Soul Survivor explores the depths of human emotions, both real and imagined.

Soul Survivor explores the depths of human emotions, both real and imagined. That any of us reach adulthood in one piece, emotionally or physically is a miracle of no small proportion. That any of us reach adulthood to contribute back to society and become highly respected in the community is truly a gift of time and place.

Soul Survivor is a true story of fortitude, an iron will and looking to the future in the hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Soul Survivor is nothing less than a story of triumph.  “Little Mary” spent her childhood living, playing, and working in a funeral home. Her mother “Big Mary” was co-owner of a well known and respected mortuary in the African-American community in Los Angeles, CA. Little Mary’s story tells what really happens behind the embalming room doors- the light and dark side of life. Soul Survivor is both humorous and mischievous, and talks of sex, murder, voodoo, phony preachers and deviate gravediggers.

Famous entertainers that passed through Little Mary’s life include Redd Foxx, Lou Rawls, Sam Cooke, Billy Preston and Johnnie Cochran.

Little Mary was born in Shreveport, LA and reared in Los Angeles, CA. Often disparagingly referred to as “high-yellow.” During the racial tensions of the ‘50s and ‘60s Little Mary found her hue to be a major issue but not her only problem.  Mary’s mother caused her to endure life threatening situations due to her drinking and wild ways. Little Mary’s childhood experiences, the mental and physical abuse faced each day, led her to believe that her only true friends were the dead people in the funeral home. Indeed, Little Mary received a BS degree (Be Smart) at an early age. It was the only way she knew to survive.

Little Mary’s story is an unlikely but revealing peek into the unexpected and in the end, truly a story of a Soul Survivor. 



An Intriguing Story of a Common Issue Yet Not Openly Discussed

From the author of Soul Survivor comes a riveting work of fiction that’s based on an actual event.  Author Mary Ross Smith invites readers to get to know the characters in the story for they may actually be individuals seen and met in some of the communities.  SOS is not a cry for help, but rather a warning, a warning for all to open their eyes and really see the people they encounter everyday.

SOS introduces readers to an intriguing ensemble of characters that portray real people, immoral lifestyles, and seemingly fine individuals.  This compelling story takes them to some incidents that would let them realize and experience the consequences of their actions.  In a story that unveils a life of deception and betrayal, change and conversion, and more, readers will meet Eva, Rev. Andrews, Mr. Charles, Pearl, Sergeant Houston, Fred, Flo, and others whose lives are entwined because of the circumstances and community they are in.

Reverend Andrews has his immoral ways; despite his being a Pastor, he gives little thought to the negative effect his lifestyle has on his followers.  Mr. Charles, the embalmer of a well-known mortuary, finds that someone is coming into the embalming room after hours, and seeks help from Sergeant Houston.  Eva, owner of the mortuary and wife of Reverend Andrews, has her own deep dark secrets that threaten the life she has deftly created. Together with the other characters, they will witness a Pandora’s Box of lies, sex, greed, and deceit open before their very eyes.  

SOS is an intricately woven story that may present a common issue, but one that’s not readily spoken about.   


Susan Cowan

"I have just finished you book and the only thing I can say is 'WOW'! You are a wonderful person and to see what you have done is truly a gift. I'm so proud of you for writing this book and sharing it with all of us."

Judy Kelley

"Thank you so much for allowing me to read your story! Sometimes I felt like I was watching a train wreck and couldn't turn away. You were and are so strong!"

Vicki Fishco

"I am in awe of you-

I am more convinced than ever that your story should be a movie so everyone who sees it can be inspired by your courage"

Sandy Bridges

You were truly a brave "Lil Mary" who proved one can survive and become successful living in a dysfunctional home, dealing with prejudice, abuse and poverty. You have written your story to show the importance of perseverance, resiliency and what 'be smart' can do for all who have been faced with adversity and have overcome! I highly recommend your book to those who support and counsel others in overcoming the past and those who have had similar life experiences and can benefit from your story."

Michael Dean

"Truly a 'tour de force,' riveting, compelling, honest - an emotional roller coaster through the experiential and psychological trials and tribulations of someone who courageously broke the cycle of rejection, verbal abuse, violence, and depression. You are a role model for many who need to hear your story, Little Mary. Indeed, the Almighty has a plan for you; you hung in there, and you awoke to a brighter tomorrow. Bravo!"

Jeanne Kazragis

"I wanted to tell you that I just finished reading your book....WOW! It held my interest from cover to cover. What an amazing story."

Rosenbloom Entertainment

An interesting story with a solid message. This story is an inspiring one with possibilities. 

Lois Stalvey, Author

"'Soul Survivor' is a great book! It's really good and gripping."

Sandy Tremp, Life Coach

"I finished your book last week WOW! You have quite a story! I found that I couldn't put the book down! I especially loved your last chapter where you pull it all together. Amazing! You are a great writer too!" 

Sandy Warne

"I LOVED your book! I cried, I laughed and I rejoiced in your triumphs. PS Oprah needs to read this"

Cindy Forsythe

"Terrific! Oh Mary, you were great! Your talk was interesting. You speak from the heart and you are genuine. You touch the heart of the audience. May God bless you and use you to further His name."

Inspirational Living, Inc. (Consignment)

The author does a good job of keeping your attention to the end. It is a page turner with many unexpected turns. A good read!

SOS Testimonies

Victoria Gibbson

"What's done in the dark WILL come to light!!!

I read Soul Survivor and was truly captivated by the way the book so graphically told her story. I then picked up SOS and was surprised at the fact that I couldn't put it down. The face that every chapter lifted another level of intrigues kept me pulled into wanting to know the rest of the story...If you're looking for a real page turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat and your blood pulsating this is a great book..."

Anonymous Kindle Reader

"I thought the first book of Soul Survivor couldn't be topped, but this book was so well written. I highly recommend this book, and I can guarantee you will find it very hard to put down. It's captivating from the beginning to the end."


"SOS is a wonderful book about the dangers of people with a combinatino of great charisma and no conscience. The suspense built around the question of when and how the guilty will be brought to justice is incredible. And the eventual result is anything but what you expect. An awesome follow-up to 'Soul Survivor'; 'SOS' fills in many of the questions left open in the first book. I highly recommend it to one and all."

Yolanda Smith

"The is book is different from Soul Survivor. But you recognize the great writing by the author. This one was hard to read but I couldn't put it down. I can't wait for the next book from Mary Ross Smith or maybe even a movie about SOS. I think it would be award winning! I highly recommending this book."

Lynne Barbason

"I was riveted to this story, felt I was right there with all the characters...I could FEEL everything....WOW...I loved the first book, Soul Survivor.......Mary you did it again...!!! Looking forward to your next one..."


"SOS is a story that hooks you from the first page to the last...She encourages the readers to look beyond what one thinks they see to what is really happening. You begin to question what does go on in some funeral homes and with some preachers...

Don't miss her first book, Soul Survivor, a very personal story, that captures many of the author's early life experiences."