Sunday, January 21 – Journalist Martin J. Smith

My guest on Bibliocracy Radio this week has a byline you will recognize, as well as author credit on many popular culture books and novels, too.  He’s a writer, editor, teacher, mentor and valued colleague to so many journalists — especially features writers — with an impressive professional resume.  Martin J. Smith, formerly an editor at both the Los Angeles Times Magazine and Orange Coast, is the author of several compelling and entertaining nonfiction books, including Poplorica, Oops, and The Wild Duck Chase — made into the documentary The Million Dollar Duck — in addition to the suspense-thriller novels of his Time Release series.  My own affection for Marty Smith’s writing develops out of its sincere if whimsical engagement with what is often missed in the everyday, including empathetic, funny and smart profiles of eccentric people or visits to odd locales, small do-able adventures in the tradition of the best old-fashioned newspaper and magazine feature writing, most of Smith’s focused on Los Angeles, Orange County and the American Southwest.  Marty Smith is teaching just now at Chapman University, where I met with him to talk about his latest, a must-read collection of some of his favorite of this variety of short feature pieces, Mr. Las Vegas Has a Bad Knee (and Other Tales of the People, Places, and Peculiarities of the Modern American Southwest), much of it originally published in the LA Times, Orange County Register, and Orange Coast magazine. Special thanks to Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dean of Chapman’s School of Communication.