Patricia Tiffany Morris-Award Winning Suspense Author
I first met Patricia two years ago at Blue Ridge Mountains Christians Writer’s Conference, prior to her winning first place for the "Suspense Fiction" category at Blue Ridge 2021. I adore her stark bravery. She refuses to be stuffed into any one genre or category. She is an artist who writes poetry, suspense, literary fiction, children’s STEAM, and inspirational nonfiction. This incredibly diverse creative is someone to keep an eye on. She’s making a distinctive mark on our generation as a uniquely gifted artist, defying the confines of artistry, by coloring outside the lines of tradition.
Upon first meeting Patricia, I found she had a quirky sense of humor (which I super love). Secondly, she openly laughed at my clever and witty jokes. I thought about sneaking her home in my suitcase to show my family my career as a comedian wasn’t a complete pipedream.
But in all seriousness, I find Patricia to be one of the most unassuming people one could meet. Yet, she is full of humility, whimsical talent, wisdom, and creativity. Also, it’s not often you meet someone who operates with a strong left and right brain. She proves you can have it all! Admittedly, I’m slightly jealous and I do need to pray about issues with envy since meeting Patricia. But that’s for another conversation.
World watch out! Meet the extraordinarily, gifted, and talented—Patricia Tiffany Morris.
BIO: Patricia Tiffany Morris sketches ideas in her sleep, that is, when she finds time to sleep.
She gravitates toward inspirational messages, encouraging others to find
hope in Christ. An eclectic creative with a geeky-tech affinity and a poet with three names, Patricia adores Pinterest, Instagram, and hashtags, but finds Twitter quirky.
Owner of Tiffany Inks Studio LLC—publisher of Journaling Scribbles—Patricia Tiffany Morris sells greeting cards, digital art downloads, and commissions original artwork and custom logos. TISLLC provides tech troubleshooting, various tutorials, and personalized services for writers through screen sharing and zoom meetings.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
During my eleventh grade creative writing class while learning poetry, self-expression, and literary forms as well as the mathematics and music of writing. I also took my first contemporary dance and ballet class that year, and my introduction to choreography, creative writing, and theater as the lead in the senior high drama, seemed to clash with my math and science aptitude. My education turned to engineering for women in the 1980’s at Iowa State University.
Realizing I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life testing the tensile strength of metals in a laboratory, I switched to architecture and dance earning two architectural degrees and a few credits short of a minor in dance. Writing moved to the background and settled into personal journals until home educating my children through the 2000’s. A glimmer of interest in writing surfaced while assisting speech tournaments and directing my children in NANOWRIMO in 2011. I’ve penned a few skits and plays for church and have sketched actions to sign language presentations to music, but never formally called myself a writer until 2019.
When did you write your first story/article/book?
Renewing my English affinity and poetry roots, I wrote a thirty-page single spaced story in 2018 that changed the direction of my retirement years. At that time, I did not know that the conventions for grammar had changed. No longer two spaces after the period. And double spacing withTimes New Roman were common conventions. I’d rather choose my own font from the bouquet of fonts available, but I’ve learned a great deal in the three years since creating that first cast of characters.
The theme and framework of my original fiction have morphed into a series of four novels. In addition, I joined several critique groups and learned various writing styles and genres, including children’s picture books, (and illustration), short story and flash fiction exercises, poetry and prose, articles, and devotions. I had planned to continue selling my artwork at local arts and crafts shows but transitioned to studying digital artwork on the iPad. I wrote a few interactive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) children’s stories and discover new forms of writing.
I became more comfortable calling myself a writer in 2020 and immersed myself in online courses, joined critique groups, and attended my first writing conferences in 2019 as I entered this aspiration of writing themes of hope through the trials of life.
And in writing my first story, wrangling with forgiveness, and learning to share our struggles with others, my broken heart began to heal.
How long does it take you to write a story/article/book?
Great question, but not one that my perfectionist-self can answer easily. My geeky nature times how many words I can write in an hour. I also record how long it takes to edit a specific number of words. But the true answer depends on the topic. I write life experience articles and inspirational stories much more quickly than fiction. When developing a fictional tale, I research before during and after writing that first draft. And if you include character sketches and place/setting immersion, I am extremely slow.
Currently, I’ve written about 280,000 words between four novels. I’m choreographing which parts belong to each novel and which parts are simply part of the learning process. I find the process as satisfying as the finished product.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I follow a general daily grid of activities on a visual planning chart. Then I have a bullet journal to add specific tasks for each day of the week. I add scheduled meetings with alarms and reminders to my phone’s calendar app. Then it’s like a sort of choreographed day with all the pieces or elements on my to-do list scattered between appointments and checked off as I complete them. This seems to suit my right and left-brain tendencies.
As you might guess, both sides of my brain compete for attention throughout the day. I can imagine another question: “What do you do when you don’t finish all the tasks for that day?” My answer: “I stay up much too late and sometimes all night.” And if I were wiser, I’d move them to the next day. Or adjust my expectations and not plan so heavily. But that’s the excitement of creative writing and following a planned schedule. Sometimes life moves those tasks to the next day or two.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
More aptly, what isn’t a quirk. I write and edit in a circular fashion. Some people call that editing while writing. Some call that counterproductive. I find it cathartic. Even therapeutic to delve into the word play and thematic elements of a small section of a larger piece.
This practice grounds me the story. I embellish a theme, find a motif, and grab a thesaurus and edit as I read the first draft. Usually in 1000-2000 word-chunks, I fix the passive voice, remedy boring or repetitive words, and refine paragraph by paragraph until the story’s characters have the correct voice—until I can remember the nuances of the specific chapter or scene—before I proceed to the next.
Another peculiarity would resemble writing scenes out of order and then stitching them together. An idea comes to me, and I know I need to include it somewhere in the piece, so I write with notes that dictate the approximate timeline or something I need to add or fix. This involves much more editing and rearranging details. Because if I move a chapter to a section of the whole where a character has not yet appeared, I will cut and paste, and reassemble those introductions. But I love puzzles and challenges. Writing checks all those creative and organizer boxes.
Where do you get your information and inspiration for your work?
Is that a trick question? LOL. Laughing out loud has been quite therapeutic while writing. I wonder that myself whenever an idea germinates. Opening the Notes App, or a word document I write or dictate the idea. In fact, I just located an idea I wrote about 2 years ago which had eluded me. Oh, that we could analyze the creative mind and bottle it! Or strap the ideas like digital sticky notes to our brain.
For my current fiction work, the piece that earned first place in the suspense category at BRMCWC this year, I research real life technology and weave it into the storyline at the appropriate timeframe so to infuse the story with believability. I create characters I hope will tell the faith messages I long to share with other believers. And, it turns out, non-believers have been incredibly encouraging as they read and critique an obviously strong Christian theme of forgiveness and the need to reconcile relationships.
To organize my thoughts and ideas, I use Scrivener to capture screen shots of articles and events that I want to accurately portray in my story’s timeline. I suspect I may be writing a form of dual time fiction with suspense elements, or perhaps literary fiction with suspense.
For many of my inspirational articles and short stories I interject healthy doses of my life’s experiences to create the framework for the plots or instruction. For example, a short story I wrote which earned a 2nd place award at 2020 BRMCWC has elements of my awkward teenage years at the library, the death of one of my daughter’s fish when she was young, and the setting of an actual library in Iowa and then later adapted to a New Jersey library to become backstory to one of my fiction characters in the novel series I am writing. Because life is often difficult and sad, and death is part of everyone’s life, I write about the hope of Christ during our trials.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Art. Creative design, brainstorming, and helping others in design and technology struggles. If I would promote my new services, I’d say that I am a brainstorming, networking ninja who adores helping other creatives find their voice and a time-challenged teacher who adores sharing what I learn in technology, writing, and art. Wait. That’s my work. I change my mind. I adore watching movies or gardening with my husband. And I want to learn to play my dulcimer some day.
What do your family and friends think of your writing?
I have not shared much with my family, but my sister is extremely supportive. Most people I have allowed to view snippets of my writing, have expressed their kind, generous encouragement. I’m also grateful for my mentors who direct me and support me when I experience doubts. And I am forever thankful for those who challenge me and urge me forward to finish projects, especially this fiction series that I recently placed 3rd at 2020 and 1st in 2021 in the Foundations category of suspense at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.
What is one challenge you find when creating your work?
Balance. And waiting on God’s timeline. That’s two challenges, isn’t it? But I struggle with whether I should write or create art. I also struggle with pride. I always have. That tendency also drew me to repentance my first year in college and keeps me dependent on the Lord for His direction. So, the two most challenging issues for me; waiting on God’s timing to work on a project and finding balance with artistic endeavors in the time between writing.
Another challenge might be my propensity for rule-breaking. I have created a children’s picture books series with several pages without words as part of the larger story, as well as teaching elements of a find and search feature that are not evident in the words alone. Wordless books intrigue me. Convention says to let the words alone speak for themselves and tell the whole story. What’s an artist/writer/rule-breaker to do?
Where have you been published or earned awards? Do you have a favorite?
In my college years, a few art pieces and poetry were published. But my next poetry submission in 2019 earned 1stplace with Serious Writer’s Blue Seal Award and 2nd place with Word Weavers Tapestry Awards. A few poems have been published in digital magazines in 2021. Artwork published in Please See Me Issues #4 and #5, and others. A meme contest earned a yearlong membership to Word Weavers, and I earned a 6-month membership to Skill share with a digital art submission voted by class members.
I had my first ever devotion published 2020 in Kissing Guilt Goodbye, and five poems and the cover art for 2021’s Pandemic Devotionals, both by Alisa Hope Wagner’s Enliven Devotionals. Another poem published in the anthology, Beneath the Mask and a few articles and poems at the Word Weavers Blog: A Scrivenering Fable, God’s Redeeming Love, and a three-part series on Cultivating Intentionality and bullet journaling. I earned 3rd for fiction/2nd for short story/1st for poetry in 2020’s BRMCWC Foundation I Awards, and 1st for fiction/suspense in 2021 at BRMCWC for the same story.
I published my Journaling Scribbles project this year. The brand development consumed much of 2020 and 2021. The first three journals are available at Amazon through the KDP program in a variety of cover designs featuring my artwork. A second set of journals, including the Poetry Writing Prompts Journal featuring other poet’s work as well as writing prompts based on their work, is set for a September publishing date. The other two, Books With Coffee and The Love Note Collector will Lord willing be for sale in the fall under Tiffany Inks Studio LLC and Journaling Scribbles.
My favorite? Perhaps my next submission, the one I am working on, or the most recent acceptance for a Guideposts Anthology to be published later this year. Now a paid author, that is my final answer until my next project releases.
Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they?
I would have never known what the writing industry thought of my work if I had never entered competitions and contests. I suggest submitting your work to as many contests and publications as you can afford. This helps writers meet deadlines and pushes us to crawl out of our comfort zone. I have as many rejections as I have acceptances and each opportunity allows us to grow if we don’t fall into discouragement. Each submission spells success if you finish.
Another suggestion is to find a critique group in your genre. Like-minded writers who care about helping each other will undoubtedly benefit your writing. I have a few friends who have become lifelong friends and are not afraid of offering their honest opinions.
Lastly. Take classes. Lots of them. And learn, grow, and share what you learn. Attend conferences to meet industry professionals. That’s where I first met Katherine!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself?
I’d like to share an excerpt from an interview I did with author Annette Marie Griffin.
She asked the question, “If you had it all to do over again, would you take a different path?”
“… The imagination pulses continually. That’s who I am. My creativity and inspiration to create, flow from my allegiance to Christ. But the path along each tributary is fluid. I see many tributaries in this journey. I might have taken the path of Ingram publishing instead of KDP. I may have hired a marketing director instead of the FB team. Or I might have bought into the Adobe Design software instead the Affinity products.
But the dream still keeps me awake at night.
If not this dream, another equally complex and time consuming one would surface, because the goal to create a product that meets other believer’s needs for reflection and planning and creativity would still be there, wrestling for an answer to the problems of our identity in Christ. And souls like me, who find peace and joy in processing our thoughts, words, and ideas, might still be waiting for us to speak to them.
While the exact path might be different, the end goal or product faces me and reminds me to keep pressing forward.
If you are a writer. If you are a creative artistic person who wakes to a dream, keep pressing forward. If you need to hop out of the figurative boat to reassess the current, do it. If the dream calls to you, and God doesn’t say no, or stop, keep praying. Keep researching and reevaluating your path. And brainstorm, collaborate, and network until God redirects your path.
I’ll pray for you as you write, create, and inspire others to do the same.”
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