Of all the professions and jobs I have had the best is that of becoming an author. When I was young I was challenged by dyslexia - at the time it was thought to be some form of retardation. My reading was poor, math barely serviceable, spelling just about as bad. I have never been without a book or two in hand since I learned to read. I havebeen an insurance agent, regional sales training instructor, executive recruiter, book store owner, deli owner, stock broker, and internet marketing director.
I started writing short stories when I was in my mid-fifties. It took three or four years before I finally was published. I tried my hand at novels, shelving the first three because they were not good enough. When I finally learned to listen to the voices of my characters, and not to that imaginary person editing over my shoulder, I shelved the writers block and published "Two Blind Men And A Fool" on line with Bewildering Stories.com. Later the same year (11/2014) it was published by elementa as "Poets Can't Sing." "Honeysuckle Rose Hotel" its sequel will be published in June, 2015.
"Silencing the Blues Man", the final story in the trio was published in August, 2016.
Most likely we have never met - except through the characters in the stories I write. If you have read any of my writings I want to thank you. I do it for you. I also do it for me because writing is like breathing, it is somethingI must do.
What does it take to create that remarkable story that lives on through its readers, generation after generation?
I don’t think anyone really knows. Times have changed so much since Hemingway, Mitchell, Rand, or Harper Lee.
It takes passion, dedication, imagination, luck, and readers who say: ‘Thank you for writing this for me, is there anymore? I wish I could write like that.”
There are so many books, how do I choose?
Amazon (USA) has over ten million books on line. Around ten percent of the top one hundred based on sales are fiction.
The time when an (undiscovered) writer can find a literary agent who has the power to fulfill their dream of bringing their finely honed novel to the readers of the world is mostly gone. That is where the luck comes in. That is also why there are so many self published books, many worth far less than what the author paid to get it into print. And, indeed, there are those authors who have actually written that GREAT NOVEL - if only it would be discovered.
I have not written that great novel yet, at least I don’t think so. I’m told that as a writer I am good . . . and then some. I have more stories in me, and my characters are begging for literary life. These characters lives last only as long as the reading public’s imagination and heart. They need you. They need you to believe in them, to feel their passions, fears, tears, and cries of joy. They need friends.
As do I. To bring my characters to life I need you to read their stories. Read the book, and then, most importantly share it with friends. Share: “Wow, I’ve just finished a book I read into the wee hors of the morning. I couldn’t put it down. After reading the final page . . . I was disappointed, because I wanted more.” This is how I can bring you the sequel, and the story after that. This is how you can participate in helping good literature stay alive, by readinggood books, and sharing what you have read, and felt, with others. If you do that, you will help that ‘Great Novel’ find its own life - if not mine one day, than some other deserving author - who yes, put in the years, blood, sweat, and tears, was granted a good measure of luck, and found a friend. Yours.
Please read my stories: Poets Can’t Sing’ is in print now. Its sequel “The Honeysuckle Rose Hotel” is to be published within a few weeks. There are sample chapters from both books, as well as the story being written now, available on my website.
None of this matters without you - my most important reader. Do not whisper that you have enjoyed my writings, that you fell in love, or raged, with the characters as the story progressed. Shout it out. Do what you do when something has moved you. SHARE IT WITH A FRIEND; and ask them to do the same.
- Sherman Smith
It is early morning, April 18, 1906.
Along the San Francisco waterfront, hundreds of ships, many two and three masted masters of the seas are slammed against the docks, straining their anchors, tossing both men and cargo into the suddenly churning water. The bay rises two feet, its water sloshing back and forth from shore to shore, before dropping abruptly back down three feet.
At the Union Street Wharf, vast numbers of bubbles rise from the dark bottom of the bay, the water suddenly brownish-green and thick with mud.
Police Inspector Cornelius McCann leans forward to get a closer look as the bubbles as they appear all around the water beneath him. The wharf lurches, tilts sideways, then rises again, the water beneath belching thousands of bubbles. Neptune himself seemed to reach out to pull Cornelius into the churning, muddy salt waters.
As Cornelius pulls himself battered and bruised from the still churning bay he knows without a doubt that a powerful earthquake has ripped through San Francisco. Before the dust has a chance to settle smoke from multiple fires would begin to rise. These fires would grow into a firestorm that over the next four days would consume over 500 blocks of the fabled city.
As Corneliusand a small handful of officers gather their wits about them they are in no way prepared to face the first 24 hours
of this historic disaster. As the fires grow and merge over 40,000
terrified refugees will be driven to the half mile long waterfront focused around the ferry terminal. The ferries will not be coming because of the damage to the ferry berth.
Shanghaiers and looters from the ruined Barbary Coast will seek to take advantage of the refugees while cattle freed from the butcher yards stampede through the crowd. Corrupt politicians, inept federal troops, looters and vigilantes who want to drive the Chinese and Japanese refugees into the bay prove to be more dangerous than the fires as Cornelius, Sergeant Choice Pickens, two deputized waterfront cowboys, and a few heroic Japanese fisherman struggle to clear the ferry berth of debris before it is too late.
The story of the first day of the devastation of San Francisco is intense, and epic in scale as the legend of Cornelius McCann and the Angel of the Waterfrontbecomes a love story that rises from the ashes. What happens after the first day is another story; one day is enough for Inspector Cornelius McCann. (Coming Soon)
Smith does a masterful job juxtaposing elemet a nature - human and geographic - in a gripping account of the great San Francisco earthquake and fire.
He mixes the flavors of that time: the sights, smells, sounds, the virulent racism into the chaos of catastrophe ; with a sprinkling of humor throughout. The reader understands that the vices and desires that have always driven man are seemingly eternal. The violence - both mans and natures - is well written. Smith controls the lives of his characters with a sure hand. I do recommend this book to those of us wanting desperate adventure, and just possibly a taste of the future.
A.E. Dunn - Colorado
It was April, 1906 when a quirk in the geophysical calendar caused the catastrophic earthquake that rendered the city of San Francisco into ashes and tangled debris. Social order lost footing, chaos was on the wing.
Sherman Smith, the writer of GOLDEN CITY ON FIRE has used intense psychological insight in structuring the fictional characters - the good, bad, and beautiful - in his version of this human drama. Floundering in uncertainties, their actions tell us of the ineptness of leaders, lack of moral standards, within diverse cultures. Under the dark clouds of adversity courage takes hold.
Smith has used the dim history of the early 20th Century as the soil of literature for this remarkable book. Eloquently written and fascinating read!
Dona Hartley - California