The Skirt in Action!

So, I did not win the Rita Award. It  went to the wonderful Kelly Bowen, who won a Rita last year as well.  HERE is a list of all the winners.

BUT, I had a wonderful time seeing friends and connecting with new ones. The “Book Cover Skirt” was a big hit! And the best part about wearing it was the number of people who came up to me to comment on it. I got to meet a lot of folks I would not have had the opportunity of talking with had I not been wearing this crazy skirt.


In the photo above, I am standing with the talented Wendy LaCapra (Her Duke at Daybreak). She is a new friend and our books happened to be next to each other on my “book shelf.”

I did not wear the bejeweled high heels. In fact, I didn’t even wear the “Cinderella” heels. Instead, I dialed down to a sliver wedge (they originally belonged to  my mother-in-law!) Yes, I am officially, old!

After the conference, I went to hang with my Bill Esper acting school pal, Michael, who lives in Boulder. We hiked nearly nine miles one day. The wildflowers were not-to-be-believed! And the views, stunning!

Thanks for stopping by. Now I am going to deal with the leak in my bathroom~surprisingly, not everything is romantic in my life. Sigh~


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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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Romancing the Skirt



part deux!

So the futzing is finished. I bagged the idea of the underskirt, I wanted the skirt to be wispy and fluttery. The extra volume didn’t really add anything. Instead I stitched some horsehair braid into the hem and wove it through the bottom pleat to give it just a bit more shape.

So, what do you think?

I still need to figure out jewelry (and Hair!) But, over all, I am pleased with how it turned out.

Thanks for tuning in! Fingers crossed for the 19th!



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Curtains, and Covers, and Skirts, Oh My!

Nocturnal Musings


Curtains and Covers and Skirts,

Oh My!


So what to wear? What to wear? What to WEAR?

The Romance Writers of America’s RITA® AWARDS loom and I know I promised you  a variety of pretty frocks for your approval. But that was before I got my CRAZY idea. One night, not so long ago, when I couldn’t sleep, I thought, “Gee, anyone can wear a lovely gown and it will be memorable for about two minutes and then forgotten.” So, I thought I’d make something a little bit~well~memorable.

There are about 80 other gals up various awards in the Rita® contest. I wanted to celebrate ALL of us who were lucky enough to be finalists. (HERE is a list of all the nominees and categories.)

SO, my Idea~to print every one of the nominated book covers on a piece of fabric and then appliqué them onto a skirt.

But HOW? How to print the covers? Well, I googled it, (I Google just about everything I want to try), but the various techniques seemed too labor-intensive, too expensive, and the transfers, too dense and stiff looking.

So, while visiting my son in Cambridge, staying with my friend Lavanya and her family. I mentioned my dilemma to her. Lavanya is an up-and-coming designer. (Click HERE to go her to web site to see her fabulous creations.) She has many resources in India and has recently started printing her own line of scarves inspired by New York Graffiti. (as always, you can click on the photo to enlarge.)

Anyway, I thought, in for a penny in for a pound, so I ask her if she might be willing to take a stab at printing these covers. She kindly agreed. So I formatted the covers and turned them over to her and her team in India.

Well, the first go around the fabric literally burned up in the printer. I thought, “Well, nice idea, but it’s not going to work out.” Undaunted, her printer gave it another shot.

Just last week I received a small package in the mail.




Yes! The fabric was just what I wanted~more muted and, more importantly, in one piece!

Printing solved!



Next, the skirt.

Whenever I  am in Maryland visiting my mom we have to make our AMVETS “run.” I happened to find three panels of silver-gray curtains made by IKEA.

These beauties were $6 and 25% off. Deal! Done!

The panels would make the base of my skirt. Now I just had to futz around and find the right shape and how and where to apply the covers.

I ended up pleating the skirt to look sort of like bookshelves. The pleating also gave the skirt more body.



Then I cut out each cover (eesh!) folding it like a book, and then placed them in rows following the pleating.

I will use a second panel as an underskirt to give the skirt more volume and movement. Then, I will pleat the top of both layers and affix them to a waist band. (I keep thinking of the fabulous Carol Burnett spoof on Gone with the Wind.)

At the same visit to AMVETS I saw some shinny cigarette-like pants. I snapped them up. Several years ago, my friend Victoria gave me a black, satin bustier. Perfect! I will use that with the pants and then the skirt will go over everything.


Now shoes. At a fabulous store at Savage Mill in Laurel, Maryland I discovered Charity’s Closet. A store where everything is $5! (You can imagine my excitement. And, the best part, the proceeds all go to disadvantaged men and women seeking employment. Win, Win!) I spotted these crazy shoes and dared to try to walk in them. Not sooo bad, so I plopped down my money.

Now whether I can actually wear these suckers for an entire evening, well, your guess is as good as mine. But frankly my money is on the little beauties below which I call my Cinderella slippers.

Perhaps they might bring me good luck?

After all, being included with my fellow nominees,

I feel a bit like  Cinderella!

Thanks so much to all of you who braved the machinations of voting for Mad for the Marquess in the RONE AWARDS. Unfortunately, we did not make to the final round, but I so appreciate your time and energy.

And finally, thank you again to Lavanya Coodly (my fairy Godmother!) and her team!

Next week I will post the final look where everything (I hope) comes together!

Wish me luck on the 19th!

As always, thanks for tuning in!



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Color my World

I am resurrecting Trash to Treasure!

This particular project has to do with my

Lipstick on a Pig Project.”

My building was built between Wadsworth and Broadway on 181st street in 1906. This is my subway station. They are working on the old mosaics-Inspiration!

The apartment once had transoms over the doorways. Unfortunately, there are hardly any original details remaining. I have a long hallway and I wanted to bring back the natural light that the transoms would have provided. So I dusted off my stained glass tools (most of these tools I inherited from my dad who taught me how to do stained glass) and I got to work. I used all the bits of glass I had squirreled away, and some old clear window pane glass.

I happen to love the Arts and Crafts era and particularly Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. So I played around and came up with three windows. Here are some pics of the process.


I have yet to put the last one in. But I will get there!

No voting for a gown this go ’round, BUT I would ask a favor of you, my book Mad for the Marquess is up for another award. InD’tale Magazine has its RONE Awards. Books with top reviews in the magazine are then eligible for the RONE. The voting is only this week, so I would so appreciate it if you clicked HERE ( )and vote for my book. (You do have to subscribe in order to VOTE, so please do!) My book is in the Historical Victorian Category.

As always, thanks so much!

(I am still thinking about a gown for the RITA awards. I will post some options soon!)

AND Mad for the Marquess is still 99 cents. But not for long!

(It  recently hit the Best Sellers List in Canada!)


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RITA Finalist !

A couple of weeks ago I put down my jig saw and answered the phone (yes, I answered it, surprisingly) only to find out my book, Mad for the Marquess, is a finalist in the Romance Writers of America RITA awards! For those of you who don’t know, the RITA is the Oscars of the romance writers world. Below are my fellow nominees. These gals are some heavy hitters and I am so thrilled to be included with these ladies!

Historical Romance: Long

Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen

Grand Central Publishing, Forever

Alex Logan, editor

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

HarperCollins, Avon Books

Carrie Feron, editor

Mad for the Marquess by Jess Russell Mad for the Marquess by Jess Russell

The Wild Rose Press, Tea Rose

Nicole D’Arienzio, editor

The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake The Scandalous Flirt by Olivia Drake

St. Martin’s Press

Jennifer Enderlin, editor

The Scoundrel’s Honor by Christi Caldwell The Scoundrel’s Honor by Christi Caldwell

Amazon, Montlake Publishing

Alison Dasho, editor


The awards will be given out on July 19th at a black tie ceremony, so, I’ll need a gown!

The question is, do I recycle something I already have? Or should I make something new??

Over the next few weeks I will be exploring some options and asking you all to weigh in on some frocks.

I also would love to show you the OTHER thing that has been consuming my life, my Lipstick on a Pig Project. I am nearly finished (sort of). That will come in the next weeks as well.

To celebrate I am putting my book on sale! The ebook is 99 cents! So, if you haven’t picked up Mad for the Marquess, please consider buying an ebook, or splurging on the hard copy! And please check out my competition! They are all fabulous!

Amazon  iTunes Kobo BN Google

Thanks so much!

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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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