Life Mob Boss Series Reading Self-Publish Shadowguard Series Writing

Leaning In to Life and Work

Work_Hard_QuoteMan… it has been a crazy couple of months, you guys.

I came off BEA with a huge work high and rode it all the way into July. In the two months since, I’ve written a whole book, completed a big freelance editing project, completed a smaller freelance editing project, built a pseudonym from the ground up for the Mob Boss series (including new name, domain name, new social media accounts all around, etc.), and developed a new YA concept (with character analysis and synopsis). I’ve absorbed information about self-publishing until I’ve felt like my brain will explode (metadata anyone? covers? blurbs? ISBN #s?), and I’ve connected with lots of awesome new people in the romance genre and in the field of self-publishing. I’ve read like crazy to keep up on things, maintained my household (including the weekly monster grocery shops that seem to go with the territory of having four young people in the house), and spent time with my kids when I can (and when they’re home).

And I’m not going to lie; it hasn’t been easy.

The thing is, I’ve considered self-publishing romance ever since I wrote the Shadowguard novella series (a series of adult romances based on the world in A TEMPTATION OF ANGELS) almost three years ago. I wanted more control over my career, both creatively and financially. I wanted to have the freedom to experiment and to release books as often as I wanted. But there was always a reason why I couldn’t.

I was too busy.

I wanted to focus on my contracted YA work.

I was worried about writing romance under a name most well-known in the YA genre.

I was worried about trying to build a new platform for a pseudonym.

All of which were valid concerns, and none of which have really changed or been resolved.

I’m still to busy to be doing this.

I’d still like to focus on my YA work (I’m not under contract at the moment, but I’d like to be).

It’s probably not a good idea to write adult romance under a name most well known in the YA genre.

It is difficult and time consuming and humbling to start over with a new name.

But you guys… I’m doing it. I’m working constantly. Some things have fallen by the wayside. I’m up until 3am most nights, even when I’m so tired I don’t think I can keep my eyes open. Even when it means I’m only getting four hours of sleep. It’s Sunday morning, and I’m writing this blog post instead of doing something else, and I’ll spend the rest of the day working, too.

Basically, this is me right now.


But I’m doing it.

I think a lot about Sheryl Sandberg’s advice to lean in, even though it was directed more at women in traditional careers. She’s right; it takes guts to lean in. It takes courage to risk everything over and over again. It takes heart to choose your dream over and over again.

And one thing I’ve learned is that dreams are built not on the big moments, but on the little ones. Every time you work when you want to sleep or play. Every time you push when you want to settle in. Every time you risk when you want to play it safe. Every time you believe when you want to quit. THOSE are the moments that build dreams.

But you MUST have those moments.

Because dreams aren’t built by sleeping. They aren’t built by doing the same thing over and over. They aren’t built by being comfy. And they sure as hell aren’t built by quitting.

You have to WERK, my friends.

And the truth is, even that is no guarantee of success. You may fail. You may have to recalibrate. You may have to change course, take a detour, even take a break. But make no mistake; you will not get what you want if you aren’t willing to work, sometimes for years, often through countless setbacks. But the time will pass anyway. You may as well pass it in pursuit of something you really want.

This seems like a no brainer, but it’s interesting to me how many people I meet who want big things but aren’t willing to do the big work. After awhile, it gets boring hearing people TALK about what they want to accomplish.

Watching people DO is so much more interesting, don’t you think?

And when it comes to writing, doing doesn’t just mean output. It means honing your craft (go back to school if you must), learning from others, reading constantly, experimenting, and writing thousands of words that no one will ever read.

Write now I am WORKING. Because I can’t control a lot of things. Maybe no one will like my work. Maybe I won’t be able to sell it at all. But the one thing I can control is the work. I can make sure I never have to look back and wonder if I didn’t work hard enough, and WHEN I reach my goals (because I will), I can look back and say, when the ugly monster of unworthiness rears its head (for me it always does), “You earned this, baby!”

And I can mean it.

Now stop reading and get to work.

And if you haven’t added Michelle St. James and/or Ruthless to your social media sites, would you consider doing so? I’d love to keep you posted on my progress, and all content on those pages is unique to those accounts (i.e. not repeated on the Michelle Zink profiles).

Michelle St. James Facebook

Michelle St. James Twitter

Michelle St. James Goodreads

Ruthless Goodreads page


A Temptation of Angels Lies I Told Life Prophecy of the Sisters Shadowguard Series This Wicked Game Writing

New and Improved

If you’re here I’m sure you’ve noticed something; I finally ditched the old website for something new, sleek, and if I do say so, very chic.


The old website was developed all the way back in 2009 just before Prophecy of the Sisters came out. The black lace made perfect sense, I swear! But of course, times are a changing, and my writing is ever-evolving. With LIES I TOLD soon-to-be-released and a whole slate of other non-fantasy projects (and even non-YA) in the works, I’m hoping this look will carry me through anything I choose to write. Hopefully it’s also easier to read, which is a complaint I sometimes got with the old site.

Now that the new site is up and running, I’ll be posting more often (this has been in the works for awhile). Stay tuned for more information about LIES I TOLD, PROMISES I MADE, and other super secret projects yet-to-be-announced. As we approach April 7th (the release date for LIES I TOLD), there will also be tons of giveaways and goodies.

So stick around, will you?


Shadowguard Series Sneak Peek Saturday

Sneak Peek Saturday – Temptation’s Fire

So here’s the deal; every Saturday, I’m going to give you guys a sneak peek of something I’m working on. This week, I’m sharing an excerpt from Temptation’s Fire, the third book in the Shadowguard series, slated for release in February.

And to kick it off, I’m sharing the cover, featuring Ivan Montgomery, the third book’s all-too-hot hero.

And if you haven’t checked out the series yet, what are you waiting for?! Temptation’s Heat and Temptation’s Kiss are already out!

Maggie O’ Reilly sat back in her chair, the images on her computer screen blurring as she rubbed her tired eyes. She’d been paging through the digital archives of the Clifton Record for hours.

And that was just today.

Really, she hadn’t stopped looking since Kane Dawson and Ivan Montgomery had given her the photograph last week.

She picked it up from her desk, looking at it for the hundredth time. The man could have been anyone. He was just an average guy, his dark hair a little long and curling around the hood of a sweatshirt that hung out the back of his leather jacket. His eyes were watchful, ironic since he’d obviously missed whoever had been aiming a camera his way as he headed into the old welding shop at the edge of town.

Except Maggie had a feeling he wasn’t just guy. Had a feeling this wasn’t just a story.

She reached up and released her hair from its messy bun. It cascaded around her shoulders in a tangle of copper waves, and she sighed as she put her bare feet up on the desk. This time of night, the office was blissfully quiet, the phones silent, nobody tapping on a keyboard except her.

Plus, she could put her feet up without worrying about that leach, Truman, looking up her skirt.

She looked at the picture again, wondering why the guy looked familiar. Shadowguard Security had run the guy through the criminal databases to no avail. Kane and Ivan had given her the photograph hoping she could tie him to previous story or an undercover source, but so far, she’d turned up nothing.

And the guy in the photograph wasn’t the only thing bothering her. The whole thing felt off, starting with Shadowguard Security itself.

She’d been trying to get into the private firm for almost a year, hoping to crack one of its employees, get a source on the inside. She knew their party line; that they were a security firm specializing in physical and digital security, counter-measures, and surveillance.

But she had a feeling there was more to Shadowguard than met the eye. Whatever they did, it was important enough to keep quiet and lucrative enough to insure Shadowguard headquarters was understatedly posh. Plus, they must be compensating their employees well, because Maggie hadn’t gotten a single one to crack in all the time she’d been trying to get in.

That kind of loyalty was bred only through mutual respect. Or family.

She turned her thoughts to Ivan Montgomery, son of Ambrose Montgomery, head of Shadowguard. She had no explanation for the flutter than started in her stomach at the thought of Ivan. They’d met twice since Maggie began working on the identity of the man in the photograph. The first time, Ivan had dropped off some more pictures. None of them had been very different from the one she had, and she’d found herself wondering if she was imagining the warmth in his eyes, the way he’d looked at her a little longer than necessary.

She’d been surprised a couple of days later when Ashley, the receptionist, told her she had a visitor. She was even more surprised to realize it was Ivan. Maggie had given him a brief update on her progress — very brief, since she hadn’t made any — and he’d asked her out to lunch.

She’d told herself it was business. Ivan was just the ticket she needed into Shadowguard Security. And she needed a ticket. Needed a big story and the promotion and raise that would come with it.

But a funny thing had happened over lunch. She found that she liked Ivan. More than that, she felt something deeper than an attraction to his piercing green eyes, the dirty-blond hair that was long enough to fall over his collar. More even than the muscular chest filling out his t-shirt, the broad shoulders straining the leather jacket.

There was something vulnerable behind his swagger, something gentle in the way he pulled her chair out for her, the careful way he moved around her, like she was a skittish animal that might make a run for it if he made any sudden moves.

They’d talked about work — his and hers, although he was careful not to say anything too revealing — and by the time he’d walked her back to the office, she’d found herself wondering if he would ask her out.

He hadn’t, and she’d had to stifle a pang of disappointment.

She put the photograph on the desk and refocused on the computer. Visiting hours at Clifton Meadows ended at nine. She could work for another two hours and still make it in time.

Contests & Giveaway Shadowguard Series

Congrats, Vivien and Len!

You are the winners of the Shadowguard Series Launch Giveaway!

Vivien, you won four e-books from Swoon Romance plus a $50 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Len can also claim four e-books from Swoon along with a $25 gift card to the bookstore of your choice.

Please email with “Shadowguard Series Launch Winner” in the Subject header to claim your prizes.

Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word about the series. If you enjoy the novella, please continue to spread the word and review the books on Amazon. Especially with e-books, reviews make a huge difference, moving books up in searches and generally making readers feel more confident about giving an author a try.

And stay tuned for the soon-to-be released cover of Temptation’s Fire, the third book in the Shadowguard novella trilogy!


Contests & Giveaway Shadowguard Series Uncategorized

Winners of the Shadowguard Cover Giveaway

Ahem. Time to announce the winners of Shadowguard Cover Giveaway. To enter, all you had to do was comment on the covers of TEMPTATION’S HEAT and TEMPTATION’S KISS. It could be anything.

Even, “Holy boob!” as my editor said. Lol!

And the winners are… *cue drum roll*


Francoise B


You each win a copy of Temptation’s Heat and Temptation’s Kiss, plus two more novellas – Captivated By You by Diane Alberts and Unwrap Me by Samantha Spencer and Carolina Jordan – from Swoon Romance. To claim your prizes, email with Shadowguard Series Cover Giveaway in the Subject line. Please include whether you’d like Nook or Kindle versions of your books.

Thanks for entering and remember that you still have time to win these four books PLUS a $50 or $25 gift card to the book store of your choice in the Shadowguard Launch Giveaway! You have until Midnight EST on 12/20 to enter.

Contests & Giveaway Shadowguard Series Uncategorized

Shadowguard Series Launch Giveaway!









You guys! Temptation’s Heat and Temptation’s Kiss, books one and two in the Shadowguard series, are out and ready for your hot little hands.

Emphasis on the word HOT.

In many ways, the Shadowguard series represents a departure for me. While my work to date has been exclusively YA, the Shadowguard series is solidly adult (and pretty steamy, if I do say so myself).

But a story is a story, and I like to think the Shadowguard series has all the elements that readers love in my other work; complex characters, tons of atmosphere, and of course, plenty of sexy (although these are significantly steamier than any of my YA work). I’m having great fun playing in this new world, and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

To celebrate, I’m kicking off an awesome giveaway. Because you all know how I love me some giveaways.

Up for grabs is a $50 gift card and a $25 gift card (to the bookstore of your choice) plus copies of both novellas. And there are lots of ways to enter! You get one entry for each time you tweet a link to the giveaway (limit of one per day), one entry for each review you post on Amazon and/or B&N (four possible entries if you review both books on both sites), one entry for posting the covers on your Pinterest board, and FIVE entries for changing you Twitter pic to either cover.

Just post links to your reviews, Pinterest board, and Twitter profile in the comments section! Giveaway open now through 12/20 at Midnight EST.

Thanks so much for helping me celebrate!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shadowguard Series

Temptation’s Fire

Shadowguard Series

Temptation’s Kiss

Shadowguard Series

Temptation’s Heat