Mary Helen Fein

I have been writing since I was 12 years old. Writing was a lifeline for me. It was the one place I could tell the truth. All the adults I knew seemed crazy and difficult. I had a painful childhood, but somehow I am having a wonderful life. My grandmother saved me.

I’m an East Coaster, born in New York. I have a Master’s in Computer Science from University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in English Literature from Temple University. I like school. In addition to writing, I have always pursued the visual arts. I am a Certified Zentangle Teacher. Zentangle is a drawing artform that anyone can do, regardless of training or perceived talent. See my Zentangle websitehere. 

I published my first novel, Loss of Deliverance, in 2014. It’s about a young woman who gets involved in the dangerous drug trade of the 1970’s, and how she finds her way out.

My second novel, Stitching a Life, An Immigration Story, was published in 2020 by She Writes Press. It’s a fictional biography of my grandmother. In 1900, when she was just sixteen, she came over from Lithuania by herself. Like millions of Jews, she came to America to escape anti-semitic violence. She landed at Ellis Island, lived on the Lower East Side, and worked in the garment trade. I am happy to honor her with this book.

Both of my published books are available on Amazon. 

I was interviewed in February 2022, by New York City’s Tenement Museum about Stitching A Life, as this book about my grandmother and her 1900 immigration story, it takes place in settings depicted at the museum. You can watch the interview here.

I spoke about the process of writing Stitching A Life, An Immigration Story at Gold Country Writers’ Third Wednesday meeting in March, 2022. You can watch the video of that talk here.

  • My third book is a memoir, and it has been accepted for publication. The working title is Spark. It is about kindness and love, and the moments in my life when I felt that spark. These shining moments are set against a dark background of child abuse, for which I compensated with compulsive overeating and other unhealthy behaviors that nonetheless helped me get through to a true recovery. This new book has been accepted for publication by She Writes Press, in the fall of 2024.

  • My fourth book is in progress. It will be a biography as told to me by John Travis, my meditation teacher for thirty years. I am honored to undertake the project of sharing this story of a wonderful teacher and a great spirit.


My religion is kindness.