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Herta B. Feely

My passion resides in the written word! I’ve been an editor and writer for the past 20 years, though I wrote my first short story around the time of the Cuban missile crisis (“Bombs Away!”) and received an A!

Back in 2007, after working as the executive editor for a literary agency, I established Chrysalis Editorial to focus on serving writers in a variety of capacities. My manuscript critiques have helped countless writers hone and revise their work into publishable shape. I’ve copy edited manuscripts and supported numerous clients as their writing coach. I recently worked as a developmental editor with Lee DiPietro, a world-class tri-athlete, on her memoir, Against the Wind, released by Skyhorse Publishing. I’ve also ghostwritten the memoirs of several other aspiring writers.

Seeing hard-working, talented authors receive their due gives me tremendous satisfaction.

As a Writer

I recently had a novel published that revolves around a cyberbullying incident. Saving Phoebe Murrow found publishers in both the US (Upper Hand Press) and the UK (Twenty7 Books–an imprint of Bonnier Fiction UK) and was released for sale in the fall of 2016.

I’ve written assorted short stories and essays, which have been published in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including The Sun, The Potomac Review, The Griffin, Big Muddy, and Enhanced Gravity. I edited and conceived of the anthology Confessions: Fact or Fiction?, which explores the blurred line between fact and fiction. One of my memoir pieces on immigration, “The Wall,” received the American Independent Writer’s Award for Best Personal Published Essay in 2010. For more, see Herta’s Author Website.

I strongly encourage writers to submit their stories, novels, creative non-fiction and memoir to writing contests, fellowships and writing grants. In 2007, I received both the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and an Artist Fellowship in Literature from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for a novel in progress. A previous grant from the DCCAH funded travel to Peru, enabling me to complete the research for my novel, Serra Blue, an excerpt of which was featured in Provincetown Arts Magazine, but was never otherwise published.

Two years ago, I joined the online book review magazine, Washington Independent Review of Books, as a reviewer.

In My Previous Life

I have a BA in Latin American History from UC Berkeley and attended graduate school there in the field of journalism. I also have a Master of Arts in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. After attending UC Berkeley’s graduate journalism school, I worked as a reporter, editor, and press secretary. Of all the work I’ve done, I am perhaps proudest of having co-founded the National Safe Kids Campaign (now Safe Kids Worldwide) in 1988 and worked as its first executive director.


I was born in Yugoslavia, emigrated to Germany when I was three, and left there for the US on a ship at the age of seven (with my parents and other relatives). I grew up in St. Louis, left there at 18, and moved to California, where I spent the next decade. Now, I live (quite happily) in Washington, DC, with my husband and two cats. We have two grown sons. At all times, in all those places, including on the Atlantic Ocean, books have kept me company.


Emily Williamson


In my time with Chrysalis Editorial I’ve enjoyed helping a wide variety of authors with their novels, short stories, essays and memoir. It’s always an interesting and gratifying process, and I often draw lessons and inspiration from our clients as well. My specialties are manuscript critiques, publishing advice, developmental editing, and query letter writing.

My critiques are sensitive to the fact that an author is taking a big step in putting his or her work out there for review. But I won’t coddle you. In my experience with Chrysalis I’ve found that writers appreciate an honest, constructive critique, and this helps them enjoy the process of revision. It’s a great pleasure seeing authors improve their skills, gain confidence in their writing, and achieve their goals.

My Writing

I’ve been working on two novels these days, and one day I’ll finish! I currently have a completed short story collection as well. My short stories have appeared in Blackbird, Word Riot, and Peacock Journal. Another was a finalist in Glimmer Trains Fiction Open in 2012. And my poetry has appeared in The Waterhouse Review and is forthcoming in Measure and Jersey Devil Press.

You can read more about my writing and my experience as a literary agent at my website:

The Past

DSCF0020I am a refugee from another career. Before pursuing a career in writing and editing, I was a professional archaeologist for 13 years. The way I use my writing and editing skills today extends back into my former life. As a field director and environmental consultant for a small firm in western Wyoming I edited hundreds of technical documents and reports. Although I mostly edit fiction now, I welcome the opportunity to work on non-fiction/technical pieces as well. My knowledge in that area is pretty solid.


I received a Master of Arts in Writing from the Johns Hopkins University in 2012 and I have a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from American University, which I earned in 1997.