Books in the Works

for Publishers & Agents

Karen has the following manuscripts for young and middle readers in progress:

Keepers of the Pact

Winner of the 2019 Nova Writes Joyce Barkhouse Award!

Keepers of the Pact is the winner of the 2019 Nova Writes Joyce Barkhouse Award, recognizing excellence in the category of writing for children. Nova Writes is the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia’s writing competition for unpublished manuscripts.

Middle grade readers
Word Count: 50,000

“Keepers of the Pact” is a middle-grade novel about twelve-year-old Alistair Cook’s search for hidden pirate treasure in the mystical caves off Brigus, Newfoundland and Labrador. Like in all the best adventure stories, Alistair’s search for one thing leads him to something unexpected: the existence of a long-held pact between the Elders of a nearby reserve, select pact-keepers from town and the supernatural People of the Sea. That’s right—mer people.

The pact is disturbed when local fish monger and business mogul Mr. Grey starts blasting a tunnel to speed up deliveries from his fleet to his fish plant. Grey knows he is breaking the pact but he sees a profit in capturing a mer creature and selling it to an exotic fish collector in Scotland. Grey is putting his own fleet—and men—at risk by angering the People of the Sea, whose song puts deadly cracks in Brigus’ fishing vessels.

Despite being forbidden by his father from going on the open water when he’s away at sea, Alistair and his friends Ben and Sadie find themselves drawn into the mysterious happenings around the Misty Cove caves. When they discover Grey’s plan, they must bring the pact keepers together to guide the People of the Sea back through the portal. If they don’t, the People of the Sea will start sinking ships with their song and Alistair’s father may never make it home.

Keepers of the Pact was inspired by a visit to the picturesque and historical community of Brigus, Newfoundland & Labrador. If you go, you would likely tour the spot where a tunnel was blasted in the late 1800’s ( to allow ships to unload their cargo faster. While there I read about tales of giant squid and sea creatures. What I found most interesting, however, was the tale of a mermaid sighting in the St. John’s harbour around the time the tunnel was blasted. I wondered if there was a connection.


Keepers of the Pact has been acquired by Nimbus Publishing Ltd. and will be released August 2023.

Accepting Nova Writes Joyce Barkhouse Award

Helena’s Scribe

Middle grade readers
Word Count: 46,000


What if having a front row seat to history meant actually being in that seat, taking notes as a scribe? Raphael, a 12-year-old aspiring actor, does just that as she uses a riddle and magical pendant that takes her back to the fourth century. Here she is appointed the Empress Lady Helena’s chief scribe. Now part of the royal court’s inner circle, she becomes intertwined with the Emperor’s scheme to unite his people.

The fourth century was a pivotal time in history. Emperor Constantine the Great faced an enormous challenge of converting the Roman Empire to Christianity ─not an easy task given most citizens were deeply immersed in mystery religions and pagan worship. Many books explore the historical, whimsical and sometimes cruel ways of Emperor Constantine, yet barely a word is written about the person many believe to be truly behind the Roman Empire’s fourth century transformation ─ his mother, Empress Lady Helena.

“Helen’s Scribe” is a time travel adventure that blends history with sometimes amusing, other times dangerous, inner court politics. But Raphael prevails. From Poseidon, to Zeus and even the Goddess Venus, Raphael comes up with a plan that can bring the religions together and help the Emperor unite his people. But first she must outsmart those secretly scheming against it. And that means figuring out how to save Lady Helena, even though her own life may be in danger.

“Helena’s Scribe” is an educational and epic tale suitable for grades four/ five and up.


Manuscript complete.  Word count 46,000. “Helena’s Scribe” is the sequel to Raphael’s Riddle and can also be a stand-alone novel. Agents or publishers can contact Karen directly for sample chapters.

Helen's Scribe

Raphael’s Riddle

Middle grade readers
Word Count: 50,000


Raphael’s Riddle is the story of twelve-year-old aspiring actor Raphael, who discovers the hard way that magic is real.

When Raphael’s family goes to Amsterdam to visit her Oma, Raphael is asked to help her solve a riddle that she found many years ago, hidden with a pendant in an ancient text. When Raphael solves the riddle, the pendant transports her to fourth-century Turkey where she lands smack in the middle of a Greek legend. Raphael quickly learns that she must help save three sisters from an evil slave master ─ only the legend isn’t going to plan, and now Raphael must decide if she should stay and help save the girls or return to her home ─ and her time.

Her journey takes her from a struggling goat farm, run by Alfred, the father of the three girls, to the historic Council of Nicea, headed by Emperor Constantine. There she finds trouble ─ an all-boys choir she shouldn’t be in, an irate choirmaster who confiscates her pendant, the inside of a jail cell, and ─ worst of all ─ a growing realization that acting isn’t her destiny after all.


Manuscript published in 2010 however the publisher has since gone out of business. Raphael’s Riddle was marketed and distributed in the author’s home province of Nova Scotia, Canada (population of 950,000), 5,000 copies were printed and sold. The author owns full rights to the manuscript and is looking for a new publisher.

Karen & Raphael’s Dilemma

Raphael’s Riddle was published in 2010 to great applause. Unfortunately the publisher, for various reasons, has gone out of business. Karen is in the process of seeking a new publisher to take Raphael’s story to a larger audience. Karen bought back the remaining books from the print run and has been using them as a fundraiser for school food programs.

To learn more about how Raphael’s Riddle has helped feed kids success, read our People of the Community profile here.

Raphael's Riddle

About the Author, Karen Kelloway

As a child, Karen Kelloway enjoyed writing quirky, rhyming poems. That talent later came in handy as she discovered that a riddle was a perfect way to take readers back in time to fourth century Turkey. Her first book, Raphael’s Riddle, introduces readers to the compelling and historical figures of Bishop Nicholas of Myra, Emperor Constantine, and his mother Lady Helena. Karen became so enthralled in their stories and this captivating time in history that she wrote a sequel, which could also be a stand-alone novel, called “Helena’s Scribe”.

Karen continues her love of blending historical facts with fantasy and has written another middle grade fiction manuscript, “Keepers of the Pact”. This one takes place closer to her home in Atlantic Canada and features 12-year-old Alistair Cook’s search for hidden pirate treasure in the mystical caves off Brigus, Newfoundland and Labrador. Karen writes of the existence of a long-held pact between the Elders of a nearby reserve, select pact-keepers from town and the supernatural People of the Sea. That’s right—mer people. Even she was surprised!

In the grown up world, Karen is a Certified Executive Coach through Royal Roads University and holds a Bachelor of Public Relations through Mount Saint Vincent University. She writes career advice blogs and is the author of a popular book called NAIL IT! Six Steps to Transform Your Career. Karen is the winner of the Progress Women of Excellence award for Communications. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with her husband, Stephen, two children (Tristan and Gabrielle) and their fluffy black and white Havanese dog, Chewie.

A portion of her book sales goes to breakfast programs, helping to keep kids well nourished and ready to learn.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt