Charles D’Amico wrote 1 million words of fiction before the age of 40. A few hundred thousand of those words are a part of his award-winning Neil Baggio suspense series, and the rest will be published by the small press he founded in 2020 — Blue Handle Publishing.
His debut, Veritas, won the 2021 PenCraft Award for Literary Excellence in Suspense and was named a finalist for the 2021 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award in the general mystery category. Colloquium, Book 3 in the Baggio series, earned second-place honors in the PenCraft Awards’ mystery-sleuth category.
Charles was born and raised with one sibling in Metro Detroit, where he attended the all-boys Catholic prep school where his mother taught before she passed away. After studying Psychology and Criminology at Ball State University and earning a Bachelor’s in 2004, Charles’s gift for writing was put center-stage when an injury allowed him to write full time.
He quickly took a job that forced his novels to the backburner and has enjoyed a successful career in finance and as a restaurateur, in addition to a variety of jobs that have informed his outlook on life.
But he never stopped writing.
In addition to bringing his life experience and unique writing style to the literary world, Charles is the founder, president, and CEO of Blue Handle Publishing and Book Puma — an editorial firm that provides online learning and book editing services focused on changing how authors and publishing professionals interact. For more information, visit BookPumaOnline.com and BookPumaEdit.com.
Charles is working on his 2022 release, Fille Perdue, a Marie Perdita suspense novel that will start a new series in his Neil Baggio universe. He is also finishing Baggio Book 5, Consilium, for release in 2023.
Charles resides with his wife, Colleen, and their two kids in Amarillo, Texas, which has treated him like home since the day he arrived. His company Blue Rock owns and operates a chain of restaurants in Amarillo and two other cities in the Southwest.
Andrew J Brandt grew up in a library. And after devouring books in the stacks of the city library where his grandmother worked in Vernon, Texas, Andrew has gone on to write multiple #1 Amazon bestselling young adult novels and earn accolades from the PenCraft Awards for Literary Excellence, the Reading the West Awards, and Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.
Andrew’s coming-of-age story Mixtape for the End of the World (Blue Handle Publishing, May 2021) earned second place in the 2021 PenCraft Awards, and his paranormal YA thriller Palo Duro was nominated for the Reading the West YA Book of the Year. Compared by USA Today bestseller Danielle Girard to works by legendary authors Nevada Barr and Tony Hillerman, Palo Duro debuted at #1 on Amazon’s YA thriller list and was later named a 2021 Readers' Favorite honorable mention.
After graduating from West Texas A&M, Andrew self-published his debut novel, The Treehouse, which reached the top of Amazon’s YA thriller list in 2019. He went on to publish The Abduction of Sarah Phillips and In the Fog later that year.
In 2020, he signed a book deal with Blue Handle, which released The Unwinding Cable Car, followed by Mixtape for the End of the World. His next paranormal YA thriller, Picture Unavailable, is scheduled for release in October 2022.
Andrew lives in Texas, with his wife and children. For more information, visit writerbrandt.com.
Andrew J. Brandt
Jordan Reed graduated from West Texas A&M University with a degree in Engineering Technology. He grew up in Panhandle, TX and currently lives with his wife in Amarillo, TX. Along with being a writer, he works for KVII Channel 7 News, Amarillo’s ABC affiliate. Reed has a black belt in Karate and enjoys exploring used book stores such as The Burrowing Owl Bookstore.
Jordan is the newest addition to the Blue Handle library of authors. He is currently working with our editing team to polish up his first manuscript, with the working title A wizards Death, due for 2022 release.
Leslie Liautaud is an award-winning playwright and author of the nostalgic coming-of-age novel Black Bear Lake (Blue Handle Publishing, September 2022).
Her immersive play Southern Gothic won Joseph Jefferson Awards for best director, scenic design, and artistic specialization. Premiering in 2008 at the Windy City Playhouse in Chicago, Southern Gothic was also nominated in the midsize play, new work, and ensemble categories.
Leslie’s plays Midnight Waltzes (2006), He Is Us (2008), The Wreck (2009), The Mansion (2012) and A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Millennial Edition (2012) have been produced throughout the United States.
Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Leslie has worked in the performing arts for over 30 years. She currently divides her time between Nashville, Tennessee, and Key Largo, Florida, with her husband, Jimmy John Liautaud, their three children, and menagerie of animals.
For more information, visit leslieliautaud.com.
Ray Franze’s combination of curiosity, knowledge and amazing exposure to stories of the Chicago mob has given him a unique perspective to bring to life his debut novel. The Heights (Blue Handle Publishing, 2023), a work of historical organized crime fiction based story telling.
Ray has spent nearly 30 years trading options at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade after graduating with a BBA from the University of Iowa. He grew up with his two older sisters in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, where his loving parents and grandparents helped instill a strong work ethic, including the mantra “There’s no such word as can’t.”
When Ray chose writing as a creative outlet, he relied on that mantra to finish his debut. And after more than 25 years in the “pits,” he has many more stories to tell.
He lives with his wife of 20 years, Nicole, in the Chicago suburbs, where they raised three daughters.