Tag Archives: charity

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?


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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Filed under About Katrina, Thoughtfulness

These hot men are concerned about your breasts

Ladies and gay men, behold the best breast self-exam video I’ve ever seen.

I work in charity communications, and I’m jealous as all hell of the team that developed this video and app.

Done drooling yet? No? Okay, watch it one more time and then come back to me.

Done now? Good.

Writer and blogger friends, this video is a lesson in packages. No, not the packages the happy dancing men display during the credits, but the packages we wrap our content up in.

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What’s your definition of a keeper?

Stacks of books


We bookworms often talk about which novels deserve space on our keeper shelf. For some, it’s a symbolic expression referring to books we adore, whether we own them or not.

For others, the keeper shelf is an actual shelf or bookcase with a finite amount of space. In my case, it’s two plastic containers under my bed since the three bookcases in our spare room are mostly filled with my husband’s books (friends, never marry a fellow bookworm, unless you want to spend time fighting over whose books are more worthy of shelf space).

Our flat is tiny. When my American family comes to visit, they all exclaim over how “cute” it is. I know they mean tiny. So I’ve had to be rather ruthless about which books I keep and which I give away after reading.

In less than a month, though, I’m moving to the Netherlands. I’m spending the next few weeks clearing out all the stuff I’ve accumulated in my six years in London, and it’s a chore I never want to have to do again.

You see, I attach sentiment to objects. I remember where I bought them and how I felt at the time. Even if I haven’t ever used them, I convince myself I will one day end up wandering around my flat muttering, “Now, where did I put that left-handed paper stretcher? Surely I wouldn’t have given away such a useful item!”

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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).


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.

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Filed under About Katrina, Thoughtfulness

Freedoms to remember on Memorial Day

Today’s Memorial Day in the U.S., a day when the country commemorates soldiers who have died in military service.

As an American, I know we have a tendency to sound like we’re obsessed with freedom. It’s a word that’s bandied about by politicians, newscasters and citizens who happen to be walking down the street when a journalist sticks a microphone in their face and asks their opinion on something.

This week, though, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about freedom, particularly the freedoms I take for granted and the courageous people willing to risk dying as they fight for the right to live their own lives – whether they’re in the military or not.

This post is to celebrate those amazing people.

People like Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi Arabian woman who is in jail right now for driving. She had posted videos of herself on YouTube and was organizing a protest against the ban on women driving in the kingdom. Women in Saudi Arabia are planning to get behind the wheel of a car and taste the same freedom I did on my 16th birthday. I’ll be cheering them on at the Saudi Women Driving Campaign Facebook page.

In Syria, protestors have been facing bullets and terrible indignities as they demand respect for their basic human rights. Amnesty International recently released video footage people risked their lives to smuggle out of the country so the world would know what was happening.

Freedom of movement. Freedom to protest.

While I know I don’t live in a perfect country, and I believe there are a vast number of civil liberties we still need to demand and others we must vigilantly protect in the U.S. and U.K., I’m thankful for the people in generations before mine who fought so hard to give me so many liberties in the first place.

To the women who proved we could study for degrees and make an intellectual contribution to society. To the suffragettes who fought for my freedom to vote. To the flight attendants who first used Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to fight for less discrimination against women in the workplace. To the activists who fought – and continue to fight – for a more equal society.

To all those who struggled so I can live my life – thank you.

To those still struggling, I admire you more than I can say.


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Movember giveaway winner!

Many thanks to the people who sponsored my husband’s mustache-growing effort to raise money for prostate cancer research and education. In total, he’s raised £637, and you all contributed £55 to that!

The winner of the free books is…Alix!

Anyone interested in seeing my hubby’s final ‘tash can check out his Movember page. He just called me to say that he’s shaved it off. No more ‘tash rash for me.

Thanks again, everyone!

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Giveaway! Go ahead, make my Movember

Button with words "Fire up the mustache"

Giveaway now closed!

I can’t stand mustaches. They rarely look nice. They’re abrasive when you’re kissing. And they sometimes carry the remnants of the bearer’s lunch.

But even more than I hate mustaches, I hate the thought of any disease that could hurt my husband and possibly take him away from me.

So in the month of November, as my husband grows a mustache to raise money for prostate cancer research and education, I’ll do everything I can to support him. Even if it means kissing his hairy face.

Other than trying not to cringe when his rough upper lip rubs against mine, I’m supporting him by having a giveaway on the blog. If you donate to Tim’s fundraising efforts and leave a comment on this post to let me know about it, you’ll have a chance to win a free book.

I’ll choose one donor at the beginning of December, and I’ll buy you the book(s) of your choice up to £15 / $25 U.S. (not including shipping). Or, if you prefer, I’ll send you a gift certificate – perfect for Christmas gifts (or regifting).

Here’s how it works:
1. Make a donation on Tim’s MoSpace page by December 1. You can keep the donation private, if you want to.

2. Then leave a comment on this post using the same name you used on Tim’s MoSpace page so I can verify that you’ve made a donation. You don’t need to say how much you donated, just that you have donated.

3. On December 1, I’ll choose from the comments on this post, and I’ll email that person to ask them what book(s) they’d like. I’ll pay up to £15 / $25 U.S., so if you want two books that are £7.50 each, that’s absolutely fine.

4. The book has to be something I can buy online and have shipped to you using a website like Amazon or Book Depository. Ditto if you’d like a gift certificate.

Please note, since we’re in the UK the donations are calculated in pounds, not dollars. You may want to check a currency conversion website (like xe.com/ucc) so you don’t accidentally pay more than you intended to.

Whether you do it for a man you love, or to bring a big smile to my chafed cheeks, all donations will be very much appreciated. You can give as little as £1.

Find out more about Movember (a name which really only works if you use the British spelling of moustache instead of the American mustache)

Donations go to The Prostate Cancer Charity, which conducts research and supports men and their families.

Image c. Mike Rohde/Flickr


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Brenda Novak’s auction rakes in the bucks

File this one under ‘Holy crap, people have lots of money to spend on getting published’.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Brenda Novak’s auction for diabetes research, and how I had no problem setting aside what I could afford to bid on a critique.

Erm, apparently people have a hell of a lot more money than I do. Either that, or they really want to get published, or they REALLY hate diabetes.

The cheapest item on my watch list has a bid of over $100. The critique by Jessica Faust is at $1,060 right now. And there are 18 days left.

So yes, I’ll be doing things the old-fashioned way: with a donation and a query letter.

Not addressed to the same person.


Filed under Writer's toolbox

Brenda Novak’s auction o’goodness for diabetes research

I stumbled upon a link on Joanna Bourne’s blog where she mentions that she’s auctioning off a critique. It’s part of Brenda Novak’s 6th annual auction to raise money for diabetes research.

And holy crap if there isn’t a boat-load of goodies on offer – from critiques by agents and editors, to a six-month mentorship with Brenda Novak. Here’s the list of stuff you can bid for. Most of the auctions run throughout May, but some end earlier or only run for one day.

Part of me would feel strange about getting a critique and knowing I only earned it by paying for it. But, as someone who works for a charity and has several diabetic family members (including an uncle who lost a leg because of it), I have no qualms about setting a limit I’m able to donate and hoping I get something out of it. After all, I donate to the charity I work for and others just because it’s the right thing to do, so why not take part in a fun fundraiser as well?

If you bid on something and win, I’d love to know about it. Here’s hoping Brenda raises a million!

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Haiti earthquake

My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Haiti. The Red Cross has volunteers there. If you’re in the US and want to donate to help people right away, you can give to the American Red Cross.

If you’re in the UK, please consider giving to the British Red Cross.

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