Category Archives: Blog

The Power of the Purse

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An interviewer recently posed this question to me: Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?

Which caused my inner twelve-year-old boy to roll his eyes (What kinda girlie question is that?) and decide that the question required an asshole answer, like

If you consider bourbon-water-rocks a meal, then YES, I DO.

But upon further review, I realized I do kind of have a signature thang, or used to, anyway. (So I tied the little monster up and banished him to the basement so I could tell you about it.)

As it turns out, I’ve always carried kind of…weird purses. Maybe this is because the adolescent male who runs my brain part-time hates carrying a purse and therefore has the final word on handbag styles.

In high school, I had a clutch that resembled a rolled-up magazine (Playgirl, that bizarre ’70s answer to Playboy Magazine) with a half-nekkid man and blissful-looking woman lying next to him on the cover. You can imagine the kind of attention my clutch attracted, which came to an end when it began to disintegrate at the end of junior year, being constructed partially from an actual paper magazine cover. The Playgirl purse passed into history, much like articles with titles like CIRCUMCISION FOR WOMEN: The Kindest Cut of All, which was one of the WTF headlines on the cover of that particular issue. I mean, were they actually advocating genital mutilation?

In college I went through a gigantic-purse phase so I could carry around all the accoutrements of a pre-hipster writer wannabe: a miniature tape recorder, a notebook and assortment of pens, a pack or two of cigarettes, a lighter. My favorite enormous one was black, big enough to fit a ten-gallon aquarium in it, made of sturdy strips of cloth in different textures sewn into an Escheresque pattern.

One weekend I traveled from Lawrence to Manhattan to visit my K-State friend Marianne. We went to our favorite club, the Avalon Ballroom, to hear Glow, one of our favorite Kansas City-based bands. After much dancing and imbibing, I took a dance break and happily swayed to Glow’s note-perfect rendition of “Let Me Roll it” by Paul McCartney and Wings, drink in hand, smoking a Marlboro Light 100. Out of nowhere, this guy runs up, wrestles my purse away from me, drops it to the ground, and empties ​my bourbon and water on it. As you can imagine, I was not happy. I started to scream at him when he held my purse up and showed me the smoking, smoldering hole the size of a tambourine in it. So I bought him a drink, because he saved me from not-so-spontaneous combustion. I wore a lot of hairspray in those days.

Years later, as a subversive suburban mom, I carried a purse constructed from a Colorado license plate (not mine). The ends were made from metal center hubcaps, the strap was tire rubber, and a bottle cap made up the hasp. It was always a great conversation starter, but I had to stop carrying it when my daughters reached a certain age. Along about the time they turned three, they were at the perfect height to experience the over-the-shoulder battering-ram effect. When one of them walked at my side, that purse would smash into the back of her head and knock her to the ground.

The metallic tube turned out to be an effective assault deterrent. Once potential assailants witnessed the Power of the Purse, and heard the solid, substantial-sounding thunk of it bashing into my kids’ skulls, they ran the other way. Don’t worry—there were no concussions, but it was painful nonetheless. For me, I mean, having to give up that purse for a period of time.

Finally, there are my electric guitar purses. The smaller one depicts Elvis in his heyday before the peanut-butter-and-bacon sandwiches kicked in that I purchased in Vegas. The larger came from Walt Disney World and is emblazoned with the Aerosmith Rock ’n Roller Coaster logo.

These days, I carry the smallest possible purse with just enough room for credit cards and my driver’s license. My former self would be bitterly disappointed, but the junior-high-school basement-monster boy in me is overjoyed.

The Drowning Game Cover Reveal

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Today’s the day! Check out the cover of THE DROWNING GAME:

DrowningGameB (1)

 

They said she was armed.

They said she was dangerous.

They were right.

Petty Moshen spent eighteen years of her life as a prisoner in her own home, training with military precision for everything, ready for anything. She can disarm, dismember, and kill—and now, for the first time ever, she is free.

Her paranoid father is dead, his extreme dominance and rules a thing of the past, but his influence remains as strong as ever. When his final will reveals a future more terrible than her captive past, Petty knows she must escape—by whatever means necessary.

But when Petty learns the truth behind her father’s madness—and her own family—the reality is worse than anything she could have imagined. On the road and in over her head, the fight for Petty’s life has just begun.

Fans of female-powered thrillers will love debut author LS Hawker and her suspenseful tale of a young woman on the run for her future…and from the nightmares of her past.

Pre-order from HarperCollins or these fine retailers

HarperCollins

Amazon

Kobo

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Google Play

Release date: September 22, 2015

Print books available mid-October


 

Excerpt

Since he’d died on his stomach, the EMTs had turned Dad onto his back. He was in full rigor mortis, so his upper lip was mashed into his gums and curled into a sneer, exposing his khaki-colored teeth. His hands were spread in front of his face, palms out. Dad’s eyes stared up and to the left and his entire face was grape-pop purple.

What struck me when I first saw him—after I inhaled my gum—was that he appeared to be warding off a demon. I should have waited until the mortician was done with him, because I knew I’d never get that image out of my mind.

I walked out of Dad’s room on unsteady feet, determined not to cry in front of these strangers. The deputy and the sheriff stood outside my bedroom, examining the door to it. Both of them looked confused.

“Petty,” Sheriff Bloch said.

I stopped in the hall, feeling even more violated with them so close to my personal items and underwear.

“Yes?”

“Is this your bedroom?”

I nodded.

Sheriff and deputy made eye contact. The coroner paused at the top of the stairs to listen in. This was what my dad had always talked about—the judgment of busybody outsiders, their belief that somehow they needed to have a say in the lives of people they’d never even met and knew nothing about.

The three men seemed to expect me to say something, but I was tired of talking. Since I’d never done much of it, I’d had no idea how exhausting it was.

The deputy said, “Why are there six deadbolts on the outside of your door?”

It was none of his business, but I had nothing to be ashamed of.

“So Dad could lock me in, of course.”


 

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Just the Tip

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I was not a great cocktail waitress.

My junior year of college, I worked at a bar called the Country Playhouse, and the very first guy I waited on ordered eight draws of beer for him and his friends. I scampered like an excited puppy up to the bar and put in my order, where the bartender loaded up my tray. I balanced it on my hand like I’d been taught, and moved carefully toward the man’s table, doing what I like to think of as the drunken-toddler walk. Relieved and over-confident that I’d made it, I said, “Here’s your beer!” and rather than setting down the tray, I tilted it as if preparing to shove a giant pie in his face. In my memory, I see it in slow motion, all 96 ounces of frosty suds cascading over him like the ocean waves over Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity. I soaked him, and soaked him good. As you might have guessed, he did not leave me a tip (not a monetary one, anyway. More like “Here’s a tip–give up cocktail waitressing!”)

An inauspicious start, but I got into the groove and stopped drenching customers. I loved my job, except for Thursday nights. We always had a packed house those nights, which would normally be a good thing, but this was not normal. This was Lord of the Flies the female version–the clientele was exclusively sweaty, screaming, seething, writhing women, because Thursday night was male nude dancer night.

Thursday nights generally amounted to volunteer work, because women don’t tip. You could always count on at least one bachelorette party on Thursdays, so it was 25 shots of Jack Daniel’s. Twenty-five Kamikazes. Twenty-five foo-foo drinks. With sugar and alcohol swirling in their lust-addled brains, these women transformed into pre-humanoid hunters, gathered around a hormone fire, using finger snaps and snarls to get the wait staff’s attention, grunting and hooting to “It’s Raining Men.”

And like I said, it would be packed, standing room only, moist and sweltering in there all year round. When I remember those nights, I see them through a haze of cigarette smoke and skank. The dancers were nicely built, no doubt about it. But they were glazed with a patina of grodiness that lacquers my psyche to this day. And they loved to torment the waitresses. There you’d be, trying to navigate the narrow alleys between tables with a tray of 25 tequila shots, 25 shriveled slivers of what might have once been limes and 25 piles of salt, and the “dancers” would jump off the stage and block your way in all their glistening, tumescent, herpes-coated glory. This was the only time in my life I threatened a man with the Lorena Bobbit treatment and truly meant it.

It was the ’80s, my friends, and back then we knew how to convolute the drinking experience. Some of the popular drinks back then were

  • Long Island Iced Tea
  • Wine spritzer
  • Fuzzy Navel
  • Sloe Comfortable Screw
  • Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers
  • Amaretto sour
  • Malt Duck
  • Sex on the Beach
  • Vodka gimlet
  • Strawberry daiquiri
  • Electric Lemonade
  • Bellagio, Riunite and Boone’s Farm wines
  • Everclear Toilet Bowl Punch
  • Cum in a Hot Tub

What drinks did I miss? Send me a comment with your ’80s beverage of choice.

 

The New Band Name Game

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New band names usually bubble up spontaneously. For instance, my friend Andrew sent me a text in which he inadvertently thumbed the numeral 9 instead of the @ symbol. His next text said, “Disregard the 9.” Thus a new band name was born.

If you’d like to play, use the hashtag #NewBandName when posting or tweeting your contribution.

Below is a partial list of #NewBandNames friends and I have come up with over the last couple of years. Enjoy!

  1. A Chaos of Tiny Things
  2. A Good Lamp
  3. A Sudden Hair
  4. A Violent Game of Spoons
  5. Aggressive Pedestrian Eye Contact
  6. Algorithm of Ecumenical
  7. All the Suddens
  8. Anderson Cooper Eyeroll
  9. Arrows and Bras
  10. Assassinology
  11. Bag of Ropes
  12. Balloon Schrapnel
  13. Bananas and Coffee
  14. Barking Soybeans
  15. Big Guy in a Little Shirt
  16. Biologically Improbable
  17. Born Old
  18. Box the Knots
  19. Caffeine & Gristle
  20. Calculus of Despair
  21. Cheese and Soap
  22. Chunky Lighter Fluid
  23. Clawless Mauling
  24. Coffee Puppets
  25. Compact Baby
  26. Cootie Stew
  27. CowKid
  28. Cycle of Sadness
  29. Dad in Allergy
  30. Decomposition Stew
  31. Deconstructed Guacamole
  32. Deep Megalomania
  33. Delightful Meatballs
  34. Dessert Peanut
  35. Disregard the 9
  36. Disregard the Goat
  37. Divine Sugar Daddy
  38. Drowning in Mannequins
  39. Droxing While Intivocated (DWI)
  40. Ecclesiastical Badminton
  41. Educated Platelets
  42. empty five
  43. Exercise = Bacon
  44. Extraordinary Melon
  45. Failed Mime
  46. Filled with Spoons
  47. Fishbowl Otter
  48. Four Angry Adjectives
  49. Freedestination
  50. Giant Bag of Disappointment
  51. Give Your Duck to Me
  1. Glass of Doubts
  2. Goat-toothed Waitress
  3. Gordon the Outside
  4. Gory Pancakes
  5. Gratuitous Vowels
  6. Greasy Evil and the Birthday Girl
  7. Groovious
  8. Grumble of Pugs
  9. Grumpy Buddha
  10. Grumpy Tool
  11. Guardian Drink Angel
  12. Happy Faces of Destruction
  13. Haunting Munsters
  14. High Girls and Mike
  15. Hi-Ya Depravity
  16. Homicide on Friday
  17. Hot Slobber
  18. Hymen of Pflegm
  19. I Called You Mustard
  20. I Love Fub
  21. I Punched Your Bagel
  22. ‪I Sense Dill
  23. idiosyncratic coding acumen
  24. Inspirational Ghost
  25. Irrandom
  26. Justin Beiber’s Monkey
  27. Magic Mom Spit
  28. Mancandiness
  29. Manly Firmness
  30. Meat Facial
  31. Meatcandy
  32. Medication Situation
  33. Namaste Blah Blah Blah
  34. NATO Potato
  35. Not B, but b
  36. Pagan and Backwards
  37. Pansy-Ass Hail
  38. Parade of Mysteries
  39. Partying in a Mortuary
  40. Peasant of Plot
  41. Phantom Buzz
  42. Pieces of Foot
  43. Pig Station
  44. Porn of Absurdity
  45. Pretentious Facial Hair
  46. Pun Locker
  47. Purse Never Listens
  48. Quarter-Hearted
  49. Radial Obedience
  50. Reckless Eater
  51. Reluctangly
  1. Richard Nixon’s Taint
  2. Rocking the Hobo
  3. Rooster Virgin
  4. Russian Hedgehog
  5. Sacrificial Potato
  6. Sad Bacon
  7. Sausage Snob
  8. See Pi Tha
  9. Series One Ladle
  10. Shrinkled
  11. Sincerity of Cats
  12. Smoky Phlegm
  13. Smothering Love Manifesto
  14. Smelling to Music
  15. Spilm Feed
  16. Steampunk Emergency
  17. Strengthen Your Thumbs
  18. Striving Kills
  19. Stuff and People
  20. Stunt Bride
  21. SugarDirt
  22. Surprise Cantaloupe
  23. Surprise Uncle
  24. Susceptible to Gravity
  25. Swing Odd
  26. Tastes Like Thumb
  27. Teeny-weeny Giant
  28. Tell Me My Tell
  29. Tepid Meatballs
  30. The Begrudgingly Shout
  31. The Nosesigh
  32. The Original Dan
  33. The Watermelon People
  34. The Whimsicles
  35. Tiny Space Sweat
  36. Tirade on the Stairs
  37. Tooty Soups
  38. Trafficking Mayonnaise
  39. Uncomfortable Synonyms
  40. Unnecessarily Enthusiastic
  41. Vague Respect
  42. Wafflehands
  43. Wedding Pudding
  44. Weird Sugar
  45. Wet Specimens
  46. Yeah That’s Yeah That’s Yeah
  47. Your Hobo
  48. You’re Dumb and I’m Sleepy
  49. YouWeGo
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