Uncle Cran Recommends . . .
Uncle Cran recently sent me a brief note on things literary, specifically on the author Joe Smith, a local writer who sets his stories in the Ozarks:
Joe Smith was James' high school teacher, now retired. I tried to send him your blogspot address, but my antivirus program blocks it every time. He has written two Civil War novels, plus four humorous short stories about life in the Ozarks.From looking at Joe W. Smith's website, I think my uncle meant not "four humorous short stories," but "four collections of humorous short stories" (or maybe three collections).
I haven't read any of Mr. Smith's writing, and there don't appear to be any excerpts -- the "Excerpts" link leads instead to a book description -- so I can't comment on that, but I can easily imagine that anyone interested in Ozark stories would find the writing agreeable.
Amazon Books lists one of Mr. Smith's novels, and offers a bio that puts him in my part of the Ozarks:
In the 1860's Joe W. Smith's family settled on land now covered by Lake Norfork in the Arkansas Ozarks. He grew up hearing the Civil War stories of his uncle, Woodrow Smith. Smith has spent over 30 years teaching high school science in the rural schools of Yellville, AR, Bakersfield, MO, and Viola, AR. Along with teaching he has worked as a lumber stacker, woodcutter, stockman, livestock buyer, ferry deckhand, truck driver, mobile home mover, equipment operator, bus driver, nurseryman, environmental technician, biologist, and park ranger. He draws from this varied background while writing.Mr. Smith must have taught science to Cousin James at Viola High School, and was probably good at teaching the subject because Cousin James went on to study mechanical engineering (if I recall) during his college years and has done quite well in the US Air Force with that education. I believe he's now a colonel, but Uncle Cran can correct me if I'm mistaken.
Since the history of the Civil War in the Ozarks has been largely ignored by writers, Smith has started work on a series of historical novels depicting the period which spawned such characters as the James and Younger boys, whose relatives still live in the Ozarks, and Wild Bill Hickok, who was a Union scout in the Ozarks during the Civil War.
Smith and his wife, Linda, live in the rugged hills of Baxter County on the Arkansas-Missouri border. They have two grown children.
Anyway, I might just fork over some money to read Mr. Smith's works, but I'd also suggest that his website provide some actual excerpts, maybe the introductory pages of the first chapter of each novel, that sort of thing . . .