Our Team



Karen Kelsay



Karen and her husband owned a business in Southern California for 24 years, where she worked as a buyer and salesperson. She regularly met with university bookstore managers in three counties and gathered significant distribution knowledge. This helped lay the groundwork for her publishing company. Karen is an award-winning poet who enjoys writing free verse and formal poetry. In 2012 she created Kelsay Books and has now edited over 1,500 titles (as of 2022). Karen schedules national and international poetry readings for Kelsay Books, co-edits The Orchards Poetry Journal, and selects published titles each year for poetry contests. 



Delisa Hargrove

Project Manager and Editor


 Delisa joined Kelsay Books in February 2020. She loves the power and magic of words and frequently Googles 19th-century dictionaries and etymologies to find out what words used to mean. She celebrates advancing the creation process and seeing the poets’ endeavors bear fruit. Delisa is a wanderer, having packed her belongings and moved 65 times in life, landing most recently in Texas to help her aging mother-in-law as needed.



Peter Davies

Accounts Manager and Copy Editor

Peter grew up in Birmingham, England, where he worked as a senior regional manager with the Initial Company and won acclaim as a three-time British road-racing motorcycle champion. He immigrated to America in 1987. Peter owned a distributing business for 24 years, supplying snack foods to retail clients in Southern California. He is now semi-retired. Peter manages the Kelsay Books accounts and helps with copy editing. He is also the Master of Ceremonies at the readings Kelsay Books arranges each year.



Shay Culligan

Book Cover Designer


Originally from Ireland, Shay Culligan has worked in publishing as a graphic designer since 1983, including 18 years as a cover designer for Pearson Education. He is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Along with working in graphic design, he is also very active in fine art and photography. Shay has won multiple awards over the years for his book covers. 



Jenna V. Wray

Assistant Editor


Jenna V. Wray (Sumpter) began working for Kelsay Books in 2018. She is co-editor of The Orchards Poetry Journal. She earned a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Evansville and Harlaxton College. In 2020, she received the Virginia Grabill Awards in Poetry and Nonfiction. She has also edited for Addiction Recovery, Thera Books, The Evansville Review, Polyphony Lit, and freelance clients.




Ian Layman

Sound Engineer and Book Trailer Producer


Ian grew up singing, playing piano, and producing music with anything he could find. He studied recording engineering and music history at Orange Coast College and earned an audio engineering certificate from The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. Ian has worked in professional recording studios for the past decade and is adept in various musical styles. Ian firmly believes in making music that is not merely heard but felt. He has been fortunate to contribute to The Pacific Symphony, Alex Boye, OC Music & Dance, Hachette Audio, and The Southern California Children’s Chorus.



 Julie Kelsay

 Layout Editor


Julie Kelsay grew up in Texas and graduated from Sam Houston University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management. She lives in Southern California, where she works part-time for Kelsay Books and as an office manager for an e-commerce company. Julie formats manuscripts and registers the book titles with Bowker. Her hobbies include hiking, skiing, knitting, quilting, and anything that requires a needle and thread.




Olivia Loftis

Social Media Coordinator and Copy Editor

Olivia J. Loftis is driven to publish compelling books and magazines,
help authors share their insights, and make the literary arts accessible to
all. She holds a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson
College (2021). Since 2023, Olivia has been growing Kelsay Books’ blog as
Social Media Coordinator and implementing final touches as an Editorial
Assistant. Her dual passion for music and literature finds intertwined
expression in poetry.