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.


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.




Most Californians are unaware of the natural beauty that exists just south of the Mexican border. Just how remote, untouched, and wild is Baja California? 

Baja's Wild Side

San Diego, CA—Shark biologist Daniel Cartamil, PhD, of Scripps Institute of Oceanography, hopes to take some of the bite out of encroaching human threats to the untamed Pacific Coast region of Baja California by showcasing the region’s beauty in a stunning new work of photography called Baja’s Wild Side.  The book, published by Sunbelt Publications, releases this summer in conjunction with an exhibit by the same name featuring Cartamil’s photography at the San Diego Natural History Museum.


Dan Cartamil Cartamil began visiting and working in many of the small coastal fishing villages that still exist in this area while researching ways to protect sharks that migrate through the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Mexico’s Baja California coast. The raw landscapes and untouched beauty of the region inspired the avid photographer to document the wild and vulnerable peninsula. His relationships with academics, locals, and artisanal fisherman resulted in unparalleled access to remote and spectacular areas. For more than a decade, he ventured off the beaten path and captured what he saw for others, from ancient rock art and mystical boojum trees to the endangered condors of the high sierra.


Now Cartamil continues his conservation work professionally, as well as through lectures, photography, and guided tours of Baja California, Mexico.  For more information visit bajaswildside.com.






San Diego, CA—In the world of independent publishing, spring is the start of award season as finalists are announced in anticipation of summer book fairs. Two of the most reputable independent publishing award programs announced finalists this week and, once again, works by Sunbelt Publications feature prominently, with Coast to Cactus, Gulf of California Coastal Ecology, and Virginia City collectively advancing in five categories.


The Independent Book Publisher Association’s (IPBA’s) Benjamin Franklin Book Awards have been administered since 1985 and are some of the most well respected awards in the industry.  Only 3-4 books make the finalist round in any given category in this nation-wide competition, and while only one book ultimately takes the gold, all finalists are awarded silver medals.  This year’s finalist is the best-selling Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors written by San Diego’s own Canyoneer trail guides from the San Diego Natural History Museum.  The book is being recognized for its outstanding interior design with the final verdict announced on April 7, 2017, in Portland, OR, as part of IBPA’s Publishing University conference.


The INDIES Book of thINDIES BotYAe Year Awards proctored by Foreword Reviews, the go-to resource for librarians, booksellers, industry professionals, and book lovers, is similarly competitive.  In a deeply appreciated gesture of recognition, the reviewers at Foreword advanced Sunbelt Publications’ entries to the finals for all four categories submitted.  Coast to Cactus reigns again as a finalist in both the “Nature” and “Regional” categories, while Gulf of California Coastal Ecology: Insights from the Present and Patterns from the Past and Virginia City: To Dance with the Devil made the final round in the categories of “Science” and “Regional” respectively (that’s right—two Sunbelt titles vying for the gold in regional!).


In a press release from Foreword Reviews, publisher Victoria Sutherland commented, “Choosing finalists for the INDIES is always the highlight of our year, but the choice was more difficult this time around due to the high quality of submissions.”


The INDIES Book of the Year winners will be announced in Chicago during the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference on June 24, 2017.


A stunning new work revives the history America’s favorite ghost town: Bodie, California

Bodie: Good Times and Bad

San Diego, CA – Called “A fearfully and wonderfully bad place,” by Bodie Daily Free Press on January 7, 1880, the Bodie of yesteryear had as notorious a reputation then as its remnant ghost town does today, drawing in roughly 200,000 visitors annually as a California State Historic Park.  A stunning new publication entitled Bodie: Good Times and Bad rekindles the life into the historic settlement through the masterful storytelling of writer Nicholas Clapp with plentiful reproductions of historic documents, images, and accounts. The text combined with the powerful images of present-day Bodie from photographer Will Furman has resulted in a work that is sure to please.

Many of Furman’s photos might be mistaken for double exposures.  That’s because he uses a technique he’s dubbed “inside-out” photography, in which he captures scenes at just the right angle, and in just the right lighting, so that the scene inside a window blends perfectly with the scene outside.  The result is a hauntingly beautiful composite that speaks to past and present.

Clapp’s storytelling lends its own special magic.

“Bodie State Historic Park is a very special place and this is a very special book,” says Brian Cahill, Acting Chief of the Interpretation and Education Division for California State Parks. “Will Furman’s captivating photos tell a powerful story on their own, but accompanied by Nick Clapp’s compelling narrative, the place truly comes alive.”

The pair plan to promote the book through a series of signings and presentations throughout California—Clapp handling the southern half of the state, and Furman the north.  Readership, on the other hand, is expected to expand far beyond state lines, with Clapp already giving consideration to October’s annual Frankfurt Book Fair, noting that “Both Germans and the French love the American West, and its frontier lore.”

Visit Bodie: Good Times and Bad on our product page.



San Diego, CA

Who-o-o's Awake in the DesertThe desert animals scurry about to get everything done,

Trying to beat the desert sun.

Owl prepares to go out into the night,

To ensure all the animals are tucked in tight.

So begins the charming new illustrated bedtime story, Who-o-o’s Awake in the Desert, the debut work of Tucson-based writer Jenny Holt. Featuring a beautifully illustrated cast of Sonoran desert animals, the story includes the coyote, Gila monster, hummingbird, javelina, and of course, the infamous Western Diamondback to name a few.  The book takes early readers on an aerial journey with owl as the warm sun of a desert afternoon melts into cool darkness.

Illustrations from H.M. are colorful and charming, sure to induce the same awe and appreciation for southwest wildlife conveyed in the author’s rhymes. Holt, a Tucson native, spent much of her childhood hiking and exploring the lush Sonoran desert surrounding her hometown and has long loved the desert landscape and its unique wildlife. She obtained her pharmacy doctorate from the University of Arizona and still lives in the desert with her husband, three children, dog, bearded dragon, and a small herd of desert tortoises. She wrote this book both as bedtime story and as a way to share her passion for the desert with children everywhere.

Holt will sign copies of the book on April first at Mildred and Dildred in La Encantada shopping center in Tucson from 9:30-10:30 am.

Author Jenny Holt
Author Jenny Holt

Book Details

Author Jenny Holt with Illustrations by H.M.
ISBN: 978-1-941384-31-2
Publication: Feb 2017
Format: 8.5 x 11 in.
Retail price: $12.95
Page count: 32
Press materials: https://goo.gl/qHLJex






color-me-fit_frontSan Diego, CA – The season of resolutions for a great new year is upon us and a new book for kids provides a fun, informative, and interactive introduction to the six functional movements for daily exercise anytime, anywhere. Color Me Fit: You Can Do It, written by Nick North for the non-profit North American Fitness and Health (NAFH), features a cast of cartoon animals demonstrating a variety of simple fitness movements that encourage healthy living.

In addition to the 30+ coloring pages of stretching, lifting, and running animals, Color Me Fit includes an introduction to basic fitness equipment, step-by-step instructions for each exercise, a weekly log for tracking fitness progress, and an overview of the functional movement patterns of the human body.

NAFH was formed based on the concern about juvenile obesity and the diseases that stem from it. Developed by retired U.S. Navy Seal, Certified Personal Trainer, and CEO of NAFH Nick North, with contributions from General Manager Patricia Brown and North’s granddaughters, Taylor and Madeline, Color Me Fit is proof that fitness can be fun. The improved academic performance, increased self-esteem, and improved cardiovascular health attributed to exercise can start with this book.

To meet the NAFH team in person, visit the Santee Active Lifestyle Expo on January 28th where Nick North will be introducing kids to a fun and active game based on functional movement patterns. The event is held from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Santee Trolley Square where visitors can stop into Barnes and Noble booksellers to purchase a copy of Color Me Fit.

Event Details



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


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