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Author Martin J. Smith

  • Martin J. Smith

    Editor-in-Chief

    Smith is a veteran journalist and magazine editor who has won more than 40 newspaper and magazine writing awards. He became Orange Coast’s top editor in 2007 after nearly eight years at the grandly ambitious but ultimately doomed Los Angeles Times Magazine. He also spent nine years as a reporter and columnist for The Orange County Register. In addition to his 30-plus years as a journalist, he is the author of three crime novels (including the Edgar Award-nominated “Straw Men”) and two nonfiction books. Still, he’s most proud of his ongoing series of crank letters to inept service vendors and the makers of faulty home appliances. He considers “Re: Cuisinart Toaster Model CBW-177” to be his masterpiece.

 

Cycle Therapy: How to Choose Your Ride

There are miles of bike paths throughout Orange County—just use this guide to choose your wheels and pedal your stress away! Read more...

Editor’s Letter: September 2014

You’ve heard of “whales,” those pampered, high-stakes gamblers who fly into Vegas for the privilege of flushing hundreds of thousands of dollars down the gilded toilet of a modern casino. I’m the opposite of that. Read more...

Five Reasons for the Asian Crime Wave

One of the great things about my side job as a crime novelist is the chance to commune and commiserate with others who are struggling along the same difficult path to publication. That's why I urge all aspiring mystery writers to attend the annual joint meeting of two local mystery-writing organizations — O.C. Sisters in Crime, and SoCal Mystery Writers of America — in Irvine on Sunday, August 24. Read more...

Editor’s Letter: August 2014

We focused our attention on the kind of luxurious bites that can change lives. You know the feeling—almost primal. When the craving hits, nothing else will do. The moment you take a bite, the Earth stops spinning, the firmament opens, and the angels belt out the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.” Read more...

So Far, So Good

Like a lot of people in Orange County, I have parents who are aging, increasingly frail, and living on their own far from their children. At 96 and 92, they’re struggling to remain independent, and the distance between here and there has never felt so vast.

Before I tell you about the odd little video I shot of my blind, 96-year-old father unloading the dishwasher—and why everything you need to know about living honorably and on your own terms is contained in those six minutes—let me give you some backstory. Read more...

Watching Dad Unload the Dishwasher

For the story, click here. Read more...

Editor’s Letter: June 2014

I used to greet summer’s arrival with the same anticipation and fanfare I reserved for the ice cream truck. Three glorious months unfurled before me like a blank canvas, and it was my job to use the standard tools of boyhood—baseball bat and glove, bicycle jumps, a snorkel, model rockets, dangerous fireworks—to create something extraordinary. My career may have peaked on the Fourth of July when I joined a fellow 10-year-old in a successful bid to each eat a full-sized watermelon. Then I grew up.  Read more...

Editor’s Letter: May 2014

Lindsey Stirling was booted from “America’s Got Talent.” The judges felt the world wasn’t ready for the Santa Ana-born hip-hop violinist whose website describes her as “some strange, electro-pastoral rave fairy.” Read more...

From Surf to 70mm to the South Pacific, Orange County Legend Featured at Newport Beach Film Fest

Locals will get the rare chance to celebrate an Orange County film legend this month when the Newport Beach Film Festival spotlights the work of Laguna Beach's Greg MacGillivray and MacGillivray-Freeman Films, one of the world’s foremost independent producers and distributors of giant-screen 70mm films with 37 films for IMAX and other giant-screen theatres to its credit. Throughout the company’s 50-year history, its bigger-than-life films have won numerous international awards, including two Academy Award nominations, and had three of its films inducted into the IMAX Hall of Fame. Read more...

The Thinking Person's Vacation

Not that you asked, but some of the smartest people in America have chosen their favorites from among the nation's 58 national parks. Read more...

Editor’s Letter: April 2014

The clip shows Mission Viejo botanist Robert Allen standing on a hill near Modjeska Peak. The co-author of a new and hopelessly obscure guidebook about local wildflowers has just found a rare and endangered plant named the Santiago Peak phacelia. Read more...

Editor’s Letter: March 2014

The coolest areas in this vast expanse of remarkable neighborhoods—places with a mysterious combination of distinctive homes, walkability, and safety; amenities such as matchless shopping, cafes, and restaurants; and what contributing editor Valerie Takahama calls “that innate wonderfulness.” Read more...
READ NOW: Serial Killer Seduction

Our "Center of the Universe" story is being read all over the world right now. Click here for the story.

 

Who Did Randy Kraft Seduce?

Current photos of author Jay Roberts.

 

A Fact-Checker's Journey to a 1980 Afternoon

Our intrepid intern tracks down the details in Roberts' story.

 

Why Isn't Randy Kraft Dead?

Our original piece on one of California's deadliest and most depraved serial killers. 

 

Editor's Letter, October 2013

Our editor considers "Center of the Universe" to be compelling—and incredibly frightening. Click above to find out why.