Category Archives: About Katrina

Learn more about what I write.

This blog is moving. Please update your subscription

After nearly 300 posts and a hell of a good time with WordPress.com, I’ve moved my blog to WordPress.org so I could have more room to grow.

Unfortunately, I can’t automagically bring all you lovely subscribers with me, so I’m here today to seduce you into subscribing to my new home, katlatham.com.

What will you get?

How about:

Let’s ignore that last one for now.

Here are some of the authors who’ll be stopping by for a chat and to give away their latest book over the next few months:

  • Amie Denman
  • Sherry Thomas
  • Meredith Duran
  • Suzanne Johnson
  • Julie James
  • Roxanne St. Claire
  • Catherine Mann

*swoons* Some of my all-time favorite writers!

Still need more?

Okay, how about this? Everyone who comments on any post on my new site by March 13th will be entered in a grand prize drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the online bookstore of your choice.

(I know it’s not a free Kindle, but hey – I’m a charity worker.)

Questions? Find the answers here.

You can subscribe to my feed, or if you prefer to subscribe by email go to http://katlatham.com and put your email address in the box on the right.

Look forward to hanging out with you more! And thank you so much for all the time you’ve spent with me at Reader, I created him.

Kat

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The best best-man video ever

Ireland vs Georgia, Rugby World Cup 2007. Stad...

Image via Wikipedia

Smarty Pants is a big rugby fan, and because he’s part Irish he supports the Ireland national team.

I’m a fan of big burly men, and because the Ireland national team has lots of big burly men I’m a fan of them, too.

So on our wedding day, our best man (Smarty Pants’ brother) managed to get us a card signed by several of Ireland’s players, including the legendary Brian O’Driscoll.

We have many photos of me jumping up and down in my wedding dress.

It looks like a Kiwi best man has beaten my brother-in-law. (Hat tip to Bronwen Evans and Elyssa Papa for tweeting it yesterday.)

He somehow got four All Blacks (the New Zealand national team) to pretend they were the bride’s ex-boyfriends and to wish the couple luck on video.

This is priceless – especially Sonny Bill Williams (on the exercise bike), who’s got “romance hero” written all over him.

Too bad the hero of my rugby romance novel is English, not Kiwi. That’s a freaking adorable accent.

What’s the best best-man gift or trick you’ve ever seen?

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Writing goals: Did you meet 2011’s? Set 2012’s?

Success and failure sign

©cobrasoft/sxc.hu

I can hardly believe another year has gone by. I don’t know about you, but I love looking back to the goals I set myself on January 1 and remembering what I’ve accomplished this year.

I had set myself some day-job goals (not to be a jerk-wad manager, since I was about to hire my first managee), personal goals (to roll with the punches, since Smarty Pants was set to finish his PhD and would be looking for jobs around the world), and writing goals.

I’m happy to say I met most of my goals.

  1. I wrote and revised my contemporary romance All Things Easy, which I pitched to agents at my first RWA National Conference in July.
  2. I wrote the first draft of another contemporary romance, No Fragile Heart.
  3. I got half-way through revising my first manuscript, First Aid for a Broken Heart.
  4. I made more friends than I could’ve imagined on this blog and on Twitter (thank you, everyone, for the many hours of chatting and thoughtful comments and conversation!).

Goals for 2012

Day job

Since Smarty Pants got a job in the Netherlands, we moved in October and I now have a new day job. I’m so excited about it because it’s full of challenges and opportunities. My main goal is to tackle all of those without sacrificing my sanity, since I usually let myself be consumed by work.

I will probably get to go to Bangladesh and India for work this year, so my other goal is to make the most of those opportunities.

Personal life

I want to start learning Dutch. In the Netherlands, people speak such amazing English that I haven’t had to so far, but I feel awful asking people to speak to me in English. Smarty Pants and I may hire a tutor or take a class so we can at least learn the basics of the language.

Writing goals

This year I will:

  1. Finish revising First Aid for a Broken Heart.
  2. Revise No Fragile Heart.
  3. Write and revise the book that comes after All Things Easy.
  4. Judge three contests and enter three contests.
  5. Go to RWA Nationals and pitch to agents and editors.
  6. Build myself a website.
  7. Continue growing my blog and social media conversations.
  8. Keep track of the books I read on Goodreads.

How about you? How did you do with last year’s goals? What are this year’s goals?

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Greatest hits of 2011 – thank you, readers!

I wanted to say a big, huge thank-you to everyone who subscribed to, commented on and read my blog last year. You guys rock, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you all!

WordPress.com created a 2011 annual report for this blog, and since you’ve all been part of it, I wanted to share it with you.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Since I’m completely un-musical, it’s the only time in my life I’ll ever get to picture the Syndey Opera House packed for my performance.

In case you missed ’em, these were the five most popular posts this year:

  1. The worst thing I’ve ever written didn’t kill me
  2. Why my romance novel hero is the ugliest man in the world (not popular because of the points I made but because I used two phrases that’re Google gold dust: “ugliest man in the world” and “massive penis”)
  3. Guest post by Sara Megibow: being a feminist romance reader
  4. Five things romance novelists should know about vaginas
  5. Describing how a man smells

Click here to see the complete report, including who commented the most.

I can’t wait to connect with you even more in 2012!

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My favorite war poem

When I was in college, I took an absolutely brilliant class on 20th century American war literature. Although my beliefs have always tended strongly toward pacifism, I grew up in a city with large military bases and a strong military history.

My grandfather told me stories of his experiences in the Philippines and Japan. Grandma said he never once spoke of the war after he came home until I was 12 and told him what I’d learned about it in school. He started telling me stories, and it was the first time she’d heard them, too.

I can’t think of any literature more heartbreaking than stories of armed conflict. For me, the most powerful stories aren’t those that focus on the political or ideological nature of war, but on the personal. The best war fiction shows the often absurd nature of conflict, and the contrast between those who are far removed from battlefields – families, politicians, media – and those who are far too close.

That’s why this poem – my sweet old etcetera by e.e. cummings – is my favorite war poem. In fact, it’s one of my favorite poems on any subject. I can’t read it without picturing my 22-year-old grandfather lying in mud and dreaming about the 19-year-old wife he left in California.

my sweet old etcetera

by e.e. cummings

my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent

war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

for,
my sister

isabel created hundreds
(and
hundreds) of socks not to
mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers

etcetera wristers etcetera, my

mother hoped that

i would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera
(dreaming,
et
cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

Do you have a favorite war poem or story? How are you marking Remembrance Day/Veterans Day?

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Ladies, sometimes small things are better than large ones

Five years ago today, I walked down the aisle toward the cutest, kindest, funniest, smartest man I’ve ever met. And he has a British accent – what more could a girl ask for?

As a romance writer, I spend my time dreaming up men who could appeal to women like me. Although they could never do my real-life hero justice, I hope I create characters who show how awesome it can be to find the partner who’s perfect for you. And I try to find little ways that my characters can show their love for each other, because to me they are often the most heartfelt gestures.

This week I searched online for anniversary ideas, though it’s tricky since we’re trying to get rid of loads of stuff and save money for a Christmas trip back home to California. I found this video, though, that made me smile (yes, I’m a nerd), so I wanted to share it with you guys.

I love how much time this man put in to showing how much he cared.

My husband is still my ideal man. And though this hasn’t been the most romantic of anniversaries, what with us trying to pack and clean our whole flat up, he did give me a wonderful gift. When the packing overwhelmed me, he wrapped his arms around me, gave me a hug, and then helped me decide what clothes to get rid of – something I’ve always struggled to do.

Would it be weird if I said my mom used to do the same thing when it was spring-cleaning time?

What’s the most thoughtful way someone has shown you they love you? Have you ever given someone a perfect “gift” (whether an item or not)?

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Congrats, New Zealand All Blacks!

If it seems like I’ve been talking a lot about rugby lately, it’s because I’ve been rewriting  my contemporary romance manuscript about a professional rugby player, and I’ve been doing lots of “research” lately (i.e. spending hours searching for videos of rugby players tackling each other and generally being uber-manly).

Today’s been a particularly rugby-tastic day in the Latham household. My husband woke up early to watch the Rugby World Cup final, which apparently was quite slow. I slept through most of it, unfortunately, but watching the final few moments set me up well to work on my manuscript.

If you missed the final, too, here’s how it started. The New Zealand All Blacks always do a traditional Maori war dance to psyche out their opponents. If I had to face those tongues, I’d be a bit freaked, but the Frenchmen stand their ground.

Check out those arms. And quads. And asses. Seriously.

In the afternoon, my husband and I went to watch a live match at the club where he’s a season ticket holder, and ideas for a series of rugby novels bounced around in my head. Fortunately, when I move to the Netherlands next week I’ll have lots of free time to write them!

If the massive men doing the haka above don’t do it for you, then here’s an alternative video for you.

Did you watch the Rugby World Cup final? What did you think?

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A very British video teaches you about teatime

It’s 4 o’clock in London. Teatime.

I’ve lived in London for over six years, so believe me when I tell you that the British passion for tea may be a cliche but only because it’s absolutely true.

Even after all these years, I still don’t fully understand the traditions surrounding tea. It seems like my colleagues are always getting up from their desks and saying, “Tea?” with their heads tilted and a slight smile. The question and facial expression are always the same, no matter whether the urge for tea is a reaction to boredom, frustration with a manager or colleague, needing something hot to wash down an afternoon cake, or a desire to escape the desk and stretch the legs.

The urge for tea never seems to be prompted by thirst.

Yesterday, a friend at work brought in a lemon drizzle cake and told me we couldn’t touch it until teatime. Color me confused – isn’t tea time whenever you get yourself to the kitchen and turn the kettle on?

Apparently not. Another friend saw my confusion and sent me this video, which I think the Anglophiles among you will enjoy as much as those of you with a thing for puppets.

So make yourself a nice cuppa and watch the show. (No need to wait till it’s 4 o’clock where you are.)

If every nation in creation has its drink, what’s the favorite drink of your culture? Do you have any traditions around it?

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More hot men are concerned about your breasts

I don’t usually drool and post pictures/videos of ripped men…unless I can find a way to relate it to writing.

Remember last week I shared that video by Rethink Breast Cancer? The one featuring hot guys showing you how to check yourself for lumps and also served as a great lesson on providing a unique twist on the same old content?

Mmmm…

Sorry – I mentally wandered for a second there. Well, yesterday stars from the British TV show Loose Women (basically The View) had the incredible opportunity to visit London rugby team Harlequins…and wander around the locker room where the players were nekkid.

For copyright reasons, I’ll be a good girl and won’t post the pictures here. But you can see them here. Don’t worry – the men have strategically placed balls.

Rugby balls, that is.

Good thing rugby balls are long.

I couldn’t figure out whether the photo shoot was related to Harlequins’ support for the charity Breast Cancer Care. They’ll be supporting the charity on 29 October at their Ladies’ Day match. My husband’s a season-ticket holder for their cross-town rival, and that’s our last day in London, so I won’t be going. I hope everyone who does will donate, though.

Whether the photo shoot is for a good cause or is purely gratuitous, it’s still great for me – I’m in the process of rewriting my contemporary romance featuring a London rugby player. These pics have inspired all sorts of ideas…which you’ll get to read if this novel is published.

How many ways are there to describe abs like this?

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Taking time to count blessings: reflections on northern Kenya

It’s been an eventful week in the Latham household, one that’s been a powerful reminder of how much I have to be thankful for.

Ten days ago, my manager asked if I could take a last-minute trip to northern Kenya to gather stories about how people there have been affected by the East Africa food crisis. I work as a writer and editor for a humanitarian organization, but this is not normally part of my role. I’m usually chained to my desk.

I had three days to prepare for the trip. The day before I left, my husband had a job interview in the Netherlands – and got his dream job. So among the excitement and nervousness of traveling to a corner of Kenya that most tourists don’t see, I also had the excitement and nervousness of realizing I’ll soon be leaving London for a new country.

I flew to Kenya a week ago today, and had my first day free, so I spent it cruising around Nairobi National Park – apparently Nairobi is the only city in the world with a national park within city limits. And it’s amazing. Zebras, giraffes, buffalo – I even saw a lioness stalk some zebras (she gave up after about ten minutes).

Zebra

Nairobi National Park

Then I met my team of colleagues from around the world and flew in a twin-prop up to Lodwar, a town in the county of Turkana. Turkana is populated by nomadic herding people – also called Turkana – who have been severely affected by the failure of the rains over the last year. The men have to walk further with the animals to find pastures, and they leave the women, children and elderly behind. But since the animals provide the main food source – milk – women, children and the elderly are left searching for food in an arid semi-desert.

Continue reading

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