Keith Martin-Smith is an award-winning author of four books. 


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Only Everything (Perception Press, 2018).

As a young man, Logan Downing trusted that with hard work, some talent, and a little luck he could have it all: fame, fortune, even the girl.

Yet when we catch up with present-day Logan something, somewhere has gone terribly wrong.

'Only Everything' explores art and ambition, love and loss, privilege and entitlement. It reveals how even the most beautiful of dreams can create unexpected pain, along with the possibility of redemption.

“From the banalities of the corporate work machine to the devastating effects of random brutality, 'Only Everything' is raw, riveting, and relatable, and leaves a lasting impression, an indelible imprint, on the heart and psyche….”
Sarah Beasley, author of Kindness for All Creatures: Buddhist Advice for Compassionate Animal Care

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A Heart Blown Open (Divine Arts Media, 2012).

Nautilus Award: Silver
Foreword Reviews: Finalist, Book-of-the-Year

This memoir chronicles the extraordinary journey of Zen master Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi, whose life landed him in prison long before he landed in a monastery. Experience the successes and failures that led him to found an entirely new form of Buddhism called Mondo Zen. Starting from an abusive and alcoholic home in Wisconsin, Kelly becomes a major force in the counterculture of the 1960s and one of its biggest manufacturers of LSD.

He ends up on the run for five years before serving time in a federal prison, and then goes on to spend six years in a Zen monastery. In his fiftieth year, he becomes a recognized Zen master in his own right, but the real journey is just about to begin.

"This is a legendary story of an inspiring teacher that mirrors the journey of many contemporary Western seekers. A flash of white light from psychedelic theophanies leads to a lifetime's pursuit of enlightenment under the Buddha dharma prayer flag."
Alex Grey, artist & author of Transformations, Sacred Mirrors, and The Mission of Art

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The Heart of Zen (North Atlantic Books, 2014)  

Take a step-by-step approach to a growing problem in spiritual circles. More and more of us are “waking up” into spiritual insight, only to get stuck. Life still comes at us full force, and hope can turn to frustration as the gulf between spiritual belief and everyday life looms ever larger.

Part discussion on these intricate topics and part experiential guide, The Heart of Zen offers a one-of-a-kind take on enlightenment, emotional maturity, and the honesty required to take one’s seat in true liberation.

“This is one of the most important works on spiritual realization to be written in years. There’s really nothing like this out there…you really can’t afford to miss this revolutionary process for your own awakening and enlightenment. My absolutely highest recommendation”
Ken Wilber, author of The Integral Vision

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The Mysterious Divination of Tea Leaves  (John Hunt Publishing, 2009)

My first published book was a collection of 12 short stories. 

The stories occur in contemporary urban America; the people are the dispossessed middle class looking for meaning and purpose in a world that seems to have lost both; the themes are as evocative as the language — love, brutality, tenderness, humor, forgiveness and redemption, death and rebirth.

Three stories from this book can be found on this website:

The Showdown

Killing and Letting Die

A Difficult Case


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4 books published in about 10 years, give or take. The path wasn't a smooth one. It took me nearly a decade to get the first one published, and more than 300 rejections. (That’s not a typo.)

A lot of people ask how it’s done. The mechanics of writing but also the time to do so. The former is more complicated; the latter went as follows:

My first book was written in odd corners of days, in the free time I could salvage. For my second book (A Heart Blown Open), I sold my house in Philly and lived off the money while I wrote. For my third book (The Heart of Zen), I raised private capital from the Zen community to fund the writing of the book, with the book's sales paying back the investors. For my latest work, Only Everything, I ran a successful, $30K Kickstarter campaign (of the same name) to raise seed money and interest on the project. 

In other words, I’ve learned how to do this in smarter ways over the years.

In addition to books, I’ve also collaborated with teachers such as Ken Wilber, David Deida, Reggie Ray, Debra Silverman, Amy Ippoliti, Junpo Denis Kelly Roshi, and Doshin Roshi, among others.

The discipline to write is greatly aided by the fact I’m an ordained Zen priest and Kung Fu lineage holder. I’ve also been involved in a men’s group for the last decade and then some, doing the deep work of challenge and support — and heart — with a group of men devoted to furthering their growth, self-awareness, and self-actualization.

In short, it’s been a long but rewarding road. One I will continue to travel so long as these legs are willing to carry me.