Five Years of Uncovering Oklahoma

The first day of filming for Uncovering Oklahoma

The first day of filming for Uncovering Oklahoma

Five years ago today I filmed the first video for Uncovering Oklahoma. It’s been an incredible adventure thus far and to celebrate I’ve made a free book about some of my Experiences of Uncovering Oklahoma. The pdf book contains a journal about the first day, my interview questions, history of the date idea book, some of my favorite photography, and questions I’ve been asked. The book is short, around 30 pages, and I may flesh it out in the future for print. For now, it’s a free ebook to celebrate five years.

Let’s keep Uncovering Oklahoma!

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Free Book this Week!

For the week of my 30th Birthday, I have a present for YOU! My sci-fi/fantasy novel, The Crashing of Heaven and Hell, is free Monday through Friday for the Kindle! If you enjoy it, please rate and review it to help with future sales.

Get the book for free for Kindle

Here’s one positive review of the book:

Leave all of your preconceived notions of Heaven and Hell at the door, but do hang on to your sense of fantasy as you enter the universe created by Dennis Spielman in The Crashing of Heaven and Hell. Two young lovers get caught up in a bizarre series of events through an act of human concern and kindness. They have become pawns in a battle of the gods as a plot unfolds to unleash havoc on the Green Planet (one of five planets in another star system named by color.) Heaven and Hell are “islands” shrouded from the eyes of the living, what would happen if they were both brought together, and this tale is narrated by the God of Egos as he watches Virus and Jet take on supernatural forces intent on playing with fate. One will become a force to be reckoned with, one will be the catalyst for that change. Will the Green planet be saved from insanity? Will the islands of Heaven and Hell return to their rightful places? Are Heaven and Hell what our minds envision them to be?

The day Dennis Spielman was born, there must have been a generous helping of imagination dished out, because the world he has created can only be related to our reality in a very general way! Virus and Jet are completely likable, actually seem very “normal” and most definitely have grown to their full potential, one becoming something far greater and more powerful than a mere mortal! I pictured myself using Ego’s eyes to see the events unfolding, until it almost seemed normal to talk with a gorgon, pet Cerberus and see the guy in the potholder suit walking down the street! Did I mention the vampire, who cleared up a few things about vampire culture, myths and mysteries? there is no point A ending at Point B…the reader will travel through a maze of characters, twists and turns before arriving at”The End.”

As I read, I began to feel I was seeing a message in this farfetched tale, I could be wrong, but its extreme stretching of plausibility in this fantasy world seemed to mirror some of the excesses of “our reality.” Or was that a result of my own imagination on hyper-drive?

I read to be entertained and even to think/learn in the process, and Dennis Spielman did amuse me with his far out events, people and descriptions! Is this mainstream fantasy? Probably not, but there is a niche for it and I’m sure Mr. Spielman’s fan base will swell! If you are looking for something off the beaten path, cleverly written, with some snarky dialogue, a strangely foreign world and quirky characters hiding a possible deeply hidden message about our society’s state? Its all there in The Crashing of Heaven and Hell!

Now, go get the book for free for Kindle or buy the paperback.

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Starbase Studios with Uncovering Oklahoma

On my travel blog show, Uncovering Oklahoma, I traveled boldly to Starbase Studios in Oklahoma City. Watch the video to learn about Starbase Studios, how filmmakers can use the set, and you can volunteer.

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Thoughts on the 2014 Date Idea Book and the future

Uncovering Oklahoma’s 2014 Date Idea Book expands the concept of, ‘What can we do for a date?’ Written with all types of couples and dates in mind, this year’s edition features over 70 pages suggestions of activities for couples throughout the entire state of Oklahoma.

Want to know where to eat? How about staying at a Bed & Breakfast? Or how about something daring and adventurous? Uncovering Oklahoma’s 2014 Date Idea Book has it all uncovered for you.

Whether you need creative first date ideas or date night ideas for married couples, buy a copy of the 2014 edition for love and adventure all year round. It’s the perfect for birthdays and anniversaries too! Or keep the book a total secret from your partner and surprise them with fantastic dates. I won’t tell.

There’s a ton of new content in the 2014 edition. Highlights include:

– New layout and design
– Bed & Breakfast listings
– More cities featured like Stillwater and Davis
– Not Oklahoma ideas
– Plus more ideas in all of the other cities featured

The 74 page paperback book is available on Amazon for just $14. The book will be available in local shops and as an eBook soon. Your purchase helps support Uncovering Oklahoma. Check it out for great times year round

Putting together the book took longer than I expected. I thought I would’ve wrapped it up in December, but I fell into my problem of thinking things won’t take as long as they really do take. Plus, I did keep adding and updating things until a few days ago. Café 7 for example got updated (despite the book being done) because of a revisit in which I found out they changed things up.

I’m rather proud of myself with this new book. Why? Last year’s book had 48 pages and I beat with 74. The whole inside of the book was greatly improved and looks more professional. I reorganized the ideas into districts. Featuring Bed and Breakfasts is a great addition. I have an awesome cover designed by Jill Lynch. I like that I got to include some Not Oklahoma places this year, which is part of a small step to do a national project. Again, all of the new content and updated information is cause for celebration.

I wish I would’ve gotten some advertisements in the book, like for spa services or flower shops. I just didn’t have to time to make that effort. I wish I had pictures of places that I didn’t get to personally visit last year. I wish I could’ve added even more ideas in the Tulsa section, but I did give it more pages. If only I didn’t have a day job… I guess I got to save some stuff for 2015.

If you’re wondering what’s next, one of my projects is another Uncovering Oklahoma book. Since this year will mark my fifth year, I thought it would be neat to make a book showcasing my photography and what I’ve learned. I haven’t decided on a title yet. (Uncovered Adventures from a Travel Show Producer? Meh. I don’t know.) The book will be written as a good read even for people that don’t live in Oklahoma as it will have helpful information, beautiful photography, and insights of working on a travel show. I have decided I want to release the book in April, which is the month I filmed the first video back in 2009. This book is also part of a step to do a national travel project and I’m not going to say anything else because it’s way too early.

One major milestone for 2014 done!

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Preview of 2014’s Date Idea Book

Preview of 2014 Date Idea Book
Above is a preview of Uncovering Oklahoma’s 2014 Date Idea Book. Pretty cool, huh? The book should be out for sale within a week or two. I’m really proud of how much an improvement this year’s edition compared to last’s year’s. I just wanted to share what I’ve been working on real quick.

Let’s go 2014!

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I Dare You

If the unknown scares you, then you should not continue reading this story that truly happened to me.

Today I had trouble sleeping. I had fallen asleep just fine, however, I woke up at about three in the morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. There was a good few hours chunk of time where I kept tossing from side to side to get comfortable. I finally laid on my back to force me not to move around. (I’m generally a side sleeper.) I fell asleep for an unknown length of time and when I woke up, I was still on my back, dead still, and eyes closed.

Then I felt something stiff my face.

If you’ve ever had a dog get in bed with you, you know exactly what I felt. My mind went through this thought process: Where I am? … I’m at my place… I don’t have any dogs… Did Leslie come to my place bringing one of her dogs? That’s a weird thing for her to do…

So then I decided to open my eyes as I still had this sensation of a dog sniffing around my face.

What I saw was not exactly a dog. I’m not entirely sure what it was. I saw this small creature, but it was more like an outline of a dog, similar to active camouflage in video games and movies where you would see something but you would see through it.

Whatever it was, knew I was aware of it. It freaked out and ran away, scoured down the side of my leg and off the bed. I then looked up at the ceiling where I saw this glowing, red, misty, light shapeless…thing flailing about in the room. At one point it looked like a butterfly, a snake, a skull, a dragon, and yet it just remained shapeless. The more I tried to decipher what it was, the more rapidly it changed its appearance to confuse me and make me doubt its own existence. It also acted quite shocked and as if it were saying to the invisible dog, “Oh, shit, oh shit, he saw us! He sees us! Quick, run!”

The invisible dog and red light faded away as I saw up in bed.

My heart raced. I knew what I felt. I knew what I saw.

However, I can’t help but think the red light dared the invisible dog to lick my face.

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Crack – Crack – Crack

I wrote a short scary story because ’tis the season and all for scary ghost stories. It’s somewhat inspired by the ice storm we had recently and a comment a friend mentioned about the sound the icy tree branches made. The story is less than 500 words, so read and enjoy.

Stay warm and stay safe.


Catherine rolled over and lifted the comforter to better bundle herself, ignoring the crackling of the tree branches falling from the weight of the ice. She snuck a peak of the clock. It read 3:23. She closed her eyes.


Catherine bolted up. The room felt darker to her. She looked over at the clock. It was blank.

“Figures,” Catherine mumbled as she plopped back down on the bed.

She tried to steady her breath. Her heart still pounded from what she told herself was only the transformer exploding. She began to wonder how long it would be before the power returned. Then she began to worry how cold it would get. The place she lived in wasn’t well insulated. She lived in what was similar to a studio apartment, but was a small building behind a house her friend owned. She rolled over to her side, closed her eyes, and tried to go back to sleep.

She wished her fiancé was there and not at work at the hospital. She placed a pillow behind her back to make it at least feel like he was there with her, comforting her back to sleep.

Crack – Crack – Crack.

Her face crunched together and she tried to figure out the new crackling sound. It wasn’t the ice, she thought. She knew the sound of the ice. She knew it well. She attentively waited for the sound again.

CRack – CRack – CRack.

Catherine felt a glow of light in the room. She rolled over and looked at her clock. The power was still off, but she saw a reflective blue light on the wall. She sat up and looked around. On the wall facing the bottom of the bed was a glowing blue crack. It was about a foot tall.

CRAck – CRAck – CRAck.

The crack stretched taller and wider, while remaining a crack. Catherine rubbed her eyes. The crack was still there.


The crack had stretched even further, expanding to the ceiling and floor. The room became frigid. Catherine wrapped the blanket around herself. She slowly approached the glowing crack on the wall. She blinked, trying to get her eyes to adjust to the brightness.

“This is weird,” Catherine said.

With herself wrapped up in the blanket, she poked the crack.


The crack unfurled, vacuuming her blanket in and dragging her with it. She screamed, but the crack vacuumed the sound too. When Catherine was gone, the crack turned purple and then shrank into nothing.

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Secret Santa 2013

This year I participated in Reddit’s Secret Santa Gift Exchange for the first time. My Secret Santa was game for pretty much anything, so in keeping with my Keep It Local gift giving I’ve been doing this year, I sent him several Made in Oklahoma items.

My Secret Santa Gift I sent
The items were a Flaming Lips candy, Flaming Lips art magnet, a Link button, Bigfoot coffee, my murder mystery party game book, and if all else failed, there was bubble wrap. While looking for local gifts, I took pictures of items from shops and I’ve been posting a series of gift ideas on Uncovering Oklahoma. The articles have been big hit on the site.

The Secret Santa gift I received today was the Forth Doctor’s scarf.

Doctor's Scarf

As you can see, it looks great on me! I’m going to wear it around and people will recognize it and will instantly want to be my friend. And we’ll be friends! Scarfs are cool. I wear scarfs now.

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The Book Signing

Book Signing

Yesterday was my first book signing event! I had been looking forward to the event for a long time. It was a huge dream of mine come true. I was at Full Circle Bookstore in Oklahoma City mainly promoting my novel, The Crashing of Heaven and Hell. Instead of doing a diary post about it, I thought it would be more helpful, and not to mention more interesting, if I wrote an advice article about what I learned.

Group AND Solo

Book Signing

A little background on the signing first. I was part of Full Circle Bookstore’s monthly event, New Ink. The events coordinator explained New Ink helped authors gain more exposure by combining forces, making the signing into a party. It was also a great networking opportunity to meet other authors and share advice. I learned there were pros and cons to the the group and solo signings from them.

+ Greater exposure
+ Networking
– Sharing Buyers

+ Focus is on you
– Requires more publicity work
– Can be boring/lonely

I honestly can’t flat out say group events are best for new authors and solo are for established. The best approach is to do both.

Prepare for Down Time

Unless your super famous, prepare for some down time. My girlfriend was with me, along with books and my iPhone, to keep me company. Good to have company to watch the table while you use the bathroom.

Have Promotional Materials

Book Signing

Have promotional materials at the table! This I figured before hand. People may be interested in the book, but they may not able to buy at the moment, prefer to read a sample first, or want a digital edition. I had postcard sized flies printed up and gave those out to people. I also gave away free bookmarks.

Other authors did other things.

Book Signing

Lara Henley, author of Jessie Discovers Christmas, gave out candy canes.

Book Signing

Steve Kime, author of Rollin on Route 66, had a photo album of his bike ride along Route 66.

Book Signing

Earl Crago and William Lady, authors of Prince Of The Prism, had an impressive easel with a poster.

Book Signing

I should also mention Debra Braudrick, author of And Evil Dwelt Among Us, had a wood caring on display a friend of hers made.

Promote Other Works

Book Signing

I know not everyone is into sci-fi/fantasy, so I also promoted my date idea book and murder mystery party game book too. Multi-sell!

Friends Don’t Equal Fans

I was part of a conversation awhile back with a friend, Cristela Carrizales, who is an actress, and she made a good point about friendship. I’m going to do my best not butcher what she said but basically she only expects companionship from her friends. It’s a solid expectation.

Don’t expect all of your friends to make an appearance, especially if most of your friends are the creative types. It’s impossible to go to everyone’s watch party/book signing/art opening/play/game/concert/etc. While they may not come, keep in mind, they are proud of you. They are your friends – not your fans.

Don’t Get Discouraged

Book Signing

The biggest advice: don’t get discouraged. It takes some hutzpa to do a book signing. I only sold one copy, which was to someone I knew. I don’t think any of the authors there sold more than a few copies, if any at all. (There was a big college home football game, OU vs. Iowa State, that didn’t help matters.) But you know what? I had good time. I got to meet some interesting people, learn a few things, and had fun celebrating afterwards.

If you want to see more photos of the event, I uploaded them to Facebook.

To everyone who came out and visited me or brought a copy at any point I want to say, thank you.

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Uncovering Oklahoma Adventure Time

Yesterday was the start of my work vacation. I had vacation time I had to use up before the end of the year, but I had no plans to travel anywhere for it. So I’ve decided to spend the time working on projects, acting like a successful writer. My time so far has been spent on the 2014 Edition of Uncovering Oklahoma’s Date Idea Book. It’s coming along nicely, once I decided on the layout. Only several pages have been built, but it’s moving along quickly.

Microsoft Store
This morning I got to preview the Microsoft Store that will be opening tomorrow in Penn Square Mall. I was invited along with a few other bloggers to the sneak peek. I was honored to be there. The store looks great. The first product that caught my eye was the 3D printer they had in the store. I had never seen one in person. I got introduced to the Surface, which does some pretty cool stuff. I even got to play the XBOX One for a few minutes. The store had demos for Windows phones, Surface tablets, XBOX One, and Windows PCs along with a community space people can use for free for group meetings and parties.

After the Microsoft Store, I roamed around the mall and traveled to several places, taking pictures for the date idea book. Here’s a few of the interesting ones. I’m going to let the pictures do the talking now.

I have many more pictures, however, those are best suited for the date idea book. I’m about to leave to go take more pictures.

Be sure to come to my book signing tomorrow!

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