another layer of gold fabric and the pink tule to the panniers. AND edged them with lace and THEN swagged them and added yet another rose. (You can click on the picture to see up close and personal.)

So, are we done yet?

Or, is MORE,


Thanks again for stopping by.

If you haven’t bought Mad for the Marquess the links are below~

Amazon BN Kobo iTunes

Also, The Dressmaker’s Duke is now 99 cents!


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Let the embellishments begin!

We are up to 16 Reviews!

7 days left to get to our goal of 50!

Who will win the handmade prize?

Shoot me an email to let me know you have purchased the book and I will enter your name into the drawing. Your name will go in twice if you write a review!

Now, we get back to our gown.

I have begun embellishing!

Here is some of the


I have gathered~




And below, I have added a flounce around the neckline. (Thanks to Chris for his donations)~



And then I added two “panniers” in purple silk to the skirt. (And merci to Amy for her huge round tablecloth!) All I did was open the seams and use the round edges. (This lovely fabric WILL be reused in a Trash to Treasure segment. But for now it graces our gown.)




So, is this ENOUGH? Do we need more swags and ribbons, flowers and lace? Remember, this dress needs to stop traffic (and not in a good way.)

Thanks so much for hanging with me!

If you haven’t picked up the book it is available here~

Amazon BN Kobo iTunes

And please take a moment to review on Amazon, and Goodreads! Just scroll down to the reviews on the Mad for the Marquess page and it will give you a bubble to click to write a review, Click and then submit. So easy! (and so appreciated!)

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Out of the gate!



and ready for Reviews!


My thanks to those of you who bought the book.

If you haven’t yet, I would love your support!

We got up the #201 but it has slipped back now. (This stat is for the ebook/Kindle which is where the numbers really count.) I am hoping for a burst of sales, but if I get 50 reviews in the next week or so Amazon will sit up and take notice. So far I have 8 which is a nice start for the first week.

Meanwhile, I am collecting the names of those that have told me they bought the book and I will have a drawing for a handmade prize at the end of the the month, or when I get 50 reviews (whichever comes first!) So if you haven’t shot me an email, messaged me, or tapped me on the shoulder, please let me know so I can add your name.

BUT I promised you another project involving the gown we designed together. Now we get to “junk” it up!

“What!?” you say. “Why spend hours making a lovely frock just to make it hideous?” Well, because we can. :o) All our embellishments can and WILL be removed, but I think it will be fun to keep adding to our dress to make it as outrageous as possible. (You will have to read the book to see how this figures into the plot.)

Here are some examples of what I call “Wedding Cake” dresses~


Now comes the inevitable question~How much is TOO MUCH?

Over the next week I am going to sift through my stashes of gewgaws and troll the thrift and discount stores for ruffles, laces and ribbons, Maybe even a few feathers! I will start adding to our dress and you all will tell when enough is enough! (Hopefully you will have gotten to the chapter where Anne is introduced to society and you will be able to picture how our frock should look!)

Check out my Pinterest board to see more inspiration for the book.

Here is an excerpt when poor Anne meets Devlin in all her finery~

 He stood utterly magnificent in his black cut-a-way
tails and pristine white linen. An utter stranger, and
Oh, why had she not trusted her instincts? One
look at his face confirmed the horrible, irrefutable truth.
The hours in Madame Bathilde’s and Margaret’s
company had been tedious at the time, but it was
nothing to seeing the frozen surprise on her husband’s
Copious amounts of French floss now tickled her
neck and bosom. And feathers. Her nose twitched.
Please, you must not sneeze. Certainly no Owl this
evening, more like an overblown peacock. If only she
could be an ostrich instead. She would have turned
around to escape back to her rooms, regal be damned,
but for Austin’s firm arm keeping her fixed to his side.

Then later at the ball~

    “Your pardon, Lady Devlin, I hope you will not
think me too forward approaching you without an
introduction, but I am in raptures over your gown.” A
woman with an astonishing amount of facial hair and
dressed entirely in black curtsied. A girl followed in her
Margaret beamed and stood taller, if that were
possible. “Lady Markham, may I present Lady Devlin,
Marchioness of Devlin. Lady Devlin, Lady Markham.”
Again curtsies were performed. Apparently, the
girl peeping out from behind did not warrant an
“What an astonishing gown, Lady Devlin. Is
chartreuse the newest fashion? I had no idea.
Joanna,”—the girl took a small step around her
ladyship’s skirts—“we shall have to take Madame
Broussard, our modiste, to task for keeping us in the
dark. But then, that shade of green is such a difficult
color on most complexions. I vow my dear Joanna
could not hope to pull it off.”
The poor girl looked at her slippers and sniffed. As
plain as the girl was, her gown was stunningly
beautiful, a simple ivory satin with tiny pleats as its
only adornment.
“Now I remember,” her ladyship continued. “I did
see the color of late on Lady Harper’s eldest gel. She
looked an absolute fright. Positively pea green. But, of
course,” she continued, her eyes narrowing as she
raised a quizzing glass and turned to Lady Austin, “the
girl has not much in the way of beauty to begin with.
Such a trial for her dear mama,” she tsked.
“However,”—she smiled at Anne—“you, Lady Devlin,
are very brave.” Her gaze swept over the dress once
again. “Very brave indeed.” And she curtseyed and
trundled off, tittering to her slack-faced daughter.


Continue reading

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A little tease…

Excerpt from Mad for the Marquess~

Very well, she would let her hair down. Really, men could be children at times. She pulled the first pin and slid it into her pocket. By the second, he had stopped dead and stood watching her as if something crucial might be lost if he moved. It finally dawned on her thick brain in the middle of removing the third that she had his entire attention. Of course that knowledge made her fumble the fourth. As she scrambled to pick it up, her hair fell in a rush, the ends brushing the rug.

“I have been aching to see that since I knocked your bonnet off in the great hall the first day you came.”

He was so close, nearly face to face with her. Taking the pin from her shaking fingers, his hands framed her face and then brushed over her head, searching for more pins. When he found them all, he released her hair. It fell heavy and swinging down her back and over her breasts.

Wishing to hide or to savor this moment, she closed her eyes. He smelled of linseed oil and cloves. And something else that was deep and earthy, as if he had just sprung from the ground.

His hand brushed her skirt. She blinked. He dipped into her pocket and then dropped the pins. The bone of his knuckle hovered next to her thigh. Only one thinnish petticoat between them.

She would slip her hand in with his and then lift her mouth—

He jerked the delicious heat away and then yanked her to her feet.

“Stop looking at me that way, for God’s sake. How am I to concentrate on anything?”

Stupid tears pricked at her eyes. So foolish, persisting in the belief that his smallest gesture might be one of seduction. Steeling herself she met his gaze.

His breath came fast, and the hand he had just withdrawn from her clenched white with tension. Not just in anger, but something else as well.

She would find out what the something was. Insolent and stubborn, Mrs. Abbot had called her. Her knees still bore the scars from being made to kneel on sharp stones from morning prayers until tea. Lord Devlin would find out his Owl, as he called her, could be tenacious as a hawk when she truly wanted something.

“Sit down. Quickly.”

She did so. But not quickly.

“Lie back in the chair. Yes… No! Don’t touch your hair. Now drape yourself over the chair’s arms. Yes, exactly, your head back like that. Now, lick your lips and look at me.”

She loved these orders. He exuded power in giving them, but she had learnt a valuable lesson today.

She had a bit of power as well.

Waiting until his full attention was back on her, only then did she lick her lips and arch her back ever so slightly.

“Yes. All right.” His Adams Apple bobbed in his neck. “Now you may resume your story. I think we left off yesterday just when the Troll-Lord was about to remove Cristabelle’s wings. And don’t skimp on the details. You know how I like seeing everything.”

“My stories are no longer free.” His gaze snapped to meet hers. “But I am prepared to trade you for the next installment.” Flirting with disaster she was. Not only her position here at Ballencrieff, but something more dire, her heart. So be it. She would suffer the consequences of both.

His eyes were entirely fixed on her lips. His chain clanked against the bare floor. “A trade?” He flicked his paintbrush against his open palm. “It would appear, Miss Owl, you are learning the ways of the world. Very well, I am open to a fair trade. What would you have of me?”

She sat up straighter, struggling to maintain her new-found power. “A kiss.”

His brush dropped to the floor.

Continue reading

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Say YES to the Dress #2 The Reveal!

July 14th!

Our gown is finished and

Mad for the Marquess

is now out!

My little book that could is up to #491 in the Historical Victorian category. Will you help it get to #1? Just click


to buy

But now lets get to the dress!

I cut out and added the Tulip sleeve,

 then put in the boning, added a zipper (ok, using a zipper is a cheat, but I WILL change it to grommets and laces as soon as I get the time)            and then added a bit of~


I found these for $1 on the street and pulled off the lace and dyed them in tea~

and Voila!



Again, depending on the light, the dress appears gold and then sliver. If you zoom in (by clicking on the picture) you will see the fabric detail which is blueish. Opalescent!

As I mentioned in my past post this dress can be changed by adding to it. Here is a sleeve option~


Many thanks to my photographer,

Lori Clifford, who patently fluffed

and generally played lady’s maid~


Thank you all for helping me construct this frock. In the next week or so there will be a second phase to this project. When you read the book you will understand the impetus  behind this next dress.

Other places to get my book:

Amazon BN Kobo iTunes

AND, if you shoot me a copy of your purchase receipt, you will be entered to win a handmade gift!

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you!


She took the three steps to close the gap between them, this girl-woman with her soulful liquid-brown eyes and quietly elegant bearing. His head throbbed and his nerves ratcheted up until he thought his heart might burst through its cage of bone.

~ from Mad for the Marquess



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Mad for the Marquess ~ Out tomorrow!


Available on ~

Amazon BN Kobo iTunes


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Say YES to the Dress #2 “Puttin’ on the Glitz”

One week until Mad for the Marquess is released!

So let’s get to the Glitz!

But first,

The winner of the SLEEVE is:


A good choice because it is simple and can easily be added to if so desired. Many of these gowns had lots of “add-ons” ~ a second bodice, long sleeves, a collar. A gown like this was expensive so most women knew how to change it up to be worn on multiple occasions.

Now we consider the embellishments. Victorian gowns were often loaded with gewgaws and trimmings. Also, the pattern of the fabric was often used to accentuate a small waist and belled skirt.

To my mind, the fabric of this gown is the real star. It doesn’t need a lot of glitz. But maybe you all think otherwise? What would you like to see on the sleeve? The bodice? The skirt? Here are some ideas:

This last dress looks like an over done wedding cake! Actually it was part of the inspiration for a chapter in Mad for the Marquess where Anne, my heroine, is introduced to society. (If you’ll remember I alluded to a fairy godmother who is no Oscar de la Renta.)

So, what would you like to see?

Or, please write in as what you might like to see. Perhaps send a picture?

Now I ask for your support.

It is tough being your own marketer, but I am hoping to get enough sales on Amazon to get on the “HOT NEW RELEASES” bar. Would you help me?

Some things you can do to support:

  • BUY the book! Kindle or paperback. (If you don’t have an e-reader, or prefer to read on your iPad or computer, HERE is an app you download.)
  • REVIEW the book. On Amazon, B&N, Goodreads.
  • GIFT the book! A good summer read (and about what a fancy coffee costs!)
  • SHARE to your family and friends who like romance.


  • When you are on my book site on Amazon, you will see in PRODUCT DETAILS an Amazon ranking. The Dressmaker’s Duke hung out at number 2-5 for about three months in the Regency category! Would you help me get Mad for the Marquess there as well? Hopefully we can watch it get towards #1 together!
  • When an Amazon employee was asked,“What’s the most helpful thing an author can do to improve conversion of their book page?” This is what she said:
    “By far, the most important thing an author can do is get more customer reviews.”

    So, if you love a good toe-wriggling romance, OR just want to support my book, please click


Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes to buy now!

 “You are naïve and not so wise if you think this rather tame outward package reflects what lies within,” he whispered. But he was lying. For other than his wildly beating heart he had never felt so peaceful inside.

~from Mad for the Marquess

As always, thank you!






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Say YES to the Dress #2 Bodice takes Shape

And the winner of the Bodice shape is:

“V” waistline and “V” neckline!

So on we go. The pattern shows two views, one with a ruched front placket, and one with “Reveres” (which is a sort of lapel). I am going to make an executive decision and try the Reveres version mainly because I think it will accentuate the waistline better than the ruched version. ( OK, I thought better of it and am just doing a plain version. Sometimes less is more.)

The skirt I will simply pleat (for now) the embellishments will come later! Cartridge pleats were used quite a bit in the 1850’s and 60’s. I am doing a somewhat flatter version that is a lot less time consuming.


Thank heavens for the sewing machine! Nearly eight yards of fabric to hand pleat was enough without having to hand-sew the pleats in place.


I cut out the lining and basted it together and then draped it onto the dress form to adjust the measurements. Then I took apart my lining (after marking it), cut out the taffeta and then basted the lining to each piece of taffeta. (this is not sexy work, but it  saves time in the end.)

Then I sewed the pieces together. And Voila! Definitely the sexy quotient is uped as we begin to see our vision come into fruition.

It is so interesting how light hits this dress. It can look silver and then, in a different light, it appears golden. I love this dichotomy, because my hero, Devlin, is a painter and is very attuned to light. Also, the opalescence of this dress plays into another theme in the book. (but you will have to BUY the book to understand. :o))

I still have some finishing to do to this bodice~boning, neckline and the hem at the waistline, but ostensibly it is done. And also need to add a waistband and hem the skirt. (not so much a “just” when you are hemming 8 yards.) Whew!

Now we move on the the SLEEVES! What do you imagine for this gown?



Two weeks until the release of Mad for the Marquess! Remember to VOTE! I will be posting the results on Friday!

“Right. Why do I paint devils?” He glanced at the spy hole. “The answer is simple, Miss Winton. Any good painter paints what is in his heart.” He felt suddenly exposed, as if he had come into a room without any clothes. He rushed to fill that empty yawning space—to cover himself. “There, not so exciting or illuminating, is it? The truth rarely is.”

“I do not believe that is your truth,” she said without hesitation.

~ from Mad for the Marquess


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