“Lowenkopf’s haunting collection of short stories takes us to time-stalled towns that could be named Disappointment or What Might Have Been; and whose characters are embedded in an amber of brand names and worn-down hopes.
His roadside cafes and love-arid bedrooms are festered with telling details no one sees — but the narrator’s recording angel, a dark one at that. With dialogue evoking Carver’s minimalism and O’Connor’s gothic grotesque, Lowenkopf’s waitresses and loners talk to flee the accusations of silence. His dialogue is so revealing it makes me swallow. Below jumpy prattle looms orphan-like need and self-numbing deception.
Reaching the end of Love Will Make You Drink & Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night, I felt like a traveler who managed to leave a place he might never have left.” – Stewart Lindh
“I loved the look into Santa Barbara. I loved that there were so many different quirky characters and that the author related them all to the human heart. We are all unique and we all love differently. The author touched on so many different kinds of love. There was a couple looking for a father for their baby, the love of a pet, and so much more. The stories are short, and well written. They made me want to know more about these people. I was also really glad that the author was able to weave comedy and sincerity into the characters. I definitely recommend these stories and can not wait to read more from this author. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.” –Dealsharingaunt
“California author and editor Shelly Lowenkopf has been an instructor in the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California since 1974. He has served as editorial director for literary, scholarly, and general trade book publishers, seeing over 500 books through the editorial and production process. He ran the Los Angeles office of a major mass-market book publisher, and edited literary, mystery, and science-fiction/fantasy magazines before being called to a career as editorial consultant to authors, book publishers, and literary agents. He has written and lectured extensively at writers’ conferences and schools about the novel and the short story. His own short fiction has appeared widely in the literary press. As a book reviewer and critic, his essays and commentary have been published in major metropolitan dailies and national publications. He currently contributes a weekly book review column to the Montecito Journal. Other of his writings have appeared in such diverse venues as The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, Amazing Stories Magazine, The Eureka Literary Magazine, The Portable Writers’ Conference, and Snoopy on Writing. He is former regional president of the Mystery Writers of America and has edited a number of bestselling mystery authors. Impressive bio, yes, but can the man write? Just read the twelve selections in this book and then scratch your head wondering why this superb writer has escaped public adulation.
Each of the stories in this delectable collection introduces a variety of characters -all living in the Santa Barbara area (a rich, gorgeous, indulgent community on California’s coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco that provides more fodder for the story pool that about any other town attempting to mimic it). The stories all deal with love on some level, some celebratory, some, compensatory, all immaculately carved out of sophisticated prose that doesn’t cover the humanity of the situations he his relating. For example, in `The Right Man’ we, the reader, don’t realize that a handsome man invited to dinner by two women is being interviewed as a potential father for the lesbian couple. It just works so smoothly and so credibly well.
That is the beauty of the twelve stories presented here: just when you `think’ you know where they are going, they don’t follow that path. Lowenkopf knows that fine line that enhances drama with comedy – a trait not seen as often as we wish. Something here for everyone who loves short stories – and simply very fine writing.” -Grady Harp
“Shelly Lowenkopf draws you in from word one. This is a great little read, short and sweet. You get a bunch of quick stories that you can breeze through without being tied up for long periods of time. I give this four fangs but only because I am more of a paranormal girl!” –Bonnie Rediske
“Shelly has introduced his collection of short stories in this book and each one is different and unique. The stories are about love, the differences of love and how we perceive ourselves and others and how they perceive us and themselves.
You have all kinds of love, you have the marrying kind, the love of a pet, the love of friends and the love of what you do in life. They come to you in so many different ways and times and you have to figure out what you want and what you want to do with it.
There also are the ways and whys and hows to end such said relationships. In each story you have the beginning, middle and the ends and sometimes you get to have a do-over.
Depending on the person reading the collection of these stories is how the outcome will be seen to them. The way I saw it and read it will be different then what a new reader will read it and draw their own conclusions. This is a clever way of putting short stories together into one book because you have something for each reader and they will find something to enjoy in this collection. A satisfying book for all readers of any kind that like relationships and the complications of them thrown in.
My favorite story, Coming to Terms, you can find what you are looking for and needing in the weirdiest places and times but you have to be open to you to it and you have to take the good with the bad.
So this book just might make you drink, gamble and staying up all night. One of the few books today that has something for everyone.
“Each story is a peek within different fictional characters lives, giving you a look of their experiences, their troubles or worries. As a reader you get to share only a brief moment of time with them, discovering what moves them in that particular time. The author’s writing is very informative and descriptive in each tale, coloring it with a fluidness of words that helps the stories along.
Some stories I really enjoyed, and could understand. With some I had no idea what it was about, stopping so abruptly that it left me out of sorts. I loved in particular story five: The man within. It came close where I could really connect with Asher and his determination to meet Naomi Bloom. The end putting a smile on my lips. Absent friends; was another I could connect with.” -Lynelle Clark
“This is a great story collection! I know I have said this before, but I think it is worth mentioning again. There are many people who say they don’t like short stories. My opinion is that short story is a true art form. Reading a short is not the same as reading a novel.
Most short stories need to be approached more like a painting. You can’t just look at it once and get the artist’s meaning. You need to stare at it for awhile and take in all the layers and depth. The same goes for a short story. Many times you need to read it more than once and really think about it.
This is true with most of the stories in Love Will Make You Drink and Gamble, Stay Out Late at Night. This collection is worth spending the time savouring the deep thoughts and meaning. It had me laughing, crying, and giving pause.
I howled out loud at ‘The Ability’ where a young woman was hire to write thank you notes to university donors and then was asked to do an even more difficult task. ‘The Man Within’ examines an ageing man’s life and what is acceptable and not. This was one of those stories that is worth reading twice, digging for deeper meaning. These are just two examples of the range of emotions the stories in this collection examines.
Shelly Lowenkopf is a master story teller. He paints words on paper like they are one a canvas. Because of the depth and many layers of his stories, this collection would make an excellent book for a serious book club. I highly recommend it!” -Teddy
“I loved the look into Santa Barbara. I loved that there were so many different quirky characters and that the author related them all to the human heart. We are all unique and we all love differently. The author touched on so many different kinds of love. There was a couple looking for a father for their baby, the love of a pet, and so much more. The stories are short, and well written. They made me want to know more about these people. I was also really glad that the author was able to weave comedy and sincerity into the characters. I definitely recommend these stories and can not wait to read more from this author. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.” -Victoria Brinius
“This was a pretty good book. Lots of short stories, some of them were sad, others touching, and some just disturbing. I did like the book, but at times it made me irritated because right when you were getting in the swing of the new story with the new characters and get some sense of what was going on the tale would end and you would have to move on to the next. So many of these would make excellent longer tales that were more than just a few pages. I guess that’s why generally I’m a tale of novels, there’s a little more substance, more like a roast instead of just some carrot sticks. My absolute favorite story was the one about the guy who wanted to puppy-nap his friend’s dog. It was so good and had an actual closure to the ending that seemed complete.
This was an interesting set of stories, many of them look into humanity in ways that people are often afraid to.” -Michelle Nichols
“This is a short book filled with several different stories from Shelly’s collections of books that he has written over the years.
It’s basically stories about affairs of the heart and what we love, whatever that might be. There is a story of just about anything that anyone could or has loved in the past or present. We are human after all, so we are flawed, but love what we love.
For a collection of short stories, it will have a little bit of something for everyone, no matter what your taste is in stories. It’s a quick read that you will enjoy and probably even laugh a little here and there.” -Mary Bearden
“These stories were very relatable. It was as if I were talking or gossiping with a friend. A feel for the normal, yet a flair for what could possibly happen.” -Michelle