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.

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Sunbelt Spotlight: Southern California Birds with Wendy Esterly

In this Sunbelt Spotlight lecture, Coloring Southern California Birds author Wendy Esterly introduces us to six species of birds, a mix of year-round residents and migratory visitors, that can be seen in southern California. Enjoy this collection Wendy’s beautiful photography and her personal observations of the birds in those photos.

Wendy Esterly is a photographer, nature enthusiast, and avid birder. She volunteers at theNAT|San Diego Natural History Museum with the Canyoneers and at Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego, California. For both organizations she is a trail guide and a member of the team who instruct the training course for future trail leaders. She has received awards from the City of San Diego, theNAT|San Diego Natural History Museum, and Mission Trails Regional Park for her volunteerism, and her photos have been used in publications and displays. Wendy is graciously donating her author royalties to support the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Buy Coloring Southern California Birds Here


Unique San Diego with Phil Pryde

The recording of last week’s Sunbelt Spotlight with Phil Pryde is now available. The talk gives viewers an overview of the region’s history and covers many of the unique features we can find across the land. San Diego is one of the most diverse counties in the United States. San Diego’s relationship with our Mexican neighbor Tijuana was also briefly covered. We received many thought provoking questions from the audience, such as population growth and future concerns for the region. The slideshow featured many images from San Diego of yesteryear. Also covered was the impact of rising temperatures on the environment.


Women of Sunbelt: Ann Collins

“I was born and raised in La Jolla, CA. The ocean and all  her moods have always attracted me. I grew up racing sailboats out of San Diego Yacht Club. The weather plays a critical role in sailing and landscape photography. My interest in photography began early on with Instamatic film cameras. I love to photograph the coast. Seascapes are constantly changing with the weather, waves, and tides. Since I changed from film photography to digital photography in 2006, I have been photographing La Jolla coastal scenes and selling them on cards. When a friend/bookseller suggested I do a photo book of La Jolla, I embraced the idea.”

Ann Collins, author of La Jolla: Jewel by the Sea

Visit Ann’s author page

Women of Sunbelt: Linda Pyle and Smoked Salmon Spread Recipe

Linda Pyle is our next featured author. This excerpt is taken from her website: Her site features a blog and schedule of appearances.

I am on a mission to get everyone on the planet to experience being out in nature in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley and in San Diego County. After all, we are part of nature. We are not outside or separate from nature. Right? After years of researching, and writing I have put together a system that: 1 Saves you time by putting together simple fun day journeys that can be done in four hours or less 2 Puts you in the right places that fit your interests and confidence level 3 Cuts through the chaos of internet information overload 4 Keeps you in control of vacation expenses with lots of free and inexpensive fun places to go 5 Gets you organized and well informed 6 Gives you an online support community and training videos to jump start your fun It’s okay. It’s safe. Let me help you. I know how to guide you there. Get reconnected to LIFE. I have a simple plan of freedom and connection. These books are my self-guided answer to your question, “What is there to love about visiting Palm Springs or San Diego County?” Life is a journey.”

The following recipe for Smoked Salmon Spread can be found in Pacific Peaks and Picnics: Day Journeys in San Diego County.

Smoked Salmon Spread

Spread can be made up to 3 days in advance and placed in a crock.

8 ounces boned and skinned smoked trout or salmon fillets

Two 3-ounce packages reduced fat cream cheese

1 tbsp each of prepared horseradish and fresh lemon juice

4 green onions, thinly sliced green and white parts

1 tbsp fresh dill, minced

Party rye, pumpernickel bread or Granny Smith apples

Placed smoked fish fillets in a medium bowl and flake with a fork. In another bowl, soften cream cheese with 1 tablespoon each of prepared horseradish and fresh lemon juice. Combine with the fish and add green onion and fresh dill. Refrigerate until serving. Pack in cooler with a small knife and serve on party rye, crackers or apples.

You can order Linda’s books here.

Women of Sunbelt: Maureen Gilmer

Maureen Gilmer is a second generation Californian with over thirty years experience in arid climate gardening, landscape architecture and the environment. She’s published over a dozen books and countless magazine features on plants, design and wildfire in the west. For a decade she’s been writing a national Yardsmart column that runs every week with color photography. Maureen also writes a weekly color column for the Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs.

Maureen has appeared on The View, The Early Show, Good Morning America, and was host and project designer for four seasons of Weekend Gardening, on the DIY Channel.

She maintains a website,, that is filled with numerous free articles about gardening, many aimed towards beginners. Certainly a great resource for anyone interested in in taking up a new hobby!

Sunbelt published Maureen’s book Palm Springs-Style Gardening, a gorgeous guide that provides tips not just for those living in Palm Springs, but anyone landscaping in a desert. The book provides not just gardening advice and plant profiles, but an exploration of Palm Springs architecture.

Order Palm Springs Style Gardening here

Women of Sunbelt: Michelle Howard & Michelle Renaud

The laminated card set, Wild Edible Salad Guide, was the brainchild of two women named Michelle! This friendly resource allows you to explore the outdoors in a new way as you make your own Wild Salad. It will help you identify edible plants such as Common Mallow, Sweet Fennel, and Miner’s Lettuce, and also help you avoid dangerous look-alikes such as poisonous Castor Bean and Common Poison Hemlock. Each plant has its own card which you can easily remove from the secure metal ring while you’re out foraging.

A sailor and backpacker, Michelle Howard is thankful to bring her love of the outdoors to work. The Development Director for Wilderness Youth Project in Santa Barbara, CA since 2005, she previously spent seven years as an executive in the software industry and ten years in grassroots fundraising, organizing, and writing. Michelle believes all people need nature connection and is inspired to create access to nature for students and families from across different demographic, social, and economic backgrounds. She spends her free time exploring the wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Barbara Channel with her family.

Michelle Renaud has lived her life in southern California, spending equal time in both Santa Barbara and San Diego. While working as a commercial real estate manager she became involved with the San Diego Sierra Club’s Wilderness Basics Course as a volunteer and Chapter Outings Leader. This experience re-kindled a desire to teach as well as to spend more time in nature, so a career change was in order. Michelle Renaud is now a multiple subject elementary teacher, hiker/backpacker, and paddle-boarder in the San Diego area and enjoys working with adults, children, and families in the outdoors whenever possible.

Order the Wild Edible Salad Guide here!

Women of Sunbelt: Cory Cooper Hansen

Cory Cooper Hansen is a Professor Emerita with Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Calgary, in her home town of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is a proud graduate of ASU’s graduate schools earning a master’s degree in elementary education and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.

Prior to entering higher education, Cory taught kindergarten for 10 years in Phoenix, Arizona. She received an award for excellence in teaching at ASU’s West campus in 2006 and has been recognized outstanding work in early childhood literacy education. Below, you can find a clip from our Sunbelt Spotlight with Cory, where she shares how reading to her children lead to her career in education.

Order Cory’s book Coyote Claus here

Women of Sunbelt: Ruth Todd Evans

Ruth Todd Evans has had a life-long love of plants, gardening and nature. Following her career as a physician specializing in internal medicine and geriatrics, she has been pursuing other life-long interests in art and literature. Although her medium is usually oil, she used pen and watercolors to create a child’s version of Chinese brush painting for her book The Panda Who Would Not Eat. The boy holding the balloon was based on her grandson who loved to visit the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanical Gardens.)

Order The Panda Who Would Not Eat here.

Women of Sunbelt: Jenny Holt

As a native to Tucson, Arizona, Jenny Holt has always 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 heard of desert tortoises.

Author Jenny Holt
Author Jenny Holt

Order Jenny’s books here.