Our Team



Karen Kelsay, Editor-in-Chief

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. 




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, Editor and Project Manager

Jenna V. Wray (Sumpter) began working for Kelsay Books in 2018. In addition to editing books, assisting authors, and managing the workflow at Kelsay Books, she co-edits biannual issues of our affiliated literary magazine The Orchards Poetry Journal. She earned a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Evansville and Harlaxton College. In 2020, she received Virginia Grabill Awards in Poetry and Nonfiction. She has also edited for Addiction Recovery, Thera Books, The Evansville Review, Polyphony Lit, and freelance clients.




 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

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.



Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas, Copy Editor

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is a recent graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program. Her latest collection, Alice in Ruby Slippers, was short-listed for the 2021 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize and awarded an honorable mention in the Poetry category. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in some of the following journals: The Comstock Review, Redactions, Verse Daily, and many more. An eleven-time Pushcart Prize nominee and seven-time Best of the Net nominee, she has served as editor-in-chief for both The Orchards Poetry Journal and Tule Review. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Women’s Wisdom Art, an organization in Sacramento that supports women’s wellness through creativity in all forms.




Bayleigh Mayhak, Copy Editor

Bayleigh lives just outside of Denver, Colorado with her husband and two cats. After getting degrees in creative writing and music in 2020 from the University of Evansville, she got into various freelance editing and writing work. Now, she owns a small business with a storefront on Etsy in addition to doing a variety of tasks for Kelsay Books. She enjoys audiobooks, cats, crocheting, and chai tea—an old lady trapped in a younger-millennial body.




Peter Davies, Accounts Manager

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.