New Book Captures a Dog’s View of Mission Trails Regional Park

San Diego, CA—Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP), one of the nation’s largest urban parks, is the setting of a new children’s book, Dasha on the Trail, written and illustrated by first-time author Gwynne Margaret Bruck and published by Sunbelt Publications. The charming story follows Dasha, the author’s rescue dog, as she discovers the animals that live amongst the park’s beautiful chaparral and coastal sage scrub landscape. Bruck’s love for the park and her furry companion can be seen in her illustrations and are sure to capture the hearts of children and dog lovers. Two events have been scheduled for this book. An online first look at the book will be held on October 21st, 2021 at 1:00 pm as part of the Sunbelt Spotlight lecture series. The Zoom hosted presentation will be free, but attendees must RSVP to secure their place on Eventbrite.

A free reading and signing for the book at Mission Trails Regional Park is scheduled for November 13th, 2021 at 10:00 am. This event is organized in partnership with the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation and will be held outdoors in the MTRP Visitor Center amphitheater where the audience can enjoy the sights and sounds of the park. Families with children are encouraged to attend, but please leave your furry friends at home. The book will be available for sale at the event and in the Visitor Center Gift Shop. Masks are required in the Visitor Center, regardless of vaccination status.

The book has been enthusiastically endorsed by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria who had this to say: “Mission Trails Regional Park is a beloved corner of our city and my favorite place in San Diego. I hope this book inspires others to explore the trails and appreciate the incredible plants and animals that are unique to our region. We’re fortunate to have this kind of natural beauty as San Diego’s backyard.”

Book Details

Dasha on the Trail
Author: Gwynne Margaret Bruck
ISBN: 978-1-941384-63-3
Retail: $10.95
Year Published: 2021
Softcover | 8 x 10 | 32 pp

New Book a Tribute to Native California Basketweavers

San Diego, CA—A monumental new publication honoring artisans and their masterpiece baskets—California Indian Basketry: Ikons of the Florescence—will be released this December after five years in production. Authors Wayne A. Thompson and Eugene S. Meieran bring together the exquisite baskets and their creators in a reverent tribute to these master artisans. These are the same baskets that have drawn the attention of collectors and museums throughout the United States and are highly prized today. For the first time these baskets have been matched to the artisans and their stories are told in this richly illustrated, photographic overview that captures the beauty and artistry of the remarkable world-class Native American Indian baskets of California.

Collecting highly complex and artistic Native American baskets became a successful tourist business in the late 19th and early 20th century when tourism exploded as a result of the expansion of the railway system to hitherto relatively inaccessible locations. This new business benefitted both collectors of this art form and the weavers who created them. The focus of this book are the weavers and their baskets from this time period, circa 1895 to 1940, known as Florescence or Flowering.

Terry DeWald, Native American art dealer, calls the book, “A definitively well-researched and documented examination of the greatest baskets and weavers of Native America. The incredible photos which link these seminal classic baskets with their dexterous and talented weavers are invaluable.” He continues, “The biographies of the artists and the fascinating images of the historic basket competitions shine light on an era that we’ll never witness again.”

The book will be available in three formats, softcover, hardcover, and a deluxe collector’s edition. The deluxe edition will feature a beautiful and protective clamshell box and will be sold through museum gift shops, independent retailers, and directly from the publisher.

California Indian Basketry: Ikons of the Florescence
ISBN: 978-1-941384-52-7 (SC), 978-1-941384-51-0 (HC), 978-1-941384-58-9 (Deluxe Edition)
Retail price: $49.95 (SC), $99.95 (HC), $299.95 (Deluxe Edition)
Author: Wayne A. Thompson, Eugene S. Meieran
Editor: Alan P. Garfinkel
Publisher: Sunbelt Publications, Inc.
Publication date: December 2020

Now available to pre-order with 20% pre-publication discount!

Get a sneak peek at the book in the video below!

New Book Describes the Evolution of the Anza-Borrego Desert Region

San Diego, CA— The Anza-Borrego Foundation (ABF) in Borrego Springs is sponsoring a free public book launch for A Natural History of the Anza-Borrego Region: Then and Now, just in time for holiday gift-giving on Saturday, December 14 at the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center at 401 Tilting T Drive in Borrego Springs, starting at 4:00 p.m. Authors Mike Wells and Marie Simovich will  present the story of how the desert landscape and organisms that inhabit this desert area evolved to their present state and what the future may hold for these desert lands. Books will be available for purchase and refreshments will be served. All author royalties are assigned to ABF to help support Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The book was published by Sunbelt Publications of San Diego in cooperation with California State Parks and ABF.

For those who might not be able to make the December 14 book launch, a second public lecture and book signing will be held at the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center on December 20th at 3:00 pm. Call ABF at 760-767-0446 for more information about these two scheduled free public events in Borrego Springs. A third public event will be held in the San Diego area on Tuesday, December 17, at Burning Beard Brewing Company in El Cajon. Call Sunbelt Publications for more information about this San Diego event.

This comprehensive volume evolved from a course on the natural history of the Anza-Borrego region that was developed by the authors over a 16-year period and taught at the University of San Diego.  “Early in the life of that class we discovered that there wasn’t a single book that focused on the natural history of the western Colorado Desert and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in particular,” note Wells and Simovich. The pair took the situation into their own hands, filling the gap with the new “go-to” guide for scientists and park visitors alike. Lavish illustrations work together with the text to strengthen the reader’s understanding of this major desert area that delights visitors with an incredible array of wildlife, wildflowers, and rugged landscapes. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is California’s largest state park at 1,000 square miles—almost the size of the state of Rhode Island.

“This is the most comprehensive natural history book I have seen,” praises Cameron Barrows. “Reading this book cover to cover provides the reader with the what, where and how for understanding not only the Anza Borrego Desert region, but also the deserts of the world.” Barrows is an Associate Research Ecologist at the Center for Conservation Biology, University of California Riverside.

Future lectures and signings will be announced. Check with the publisher – Sunbelt Publications ( — for locations, dates, and times.

Meet Kid Fraser–An Outlaw Turned Musician–in New Book by Nicholas Clapp

San Diego, CA—Documentary filmmaker and award-winning author Nicholas Clapp has once more returned to the West in his new book, The Outlaw’s Violin: Or Farewell, Old West. The book follows the real-life story of Billy “Kid” Fraser – the Montana Outlaw – who over a century ago traveled the West from Nevada’s Virginia City to Montana’s Bannack, and then on to Arizona’s Oatman and California’s Death Valley – to finally settle in Eureka, Nevada, where he was to bring grand opera to a desert town.

A battered and broken homemade violin, discovered at a Mojave Desert swap meet, was to provide an insight into the life of Kid Fraser. Born on the planks of San Francisco wharf, he was to grow up in a hard luck family ever in pursuit of “the next big thing.” They were “tramp miners” in search of a golden dream, but more often than not coming up empty handed. Yet they carried on, eventually settling in Eureka, Nevada, a town that surprisingly had an Opera House, which still stands today. Kid fancied himself a desperado, yet was drawn to life as a musician. Ultimately, music saved the day as Kid recruited international opera star Mignon Nevada to grace his town’s Opera House with what may have been one of the best performances of her career.

Nicholas Clapp’s previous books have chronicled the desert west from the time of Indian shamans through the excitement of gold and silver rushes, cause for Death Valley historian Richard Lingenfelter to praise his “delightfully and visually captivating journey through the lively boom camps of the past.” He and his wife Bonnie have roamed Western America’s badlands and derelict mining camps – and found them enchanting, if on occasion scary. Their historical, real-life characters and intriguing stories have an inescapable wild and wooly appeal.

Book Details

The Outlaw’s Violin: Or Farewell, Old West

Author: Nicholas Clapp
ISBN: 978-1-941384-49-7
Retail: $16.95
Year Published: 2019
Softcover | 7 x 9 | 152 pp.

Ancient Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest on Full Display through Aerial Photography

One man’s thirty-five year quest to document the little-known earthen art sites in California and Arizona and preserve fading geoglyphs is recorded in the pages of a new book, Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest: Earthen Art as Viewed from Above.

9781941384503 | $19.95

San Diego, CA—The deserts of the American southwest contain one of the largest concentrations of geoglyphs outside of Peru’s Nazca Lines. These ancient Native American works of earthen art can be up to hundreds of feet long, and yet are often invisible until viewed from above. Before drones, GPS, or GoogleMaps, photographer Harry Casey began a unique archaeology project. Armed with nothing more than topographic maps, 35mm film cameras, and his beloved Piper J3 Cub aircraft, Casey spent thirty-five years documenting the region’s geoglyphs before natural erosion and human intervention could destroy these fragile sites. A newly published book, Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest: Earthen Art as Viewed from Above, authored by Harry Casey and Anne Morgan, collects Casey’s photographs into the first visual record of these beautiful and mysterious features.

Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest, published by Sunbelt Publications, is the first book dedicated to the earthen art of the southwest deserts of the United States. Steven M. Freers, rock art researcher and co-author of Rock Art of the Grand Canyon Region praises the book, “This definitive book is an elegant historical account of the relentless pursuit to document and comprehend one of humankind’s great enigmas as expressed on desert surfaces. It is a gem, an essential addition to anyone’s library where the mysteries of rock art holds special status.”

The eldest of three sons born into a farming family east of Brawley, California, Harry Casey had always been interested in flying, photography, and desert archaeology.  These interests led him to take classes from noted archaeologist and historian Jay von Werlhof at the Imperial Valley College in El Centro, California. After many years of flying and photographing, Casey donated his extensive collection of photographs and research to the Imperial Valley Desert Museum, where Anne Morgan was the Head Archivist/Curator. Anne met Harry and his wife, Meg Casey, and what began as an archival project on nearly 10,000 aerial images became a friendship and partnership as she helped edit Harry’s original manuscript into a published book.

A launch party is scheduled for April 13th, 2019 at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum where the project began. Authors Harry Casey and Anne Morgan will be in attendance. The launch party kicks off a week of events in San Diego and Imperial Counties:

  • San Diego Natural History Museum on April 14th
  • San Diego Rock Art Association on April 14th
  • Colorado Desert Archaeology Society on April 19th

New Book Explores Ancient Agaves of the Southwest Desert

How they evolved as cultivars for Native Americans over thousands of years

Book Cover: Chasing Centuries

San Diego, CAChasing Centuries: The Search for Ancient Agave Cultivars Across the Desert Southwest (Sunbelt Publications, Inc., 2019) takes readers on a journey through the deserts of Arizona in search of ancient agaves unique to pre-Columbian archaeological sites. Author Ron Parker, a xeric plant enthusiast and amateur botanist, spent years in the field observing and researching these living relics of the past. Lavishly illustrated with photos from the author’s own field trips, this book is sure to become a go-to guide for agave aficionados ready to set out on their own adventures.

Anthropologist and author of Kumeyaay Ethnobotany Michael Wilken-Robertson praises the book. “This lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched work takes the reader on a fascinating adventure through thousands of years of history of human-agave coevolution in the rugged landscapes of Arizona. Chasing Centuries is a book to be savored, carried into the field, kept as a reference and gifted to anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how Arizona’s ancient peoples played an enduring role in shaping the natural habitats of the region.”

Author Ron Parker, a resident of Arizona, has been studying agave populations in the state for many years, and has been out in the field with renowned botanists and regional archaeologists. When not chasing agaves, he maintains the well-known xeric plant discussion forum,, an impressive online repository for information on agaves and other succulent plants. A lecture circuit and book tour across the Southwest is planned for 2019 and beyond.

Book Details

Chasing Centuries: The Search for Ancient Agave Cultivars Across the Desert Southwest

Author: Ron Parker
ISBN: 978-1-941384-48-0
Retail: $26.95
Year Published: 2019
Softcover | 7 x 9 | 176 pp.

New Book Focuses on La Jolla’s Unique Community

La Jollan Ann Collins highlights this San Diego jewel with stunning photographs

San Diego, CA—La Jolla is a seaside community that began more than a century ago as an artist colony. The arts continue to be an important part of life in La Jolla. Residents and visitors have many opportunities to enjoy theater performances, concerts, murals, art galleries, architecture, an art museum and more. No less artistic is the rugged coast line carved by the sea. This community continues to inspire artists today and is the focus of a new book by native La Jollan and photographer Ann Collins. La Jolla: Jewel by the Sea is published by Sunbelt Publications.

In the coffee table book, Collins’s striking photographs of her hometown are accompanied by captions that contain snippets of historical details. Notable La Jollans of the past and present are also featured. Aaron Chang, photographer and owner of Ocean Art Galleries, praises the book. “Ann has put together an excellent tour of La Jolla, both past and present, with many insightful gems that will hit a chord with both locals and visitors alike.” A book launch will be held on November 8th at Warwick’s iconic bookstore in La Jolla. The reception will start at 7:30 pm.

Ann Collins is an author and award-winning photographer who enjoys snorkeling with the leopard sharks and boogie boarding with friends at La Jolla Shores. Her work has been featured in books, magazines, newspapers, and calendars, including the prestigious Sierra Club calendars. During Women’s History Month 2018, she was a featured artist at Her work hangs nationwide on the walls of office buildings, hotels, retirement homes, healthcare facilities, and Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.

Book Details:
Title: La Jolla: Jewel by the Sea
Author: Ann Collins
Publisher: Sunbelt Publications, Inc.
Category: Travel | Photography | History
ISBN: 978-1-941384-43-5
Publication date: Fall 2018
Retail price: $24.95
Hardcover, 10” x 9”, 112 pages

HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue

New Book Authored by Former Lifeguard Chronicles the History of San Diego’s Lifeguard Service

San Diego, CA—San Diego is well known for its beaches, protected by the watchful eyes of highly trained lifeguards.  It is hard to imagine that this wasn’t always the case.  Michael T. Martino’s new book, HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue: A History of Their Service Volume 1 • 1868-1941, follows the evolution of the lifeguard services in San Diego, starting with the early pre-lifeguard years where citizens provided the aquatic rescues in bay and ocean. This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most significant events in the history of San Diego’s lifesaving service.

HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue: A History of Their Service • Volume 1: 1868-1941 | $19.95 | 9781941384398

The tragic event that spurred the growth of the lifeguard service happened on May 5, 1918. A rip tide resulted in the drowning deaths of 13 people, most of whom were soldiers stationed at Camp Kearny. An event commemorating the 13 victims will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station at the foot of Santa Monica at Abbott Street. The full details of this tragedy are fully documented in Martino’s book. Martino will be presenting the first copy of his book to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who will be attending the commemorative service. The May 23 event is also the official launch of Help!, which was 10-years in the making.

Serge Dedina, the Mayor of Imperial Beach, had this to say about the book: “Mike Martino has written a riveting and compelling history of ocean lifeguarding in San Diego that is an important look at the evolution of beach and civic culture in Southern California. Help! is a must-read for anyone who loves these beaches and the vital role of their ocean lifeguards in protecting visitors to California’s ultimate recreational destination.”

This very readable history of lifeguards along the San Diego Coast, is the most comprehensive ever written.  So comprehensive, in fact, that a second volume covering from WWII to present is scheduled for 2020.  Martino is uniquely suited to author these books as a former lifeguard who finished his career as an Aquatic Specialist, which is the Chief Lifeguard for the California State Parks system.

Commemorating the terrible event of 100 years ago reminds every one of the dangers of rip currents and large surf that continue to affect us today. As the beach season begins, what better time to review the ever important lifeguard message of beach safety that is so integral to the history of the profession. And, what a great read to take to the beach for summer reading. Martino will be signing books at a reception immediately following the ceremony on May 23.

Kumeyaay Knowledge and Use of Native Plants Still Vibrant in Remote Baja California

In his new book, Kumeyaay Ethnobotany, anthropologist Michael Wilken-Robertson explores the ancient and ongoing story of Native Baja Californians and the plants they use to make food, medicine, and traditional arts

Traditional Kumeyaay food processing

San Diego, CA—Divided now by a political border that separates north from south, the indigenous Kumeyaay people of San Diego County and northern Baja California have long made their homes in the diverse landscapes of the region, interacting with native plants and continuously refining their botanical knowledge over thousands of years. Anthropologist Michael Wilken-Robertson has spent decades developing friendships and learning from the elders that carry on these traditions in the far-flung ranches of Baja California, working closely with the Kumeyaay in the revitalization of their cultural heritage. The October 2017 release of Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Californias, which brings together many generations of Kumeyaay traditional wisdom and decades of research by Wilken, begins with a kickoff at the San Diego Natural History Museum on October 17.

Called, “a work of surpassing beauty that meets the highest standards of research scholarship,” by Chumash Ethnobotany author Jan Timbrook, Kumeyaay Ethnobotany provides in-depth descriptions of forty-seven California native plants and their uses. It also includes lively narratives and hundreds of vivid photographs from artist and professor, Deborah Small. The book connects the archaeological and historical record with living cultures and native plant specialists who share their ever-relevant wisdom for future generations.

Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Americas
Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: Shared Heritage of the Americas (978-1-941384-30-5, $29.95)

Kumeyaay Ethnobotany provides an enduring work that is a gift of history,” says Former Chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, Anthony Pico. “Future Kumeyaay generations will look back and know this scientific contribution was very instrumental on our journey toward cultural revitalization. We Kumeyaay are most grateful to Michael Wilken-Robertson’s lifetime work.”

A series of lectures on the work begin with the October 17 “NATtalk” at the San Diego Natural History Museum, which will be followed by a book signing in the museum store. Other public lectures are scheduled at:

  • California State University, San Marcos, Tuesday, November 14, 2017
  • Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, Friday, November 24, 2017
  • Autry Museum of the American West, Saturday, December 9, 2017

Capital-Dwellers to Delight in the “Arrested Decay” of California’s Most Famous Ghost Town

Photographer Will Furman presents his unique “Inside-Out” photography from the new book Bodie: Good Times and Bad by Nicholas Clapp

Bodie: Good Times and Bad (Sunbelt Publications, 2017)

San Diego, CA— Fine Art Photographer Will Furman presents a photo-illustrated discussion on the newly published book, Bodie: Good Times and Bad on Wednesday, September 13 at 6:00 PM in the California State Library’s Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building. During the Night at the State Library event, Furman will discuss the unique history of what has become America’s most popular ghost town, as well as how he used a technique he’s dubbed “Inside-Out” photography to capture the haunted feeling of the town.


Bodie: Good Times and Bad (2017, Sunbelt Publications) by Nicholas Clapp with photography by Will Furman examines Bodie’s dual nature. The mining town of Bodie was called both a “fearfully and wonderfully bad place” in the 1870’s—a town of hard-working pioneers. Mark Twain remarked of the town that vice versus virtue made for exciting times.


To capture that Bodie of yesterday in the ghostly remains of today, Furman developed the technique he describes as “Inside-Out.” This entails a single image technique that utilizes both the reflectivity and translucency of windows to create a single image with multiple planes. The result conjures a Bodie that is haunting and evocative. Furman developed his photographic finesse during his career as a commercial photographer, during which he produced scores of marketing and educational films for Apple, Black & Decker, and many other companies. Now a fine art photographer, his work can be viewed at


A Night at the State Library is a free program made possible by a generous donation from the California State Library Foundation. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP at Eventbrite.


California State Library

For more information: