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 Montpelier Magazine

Adobe Premier Power, Asleep at the Wheel, The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy

Triple threat books a future

Thomas Earl 'Tee' Morris ('92) took his double major in theater and mass communications and turned it into a triple threat. He's a professional actor (most recently appearing in HBO's miniseries The Wire) and a free-lance graphic artist. This summer, he became a book author.

Morris has written stories since fifth grade, but says, 'I never took it seriously enough to think I would be a writer.'

His first novel is unique - from the way it started out to the co-author he has never met. MOREVI: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana is a historical-fantasy novel, written entirely via e-mail. Morris and co-author Lisa Lee met randomly through the Internet. What started out as 'innocent, episodic e-mails' resulted in a book contract with The Dragon Moon Press.

The idea for the novel came from its main characters. While surfing the 'Net, Morris entered a chat room where users were role-playing. He joined in with his character, Rafe Rafton, while Lisa played the character of Askana Moldarin, first Queen of Morevi. 'Our main characters have various origins,' Morris says. 'The swashbuckler Rafe Rafton is based on a character I played for two seasons at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.'

Lee's strong female warrior character, Askana, is a contradiction to her more conservative upbringing in Malaysia. The duo exchanged e-mails from February to December 1999. Halfway through the role-play, Morris reread the correspondence and thought, 'I bet we could get this published.' By mid-December, he and Lee met on a real-time Internet chat and wrote the book's ending.

Morris' book tour, 'Leap of Faith,' began March 2001 at JMU's Madicon with a reading and panel discussion. He also made appearances at Astronomicon in Rochester, N.Y., and at Harvard University.

Morris is working on a second book, BibbibubBaddings and the Case of the Singing Sword, which won second place in the Mary Deal First Chapter of a Novel Contest. His other works, which premiered last summer, include Adobe Premier Power and Asleep at the Wheel. He is also a contributing writer for an e-book, The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy. After his book tours, Morris and Lee plan a sequel to MOREVI. Check out the epic tale at


Janelle DiOrio ('03)