bastards mary anna king writer

from my journal, October 1998

I kept journals from middle school until after I finished college. I say ‘Kept’ because more than simply writing in them, I retained them through moves to central New York, to Chicago, to Los Angeles. I left boxes of yearbooks in my parents’ attic, but these books went everywhere with me. Destroying them would be like cutting off my hand, but they were too precious to leave them where someone else might find them.

Among the usual teenage angst-ridden entries there were moments of purposeful remembrance; a faithful reproduction of things I knew I didn’t want to forget. Things I knew I would need for the day that I eventually told my story. Because even at the age of sixteen, it was clear that it was not a question of if, but merely when. Continue reading

How to Take a Good Author Portrait…

I got the email from my editor’s assistant two weeks ago.

Can you send us a portrait (that will be used for every book with your name on it ever?) two weeks from today?

Ok, I am paraphrasing, but that is what it felt like the email said. I knew this day was coming, eventually, but I didn’t think it would come so soon.

I’ve never taken an Official Portrait before. I’d seen them on book jackets, sure. The desks, cigarettes, tweedy jackets. Or the sweater sets, or the ironical photos of writers playing frisbee. I eagerly began googling “Great Author photos” and “How to take a good Author portrait.” And you know what? I couldn’t find many good tips on this process at all.

Probably because it feels nauseatingly ego-centric to write a piece claiming to know how to take a good photo. But luckily I live in Los Angeles, the great land of self-promotion, so I was able to glean advice from the various actors/speakers/reality stars/ real estate agents who sit for headshots every day.

So, I thought I might take a moment to share what I learned in my photographic adventure.

Tips after the jump….

Continue reading

Will the Real Mary King Please Stand Up?


Q_MARYKINGPOLO_INDIGO_AI like my name. Mary King. Its simple without being too plain. The King has a monarchical flourish that is not overly fussy. You expect Mary King to be sharp, classic, maybe a little bookish, no?

Well, as luck would have it, others have liked the name before me. And others have published under the name, too. Like Mary King, the famous British equestrian who has not only published an autobiography, but also branded her name across a line of ladies’ apparel. See above.

I have so many feelings about this garment. First: What a provocative display of ego. The embroidered signature is just There. Right up front. BAM. Second: it’s a lot of look, though, amirite? Third: WHY DON’T I ALREADY OWN THIS?

Eerily, her signature is pretty close to way I sign my name, too.

But I understand how the internet works.  In the interests of avoiding confusion, I’m probably going to have to change the name I publish under. Mary Anna King isn’t so bad.  I mean, I might need two lines of embroidery on *my* branded line of ladies’ apparel, but that is a risk I am willing to take.

Quaint Magazine

A little over a month ago I had my first piece of short fiction published by a literary magazine! I could not be more excited or humbled for my weird little story to be included in the inaugural issue of Quaint Magazine.

Read the piece here:

A little bit about Quaint, from their website:

“Quaint Magazine began as an exercise in rebellion. After reading this LitBridge article by Monica Lita Storss, about the gender divide in publishing/hiring (specifically in poetry), we were appalled. How could someone – another woman – dare to suggest that women are underrepresented in publishing because aren’t “paddling out into the lineup and claiming [our places]“?

It is a well-documented fact that women (and even more so women of color, and trans or genderqueer women) are severely underrepresented in the world of literature. One need only look to the VIDA statistics from 2012 to see that. And yet, apparently, the onus is on us to “tribe” together and do something about it.

I guess the article made us angry enough that that’s exactly what we did.

Quaint Magazine accepts submissions from female-identified people only. That means we’ll take work from girls, ladies, fillies, gals, lasses, womyn, women, dames, damsels, broads, and any other personal identifier you wish to throw at us. If you’re trans, great! If you’re cis, that’s just fine, too! This is our way of balancing the scales. Sometimes you have to be exclusionary to foster a more inclusive literary environment, overall.”

Things You Pick Up in Public Restrooms


It’s been years since I have been in a bar bathroom this foul.  You need to be much more intoxicated than I currently am not to mind the splintery plywood stalls, the once white ceramic tile yellowing like teeth, the toilet paper and paper towels stuck to the floors and countertops like confetti to sweating skin.

I mince my way through the puddles on the tile to find a stall that has a functioning lock before I sit. I have never been the kind of person who hovers above public toilet seats. I wonder if I should be.

It’s a sort of hubris, in the face of so many headlines on websites that I never click on; “The Twenty Places You can Catch Bird Flu”, “How Microbes Will Kill Us All” “The 12 Germiest Places in Your Life (Number 4 will shock you).” I don’t read them, but I am sure that public restroom toilet seats make frequent appearances on such lists.  Even with that certainty, I apply my thighs to the ceramic seat in this horrible bathroom, acknowledging that my lack of care in an instance like this could lead to my downfall. Continue reading