Find recent reviews and articles about Sunbelt’s titles, as well as links to television and radio interviews of our authors here. For upcoming events see our EVENTS page. For more updates visit Sunbelt on Facebook and Twitter.

View previous e-bulletins.



jeff-headshotSan Diego, CA – Jeff Moore, owner and specialist at Solana Succulents, produced two stunning compilations of photographs and information on succulent plants: Under the Spell of Succulents in 2014 and more recently Aloes and Agaves in Cultivation.  The books have been available locally sold through a few bookstores and nurseries in addition to Solana Succulents’ store and website.  Now partnered with Sunbelt Publications for distribution, these jaw-dropingly beautiful works are available to retailers and consumers nation-wide through wholesalers, big box stores, and online retailers.
“We would have loved to have published both of Jeff’s books,” says Sunbelt’s Production Manager, Debi Young.  “The timing and finances just didn’t line up.  We’re extremely impressed with what Moore has accomplished on his own and are pleased to be able to offer these works to the many wholesalers and retailers we work with.”

Under the Spell of Succulents: A Sampler of the Diversity of Succulents in Cultivation
is filled with information on the “fascinating botanical subculture,” major succulent categories, and the many ways to interact with these wonderful plants.  Its biggest selling point is the stunning photographs of the beautiful and bizarre plants, taken mostly by the author.

Aloes and Agaves in Cultivation
, which Moore released in May of this year, tackles the specific subject of using these plants in Mediterranean landscaping, with most examples coming from California landscapes.  With even more photographs than its predecessor, it certainly rivals that book in beauty.  Moore advises his distributor, “Show people the book.  They’ll buy it.”

Both books are now available through sources locally and nationally in time for holiday shopping.

Book Details

Under the Spell of Succulents

Author: Jeff Moore

Format: Softcover w/flaps

Pages: 244

Dimensions: 9.5 x 10

ISBN: 978-0-9915846-0-4

Year Published: 2014

Aloes and Agaves in Cultivation

Author: Jeff Moore

Format: Softcover w/flaps

Pages: 335

Dimensions: 9.5 x 10

ISBN: 978-0-9915846-1-1

Year Published: 2016

TheNAT Botanist Uncovers ‘Lost’ Mexican Plants


An undated photo of a sabazia purpusii plant, one of the 50 "lost" species found by San Diego Natural History Museum botany curator Jon Rebman.


An undated photo of a sabazia purpusii plant, one of the 50 “lost” species found by San Diego Natural History Museum botany curator Jon Rebman.

Aired 9/19/16 on KPBS Midday Edition.

TheNat Botanist Uncovers ‘Lost’ Mexican Plants


Jon Rebman, botany curator, San Diego Natural History Museum


An undated photo of a mirabilis triflora plant, one of the 50 "lost" species found by San Diego Natural History Museum botany curator Jon Rebman.


An undated photo of a mirabilis triflora plant, one of the 50 “lost” species found by San Diego Natural History Museum botany curator Jon Rebman.

It’s been more than 120 years since botanists have seen some flowers, ferns and shrubs in Baja California Sur. They’re called “lost plants,” with scientists in possession of only a handful of old specimens.

Scientists may not have been actively looking for the plants all this time, but they still never came across them in more than a century, according to Jon Rebman, botany curator for the San Diego Natural History Museum. So last year, Rebman spent 10 months in Baja California Sur on the hunt for these rare species to see whether some had gone extinct.

“Extinction is a really hard thing to say because some of these species require winter rainfall which is really rare in that part of the peninsula,” Rebman said. “If they get enough, the plants can pop up on these big plains. You could look for years, but unless it’s the right conditions, they’re not even going to show their heads.”

Rebman said last year it rained more than it normally does and he found 50 lost plants, traveling to remote areas and through abandoned, overgrown paths. The finding is significant even if these plants don’t have any immediate applications in medicine or other fields.

“I hate that aspect, that it has to be something that we value (in order to be worthwhile),” Rebman said. “But it’s a part of a healthy ecosystem. To me, it’s like we’ve inherited this rich heritage of biodiversity. You don’t want something to blink out on your watch. Now we know at least 50 are there and the threats to them.”

Rebman will be presenting some of his findings at theNAT Tuesday at 7 p.m. He joins KPBS Midday Edition on Monday with more on how areas of the the Baja California Peninsula has changed since botanists last visited.


Sunbelt comment:  Jon Rebman is the author of Baja California Plant Field Guide, 3rd Edition


San Diego, CA—Just as America struggles within itself against “us versus them” stances and notions of greatness that apply to a narrowly defined range of stories, a unique new book offers a look into human experiences that seldom fit within those margins. Reclaiming Our Stories: Narratives of Identity, Resilience, and Empowerment is the unexpected result of a community writing workshop in a San Diego neighborhood which, according to one essay, is often called, “ghetto, rough, and dangerous.” The text, which includes nineteen personal narratives from current residents of Southeast San Diego, offers insight from a community for which issues of race, class, immigration, human trafficking, addiction, biased laws, and police brutality represent many intimate struggles that have served to shape these people into the dedicated community members they are today.

9780976580157In the book’s foreword, activist, author, and lecturer Elbert “Big Man” Howard, a founding member of the Black Panther Party writes, “This collection is a monumental achievement…It will lay the inspirational groundwork for exceptional works by so many unheard voices.”  The voices in this book are black, white, Hispanic, Arab, and other. They are both devastated and hopeful. The essays grab readers with catching titles like, “Terrorist?,” “My Devil,” “The Night my Mother was Murdered,” and “Welcome to Blessed Like Dat’s Winter Wonderland.”

In an essay by Maria Sandoval called “Robbed,” the author recounts losing several of her brothers to incarceration for crimes as mild as throwing a toy at a friend.  “Around that time,” she writes, “the police seemed to routinely raid homes in my area…Anyone who fit the description of a gang member would get their picture taken and anyone with an outstanding warrant would get arrested.” And later, “I never knew how to talk to them about what they actually went through while incarcerated, nor did they know how to talk to me about my life without them.”

These stories voice the reality of the social problems of our time in a way that news stories featuring crime statistics and videos of disrupted rallies cannot.  The stories are gritty.  They are real. And they are written by a courageous community of motivated individuals.

Book Details

Reclaiming Our Stories: Narratives of Identity, Resilience, and Empowerment

Editors: Mona Alsoraimi-Espiritu, Roberta Alexander, and Manuel Paul Lopez

Publisher: San Diego City Works Press

Format: Softcover

Pages: 168

Dimensions: 5.5” x 8.5”

ISBN: 978-0-9765801-5-7

Year Published: 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  September 08, 2016

Media Contact

Kara Murphy

Marketing Coordinator

619-258-4911 ext. 114



Public release of Coast to Cactus trail and field guide spans two nights and two locations at Adventure 16


9781941384206SAN DIEGO, CA—In a stunning display of community partnership, Adventure 16 Outfitters will host the celebration and public presentation of a new hiking and field guide published by Sunbelt Publications, authored by volunteers for the San Diego Natural History Museum, and developed through weekly “Roam-O-Rama” columns in the San Diego Reader. 

Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors is the latest release from El Cajon-based publisher Sunbelt Publications and is written by a group of Natural History Museum volunteers—highly trained citizen science trail guides—known as the Canyoneers.

The public presentations at Adventure 16—recently rated one of the 25 best outdoor stores in America—will include an overview of the book’s features and highlights with Managing Editor and Sunbelt Publications President, Diana Lindsay, Q&A’s with Canyoneers, and raffles sponsored by the publisher and the San Diego Natural History Museum.  Both events kick off with a meet-and-greet reception at 6:30 pm.

The programs at Adventure 16 come right on the heels of the opening weekend of the Canyoneer hiking season, which kicks off with a guided hike at Marian R. Bear Memorial Park on Saturday, September 17 at 8:30 am and another at Cleveland National Forest (Woodland Hill Extended) on Sunday, September 18 at 9:00 am.   On these public walks, Canyoneers encourage participants to look at the surroundings to see what makes it special—to stop, look, listen, touch, smell, and examine—to understand the interactions in nature.  This is the same message readers will find in Coast to Cactus.  The book was written to serve as a “virtual Canyoneer,” inviting readers to enjoy an experience akin to a Canyoneer-led foray into nature.

Event details are available at and For more information on public walks with the Canyoneers, visit

Title Information

Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors


Release Date: September 12, 2016

ISBN-13: 978-1-941384-20-6

Retail Price: $29.95

Page Count: 636

Format: Softcover

Event Information

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A16 Solana Beach Store

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30pm

Presentation: 7:00 pm


143 S. Cedros Ave.

Solana Beach, CA 92075

(858) 755-7662

Event Information

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A16 San Diego Store

Happy Half-Hour: 6:30 PM

Presentation: 7:00 PM


4620 Alvarado Canyon Rd.

San Diego, CA 92120

(619) 283-2374


Sunbelt Publications publishes and distributes books that fulfill its mission to celebrate the land and its people through natural science, outdoor guides, cultural histories, and regional references that encourage readers to conserve the wonders of our southwest deserts, California, and Baja California.

Environmental expert sees change ahead; speed is issue

Source: San Diego Union Tribune, August 22, 2016

by Fred Dickey

Phil Pryde knows more about where you live than you do. No, not your street name or how far to the Vons store. However, the ground under your house, the water running through your faucets and the air above you are all things that he thinks about and knows about.

San Diego: An Introduction to the Region, 5th editionPryde, 78, lives in San Carlos and is the author of “San Diego: An Introduction to the Region.” The book’s five updated editions have for years been easy reading for learning about this area.

He is currently on the board of the San Diego River Park Foundation and the Anza-Borrego Foundation. In past years, he served on the county planning commission and the county water authority.

Pryde is self-described as an ardent bird lover. Which means if you ever have to pick a bird lover out of a lineup, choose the one who is gentle of manner, deep of intellect and passionate of beliefs. Him.

For all that, my purpose is not to quiz Pryde about where to view the California gnatcatcher, one of his favorites. I’m after bigger game, so to speak.

Pryde is a professor emeritus of geography at San Diego State University, the author of many academic papers that neither of us has any intention of reading. But when he speaks of the big-picture environment, it is wise to listen. In this case, I ask him about climate change.

(A travel advisory: If you’re a climate change denier, I ask you to lean back and relax on your trip through this story. Pryde is not from the United Nations or the New World Order. He’s a mellow guy who has learned some things he wants to share. You can take comfort that he doesn’t claim all the answers. As a low-grade (of the C+ variety) science dullard, even I shall swim upstream and try to learn something.) On climate change, Pryde draws a distinction among what is known, not known and maybe known. The inclusion of “maybe” should allow some doubting readers to exhale.

But to Pryde, the big ponderable on climate change is not maybe, but how fast. “Nobody really knows for sure, because we don’t know what the rate of acceleration is going to be,” he says.

What would not surprise you, Phil? “I don’t know, because we don’t have enough facts. Right now, it’s educated guesswork. That, of course, invites other people to say we don’t know, or we’re exaggerating, or even that it will never happen.

“There’s even disagreement over whether it’s human caused. But I don’t see how anybody can objectively look at the facts and say it’s not caused by humans, particularly theburning of fossil fuels. “People would like scientists to say that 25 years, six months and four days from now the ocean is going to collapse. Big headline. Obviously, they can’t say that. All they can say is they don’t know exactly, but they know where it’s headed.”

Ocean-side San Diegans have a vital interest in knowing the effects of climate change because of where we live, which we tell everyone— no doubt irritatingly—is the most gloriousspot on the planet.The change, as it happens,will be uncomfortable.


“Even if global temperature increases by five degrees, we’re going to sweat a lot more, we’re going to wear shorts a lot more, but we’ll survive that. We can always make more air-conditioners. Even most wildlife will adjust, but certainly not all.”

The seabird brown booby used to be found south of Ensenada, but increasingly is seen along the San Diego coast. The reason is that the water is now warmer here. Other birds are behaving similarly.

The big problem will be beyond the shore, Pryde tells us. Climate change is affecting oceans in several ways. One is the melting of the ice caps. As ice, they reflect the sunlight back. They’re white. But when the ice caps melt, they’re replaced by the dark ocean, and dark absorbs more heat, which then melts ice faster, which makes it warmer, and so it goes.

Pryde says, “Here’s another thing about warmer water: It expands a little as it warms. The oceans are actually getting bigger just by getting warmer. Only scientists think about that.”

He says ocean levels have risen thus far only slightly, a few inches, but the trend is definitely upward. And someday if it increases much more, the change will hit us where we live. Or, to be alarmist about it, where we used to live.

“As it gets higher, that’s going to send saltwater much farther inland. What’s that going to do? Well, lots of things. It’s going to salinize your wells. It’s going to salinize your groundwater. San Diego River will become more saline. It’s going to affect birds. It’s going to affect everything.”

As carbon dioxide levels in the air increase, it will mix with ocean water and increase the acidity of the sea, he says.

“Scientists are really worried about some things becoming extinct because of acidity, particularly small organisms at the bottom of the food chain.”

Ocean dwellers are similar to rich people: Diminished resources make them unhappy.

Pryde says the rise of ocean temperatures is going to affect things far more than rising air temperatures, particularly in the oceanic food chain. We have plenty of evidence already that wildlife is struggling to adjust to changes in the ocean. Seals, for onething, will be forced elsewhere in search of the colder water their prey requires.

A key to the survival of ocean wildlife is the fate of the tiny (not lowly) krill, a crustacean that’s sort of the popcorn of the oceans, enjoyed by almost all. Krill flourishes worldwide, especially in cold waters, and no one knows what even a slight temperature rise will do to the species. To take chances with krill would be like us taking chances with corn.

“If the krill go, the oceans go,” Pryde warns.

He says there’s a form of ice other than bergs that could have a nasty surprise for us.

“We do know that the polar ice cap is melting, but something is happening that is a far worse threat— methane.

“Methane is much more potent of a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide,” he says.

Pryde knows methane because of extensive on-site studies that resulted in three books he wrote on the environmentof the Soviet Union before the fallof that government.

He says methane is trapped beneath the permafrost, especially in eastern Siberia. In the past, the top layer would melt in summer about 2 or 3 feet at the most. Thus, the methane to that depth has already been released. However, below that, it remains trapped by the frozen permafrost.

“Long story short,” Pryde says, “with global climate change and as Siberia gets warmer, the permafrost isgoing to melt deeper. That’s where a huge amount of methane is (trapped). The amount of methane that could come out of there would make us forget about carbon dioxide. Methane is basically poisonous. You make methanol out of it.”

Pryde says methane will go into the atmosphere and be distributed around the earth by air circulation. It’s a greenhouse gas, which means it doesn’t go into outer space. Methane will form a blanket and block the escape of heat far more than CO2.

Phil Pryde is a concerned preservationist, but not an alarmist. He sees the problems of our environment but is pretty upbeat about the future, so long as that future is hospitable to his beloved California gnatcatcher.

How did climate change become so damned political? Agree or disagree, it’s science that should be dispassionately sorted out.

Since we first wondered how a bug could fly or a bird could sing, scientific inquiry has required that we explore without fear, then question our findings and argue about them. But when we start to make a political or religious fight over those findings, someone ends up being exiled to Siberia.

At least that destination might be warmer now.

TheNAT Offers New San Diego Hiking Guide

TheNAT Offers New San Diego Hiking Guide

Aired 8/2/16 on KPBS Midday Edition.

TheNAT Offers New San Diego Hiking Guide


Diana Lindsay, publisher/editor, “Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors”


The San Diego Natural History Museum last year opened the permanent exhibit “Coast to Cactus in Southern California,” which celebrates the region’s incredible range of habitat, climate and biodiversity.

Now, theNAT has gone one step farther — literally.

In September, the museum will release a new hiking guide to areas represented in the exhibit.

“Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors” offers more than 250 trails, maps, photographs and descriptions of habitats and species San Diegans may encounter on hikes. Proceeds will benefit the museum.

“This book has been more than a decade in the making — you could say it took the scenic route — and is now finally coming to fruition,” museum board member Diana Lindsay said in a statement.

“It has been a labor of love for many of the volunteers who contributed content and helped to fund the publication of the book. It allows each reader the opportunity to go on a hike with a virtual Canyoneer that will give them a 360 degree view of the flora, fauna, geology and cultural and historical aspects found along their path,” she said.

Lindsay, who edited and published the book, told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday that the guide includes popular and lesser-known areas, like the Manchester Preserve in Encinitas. She also offered some tips for hikers.

The book jacket cover of "Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors."


The book jacket cover of “Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors.”

“Of course, you want to be very sensitive to cultural areas so where there maybe cultural pictographs or rock art, you want to make sure that you actually don’t touch those,” Lindsay said. “Your oils in your hand can actually ruin pictographs. If you find, for instance, a shard that belonged to the Indians that lived here in the past, you may want to look at it but put it back in the same location. It’s extremely important to scientists and archaeologist who come later to study these areas.”

Lindsay added, “You want to have a deep respect for the nature that you’re actually seeing. Same with the animals, you don’t want to capture them or harm them in anyway. You want to learn about them, learn about the connection that you have with nature.”




Despite changes, pueblo’s fans insist it’s still magical

— Life is changing in this Pueblo Mágico, and not every change is mágico.

Border crossings that took seconds now require minutes. This week, a rush hour passage required an entire half hour.

Residents who once left keys in their cars while shopping downtown no longer recommend the practice. (Nonetheless, a distracted reporter accidentally did this on a recent morning, returning in the afternoon to find his vehicle — and keys — where he had left them.)

Perhaps the most dramatic change: You rarely hear hooves clattering on the streets fronting the tree-shaded town square, Parque Hidalgo.

“We used to have more horses than cars,” said Daniel Reveles, Tecate’s unofficial poet laureate and a full-time resident since 1980. “I used to do local errands here from my ranch in a surrey.”

In 2012, Mexico City added Tecate to the federal government’s list of Pueblos Mágicos, places notable for natural beauty, historical significance or cultural import. This year, magic seems in short supply south of the border, as regions grapple with crime, pollution, drought and the U.S. presidential campaign. South of the border, many are leery of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s immigration policy, which includes a fortress-like wall along the U.S.-Mexico line.

Fences already line most of the border between San Diego County and Mexico. In the 1990s, a six-foot-tall fence was erected here, followed by 18-foot-tall metal posts in 2008-2009. These barriers are visible throughout the city, yet irrelevant to most of the region’s 120,000 people.

“I don’t have a problem (with the fence), I can cross any time I want,” said Cristela Melendrez Taboada, 17, a waitress at Restaurante Lola, facing the town square. “And I’m pretty happy with life here in Mexico.”

Contentment is a common theme in this town, which sprawls across a valley about 40 miles east of San Diego. People here insist they are too happy, too relaxed to feel any cross-border tensions.

“I love Tecate,” said Martín Cortizo Rodríquez, who left his native Mexico City to work for the town’s Rancho La Puerta resort and spa. “You live over here with quality.”

In “Guacamole Dip,” “Tequila, Lemon and Salt” and other books by Reveles, Tecate is an enchanted village that floats above such crudities as international politics. Still, the author admits that unpleasant realities occasionally intrude.

“El Trump and La Clinton is all you hear right now,” said Reveles, who dines and drinks with “Los Cafeteros,” a band of genial idlers who meet in the bars and restaurants surrounding the town square. “One person says, ‘Trump is right. We are going to build a wall —to keep out all the illegal Americans!’”


Tecate was first settled about 1,400 years ago by the nomadic Kumeyaay, who fished and hunted from the Pacific to the mountains. A small but well-organized museum east of downtown, the Museo Comunitario de Tecate, displays shelters and baskets made by current tribal members.

The museum also gives the rest of the story: Indians and European settlers clashed in the early 19th century. Juan Bandini, whose Casa de Bandini stands in San Diego’s Old Town, abandoned a rancho here after numerous raids.

Farmers and ranchers eventually prevailed, producing vegetable oil, wine and grains for brewing. Rails linked Tecate and San Diego from the early 20th century until 1962, when the San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railroad discontinued service here.

When Daniel and Harriet Reveles visited Tecate in 1976, the town was best known for its eponymous brewery and Rancho La Puerta, a fitness haven founded by Edmond and Deborah Szekely in 1940. Now a 3,000-acre preserve where guests spend $2,835 to $7,500 each for a week’s stay, the ranch had modest origins.

The same is true of Tecate. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Daniel was afraid that the native New Yorker he had married would find the place hopelessly rustic. She did, in an endearing way.

“She said, ‘Oh, what a charming village,’” Daniel quoted his late wife, who died in 1989. “And indeed it was. It was magical.”

A disc jockey and writer, Reveles was inspired by his new surroundings. The couple bought 30 acres 10 miles south of town, horses, the aforementioned surrey, a stagecoach. He began writing yarns that imbued Tecate with a magical realism reminiscent of the mythical touch Gabriel Garcia Marquez brought to his Colombian hamlets.

Reveles, one critic wrote of 1994’s “Enchiladas, Rice and Beans,” “assures his place at the forefront of a long line of Hispanic literary magicians.”

This week at Bar Diana, a 59-year-old downtown institution, Reveles enjoyed a lunch of carne asadatacos and tequila. In a white Guayabera shirt and Panama hat, he held court like retired royalty. Friends descended on his table for a warm abrazo.

“Don Daniel,” they called him. “Jefe.”

“People love the idea, they appreciate his work,” said Carlos Mateus, 61, the bar’s owner. “He’s a good person.”

In this town, who is not? “I’ve never met a bad person here,” said Reveles, who claims to be 91 but has a fabulist’s touch with cold facts. (In an interview with the Union-Tribune’s Arthur Salm 12 years ago, he gave his age as 94.) “Some scoundrels, but no bad people.”


As wildfires raced across San Diego County’s back country last week, Melendrez could see the distant columns of smoke. Miles from Tecate, the flames were moving in the opposite direction. Still, the young waitress fretted.

“I worry that we don’t have enough resources to help with the fire,” she said.

Why? Isn’t the fire in another country? “On previous occasions, the U.S. came to help us here. It would be nice for us to be able to help the U.S.”

You find a lot of warmth toward the United States in Tecate, but that doesn’t mean everyone here obeys U.S. laws. During the 2016 fiscal year, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 80 people crossing the border here illegally. That’s less than .5 percent of the 20,782 apprehended in the entire San Diego sector.

Here as in other places, some blame any uptick in crime on newcomers. At Mini Todo Hidalgo, a gift and school supplies shop near the brewery, manager Grace Adams serves customers from Mexico’s interior. Some were deported from the U.S. to Tijuana or Mexicali, then journeyed to Tecate for the relaxed atmosphere and pleasant climate.

“Some of these people are bad people,” she said. “Not all, but some.”

Good or bad, most migrants are just scraping by. Anastacio Garcia, 64, pushed an ice cream cart across the town square. Earlier this month, he was nabbed during an immigration sweep in Albuquerque, N.M., his home of 44 years — and where his wife and two children still reside.

“I worked in Mexicali,” he said, “but I came here because Mexicali is too hot.”

He had been in Tecate three days: “A nice town, I like it.”

Lacking papers, Garcia can’t cross the border. With the right documents, though, this crossing can be a breeze. Midweek at 3:30 p.m., the line at the border extended a mere three cars.

Yet there are only two lanes at the Tecate Port of Entry, with no provisions for people with SENTRI cards, no separation between cars and 18-wheelers. Moreover, both lanes close daily from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“The lines here can be as long as four hours,” said Joe Crooks, who manages a nearby maquiladora. “It’s gotten worse.”

If Tecate was ever the border’s Shangri-La, untouched by the outside world, Roberto Arjona insists those days are over. He cringes whenever he hears about Trump’s wall or Sinaloa’s drug cartels.

“Every time those conversations happen, there is a direct negative effect on our town,” said Arjona, Rancho La Puerta’s chief executive. “When those comments are made, 98 percent of the time I’ll get calls from my guests, wondering what the heck is going on, whether it is safe to come.”

Slammed by the recession, Rancho La Puerta has bounced back. Business was fair in 2013, good in ’14, better in ’15. This year, the resort is at capacity, welcoming 140 to 160 new guests every Saturday.

“This is paradise,” said Cortizo, escorting guests through the lush grounds and cool, pristine Spanish colonial buildings. “Paraíso.”

Most Mexicans — most Americans, for that matter — can’t afford a week in these heavenly surroundings. But the rancho employs dozens of locals. Its restaurants and shops are stocked with Tecate-produced food, drink and artisan goods. Moreover, the resort’s foundation built and maintains Parque del Profesor, a public park with a soccer field, classrooms and nature trails.

People who live here boast about attractions new (La Finisima craft brewery), old (7,500-year-old petroglyphs in nearby hills) and emerging (the hot new dining spot, Lugar de Nos, led by rising chef Mariela Manzano).

“It is people like her who are giving Tecate a very fine dining scene,” Arjona said.

What they don’t brag about is efficiency or order.

“There are many good reasons to live in Tecate. Convenience is not one of them,” Reveles said. “Here, the road signals don’t always work and people don’t know the rules of the road. Or if they do, they don’t obey them. But you never hear a horn. There is no road rage.

“Everybody lives in harmony. You don’t see hate here.”

It all sounds too good to be true, like mágico.

According to PubWest, Old Magic is Best!

June 15, 2016 – San Diego, CA – This month PubWest, an esteemed trade association of small- and medium-sized businesses in the field of book design, announced their annual PubWest Book Design Award winners, including a gold medal for Sunbelt Publications’ Old Magic: Lives of the Desert Shamans, authored by Nicholas Clapp and designed by Lydia D’moch with production management by Deborah Young, in the category of Historical or Biographical Book.

Announced June 8, 2016 the PubWest Design Awards winners were judged on typography, jacket and cover design, interior design, format, selection of materials used, and printing and binding production quality. Medals were awarded in twenty-two categories.

Old Magic draws on the lore of a dozen western Native American tribes to conjure the year-to-year lives of the desert shamans—the men who sought order in the stars and in the grand, if unforgiving landscape.  The men who doctored the stricken and conjured rains, sometimes taking leave of reality, riding whirlwinds and soaring in magical flight.

The book is rich in voice, story, and appreciation for native tradition. Every image is captivating; the design choices by Lydia D’moch and production expertise of Deborah Young make flipping through the pages a rewarding visual and tactile experience.  As PubWest president, Zoe Katherine Burke put it in a June 8 press release, “Through appropriate binding and paper choices, graceful layout, and elegant, appropriate typography, words and images impact the reader in subtle but significant ways. Reading becomes pleasurable to the eye as well as the mind; photographs and artworks become places for sustained reflection.”

Needless to say, this special announcement stirred up excitement for all those involved in the book’s production.  “All of us who worked on Old Magic are honored by the award — with a special thanks to Lydia D’Moch for bringing alive the look and world of the shamans of our far western deserts,” said author Nicholas Clapp.

Publications manager, Deborah Young added, “I am very honored to have worked on this project with such a talented author and book designer. It was a pleasure selecting the best materials for this project, and acting as Nick’s “traffic cop” throughout the production process.”