Santa Barbara author Shelly Lowenkopf, best known as the author of the popular The Fiction Writer’s Handbook, will read at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 28. The event is free and open to the public.
Lowenkopf recently won the Los Angeles Book Festival Award for Best Collection for his newest book, Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night, a gathering of short stories. The book brings a number of Lowenkopf’s previously published short stories together in a single volume. All the stories revolve around life in Santa Barbara, the oceanside city north of Los Angeles, where people go after they’ve burned out in San Francisco and L.A. Yet there’s no safe haven anywhere.
Interwoven into Santa Barbara’s picturesque setting, the people in these twelve stories reveal what their hearts and souls encounter in relationships. Their misreadings, mistakes, and misadventures bare what happens to people who love another.
“Shelly Lowenkopf is a master of the art of stealth in fiction,” says author David Gillham (City of Women). “His writing draws you in and then, ka-pow! Here comes the sucker punch that flattens you.”
Lowenkopf’s The Fiction Writer’s Handbook is the definitive volume to explain the words and phrases that writers and editors use when they talk about a work. The book helps new writers who need an understanding of the writing process, and seasoned writers can dive into a refresher course with new angles. That came from Lowenkopf teaching in the Master of Professional Writing program at USC for 34 years. He is currently Visiting Professor at the College of Creative Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara.
White Whisker Books is a small press with four authors based in Los Angeles. To see more of what it offers, go to www.WhiteWhiskerBooks.com. Its books are distributed by Ingram.
“Writing good fiction is at least as hard as learning how to play concert piano, Norman Mailer once said. And yet some part of us is fooled into thinking it ought to be easier than it is because the medium we’re using is this language we’ve been speaking since childhood. But of course the truth is that If you want to write gracefully and with clarity about things that matter, and to make it seem as effortless as common speech, you are going to have to work as hard as you have ever worked on anything in your life. And that’s why it takes years. If you’re struggling it’s because your talent is acting on it, seeing into its fault lines, and you have to learn to trust the difficulty.” – Richard Bausch
Missing Link Dept.
‘He was wearing a grey cap, grey jacket, white shirt, navy-blue striped tie and white socks, which he’d pulled up almost to his pink kneecaps.’ (Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, 2014)
Dept of Fractal Physics.
‘The fact is that such [black] holes can be very small, as small as the size of their constituent particles …’ (David A. Kyle, Lensman from Rigel, 1982)
‘The human’s brain began to function once more; he could almost feel it sweating.’ (Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson, ‘In Hoka Signo Vinces’, June 1953 Other Worlds)
Dept of Interplanetary Phrenology
‘I was somewhat startled, then, in looking at the head and center of the great military system of Mars, to find in his appearance a striking confirmation of the speculations of our terrestrial phrenologists. His broad, misshapen head bulged in those parts where they had located the so-called organs of combativeness, destructiveness, etc.’ (Garrett P. Serviss, Edison’s Conquest of Mars, 1898)
Running Off at the Mouth Dept.
‘Dolusi let a smile drip toward the scientist.’ (Curtis W. Casewit, The Peacemakers, 1960)
By Robin Winter
Why do I need an editor? I can read– in fact I’m really good at that. I can get all those great advice books that tell me how to self-edit, and then I’m there, right?
No. The answer is no. You need those advice books to help you revise so you can then get into the hands of a really good editor, because you don’t want to take raw novels or manuscripts to an editor and waste her time and your money. If an editor has to go through your manuscript ten times to get all the slag out, his or her mind will be tired, and will start missing things that need work, like what happened to the flavor and the leavening. Continue reading
Watch the Shadows
White Whisker Books
(May 1, 2015)
Impressionistic writing invites the imagination into this sci-fi mystery with idiosyncratic characters.
The sight of a plastic grocery bag drifting on the wind is common all over, but in Isla Vista it has taken on a truly menacing tone. The crows have left Freedom Park, the duck population is dwindling, and even the homeless are starting to disappear. In Watch the Shadows, Robin Winter gives the ordinary detritus of life a horrific spin.
The homeless are the first to notice something strange happening in their town, especially near their favorite haunt, Freedom Park. Soon others start to notice: Meg Berdigal’s cat goes missing, Brian the postman keeps seeing shadows in his peripheral vision, and high school science whiz Nicole notices the crows have fled her neighborhood and relocated near her friend Jack’s house across town. As Nicole begins to investigate, she comes to a realization that defies common sense and must figure out how to warn people they’re in danger from the impossible.
Winter writes in impressionistic strokes that invite the imagination to immerse itself in her world: “Nicole pried herself out from the press of the crowd, all the smells of perfume, perspiration and alcohol, the sweet waft of candy and melting chocolate combining with incense from the nearby apartment building with jack o’lanterns in the windows. Smoky pumpkin and a mixed reek of humanity.”
The point of view moves among a cast of well-developed characters who all exist on the edges of society. Brian knows everyone in the neighborhood from delivering their mail but goes home to an empty house at night. Meg runs the homeless breakfast at her church but finds herself at odds with some of the more conservative members. Nicole is particularly refreshing as a smart, teenage heroine who notices boys but is more concerned with her own situation than
getting their attention. Regular people battling the danger adds immensely to the feeling of anxiety and drama.
This book will appeal most to a young-adult audience looking for a sci-fi thriller that is heavy on thrills and light on romance.