Shelly is a mother, educator, and lifetime nerd.
Dr. Michelle M. Oyola, is the author of The Broken Series under her pen name—Shelly X. Leonn. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Shelly worked at her hometown newspaper in Washington, MO, as the web and youth editor. During her time advising the youth staff, Shelly realized her true calling was to teaching. She applied and was accepted to Teach For America St. Louis as a member of the 2008 corps.
My characters have taken up permanent residence inside my head, and I can't get them out.
- Shelly X. Leonn
Her nine years in St. Louis City education have been spent in middle school and high school language arts classrooms as well as in mid-level administration. She is also an adjunct professor. She and her two boys reside in Affton, and she enjoys reading, writing, outdoor activities, anime, video games, and other dorky pastimes.
Shelly is represented by Stephanie Hansen at Metamorphosis Literary Agency. Her debut novel will be published through Owl Hollow Press.
The Ghost and the wolf: Book I of The Broken Series
Student reporter Penelope needs to prove herself. She chases a story tip on a secret organization of teenage urban explorers called The Broken. With the assistance of a young paranormal investigator, she begins to uncover the group’s darkest secrets.
However, the members have other plans for Penelope and her new “freak” friend. The reporter becomes part of her story, and she will have to fight for her own life and the lives of her friends as she learns what it means to be one of The Broken.
Children in the Cage: Book II of The Broken Series
Penelope knows Ghost needs help, but he refuses to emerge from the shadows cast by Alpha and his crew of maniac arsonists. Mason, hungry for revenge, convinces Helena to chase down other former members of The Broken who have shoved them aside. Caged by their own self-imposed quests for justice, The Pack members drift further and further apart.
Still children in many ways, they must learn how to reunite as one or risk losing one another or themselves forever.
Shadows of the Last Fire: Book III of The Broken Series
The former foe has fallen, and most of his followers have scattered. The entire city faces a new threat, though. When a new, secret leader emerges to gather Warren’s pieces, the Pack members are again forced to face the repercussions of their past mistakes. The leader promises to bring St. Louis to its knees with a plan called “First Fire.”
Penelope and Lex will have to forge unlikely alliances if they hope to stop this new leader, who has been by their side since the beginning. Past enemies become friends so the Pack can stop a disaster on a scale larger than any of them can imagine.
How do you know when a book is good? For me, it’s when I am invested so much in the characters and storyline that I bawl during highly emotional scenes.
Last night, though, I had to find out what happened to the characters. I read about 30K words in a few hours, emotionally wracked throughout the story. The author is a master storyteller. She not only can engage the reader emotionally, but she writes with subtle symbolism, subtext, and foreshadowing.
What you also do well with the young cast is write them maturely. Even when Penny and Lex seemed to move way too fast, or The Pack scuffled over something stupid, I felt you knew what you were doing. There was a touch of Romeo and Juliet at the end there. I'm positive you wanted us to pick up on that with Lex's line "Should I say 'I love you' from a balcony?" And as I get to the end, it's clear their romance is supposed to be deliciously tragic.
The plot was gripping. It had me in the edge of my seat even before the second chapter ended. Paranormal, thriller, mystery, romance - now toss in a few jokes here and there to keep things light. What isn't in this book?
If there's anything I'm sure of is this genre bending book is certainly a pleasurable read.