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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.

 

Solve This Mystery: "Ladies of Intrigue" Isn't Just For the Ladies

Which is why anyone who aspires to writing crime novels, male or female, should plan to be at the Hotel Huntington Beach (near Bella Terra) on Saturday, March 29, for "Ladies of Intrigue," a day-long conference featuring L.A. and O.C. writers such as the internationally popular creator of the Molly Murphy and Her Royal Spyness series, Rhys Bowen, shown, Death on Demand series bestselling author Carolyn Hart, and a dozen others. They'll reveal how they come up with murderous plots, villainous killers, and brilliant sleuths in panels such as “Down a Dark Alley: How Setting Shapes Story,” “Tough Cookies: Strong Female Protagonists,” and “Passport Required: Mystery Goes International.” Read more...

The Wild Duck Chase Continues

From the day in 2009 that I began work on a story for Orange Coast about the strange and wonderful Federal Duck Stamp Program, I've believed that the story someday should be told as a documentary film. First, I wrote it as a piece for the magazine, "The Wild Duck Chase." Then I wrote it as a book which is now available in both paperback and digital formats. (Here's the Amazon link.) Read more...

Pier Nostalgia

We’re always prowling for art by locals that speaks to something elemental about Orange County. So we were thrilled when long-time friend Lynne Cox, the cold-water marathon swimmer who trains off Seal Beach, mentioned during lunch on Sept. 16 that a local postal worker/artist was building some wonderful coffee tables, benches, and other furniture out of timber salvaged from the Seal Beach Pier. The artist is Gino Dominic Nardo, and you can at least see some of his creations (now, alas, mostly sold) at artbygino.com. Read more...

TEDx Orange County

Among the speakers scheduled for the TEDx Orange County event (Sept. 20-21 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts) are a couple of local standouts, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis of Corona del Mar and UC Irvine’s groundbreaking memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus. Read more...

Mountain Bike! Orange County

For you mountain bikers out there, David Womack of Laguna Beach has written what surely is the definitive guide to off-road biking in Orange County. I’m familiar with a few of the dozens of rides he recommends, mostly in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and his distance and elevation estimates, tips, and trail descriptions are spot-on, even six years after its original publication. Order “Mountain Bike! Orange County” through online retailers, or at Two Wheels One Planet bike shops in Lake Forest and Costa Mesa. Read more...

OC Guides

Guides

OC Guides
  • Neighborhoods: Rancho Santa Margarita

    Rancho Santa Margarita’s Plaza El Paseo is a South County suburban mall with a twist. It’s the unexpected finds—a little gem of a florist, cozy spots to sample tea and wine, and a top-notch steakhouse across the street—that put it in a league of its own. Read More
  • O.C.’s Best: Bloody Marys

    Get your vegetables and booze in one convenient—and delicious—serving with what’s been hailed as America’s murkiest and most complex cocktail. Traditionally made with tomato juice, vodka, celery salt, horseradish, Worcestershire, and Tabasco, its origins are widely debated. Here are five superb O.C. renditions of the world-famous drink.

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  • Hot O.C. Neighborhood: East Side Costa Mesa

    This updated neighborhood doesn’t have to try hard to be interesting, original, surprising, and modern—it just is. Take the mile-long stretch of strip malls along 17th Street, between Newport Boulevard and Irvine Avenue, the heart of the renaissance. Foodies come for the Instagram-worthy Aussie-style meat pies at PieNot, coconut French toast at Plums Café, and braised pork panini at Pitfire Artisan Pizza. And that’s just the Ps. Other homegrown restaurants and shops tip toward lean-and-clean fare, such as the casual Jan’s Health Bar. Plus it’s the birthplace of Mother’s Market & Kitchen. Read More
  • Hot O.C. Neighborhood: Downtown Anaheim

    With a focus on food and community, downtown’s fresh look gets inspiration from the city’s rural roots. It takes resourcefulness to restore and imaginatively reuse old buildings, qualities the city’s founding farming families had, too. The new energy is centered on the Packing District, a two-block stretch of Anaheim Boulevard between Santa Ana Street and East Broadway: the restored 1920s-era Packard Building, now home to Anaheim Brewery and Umami Burger, and the 1919 Anaheim Citrus Packing House, with a food hall of locally based food-and-beverage artisans. Read More
  • Neighborhoods: Costa Mesa

    Chain restaurants and stores dominate most of the strip malls on Costa Mesa’s east side. But at Santa Ana Avenue and 17th Street, look a little closer and you’ll find indie boutiques and cafes tucked in among the usual suspects Read More

Style Stuff

  • California Cool: Oliver Peoples Launches WEST Sunglass Line

    This being the land of perpetual sun, it's no surprise that sunglass brand Oliver Peoples decided to launch a new line inspired entirely by coastal California. Read More
  • O.C. Trunk Show Worth Seeing: Michael John

    Don't miss Orange County-based award-winning jewelry designer Michael Hezar's trunk show until 5 today at Neiman Marcus, and again from 10 a.m. To 4:30 p.m. tomorrow. Read More
  • WANTED: Burger Records Musicians

    It sounds like a request for background musicians, but guess again. It's the call of a famous French fashion house and it's lured an up-and-coming musician you may know. Saint Laurent's creative director, Hedi Slimane, has selected---among other locals---Rex Tyler Osterkamp, frontman for O.C.'s Rexx, to model in a Saint Laurent men's fashion show in Paris. Osterkamp is among a growing list of local musicians snagged to strut the catwalk for the famed designer line. Check him out in stills from last weekend's show in the City of Lights: Read More
  • New Year, New Beauty Booty

    You know that deep maroon lipstick and funky purple eyeshadow we always think we’re going to wear on some special occasion, but haven’t touched in years? Now we can donate them and get something in return! Spa Gregorie's has set up a beauty product donation station at each of its three spas as a way to launch its new Osmosis makeup line. Osmosis, which works on all skin tones, is made using 100 percent triple-milled minerals and a unique gogi-berry antioxidant blend. Read More
  • The Easiest Way to Get Ready for Holiday Parties

    Can you think of a better way to pamper yourself than with a makeover and complimentary glass of Champagne? On Dec. 14th, Fashion Island will unveil its newest addition, Blushington beauty bar. The first of its kind in Orange County, Blushington is similar to DryBar, but for makeup. A variety of services will be offered, including lash tinting, brow waxing, and full makeup applications. "The goal is to leave the bar feeling like an enhanced, more beautiful version of yourself" says founder and CEO Stephi Maron. For more information, check out the website at blushington.com Read More
 
 
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