Books by Manzanita Writers Press

Books Published by

Manzanita Writers Press


Upcoming books — watch for them here and on Amazon for August releases! 

The History of Sonora Pass and Its People: 1860-1960

August 8 paperback — and August 17 hardcover of Cate Culver’s historical journey of the Sierra mountain community of Sonora Pass.

Sonora Pass, located north of the famous Tioga Pass that leads to Yosemite, is not well known. Extremely steep, and carved into granite like much of the Sierra, the pass is a hidden jewel.  Who were the people who built the roads, established resorts, grazed cattle, constructed dams, made movies, and built cabins on Sonora Pass? A community unto itself, Sonora Pass has a rich history, and Cate Culver has unearthed and recorded the stories and information that would have been lost to time.

In 1944 Cate Culver’s family purchased a cabin near Eagle Creek east of Dardanelle. From her earliest childhood, Cate spent summers at breakfast tables and around campfires, listening to the stories and learning the history of Sonora Pass. Getting out old black-and-white photographs often started the conversation. Cate realized that the history and the photographs needed to be recorded and saved. She began several years of research, including interviews with family members and friends of the original Sonora Pass pioneers. Over ninety of the old-timers were interviewed in person and many are brought to life in this remarkable history of the men and women who pioneered Sonora Pass.

The result is the only book of its kind, documenting the history of Sonora Pass from 1860-1960. This collection is even more poignant and valuable today, since the Donnell Fire ravaged much of the area in 2018.

About the Author


Cate Culver makes her home in California’s Sierra foothills. After her twenty-five -year career in Oakland and Sacramento as a graphic artist in advertising, she and her husband Jerry relocated to Mountain Ranch where she pursued her passion for painting, capturing the natural grace and power of the California region. They now reside in Tuolumne County.

The family summer cabin of Cate’s childhood located at Dardanelle on Sonora Pass inspired her to write her first book. The Untold History of Sonora Pass and Its People: 1860 to 1960 chronicles the fascinating hundred years of development along Sonora Pass and the unforgettable people who put their stamp on the land.

Cate served as Calaveras County’s historian for eleven years, developing her skills for meticulous research. As a graphic artist, Cate designed every page in the book and included a sprinkling of her art. Combined with her natural curiosity and primary source interviews, she brings life to the towering beauty of the Sonora Pass and the intrepid spirit of its people.



In memory of my parents Edson and Ruth Wells Caldwell and my sister Constance Lucile Fry who were all history enthusiasts.


Cate Culver’s multi-media painting on wood called “Phoenix Rising” based on the Butte Fire in 2015. The implements below the fire are from a friend’s burned home and pulled from the rubble, affixed to the piece. This piece is in a business in San Andreas that was dedicated to helping people during and after the fire– Little Owl Security at

Cate as a little girl at the family cabin, still standing—both of them!

Donna Nunes is releasing Rhymes of the Rugged Road by the end of this month!  Due out by end of AUGUST 2020!

Donna Nunes explores rural life in the foothills near Mokelumne Hill through original poetry and lively watercolor paintings. It’s a delightful, inspirational journey incorporating nature, the family cabin, and family relationships spanning over 50 years.

Donna’s multi-generational historic family hails from Montana and she continues the celebration of rural, inspirational family life in her poetry book set in Mokelumne Hill. Having lost the family retreat home to the 2015 Butte Fire in Calaveras County, and her husband two months later, she is continuing her love of history, faith, music, and storytelling through song and poetry in a series of delightful books of poetry and her original watercolor art that graces each page.




Sneak peek inside!


Voices on the Wind

Voices of Wisdom