Stacy Padula, President

Stacy Padula grew up in Pembroke, Massachusetts. She is the founder of Briley & Baxter Publications, the founder of South Shore College Consulting & Tutoring, a co-founder of BLE Pictures, and the author of thirteen books. She began writing her first book series, Montgomery Lake High, when she was a teenager because she saw a need for realistic Y.A. books that address topics such as substance abuse and bullying. Between 2010-2014 all five Montgomery Lake High books were published. In 2017, she began writing her second series, Gripped, which serves as both a prequel and sequel to her first series. Gripped parts 1-5 were published between 2019-2021. She is currently writing part 6. In 2019, she also wrote her first screenplay, an adaptation of her novel The Aftermath, and worked on writing a pilot for Gripped, which caught the attention of Hollywood producers.

In 2020, she began writing a third book series with NBA Coach Brett Gunning. Geared towards children ages three through eight, Stacy and Brett’s On The Right Path book series has been endorsed by Joel Osteen, Mike D’Antoni, and Kevin McHale as a series that belongs in every school, library, and household. Both Stacy’s Gripped series and On the Right Path series are currently being adapted for TV by Emmy award winning producer Mark Blutman.

Stacy has been featured in Marquis Who’s Who in America (2018-Present) for excellence in literature and education, Marquis Who’s Who in the World (2018-Present), and Cambridge Who’s Who for Young Professionals (2009). In 2018, she was awarded the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2019, the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP of New York, NY) chose Stacy as its “Top Educational Consultant of the Year.”

In 2020, she was named “Empowered Woman of the Year” by IAOTP and a  “Social Impact Hero” by Authority Magazine for her support of animal rescues through her publishing company. She was also chosen to be on the cover of T.I.P. Magazine, an international business publication.

In June of 2021, Stacy was featured on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as Empowered Woman of the Year. In 2022, she was named “Top Inspirational Author of the Year” and was honored at a gala at the Bellagio in Las Vegas in December. She was also broadcast for her award on the Planet Hollywood Jumbotron overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. Her novel Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story won the Silver Award and Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told won the Gold Award for “Best Teen Book” in the 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards.

For 2023, Stacy has been named “Top Global Impact Author of the Year” for her literary work on several continents, and she will be honored at a gala at The Plaza in New York City. In addition, she was chosen to be featured in an international publication titled 50 Fearless Leaders for 2023. She also was asked to serve as a judge for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious contest for creative young adults, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, The New York Times, and Scholastic.

David Gunning, Executive Vice President of Production

David is a graduate of Temple University, where he holds Cum Laude honors from The School of Communications and Theater. David is also an alum of the highly coveted Stella Adler Acting Academy of Los Angeles and has studied with renowned coaches such as Leigh Kilton-Smith, John Rosenfeld, and Penny Templeton. David is in charge of bringing talent to Briley & Baxter Publications and connecting authors with Hollywood producers and executives. He is working closely with Stacy Padula on the adaptation of her “Gripped” series, as well as other Briley & Baxter Publications’ titles. David has also worked commercially both on camera and as a voice artist for products such as DC Comics, Honda, FORD, Budweiser, Nokia, Toyota, Time Warner Cable, McDonalds, Coors Light, Farmer’s Insurance, Chase Bank and MGM Grand of Las Vegas.

Lee Gjertsen Malone, Editor

Lee Gjertsen Malone is a children’s book author, journalist, editor and creative writing instructor. As a journalist she’s covered everything from wedding planning to the banking crisis to how to make your own camera satellite for a range of publications including Muse, Cambridge Scout, American Banker, Financial Planning and the Boston Globe magazine. Her first novel for children, THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S, was a Nutmeg Award finalist, Sakura Medal finalist, a Massachusetts Book Award Must-Read and an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Her second novel, CAMP SHADY CROOK, was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. As a creative writing teacher and editor she enjoys working with all kinds of authors to help them hone their voice and create the best possible version of their story. She holds a B.S. in Communication from Cornell University. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys exploring her newly adopted home, Washington D.C., spending time with her four pets, and fantasizing about winning the Great British Baking Show.

eleonor gardner, editor

Eleonor is an editor who uses her publishing industry expertise and command of the English language to help writers reach their fullest potential. Her professional experience covers everything from tech to dark fantasy, periodicals to books, and acquisitions to book release. She collaborates with authors from all over the world from myriad backgrounds to provide readers with excellent, life-enhancing books, some of which who have been featured in magazines like NYSUTKirkus Reviews, and Booklist; podcasts like Books Boys; independent reviewer platforms; news channels like WLTX News 19; and more. Her book projects have also become Amazon bestsellers. Her approach to editing is to ensure that the author-editor relationship shines through collaboration, nonjudgement, respect, and of course, the love of storytelling. 

Eleonor has a master’s degree in publishing with a concentration in tech and design from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in English with a business minor from Christopher Newport University. You can learn more about her by visiting

Amy deyerle-smith, LEAD designer (Cover & Interior)

Amy is a graduate of Hampshire College, where she studied design and photography—and formatted her friends’ thesis projects. A Percy Jackson-related Google search at the age of twelve set off a chain of events that led her to book design, and she never looked back. Amy loves creating book covers and interior files that help tell a story, and has worked on projects ranging from high fantasy to essay collections. When not running amok in the mountains, she can be found at home in Seattle tending to her font collection, thinking about pirates, and handbinding books (with the help of her book presses, Fezzik and Westley.) You can view her work at:

Amy’s projects have included Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told, Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, Gripped Part 3: The Fallout, Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors, Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story, Mexico Got Lucky, The Original: Living Life Through Hockey, and Stars of the North.

Veronica Sopher, Public relations & Visibility Specialist

Veronica V. Sopher is an award-winning visibility strategist with more than 25 years experience in public relations. She works with book authors, entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to scale their brand with a strong visibility strategy to garner national media placement. Veronica knows that strategic media placement legitimizes you and your brand as an expert in your area. You can learn more about her by visiting

Reilly Fournier, Communications Specialist

Reilly is a recent graduate from Fordham University where she received her Bachelors of Arts as a double major in English and Communications with a concentration in Film. During her time in New York she held many positions, but the most formative experience was being a Resident Assistant to freshman students. With an expansive background working in multiple fields such as marketing, film production, and law, she is very excited to use all of these skills and become a valuable team member at Briley and Baxter. When she’s not reading and working on projects, Reilly loves to play soccer, watch Boston sports, and spend time with family. Though she grew up in Central Massachusetts, she currently lives in Falmouth where she is building a life and planning a wedding with her fiancé.

Elizabeth MacKenney, cover designer

Elizabeth Berry MacKenney has been designing book covers for 20 years, and has been in the design field for several more. She earned her BFA in Photography, Portland School of Art (now MECA) in 1991, and her MFA in Media Design, Full Sail University, 2010. Beth has held many in-house design positions, and is the owner/operator of berrygraphics – graphic design services. Beth is also a licensed Maine Whitewater Raft Guide, and when not in her design studio she can be found chasing whitewater with her husband on their home rivers of Maine and across the U.S. 

Beth’s projects have included the hardcover designs for Gripped Part 1: The Truth We Never Told, Gripped Part 2: Blindsided, Gripped Part 3: The Fallout, Gripped Part 4: Smoke & Mirrors, and Gripped Part 5: Taylor’s Story.

Jesse Sanchez, cover designer

Jesse Sanchez is a graduate of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He has designed award-winning book covers for Grand Central Publishing (Time Warner), Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Kensington Books, The International Monetary Fund, and St. Martin’s Press. His author list includes Walter Mosely, Sandra Brown, Marcia Muller, Jack Higgins and James Patterson among others. He was formerly the art director at M.E. Sharpe Publishers in Armonk, NY.

Jesse is an accomplished artist and shows his work in New York City as well as local venues in upstate New York where he resides. He was president of the New Rochelle Art Association from 2006 to 2015. He served on the Municipal Arts Commission of the City of New Rochelle as a creative consultant on the application of commercial signage from 2012 to 2015. Through the commission he initiated several public art projects in the downtown area. He works tirelessly because he believes that art represents the best of ourselves. Portfolio: Jesse Sanchez Art & Design (


Michaella recently graduated from Mercer University with a degree in English and a minor in Teacher Education.  She has a great passion for analyzing, discussing, and teaching literature. As a child, Michaella spent every night reading Harry Potter before bed with her dad, which ignited her love for reading. As result, Michaella grew up reading all genres of books and has dreamed of working with authors whose imaginations bring new worlds to life. She is excited for the opportunity to work with Briley and Baxter Publications. If you are looking for Michaella, you will find her surrounded by a stack of books with a mug of hot chocolate in her hands.

Maddy Moore, Lead Illustrator

Sylvia Madison (Maddy) Moore is a recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania who completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology and Fine Arts. Moore grew up in a family of international coaches and has consequently lived and worked in various corners of the world including Singapore, New Zealand, and throughout Europe. She began her career as an artist at fifteen, where she would complete commission-based illustrations for clients around her school commitments. In recent years, Moore has worked full-time as a freelance artist with authors and designers from around the art world to bring their projects into fruition, including but not limited to comic book illustrations, character designs, cards and flyers, logos, and her personal work on the indie webcomic, “The Cloud Maker”. Moore currently resides in Delaware Country, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. Maddy’s art can be viewed here:

Maddy’s projects have included On the Right Path (books 1, 2, and 3), The Colors Inside of Me, Trumpet the Miracle Wolf Pup (books 1 and 2), The Spooks Who Spooked Halloween, The Falling Star Repairman, Carbon Neutral, Course Correction, Altered Horizon, Gripped (books 1-5), The Crash, The Baby Cow, and Here’s Why You Can’t Find Love.

Deb Johnson, Illustrator

Deb works as a freelance illustrator, writer, and designer with publishers and authors from around the globe. Illustrating for children has been her passion for more than 30 years…and counting! She enjoys being part of the creative process that helps an author see their story come to life. Deb has illustrated numerous award-winning educational publications, children’s books, magazines and more.  She also writes, illustrates, and designs her own children’s books, coloring, and activity books.  When she isn’t drawing, Deb enjoys knitting, crochet, and using her creative skills for marketing and publication design.  She currently lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her husband, studio pup, Macie, and two sweet kitties.  You can view Deb’s artwork here:

cathryn schofield, Illustrator

Cathryn Schofield is a recent graduate of Hope College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art and Art History. Throughout her undergrad experience, she created a multi-media body of whimsical and childlike artwork inspired by the children’s books she read growing up. Some of Cathryn’s biggest illustration inspirations are Blueberries for SalErnest and Celestine, and the Madeline books. Though she creates in a variety of mediums, watercolor and gouache are her preferred ways to bring illustrations to life. When she’s not painting, Cathryn is the Programs and Events Coordinator for a local chamber of commerce and runs an Etsy shop where she sells a variety of artwork. Cathryn is thrilled to work with Briley and Baxter Publishing and use her love of all things bright and whimsical to capture author’s creative visions. Find some of Cathryn’s artwork here: and here: