In the year 2000 I first started researching the ancient Native American civilizations of the Southeastern United States. I was amazed at these ancient earthen pyramid sites that were so similar to Toltec and Mayan sites of Mexico. I was also amazed at the exquisite artwork from pottery to engraved seashells that these ancient civilizations left behind. But it did leave me with a question: how could someone like myself who has an interest in Native American culture and ancient civilizations in general not have ever heard of the ancient civilizations of the Southeastern U.S.?

I began graduate school in 2001 at Georgia State University in Atlanta in the Film, Video & Digital Motion Imaging program. I knew I would eventually need to create a creative Master’s thesis project so I decided to do something on these lost civilizations. I created a website,, and a DVD, “Lost Worlds: Georgia”, that would reveal the ancient Native American civilizations of my home state, Georgia.

During this time I realized that the earliest Spanish explorers actually interacted with these civilizations and their journals offered eyewitness accounts of what they were like at that time. It was from these Spanish accounts that I discovered the story of the Florida Native American girl, Ulele, who saved a Spanish boy, Juan Ortiz, from execution by her father after he was captured around 1528 while searching for the lost expedition of the conquistador Narvaez. This was Florida’s very own Pocahontas and John Smith but it happened 90 years before Jamestown.

For years I toyed with the idea of writing a screenplay about the amazing stories of the Spanish conquistadors exploring the South. In 2007 I started seriously outlining and plotting such a story but in 2008 my first child was born and much of my free time was now taken with parental duties.

Finally, six years later my daughter has reached an age where she can amuse herself for longer stretches of time which allows me to finally have time to write this story. Right now the working title is The Pirate and the Princess and it will be a picture book. I can’t wait to get started!