On Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Dog Breeding

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-9-22-44-amMy latest story about dogs was published today by The Washington Post. It’s about a little-discussed sphere of the current political divide: the fact that our level of national vitriol is now keeping dogs in conditions that many of us find unacceptable.

I traveled to Ohio to report this story, to a county just west of that state’s hardest-hit Rust Belt regions. I spent a full day with a person whose political, religious and other views bear little resemblance to my own, and whose lifelong economic realities and educational opportunities are unimaginable to most people where I live, near Manhattan.

If you care at all about dogs—whether you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or not at all—please take the time to give this story a read. I hope that you, as I did, will realize that we Americans often have more in common than we believe, and that if we can simply find ways to talk to one another, we just might be able to solve problems that desperately need our attention.

Happy Anniversary to CharterWave!

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-3-36-32-pmA full decade ago—the same year that Twitter went live—I launched a website called CharterWave.

Now, in celebration of the site’s 10-year anniversary and widespread success, I’ve relaunched the site with a whole new look.

CharterWave was one of the first niche websites in the entire marine industry, and the first of its kind to focus exclusively on luxury yacht charter. It went on to win awards from Boating Writers International as well as longtime support from sponsors, some of whom have been with the site pretty much since its launch, and continue with the site today.

The new site design is by Z2 Media, the same company that built DogMerchants.com for me earlier this year, when my book The Dog Merchants came out.

Click over to CharterWave to check out the site’s new look and features.

Virtual Reality Enters the Yacht Industry

virtual-realityI’m super-proud of the lead cover feature that I wrote for the issue of Yachts International that is on newsstands now. It’s about the use of virtual reality in everything from the design to the construction to the marketing of yachts—a nascent field that has amazing potential thanks to the huge technology investments that many of today’s yachts represent.

Yes, superyachts are of course playthings for the rich and famous, but they also can be engineering marvels built with financial investments far greater than anything seen on land. (When was the last time you saw a $200 million house?) The addition of virtual reality to the industry presents some truly mind-bending possibilities, with some of the world’s wealthiest individuals now exploring the technology’s possibilities on multiple levels.

Look for the new edition of Yachts International on newsstands now, or head over to the Yachts International website to get a subscription.

We Have Liftoff!

Today is the official publication date for my new book, The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores and Rescuers. It’s time to celebrate!

My First Adapted Article from “The Dog Merchants”

The Dog MerchantsMy new book The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescuers will publish May 2 with Pegasus Books. It’s a follow-the-money look at the whole of the dog business, with the first half about breeding and the second half about rescue. My hope is that it will show dog lovers what we’re buying into with every dog we bring home, so we can work together for the good of all kinds of dogs, everywhere.

The first “sneak peek” came online yesterday at Salon.com, which published “The Big Money Behind Best In Show” just in time for this year’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (which will conclude tonight on the USA Network). This is the first adapted article from the book to be published anywhere, and it was so widely shared in its first 24 hours online that it became one of the top Google News results for searches about the dog show itself.

Obviously, this adapted article pulls information from the first half of The Dog Merchants, which is about breeders. The next adapted article, scheduled to be published this month in The Bark magazine, pulls from the rescue half of the book.

Stay tuned, or simply read it all by pre-ordering your copy of The Dog Merchants today.

Two Writing Awards from Boating Writers International

yachts-internationalExciting! I was thrilled to learn this morning that I earned two awards in the 2015 Boating Writers International Writing Competition, whose winners were announced today.

My piece titled “Florida’s Aging Bridges” earned first prize in the category Boating Issues, News and Analysis. It appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of Yachts International, where I am copy editor and contributing editor. The piece was an investigative analysis of federal, state and local data regarding bridges in South Florida, where yachts regularly cruise. The online version of “Florida’s Aging Bridges” is here.

I also earned a Certificate of Merit in the Travel and Destinations category for my piece “Into Antarctica.” It appeared in the August 2015 issue of Yachting, where I am charter editor and consulting editor. The Antarctica piece was about a luxury sailing yacht offering charters in a part of the world where most other yachts are not equipped to go. The online version of “Into Antarctica” is here.

It’s particularly gratifying to win awards for these two pieces, which contain entirely different styles of writing. The bridge article presents hard, cold data in a compelling way, while the Antarctica piece makes readers feel like they are in a remote part of the world. I am grateful that my editors at Yachting and Yachts International give me the chance to write in such a wide variety of styles.

My sincerest thanks to the judges and sponsors of the BWI Writing Competition. A press release listing all the winners is here—congratulations to every single one!

Meet Me at the ASJA Writers’ Conference

ASJA 2016I serve as the chairwoman for the Contracts & Conflicts Committee with the American Society of Journalists and Authors, which will be holding its annual writers’ conference May 20-21 in New York City. As part of this year’s event, committee members Milton Toby and Joan Burda will join me to present a panel called “Indemnity Clauses and Who Really Owns Your Notes: Legalities that May Shock You.”

I’ll be handling the indemnity clauses portion of the program, which will include results from a recent (and disturbing) ASJA membership survey that revealed 1) indemnity clauses are becoming ubiquitous in writers’ contracts; and 2) they are having a chilling effect on what writers are willing to report and publish. I’ll be talking about how to spot these contract clauses and negotiate them with publishers of all kinds.

Milt and Joan will discuss the ownership of notes issue, which is becoming more complicated (and frightening) than many journalists realize thanks to some recent court rulings that they will explain.

Care to join us? Registration for the 2016 ASJA event is now open. Our panel will be from 2 till 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. Hope to see you there!

 

Are You Going to the Miami International Boat Show?

2016-miami-boat-showI had the pleasure of writing Yachting magazine’s February issue centerpiece: a nine-page preview of the upcoming Miami International Boat Show, which is moving to a new home this year on Virginia Key. The coverage also includes the new Yachts Miami Beach show, which is an evolution of the Yacht & Brokerage Show that has long been held concurrently along Collins Avenue.

If you’re thinking of attending either or both shows this year, then you can check out the digital version of the coverage that just went live on the Yachting website.

Even better: That link is a hub that will be updated with all kinds of news and information throughout the show, which will be February 11-15.

Enjoy!

Now Open for Pre-Order: My New Book, The Dog Merchants

The Dog MerchantsI’m about as psyched as any author can be this week, because I’m finally able to release the cover art for my forthcoming book! The Dog Merchants: Inside the Big Business of Breeders, Pet Stores, and Rescuers will be published May 2, 2016—and is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.

The Dog Merchants will be the lead spring hardcover title for Pegasus Books, with North America distribution by W.W. Norton.

In just the three days that the pre-order link has been online this week, and following a keynote speech I made at a Penguin Random House librarians’ event two weeks ago, The Dog Merchants has already become the No. 1 new release in one of Amazon’s top animal-book categories.

I’m so thankful for the early reader response, and I look forward to sharing all kinds of great information with you as we bring The Dog Merchants marketing campaign fully online during the next few months.

Stay tuned here, and please add my new website dogmerchants.com to your bookmarked favorites. There is much, much more to come.