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, Agaveville.org, 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 Art.com. 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 http://willfurmanphotography.com.

 

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: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-night-at-the-state-library-presents-bodie-inside-out-tickets-37258009710

Celebrate the One-Year Anniversary of the Coast To Cactus Guidebook with San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers

Museum store celebrates first year in print with book signing September 9, 2017

San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers

San Diego, CA—This September marks two big events for the Canyoneer trails guides at the San Diego Natural History Museum. First, their hiking season picks up again after a summer hiatus, making available to the public free tours of San Diego’s hiking trails with these highly trained citizen science naturalists. Second, they’ll celebrate the one-year anniversary of the publication of their wildly popular book, Coast to Cactus, which puts all their collective knowledge about San Diego County outdoors into a single 636-page guide. The date will be marked with a celebration at the San Diego Natural History Museum Store on Saturday, September 9th from 1-4 pm, where Canyoneers, including the book’s three editors, will be on hand to answer questions about hiking and sign books.

Canyoneers are citizen scientists and volunteers who have had comprehensive training by Museum scientists and local experts on the natural history of the region. Founded in 1973 by Helen Chamlee Witham, Canyoneers lead weekend hikes at 70 locations from September through late June. Friday Guides also lead elementary school groups on shorter hikes in local canyons during the school year.

When you hike with a Canyoneer you are encouraged to stop, look, listen, touch, smell, and examine—to understand that everything is linked together. Canyoneers provide a unique opportunity to explore the wild places of San Diego, Riverside and Imperial counties, highlighting the rich biodiversity of the region.

Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors (2016) 9781941384206, $29.95

Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors was released in September of 2016 with much ado, including a launch party at the corresponding “Coast to Cactus in Southern California” exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum. The book was initially conceived by Canyoneer leadership in 2002, though it wouldn’t be until 2012 that the writing would begin hike-by-hike, as Canyoneers resumed the late Jerry Schad’s popular “Roam-O-Rama” column in the San Diego Reader. Like the Canyoneer program, the book introduces readers to San Diego County’s unique natural wonders, providing readers with a “virtual Canyoneer,” that allows them to enjoy an experience akin to a Canyoneer-led foray into nature. The Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) awarded Coast to Cactus the honor of “Best Outdoor Guidebook” in their 2017 Craft Awards.

The celebration at the museum store will allow Canyoneers to answer questions about hikes featured in the book and to explain the book’s many features including a list of habitats encountered in each hike and 525 different species of plant and animal described in full detail. Additionally, the 2017-2018 Canyoneer hike schedule will be available.

 

San Diego’s Own Indie Press Signs On For Inaugural Book Festival

El Cajon-based independent publisher to showcase more than 30 years’ worth of regional titles at the San Diego Festival of Books on the 26th

San Diego, CA—In a warehouse east of San Diego, scorched in valley sunshine and amid the dissonant soundtrack of El Cajon’s industrial district, resides an unlikely enterprise. Sunbelt Publications has been producing regional works of (mostly) non-fiction in San Diego’s East County since the mid-eighties, and continues to release exciting and elaborate new books each year, including outdoor guides, natural and cultural histories, and books that celebrate the land and its people in California, Baja California, and the southwest deserts. Now, the publisher sighs with relief as “book fever” piques in the sun-kissed region with an inaugural festival books hosted by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Sunbelt Publications in El Cajon, CA

“I was so pleased when a U-T rep stopped by our warehouse and asked us to be part of the festival,” says Sunbelt’s President, Diana Lindsay. “People are always thrilled when they discover who we are and what we do. It’s going to be great to experience that on a huge scale with local and visiting book lovers.”

Sunbelt Publications provides a variety of services to readers, writers, and intellectually curious members of the community. In addition to publishing niche regional books, the company offers custom publishing services for self-publishers and corporations, discounted shopping for local readers, specially-catered wholesale fulfillment for a variety of specialty retailers throughout the region, and distribution services for other small publishers. They also arrange speaking engagements for the authors of the books they publish, providing informative talks at museums, retail stores, and various community service and political organizations.

“I feel like San Diego’s Kevin Bacon sometimes,” says Lindsay. “No matter where I go I seem to meet the author of a book, an organization we book speakers for, a retailer, an advertising or news liaison, or someone who’s involved with a community group whose cause we’ve furthered through a publication. It’s great. It makes me realize how immersed we are in the community and how we provide an important service that helps to enhance its culture and history.”

Diana Lindsay, President of Sunbelt Publications

Just this year, Sunbelt Publications has published five tiles, including Bodie: Good Times and Bad by Nicholas Clapp, Color Me Fit by Nick North, Who-o-o’s Awake in the Desert by Jenny Holt, Baja’s Wild Side by Daniel Cartamil, and Nature Adventures by Linda Gallo Hawley.  In October, the publisher looks forward to its next big release, Kumeyaay Ethnobotany by Michael Wilken-Robertson, and of course, they’re still riding the huge success of their 2016 release, Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors.

The publisher will participate in the festival as a vendor, with authors scheduled to sign books at their booth every hour. Two authors of their published children’s books are scheduled to read in the reading area: Linda Gallo Hawley at 11:30 am and Nick North at 12:15 pm.  Company staff look forward to meeting San Diego’s most bookish folk.

For festival information, visit sdfestivalofbooks.com.

NATURE ADVENTURES! IS PART SONGBOOK, PART NATURE GUIDEBOOK FOR KIDS

San Diego County’s beloved teacher from the “Nature Adventures!” program at Mission Trails Regional Park brings her songs and extensive knowledge to young readers countywide.

Linda Gallo HawleySan Diego, CA–She’s not originally from around here, but New York transplant and lifelong educator, Linda Gallo Hawley, can school most San Diegans on the region’s native flora, fauna and even cultural history. In fact, she’s made her own mark on the culture of the region through her monthly “Nature Adventures!” programs at Mission Trails Regional Park, where she guides primary school children through the park’s many trails, pointing out unique and interesting plants and signs of wildlife along the way, all while singing catchy tunes like “The Ecosystem Song” and the “Big Brown Bats Song” (with lyrics self-written and set to popular tunes like “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush” and “This Old Man.”)

Now with the publication of Nature Adventures! children of all ages can enjoy her extensive knowledge of San Diego’s biodiverse region. The book includes facts about the habitats and wildlife of this region—featuring animals big and small from spiders to shrews, flying bats to big cats, and even smelly skunks. What do they eat? Where do they live? Who are their predators? And what do their tracks and scat look like? Hawley explains it all in this fun text complete with delightful illustrations from artist and former fellow trail guide, Linda Gilbreath.

Originally called “Ant-Sized Adventures” for the preschoolers she initially taught (hence the “marching ants” illustration on the cover and throughout), Hawley decided to make the book appealing to nature lovers of all ages, by adding information pertinent to more advanced learners, including scientific terms, their meanings, and track-size measurements. Hawley is confident that children young and old, as well as parents and teachers, will have fun singing her songs about local wildlife.

Nature Adventures!“My granddaughter and I attended Linda Hawley’s “Nature Adventures!” program at Mission Trails Regional Park,” says former San Diego Mayor and current Mission Trails Regional Park board member, Dick Murphy. “Her classes and trail walks were a perfect introduction to the flora, fauna, and habitats in this park. Those lessons are now in her book for all.”

In addition to her already packed schedule of imparting a love for nature at the park and neighborhood libraries, Hawley now plans to make appearances throughout San Diego County to help promote her new book. If kids and parents react to the new release the same way they do her nature programs, it’s safe to say the book will be irresistible.